Disclaimer: Don't own Pokémon.
Hey guys! Finally, the update that I promised more than a month ago. Sorry about that. I had a lot of stuff to do and it forced me behind schedule.
Thanks SinCityAssassin for betaing.
Well, enjoy the chapter.
Alex jolted up from his bed; only afterwards did he feel every muscle in his body ache in protest. He looked around, not recognizing his environment. There the room had red velvet curtains and soft carpet floor, and the bed itself had a canopy. He gave the room another look over and saw Cheren exhausted and snoring loudly on a large sofa a couple of feet. Apparently he was so tired that he forgot to take off his glasses and they hung lopsided on his face. As Alex moved a bit forward for a closer look, he was blinded by the light that shown through the elegant curtains.
Shielding his eyes, Alex gave a big yawn as he scratched his head. He still felt a bit dizzy and had to keep his bearings together. As he groaned weakly as he slowly lifted himself off the bed, his muscles were still sorely aching. He tried to start stretching in a bit; else he'd be walking like Frankenstein for the rest of the day.
"Alex, you're awake," a voice sighed in relief, "I was getting worried there. Oh gosh, it's already the afternoon?" Alex turned around and saw Cheren "majestically" trying to get up after almost tumbling out of the sofa. Cheren tried to straighten himself and patted his messy hair down. "How are you feeling? You gave us quite a scare." Slowly, everything started coming back to Alex.
"Hold on, what happened? Where are we? Where's Hilda? How are my Pokémon? What happened to N?" Alex began freaking out as he asked questions left and right. Last night's events had a clear effect on him. That man he met last night, N… it sounded like he wasn't finished with him yet.
"Whoa, slow down Alex," Cheren said, groaning like he was dealing with a major headache. He quickly turned to the small kitchen and grabbed a drink of water. After a good sip, Cheren continued. "To answer your questions, we're in a hotel; Hilda lent us her room and slept with Sharon for the night. As for Hilda herself… she's doing okay. She just left to do her photo shoot. Your Pokémon are fine; they're in the Pokémon Center. As for the guy the guy who attacked you…" Cheren fell silent and Alex understood; N got away.
"You scared us big time," Cheren continued on, "When we found you and Hilda like that, Sharon almost went ballistic… well, she did but…" As Cheren trailed on, Alex remembered vaguely that he was yelling at N about something before collapsing to the ground. After that, he couldn't remember. He must've passed out by then.
"So… no one was hurt?"
"You're kidding me, right?" Cheren said simply, arching his eyebrows in disbelief, "You were half dead. Hilda said that that guy's Pokémon was already beating you up when she found you. The doctor yesterday said you needed a lot of rest and gave some painkillers. Any of this ringing a bell to you?" Cheren looked expectedly at Alex as though hoping for some answers. However, Alex didn't say anything. He finally found the culprit who was responsible for taking his memories, but… he didn't think this was something he could share yet.
"Well, you know… it was… sort of…"
"If you don't want to tell me then don't tell me."
"Oh please," Cheren scoffed, "You were never one to hide secrets, neither was Bianca, your face is basically an open book." Alex mocked a disgusted face at the comment. "You're also not a good liar. We agreed a long time ago that I wouldn't press either of you for answers while you promise that when you'd be ready, you'd tell me."
"Oh…" Alex wondered if that were a good thing or not. Before Cheren could say anything else, there was a rapping sound at the door. It kept going and going until wide-eye Cheren opened the door to see who it was.
"Oh, hello Shar-OOF!" Cheren was pushed aside by the orange-haired actress as she charged straight at Alex. Sharon's face was so terrifying that Alex actually flinched.
"H-hey, Sharon. Did something happen?"
"What happened?! What happened was that YOU ruined Hilda's career with that stupid little stunt of yours. Do you understand that you almost got her killed?!"
"Wha-?" Alex didn't have time to act anymore surprised because Sharon grabbed Alex by the shoulders leaned close as though she was going to pulverize the teenager.
"S-Sharon! Calm down!" He was downright terrified, but Cheren managed in himself to try and pull Sharon's grasp away from Alex.
"I never thought you could be such a coward, leaving a girl in distress like that. She practically saved your life and you're standing here like an idiot! Where is your freaking CHIVALRY?"
"Huh?" Alex still looked terrified, but there was confusion on his face. Sharon revealed in one of her hands a tux on a hanger and a pair of shiny black shoes.
"Hilda is having a photo shoot in less than an hour. Now, I want you to go in that bathroom, change into this, and I'm going to teach you everything about photo shoot and you will remember EVERYTHING!
"Now get in there and change!" Sharon shoved the suit into Alex's arms and pushed him into the bathroom, frightful confusion still written on his face. "And don't think about escaping through the window because I got security waiting at the bottom!" She slammed the door shut and after a good ten minutes of Sharon breathing through her mouth as though she had just run a marathon, she brought her hand up to her place, pitched her fingers and slowly lowered them in a gesture. Cheren decided to break the silence after that.
"You weren't even that mad, were you?"
"Not at all," Sharon immediately grinned; all the anger evaporated from her face, replaced with a mischievous grin. She slumped down on the sofa and gave a good stretch and relaxing sigh. "The good thing about being an actress is being able to put out a show like that."
Hilda sighed, as she stayed seated inside the tent. She had no idea why she was here; except for the fact Sharon forced her. Sharon said she found her a partner for this whole thing, yet no one was here and the shoot was starting in less than fifteen minutes. As she slumped in her seat, she was at least grateful it was cool under the tent; apparently Sharon had managed to bully someone into put a small fan in there.
"What's wrong, Hilda?" Hilda saw Lurvina, poking her head into the tent. As always, she looked glamorous, and her snobbish face strongly implied that she knew it. She wore her frilled, pink dress sashed with green ribbon adorned with stones that shone in the light and was holding a lovely bouquet of roses, so lovely in fact that even Hilda couldn't help but feel jealous. But Lurvina didn't come here out of concern but to flaunt, and she wanted to bring out the big guns.
"Hello Lurvina. I see that you're finished."
"Of course, and my partner was absolutely magnificent. The cameraman told me that I was a guarantee for the front page….
"Though, such a shame about that photo shoot coming up without a partner, you look so pretty in that dress too," Lurvina said in a sarcastic voice as she gestured to Hilda's lavender dress. "At least you won't look like you puked on this one."
"Well, at least my dress doesn't need resizing like some people," Hilda retorted. Lurvina's face turned as red as the roses.
"I'll have you know that my dress was resized because I lost weight." Still red around the ears, Lurvina left in a huff, no doubt to find a salad bar or something. Hilda sighed as she checked the digital clock. Less than ten minutes now and still no 'partner'.
"Well, guess I should go."
"Already? Did I miss the photo shoot?" Hilda jumped in surprise at the voice and turned to the sound. "H-hey there, Hilda," Alex mumbled, sounding embarrassed. He was wearing a tux that didn't fit him all that well; at least the shoes he was wearing were the right size. Alex didn't look the sort to comb his hair, but apparently someone did, as his hair was nicely combed in place, though it seemed slightly rushed. Overall, Alex looked a tad bit worn, but presentable. "How do I look?"
"Y-you came," Hilda said, awestruck, not by his attire but by the fact that he was even here. She must be dreaming; yes, that has to be it. There was no way this miracle could happen right now.
"Well, yeah," Alex said, tugging on the tie as though it was choking him, "You kind of saved me yesterday so I feel like I owe you the favor… And don't worry about the photo shoot. Sharon gave me a couple of pointers so I think I can manage… and these are for you." Alex sounded like he rehearsed this speech as he handed over a bunch of wildflowers tied together by a messy ribbon. There was really nothing special about them compared to Lurvina's beautiful roses. Alex gave a rather nervous smile despite his shaky reassuring voice. Hilda blinked gratefully and tried very hard to not feel overwhelm with emotions as she took the flowers.
"Well, in that case," Hilda said in a sort of business-like manner, "I'm grateful for your help. But we have a lot of work to do in order to get the best photo." Hilda gave Alex a good hard stare. "Make sure you don't mess up. Now, come on. We're going to be late."
"R-right!" Alex said, sounding flustered for sure, he shifted a bit, not knowing exactly what to do.
"All right then, we'll try the easy poses," Hilda tried to walk over to where she kept her shoes and almost fell in the process. Her ankle was throbbing in pain, though Hilda tried to ignore it.
"What's wrong?" Alex asked, worried, "Are you okay?"
"Nothing, it's nothing. It's just my ankle," Hilda muttered as she tried to get her high heels on without wincing too much. Alex caught a glimpse, however, and realized that she had gotten injured from yesterday's battle. Immediately, Alex started to feel guiltier than before.
"You shouldn't walk on that leg, you're gonna make it worse."
"It doesn't matter. When you're modeling, you should never show pain. If I can't do that at least, then I'm certainly can't call myself a model, now can I?" Hilda replied back, determined to prove so. However, wearing heels made the walking feel even worse. She tried standing up, but her legs were wobbling before she buckled from the sheer pain. Luckily, Alex was quick enough to catch her bridal style before she hit the floor. This startled Hilda sure, but Alex just stayed there kneeling on the floor with a dry look on his face.
"Ok yeah, you should keep your weight off that leg," Alex said in a matter-of-fact voice as he held Hilda carefully in his arms as he stood up. Hilda's mind finally registered the position they were in and went completely blank as warning sounds blared through her head.
Alex was carrying her! Like they were… Like they were newlyweds or something! And the people. Oh no. There were so many other models staring at them and Alex didn't seem to even have a clue as to the degree of embarrassment of the situation.
"L-let go of me!" Hilda exclaimed as she tried to kick her way back down to the ground. However, Alex didn't seem fazed by this violent behavior though he did stumble a bit from the amount of weight he now had to carry. His strength was not fully back but Alex refused to let Hilda continue to walk injured.
"Don't worry," Alex said calmly, as if holding a flailing girl was something he did every other day, "I'm just carrying you to the place. It'll be easier on you."
"Why are you doing this?" Hilda muttered, slapping her hand to her forehead. "Do you realize how embarrassing this is for me?"
"It's because you're my girl. That's how it is for the shoot right?" Alex looked at Hilda's now widened blue eyes as he continued to walk for the set. It was obvious by how straightforward he sounded that the boy did not have a clue what those words mean.
Still, the comment had taken Hilda aback and she averted her eyes away from his as she felt her own face heat up. This was embarrassing! A guy she barely knew was actually holding her this close to him like there was something more going on between them than necessary! What was she to do? She was probably going to be the laughing stock! She sighed to herself as she laid her head against Alex's chest without realizing. She could hear his heartbeat clearly.
Thump, thump. It felt calm and soothing, it's amazing how he could do this really, and he wasn't even stressing out. Somehow Hilda felt a strange sense of security knowing this; she closed her eyes, listening to the rhythmic pounding. Hilda knew that Alex clearly didn't know the implications of what he said, but she decided to let it go, just this once.
The shoot was on a third floor balcony in a building straight ahead from Hilda's tent. Alex and Hilda managed to make it to the set through dodging traffic jams of rushing pedestrians and enduring a few flights of stairs. A quick glance revealed that there seemed to be no one around, of course, Alex and Hilda were running a bit late.
"That's odd," Alex commented, "Aren't there supposed to be people here?" And as though to suddenly answer his question…
"Oh, you must be Hilda!"
"Huh?" Alex and Hilda turned around and saw a man around a late twenties and wearing a flat cap. If Hilda wasn't red before, she was now.
"Mr. Tobbin!" Hilda squeaked in shock as the editor of the Hot Random! Magazine came toward her.
"Please, call me Charles," the man smiled and graciously shook Hilda's hand before giving it a light kiss. "I've heard so much about you." Hilda looked like she was about to faint from happiness. Alex looked confused, since he didn't really recognize the guy anyhow. "And you are?" the capped man asked him
"Uh… Alex," he managed. Mr. Tobbin gave a small grin.
"A fine, strong name!"
"B-but," Hilda stuttered, "how-?"
"Ben called me," the man said pleasantly, "Said that you had exceptional talent and I had to see you no matter what."
"Did he?" Hilda made a note to personally call Ben and thank him.
"Yes, he and I went to the same college, you see. A bit of a rivalry in a few subjects but we're still good friends… come to think of it though I think he's still bitter that I always win at poker. But enough of that," the man changed the subject before he had a chance to ramble, "I can see why he had to get me here, seems like you got an amazing work ethic if you come to the shoot in character from the start. JD! Eric! Let's get a few shots! We don't have a moment to spare; we have to capture Hilda and her partner right now!"
"Huh?" Hilda said, sounding as though she was in daze. Immediately a cameraman and a photographer popped out from behind Mr. Tobbin.
"I love it! Mr. Tobbin, she is a genius," he exclaimed and before Hilda could figure out what he meant, the photographer was already at work.
Flash! Flash! Flash! Brilliant flashes of light dazed Alex and Hilda, the bulb's filament fizzed down as the photographer looked at his handiwork. The cameraman kept shooting the video, giving a thumbs-up. During the pause, they looked at each other and Hilda realized that Alex was still holding her. Flash!
"I-I-I," Hilda found herself stammering again as she tried to get down while trying hard not to look red.
"No, no, no! Stay like that! It's perfect!"
"B-but!" Hilda protested uselessly to the flashes of lights at her face.
"You're going to be a star!" Flash!
"Hey, isn't this great?!" Alex said grinning foolishly, "They love you."
Hilda gave a weak smile and had no choice but to let Alex carry her for this part of the shoot.
Two hours later…
"You guys leaving already?" Sharon looked disappointedly at both Alex (back in his normal clothes) and Cheren. Including Hilda, the four of them were back in the hotel room. She had been quiet the whole time as Alex and Cheren prepared to leave. "Oi, there's a party later. You should stick around."
"Love to, but we have to go," Cheren said, "We're still looking for our friend. Still, thanks for everything."
"No problem, but…" Sharon dragged Cheren away from Alex and Hilda and whispered, "What about that N guy? I haven't called the authorities because you told me not to."
"I'm doing some research right now. This N guy… I have a feeling that telling the police will lead to more trouble, and I have a gut feeling he's targeting Alex for a specific reason."
"Why is that?"
"I don't know, but Alex needs to get to Striaton City to get this straightened out."
"What do you mean he 'needs to get to Striaton City'?"
"It's… complicated," Cheren said, not wanting to talk about Alex's amnesia, but Sharon didn't look happy with the answer.
Meanwhile, during this whispered discussion, Alex and Hilda were left alone. Seconds slowly pass by as neither of them knew what to say.
"Sorry about the leg," Alex said, motioning to Hilda's bandaged ankle. She had a crutch now after Sharon insisted and wouldn't take no for an answer
"It's okay," Hilda muttered. "You saved my photo shoot, so we're even." Another long silence filled the room shortly after.
"Sooooo…uh… see you later, I guess?" Alex asked, shuffling around, unsure on to what to say.
"Yeah," Hilda said, looking anywhere except at Alex. "See you, I guess."
"Oh my Arceus, this is boring!" Sharon rolled her eyes in annoyance at the two. "Look both of you; stop acting like you're a bunch of shy school kids!" Hilda blushed red while Cheren coughed in embarrassment before grabbing oblivious Alex and headed to the door.
"Well, it was nice to meet you two and… thanks for everything."
"See you." Alex managed to wave goodbye before Cheren slammed the door shut.
"Alright, that went well," Sharon quipped, grinning at Hilda, "I can't wait to see Lurvina's face when she realizes that she didn't get the front page."
"It's not a guarantee, you know."
"Oh come off it. After what you told me, Lurvina would totally flip." Sharon cackled with excitement as she grabbed a cup of water to drink.
"The party should be fun. At least I can wear some regular clothes for once."
"Sharon, can I ask you something?"
"Sure, what's up?"
"Did you tell Alex to tell me that I was his 'girl'?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Sharon said innocently, though she didn't even try to hide her part in it.
"Sharon." Hilda groaned.
"Well, depends on if he also said the REST of what I told him to say too, probably not though," she continued, grinning evilly.
"Don't worry," Sharon winked. "I'm pretty sure Alex doesn't even know what he even said."
"Good, we finally got our Pokémon back. I can't believe how long the line was. Well, we should be able to make it Straiton before sundown. I'm sure we'll see Bianca there, it's not like she'd up and go any further than that without hitting their famous café. I know how she is when it comes to places like that." Cheren explained rapidly, looking at the map he had brought from home. Alex had a perplexed look on his face as the both of them continued down Route 2.
"Cheren, can I ask you something?"
"Hmm, what's up?"
"When you tell a girl that she's 'your girl', what does that mean exactly?"
For a large span of their trip, Cheren couldn't see straight due to Alex's sheer ignorance.
Sooo, I guess we can all agree that Alex is never going to get a girlfriend. Lol.
Anyways, a small update that you guys probably all know by now. I wanted to test out with a new fanfic story based on Percy Jackson series. It is called The Last Messenger. If you're into the series, check it out and give me a polite opinion.
Also, don't expect a lot of updates. I got a whole lot of school work so it will take a while for me to get everything sorted.
Thanks for reading and see you in the next chapter.