Author's Note: I do not own Sailor Moon or any of its characters. I am doing this for fun and am making no profits from this. I have no monies to hand over, besides.
"I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life, the way I feel when I'm with you."
-Baby, from Dirty Dancing (1987)
Molly Baker pushed a strand of her red hair behind her ear as she taped up another box of her belongings. This box was another one she would take to the Cancer Research Donation shop, and it would be the fourth box this week. It was beginning to become easier to part with more and more of her belongings as she prepared for her move. Molly sighed as she lay down the tape gun beside the box.
The red head placed both hands on top of the box and closed her eyes before she whispered, "Goodbye. I hope you find a good home."
Molly got up and took the box with her to the kitchen where the rest of her donation boxes were waiting. Another pile of boxes were being stacked beside hers: Molly's mother became inspired to purge all of her closets when it had become clear Molly was going to be moving out. The same sort of mimicry happened when Molly started straightening her hair and became a vegetarian. It was as if copying her daughter helped Mrs. Baker cope with the changes that they both were experiencing.
When Molly had noticed this trend she had mentioned this to her boyfriend, Melvin Overstreet; he had told her that her mother was just trying to stay young and fresh: what better source of inspiration than her daughter? Molly didn't buy into that explanation: it didn't quite fit. Her mother was an attractive woman, especially for her age and was trendy in her own right.
Molly shook herself out of her thoughts and reminded herself that the boxes in her room weren't going to pack themselves. The red head walked through the hallway back to her room. The walls were lined with pictures of her at different ages. The last eighteen years of her life were captured in school photographs, yearend school gatherings, and birthday parties. Molly smiled as her eyes glanced over the familiar scenes and faces of smiling friends and family. The picture frame at the end of the hall held two photographs: one of Molly holding her high school diploma, and the other of Molly opening her acceptance letter for business school. Molly Baker was going to University for business starting September, and she was so excited to go.
But she drew in a sharp breath and closed her eye to try and stop herself from feeling homesick already. The university was a four hour drive away and Molly was only able to afford a room in shared student residence. Her mother had told her she could always come back to her old room, but that did little to comfort Molly: she knew she would be spending most of the year at school studying while sharing space with a total stranger. She wasn't sure how she and Melvin would manage their visits.
"The boxes aren't going to pack themselves." Molly reminded herself again and kept walking to her room.
Molly had already cleaned out her bedside table and large dresser; today she needed to tackle her closet. She couldn't recall the last time she had ever seen its floor, or if she had ever. Taking a deep breath she started by pulling everything on the hangers onto the floor behind her. The shelves were cleared next, and then all the boxes were cleared from the floor and the over head shelf and dumped onto the floor behind her. One of the boxes that had been stacked onto another fell, flipped on its side, and its contents spilled out over top the piles of clothes, books, shoes, posters. Molly stopped what she was doing and picked up the box that had opened, not wanting to have anything get too mixed up in the shuffle of moving.
She sat down in the middle of her room, and on several piles of clothes and boxes, when she recognized the box to be her memories box: a box of her favourite trinkets, sentimental card, and favourite pictures. Molly hadn't added anything to the box in over a year, and so had sort of forgotten about it. She smiled excitedly at her find, and pushed more hair behind her ear. Molly scooped up the contents that had fallen out and laughed at the pictures of herself and Serena. The picture was from the eighth grade when she and Serena used a photo booth for the first time. All pictures were so badly timed so both of their mouths were open in all the snapshots. Molly scooped up two concert tickets from the ground next. They were tickets to her favourite band of all time. Molly suddenly felt sad for having taken down the poster from her wall already. She had gone for her sixteenth birthday with Satomi and at the concert had tried to smoke a cigarette for the first time. But she had managed to burn her lips so bad she hadn't touched one since.
A picture of her and her father had also fallen out. It was the only picture she had of him, and possibly the only picture of him left in the house. She knew his death had been hard on her mother, and spent the majority of Molly's life trying to keep it together. All Molly had ever known of his death was a car accident on a rainy night when she had been a baby. Or so her mother had said, once. The red head's expression became somber: she had never known her father, she never missed his presence, and she guessed that her mother must feel his loss every day. How could she not? Her mother had married him, promised to be with him forever, one wouldn't do that unless it was your soul mate. Molly's thoughts drifted to Melvin, and she absently wondered if she would miss him if he died.
"Of course you would." She said aloud, disgusted with herself for thinking something like that.
Irritated with herself, Molly quickly gathered up the remaining items and stood up, box in the other hand. Molly quickly tossed the contents of both hands onto the bed: she would deal with that later. Molly started to pull out more items from her closet, almost angrily, and took less care when dumping items onto the middle of her room. Once she was finished with that task she started opening boxes and dumping their contents onto the floor. She ripped clothes from the hangers but began to find that difficult when her hands began to shake. Frustrated she threw her shirt with its hanger back into the closet and sat down in the middle of the floor, back facing her bed. She took a deep breath after a few moments of clenching her fists. Molly slowly turned her head towards the bed where her memory box lay, and the bandage.
Melvin had given it back to her after she had used it to tie up a cut on his arm. She owed it to him to look after him, after Melvin had saved her life from an attack from a strange creature. She didn't understand why he had given the bandage back to her, or why she had kept it.
She and Melvin had been an item officially for several weeks when he had given the bandage back to her. Molly had kept it close by her for the first few days: slept with it on her pillow, kept it in her purse, and kept it folded it in her day planner. Molly had gone into such a funk that she had considered breaking up with Melvin that week. It hadn't felt right at that moment to be with him. She might as well had broken it off the way she had ignored his messages and phone calls. Lunch break at school had become very awkward along with study groups. At the end of the week Melvin had come over to her house and broke down crying.
"I thought you had moved on from him." Melvin had said, woeful and not looking at Molly.
"I did." Molly had replied.
"I don't think so. Since I gave you the bandage back you're walking around like a zombie, just like when he died." Melvin said.
"Well, he didn't die all that long ago." Molly had said curtly.
"But you said—"
"I know what I said."
Molly and Melvin had sat in silence next to each other on her bed. It had felt like ages before either of them moved. Tears had been running down Melvin's face since the silence began.
What is he waiting for? Why doesn't he just dump me? I'm treating him bad enough. Molly had wondered silently, but she had known the answer: Melvin had been waiting for her to dump him.
Coward, she almost spat at him.
Surprising even herself, Molly had gotten up and taken the bandage from her pillow and placed it in her box, her memory box. Molly had neither explained herself nor apologized for what had transpired. Melvin must have anticipated the heartache that would have ensued from his actions, from giving the bandage back, otherwise he would have demanded an explanation, or brought the incident. But he never did, and seemed content enough for Nephlite's memento to be a memory.
Now, after not thinking about Nephlite for over a year it seemed everything, every emotion, and every memory came rushing back to her. It wasn't long before Molly found herself sobbing on the floor, just like when he had just been killed.
"Oh Nephlite! Why aren't you here?" Molly sobbed.
She hadn't wanted to give in, to reach out to the strip of cloth as if he was sitting on her bed, but it was the only action she could think of that would provide her with some comfort. She gathered the cloth in her fist and she brought it to her chest as she continued to sob, "I miss you Nephlite, I miss you so much."
Molly felt so torn: how could she still feel Nephlite's emptiness when she had Melvin? Her anguish turned into guilt as she felt Melvin's affections were undeserved for her disloyalty. Melvin was a good boyfriend, but she never ever felt for him the same way she had felt herself pulled towards Nephlite. Molly had always suspected that her feelings for Nephlite could have been because he had cast a spell over her when they had me. How else could still feel so strongly for Nephlite, and feel the pain of his passing so greatly years later?
"It's not fair!" she sobbed, "I want to see you again."
It wasn't fair that she was in love with a dead man, that her boyfriend was in love with her and that love was never going to be reciprocated, and that someone like her friend Serena found her true love at sixteen and was going to get married next year to him.
Molly sobbed for several more minutes on her bedroom floor before finally quieting down. The tears had continued to fall down her face and she continued to clutch Nephlite's bandage to her chest. She tried to picture his face and hair; she tried to remember what he smelled like, or what it had felt like to be carried in his arms.
Were his eyes blue or green? I can't remember! Tightness gripped her chest as she couldn't really recall any of these details.
Molly looked around her room, the empty closet, the mess on the floor, and the half packed boxes through bleary eyes. She suddenly didn't feel so sure she could go on with the move anymore: there were too mnay memories she still wanted to keep suddenly.
The phone rang, making Molly jump. She scrambled to her feet and wiped the tears from her face hastily, as if the person on the other end would be able to tell how hard she had been crying. Molly cleared her throat before she picked up the phone down the hall from her bedroom.
"Hello?" Molly asked, wincing at how unsteady her voice sounded.
"Oh hi hun." Molly's mother replied, "I'm running a bit late from my meeting. You mind taking the pork out of the freezer and running to the store to pick up some orange juice?"
"Sure thing." Molly replied, "See you later."
"Thanks hun, see you!"
Molly sighed with relief when her mother hung up. She was glad her mother hadn't drawn attention to the awkwardness in her voice. The red head looked briefly at Nephlite's bandage and wondered how something like this could have happened; she had been doing so well for years; kept it together so long just for it all to slip away. She was about to move on to the next stage in her life and now found herself caught in one from long ago.
Molly sat in her usual spot at the small dinner table: directly across from her mother. She poked at the meat and vegetables with her utensils and half-heartedly listened to her mother fill the silence about her all day meeting. Molly hadn't volunteered too much about her day. When her mother finally asked her if she was feeling alright Molly replied that she did indeed feel unwell and needed to lie down. Mrs. Baker looked disappointed but said nothing as Molly put her plate full of food in the fridge and walked to her room. She shut the door behind her and threw herself onto her bed, feeling exhausted.
The red head rolled onto her side and pulled the bandage out from inside her shirt. It felt so wrong to be parted from it now, and she wondered how she was ever able to part with it in the first place. The bandage was simply a strip of material torn off from her PJ's so she felt a little foolish for making such a big deal about remembering Nephlite. But it was the only thing she had to remind her of him. She had no pictures, no shirt, no teddy, and no gift from Nephlite. Nothing.
Molly heard the phone ring in the hall. She glanced at the clock, reading that it was close to nine: the time that Melvin made time in his schedule for her. Daily. The call from her mother to pick up the phone didn't happen immediately. Perhaps it wasn't Melvin. Unconcerned, Molly rolled over in bed, not caring if she fell asleep or not.
"Molly!" her mother called, "It's Melvin! Pick up the phone!"
Drowsy, Molly thought the delay was curious, but voiced no complaint as she dragged herself out of bed and down the hall.
"Hello." Molly spoke into the mouthpiece of the phone.
"Hey Mol, how are you?" Melvin's voice pierced through the earpiece, using the nickname Serena had given to her in junior high.
Molly winced and replied, "Fine" after a pause Molly added, "How was your day?"
"Oh, busy as usual. Our study group went through the whole physics textbook again. I should be able to pass the exam next week and skip the intro class for my programme."
"I'm sure you'll do well Melvin."
"Hey Mol, I was thinking we could go to the movies tonight. I haven't seen you all week."
Molly sighed, quietly, before replying, "Oh, maybe another night. I'm not feeling well and I'm tired from packing all day."
"You want me to come over? I can be there in an hour."
"No, that's alright Melvin. I think I just need to get to bed early tonight."
"Ok Molly. I hope you'll feel better tomorrow."
"So do I. Goodnight."
"Goodnigt Molly, sweet dreams."
A pause. Molly wanted to put down the phone but she waited, seeing if Melvin would hang up first. He was probably waiting for her to do the same.
"OK Mol, love you." Melvin finally added. Molly winced, knowing she should have hung up the first second she could have.
"You too." she mumbled before placing he phone back in its cradle.
She sighed, relaxing her shoulders. Molly was surprised to find herself so tense from a routine phone call. She was also surprised she couldn't tell her boyfriend she loved him tonight. They had been saying those three words for awhile, and hadn't had a fight for long time. So why couldn't she say those words? The red head realized her hand was clenched into a fist. She looked down at it and saw the bandage, Nephlite's bandage, gripped in her hand.
You know the answer... a voice said in the back of Molly's mind as she relaxed her grip.
Molly shook her head, too tired to make sense of the situation. She started towards her bedroom, body sluggish and eyelids drooping. Molly just wanted to go to bed and sleep for a very long time.
Molly's alarm buzzed incessantly for the third time that morning. She cracked her eyes open again to look at the time: 7:12 AM, she promptly shut them. She began to work out how many more times she could hit snooze before she would have to start skipping out on hygenic basics. The answer Molly came up with was zero.
She sighed heavily as she rolled out of bed, and with a flailing arm shut off her alarm. After her morning routine Molly dragged herself to the kitchen for a bowl of porridge and a tea. Her mother was already up and dressed to kill, reading the morning paper.
"Morning darling, how did you sleep?" her mother asked cheerfully, looking up from the paper.
"You feeling better this morning?"
"I hope you don't have anything serious. Are you ok to keep packing today?"
Molly leaned against the kitchen counter, waiting for the porridge to finish cooking in the microwave. Uncomfortable silence followed her answer despite the whirring of the microwave. She could tell her mother wanted to ask more questions, but Molly's grim expression most likely prevented her mother from making any further attempts. The microwave beeped, but Molly didn't move to get her porridge and stared blankly at the floor, tea cup in hand.
"Is there something on your mind dear?" Molly's mother asked, though the forced sound of concern came through in her voice.
Molly opened her mouth to answer then closed it, unsure of how to answer. When no reply came Mrs. Baker shrugged and turned back to reading the paper.
"Do you still miss Dad?" Molly asked.
Her mother stiffened instantly and her eyebrows rose so high they nearly moved off her forehead. Only a few heart beats passed, but time felt like it slowed to a crawl: Molly held her breath for the answer. She had no idea what kind of can of worms she had opened.
"Your father... I... it's a shame your father isn't here to see you. Now. All grown up." Her mother replied, keeping her eyes on the newspaper.
"Do you miss him? Do you still think about him?"
Her mother turned her gaze from the paper and looked directly at Molly, "I didn't really know him Molly dear: I was so young."
"What do you mean?"
"I was wondering when you'd ask about your father, but I figured if you hadn't asked by now you never would."
Mrs. Baker sighed and folded the paper into its original shape and placed it on the table.
"I don't understand." Molly said.
"Your father and I met when we were eighteen. It was a whirlwind affair that ended up with me pregnant and a shot gun wedding. We had only known each other a few months." Molly's mother explained, not looking at Molly, "And we didn't really get along later you were born. It was a curse and a blessing when he passed away. Our families are still trying to live down the embarrassment of two young adults not able to control themselves."
Molly's jaw dropped at her mother's answer, I was an accident?
"So yes, I think about your father because I see a lot of him in you. But no, I don't miss him."
Molly could feel her heart beating inside her chest louder and louder, "That's it?"
"It's not very romantic, is it?" her mother replied.
The red head placed her tea cup on the counter next to her and folded her hands in front of her: her mother didn't miss her father. Her mother didn't love her father?
"Were you ever in love?" Molly asked incredulously.
"Where are all these questions coming from? Are you and Melvin planning something?" her mother asked; again, the sincerity sounded forced.
"What? No, mom. I just- I- I don't know. You've never really talked to me about Dad, or falling in love, or romance to me. You only ever talk about it to your customers in the store."
"Because it doesn't' exist, darling. People's affection can be bought with shiny rocks and metals, that's why my business does so well. When it comes right down to it, none of the lovers that come through my doors would die for the other." her mother said standing up and straightening her dress, "I guess that's why I'm glad you're with Melvin. He doesn't have a single romantic bone in his body. But he's loyal, faithful, and you get along, so I think you'll be able to grow old with him and have a good life."
Molly couldn't help but stare at her mother and continue to feel shocked at her words. She had never known her mother to be so cold and cynical, especially not about love. What kind of world had she been creating? Had her mother become a false person in trying to keep her life, and Molly's, together?
"I'm sorry darling, but I need to go open the store now." her mother said, walking out of the kitchen, leaving Molly standing against the counter.
Molly's gaze followed her mother out the door, and she waited until the clicking of heels disappeared into the store before collapsing onto the kitchen floor. There was a pressure in the middle of her chest she couldn't explain. It hurt, but no tears came from Molly's eyes. She simply held her chest with one hand, where Nephlite's bandage rested.