Long time no see on this front, folks!  HOFCID is the story I've been ignoring the most.  Mainly because I have been having trouble developing ideas for it…so what's new about that?  Well, nothing.  Once again, I have no idea if this will ever be posted mainly because I can't print it and scan it into another computer, I can't e-mail it anywhere, I have no viable Internet connection, and I have no way to save to a disk because my A: drive refuses to read perfectly good, working disks.  Let's just hope for the best.

Hands of Fate, Changes in Destiny

Chapter 8:  Lunch.  Usagi runs out

By:  AutumnHime

         "LUNCHTIME HAS FINALLY ARRIVED!"  Usagi shouted in the kitchen.  Makoto smiled at her enthusiasm as she continued to arrange the ordered items in an artistic fashion.  The back door's bell rang twice.  Usagi bounced over to get it.  "Haruka! Mina, Ami! You are all here!"  She bounced some more.  "WE CAN EAT!"

         Two other servers entered the kitchen, grinned at the group, then walked out with their filled orders.  They were used to the lunchtime meetings of the five friends.

         "Hello, Hime."  Haruka greeted the blonde.  "Are you feeling better today?"

         "Yes, Haruka, I feel fine.  Now go wash up so we can eat.  You look like you discovered an oil field.  Mina, how did the job interview go?"  Usagi asked as she sat down at one of the few wooden pieces of furniture in the entire kitchen, the servers' table.

         "I think it went well.  Mr. Winner is really cute and seems really sweet."  Minako paused for a moment.  "Maybe I shouldn't be talking about him like this.  He is, after all, my boss."

         "You got the job!"  Usagi shrieked, nearly strangling Minako in her excitement.  "That's wonderful! And it never hurts to talk about a cute guy."  She turned her attention to her blue-haired friend. "How about your day, Ami?"

         "Congratulations on the job, Minako."  Ami paused.  "My day has been pretty good.  I ran into an old friend, and I invited her to lunch with us, but she couldn't make it."

         Usagi smiled, happy that her friend had found some way to lessen the worry in her eyes. "What's she like?"

         "Sally is sweet, taller than I am with hair sort of like yours, but not.  She is an excellent doctor, and she taught me a lot when we worked together.  We first met during a snowball fight."

         "Snowball fight?  Sounds like fun!"

         "Lunch is almost ready, folks." Makoto inserted.  "Usagi, if you could help me?"

         "Sure thing, Makoto-chan."  Usagi stood up and grabbed three of the five plates.  "Great job arranging these, Makoto.  They look almost too good to eat."

         "Just don't say that they are too good to eat…I might have to scream."  Makoto laughed, pulling on her friend's blonde hair.

         "Usagi not eat something?  Impossible."  Haruka declared, stepping back into the kitchen.

         "Hurrah!  Let's eat everybody!" Usagi cheered, placing a dish in front of each of her friends.

         The air around the table soon grew heavy with sighs of contentment and sated pattings of slightly rounded bellies.

         "Ugh!  Makoto, I don't know how you manage to keep the weight off.  If I was in a kitchen all day making food that smells so delicious, I would not be able to keep my girlish figure."  Minako gestured, causing laughter to peal from the rest of the friends.  The sweet sound was soon interrupted by a knock on the door and the swoosh of it swinging open.

         "Hello again, Ms. Kino."  Duo walked in, now wearing a navy pinstripe business suit, and bowed towards the young chef.

         "Mr. Maxwell?" Makoto narrowed her eyes, as if to say 'why are you here?'.

         "I decided to eat at your fine establishment again and this time brought some more friends who also wish to pay their respects to the chef."  He waved towards the doorway, encouraging whomever was hidden from the view of the girls to come in.  Three men filed in, all tall with varying hair colors.  "May I present Mr. Quatre Raberba Winner?"

         The first man to enter paused.  His cornflower blue eyes scanned the room and he smiled sweetly, inclining his head towards the group. 

"Quatre," Duo turned to his friend, "Ms. Kino is the lady with the brown hair…"

         "And the chef's hat?"  Quatre guessed, grinning widely.     

         Duo pinkened.  "Ummm…yeah."

         "How do you do, Ms. Kino?  My friend raved to us about your cuisine all morning and I decided that I wanted to try it.  I must say that I have no complaints."  Quatre's gaze toured the room once more before alighting upon Minako and warming slightly more.  "Miss Aino.  What a pleasure to see you again."

         "Hello, Mr. Winner."  Mina wiggled her fingers at the confident figure.

         Usagi elbowed her friend in the stomach.  "That's your boss?" she hissed. "He's not just cute, he's hot!"

         Mina blushed, as did Quatre.  Recovering from this latest bout of embarrassment quickly, Minako then thwapped Usagi on the head.  "Excuse my friend, please, sir.  She's a ditz."

         "I am not."  Usagi shot back hotly.

         "You are too, Usagi."  And thus began an argument of much tongue-sticking-outing and who could say "Uh-huh" and "Nuh-uh" more. 

         "Ahem."  Duo coughed, dragging the table's attention back to him.  "May I also present Trowa Barton, who also enjoyed your cuisine this morning, and Heero Yuy."

         The two men nodded hellos.

         "Allow me to introduce you to my friends, Mr. Maxwell."  Makoto stood and began pointing people out.  "Minako Aino is currently under contract to Mr. Winner as an interior designer.  She would be the one with the melon colored outfit.  Usagi Tsukino served you this morning.  She's the one in black arguing with Mina.  Haruka Tenoh is the lady with short sandy hair currently looking upon wanna-be two year-olds' argument indulgently."  Haruka waved vaguely in the direction of the four men.  "And Ami Mizuno is the woman in blue with the stethoscope around her neck who looks as if she's about to strangle Usagi and Mina for embarrassing her."

         "I think I would prefer pulling out their baby pictures, but…" Ami stopped in mid-sentence as she got a good look at the quartet.  "Mr. Barton!?"  Surprise and confusion added impasto flecks to her voice.  "How is Sally doing with that emergency?"

         His three companions looked at him in quickly covered surprise, Quatre's eyes narrowed in thought. 

         Trowa replied, "It wasn't an emergency, Dr. Mizuno.  She had some appointments that she had forgotten about, that's all."

         "I'm glad it wasn't an emergency.  No matter how much she professes to boredom, no doctor likes to be needed for their services."

         Three tones cut through the buzzing conversations.  Ami looked at her beeper.  "Oops!  Have to go.  I seem to have forgotten some appointment."

         "Hey, Ames, take me with you, huh?"  Mina called out.  "You can drop me off at work."

         "Nah, Ami's going that way, and you were talking.  Besides, it wouldn't do to make it seem as if the boss was playing favorites," Minako teased,  grabbing her keys and purse.

         "'Bye, everyone."  The two called in unison, exiting the restaurant.

         "You know, I've never known Ami to forget an appointment."  Usagi commented, looking off towards where her friends had gone.

         "Nobody's perfect," Haruka said, "Not even Ami.  Now, how about some dessert, Makoto?  I'm still hungry."

         "Dessert?  I want dessert!" Usagi agreed, distracted from her thoughts.

         "Would anybody else like some?" Makoto asked.

         The four guys agreed, sitting down at empty spots at the table.  However, one man's mind was not focused upon the blackberry cobbler and handmade vanilla ice-cream set in front of him.  Instead, it was focused on the look, almost of panic, that had danced across the doctor's face and how swiftly she had controlled it and her wish to dash madly out the door without explanation.  He also thought it strange how quickly the change in topic had come about…almost as if these girls were hiding something from the blonde in black.

         He had a puzzle now, and Heero never left a puzzle unsolved.

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Heero gets part of a clue!  YEAH!  Look I finished another chapter.  YEAH!!!! As always, read and review = )!

AH:  ciao and wish me good luck in my upcoming competition!