Chapter 1: Homecoming

Beauty Pop is the property of Kiyoko Arai-sensei.

- o -

Two years. Two frickin' years and nine and a half hours. But he was here.

Here, you may ask? Yes, here, LAX, finally. Shogo Narumi, alias Naru-Naru, was carrying a duffel bag over his right shoulder, a small suitcase in his left hand as he walked away from the luggage band and headed into Los Angeles International Airport. Why the foul mood? Well, stay still nine hours and a half in second class with a granny sleeping on your shoulder, a toddler on the other side poking at you, and a bumpy ride and I'd say you'd add certain expletives to your vocabulary. Not only that, but the anxiousness and nervousness and all that other stuff he had to learn to contain in Japan away from her, all in nine and a frickin' half hours so many feet on the air...

He said he'd go see her and she said she'd be waiting. Lets hope for Shogo that the unspoken promise doesn't have an expiration date. He flipped the BP cap on his head backwards to get a better view as he tried to find his cellphone and phone home. But then, bam!


That voice! The blonde's head snapped to the sides searching desperately for the owner of the voice he hadn't heard in years. And then she was there, mere feet away. At first glance it couldn't be her, sporting a faded jean romper, red scribbled white shirt and bulky addidas; but not even her long mussy brown hair could hide those eyes, that smile... He hadn't even noticed he had let go of his luggage until he finally had her in his arms. God, he had missed her.

On the other side of the embrace Kiri Koshiba, alias Mussy Head, was in a mental dilemma. Yes, she was happy. No, she wasn't used to public displays of affection. But yes, she had missed Narumi. And no, she wouldn't be merciful to someone who stood her up two years. Well, not technically stood up, but didn't even communicate with her for two years. But who was she kidding? Kiri Koshiba didn't do romantic scenes in airports. Okay, she did, so what the hell? And then he decides to finally come back to his usual Narumi-ness and jump a yard away, face red and embarrassed as he held up his luggage against his chest.

Kiri stifled a giggle as she thought, Cute. That day at the airport she had been so relieved to see him and though everyone was unaware, she longed for the day she'd see him again. Shogo was still blushing, was still embarrassed, but she was right before him and she was smiling. Even laughing at him. What the hell had he been doing those two years? He tried to calm down his beating heart and hoped he didn't look like a fool. Even now, he loved her, still, like she wouldn't believe.

Kiri smiled up at the embarrassed wreck, put her hands on her hips, and said in a mock tone, "Don't be so conceited, I came to see someone else off. "

Shogo 'hmph'ed as he remembered that day in Narita Airport, how even when he finally knew his feelings, he couldn't even tell the girl he liked he had come to see her off. But it was different now. He wasn't the kid he was before. And he'll be damned if he didn't show her how much he'd grown both mentally and professionally. The corners of his lips turned upward though, a playful smirk adorning his handsome features as his eyes finally made contact with hers. He replied, "Oh really? Who?"

Kiri felt her heart skip a beat and almost forgot how to breathe. She wasn't accustomed to that look, some things need precedents! But as always, Kiri is one to keep her outer cool in any situation. She wouldn't be faced by the girly thoughts she was coming up with!

This was Narumi-sempai. She was cool with him.

She was.


Shogo chuckled and said, "It seems like a long time ago, huh?"

Kiri was reminded again of the two years that had passed and turned around quickly to hide her serious face as she nodded. Somehow her breath stuck to her throat. And though she trusted him, more than he knew, she wasn't exactly happy to have received no letters or calls or anything. Except for monthly reports from Kei and Ochi-sempai, she hadn't known anything from him. She bit her bottom lip, forcing herself out of her accustomed aloofness. This was a happy reunion. And it wasn't like it was a promise or anything like that, plus—

His arms found their way around her shoulders yet again, his head on her head as he mumbled, "I'm sorry I took so long…"

Her train of thought was interrupted by the embrace, her heart sped up, and after a very long time she finally felt at home. How weird could that be? That she could feel at home in someone's arms, let alone Narumi's arms which she hadn't seen not once in two years. She let the thoughts dissipate and sighed as she held onto his arms. Still, she couldn't help but smile.

Shogo felt her change of mood and grinned, but as he was about to speak, Kiri said, "I wonder if I should forgive you..?"

His eyes widened at this and his old self broke through as he sputtered out, "Wha—Huh?"

Kiri grinned to herself as she broke apart from his embrace and turned around to see him, smile tucked away as she looked at him with her typical annoyed look, "You made me wait two years."

Shogo almost let go of his luggage again, "I said I'd prepare!"

Kiri put her hands in her pockets as she said with a smirk, "You prepared for two years? I wonder if you're really up to par.."

The typical fire burst out of his surroundings as Shogo pointed at her and shouted, "I'll show any day, any time, Mussy Head that I'll be the top beautician in Japan!"

Kiri smiled at this, disarming Shogo even if for just a few seconds, until she said, "Prove it."

And thus Kiri showed Shogo out of LAX and into the street where her old beat up baby blue Volkswagen awaited them. Narumi looked at the old car and chuckled this was exactly her style. He saw her parents were nowhere in sight and gaped as he saw her get into the driver's seat.

"You drive?" The blonde asked as the passenger door was propped open manually by Kiri. He pushed his stuff into the backseat, got in, and closed the door. The brunette had not answered yet, so he turned to see her as she put on her seatbelt.

"More or less."

Once the engine started, he felt his heart fall deep into his stomach.

Oh God.

- o -

A/N: If you've made it this far I thank you for reading my first piece on the site. This is not a one-shot so expect more chapter within the week. Feedback is always welcome and once again, thank you for reading.