She couldn't sleep. Even though it was three in the morning, and she had finished an impossibly huge amount of work that day, and she hadn't slept properly for a whole week, Misaki couldn't sleep.
Even if she went to bed tired, the second she switched the lights off, her eyes would switch on. They refused to stay shut.
Misaki tried millions of ways to cure this incurable insomnia. She tried sleeping on the floor, drinking a gallon of milk, then water, taking a shower, using her mother's scented oil which was said to have a relaxing effect, and listening to music. Nothing worked.
This is all the stupid alien's fault, she thought, turning over on her bed for the umpteenth time.
Usui had left for London that week, being called on "urgent business" by his beloved half-brother Gerard. Misaki was pretty sure that "urgent business" required said beloved half-brother pissing Usui off. Royally.
Anyways, after the pheromone excreting alien had left Japan, Misaki found it increasingly difficult to sleep. The moment she laid down, a vision of the golden hair would dance before her eyes. And it wasn't in a remotely romantic way, either.
It. Was. Freakishly. Annoying.
That bobbing blond head haunted her. Misaki secretly wished Gerard would torture Usui enough to match her own agitation.
She rolled out of bed again, falling onto her floor, and considered her options. At the time being, she could
a) preview next week's lessons
b) read a book
c) borrow Suzuna's relaxation tape she'd won from (yet another) raffle and force herself to sleep
d) stare at stuff
She'd previewed the whole month's worth of lessons, while suffering from insomnia this week, so she had nothing to study anymore. And there were no books to read in her room except some shoujo manga Manager had lent her for "research purposes". Misaki vowed she would never open the horrid books again before she wanted to die a slow, torturous death. Option C was preferable, but she'd borrowed the damn tape from Suzuna and listened to it multiple times. She sweared the thing was infused with the same kind of pheromones Usui was made of, because every time she turned it on, a vivid image of a perverted alien would pop into her head.
Which left her only one option.
Misaki fixed her eyes on her desk and stared. Strangely, the first object her eyes focused on was the heart-shaped necklace from Usui.
He'd given it to her as a 'verification item' for that test of love or whatever. Now that she thought about it, that test of love was the reason why they'd changed into romance character costumes, when there really was no need to. And why they watched the fireworks in a classroom instead of outside, where they could have seen them better. And why she had confessed and they had ki-
Misaki shook her head frantically, trying to get rid of the images she had just conjured. No, no, she wasn't thinking meaningless thoughts from the past, no she wasn't, thank you very much. One could have seen Misaki's red blush even in the darkness of her room.
Damn that alien and his moe moe flower blooming pheromones. Damn his ability to pop into someone's mind.
She decided to stare at something else. Who knows? If she stared at something boring enough, then maybe it could induce her to sleep.
Misaki stared at her cell phone, right next to the necklace. It was an old model that Suzuna had won her from a contest years ago, and she had been proud that her sister would get necessities without spending one yen. It was the trustiest thing she owned. It never failed to call people she called or text people she texted. She was proud of it as much as she was proud of her sister for not spending money on it.
Thinking about her cell phone, Misaki recalled a time when Usui had somehow found out her phone number and called her twenty six or so times for no apparent reason. He'd spent the whole night outside her house. She remembered giving him an expired snack next morning for breakfast. He had teased her about it being past the expiration date. She had blushed and told him not to eat it if he didn't want it.
Wait. Was she thinking about him again? No, she shook her head again, no, I did not think about a certain outer space pervert. And I am not in denial.
Maybe this time, she could stare at something flashy enough so that no stupid thoughts could enter her mind.
Misaki fixated on her maid uniform for her part time job at Maid Latte. Wow, how many memories she had had wearing that uniform! She had got her first job in that outfit, met Satsuki-san and all the other maids, and had so many episodes trying to hide this occupation from her school. Hell, that bastard Igarashi had shoved a picture of her wearing the uniform in her face, pinning her to a coffee table with his weight. And being squished by a horrible rich school president in a maid outfit flashier than her normal one sucked ice.
Just when she was aiming a kick where the sun don't shine, Usui had shown up, fluttering the Miyabigaoka uniform he was wearing like a holy robe or something. She did appreciate that he had some to help her, but honestly, couldn't the guy come in a more regular way, instead of knocking out all the guards and kicking the door in to make such a grand appearance?
Dear sweet lord. She had officially lost her mind. Stupid thoughts, stupid mind, stupid Usui, she thought.
A sudden vibration brought her out of her musings. Misaki first thought it to be a minor earthquake, and was just about to crawl under her desk for cover, when she realized it was her cell phone. She flipped it open to see 1 new message(s). From: Usui
Misaki snorted. Her? Miss him? Puh-lease. She missed her grandmother's horrible surprise soup more than she missed him.
Then again, the surprise soup hadn't been that bad. (It had a garlicy aftertaste. Not bad, for something so disgusting.)
She furiously attacked her keypad, pressing Of course not!
But just as she was about to press the "n", her left thumb accidentally hit the "send" button. Probably, the message now read "Of course". Shit.
The reply came quickly. Oh? Was Misa-chan that eager to see her master?
Misaki pressed her keypad again. No you idiot I was trying to say "Of course not!" And of course not!
The next reply: Sure you did, Misa-chan. She could practically see the annoying smirk.
She fumed. And why was she texting her in the middle of the night? Why are you texting me in the middle of the night?
It's 6 pm here.
It's 3 am here! Stop sending me messages!
But I'm bored. That whiny brat.
What the hell are you doing to get bored? Aren't you on urgent business?
I'm at a meeting . But it's boring. Entertain me.
No! And how can you send messages in the middle of a meeting?
Misaki smacked her forehead. That crazy, whining alien! Couldn't he annoy her when he came back?
Usui's message came first this time. What are you doing this late?
I can't sleep.
Eh? Thinking of me? Another invisible smirk. Misaki seriously wanted to punch his face.
You should really sleep. It's bad for your health to stay up so late.
Tell me something I don't know, she thought, trying to devise another reply to fling at him. A yawn stretched out of her mouth.
Wait, a yawn?
Sure enough, Misaki's eyelids drooped. Why was she so sleepy all of a sudden, after countless efforts to lull herself to sleep? Maybe it was squinting at her cell phone screen in the dark. Maybe it was all her fatigue tumbling down at once. Maybe it was her tiring reminiscences of past memories.
Maybe it was Usui, and his power to do anything.
Whatever the reason was, Misaki curled into a ball beneath her bed and fell asleep, her phone still in her hand.
Meanwhile, Usui smirked handsomely in his black suit as a bald, bespectacled man made a speech about the impact of the global recession on the Walkers. Seeing from her delay in replying to him for over ten minutes, she must have fallen asleep. He pressed another message beneath the table before sending it.