(Standard disclaimer: I do not own any of the Sailor Moon characters of which I am writing about. This story is an original that I wrote for fun and without compensation. All characters belong to Naoko Takeuchi.)
It's only been a week?
It was about nine in the morning and she was helping Rei with her daily chores at the shrine. Usually whenever she would sleep over, Rei would have done them by herself, but today she had purposely been woken up just to get her to spill the beans about how her date went last night.
Rei had been trying to pry information out of her ever since she'd arrived at the temple last night, but her investigative questions had fallen on deaf ears since as soon as Usagi had laid on her bed, she'd promptly fallen asleep—or so, she'd pretended to. She'd actually stayed awake for a while thinking about the evening's events over and over, too giddy to fall asleep. Not even in her dreams could she have imagined up a more perfect date.
"Usagi! Tell me already!" Rei begged hysterically, elbowing her at the side. "Did you and Mamoru do it or what? I NEED to know!"
She was currently sweeping the fallen cherry blossom petals off the temple entrance, trying in vain to hide the embarrassed blush than she knew was creeping onto her cheeks. She'd already assured her that she was going to tell her what happened, but apparently Rei didn't understand what she'd meant when she said 'in private'!
Truth was, at first she hadn't known if she was going to Rei everything, (just how much did she need to know anyway?) but quickly decided that she had to. There was no way that she could keep it all in anyhow, it would all just slip out eventually. And honestly, she was just dying to just blurt out every last dirty detail to Rei about all the stuff she and Mamoru had done yesterday. It was all just too good to stay a secret! She would tell her right now if only Hino-ojii-san wasn't hounding them every couple of minutes for them to finish already.
To top it off, he was being particularly grumpy this morning, yelling at them whenever they swept too 'sloppily'. So why would Rei expect her to describe—in full horny details—her night, when Hino-ojii-san was greeting visitors not even 10-feet away from them? Currently, he was eyeballing her rather closely since she'd stopped cleaning to glare at Rei. She promptly continued her duty before he came over and started yelling.
"Shut up already!" she hissed, holding onto her broom tightly; she just wanted to whack Rei upside the head with it. "I'll tell you later! AFTER we finish doing all this!" As soon as they finished tidying up a little, they could hurry to her room and then talk.
Admittedly, she was really enjoying keeping the buzz to herself. Usually it was Rei that had juicy gossip to share, but today Rei was the one practically begging her to drop even the tiniest detail. She felt secretly powerful in having her attention like this, so much so that she wasn't above having her beg a little more before telling her anything. Rei should consider it payback for not letting her borrow her new Sailor V mangas for these last couple of weeks.
Rei swooped in close to her, sweeping right at her side and told her in a low voice that she could whisper to her if she wanted, just so no one could hear them. She gave her an annoyed sideways glance. Couldn't she just wait a little more? Gramps was now angrily waving his fists at them to hurry as the morning's usuals poured in for a prayer before work and she nodded nervously before turning to glare at Rei. Just as she was about to yell at her for making her get scolded, a young man with scraggly hair and dark sunglasses walked up to them.
"Good morning," he greeted them, a suave grin plastered on his face. He looked about the same age as them, but they didn't recognize him at all. One hand placed casually in his pocket, he looked incredibly cocky as he stared down at them with an overly confident grin. She and Rei gave each other quick bemused looks; sure he was cute, but what kind of guy picked up girls at a shrine? And this early in the morning nonetheless… "Tsukino Usagi?" he asked, looking straight at her.
She nodded her head, realizing for the first time that he had a small bag with him. He held it out for her to take and she hesitated before reaching out and grabbing it from him. It was small pink bag that was relatively heavy for the size that it was and she wondered what could possibly be inside. Hopefully, it was a package from Makoto. She'd been asking for her famous extra chunky brownies for months.
"Happy Birthday," the guy said, "from Chiba-san." He bowed his head before walking away.
She was rooted on the spot and having difficulties breathing. Mamoru had gotten her a gift? But she had told him not to! She looked at the small bag in her hands. Why was her heart thumping so hard? She turned to Rei who looked just as surprised as her, but quickly grabbed her wrist and excitedly dragged her to her bedroom while they dodged both of gramps' worn wooden shoes that he'd angrily thrown at them.
It wasn't until she slid shut the bedroom door behind them that she allowed any emotion to show in her face. She threw herself on the bed while Rei gushed on next to her, tossing out a million ideas of what she thought the gift could be. Sitting cross-legged on the futon, she pulled out a square purple velvet box from the bag and Rei instantly went bonkers.
"OMYGOODNESS! He got you jewelry!" Rei yelled, jumping on the bed like a maniac. Her hands shook as she held the box in her hands. It was definitely a jewelry box… but she still had no idea what could be inside it.
"Calm down!" she muttered to Rei, but it applied to her as well—she'd never been more jittery in her life! "It could just be a mock gift. We both know just how dry his humor really is…" she mumbled, trying to get Rei to stop pointing out that guys only gave jewelry to special people.
"Don't try to downplay this!" Rei cried, urging her to open the box already. "You know that Mamoru isn't that evil!" She sighed, hating to agree with her. She of all people knew that he could be sweet when he wanted, but she somehow couldn't let herself accept that he'd actually cared about her enough to get her a gift. "Ughh! Just open it already!"
"Fine!" she said, finally giving in to her own curiosity. Let's see what this box was all about…
Her breath caught in her throat as she slowly opened the box to reveal the charm bracelet from the jewelry store—except that it looked even more beautiful than she remembered. It sparkled relentlessly in the morning sunlight and she'd never seen anything more gorgeous. It was perfect. Rei squealed and leaned in closer to get a better look, groaning in jealousy as she pulled it out the box to examine it further.
"Usa…" Rei breathed in admiringly, gazing at the charms in awe. "You slut! What did you do for him to get you something so nice?" She tried to glare at Rei, but couldn't contain her laughter. She was wondering the same thing.
"I don't know…" she mumbled, wondering herself why in the world Mamoru would surprise her with a gift.
It was probably the oddest thing he'd ever done and that was saying something considering that all of this past week had been like a trip into some bizarre wonderland. She placed the empty box back into the bag and noticed that there was a small paper inside. She pulled out the plain white card. Written in very neat script was: Happy Birthday Odango
Mamoru's name was signed right under the message and even though she was glad for the card, she still wished (rather irritably) that he had written a little more. His message was just so… brief. Even though she knew that hoping for something along the lines of: Hope you have a good summer or I had a great time last night would be stupid and totally unlike him, she still wished for it and cursed his cool, boyish attitude. That jerk, always acting aloof, even on paper… but that was Mamoru for you, never one to waste (non-insulting) words.
She still couldn't believe how much had changed in only a matter of days. Their relationship had evolved to so much more than she would have ever imagined—and in such a great direction too. Clutching the note dearly in her hand, she let Rei clasp the bracelet onto her arm. Smiling to herself, she laid back on the bed in silent content and watched the charms dangle beautifully on her wrist. This had been undoubtedly the best week in her entire life.
They were about half an hour into their flight and still he couldn't figure out why Mamoru was in such a foul mood. He'd asked him how his date with Usagi had been last night, but he'd brushed it off quickly and said that it had gone fine. He even smiled a little when saying it, so he knew that he wasn't lying. But he still had no idea what Mamoru was so cranky about, except that maybe he didn't actually want to be leaving. Or the fact that they'd had a last minute addition to their trip.
This morning, everyone that was coming along knew that they were scheduled to leave at 7am. Nearly everyone had arrived by 6:30 (since with Mamoru, they all knew that it was always best to be earlier than usual) and the only one that was missing was Kunzite, which was extremely odd considering that he was usually the first to get there. They waited until seven on the dot to call him to find out where he was, but no sooner than Mamoru had dialed his number, did get there. And with him, boarding directly behind him—to everyone's surprise—was Mina with a large duffel bag of her own in tow. He and Mamoru exchanged looks. What was she doing here?
Mina waved to everyone, clearly a little frazzled from the early morning trip and plopped herself in the seat in front of them with an exhausted sigh. Kunzite hesitated, standing in front of he and Mamoru as all the guys looked at him. They were all thinking the same thing. This was supposed to be a guys' thing, so why would he bring her?
Motoki turned to Mamoru, waiting for him to say something since it was his private jet. Mamoru was already in a bad mood to start with and the way he was currently staring coldly at Kunzite let him know that he was definitely going to get some wrath.
"What the hell?" Mamoru asked him slowly. He was definitely in a bad mood and didn't care if he was being rude or not. Mina looked up and stared at Mamoru with a smirk.
"I can hear you, you know," Mina drawled and Mamoru looked at her with narrowed eyes.
"Who are you?" Mamoru snapped.
He was embarrassed at just hearing Mamoru act like a jackass, especially since both of them knew damn well who she was because Usagi had introduced them and they had seen each other on two separate occasions already. Mamoru was being a complete bitch this morning.
"What a grump…" Mina joked, surprisingly unoffended (Kunzite had probably prepped her well beforehand). Even Mamoru was taken aback at her lack of malice despite his attitude and remained quiet afterwards. He had a feeling that it had to do with 'grump' being a word that Usagi used freely to describe him on many occasions (Usagi and Mina did look a lot a like so maybe that's what shut him up). Kunzite then turned to Mamoru to explain his reason for not letting them know the situation ahead of time.
"I couldn't find you yesterday since you left right after work. I tried calling, but you never picked up," Kunzite explained, but he didn't actually sound all that guilty for not giving him the heads up that Mina was coming along on their trip, nor had he really apologized. Mamoru shrugged indifferently, having gotten over it quickly since his mind was clearly elsewhere.
"Are you going to be staying with us?" Mamoru asked distractedly while on his phone. Mina laughed lightly at his question, but he was actually curious about it too. Where was she planning on staying? She couldn't possibly think to live in a rented party den with five men, four of them being bachelors?
"Yeah right," she muttered, crossing her legs in front of her and instantly, his eyes jumped to them without hesitation—she was wearing an incredibly short skirt.
Mina was beautiful: slender figure, big breasts… but still… she wasn't Cass. And even though he desperately wished for a distraction to keep him from thinking about her, no matter how much he'd tried to shake Cass off his mind, he couldn't.
Something about the way they had parted made him feel uneasy and he still wasn't sure if leaving had been the right thing, but it was too late to think about that now. Leaving for the summer was hopefully going to help him come back with a better understanding of what he wanted. With him and Cass it was about sex… and that was it. He didn't even know the most basic things about her, because as Cass had said herself, she and him didn't really 'talk'.
For example, he'd made an offhand comment to Mamoru about how he was surprised that she was actually good at volleyball that day they'd played at the beach. Mamoru had looked at him oddly, saying that of course she was good because she played pro in college. He'd been dumbstruck because he'd known her since they were freshman and granted, they weren't bffs or anything like that and they had only shared 3 semesters in school, but damn! How come he didn't know one of her biggest passions in life was volleyball? Especially since she was on a school team for three years—at the same college as him! It was nearly unbelievable.
Learning that tidbit had been the moments where he'd realized that he didn't know squat about her. How could he even claim to love her when he didn't even know what she did in her spare time? Hobbies and interests were what made people who they are and yet he knew none of hers.
Clearly their relationship was quite backwards and Cass must have recognized that too on account that she'd never bothered to pursue their relationship any further either. If she did think that there was more to them, then wouldn't she have just been more forward? He'd really believed that she cared about him just as much as he did, but maybe he'd been wrong in believing that she loved him too. Case and point, she didn't even bother to ask him to stay. Who would let the person they cared for deeply leave for so many months—especially in such an unresolved manner as it had happened with them?
He hated thinking about their farewell because, well, it forced him to question a lot of his own actions. Maybe Cass did care about him, but wanted him to make the first move and he'd just ruined everything by leaving. Maybe she was just as confused about how she felt towards him and that's why she let him go. He didn't know the exact reason.
All he had really wanted from her was a sign, any sign, that meant she wanted him too because although he was sure that she cared about him, blurting out his love for her was not a risk he was willing to take unless she gave him substantial clues that she loved him back. Thinking back to how they left, she acted normal to the very end. She hadn't dropped a single hint—and it was much too late now.
Still, no matter how many times he thought about it, no matter what he tried to convince himself, he knew that none of this was Cass's fault at all. Even though he wanted to pin the blame on her, deep down he knew that he was the one that had done wrong. This mistake of him leaving was all about him, because he was too afraid to own up to his feelings.
He could only hope that Cass will forgive him one day.
Last night had gone beautifully with Usagi. Although he didn't do things like that often (taking women out on dates, that is), he'd realized that every time he did, he enjoyed it more and more. Maybe he was just getting better at picking good company: or perhaps he was maturing more to admit that he actually liked taking girls out to dinner. Regardless of what it truly was, he was glad that he'd made the right decision in taking her out. It had been worth it.
After their date was over (about 11pm), he'd driven Usagi back to Rei's last night. As he had pulled up to the shrine, she had seemed hesitant to get out the car and turned to him solemnly. She hadn't wanted the date to end as much as him. But she'd smiled at him anyway, placing her hand over his on the stick shift and caressed his fingers softly, the intense sexual vibes of their entire night resonating between them from that simple gesture.
But instead of acting on it—as they both had throughout the night—she simply said goodnight and thanked him for the meal before moving her hand away to leave. For fraction of a moment, a split second, he'd had the strongest urge to hold her back, just for a moment longer. She looked beautiful and he just wanted to tell her that.
But of course, he didn't. It just wasn't his style.
He wanted to stay with her a little bit longer, so in order to keep himself from saying anything stupid unnecessarily, he'd jokingly reminded her before she left that he might have crabs, apologizing in advance if he'd infected her. She'd laughed out loud, but warned him that she would kill him if that were true. She turned back to him and for a moment their eyes locked and he couldn't look away from her, all the while wondering what else he could say to prolong her stay.
'Good night' was all he forced himself to say. Thankfully, she seemed to not mind his short farewell and simply smiled again in response. They didn't kiss goodbye or anything—probably out of fear that they wouldn't be able to stop once they started—and each parted with smiles. She opened the door and got out, walking up the temple steps and waved back before going on her way.
He got home and as he got ready for bed, he noticed his bed sheets stained a light pink from where he had taken her in missionary. He felt triumphant and manly, the deed of him taking her virginity making his conquest all the more rewarding. But that didn't mean that he didn't appreciate or treasure every single one of the women he slept with. Despite popular belief, he really liked Usagi, he just didn't want things to get complicated.
Last night, he'd mulled over what the hell he had gotten himself into with her. Eventually, he concluded that it was nothing for him to have to worry about, but even that reasoning had taken him a while to achieve. Honestly, it made him glad that their departure had been so simple; there was nothing said about seeing each other once he returned (not even a 'see you later'), and he knew that it would be better that way. He didn't want to make promises to her that he wouldn't necessarily keep.
Yesterday they had genuinely bonded and he couldn't deny it any longer that he did like her, but that didn't mean that he wanted to be her boyfriend either. Last night, he'd been pleasantly surprised that they had managed to hang out as normal people the entire time without getting on each other's nerves. Not too long ago, he would have thought that to be impossible, but nonetheless, he wasn't disappointed with the way things had turned out.
All this time what he had thought about her had only been what he'd wanted to think and was not necessarily true (anymore, anyway). The Usagi he thought he knew was in fact real, but a much younger version of who she was now. For some reason, he'd stuck with the idea that she hadn't grown up at all since they met when she was 14. After finally realizing that she was a much different person than he had believed, he thanked this past week of events for being the main cause of changing their relationship. It made him appreciate their date because it had opened his eyes. Now he could finally admit that she had in fact matured—and not just physically.
But perhaps the one that wasn't acting as grown up as they should was him. He'd purposely tried to get Usagi home early last night because of one stupid reason and one reason only. He couldn't find the courage to give her the gift he'd bought her for her birthday. That's why he made sure that he dropped her off before midnight, so he could avoid that situation altogether.
Truth was, he was way too nervous to actually give her anything in person. At least by having his assistant deliver the gift to her, he could hide behind the fact that by the time she'd see him again, she'd probably forgotten all about it. He didn't want her thanking him since it'd been a spontaneous purchase that even he still didn't understand fully. That conversation wasn't something that he wanted to deal with. He'd gladly let the bracelet to speak for itself, not that he knew what that meant either.
He sighed. This was too much to deal with and truth be told, he wanted none of it. Yawning into his hand, he rested his head against the cold window panel and stared out into the way too bright sky. The clouds were well below them and he could no longer see anything but miles of sea beneath them. It was relaxing. He was way more tired than he should have been and so knew that a nap would definitely be in order if he wanted to function well when he landed.
He still had about three more hours left to his flight and a little R&R would do him some good since from the moment he had boarded this plane, he was on official business. No more goofing around, no more playtime, no more thoughts about pretty girls: this trip was all serious and all business from here on out until the end of his trip. But as distressing as that should have been to him, he couldn't find much to complain about. Although he knew that it would be a long time until he'd be able to come back home, he still felt incredibly lucky to know that at least his last day had been an unforgettable one.
Hope you all enjoyed! I love writing and am always looking to improve so please let me know what you thought of the story. I appreciate all feedback/criticism! Also stay tuned for the next part to Seven Days, coming as soon as I possibly can, I promise!