"Have you ever talked to her while you were gone?" Nami questioned.
"I haven't made any contact with anyone, you know that." Luffy scanned through the magazine and came across a ton of photos of Hancock and her sisters. Movie premieres, concerts, they've been to all of them. "This really surprised me though, especially the title."
Nami leaned in closer to Luffy so she could get a better look at it. "'Why Hancock hates men.' Hm, I wonder why."
"So, you're blaming this on me?"
"I never said that."
"Let's not forget, because of her, you and I got to-" Nami blushed deep red. She pushed him away from her and snatched the magazine.
"D-Don't bring that up!"
Luffy bursted out laughing.
"What are you guys talking about?" asked Marguerite. "Do you know her?"
Nami rubbed the back of her head awkwardly. "S-Sort of."
Marguerite gasped. "Can you introduce me?! I want to meet her!"
"Really? She's not all that great, you know," Luffy remarked while picking his nose. He glanced at her and saw her pouting face. He sighed heavily. "Do you really want to meet her?"
Marguerite nodded her head rapidly.
Luffy leaned over Usopp's shoulder as his long-nosed friend surfed the web. "How is it? Did you find her?"
"Working on it, but I've been doing some research. Having been the only female in Marineford's "Top Seven," and due to her "gorgeous complexion," she gained her popularity. In an interview, she responded with "I hate men" when asked about her love life, which explains the magazine you guys found."
From the couch, Zoro couldn't help but snicker when he heard about her response.
"I wonder how that happened."
"It couldn't have been me! Its not like I said anything to offend her in any way," Luffy defended.
"She's probably saying all that to keep the boys from going after her," claimed Robin. She sat on the floor, in between her boyfriend's legs.
"But why would she say that even though she could have the most handsomest guy in the world?" Chopper asked.
"Maybe, Luffy's the only one for her," Nami replied. Luffy glared at her. Never did he think that Nami would be the one to say that.
Marguerite skipped over to Usopp and Luffy excitedly. "So, did you find her?"
"It says here she'll be at a fashion show at downtown Tokyo."
"Great! Should we buy tickets?" asked Marguerite. Luffy smirked.
"Don't need to."
Marguerite tightly held onto Luffy's shirt as he led the way through the photographers outside the building. Using sunglasses to hide his eyes, and especially his all too recognizable scar, only a few of the photographers noticed. He tightly held onto Nami's hand, who Luffy forced to come with them. When she accidentally tripped, Luffy caught her with ease. She tightly held onto his hand so they wouldn't get separated.
"Tell me again why I have to come?" asked Nami. "Its not like I have to be here."
Luffy didn't answer, or rather, he refused to answer. There was a reason why Nami had to come, but he couldn't let her know. They were stopped at the entrance where a few guests tried to get in without a ticket.
"Guests without a ticket are not permitted in under any circumstances. Please, leave."
Marguerite tugged on Luffy's shirt hesitantly. "Maybe this was a bad idea, Luffy. Let's just go home."
Ignoring her request, Luffy charged forward. "My name is Monkey D. Luffy. I came to talk to Hancock."
The agent grimaced. "No ticket, no entrance."
Luffy removed his sunglasses. "I never lie. Let me in."
When the Straw Hat captain removed his sunglasses, the agent grew hesitant. Almost everyone in Japan knows that scar on his cheek, and he knows what he's capable of.
"We'll be in and out before you know it," Nami added.
Hancock eyed herself in the mirror. As always, her face was covered with a ton of make up. She looked like a Barbie doll. She'd be lying if she said she didn't love all this attention and fame. After two years in the modeling business, she probably just got used to all of this.
"You look as beautiful as ever," Marigold complimented her oldest sister.
"I know, but I feel like there's just something missing."
"Either way, you're still gonna look hot out there," said Sandersonia. "So, why care?"
"Perfection is always important. I thought I taught you that."
A staff member knocked on the door and said, "Hancock-sama, there's a visitor here to see you. He says its really urgent."
While adjusting her dress, the blue-eyed beauty didn't bother to look up. "Is he on the list?"
"Then why is security making such a big deal out of it? Just throw him out."
"But, Hancock-sama, he claims to be Monkey D. Luffy."
Hancock dropped the bottom of her dress. She blinked twice before looking up at the staff member with demanding eyes.
"Bring him in."
Luffy, Nami, and Marguerite were let through thanks to Hancock's request. Marguerite was so speechless, and yet, she couldn't control her happiness. She walked ahead with the security, while the other two followed behind on their own pace. Now noticing the gap between them, Nami couldn't help but notice her hand intertwined with his. His hand felt warm, and often times he would squeeze hers, as if he was afraid to let her go.
They were led to an open door, where Marguerite hid behind Luffy and Nami. Luffy couldn't help but chuckle at her sudden mood change. "Shy now?"
Hancock stepped out from her room, fully dressed and prepared for the fashion show. Her long blue dress complimented her eyes. Her hair flowed against her back as always and she wore tall heels that made her a head taller than Luffy. She didn't look like a college student, she looked like a real woman.
"Luffy-sama~! I'm so glad you came!" Hancock's happiness was suddenly shifted when she saw where one of his hands was placed. "Tch, I see you're still with her."
"Yes, I am." Nami took a step away in surprise. Now she knew the reason why Luffy desperately wanted her to come, to prove to Hancock that they were still dating. It was a cowardly decision, but if he told her the truth, she'd possibly move back to their school. What amazed Nami the most was that Hancock didn't even realize that he was lying. With his lips pursed and sweat trailing down his temples, he couldn't have been more obvious.
Hancock sighed deeply. "Whatever. Just remember that if you ever need a real woman, you can always come see me."
"I'll keep that in mind," Luffy replied politely, yet awkwardly.
"So, why are you guys here?" Hancock noticed another person behind the couple. She was staring back at her with a hesitant and frightened look. When she noticed her staring back, the blonde-haired girl went back into hiding behind Luffy. "Who's your friend?"
Luffy released his hold on Nami's hand and stepped aside. With his hands on her shoulders, he pushed his friend towards Hancock. "This is my friend, Marguerite. She's a big fan of you."
Marguerite bowed down politely. "I'm sorry for intruding on you in such a terrible time."
Hancock eyed her. She took a step back and made way towards her dressing room. "Come inside. I want to talk to you."
Marguerite beamed. She turned to Luffy, who responded by giving her a thumbs up. Right after Marguerite stepped in, Hancock closed the door to give them some privacy. As soon as the door closed, Nami punched Luffy in the arm.
"Ow! What was that for?!"
"You used me!" Nami whispered. Luffy pouted.
"Well, its not like I was really lying. You'll be mine eventually." Luffy laughed when he noticed her ears turning red.
While sitting on a bench, the atmosphere felt awkward due to the silence. She sat on one side, he sat on the other. For some reason, she felt really nervous. Nami narrowed her eyes and noticed him tapping his foot rapidly. He must feel anxious too.
Luffy hardly noticed his foot tapping on its own. It took all his strength to stay on his side of the bench. If he had no control, he'd be cuddling up to Nami right now without her permission. The closest thing he could do to her was hold her hand, and even she felt insecure about it. He'll have to try harder. He was never the patient type.
The way he got her the first time was by freeing her from Arlong's grasp. He won her heart easily. What's he going to do this time? Have her enslaved again and rescue her again? Stupid idea.
"They're taking rather long. The show started five minutes ago," Nami commented. Luffy checked the time on his phone. She was right. If the organizers of the fashion show find out the reason for their star's absence, they might call the police. When Luffy got up from his seat, the door to Hancock's dressing room opened.
Marguerite had the biggest smile on her face. She waved for them to come over before turning back to her idol.
"Remember what I said," Hancock told Marguerite. "After the deadline, my offer will not stand any longer. I don't just offer this to anyone."
Marguerite nodded. "I understand."
"EHH? You got invited to join Hancock's crew?! Are you crazy?!"
Marguerite nervously rubbed the back of her head. "Is that bad?"
Luffy bit his tongue when he realized he was being rude. "No no no! It's just..."
"We're happy for you and all," Nami filled in for him. "You just got here, though. Are you dead set on joining Hancock's crew?"
Marguerite shifted her eyes to each of the Straw Hats in the kitchen. All of them were waiting for her answer, but all she saw was the closeness they all had. Although they may fight and bicker over the most stupidest things, they always laugh in the end. They were like a real family. She wanted to experience that in her own crew.
Marguerite nodded. "I'm sure. Hancock-sama and I already discussed about it before the fashion show. I leave tomorrow morning on the first bus to Marineford. I'll be going to school with her and her crew."
"Marguerite-chan..." Sanji couldn't help but feel like she was rushing into this.
"You really want to leave so soon, Marguerite-san?" asked Brook. Marguerite nodded politely.
"I want to be a part of something I love."
Luffy never saw her look this happy before. Although he was against the whole idea, mainly it being due to Hancock and Marineford, what kind of friend would he be if he stopped her now?
He placed a hand on her shoulder comfortingly. "If you're happy, its fine with me."
"If this is what you want, Marguerite-chan, then go for it," Sanji encouraged.
"He's right, Marguerite," said Vivi.
"We're here if you need us," Luffy added.
Marguerite reached for the handle of her bag when the bus approached the station. He turned back to the others with a deep frown. "I guess this is goodbye for now."
"Marguerite!" Their blonde-haired friend was startled when she was tackled with so many hugs from so many of the guys. Luffy blinked twice before he could do anything. Nami tried pulling Chopper off of her, while Robin did the same to Usopp.
"Come on, guys! Its not forever!" Nami yelled over them.
Sanji kicked Franky on top of the head, not even bothered by the height difference. Because of his light and thin figure, Brook was easily pulled away by Luffy.
"Come back soon! I never got a rematch on that game I lost to you a few days ago!" Usopp said while tears overflowed his vision.
"When you do, teach me how to make more chocolate candies!" said Chopper.
Marguerite could feel the tears surfacing. She couldn't help but smile as she wiped some of those tears away. "You guys.."
"We can sing some more songs together!" said Brook.
"You're the only girl I know that has an interest in auto. Be sure to come back so we could make something SUPER together," said Franky.
"Un! I will."
Zoro patted her on the back, albeit harshly. Sanji squeezed her shoulder comfortingly. Marguerite was next greeted by a hug from both Robin and Vivi.
"Be sure to come back and visit, okay?" asked Vivi.
"Just don't bring your captain along," murmured Zoro. Having heard what he said, Robin elbowed her boyfriend.
"I'll be back soon," Marguerite replied.
Next was Nami. She gave her the biggest hug she could possibly give. At first, she didn't think she'd ever get along with this girl Luffy brought home, but after getting to know a little, she wasn't as bad as she thought. By that, Nami learned to never jump into conclusions.
"Second chances aren't always bad," Marguerite whispered into her ear. She pulled away, yet stayed close for only Nami to hear. "By the time I come back to visit, I better see you two together."
"I'll take that into consideration," Nami said without whispering.
Luffy ruffled her blonde hair. Marguerite stuck her tongue out at him while trying to redo her hair. Luffy laughed then pulled her in for a tight hug. "Be careful out there."
"I will, thanks for bringing me here."
"You know my number. Just call if something comes up."
Marguerite gave him one last squeeze. "Good luck with her. I'll be rooting for you."
As the Straw Hats watched as the bus cruised away, Nami couldn't help but think about her last words. Second chances aren't always bad, she knew that and she wanted to believe that. Nami narrowed her eyes to Luffy, then realized he was staring at her too. The two jumped in slight surprise and quickly looked away.
"W-What were you and Marguerite whispering to each other about?" asked Luffy.
"Just some advice for the future."
"And? Do you believe her?"
"I think she might be right."
Sorry for the long wait, but I'm back! Semester exams came up and I needed to study if I needed to keep my grades up. Thank you for being so patient.