Becoming Woman

By First-GeNeSiS

Disclaimer: Michiru Kaioh and Haruka Tenoh belong to Naoko Takeuchi/Toei Animation. All other elements in this story belong to me. Kindly inform me if any kind of art/literature/stage play/video/inspiration was produced from this fic. I won't discourage as long as they are performed/exhibited for nonprofit purposes. As a matter of fact, I'd be glad to link unto your work in any way I can.


Chapter 03: Hello Aunt Miho

The day was setting when my driver pulled over infront of Haruka's flat. I left the office early to change into a semi-formal wear for the night's occasion. A belted strapless maroon sheath-cut cocktail dress won the one-hour deliberation certain that such pick was at par to Aunt Miho's taste. My aunt was meticulous and presumptuous. We all knew what she was. It was for this reason that her daughter, Rika, never brought her boyfriends to come and greet. Her prediction? A gruesome bloodbath.

My driver fetched my date at her doorstep and when she finally came out, my breath hitched. Haruka definitely looked fine, more than fine.

I came out to get a better view than settling behind my car's tinted window.

"Is this okay?" Her troubled face was adorable.

I ran my eyes from head to toe. She actually wore it. Earlier in the day, I sent her a chic Dolce & Gabbana dark suit, something I crammed myself to picking the night before. I knew how scrutinizing my aunt was and I wanted to make sure that Haruka did not fail in the physical department.

I straightened the opened collar of her black shirt before smoothening flat her shoulder.

"I got rid of the tie. I hope it doesn't bother you."

"It's alright." I nodded indifferently. How could one so already beautiful come up to be even more handsome in a mere suit? Her wild light sandy strands made her look roguish and ridiculously sophisticated at the same time.

She ushered me into the car where she followed after and as soon as she settled comfortably at my side, my driver stepped on.

I had casually dated men with fancier suits than Haruka. They all looked debonair. Charming even. With Haruka, I couldn't compare. Might be because Haruka's a she and her calm and collected exterior seemed incomparable to all those men who tried so hard to make a statement and impress me to the tiniest detail. I didn't say I didn't enjoy the attention they gave me. As a matter of fact, I loved it - when guys stutter starstruck infront of me; when they ask every bit of how I was doing on whether I was enjoying or not; and best of all, when they spoil me without conditions. Who doesn't like it?

I eyed her covertly and saw her examined the creases of her trousers, wiped a speck of dust off her shoe, then fixed her lapel. She settled after; elbow on the armrest and wandered her eyes at the transient buildings. I wondered what she was thinking. Now that I knew her orientation, I couldn't help but play on the idea of possibilities. Did she find me attractive? Could she have a thing for me? There was always the slightest bit of likelihood, right? But then there came her answer. Disappointingly, she sighed and looked heavily burdened.

Who was I fooling? What was I thinking dragging people into my own charade? I didn't even consider her situation.

Does she have a girlfriend?

She was right. It could become messy after all.

"So, am I gonna be briefed? What are your orders, maam?"

My worries mellowed against her playful smirk.

"You are not abandoning me alone with the pack of wolves, are you?"

"Of course not."

She eased.

I shove a wild lock of blond away from her eyes. "You're gonna be fine."

"Any kind of info is much appreciated."

"Hm. Let me see. You already met my mother and father. So, that leaves my aunt and my cousin. Rika, my cousin, is a walk in the park. She's a singer. Her first album's debuting soon. We went to music school together. I took violin while she pursued voice."

"What does she sing?"

"R&B. But mostly pop with jazz. That's the image her manager's building on. But she was more involved in the stage and other musical performances back in music school."

"You two sound close."

"Yes. She's probably the closest friend I ever have."

"I thought you stayed mostly abroad."

"That's 'mostly', Haruka. I go back home too, you know." I gave her a look. "We were roommates in the dorms. We didn't bond as intimately as the other roommates because of my tours but when I'm around, she let me feel comfortable. That's why I can somehow open up to her."

"Mm."

"Aunt Miho, on the other hand, well... she can be intimidating if you're not used to how she sees things. She has high standards."

"What was her husband like?"

"He was a medical doctor. He was a celebrity who wrote a lot of self-help books. One day, he just...well... umm... died. I am not familiar of the whole story. I was in... I think I was in Rome at that time."

"So, that's the reason why your aunt's become grumpy?"

"No, silly. She's not grumpy. She's just strict. She's been that way ever since I can remember. You can say she's a perfectionist."

"Probably the reason why your uncle died out on her."

"Haruka!"

"'Sorry. 'Just taking retribution in advance. I have a hunch she's gonna grill me later."

I held her lap and rubbed her thigh. "Don't worry about it. Everything's going to be fine."

One thing I learned on that ride was that Haruka had this invigorating iced misty scent – not too feminine and not masculine, either.

"You owe me big time, Michiru."

"I know."

-oOo-

The moment my driver deposited us to the Café Bianchi Ricci entrance, my hand automatically wrapped itself around Haruka's arm. The funny thing was that I seemed to be more nervous than how Haruka was. She walked calmly, keeping me secure yet ignoring me at the same time. I guessed she was only playing her role as an escort. It was not like I was expecting more. Accompanying me was already a huge favor.

"Michiru! Haruka!"

Everyone was there. My parents received us with their usual jolly selves. Rika came to me; cheeks kissed. You see, infront of her mother Rika transforms into this timid little girl who speaks in the softest angelic voice. But in between hugs, she didn't fail to give a teasing simper about the person I was holding my hand on. I gave no comment -savor the torture, dear cousin- and instead moved on to the celebrator.

"Aunt Miho!"

"Michiru darling, how are you? How've you been?"

"Happy Birthday", I greeted. "You look beautiful, Auntie."

"Thank you, darling. You look stunning. You've grown gorgeously, Michiru. Now, let me see everything. C'mon, turn-around. Let me see that dress. Lovely! Yes. Perfect. Beautiful!"

As usual, it was a full three hundred sixty degree-inspection before she proceeded to scout the vicinity.

"Oh! And who might this fine woman be?"

"Happy Birthday, Mrs...err... maam." Haruka gave a slight bow.

My aunt squinted.

"Auntie, this is Haruka Tenoh. She's... umm... we're together." I said while my eyes subconsciously sought my parents' reaction.

I whispered to Haruka. My aunt's name's Miho Saeme.

I didn't think I was weird but surely, I couldn't possibly have sadistic tendencies. But seeing Haruka perturbed infront of my aunt, struggling a way out for not knowing how to call her was just too darn cute.

"Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Saeme."

"You're together?" She grew silent, processing a mile-long of information. "You're together! Ah! Like together, together? You, two, are dating."

"We are."

Silence. Long, agonizing, silence.

"You're gay?" That question was for me but she turned to look at my parents anyway. They shrugged; she frowned and at an instant, everyone knew it was not the best sign of the night.

"Shall we order?" Thank goodness, Rika saved the day.

We found our seats; my hand never leaving Haruka's. It was the least I could do for her. It must have been pretty uncomfortable. I would know. Because I was.

Our maitre d' opened our meal and introduced the dishes my aunt had handpicked beforehand, starting with the salad.

Into the first few minutes, my parents took the spotlight and rightly aimed at my aunt, thankfully. They alternately conversed, asking more about my aunt's social affairs. I learned that it was her 51st birthday. It wasn't obvious. She was vain enough to successfully have everyone believe she was 45. Apart from living luxuriously from her late husband's royalties and insurance, she busied herself writing reviews of restaurants. She loved food and wine altogether.

"I'm going to venture on Okinawan food next", she said.

Haruka ate quietly but was attentive enough to the elders' conversations. As for myself, Rika and I minded our own exchanges of endless silent interrogations. No doubt she was curious about my blond date.

Not long, the maître 'd came with the bottle of wine and my brows furrowed in reflex.

"It's Chateau d'Aquilon, darling. You don't have to worry."

Oh dear, I hoped I was not being too burdensome. Well, everybody knew that the choice of wine's my only waterloo.

"Thank you, Auntie."

I whispered to Haruka. "It's the only wine I drink." I explained not wanting her to feel left out in the crowd. She seemed amused about it though.

"So Kaoru, you're alright with Michiru dating a woman?" Aunt Miho was my mother's older sister.

"Why not?"

She squinted again and her gaze pierced straight like an arrow to Haruka's direction. I saw she was not certainly amused. She breathed a one huge helping, closed her eyes one more time, and regained her calmness just in time for the second course.

"How exactly did you two meet?"

"At a gala", I answered.

"In Europe?"

"No. Here in Japan, auntie. In Chiba"

"Chiba. I see. So Haruka, what's the name of your company?"

"Pardon?"

"Haruka does modeling." My father caught the ball just in time. "She's the face of Kaioh Crest."

My insides started to churn. I had a bad feeling on where the conversation was heading. My aunt was always expressive about the men whom she wanted me to date. She said I should only go out with either one of the three social classes - President, CEO, or Company Owner. Aren't they usually the same? And that was precisely what she was asking.

"Kaioh Crest's face? You mean posing for the brochures, right?"

"That would be correct." Haruka answered nonchalantly, the same way she was yesterday when she told me about her sexual orientation.

"So you're a typical regular salaried worker."

"You can say that. But not entirely."

"Why not?"

"I do part-time modeling on project basis. I don't work round the clock."

I gulped. Having only a part-time job was not something you proudly tell to someone, someone especially like my aunt. Not when you were trying to impress her.

"So you do not have a permanent job then. And how much do you earn with this... kind of living?"

"Aunt Miho!" I called.

This is getting out of hand.

"It's fine, Michiru." Haruka assured me. "On the average, it's 3,000 yen an hour. So, when converted to project-based, it's usually 150,000 per project on the average. Having 2-3 projects per year, then, I guess, from modeling, I'd be getting around 500,000 annually."

Oh my goodness Haruka, are you trying to provoke her?

"It's no problem actually. I live in a 20-sqm flat. So, rent's cheap."

Yes, she finally did it! By then my aunt's eyes grew into two wide saucer-like entities much comparable to the china served for our pasta. I was pretty sure Haruka knew what she was doing. But was it absolutely necessary? Did she want to get chewed that badly?

It might have been one humongous shock because Aunt Miho resumed and pretended not to hear a thing.

"Michiru dear, I met this wonderful chef the other day. His name's Carl Hedgenson. He's British and owns Lush, a five-star restaurant in Ikebukuro. He's single and available, you know."

"Good for him, Auntie."

"You two should meet."

"I'm not available."

"Oh, don't be such a stuck-up. A woman like you deserves someone… normal and above average. I'm pretty sure Haruka won't mind, hm?"

My fork slipped through my fingers.

Did she just insult my date?

Still able to function properly with my last wee drops of humanity amidst the boiling heat rising quickly to my ears, I stood in a second before something in me would snap. "We need to go to the Powder Room."

Haruka barely finished wiping off with her napkin when I grabbed her to come with me. I didn't know if she knew that she was the reason why I acted brashly in that dinner table because somehow, she stayed calm and collected as before.

She formally bowed and excused ourselves before she heeded my demands. Unbelievable! Even still with moments like that, the way she maintained her manners was admirable.

"Umm... Michiru? I think, the Powder Room's that way?"

I didn't answer. I dragged her out through the restaurant's front door, signaled to the valet that we did not need their service and continued going forth. In the quiet parking area under the open night sky, I composed myself, let her go, and turned away. I couldn't face Haruka. I had no idea what to say to her.

To apologize, how do I start?

"Are you alright?" She asked sincerely.

"I'm sorry."

"Nnh. I kinda expected it."

"I figured there'd be interrogations but not those kinds."

"I figured there'd be interrogations period. So I was prepared."

"My aunt was very rude. It was unforgiveable. This is the first time I saw her like that. I didn't know what had gotten into her."

"She doesn't like me. Obviously." Haruka didn't look bothered at all.

"Again, I'm so sorry."

"'Twas nothing. I don't blame your aunt. I, myself, will go berserk knowing my world-renowned niece, a talented violinist, heiress of Kaioh Crest, current General Manager of Crest Tokyo, smart and undeniably beautiful that she could get whoever man she wants, but then ends up dating a woman who earns roughly 1,500 yen per day from modeling."

I got confused whether I should be flattered or apologetic.

"Sheesh~ I can just imagine your boyfriend going through all of this. The poor guy!"

I smiled at the thought. I didn't think a guy could dare to go all the way, truth be told.

"So why exactly don't you have a boyfriend? Is it because of your aunt? Because your parents are both very cool, you know."

"I know. No, it's not because of her."

"Then, why don't you just have one?"

We found an abandoned blue Chevy and took the chance to lean by the hood while the owners were nowhere in sight.

"I don't like to have one."

"Hm?"

"No, don't get me wrong. I do want one. In the future, I do want to have a family - a wonderful family with a daughter or a son and a dog, perhaps. Then live carelessly near the beach or maybe some faraway countryside where all's peace and quiet. I would love that."

She raised a brow.

I grew warm. "I mean, I'm still looking for that someone. A man who shares my visions, my ideals, who understands my life and best of all, who lets me grow as a person. So far, most of them are good at saying they loved me and wanted to do everything for my sake but are not actually showing what they mean or… looking it in another way, they felt so… I dunno, rehearsed?"

"You're looking for perfection, Michiru. No one's perfect."

"I know that. I'm not looking for perfection. I want to find a guy who is aware that love is not like those in the movies where you two just have to prance around the field full of dandelions, squeal or whatever; and just because you feel excited when you're with him, it's good enough reason to ring on the wedding bells? It doesn't work like that at all."

"You seem so profound on these things. How many relationships did you have to go through to arrive to this kind of... wisdom?"

"Honestly?"

"Yes. Honestly."

"None."

"You sure?"

I nodded.

"And yet you came with all these... speeches."

"I guess you can say that I've seen the real world more in contrast to cinematic and literary romance that I am grounded to the real issues of a relationship. I saw how my staffs' and acquaintances' relationships crumble. They thought that finding someone to marry is already the happy ending itself. Unfortunately, they were wrong."

I was expecting her to mock me. Instead, she sported a carefree grin and looked up at the sky; her eyes searching in between the stars. "Relationships are a pain. I don't think I will ever get used to the drama."

Her words intrigued me. Not knowing a thing about Haruka while she practically already met my family frustrated me more.

"Do you have a girlfriend, Haruka?"

"I..."

"There you are!" It was Rika. She saved the day, yet again.

"Hi Rika."

"You two OK?"

"Never been better."

"Look, what my mom did was totally out of line. 'Sorry about that, Haruka."

"No problem."

"Gawd, you're gorgeous!" She eyed the blond carefully. "No wonder you're a model."

"Umm... thanks... ah... I think."

"So, you're gay?'

"I am."

"And how about you, Michi? You don't expect me to believe that you are too. So what's the story? What's the setup here?"

"We're dating."

"That's BS!"

I chuckled. "You don't believe us?"

"Uhuh. Totally fake! Girl, you can lie to your mom, your dad, and most of all, my mom's sold out on you but you're not faking it on me, Mich."

I sighed. "Alright, we're not."

"See! Atta girl! Honesty is always the best policy. So, why pretend?"

"Momentary seclusion", Haruka exasperated. "She uses me to drive away boys."

"Sneaky move Michiru."

"It's not sneaky. It's..." Irresponsible and immature. "It's... strategic."

"So you're not into women?"

"I'm not."

She turned to Haruka. "But you are, right?" Was it really necessary to check on her twice? Reassurance?

"Guilty as charged."

"Oohhh- interesting. Quite interesting!" She watched my date, albeit very seductively. It was unsettling. I wondered if Haruka noticed how my cousin was shamelessly preying on her. "Look, I am shooting a music video on Monday. How about you two come by the studio? It's my first video so..."

"Rika, your phone's ringing for a while now."

"Don't mind it. It's probably mom. As I was saying, it's my first video and I need all the support I can get. You know how it is, right Michi?"

"I really think you should get that call."

"Fine!"

She walked a good distance from us and answered her phone. She was right. It was her mom.

"Yes, mom. Looks like Michiru and her date already left. Something about not feeling well? Yes. Yes. They are. OK. I'll be right there."

She returned, smiling from ear to ear.

"Thanks."

"Yes. You're not feeling well so go scadoodle somewhere out of here unless you want my mom to give you both a Round Two."

She left not before giving one last reminder, "I did you a favor, Michiru so you two better come on Monday. It's the least you can do to pay me back." She winked. "Ciao!"

We looked at her disappear among the parked cars. Rika was like bamboo swaying with the wind without ever breaking. Despite being carefree and proud, she moved in perfect rhythm to how her mom was. She once said that parents all over the world differ from one another. Not always parents should understand their children. Children should also understand and handle the parents' different demands with great discretion and skill. Compromise was the secret ingredient. If compromise cannot be made with them, then compromise within. This was just one of the few surprises Rika gave me that I never thought she could conjure. But with twenty-four years of experience, it was plausible.

"I guess we better get going then." Haruka offered an arm.

"I didn't even let you have your dessert."

"Nnh. I can have you." She quickly looked away as soon as the words sunk in. "I mean... we can..."

"Haruka Tenoh?"

We both turned to a man's voice.

Now what?

"Aki? What are you doing here?" Haruka instantly received the guy's hand.

"What am I doing here? What are you doing here? How long have you been in Tokyo?"

"A month? But I'm not staying long."

It was a good minute before they noticed my presence.

"Oh, this is Michiru Kaioh. Michiru, this is Akihiru Toyama. We went to high school together."

"Please to meet you, Michiru. You can call me, Aki. Wait! Kaioh? Like Michiru Kaioh, the violinist?"

I nodded shy. I had never gotten used to dealing close with an individual fan. "I'm pleased to meet you too, Aki."

"You're dating Michiru Kaioh?"

"Michiru and I are just friends."

"Oh?" He didn't believe her.

"Yes."

"Oh~kay." He didn't buy it one bit.

"So, what are you doing here?"

"Picking up my car? You're leaning on it."

"Oh! This is your car? Cool~"

"2012 Malibu baby!" He tapped its hood. "You should see the interior, Ruka. You'll flip."

"I bet." Haruka coolly shrugged still conscious of my presence.

"By the way, are you going to our reunion? Since you're already in town, it'd be a shame if you won't attend. You can bring Michiru along."

"I don't know. I'm pretty busy for the next few days."

"Ha! Well, that's good coz it's not in the next few days. It's on the next weekend."

Haruka looked at me as if asking for answers. Unfortunately, I was at a loss for words as she was. I could only stare back into her forest green eyes.

"Tell you what, I'll send you the details and you can decide after. Are you still renting that flat down Kamogawa Park?"

"Yep."

"Great! They're going to be very happy to see you."

"I'll see what I can do."

"Aya's gonna be excited to see you." He leaned in a whisper but not soft enough for me not to hear.

"All the more to stay clear?"

"Ohohoho... be brave, little one. The greatest victory is dealing history."

"You're talking gibberish, Aki."

He laughed albeit loudly. "I have to go. Just wait for the details." He turned to me. "Very honored to meet you, Ms. Kaioh. I look forward to seeing you in our reunion. You two better come, or else I'm posting your plays on youtube."

"You wouldn't dare."

"We'll see. See 'ya." His smug smile stayed plastered through the closed car window before the wheels screeched out of the parking lot.

"That was... unexpected." Haruka rubbed her temple.

"So you have a reunion to attend. High School?"

"Yeah. I am not sure I'm going to attend though. I'm not so fond of those things." She beckoned me to walk with her to go deeper into the lot. I just hoped we could find my driver and the car way later than sooner.

"You don't like parties?"

"No. I do."

"That's good to hear. Because, we hypothetically met in a party, you know. I'd be hurt if you didn't enjoy that party." I feigned, trying to cheer up her troubled face.

She sighed and returned my smile. "I don't like reunions. Those things usually lead to accounting all the successes and failures you have gone through in your life. No matter how you see it, it'll all just be a bunch of people comparing and measuring how far they've gone through in their careers or families."

"You're worried of these things?"

"I'm not worried. I could care less of what they think of me."

I believed her. She wouldn't get through my aunt if she'd be otherwise.

"It just irked me to see people who look down on others and think they're some kind of royalty just because they have a car and others do not or they became lawyers and others stayed as clerks."

I fell silent. A part of me got stabbed at what she just said. I wondered if I was one of the people whom Haruka had described. For one, I did get uncomfortable when I learned she was undereducated than I was or the fact that she got bashed by my aunt awhile back for earning a wage far below than what she should be earning in this point of her life. But I didn't think I was acting royal-like. The thought never ever flashed in my mind.

"Because people like them are too insecure that they needed to constantly remind themselves that they are cut out far above the rest of the pack. And they can only do it by trampling on others."

-o-Haruka-o-

My night ended with Michiru walking me to my flat's doorstep.

"Long evening, huh? Do you want to come in for tea?"

Her head shook lightly. "I already had my fair share of caffeine to give me chest palpitations for a week."

"Your aunt?"

She nodded.

"Hey, I should be the one with palpitations, you know." I joked, hands on my hip, and looked at her who was truly remorseful eversince that dinner incident. "Look, 'don't worry about it. It's part of the job. You know, we're not always trudging on a straight line. The curves make the run fun."

"You had fun?"

"I did."

"You enjoyed my aunt? What are you, a masochist?"

"Hey now-"

She stuck out a tongue. I blinked. Ok, where did that come from? I never seen Michiru Kaioh loosened up like that before and somehow, that side of hers was quite amiable, to be honest. Totally different from the uptight General Manager I knew her to be.

"I want to come with you."

"Excuse me?" I could have sworn she said she wanted to come with me.

Did I hear that right? Like go inside, get naked, and do the tango, come?

"I want to go with you to your High School Reunion."

Oh- she actually meant that.

"Right~" I chuckled at my own perverted fantasies.

"What's so funny?"

"Nothing. I just thought. Well, I really don't know if I'd be able to even go."

"If I go with you, then will you go?"

I laughed hesitantly, insecurely, on how determined her eyes were. "You didn't even go to my school."

"Well, I just thought that having Michiru Kaioh as your date will make you the talk of the whole school." She said, cheekily.

My eyes narrowed. "I think what you mean is that they'd be asking, 'how on earth did Michiru Kaioh get hold of Haruka Tenoh?'"

"Now, that's weird. You're referring yourself in the third person."

"You started it. I only followed you."

She giggled. "I know."

I laughed at this side of her personality. Her eccentricity never ceased to amaze me.

"Seriously though, you've been such a good sport during the dinner. So, I wanted to return the favor. Let me accompany you to your reunion. If there are things that will offend you, then at least you have me to vent it to, right? Rather than keeping it all to yourself. That is... if I'm not being too imposing for you."

"You're not."

"So, will you go?"

"I'll call you on that."

"Great. I'll be expecting then."

I nodded and gave her one last look. Fresh and looking so immaculate, ever. She was certainly one of those women I dared not have. "Good night."

"And oh~ are you visiting Rika's shoot?"

I curled my brows.

"I think she likes you."

"Gee~ I have no idea." It was pure sarcasm.

Michiru giggled again. "It's your fault for being so gorgeous and utterly likable." She grinned. "Oh my~ you're blushing!"

"I'm not." I gulped.

"You are!"

It was embarrassing.

"Well anyway, I better go before you break out in hives."

"Oh please~" I shrugged, rolling my eyes.

"Goodnight, Haruka." She faced me solemnly before she tiptoed and kissed my cheek. "Thank you so much for tonight."

My only wish on that night was for my grin not to turn out goofy-looking.

"Oh it smeared." She pulled out a hanky and wiped the side of my face. She threw one last smirk before heading to where her driver was.

There I waited for her car to disappear from sight. Michiru was really... nice, that word I used to describe decently what just happened. She was a good companion; of course notwithstanding, about being kissed. I sighed remembering the events that happened through the night - oh boy, the dinner. Miho was quite a character. What was Genrou thinking making me go through all those troubles? At east I survived.

My phone rang and I smiled at the flashing ID. I checked my watch. It was already late. No wonder she called. I was supposed to call her two hours ago. She must have been worried sick.

"Hey sweetheart, how are you?"

I listened to her angelic voice. No one beat that sweetness in between words.

"Yes, I'm coming home soon. Just one more week."


Author's Notes:

To understand simply the monetary terms Haruka described above, Japanese yen is valued like this: minimum monthly salary is around 250,000-300,000 yen. So she's earning only 500,000 yen/ year against 3,600,000 yen/year of an ordinary salaried worker. That's that.

By the way, my new blog's up to host my 'randomness' in tandem with this story. Link's on my profile. Ciao!

Replies on chapter 2:

Electra Red: Oh yeah! Michi got dressed up for jogging! hehe. As expected, chapter 3 is the family dinner - served fresh with new characters. I'm doing my best to write chapters as fast as I can. Thanks for your patience and following the story.

jadedlilgirl: Hahaha. Right- ye old family tricks. Hmm... Are my stories that predictable already? Oh boy~ -_- Your review is oozing with energy, I can't help imagining an excited outgoing happy girl. Haha. Do I guess it right?

PaigeeLee13: I assure you it's a given they will fall for each other. How? That you need to read on. :p

Icy-Windbreeze: Yeah, I like Michiru's parents too. The inspiration is a hybrid between my parents' independent but strict parenting and those in anime giving importance of making friends.

P15: Thank you. Strap on your seatbelts and hold on tight, the story's just beginning. I'm glad you did not expect that twist.

Poseidon'Wrath: It's really a huge compliment to be told that you read the chapter twice. Because honestly, one chapter would take me more or less a week to write (weee! for non-native speakers) and I spend the succeeding weeks revising and editing it because the first version turns out too technical or rigid (weee again for being exposed to only number-tapping day job!). So it means that the 30-minute read is actually over a 3000-minute write. So I'm very grateful that you're relishing every word I wrote.

When I originally thought of the story, I had no intention of revealing that Haruka is acquainted to Michiru's parents but since I'm putting on Haruka's POV, might as well put it in there. The good thing's we know that Haruka knows something and Michiru doesn't know anything; Michiru's parents know everything but for how long do the parents know a thing about Haruka and Michiru... in the future? Now, who's playing who? Haha. I hope it made sense.

Keeper Aki: I'm laying down the outline of the story. It's final. Ruka's clothes will be tackled on Chapter 6. Wait for it!

papapapuffy: Yeah. They turned out so cool in chapter 2. I wonder if I can keep them up like that. I hope I can. :p

mario123: Hmm... Michi's still in control in chapter 3. Still smart. Hehehe

petiyaka: Thanks. Yey- I got you. You're surprised. Yes! :p The parents know everything. Ain't it usually? Haha.

Alexia: Yes. I made Haruka so hot. I'm actually crushing on Haruka when I wrote chapter 2. By the way, I've been meaning to ask you something personally but you're not logged in so I cannot send you a private message. Are you Japanese?

Uli: I love dogs. How many dogs do you have? I hope I get all your dogs' dews.

AleWindT: Thanks. Aye aye. I'm updating.

Jay: Thank you for understanding. I hope you continue to follow the story til the very end though I'm updating like a turtle, I know. Thank you for your patience.

Vientocortante: We're done with surprises, now time for small curve balls. More cute Haruka coming soon and more Michiru going _ ... yeah!

RsDragon: After reading other fanfics, it's difficult to create a feminine Haruka since most writers make her boyish whom she truly is in the anime and it's very hard also to resist the urge of making her manly, and so, if you have noticed, the failed resistance completely showed in chapter 3. I made her wear a suit again. haha. Background story for Haruka starts in Chapter 5. ;)

If you want to read more feminine Haruka, I noticed a ff author who likes to write such. Her name's FlorLola. You should check her out.

Samaka: Thank you for your comprehensive thoughts per chapter. I'm happy that you noticed Michiru's behavior and quoting lines of their conversations which I wrung myself to writing thinking how she's gonna look so awkward with the 'surprise'. It's inspiring to know that you're taking time to quote my lines. Your review inspired me so much I read it everyday for a week while writing chapter 4 (yeah, sshh. I simultaneously wrote 4 while editing 3). Hahaha. I hope I see you more in the succeeding chapters.

I thought my writing style is awkward and the plot line's a cliche but since you said it flows easily and interesting, respectively, then, I believe you. Wow! Thank you. If you can only see how I'm smiling from ear to ear. You're one big ego boost!

pewpewmew: Good to be back! I remember you. You're an avid reviewer per chapter of my other stories. Great to see you again! Thanks a lot for reading my stories and now this. I hope you continue to follow this story too.

The "coffee, tea... or me" line is so overused in manga and echhi anime wherein the wife in nothing but an apron welcomes her husband home from work, then asks something like that line. Ah! I remember it's something like: do you want to take a bath, take dinner or take me? Hahaha. Maybe something like that. Gosh, my memory's totally failing in that department.

More points to Michiru's parents. I hope chapter 3 satiated your craving until the next update, that is.

Jack316: Oi pinoy! Halu po. 'dito ka sa pinas ngayon? Ang saya ko! May isa pang pinoy pala nagbabasa. Welcome aboard my story, Jack316! I feel you're putting me under pressure to make the next chapters awesome. Woah! I so hope they'll be. Hold on ka lang dyan.

shad: I'm curious what approach you're referring to (per your chap 1 review). Is it the plot? I'm aching wondering about it because you say about being written with a high level of skill. That's really too much for me to take coz I'm not really a writer nor am I a wide reader. So knowing that, it makes my heart leap.

Good, don't try to guess what will happen because I'll be pulling my hair off when I find out that somebody already knows where this story is going. :p So, just seat back, relax, and don't think... just feel... and enjoy! ;) Savor the surprises!

shinoh: You got that right! Haruka's no safe zone. You will know in the succeeding chaps.

AlterEgoErin: Yeah, looks like Haruka's a double agent on this one. Chapter 3 is Haruka's first mission. ;)