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 06: Kids and Kisses

Finally, my annoying soon-to-be ex- fake girlfriend came back to our table with a huge grin plastered on her face. What an expression! Must be so nice dancing with an old flame.

"Hey! You OK?"

"Mm."

I paid more attention to the ever so trying hard emcee who was failing miserably at what she was doing that I fought and stifled a yawn. Several minutes had already passed since the Dance of the Flames. Aki was right. Even the name of that dance was cheezy. There were other surprise performances that came after, the next no better than the previous ones. Haruka didn't bother to disturb me in my reverie either. I had no idea why. Might still be busy reminiscing the lingering memories of her and Ayano dancing.

"Excuse me, Ms. Kaioh?" The emcee sneaked in at my side while a jazz band messed up the stage.

"Yes?"

"Out of respect, Ms. Kaioh, I don't want to sound bold or imposing but will you mind if I ask you to play for us? Since you're already here and all. We'd love to hear you play. Any song from you would be amazing."

She was a surprise.

"Is it too much to ask?"

Would my manager mind? It was the first question that came to mind. Oh wait, I forgot I'm retired. Meaning, no more heeding to what can or cannot be done.

"Please?"

"I don't have an accompanist."

"I'll accompany you." Haruka offered.

"You play?"

"Yeah. I play the piano."

"Hhmmm?"

As much as I'd want to think that she was pulling my leg, she looked rather serious.

"Well?"

"I guess we can try."

"Yes! Thanks." She scooted, giving me time to have that talk with Haruka. Surprises had obviously become a habit of hers that I didn't find them surprising anymore.

"So, you play the piano."

"I do."

"Reeeaally~" I had a sore personality that couldn't be convinced easily.

"But..."

"But?"

"I use sheets. Though the good thing's there's one piece I memorized."

"So you're thinking that I can just simply follow you rather than you following me, right?"

"Uh hm."

"Oh Haruka. You're hopeless." You can say that laughing it off was my only option at that moment. Did I even have a choice? "Fine. I'll take care of it. What are we playing?"

"Nachtmusik"

"Mozart?"

"Yep."

"Hm. Interesting choice... to memorize." I didn't want to make a big fuzz about it, even though I was again surprise that Haruka could actually play it. "Does it have any particular significance to you?"

"Um...it's... er...first...song..."

"What? Your first song? Are you trying to act all cute again on me, Haruka?"

"What? No!"

"Good. Because that's just disturbing." I looked away.

Geez~ Was she doing it on purpose?

On stage, they handed me one generic-looking violin probably scavenged at the last minute somewhere in the school's music room. I tuned and turned its pegs, testing the durability of the strings in the process while Haruka settled on the electronic keyboard used by the previous band. It should suffice for a superb performance. In times like those, artists' performances must compensate for the instruments' quality.

Fingers crossed.

"Hi!" I spoke to the mic and was immediately answered with booming shrieks. Without question they were one heck of a crazy bunch of ex-high schoolers.

"I'm Michiru Kaioh." I introduced myself. "And playing with me is my gir... er your very own prince, Haruka Tenoh."

My partner bowed, convincingly like a true classical musician. Yeah right~

"We are going to play to you a classic piece, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik 1st Movement." I didn't think that anyone in the room would want me to narrate any more the story behind the music; for certain, all of us couldn't take one more of those long excruciating preaches. So without further ado, I tilted my head, positioned my bow and flicked in solo the first measure I memorized by heart. Eine Kleine was the beginning act during my performance in Le Zénith.

Haruka then joined me with exquisite quality. The keyboard's grand piano mode was impressive. It could sound like the real thing, for the untrained ears that is. But I had no intention of making anyone uncover such flaw. Good thing Haruka's majestic playing made it easier for me to take the piece to the next level and let it sound like we were playing somewhere in the palace courts of 18th century Austria. Sublime! So precise in the briefest music notations and rests, I curved my lips at the perfect synch.

Just when I was in the verge of lulling myself back into the depths of my long missed comfort zone, my accompanist tipped and swerved into keying notes deemed unnecessary. I opened my eyes and glared at her.

What the heck are you doing?

I could feel the hair at the back of my neck shiver up to the back of my ears when she only winked at me in reply.

What in the world?

By heavens without warning, she pressed and brought in the prepacked 4/4 percussion beats from her board and made our own serene piece into a whole new poprock arrangement. Surprise! And I panicked like any other artist would. Fortunately, I caught the wave in the nick of time and proceeded to go with her flow, still gritting my teeth at the unbecoming liveliness of Mozart.

As I flicked the last remaining note like a frustrated rockstar, my body then froze at the incredulous cheerful shouts and screams that shook the entire gym. Such was not a normal sight for me because so far, my greatest impeccable performance only got a 20-minute standing ovation and fancy whistles here and there. Not those - prolonged howls, screams, shrieks and booms tossed in one salad bowl mix.

My eyes darted unto my audience's faces - joy, mirth, excitement, amazement, warmth - they were there, so unquestionably transparent without masks or reservations. They were pure emotions that I never got to see clearly on stage during my concerts because aside from the blinding lights, the usual front rows of every venue were those who like me, had mastered the skill of concealing the feelings of the heart and successfully maintaining a stoic facade.

oOo

"I'm sorry."

I sneered at the tall blond who was... pouting? Pulling on a face like that, did she really expect me to believe that she was sorry?

In that lonely corner, I crossed my arms and let my eyes wander through the empty bleachers. The rest of Haruka's schoolmates were now preoccupied with parlor games at the middle of the dance floor.

"Sorry?" She tried again.

"What were you thinking? I've never been so caught empty-minded in front of an audience like that in my entire life."

"But you pulled it off magnificently, Michiru. They love you."

She had a point.

"You rock!"

I looked at her incredulously before my voice softened. "What were you thinking?"

"I thought that a little bit of spice is going to..."

"Spice?! Am I that boring?"

"No! Of course no!"

I didn't understand.

"On the contrary your rendition was absolute perfection."

And?

"But you're not performing in some high-ceiling multi-million dollar chandelier gala with tuxedo-wearing benefactors and two-face politicians, Michiru. You're in front of an average suburban community who are tapping on their youths and just wanting to have a good time."

I eased.

"They don't care about perfection and surely they cannot differentiate a whole note from a dotted one. They appreciate stuffs through emotions. If they can feel the rush, then you have successfully burrowed to their hearts."

In consolation, I did feel that so-called rush.

"Did you see how they enjoyed your performance?"

Painfully, my pride got a major overhaul. "It's my first time playing in front of...friends."

"Didn't you give performances in your school?"

"Not really. By the time I got recognized, I was immediately trained for interschool competitions. So I can't say I perform... for free."

"How about among acquaintances then? During parties? Gatherings?"

"I don't have a lot friends when I was growing up, Haruka." I bit my lip. "I was bullied a lot."

"You were?"

"It all started about my hair color then after that, all I can remember I was at peace being alone. It was a long time ago. A lot had happened already. The memories are hazy. But I guess I still have the trauma when it comes to kids. It was hard to get along."

I certainly made my point across, judging by the silence.

"Being alone is better than having someone who only hurts you."

"Come with me."

"Huh?"

"Come!"

"Wait, where are we going?"

In a minute, we went through the backdoor before we walked, no, make that I was dragged cluelessly somewhere deep in the suburban jungle.

Her hand unclasped from mine in front of a seemingly ordinary residential house if not for the signage I recently caught sight by the gate.

"Day Care Center?"

"Uh hm. Come!"

The dragging continued until we reached the counter.

"Hi, Mrs. Sung."

The woman in her forties flinched and adjusted her glasses.

"Haruka? Is that you?"

"The one and only."

"By golly, when did you arrive?"

"Just a quick visit. Are the kids awake?"

"Uhuh. They're in the playroom."

My companion lit up and grabbed my hand again. "Let's go, Michiru."

"Wait Haru-"

I blinked at the poor woman who was left behind, stuck at the counter while my aggressive friend pulled me to...

Well I dunno, the playroom? That was what I heard.

"Is it alright? Leaving her like that?"

"Don't worry about her. She may look old but she can still kick your butt."

We reached said destination and five kids, ages ranging from three to seven perhaps - I could only guess - swoosh across the room.

"Hi Megu." Haruka greeted the attendant who was a perky-looking twin-tailed girl but looking awfully disheveled.

"Woah! Haruka! You're here!", she shrieked.

Haruka quickly let me go and received the petite glasses girl who practically threw herself to my companion.

"Hyperactive as usual, huh? By the way, this is my friend, Michiru."

"Hi Michiru!"

I hi'ed back using my celebrity-stranger smile which I regretted because it turned out too effective of letting a little boy, barely five, to flirt on me.

"Wow! You're pretty!" he said, frozen like a popsicle with bright brown eyes.

"Really? Thanks. You're one little handsome fellow too." I stooped to his level and tried my best to be friendly. Then all of a sudden in the speed of light, he jumped in, made a direct aim on my lips and retracted. I stood there blinking on what just happened.

Am I imagining things or did a five-year old steal a kiss from me?

"Will you marry me? My name's Shun. What's your name?"

Nice jagger move kid - stealing a kiss and proposing when you basically don't even know my name. I'm sure you're gonna be so smooth when you grow up.

Haruka and glasses girl guffawed and I knew what my reaction had been - like someone who had just seen a ghost.

"Woohoo! You're one hell of a lover boy, Shun!" Haruka came over. "Sorry to disappoint you but Michiru here's already engaged."

"Engaged? What's engaged?"

"It means that she cannot marry you."

Shun looked at me and asked, betrayed. "You can't?"

I turned to Haruka for answers of what she had done but she met me instead with a careless smile.

That fiend!

I came back to Shun who clearly had tears forming at the corner of his eyes. "Umm... you see," I began and flashed the smile he loved. "You see...umm..." Bummer. Kids were totally not my forte.

"I am already in love with someone else. So I can't marry you anymore." I lied. Exit stage left.

"You can't do that!"

"Why not?"

"Because you're carrying my baby!"

"What? I am?"

Haruka bursted laughing.

"We kissed, remember?"

"Oh-"

"Right Michiru. You two kissed!" My dumb fake girlfriend added, snickering in her own little safe haven, leaving me to die in the gutter.

"Oh I'm sorry, Shun. Yes, I'm carrying a baby... but it's not yours. It's Haruka's."

"What?!" Her jaw dropped.

"Right! It's yours, you big oaf!"

"Mine?"

"Uhuh."

"You got her pregnant?" Alarmingly, Megu believed it as well.

"Wait, I can explain! Michiru?!"

"How could you?"

"What did I do?"

"Gggrrrr... you're gonna pay for this!"

"Wait- Shun, you don't understand."

"You are so dead meat!" Megu continued.

"Why me?!"

"Wooooaaaahhhh! Haruka got my wife pregnant." Shun cried.

"Now that just sounds totally wrong." Haruka got hold of her temple and looked irritated beyond hopelessness.

"I'm going to pound you!" He skidded to the tall woman and clung to her leg.

"Oh no you don't!" Haruka picked him up, braced him tightly, then twirled him around like a sped-up carousel. We watched the oblivious boy's growls turned into fits of laughters and all other conundrums got completely shoved off to the back of the room.

That afternoon I learned that Haruka frequented the Day Care Center because of Megu who was a childhood friend. I never seen a grown-up woman, stunning and gorgeous, turned into a ten-year old boy right in front of me, playing to her heart's content and not afraid of getting soiled or acting so inappropriately immature. Haruka's forest green eyes sparkled with every chuckle and they curved into two thin lines with every laugh. She was popular. Even the little girls loved mussing up her hair, those no doubt soft wild strands of hers.

Shun continued to flirt with me for the rest of the afternoon and the girls who became my new posh cliques pampered and convinced me why I should not go out with him. Playing with them became so engrossing that I forgot how long we stayed there until the children got picked up one by one by their parents.

After a grueling session of pure fun, we bid farewell to Megu and Mrs. Sung whom I later found out to be Megu's mother. I would never have guessed.

"Had fun?"

"Yeah."

Walking beside her, I glanced at a now crumpled shirt and tossed up hair.

"What's so funny?"

"Nothing."

"You're being weird again."

"Oh I'm being weird?"

"It's getting cold. We should hurry."

"Umm... Haruka?"

"Yes?"

I swallowed hard.

Tell her it's over, Michiru. The cat's out of the bag and the whole pretend thing's finally done.

"Just how old are you actually?"

She stopped. "I can't believe you're asking for my age."

"OK. To be fair, I'm 25."

"Good age." She resumed walking.

"You? I figure you're 27 or 28."

She gave a thumbs up.

"What? 27? 28?"

"28. How is this significant again?"

"How many years did you go out with Aya? What happened between you two?"

For a minute there, I thought I heard her shoes screeched. "Wow, you're really putting me in the hot seat tonight."

"Hm?" I was super extra duper resolved not to take no for an answer and I knew my face was telling her that.

She took one huge breath before she spoke again. "Shall we go over there?"

I followed her index to the neighborhood playground where the children had already left and only the dusk's wind went whirling around the empty swings, bars and slides.

We settled. I half sat in the mid section of a gigantic cube-like structure made of metal bars. I didn't know what it was called. I did not play much with those things when I was a child.

"So?"

"I assume Aki's blabbering again."

"I wonder."

"Oh well, it's no secret anyway." She shrugged. "Ayano was my first love."

She leant against the slide.

"I didn't know she was Aki's younger sister at first. I met her when I got recruited into the drama club. For some reason, they thought I'd make a great prince because of my short hair and tall height. I guess I have my dad to thank for that. I grew up living alone with him so have a man raise a daughter and he'd cut her hair short because long hair was too much hassle to tie or style. I had to learn everything from him, thus, I took in a rather boyish teenage years. So perfect for drama club! Hey, are you just going to giggle or are you going to let me continue the story?"

"Sorry. Please continue."

"I entered drama club because of Ayano and you can say that we fell in love from the long practices and scripted touches. Or maybe I was the one who got hit really hard. Anyway, what I remember was that we make a good couple throughout high school until I started college."

"What happened?"

"Things become very confusing."

"How?"

"We are made to believe that what we felt was just a phase, which it was. I don't know if you experience it - the feeling like you're living inside this little fantasy world where everything is in your fingertips and all of a sudden, you wake up and realize you have gotten out of that world and reality is you're not really in control of anything in your life anymore.

"Ayano's straight. She became fond of me only because I was her Prince. I wore trousers and a cape. The moment she got a new leading man is the moment she got a new prince. As for me, hell, it was really confusing. I didn't know what I am. It was like the twilight zone. I didn't know whether Ayano was real or whether I was just making her a princess like in our school plays.

"In the end, I found out I like girls more but knowing who to like was not an easy road either. There were more crazy characters."

"Your one night stands?"

"Hey now, it's not like I only do one night stands in my life after Ayano."

"Gee~ that didn't sound like it when Rika asked you about your relationships."

"I don't deny having one night stands but the frequency of it happening is actually very rare, unless I spend each night trying to hook up with every drunk, coked, or horny girl in Shinjuku Ni-chōme, which if you haven't noticed by now, is not really who I am."

"I wonder about that."

"I don't frequent those places."

"Oh?"

"You don't believe me? Well suit yourself."

I giggled. She looked cute, too, when irritated.

"There were three more after Ayano. The funny thing about romance between women is that sometimes, it's hard to know when you transcend from the friendship stage. So one thing of finding out is sleeping together, which of course fifty percent of the time turns out to be false alarm and poof! Everything between you two becomes totally awkward afterward.

"Then, another was this girl who liked me because she thought I make a really good-looking guy and an excellent replacement for her boyfriend. Thus, it's Ayano the Sequel again. After her, I began shunning away things that make me look even remotely masculine. I don't want to play somebody's fantasy prince anymore. But it turns out that most women still want to see me as a guy after all."

Her words sounded overfamiliar. Just so you know, I felt like a fifty-ton anvil landed straight to my skull.

"Oh-" She caught unto it too late.

"I'm so very sorry." I felt the worst. I bowed so low if only I could have my head reach all the way to the floor for it. "I'm sorry I was inconsiderate to make you pretend as my boyfriend... er... girlfriend, Haruka. I'm sorry I let you wear suits."

"Michiru..."

"I'm sorry my cousin made you pretend to make love to her like a man. I'm sorry I didn't..."

"Michiru!"

"Huh?" I pulled and got immediately sucked into a pair of deep green eyes.

"You don't have to apologize. It's nothing. Those things? They're part of the job. Don't worry about it."

My breathing returned to normal but my chest remained heavy. "I'm really very sorry, Haruka. It was... inconsiderate."

"It wasn't. For one, I had fun. I like fooling other people."

I forced a chuckle. "You like fooling people? And you said I was weird."

"Nnh. And I like seeing you smile."

"I like your smile too. And your dancing skill is outrageous!"

She laughed so hard and I knew how embarrassed she was. She was never good at taking compliments.

"Dancing is only a matter of proper handling."

"Proper handling?"

"Yes. Proper handling! Like... this!"

"Ha-"

My heart hitched when she shook me out of my stupor and swept me off with a single arm into a very low dip. And boy did my squeal came out so wrong. It sounded like an innocent high school girl who was attacked and tickled by her boyfriend in the prairie. Worse were the giggles which drifted far longer than the duration rightfully due for such situation.

"Get the picture?"

"Yeah, yeah, I get it!" I straightened myself and this time without hesitation, reached up and pinched my fake girlfriend's cheek.

"Ouch!"

"That's for taking me off guard."

"Meh. You like it."

I huffed before I remembered what I really wanted to say to her that afternoon, make that evening.

"Haruka? I told my parents already... about us."

"The truth?"

"Yes."

"That's great! How did they take it?"

"So boring! They knew it all along."

"See... you and your parents are just playing each other." Haruka's boisterous laugh was really intimidating. "So this is the end for us."

"Uhuh."

Her wide grin was contagious. "Thank you." I extended my hand to congratulate the spectactular performance, job well done.

"No problem."

"I'll see you around then."

"Yeah. Maybe Crest will take me for more location shoots."

"I'm looking forward to it, whenever that will be."

"Nnh"

Finally, the whole fake thing and everything that came with it was totally over; good start to sleep soundly again in bed.

"Can I kiss you goodbye?"

"Sure, why not." I braced my hands at my back and offered my cheek.

Haruka gingerly picked my chin as her mouth locked to my lower lip where it lingered for a good couple of seconds before she pulled away.

Surprise was not the word to make out of what I felt at that time. Maybe stunned?

Apparently, I have a knack of letting men, boys, and women steal kisses from me.

She said nothing.

I wet my lips, bewildered, and really, could anyone think of anything in such situation? In the next second, she dove again to the same target where this time, she began the arduous task of kissing and sucking me in a steady rhythm alternately giving undivided attention to one lip at a time. Her movement was slow and precise like fiddling in 3/4 beats and by instinct, I followed and mimicked what she was doing to me.

That was the first time I kissed a woman; the first time I did a real kiss, actually. The men I dated unfortunately couldn't transcend from the single peck.

Haruka's lips were thinner but definitely tender. She was gentle, giving, but teasing at the same time. I found my hands on her hips with the intention of pushing her away as soon as the feeling becomes intense. So, I waited while anticipating and contributing mutually to building up the tension.

"Open your mouth." Haruka breathed out and like under a fallen spell, I obeyed without question.

I felt her tongue traced the outline of my mouth before it slid inviting my own to dance with it. My mind told me I had reached my limit and it was time for my hands to push her back yet for some reason I became hopelessly stupefied. Instead, I clenched my fists and held her more.

We pulled apart, out of breaths. Her mouth, wet; face, red; and neck donning a thin sheen of sweat. I could imagine her seeing the exact state I was.

"It's getting late." She spoke.

"Ye...yeah."

"Toshi's going to be worried sick."

"We don't need to worry about him. He knows I have him on call. Wait, you know my driver's name?"

"Yeah? What, you don't know?"

"I call him Mr. Fu."

She chuckled. "Michiru, your driver's full name's Toshi Fukuyama."

"How did you..."

"I talk to him once in a while."

"Oh-"

"You really should try to get to know the people around you more, Michiru. It'll save you alot of trouble."

"I guess I'll do that."

ooHarukaoo

Michiru drifted to sleep fastened securely in the nook of my neck. She smelled of flowers in spring.

I crossed my arms and shut my eyes. Repentance was the first agendum on the long way back to the bustling city. The sound of the rubber tires rolling against asphalt invaded my mind and I meditated on the consistency of our speed to calm my nerves and cleanse my mind.

Michiru sure's a good kisser.

My brow twitched.

Gah-

Repent, oh sinful soul!

I exhaled forlorn.

What happened in the children's park was beyond control. Don't get me wrong. I fought and resisted til the very last drop of my strength but in the end, I was only human, weakly tempted into giving in into the heat of the moment.

Beautiful women had always been my weakness and they were exactly the specie which should not be taken seriously. If not curious, they only used me to fantasize dating some pretty boy which eventually becomes a series of showing me off to their friends like I was some kind of trophy without even considering how I felt about it. In the end, relationships are nothing but a superficial way of declaring that you are not a lonely single loser. Love is overrated. It's nothing but an illusion created by a set of emotions on which if you blindly followed it without thinking, you'd only be driven crashed to a wall. Enough of that.

Let's get back to Michiru. Somehow, a tiny space in my mind acknowledged that Michiru was different. She listened in all sincerity that being with her felt comforting.

Right~ Comforting to the point that I just had to make out with her. Gee~ that sure made a hell lot of sense.

I sighed. It was never my intention to kiss her again. But old habits die hard. It was never meant to be serious. I only hoped she got that.

As much as I wanted to think of a million reasons to justify what I had or shouldn't have done, what's done was done. There was no sense of letting the memory haunt my already aching head. Fortunately, Michiru didn't seem worried about it. So best to just let the damn thing go.

I gripped my arms and held them tighter failingly numbing myself to ignore the feel of Michiru's breast against my triceps.

Good thing that was a kiss goodbye.


AN: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you like this chapter.

By the way, you have probably heard in the news about Typhoon Bopha. I am urging/raising funds to help those who are put into undesirable circumstances because of it. Kindly visit my blog to know more about my plan. I don't want to hijack this story telling about it, so please, drop by my blog.

Hmm… let me see, replies for the past two chapters.

My Veggie Burger: To tell you frankly, I don't know if Michiru is in self denial or just plain thick. Haha. I'm taking note of your presumptions. Daughter, life in another country, and pretty rich. Right! Got it. Now we'll see if that what's happening in the succeeding chapters. Hehe.

ladyYamato09: Unfortunately, Asami's identity is still not answered in chapter 6. But I hope you enjoyed the HxM moment - something to take all your minds off of Asami for awhile. 'Really, she's not that of a big deal. haha.

Uli: No Rika and Haruka in this chap. Will Michiru and Haruka do?

jadedlilgirl: Wow! Wait, are you a Filipino in Australia or an Australian who knows Filipino? Hehe. I have this plan of "immersing" in Australia someday. Like live for 3 months or so and experience the culture, people, everything. I prefer living the culture rather than touring and just seeing with the eye. I know Shane Mccutcheon. I didn't actually think of her while writing Haruka but now that you mention it, I think Haruka would be a watered-down version of Shane. Sexy but not as badass. hehe. I'd love to see Rika and Haruka together too. Haha. Poor Michi. Hmm... Between Rika and Aya, who do you think can drive Michiru crazy more?

shinoh: Haha. Yes, I am. Are you? How do you know? I have my fair share of the hotel's business sometime back and I'm just kinda reminiscing some experiences. Hehe. Thanks. Haruka in a music video is like Haruka in the 21st century, definitely not the 90s character. I intentionally revamped her image to cater to the new age. Was it awful? In Chapter 5, I made her danced the tango, a little bit closer to the waltz she danced in the anime, though still a little bit spicy. Hehe. Michiru's Series of Unfortunate Events - yeah, haha, that's a good one! So your bet on Asami is either a daughter or a little sister. Hmm.. Ok. :D

Keeper Aki: [C4] How do you find Ruka's background so far? I'm not adding any sm chars in this story. Just Haru and Michi. [C5] Please continue to curiously think. I like it. :D

Jack316: Reading chapter 6, umiinit pa rin ba?

Alexia: [C4] & [C5] Kiss! Oh yes! Request granted! :)

Poseidon's Wrath: Thanks for the comments. You've been a very good constant reviewer.

Nightfall5029: Thank you. To know that I wrote something well is very encouraging. I'll try my best to start a new chapter though I'm battling now with year-end work. I'm keeping my chin up.

Viento-cortante: [C4] So for you, Asami is either a daughter or wife. That's nice. Haha. Ok, I'm not teasing you or anything. I'd love to reveal it but I just have to go with the pace, you know. I hope you have the patience. ;) Rika is hot, right? Who do you like more, Rika or Aya? [C5] I wrote a kiss between Haruka and Michiru for Christmas. ;D I'm going to one by one tackle on the clues you found. 1. Yes. That's correct. 2. Asami is female, for sure. Then, Haruka's parents help her with her living expenses because modeling alone will not suffice for the daily bills. :) Hehehe. I love Rika's character too. And I'm torn between Haruka pursuing Rika instead of Michiru. But then, it won't be an HxM fic anymore. Tell me, does Rika and Haruka have more chemistry than Michiru and Haruka? As for Ayano, I wrote the deepest history out there. I hope it paid well. Love reading your reviews. Please keep it up. Thanks.

AleWindT: [C4] The music video was so much fun to write. I am not really good with words and I have this scene in my head, visually playing over and over again, and I remember having a hard time writing it down with the same impact of watching it on a screen. So, I'm glad that you loved it. [C5] I think Jay beat you as the first reviewer. Only in a split of a second I guess. Hehe. Don't worry, there are still more chapters waiting for your first review. ;) I widely opened Aya and Haruka's history in this chapter. How do you like it?

Jay: [C4] I hope chapter 6 preserves the humor you like. [c5] What are the parts that make you laugh? I want to know for.. ahem.. future references. Hehe. So that in the succeeding chapters, I know where to hit and tickle your funny bone. ;p

petiyaka: [C4] Hmm... Michiru is still straight in chapter 6. :p [c5] Ha! You want parents to let you do whatever you want. Hahaha. :p

Lylian: [C4] Thanks for leaving a review. I'll do my best to write more. :) [C5] I love the word you used - "traumatized". Yeah, basically that's what happened to Michiru. Poor Michiru got traumatized with Haruka's dancing. Hehe. OK, I'm going to give you a clue about the next chapter, it's the Governor's Ball. Rika will be there. ;)

AlterEgoErin: [C4] The teasing and flirting is not over the top? I wanted to make it charming. I don't want to just write whatever that I was feeling because sometimes I want to describe everything to the point that it's more like me than Michiru. And this was supposed to be written in Michiru's POV. Hehe. [C5] Asami is someone close to Haruka. That's for sure. ;)

leilane: [C4] Michiru is a good kind of mean. Exactly! No Hotaru in this story. Sorry. [C5] leilanecris: is this you? I only assumed that you and leilane are one and the same.

Samaka: You didn't review chapter 5. :( I waited. Anyway, it's OK. To quote you: "I mean c'mon we're talking about Haruka Tenoh, helloo, she's the only woman that could possibly turn a straight girl gay" You're RIGHT! That's exactly the point here. :p

pewpewmew: [C4] Oh, my story boost your slowly decreasing energy? Yeay! That's great! I'm very happy to know that. [C5] I wondered who Guest was with the long review. So it was you. Hehe. Haruka is 28. Michiru asked her for you in the above chapter and she asked all the other questions you have between Haruka and Aya. ;) Haruka in Drama Club is inspired of the Takarazuka Theater Group. More info in my blog. What's the conclusion of your overanalysis on Aya's line about Asami? :p

I recently got the news that Steps reunited sometime last year. I was not a very huge fan back in the days but I did remember enjoying their music and purchasing their casette tape (hahaha. so jurassic.) So, I crammed to watching the reunion videos and got totally hook with the reality show. They're so down to earth and human. Their relationship/friendship reminds me of my high school circle of friends. In my experience, friendships in my teenage years were a lot of drama, making big issues of small things - totally different now, especially when there are new priorities. I wanted to go and live in Wales after watching the show. Hehe.

tototo: Asami is... :p Okey, I will try not to mention her anymore in the succeeding chapters for our peace of mind. :p

Icy-Windbreeze: I say the parents are weird. Haha. The rich eccentric kind!

hunter007: No Asami in the few succeeding chaps for sure. So, you can enjoy everything about Haruka and Michiru for now. :)

Trueblue202: Thanks a lot. I want to be a tease. :D