Chapter 29

"I wanted you to meet my friends but not like this." Keitaro sighed as he and Yuka stepped of their train.

"Don't worry about it; I've wanted to meet your friends. You put up with Megumi all the time for me beside your friend Haitani sounded very serious on the phone." Yuka replied following.

"I'm sorry our date had to be cut short for this." Keitaro sighed. "We're not very far away. We should get there before Shirai goes through with this."

Keitaro and Yuka quickly made their way through the busy city streets with Yuka showing Keitaro the best way to cut through crowds and around obstacles. They finally arrived at the jewellery store that Haitani had called from. There outside the store was Haitani trying to prevent Shirai from entering.

"Hey Shirai, what's going on here?" Keitaro asked.

"I'm trying to go in there but Haitani is being a complete jerk." Shirai responded.

"I'm not trying to be a jerk." Haitani sighed.

"Well, try harder." Shirai scoffed.

"Err, Hi guys." Yuka spoke up.

"Hello…" Shirai and Haitani responded in confused unison.

"Shirai, Haitani, this is Yuka. I told you about her." Keitaro introduced.

"It's nice to meet you." Yuka smiled.

"I thought you made her up." Shirai admitted.

"I thought you lied about her being beautiful." Haitani confessed.

"I'm glad my best friends have so much fate in me." Keitaro sighed. "Let's get off the street; you guys are causing a scene."

"I saw a nice tea place back there. You guys could use some relaxing, camomile tea right now." Yuka suggested.

Shirai and Haitani just nodded and followed still shocked that Keitaro really had a beautiful girlfriend that wasn't from the inn.

Once they were all seated in the tea shop and had piping hot cups in front of them they got down to business.

"Start from the beginning Shirai." Keitaro said.

"I was just on my way to that jewellery store and Haitani started being a complete jerk." Shirai replied.

"Why don't you tell them why you were going to that store?" Haitani stated.

"I was… I was… just going to buy a… a…" Shirai stuttered.

"Is it drugs?" Yuka tried to complete.

"No, it's not drugs. I was going to buy an engagement ring." Shirai retorted.

"An engagement ring!" Keitaro exclaimed almost spilling his tea.

"Yes, an engagement ring for Sawako." Shirai nodded.

"You've only known her a short while, getting married is a whole other step." Keitaro said.

"This isn't something you can do lightly." Haitani added.

"Come on guys, don't gang up on him. Let's hear his side." Yuka responded.

"Thank you Yuka. Things with Sawako just seem right. I know we've only gone out on a few dates but the chemistry is there." Shirai gushed. "I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. That's why I'm buying an engagement ring to propose to her."

"Buying that ring will empty out your bank account." Haitani warned.

"Shirai, you won't be able to work as many part time jobs once campus begins." Keitaro realized. "You'll be broke."

"I was backing you Shirai but if you can't take care of yourself you won't be able to take care of Sawako." Yuka sighed.

"Our love will see us through." Shirai declared.

"Love doesn't pay the rent, unless you're willing to sell it." Yuka replied.

"Well Sawako owns an apartment building, I can live with her." Shirai boasted.

"You're not thinking straight. If you try and do that you'll only be imposing on Sawako." Keitaro explained.

"I remember a while ago you guys were warning me that Sawako and I weren't on the same page. You said she wanted the serious commitment and I wouldn't; now I want that commitment and you guys still aren't happy." Shirai scoffed getting up and leaving.

"He is right. Maybe we aren't being very good friends. Are we just being jerks?" Keitaro mumbled.

"I want to support him, I really do but we grew up with that guy Keitaro. He still spends most of his salary on manga and eroge. To be a husband and an eventual father so soon…" Haitani sighed.

"I know from all the facts stated this may seem like a bad idea but he seemed genuinely upset that you two weren't supporting him." Yuka said.

"He did. I don't know, maybe we should let him go through with this." Keitaro responded.

"I understand what you're saying but I can't support something as ill advised as this. If this thing ends badly, he'll be completely devastated." Haitani replied.

"That's the risk you take in love. It's not always pretty." Yuka stated.

XXXXX

Motoko was going through her closet trying to find something to wear to her date with Yamato. The only decent outfit she had was the one she had worn when she and Yamato had lunch together. There was nothing wrong with it but every fibre of her feminine self was screaming that she couldn't wear the same thing again.

The kendo girl was beginning to seriously regret ever deciding that she had a one dimensional fashion sense when it came to clothes shopping.

"Motoko, you have some mail." Kitsune said knocking on the door.

Motoko dropped a pile of clothes onto the floor and went to the door. She opened the door and accepted the letters.

"Thank you for bringing these to me." Motoko said politely.

"I was at the bottom of the stairs anyway; I brought everyone's up for them." Kitsune replied.

The resident fox then peered over Motoko's shoulder and saw piles of clothes scattered across Motoko's room floor.

"It's a little early to be spring cleaning." Kitsune chuckled.

"Oh, I was just looking for an outfit for the weekend." Motoko inadvertently admitted.

"If you're going through all this trouble it must be a date." Kitsune concluded with a smirk.

"I…I…I…" Motoko stuttered.

"I don't believe it. You're going on an actual date with an actual boy." Kitsune remarked.

"What's so shocking about that?" Motoko asked offended.

"I didn't mean it like that. It's just that we've been out of touch lately. The Motoko I remember hated men." Kitsune explained.

"I've grown somewhat recently." Motoko replied.

"If you need some clothes, I have outfits that will knock his socks off and get him to fall head over heels for you." Kitsune boasted.

Motoko's face went red as she began imagining all the sultry kind of outfits Kitsune had and how she would look in them. For a brief moment she considered wearing those if it meant it would make up for her possible awkward behaviour on her first date. She quickly shook her head removing the idea.

"Are you okay Motoko?" Kitsune asked as she watched the kendo girl shake her head.

"I'm fine. Thank you for the offer but I don't think your clothes will fit me." Motoko declined politely.

"You're probably right. We have very different figures." Kitsune nodded.

"I can't believe I have nothing to wear." Motoko sighed.

"This is just so precious." Kitsune said tearing up.

"Are you making fun of me?" Motoko asked annoyed.

"No, I'm just being emotional here. It's like I'm seeing you grow up right in front of my eyes. From a girl to a young woman." Kitsune sobbed.

"I didn't know you felt that way about me." Motoko replied getting the wrong idea.

The kendo girl assumed Kitsune saw her as a sister when in reality Kitsune's pregnancy hormones were messing with her emotions.

"If it means that much, you can help me pick out an outfit." Motoko said standing aside to let Kitsune into the room.

XXXXX

Seta pushed open his apartment door and entered his home. He still wasn't used to the concept of having a place that was home but he was beginning to enjoy it. Working long hours as a regular professor was hard but it paid the bills so he didn't complain.

He walked passed Sarah's shoes, which were neatly place aside, and into the living room. The young blonde was sitting at the coffee table doing her homework. A few months ago, Sarah would not be associated with the words 'neat' or 'studious' but she was like a different person.

All it took was a car accident and a stable home with a loving parent to bring out her best. Seta felt guiltily that he could have been giving Sarah this a lot sooner but he just knew that he had to make the best of now.

"How was school today?" Seta asked.

"Eh, school was boring." Sarah responded.

Seta chuckled; as much as Sarah changed she had still retained her tough façade.

"What would you like for dinner?" Seta asked remembering he had to cook.

"The land lady brought over some food. I put in the fridge; we can have it for dinner." Sarah remembered.

"Midorikawa oba-chan is really taking care of us. I hope you thanked her." Seta said.

"Off course I did." Sarah huffed. "I always thank people now."

"That's funny; I don't remember you thanking me for the Theme Park tickets I got you." Seta teased.

"You never got me Theme Park tickets." Sarah retorted.

"Oh really?" Seta smiled pulling out two tickets from his coat pocket.

"Are those…?" Sarah asked shocked.

"Tickets to the theme park that you wanted to go. I got them for your birthday." Seta answered.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you but how? You said we couldn't afford them." Sarah said as she hugged Seta.

"I took a job delivering guest lectures. An old friend of mine, Doctor Ates Satou organised a job to give lectures on Pararakelse Island. This means more work but it'll also mean more money for us. I bought your tickets with the money from my first presentation." Seta explained.

"I don't really need anything more. I'm fine with what I have." Sarah responded.

"What are you talking about?" Seta asked.

"I'm sorry I've been demanding so much. I'll make use with what we have so you don't have to work so much to buy more things." Sarah explained.

"Sarah, I know when you're lying." Seta sighed.

"I've never seen you working so hard before. You're always tired but you still find time for me. You're going to get hurt if you keep working so hard." Sarah mumbled.

"You're right about one thing, I've never worked this hard before but you're seriously under estimating your old man if you think this will hurt me. Don't you remember all the stories I told you about my adventures." Seta smiled.

"Yes, I do. You were amazing." Sarah nodded.

"And an amazing man like me can't be beat by hard work, so don't worry and let's have some dinner." Seta assured.

XXXXX

Mutsumi sat beside Hina's hospital bed as Shinji stood guard outside the room door. Hina had managed to get more time in hospital as she and her lawyer continued to delay the inevitable with arbitrary stalling tactics.

"Mutsumi dear, I'm running out of time." Hina coughed.

"No granny, you can't be dying." Mutsumi exclaimed distraught.

"I'm not dying." Hina corrected. "I was talking about my trial. Soon we won't be able to stall and I'll have to go to court."

"We both knew this day was coming. I'm sorry that I can't do anything." Mutsumi apologized.

"But there is something you can do." Hina stated.

"What is it? I'll do anything to help." Mutsumi replied.

"I need you to convince Kanako to not testify against me and instead to speak in my favour." Hina explained.

"Granny, I don't think I can do that." Mutsumi gulped.

"If you're worried about the protection order then all you have to do is make sure you don't say I sent you. Tell Kanako the whole thing is your idea." Hina responded.

"That's not what I'm talking about." Mutsumi shook her head. "I told Kanako that you would never ask me to speak to her on your behalf."

"Now why would you say something like that?" Hina asked.

"It's because I believed you were innocent and wouldn't need me to do something like that." Mutsumi answered.

"I am innocent Mutsumi. Kanako loves me and wanted to accompany me. It was her mother that did all this. That woman twisted Kanako's and Keitaro's mind." Hina spun her words.

"Granny, I don't want to do something like this." Mutsumi mumbled.

"Don't be ungrateful. Are you forgetting how much my family has done for yours, especially me for you in particular?" Hina scoffed.

"Off course I would never forget." Mutsumi said.

"Your mother borrowed a lot of money from me to pay off the loans she took for your studying in Tokyo and your Todai entrance attempts. She still hasn't paid it all back." Hina reminded.

"I know. I've been working to help her pay it all back." Mutsumi trembled as she felt guilty about failing so much and costing her mother.

"Your mother was burdened by you and almost lost her home to the bank. Don't you forget that you almost cost your family everything and I was the one who saved them." Hina scolded.

"I'm sorry granny. I wasn't thinking right. I'll try to get close to Kanako and talk to her." Mutsumi caved under the guilt.

XXXXX

A bit of sad news. I'll be taking a sabbatical from my stories till mid-April while I write tests. Thank you for reading so far and I hope you enjoyed this.