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"He sounds like a jerk!" Usagi replies to Beryl's explanation of the mean man. Beryl offers her a small smile, finally someone who saw this man in the same light. "Well at least you don't have to put up with his crap."

"That is so true!" Beryl concurs. "He will never get me. Not even if he apologizes."

Usagi could tell that Beryl is still hurting. The poor woman's confidence wavers to the core. She wished she could help her out. But is ignorant of ideas. She watches Beryl shift uncomfortably in her seat, but unsure why she seems so uncomfortable.

"He was always talking about this younger girl. Calling her names. We just thought he liked picking on younger girls for thrills. But I guess he has eyes for her." Beryl rationalizes.

"He picks on a younger girl?" Usagi asks. Beryl didn't tell her about this dynamic. Beryl snorts and hangs her head again. This is definitely interesting. Who could this man be? Beryl continues talking about the man, without mentioning his name.

...~~~~...

"I can't stand here watching Beryl and Usagi like this." Mamoru growls haughtily. "She'll make me out like a mad man!"

The group offers him comfort but it doesn't prevail. Rei, without a word walks away. The direction she walks in though, sends chills down Mamoru's spine. Why does she have to get involved? Rei turns and flashes them a smile of confidence. Mamoru makes his way toward one of the lounge chairs and closes his eyes.

"Cheer up. Rei will get her away from that witch."

"Yeah! Rei usually does whats best." Minako assures them all. It doesn't assure Mamoru however. The man continues worrying.

He loved picking on Usagi, the daily banter is the best part of his day. Running into her before school begins, giving him another reason to tease her. The childish comebacks she has, it's cute and he adores each minute they talk even if it isn't all romantic. How long had the man contemplated telling Usagi how he felt? Too long and every time he opened his mouth, insults soared out. He tried never taking the insults too far either, he would feel bad if he did. Motoki wouldn't let him live it down either. He could only hope Beryl doesn't spoil the girl's opinion of him.

"Motoki, if this blows up in my face, can I have free coffee every day? Starting tomorrow?"

Motoki gives him a look. Since he had known Mamoru, he never outright asked about free coffee. The first time he set foot in the Arcade and they talked, Motoki liked him instantly. He was blunt and to the point. The second time Mamoru ordered his black coffee, Motoki insisted that he shouldn't worry about paying. Nobody else ordered black coffee. Just Mamoru. They have been friends for some time. Sort of an odd friendship, they bonded over Motoki's random theories of why he's single, Usagi, and a few sports.

"Please."

"Mamoru! This will not blow up. Give Rei a chance to work her magic." Minako reprimands him for continuing to plead about free coffee.

...~~~~...

Rei takes slower steps toward Usagi. I don't even really know what to say. This could turn out poorly if I mess up. Oh goodness. "Hey Usagi!

"Rei! Are you having fun, flirting with Chad?" Usagi asks grinning from ear to ear. Rei begins inwardly fuming trying to regain her composure. "I saw Minako dancing with Motoki and I think Makoto has some dude - he looks afraid of her. You should probably check that out."

"Who is your friend, Usagi?" Rei interjects, hoping the sudden change of topic goes over well. Beryl looks at the raven haired girl with violet eyes. She offers a small smile before continuing to devour food.

"This is Beryl. Some guy rejected her."

"That's sad. My condolences. Um, Usa, Ami wanted me to come get you." Rei lies, hoping Usagi doesn't realize it. She looks at the blonde, pursing her lips arching her brow line. Usagi tilts her head.

"Ami is still dancing, Rei." Usagi observes and points to the blue haired girl.

"I mean...well what am I saying. Makoto is trying to thrash that poor guy for grabbing her butt. Can you help me hold her back?" Rei tries again, smiling. Her nerves are working hard to stay calm.

"I see Mako kissing that guy, Rei." Usagi frowns at her friend and sips her cola. "What are you up to, Rei?'

"USAGI you ODANGO ATAMA! Just come with me!" Rei explodes grabbing Usagi's wrist and dragging her away. Beryl glares at the two younger girls and stands up.

"Odango atama. Thats what Mamoru calls that little girl." She says with realization dawning. Usagi turns toward Beryl and Rei's face turns white. The gods help them. Beryl began seething through her teeth. "You're that little brat?! You!?"

Rei turns toward Motoki and Minako, silently pleading for help. Mamoru sees this and hangs his head down.

"Mamoru? You know Mamoru?" Usagi asks trying to catch up to speed. Beryl growls and spits a few insults at the blonde.

"Hey! It isn't our fault that you're just trash and Mamoru doesn't want you." Rei affirms stepping between Usagi and Beryl.

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah!"

"Oh yeah!? You think so?" Beryl challenges stepping closer to Rei.

"I know so, you two bit-"

"REI! Watch your language!" Ami scolds walking to the trio causing a scene. Many people stop to watch the argument unfold. Minako and Makota come to Usagi's side as well. "Look miss, we don't want any trouble."

"Shut up you blue haired freak!"

Ami blinks several times, shocked that this woman would call unwanted attention like that. Makoto moves to step forward but Minako grabs her before she can. Usagi claps her hands over Makoto's mouth knowing it would just get her in trouble. They watch a grin break out on Beryl's face, triumphantly she turns away picking up her purse and heading toward the door. Ami stands there, as the words resonate in her head, she sees red.

"You two-bit mop head!" She shouts crossing her arms. "Come back here!"

"Ami is mad?" Usagi asks, her hands dropping from Makoto's mouth.

"This is new." Rei says just as surprised. Minako stares at her with her hanging open. Beryl doesn't listen and walks out of the apartment without saying another word.

The party resumes shortly and Minako leads Usagi over to Mamoru before grabbing Motoki and heading for the dance floor. Usagi stands in front of Mamoru, silent and shy. This dress is definitely too short. She watches his eyes rake over her petit form as he stands. He looks unsure as well. What now? She looks up slightly and smiles. He returns the gesture.

"Usako."

"What did you call me?" She asks not believing her ears.

"A name...pet name I had thought about for a while."

"Does this mean no more Odango atama?"

"I didn't say that. Think of it as a term of endearment now."

"Awe, Mamo-chan!" Usagi wraps her arms around his waist and buries her head in his chest. Mamoru wraps his arms around her as well and smiles.

"They look so cute together!" Minako states dreamily. Ami leans her head on Greg's shoulder and agrees.

"I was afraid that woman might have ruined their chances." Rei admits. "Thank god she didn't. Usagi would be bawling now."

"I can't wait to see the babies!" Motoki squeals. The girls all turn to him, giving him a look. "What? You know you're wondering too! Long raven hair with Usagi's eyes!"

"They haven't even said 'I love you' and you want to see their babies?" Minako reasons as she slaps Motoki's arm gently. "You are one strange man."

Makoto and the girls watch as Mamoru leads Uasgi on the dance floor for a slow dance. They all grin from ear to ear, glad the two finally are together.


The End