Thanks for the continued support everybody. ^.^ And to those asking about the fiance and the youma. Eh, I can't tell you guys everything at once. Then it wouldn't be interesting.
Rei sat alone outside that night, on the steps of her family's shrine. It was a nice night, not too hot or too cold. The skies above the dark-haired beauty's head were clear, and there was a big silver full moon out. After the youma had escaped at the restaurant, Usagi and Rei had left as everyone started to wake up. They tried to chase after it, but unfortunately they weren't able to find it again. Rei didn't have time to worry about that though; her mind was elsewhere. Her thoughts drifted between the fact that Chad had found out her secret, and that it seemed like Chad might be leaving soon. For some reason, the possibility of him leaving seemed unreal. She had a hard time believing it would happen. Then she wondered what he thought of her, now that he knew she was a sailor scout.
"Uhh, hey Rei. Could you use some company?" Chad asked as he walked up behind her.
Rei turned her head to see him there, "Sure, why not." She then patted the place next to her for him to sit down.
"Thanks." Chad said and sat next to her.
"So how's your fiancé?" Rei asked. Apparently Chad had found Kasumi unconscious outside the women's room at the restaurant. She had been put to sleep like everyone else. All the excitement had been pretty wild for the girl.
"She's fine. She's asleep now. Umm, I hope its okay that I put her in your room." Chad explained. The effects of the sleeping pollen had made her feel weary so she wanted to rest. Rei's grandfather was all too eager to let her stay there for the night.
Rei cringed a little at the idea of having to share her room with the older girl, who she didn't even know. "Yeah…that's okay. I guess…But, wouldn't she be happier staying in your room? After all, you two are supposed to get married, right?" Rei blushed a bit and added, "It shouldn't be a big deal for you two to….sleep together."
"There's no ring on her finger, yet. Your grandfather said he didn't want anything 'immoral' happening in his shrine. Although he was eager to let her stay in his room…." Chad said then loosened the tie around his neck. He sighed and added, "What a night, huh? If it's that exciting to be shadowed by you, then I can only imagine what an exciting date you are, Rei. "
"I…I wasn't shadowing you. Usagi and I were just around the area and we saw the youma." Rei lied.
Chad smiled a bit and replied, "Okay."
Rei's eyebrows furrowed a bit and she said, "Okay? What do you mean okay?" Was he humoring her? For some reason, that really bugged her.
"I mean okay. I know you wouldn't bother to lie about something like that." Chad said as he smiled under his brown bangs.
Rei frowned a bit and asked, "What makes you so sure?"
"Because you're always really honest with everyone, Rei. You never hold back." Chad explained. Rei was starting to feel like he was messing with her, which only made it worse. Chad decided to change the subject and asked, "So, you and your friends save the world a lot huh? What made you guys decide to do all of that stuff?"
"It wasn't really a decision we made. It's kind of…our destinies, or something like that. It's a really long story. To be honest, I think if I tried to explain it all, I would just sound crazy." Rei told him. She then looked at Chad seriously and pointed her finger in to his face, the tip of her finger pressing in to his nose. "I'm only going to warn you once! You can't ever tell anyone what you saw. Never ever!"
"I-I know! Don't worry! Your secret is safe with me!" Chad said frantically. Rei smiled a little to herself at his reaction. That was the Chad she had come to know.
"Good!" Rei said, smiling brightly. There was then a brief silence between the two of them. Rei tapped the tip of her heel against the stone steps a few times before she asked, "So…umm, what did you two talk about tonight?"
Chad leaned back and propped himself up on his arms, braced behind him. "Well, Kasumi and I haven't seen each other in a long while, so we had a lot of catching up to do. It looks like my parents and everyone else are pretty intent on me heading back home. They're ready for the two of us to get married. Apparently my parents told her that if I don't do as they say, then I will be completely disowned and cut off by them, my friends, and everyone I know. Heh, they've really got me by the….uhh, they're serious." Chad explained to her.
Rei listened to him speak, and all the while could hear the sadness in Chad's voice. Especially when he talked about being cut off from his family. It was then that Rei realized how very little she really knew Chad. Rei didn't want to admit it, but she didn't want him to leave. She had become accustomed to him being around; plus she found it kind of fun to boss around an older guy so much. But now she felt guilty about it. She was being selfish and not thinking of what was best for him. She looked up at him and asked, "So…do you love her? You don't sound very enthusiastic."
Chad thought for a moment and then nodded, "Yeah, I do."
"You do!?" Rei exclaimed in shock, her eyes wide. She then looked away a bit and brought her voice down. "I mean..uhh, you do? Well then what's the problem? Aren't you happy about all of this then?"
"Kasumi is my oldest friend, so of course I love her. As a friend, though. I'm not in love with her. Not in the way two people getting married should be." Chad explained.
Rei wasn't sure why, but hearing him say that made her feel happy. "I see, then why don't you explain that to your parents? I'm sure they would understand."
Chad snickered a bit and tried not to laugh, "Rei, you don't know my parents. They don't care. To them, this whole arranged marriage thing has more to do with business than anything else."
He was right, Rei didn't know his parents. She thought again that she didn't know much about him at all; at least before he came to her grandfather's shrine that is. "Speaking of which, that girl said that you come from a really wealthy family right?" Rei asked.
Chad nodded and replied, "Yeah, that's right."
"So then…why would you ever want to live here? If you come from a family like that, then why would you ever bother working as an apprentice at some shrine? Why leave?" Rei asked curiously.
Chad sighed and rubbed the back of his head a bit, "Do you really want to know? It's kind of a long story. And not an interesting long story either."
Rei pulled her knees up to her chest, then leaned her arms and head over her knees and said with a small smile, "I'm not going anywhere, and I have time."
Chad nodded and then looked up at the sky for a few moments. As he did so, Rei was able to see his eyes peeking out from under his bangs, which made her smile. "Let's see…where to begin…I guess you could say it all started back when I was really little. My family has been a part of high society for generations. We own businesses and things like that. My family goes to high-class parties and social events where they socialize with other well off families and groups. Business owners, politicians, government leaders, and all those sorts. That's the kind of world I was born in to as a kid. Ever since I was a kid, I was sent to private schools and taught to be a certain way. There have always been expectations about who I should be, a role that I needed to play. But for as long as I can remember, I've always felt really out of place in that world. Like…I was switched at birth or something. I never felt like I belonged there, like I didn't fit in. Money, success, status, family lineage. Those always seemed to be what everyone valued most, what was important, and I didn't understand it at all. Even though I was meant to."
Rei stared at Chad as he spoke, and her eyes sparkled a little. This was a side of him that she had never seen before. His voice was so serious, and laced with emotion under the surface. He was opening up to her in a way she never before could have ever imagined. She also never would have imagined that Chad's life had been anything like he was describing. In a way she felt closer to him, connected. They had lived under the same roof for quite a while, but only now was she starting to understand him. She also could sympathize with where he was coming from. Since Rei's father was a politician, so she had also been brought up in a somewhat similar fashion as he had been. She also understood his outlook on that sort of world. Rei had seen just how cold people like that could be, namely her father. Before she died, her mother had been sick and in the hospital for a very long time. But her father, the man who supposedly loved her, was never there for her. He let his own wife die alone. Rei hated him for that, and she had never forgiven him. It showed her just how important the two of them really were to him. Rei looked down to the ground and shook her head a bit. She didn't want to think about that anymore. She shifted a little closer to Chad, who looked down at her in surprise. "Sorry, I just felt a chill. That's all." Rei told him then asked, "So…you didn't fit in? Did you not have a lot of friends?"
Chad shook his head and said, "On the contrary, I had a whole lot of friends. When I was a kid, it seemed like everyone liked me, and wanted to be my friend. I always had friends to hang out with. It wasn't until I was older that I started to question if they liked me for me, or if they just liked me because of the family I was from. It turns out that in some cases, I was right. But then there were those that really liked me for me, and they've been my friends ever since. But even though they're my friends, I still feel distant from them a lot of times on account of their interests and outlooks on things being so different from mine."
"So where does that girl….I mean….Kasumi fit in to all of that?" Rei asked curiously.
"Back when we were both little kids, our parents decided to have the two of us get married as a way of uniting the two families. It was basically a business and political decision. I was just a kid at the time, so I really never did comprehend all of that stuff. From that point on though, Kasumi stuck to me like glue. After a while, we became best friends even though we don't tend to have that much in common. Like our parents, Kasumi absolutely loves the idea of us getting hitched. But as we got older, I started to kind of worry about it. I felt as out of place as always, and I was worried that once I was married that there wouldn't be anything I could do about it. That's why, about a year or so ago, I asked for the chance to go off and just sorta…do my own thing. I wanted to get away from that kind of life and see what else was out there. I wanted to find out who I really was, and where I really belonged. I wasn't sure, maybe I had always been wrong, and that was where I was meant to be. That the grass was always greener on the other side, or something like that. But that would have meant putting off the wedding and me not stepping in at my family's company. Neither of our families were too big on that idea, but fortunately for me, Kasumi was preparing to go study abroad in Europe for a year. They decided to give me one year, which was when she'd come back. One year, and one year only." Chad then paused and looked down a little, "Now it looks like my time is up. It's funny, it's been a whole year but it doesn't feel like anything more than a few days."
"So after this year, what did you find out?" Rei asked curiously. She wanted to know what he was thinking about now.
"Well…along the way I met lots of new people. People who I really clicked with, and then others that downright frightened me." Chad told her but then paused for a few moments. He blushed a bit and added, "I also met someone who never ceases to amaze me, and keeps me in awe. To be honest, I found that I have never felt more in place, more right, than the time I've spent right here. With you and your grandfather."
Rei blushed a bit at what he said. She was sure he had been talking about her. And on some level, she hoped he was talking about her. She simply smiled a bit and said, "Thank you."
Chad smiled back and nodded. He then sighed a bit and said, "I don't know. I don't know what to do. What do you think, Rei? Any advice?"
When Chad asked that, Rei started to feel her heartbeat skyrocket. Ever since this whole thing began, Rei felt powerless to do anything about it. But now this was her chance. She knew what she wanted to say. She wanted to tell him that he should stay there and finish his commitment to her grandfather. Stay there with them, with her. Tell him that he should never marry someone just because it's arranged. That's what she wanted to say. Rei looked up at him at reached up, pushing his bangs out of his eyes so that she could look him in the eye and speak. She stared in to those big brown eyes and said, "I think…you should follow what your heart tells you. You should do whatever you feel will make you happiest."
Chad blushed a bit when he felt Rei's soft hands touch his face. The way she looked up at him and the tenderness in her words moved him. This was a part of Rei that he rarely saw, but he knew it was there. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Thanks Rei." Chad said. The two of them stared at each other for a moment before Chad started to feel embarrassed and quickly rose to his feet. "A-anyways! I think I'm going to call it a night. I'm sure your grandfather will have me get up really early to do stuff. Good night Rei."
Rei watched him quickly run off and whispered out, "Good night." She then yawned and was starting to feel a little tired herself. She decided to turn in for the night as well. At least there was no school the next day, on account of the weekend. What Rei and Chad didn't know was that they were being watched while they were talking by someone in the shrine. Rei headed to the bathroom and washed up a bit before heading to her room. As she entered her room, she noticed the futon on the floor next to her bed and rolled her eyes a little. She still didn't like the idea of this older girl staying in her room. She looked around though and noticed that Kasumi was nowhere to be seen. Rei simply shrugged it off though; she didn't really care where she was. Rei went to her closet and slipped her red dress off her shoulders and put it back on the hanger out of sight. She didn't want to answer any possible questions as to where she had been that night, which would require her to wear the dress. Rei then slipped in to a loose tank top and shorts to sleep in.
Kasumi walked in just as Rei was slipping under the sheets of her bed. She was holding a cup of water and was wearing some of Rei's pajamas. The older girl smiled brightly and said, "Oh, hello there. It's Rei, right? I hope you don't mind me staying in your room for the night. I hope I'm not being a burden."
"No, it's alright. I don't mind." Rei lied.
"Thank you, I'm also afraid that I had to borrow some of your clothes to sleep in. Is that okay?" Kasumi asked as she slipped in to the futon.
"No problem." Rei said then muttered under her breath. "They look better on you anyways." referring to how she noticed the older girl filled out her clothes more. Rei turned away towards the wall by her bed and bit on her blanket in frustration. Why did she have to be so damn pretty?
"I know I must sound like a broken record, but I wanted to thank you again, for putting up with my dear Yuuichirou. I know he can be a lot to handle at times; and I'm so glad he had such a cute girl to look after him. Otherwise he can let himself become a real mess, without a woman's touch."
Rei lowered her head a bit, her dark hair covering her eyes a little. "It's Chad." She muttered out.
"Hm? I'm sorry sweetie, I'm afraid I didn't catch that." Kasumi said, leaning in closer.
Rei turned her head to look at the other girl. There was a mixture of sadness and anger in her eyes. "He doesn't like to be called Yuuichirou. That's why everyone calls him Chad. It's what he prefers to go by. I would think his 'wife' should know that." Rei remarked, somewhat cynically.
Kasumi smirked a little and shook her head a bit, "Chad…such a dreadful name. Besides, it's not his true name. He will always be my Yuuichirou." Kasumi explained and looked up at Rei and asked, "You like him, don't you?"
"W-what! No way! Not everyone is obsessed with the guy as you are." Rei told her, resorting to her natural defenses much like how she'd do with Usagi.
Kasumi giggled a little and said, "Oh come now, Sweetie. It's just between us girls. And besides, I can tell you have a little crush on him. Who wouldn't? I know you must not like me very much, since he'll be leaving with me soon."
"…..What about it?" Rei admitted, looking away a bit.
Kasumi stood up and sat next to Rei on her bed, putting a hand on her shoulder she asked, "Rei, what grade are you in, by chance?"
Rei pulled back a little from the other girl's touch and raised an eyebrow at the question, unsure of where she was going, but she played along. "I'm in middle school. Why?"
"Well you know, Yuuichirou is already over eighteen, and you're only in middle school. You're a very pretty young girl, but you need to realize that he is a man. He should be with a woman. You can't possibly believe there could ever be anything between the two of you. What would you two ever have in common? You're like his dear sweet little sister. But don't you worry! You're a beautiful girl, and I am sure there are tons of boys your age that would love to be with you." Kasumi said in a sweet and loving tone, trying to make Rei understand the situation and comfort her.
Rei didn't show it, but the older girl's words were like knives going through her chest. She gripped her bed sheets in her fists a bit. Despite the sweet and tender voice behind the girl's words, they killed Rei a little on the inside. She wasn't sure if she was being sincere or just trying to get under Rei's skin. If it was the latter, then it was working too well. It was rare that another girl ever made Rei feel like this, and she wasn't sure why that was. Perhaps it was because, on some level, Kasumi was expertly attacking insecurities Rei already held. Rei wanted to snap and tell the girl off, but for some reason she held back. She wanted to tell Kasumi how wrong she was. That the only girl Chad wanted to be with was her. What did he and Rei have in common? A hell of a lot more than he did with Kasumi. That's what Rei wanted to say; yet for the second time that night, the fiery girl bit her tongue. She didn't want to make trouble for Chad. Rei turned away and laid down in her bed with her back to Kasumi and said, "I'm really tired, so can we just go to sleep?" Rei asked, and then turned her lamp off without bothering to wait for an answer.
She felt Kasumi silently move away off of her bed, and heard the rustling of sheets. How was it that Rei had gone from feeling so happy after talking with Chad to so down after talking with this girl? Rei then decided to think about other things, like the youma from that night. Why did it only attack men? Was it just picky about what kind of energy it liked? And what a weird coincidence that it had shown up at the same place they had been. In the darkness of the room, Rei's eyes widened as a thought came to her. She remembered something. The youma had shown up as soon as Kasumi had walked out of the room. Had that been a coincidence too? Rei slowly looked over her shoulder and down at the futon by her bed. Could it be? Could it be that the youma was….this girl?
Whew! This chapter went WAY longer than I thought it was going to. Lots of Rei and Chad goodness. The next chapter might take me some time since I'm not 100% sure where I want to take things now. I can either make this a relatively short story with a conclusion coming in the next 2-3 chapters give or take, OR I can extend it further on. As always folks, thank you very much for reading and I'll be writing more as soon as possible.