Finding Someone Like You
Prologue - The Makoto Scale
In which Minako has an epiphany.
Heartbreak wasn't tangible. She couldn't throw her fists at heartbreak. It wasn't something to be fought away or banished with mere force. It would have been nice, though. She had always been better at action than with words.
"Everything's gonna be alright, Mina-chan."
Reassurances crept out as gentle whispers, as Kino Makoto cradled a weeping Aino Minako against her shoulder.
Thankfully, the crying, which had been going for on for nearly thirty minutes, was finally beginning to die down. Makoto was getting anxious to find out what it was about in the first place.
Throughout the course of their friendship, Minako had developed a habit of spilling her guts in an unintelligible way, followed almost immediately by uncontrollable sobbing. It had been bewildering at first, and Makoto didn't quite know how to handle it, so she had just sat there and waited.
As it turned out, Minako just needed to let it out sometimes. So Makoto, developed the habit of letting the dams burst. The answers would come in time.
With a sense of finality, the sniffling ceased. Minako drew herself away from Makoto's tear stained shirt.
"I caught Yoichi-kun with another girl," came the simple explanation.
Long fingers curled into a tight fist at the name. The latest in a lineup of idiot boyfriends, Moron Number Six - Yoichi the necktie model. His jawline was perfectly chiseled, and his head was perfectly empty. Makoto could barely veil her disgust at the thought of him.
"I know you never liked him." Minako rested her head at the base of Makoto's neck. Instinctively, a protective arm draped over her shoulder. "But, I did. I thought I finally found a guy I could trust, but then he turns out to be exactly like Seiji-kun and Yuji-kun. Why do I keep dating guys who end up cheating on me?"
She looked up imploringly. "Is there something wrong with me?"
Those moist ocean eyes were enough to break Makoto's heart. "Wrong with you? No, there's not a single thing wrong with you," she insisted earnestly, "It's those idiots who need to have their brains checked. They had a wonderful woman like you and they threw it all away. They're jerks, Mina-chan."
"Why do I keep falling for jerks, then?"
"I've been asking the same question," sighed Makoto, "Do you want to tell me more about what happened?"
Minako settled back into the comforting embrace and recounted the events prior. She had gotten off of a photo-shoot unexpectedly early and decided to surprise her boyfriend at his apartment. He was definitely home. And so was someone else. A very vocal female someone.
"I ran off without confronting him," admitted Minako, "I just didn't want to get into it again. That's all I could think of. 'Not this again.'"
"So, you didn't actually see them?" Makoto didn't want to give him any credit, but felt obligated to confirm.
"The bra on the couch was a tip off," recounted the blonde sourly, "And the screaming of his name among other noises. It definitely wasn't his sister. She wasn't the type to wear such ugly shoes."
Makoto might have laughed at the flippant remark, if she wasn't distracted with her more violent fantasies. She let the image of shoving a necktie down his throat slowly drift away and returned to the present. Her best friend was hurting.
"I'm sorry, Mina-chan."
"Why? You didn't cheat on me."
She shook her head. "That's not what I mean. I'm just sorry you have to go through this again. You deserve better than this."
"It's ironic, isn't it?" came the dull reply. "The so-called Goddess of Love keeps getting spurned over and over."
"Venus aside, you're still human," Makoto gently reminded. "Love is still tricky. It takes some trial and error. Even for you."
"I'm getting more error than anything lately."
Makoto held back a bitter chuckle. Her own track record wasn't much better.
"Maybe, I'm just looking in the wrong places," considered Minako, "Or I should stop dating models all together."
It didn't seem like a bad idea. Most the male models Makoto had met so far through her friend were vain, self centered, imbeciles. And the ones that seemed halfway decent, were flat out gay.
"Where does one meet nice guys these days?" wondered Minako out loud.
The brunette couldn't come up with an answer for the life of her. The question was mostly rhetorical, so she was let off the hook. The thought lingered though. Where did one go to look for nice guys? It had been a while since she had tried.
"Maybe, I should just stop looking so hard and have one come to me," mused Minako.
It was a wonder how only mere moments before, her friend had been a sobbing wreck. Now, she breathed easily, composed, yet wistful.
"I liked him, Mako-chan. I really did."
Minako turned to study Makoto's face. "You didn't like him though. You never said it to me, but I could always tell."
"Am I really that obvious?" She had been making a conscious effort to hide her animosity towards her friend's boyfriend.
"Not to everyone." The words 'just to me' hung in the air unspoken.
The weary blonde sighed, flopping back on the bed to stare at the ceiling. "I never did ask you why you didn't like him."
"Do you really want to know?"
Makoto stopped and considered. She had never actually put any of it into words before. She hated his stupid face, his stupid voice, his stupid arrogant strut, but she knew those weren't the exact reasons.
"I guess it was his look," she deduced slowly.
The statement elicited a giggle. "He's a male model. They all look like that."
"No, not the way I looked at him, but more like…the way he looked at you."
"What do you mean?"
The brunette bit her lip, embarrassed to be screwing up her words again. "He should have looked at you differently. I don't know how to explain it. But I could tell by the way he looked and how he acted that he didn't really care about you the way…" She stopped, reaching for the eloquent phrasing that always managed to elude her. "-the way that he should have."
"Oh," came the simple reply.
Makoto was about to try to sputter up a better answer, but was silenced by Minako's large and genuine smile.
"You know, Mako-chan, sometimes, it's like you know just what to say to make me feel special."
The brunette shut her mouth and nodded, slightly stunned at the remark.
"I suppose I should just ask you sooner next time," mused Minako, "It might save me some trouble."
"It was just a feeling I had," mumbled Makoto, as she laid on the bed.
"You should trust in those more," suggested Minako. "You know what? Today totally sucked, but now that it's pretty much over, I don't really regret it."
"The day or the relationship?"
"The whole wretched thing," she replied. "I think I have a clearer picture of what I should be looking for."
Minako turned an appraising gaze toward Makoto. The latter raised an eyebrow, staring back questioningly.
"Is that so?"
"Yep," nodded the blonde definitively, "I'll be using you as a scale. If I find a guy that treats me half as well as you think they should, I'll know I'm on the right track."
A burning warmth crept up the back of Makoto's neck. In that moment, she just knew she was bright red. Luckily, Minako didn't appear to notice. She had already begun laying the pillows around her to her exact liking.
It was a strange routine they had developed. Minako would burst into her apartment crying, they would talk for what only seemed like few flailing moments on her part. And somehow, even when Makoto felt like she was making no sense at all, Minako would uncover some sort of meaningful resolution from her moronic babbling. And finally, without explaining, she'd go straight to sleep.
It was always boggling.
Ami was smart. Rei was articulate. Makoto felt like she was neither. She was supposed to be the one who beat up the problems, or be the one who showered her friends with pleasant distractions like consolation cake. When the hell did Minako start expecting her to be profound? And why did the blonde seem to think she was succeeding?
Minako settled underneath the covers, having finally achieved her perfect, yet undefined arrangement of pillows and sheets. She yawned one last time. "If only I could find a guy who's just like you, Mako-chan," she mumbled, as she surrendered to the haze of sleep.
Makoto pulled the sheets over her shoulder and turned on her side. Soon after, she shifted onto her back. And then back over again. She often had trouble settling in on nights like these. She had played the part of the dutiful, loyal friend with a surprising amount of success once again, but she never felt resolved. She wanted to do so much more. To say so much more. But what, she never quite knew.
She tried not to toss too much, lest she disturb the slumbering form next to her, but her anxiousness was pervading her self control.
The questions bored into her.
What did Minako want? Or need for that matter? A guy like Makoto? What did that even mean really?
She didn't know how to interpret the simple statement. That amidst a sea of nagging thoughts kept her mind tense and racing.
How was she supposed to find a guy like herself for Minako?