Finding Someone Like You
Chapter Twelve - The Spies
In which Minako dies of jealousy.
"Ooh! Look at that one, it's super cute!" exclaimed Usagi, flitting to the other side of the store.
Minako followed quietly to the dress in question. Usagi waited as a bored looking Minako trailed her hands along the fabric. It was shocking how uninterested she was at its cuteness. They both knew it was cute. It looked like it was in Minako's size. And to top it off, it was on sale.
Yet, her shopaholic companion failed to show any enthusiasm at all. How odd.
Usagi grabbed a scandalous looking red top off the rack and held it in front of her body. "You think Mamo-chan would like me in this?"
"Sure," came the bland reply.
The odangoed blonde frowned. Still, no reaction. She reached for the ugliest shirt on the rack. The one with the horribly misplaced bows and clashing color scheme.
"What about this one?" asked Usagi, eyes narrow with suspicion.
"Yeah, it's fine."
"Ugh." She placed the gross shirt back with extreme prejudice. "Now, I know something's wrong. What's up with you?"
"Did something happen between you and Shinozaki-san?"
Minako sighed. "Yeah, we broke up."
"It's okay, it was my idea."
"Oh, but you looked so cute together," lamented Usagi. "Was he not a good boyfriend?"
"No, he was fine, I just don't think we're right for each other, that's all. It was mutual, there aren't any hard feelings."
Usagi couldn't help, but feel a little disappointed, even though she could respect the answer and decision. She had been hoping that the two of them would work out. He was her favorite of Minako's boyfriends, so far.
"I'll be fine," Minako assured her, "I'm just in need of some retail therapy, and I'll bounce right back."
Minako always recovered from relationship trauma a lot faster than any of them expected. It was probably one of the perks of being the Goddess of Love. It was just that this one seemed different. Usagi couldn't quite put her finger on it. She just had a feeling. Perhaps, Makoto would be able to shed some light on the situation later, if she wasn't too bummed about the breakup herself.
"Hmm, how did Mako-chan take it?"
"I haven't told her yet."
Usagi went wide eyed. Something had to be up if Makoto didn't know already. She was always the first one to hear about Minako's love tribulations. "You'd better get on it. She's friends with both of you guys, so she'll want to know what happened."
"She's been busy," spat Minako sharply, "I'll tell her later."
"What could she possibly be busy with?" wondered Usagi, "She's got the whole week off!"
"I'm going to look at shoes."
Minako stomped off into the next store, leaving a confused Usagi behind.
Usagi followed persistently after, only to find Minako staring down the most hideous flats she'd ever seen.
This couldn't be good.
"Come on, what don't I know?"
"I'm surprised she hasn't told you about her big date," said Minako, trying and failing to hide her obvious distaste.
"What? When did Mako-chan start dating again?"
Minako scowled and muttered, "She met somebody right after her trip."
"Well, who is he?"
"You'll have to ask Mako-chan yourself," she replied, not feeling like going through the details again.
Minako had meant that Usagi should call the brunette later if she wanted to know. Later as in, anytime that Minako wasn't standing next to her. But of course, the eager princess took the suggestion immediately. Usagi rifled through her purse for her phone, and Minako felt a migraine coming on. She excused herself and sat down on a bench, waiting.
She was absolutely miserable. Usagi's excited chattering wasn't helping. The shoes weren't helping. The headache certainly wasn't helping.
After what seemed like an eternity later, her princess was finally off the phone.
"Mina-chan, you said you're okay, right?"
It wasn't the first thing she was expecting out of Usagi's mouth once she was done. She had been bracing herself for something more along the lines of, 'Oh my god, Unazuki-chan?' or 'Can you believe that Mako-chan is going on a date with a girl?'
"Um. Yeah," she lied.
"Are you suuure?"
"Yes, Usagi-chan, I'm fine," she snapped.
"I don't know if I believe you, but I'm going to let it go for right now, because I've gotta get going," said Usagi, scratching her head sheepishly.
"What? Why?" Minako had expected to be at the mall for at least another two hours, but Usagi was already gathering her bags.
"Because Mako-chan's date is in an hour, and I have to go home and get my Disguise Pen," thought Usagi deviously.
"Your Disguise Pen?" repeated Minako. Usagi froze and a horrified look came over her face.
"Uh oh," gulped a wide-eyed Usagi. "Crap! I said that out loud, didn't I?"
"Stay low, she's coming toward us," advised the ninja. The other nodded, ducking lower behind the fence. They crowded around a hole to peep through, as their target walked obliviously by them.
Once Kino Makoto was out of earshot, Usagi whistled appreciatively. "Wow, Mako-chan is dressed to impress!"
Minako wasn't sure how to feel about it. While she rather enjoyed the opportunity to ogle the brunette's assets in that skin tight blue dress, many of her lustful inclinations were being smothered by her even greater jealousy. Makoto looked positively delectable, and the thought of Unazuki getting first dibs was making her blood boil.
"Yeah," she mumbled noncommittally, assuming Usagi was expecting at least some kind of response. She breathed a sigh of quiet relief, when the brunette sauntered out of view. "What now?"
"Normally, Mako-chan and I would head to wherever the first leg of your date was taking place," explained Usagi, fussing with her ninja mask for a moment, "But she wouldn't tell me where she was going, so we have to just follow her."
Minako rolled her eyes. Of course, Makoto wasn't going to tell Usagi. The odango-atama would just end up stalking her from the bushes for Venus's sake!
She immediately bit her tongue, remembering where she was. How could she possibly be snarky about Usagi, when she was peeking through a fence in a ninja costume too? Part of her wanted to stop and go home, but she knew that her curiosity wasn't going to let her just walk away.
"Let's get going, then," sighed the ninja of love.
They kept their distance, tracking the brunette, as she lead them to her unknown destination. The scenery was getting all too nostalgic, harkening back to their junior high haunts.
"You think she's heading to Crown?" whispered Usagi.
It made sense in a kind of corny way that made Minako sick. Meet up where they first met. Or where it all began. Or some other stupid lame line like that. It was probably that smug little waitress's idea. With her stupid apron and stupid face and stupid-
"Woah, is that Unazuki-chan?" asked Usagi, cutting through Minako's fuming thoughts.
Makoto beamed that adorable nervous smile of hers at the oncoming woman. And it wasn't the ditzy little waitress of Minako's memory. The blonde cursed under her breath. Dammit. She was hot.
If only she was better at reading lips… From the distance they were, behind the mailbox and newsstand, she couldn't make out what they were saying. However, she could read Unazuki's flirtatious hand on her Makoto's arm as clear as day.
"She sure did grow up since we last saw her," remarked Usagi, eyes following the couple, as they entered the Fruit Parlor.
Minako tried to mutter something that sounded like an agreement, when the Disguise Pen was shoved into her hand.
"Come on, we're going in," grinned Usagi.
"It's so strange being back here," marveled Makoto, sitting at one of the familiar tables.
"When you told me you and your friends stopped coming, I figured it'd be fun to give the old place a visit," smiled Unazuki amiably. "I haven't been here a whole lot because of college, but I've been in enough to tell you that it hasn't changed too much."
Makoto watched a young girl in a familiar skirt and apron stroll past them with a tray of drinks. "It brings back memories," she remarked.
Unazuki nodded, gazing meaningfully at Makoto, "Yeah. It does."
The brunette met the appraising viridian stare and felt her cheeks warm. She coughed nervously, "Do you miss the uniform at all?"
The former waitress laughed, "Not really. I'm hoping to change that requirement when I eventually take over this joint from my parents."
Usagi stifled a giggle and lowered the brim of her cap.
"Usagi-chan, men don't giggle," scolded Minako, trying to avoid the stares of the girls at the far table. Their frat boy disguises were attracting more attention than they had intended. But then again, this was a haunt for junior high girls. A pair of cute blonde boys was bound to get noticed.
"Lighten up, Bro," chided Usagi, "I can't help it. Did you see how Mako-chan was blushing just now?"
Minako scowled and adjusted her shades. "You're going to blow our cover."
"You're acting just like Mako-chan does on your dates, Bro," mused Usagi.
"How so? And quit calling me, 'Bro.'"
"Okay, Dude. I'm cool, I'm cool," chuckled Usagi in an exaggerated deep voice. "And Mako-chan? She's always super paranoid about you recognizing us. Always, so particular. Sometimes, it's like Mako-chan, come on! You know what I mean, Dudebro?"
"No, I don't know what you mean. Particular about what?"
"What we could and couldn't do," explained Usagi, slurping her drink loudly, "Stuff like, buy you guys a drink or get you further in lines or whatever. I mean, last time, she gets mad at me for giving Shinozaki-san some Chocobites because I wasn't 'discreet enough' and then like five minutes later, she's scaring off a whole row of people to get you good seats in the theatre. Pfft, it didn't seem very discreet to me."
Minako stared blankly at her drink. Their first date had been so perfect. Knowing Makoto had been there pulling some of the strings put their disaster of a second date in a different perspective.
She looked back at the brunette in question, who was busy laughing at something that slimy she-devil had just said.
"Crap, I'm sorry, Mina-chan," apologized Usagi, reassuming her normal tone.
"For bringing up Shinozaki-san. I didn't mean to make you sad."
Minako forced a smile and nodded. She tried not to look as heartbroken as she felt. "It's okay Usagi-chan." She looked back at Makoto and whispered meaningfully. "I'll get over it."
Makoto and Unazuki rose, and Usagi all, but leapt out of her seat after them. "What? Where are they going? We can't lose them!"
Jealous ocean eyes narrowed, as they caught sight of Unazuki's hand on the small of Makoto's back. The younger woman seemed to be leading her brunette away.
"Oh, they're just going into the arcade," observed Usagi, relaxing. "Man, I haven't been in there in years."
Minako looked around the place, trying to recall the last time they gossiped over sugary drinks and took turns trying to beat Ami's Sailor V record. She sighed, not recognizing a single face in the room. It was packed with bright eyed students. And it made her feel old.
"Wanna play a round of Sailor V, while we're here?" asked Usagi, downing the rest of her drink.
"Sure," shrugged Minako. The pair of fratbros slapped some money on the table and stepped into the arcade.
Much to her immediate displeasure, Sailor V was taken. Makoto was seated, with Unazuki looming closely over her, guiding her hands. Unazuki was pulling the old, 'let me show you how to do it' trick. And Makoto was letting her. It was so lame, Minako wanted to puke.
"Awww, they're too cute," gushed Usagi. The fratprincess went to go try her hand at the crane game instead.
Usagi plunked a token into the machine. "You know, the first day I met Mako-chan, she was chasing after a guy who used to cheat at these crane things." Her eyes focused on a Tuxedo Mask doll, as she tried to maneuver the crane just right. "He was a total jerk and would barely give her the time of day. Even after she saved him from Zoicite."
The model turned frat boy gave a quiet nod, staring into the pool of stuffed toys despondently.
"I know it was a long time ago and all, but I don't know…I guess, it's just nice to see her happy," mused Usagi. The toy fell out of the crane's grasp. "Drat."
Minako leaned against the machine and watched the object of her affection wistfully. Makoto did look wonderful when she laughed like that.
'But I wish it was me.'
"Comeoncomeoncomeon…" chanted Usagi, as the miniature Tuxedo Mask's cape dangled precariously from the hook. At the last second, the fabric slipped, and the toy fell back onto the pile.
She turned towards her Bro to borrow some change. "Mina-chan, can I-" The words stopped in her throat as soon, as she caught Minako's broken hearted expression.
Her dear friend had been pretty down the entire time, she knew. Usagi had been trying to cheer her up, make her laugh, distract her, anything. But obviously, none of her diversions were working out. Minako looked absolutely crushed.
"Mina-chan, do you wanna get out here?"
The ocean eyed blonde blinked out of her reverie and met Usagi's concerned gaze.
"I don't know, Usagi-chan," she admitted painfully.
The princess took her companion's hand and gently squeezed. "Alright. How about we just go anyway?" She made the decision for them both and led them out of the arcade.
"Where are we going?"
"There's a bar down the street," replied Usagi. "We're going to get you one of those fruity martinis you like so much, and you're finally going to tell me what happened between you and Shinozaki-san."
"Usagi-chan, you don't have-"
Usagi shushed her friend instantly. "Mina-chan, you've been avoiding the topic all day. You can say it's fine, but I'm not going to take that as an answer anymore."
"But it is fine," insisted Minako, roughly shaking her hand from Usagi's grasp. "I'm fine!"
"No, you're not," argued Usagi, "Please, Mina-chan. Just talk to me. I'm your friend, aren't I? Friends talk to each other about stuff, you know?"
Minako looked down at the sidewalk in shame. "I know. And I'm sorry. It's just…complicated."
"Mina-chan, I'm an ancient princess from a lost alien civilization, and because of that, magical demons try to kill me and my loved ones on a regular basis," said Usagi very seriously, "Whatever you may be going through right now, it can't be as complicated as that. So, let's just talk, okay?"
Two pairs of blue eyes met. One was hesitant, the other insistent. The latter won out.
"Fine, but if you're going to pull the 'Princess' card, you're buying."
The pair plodded down the street in relative silence and into a darkened pub.
"What can I get you fellas?" asked the bartender.
Usagi was the first to chuckle, as they both had apparently forgotten to get out of their disguises. "Gimme a beer," she said in her best gruff 'tough guy' voice. She held back her instinct to giggle that time.
"And for you?"
"Scotch on the rocks," replied Minako flatly, seemingly prepared to drown her senses one drink at a time.
Usagi whistled. She had been expecting a 'Sex on the Beach' or an 'Appletini.'
Apparently, this relationship drama was a much bigger deal than she thought.