Fame – Chapter Five
by Dreams in Pink
|← Chapter Four|
Chapter Five – The Meeting
“Mom?” Usagi called through the house, dropping her school bag at the door and slipping off her shoes. “I’m home!”
“Shhh!” Her mother came running to greet her, “stay clear of your father,” she warned.
“Why? What’s going on?”
“We saw you girls,” her mother replied, a knowing look strewn across her face. “They showed a clip on the news of you and your friends at the festival,” Ikuko explained. Usagi’s face blanched, and lump rose in her throat. “I’m not angry,” she clarified, “I thought you sang beautifully!” Her mother beamed, proud of her daughter for standing up in front of a huge audience to perform.
“But Dad?” Usagi pushed, apprehensively.
“Well you know how he still sees you as a little girl,” her mother started, “and while I understand that you’re a teenager now, and what you were wearing… that’s the fashion, but your father doesn’t quite see it that way,” she continued, placing a hand on her daughter’s shoulder. Usagi nodded, and took a deep breath.
“An agent wants to speak with us,” she announced, flashing an apprehensive smile. What if her mother said no?
“What for?” Ikuko cocked her head to the side.
“I guess they’re interested in making us an actual group.”
“Oh Usagi, that’s wonderful,” her mother grinned, clapping her hands together. She knew her daughter was a talented girl, but this was just too exciting.
“Will you come with me? To the meeting?” the blonde asked, her eyes wide and hopeful.
“Of course,” Ikuko responded fervently.
“What about Dad?” Usagi wondered, worrying that he would forbid her from participating.
“Don’t worry about your father. I’ll talk to him,” she promised, earning a hug from the rising star. “But you better start thinking of how you’re going to get your grades up and be in this group,” she said sternly, brow pointed and face serious.
“I will. I swear.” A rush of elation coursed through Usagi, and she sprinted upstairs to her room to call her friends and tell them the good news.
A couple of days later, three teenage girls and their guardians sat in a luxurious waiting room, their eyes shifting through the posters on the wall. Usagi clutched her mother’s hand, trying desperately to control her breathing, while Minako rehearsed possible dialogues in the back of her mind. Rei was the calmest of them all with her eyes closed as she tuned out her surroundings, and concentrated solely on her thoughts.
A slim women approached the group, “Kunzite’s ready for you,” she announced, gesturing to the open door on the other side of the room.
“Minako, Rei, Usagi,” he greeted them, standing behind a rich mahogany desk. Both his office and fashion exuded elegance, and the group momentarily marveled in its beauty as they took in their surroundings. “Who have you brought with you today?”
The braver of the blondes stepped forward for the introductions. “This is my aunt, Megumi Aino, Rei’s grandfather, Mr. Hino, and Usagi’s mom, Ikuko Tsukino.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you all,” he smiled charmingly, “please, take a seat.”
The next hour was filled with a barrage of information, as Kunzite outlined the company’s ideas and policies. They wanted them to be the next hot stars, and they were confident that that could be accomplished. Usagi’s mind whirled with numbers and rules, only the suggested name sticking in her mind; Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice. Kunzite had told them it was the perfect name for the three of them, and she began to wonder which part of title was meant for her.
“So, what do you think?” the silver haired man asked, giving them a moment for the information to sink in.
“Well,” Ikuko began hesitantly, “education is very important to us, so we do want the girls to be able to maintain a regular school career, and graduate on time with their peers,” she stated, receiving nods of agreement from Megumi and Mr. Hino.
“And the girls are not to be working on school nights,” Megumi added.
“I want Rei to still help me at the shrine, and not forget about her dear old grandfather,” the elderly gentleman said earnestly.
“Grandpa,” Rei whispered, her face flushing red with embarrassment. “That has nothing to do with Usagi and Minako, we can talk about that later at home,” she pleaded.
“And until they’re eighteen, we should be in control of where their finances go,” Ikuko insisted, convinced that teenage stars with no boundaries squandered their earnings on frivolous goods and reckless parties.
“Mom,” Usagi whined, glancing at her friends apologetically.
“Usagi, you girls are far too young to be handling that on your own,” she explained.
“I agree,” Megumi interjected, “and I don’t want them to be involved with anything inappropriate,” she added forcefully.
“All fair terms and concerns,” Kunzite concurred. “We’ve drafted up a contract, but we’ll amend it to include education and finance clauses,” he flashed a smile at Minako, who spent the majority of the meeting staring at him, starry-eyed. He stood up and moved towards the door, “let me give you a few minutes to discuss what we’ve talked about, and then we can proceed.” Kunzite gently closed the door behind him, and the girls allowed their rigid posture to relax.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Mr. Hino asked, both uneasy and excited by the prospect of his granddaughter becoming an idol. “It’s a lot of work.”
“I really do,” Rei replied, nodding her head earnestly.
“Me too,” Minako piped, her smile contagious.
“Usagi?” Ikuko asked softly, as everyone waited for her answer with baited breath. What if she said no?
“Yeah. Yeah, I want this,” she decided, determined to make it work.
“And you girls understand that school is your top priority, correct?” Megumi reiterated, wanting nothing more than the best for her niece.
“Yes Auntie,” Minako grinned, as Usagi and Rei echoed with a soft chorus of yes.
“Okay, then we’re all on board?” Ikuko confirmed, checking with the other two adults who gave their permission with a smile. The three girls squealed in delight, hopping out of their chairs for a brief group hug.
Upon hearing the commotion, Kunzite reentered his office. “It sounds like we’ve come to an agreement.”
“We have,” Minako replied, her sky blue eyes bright with anticipation.
“Wonderful,” Kunzite said warmly, his lips turning upward. “I’ll courier a copy to you all in the morning, and providing they’re all signed and returned by Friday, I’ll see you this weekend for your debut photo shoot.” The girls’ jaws dropped the mention of a photo session, their faces glowing with enthusiasm.
The agent and prospective clients bid their farewells, mutually excited for their upcoming partnership. As soon as he was alone in his office, a tall, crimson haired woman entered, and sauntered over to his desk.
“Did you get them to sign?” she asked, brows raised expectantly.
“I did,” Kunzite answered with a nod, sitting down in his lush leather chair.
“Perfect,” she cooed, “we need to get those Paradyse girls out of here, I can’t stand them any longer.” Her nose twitched with irritation.
“They’re not going to go quietly,” the agent predicted with a shake of his head, as he began to pen the changes in the contracts.
“They don’t need to. We just have to wait for our three new stars to outshine them,” the woman said, a leering smile spreading on her lips. “I’ll have Jadeite deal with Paradyse,” she decided. Kunzite looked up from his work and frowned. “Do you have a problem with that?” She snapped.
“No,” the man conceded, knowing better than to speak back to his superior.
“You need to focus on our new talent,” she explained sweetly; her shift in demeanor caused Kunzite to inhale sharply in annoyance. “Start promoting them immediately,” she ordered, “the media will eat them up.”
“I understand,” the man replied, his jaw clenched tightly. “And Beryl, I expect that bonus you promised for getting them to sign.” His boss rolled her honey-brown eyes in response, and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
Needing some alone time, Usagi had convinced her mother to let her walk home. She soon found herself wandering aimlessly through the park, swinging her schoolbag as she went. So many things had changed in just a few short days, and she was beginning to feel overwhelmed. While the thought of becoming an idol was alluring, she wondered if she’d have the thick skin to handle it. She wondered if she would be good enough, and she wondered if people would even like her. Minako was gorgeous and talented, with the type of personality that made everyone fall in love with her. Rei was beautiful and elegant, surrounded by an air of mystery. And Usagi? The blonde frowned; she was irresponsible and childish. She wasted her time on comic books and video games. It was no secret why Mamoru had avoided her; he probably regretted everything.
“Mamoru…” she whispered, irritated at how she always found her way back to him. Usagi plopped down on an empty bench near a pond, drowning in self-doubt. She looked out over the water, watching as the evening sun bled into the sky. Needing a pick-me-up, she rifled through her bag, pulling out the quiz from earlier that week: it was an A. Usagi Tsukino had earned an A on a math quiz. She looked over the paper, reveling in lack of corrections on the page, and traced the grade with her finger.
“Don’t tell me you failed, Odango.” The girl leapt out of her seat, as she came crashing back to reality. Mamoru was standing behind her, hands resting on the back of the wooden bench, flashing her a lopsided grin.
“You scared me half to death,” she exclaimed, placing a hand over her rapidly beating heart. “I got an A,” she beamed, unable to hold back the smile. Mamoru sat down beside her, taking the quiz from her hands.
“Good job, Usagi,” he said sincerely. “So how’s the newfound fame? Is being an idol everything you expected it to be?” he joked.
“Ha, I’m not quite an idol yet,” she giggled, appreciating the flattery.
“Seemed like you had quite a following the other day at the arcade,” he noted, denying any inkling of jealousy that crept into his mind. Usagi’s stomach sank; he had seen her.
“Yeah, I guess,” she whispered, dropping her attention to the bow on her uniform, as she ran its ends through her fingers. “I got asked on a few dates,” she stated, hoping that her news would ignite a reaction in him.
“That’s good,” he replied coolly. Usagi furrowed her brow. ‘No, it’s not good,’ she corrected him mentally, too scared to say the words aloud. Mamoru sighed, wondering if she had told him as a hint to stay away.
“Anyways, congratulations on the quiz,” he handed back her paper. “I’ll see you later, Odango”.
“Mamoru, wait,” she grabbed his hand as he started to leave, “thank you.” She smiled, motioning towards the paper.
“Maybe you can help me again?” she asked timidly, knowing that anything that made her feel the way he did was at least worth a bit of exploration.
“Like I said, anytime,” Mamoru answered anxiously; what exactly was Usagi asking? Would it make him a fool to think that just maybe it wasn’t his tutoring services she was after?
“Anytime like… Saturday afternoon?” Usagi bit her lip, watching him through hooded lashes as she absentmindedly playing with the hem of her skirt.
“Sure,” he agreed, and Usagi could feel her body relax with relief.
“I really have to get my grades up,” she stated, not wanting to come across as overly eager, mentally noting that it was true. “Can we not study at the library this time? It’s really quiet and it smells like old books,” she wrinkled her nose, and Mamoru couldn’t help but laugh at the expression on her face.
“Then where do you suggest?” he asked, eyebrow raised.
“Somewhere with food,” she said hastily. “But not the arcade,” she added, wanting to avoid the prying eyes of Motoki and her friends.
“There’s a café near my apartment,” Mamoru suggested, still trying to decide if agreeing had been the right choice. “Give me your number, and I’ll text you the address.” He offered, secretly thrilled to have an inconspicuous reason to ask.
With a bright smile, Usagi dug her sparkly pink phone from her bag, and handed it to Mamoru, who in turn gave her his.
“Baka,” she muttered upon seeing that he had entered her contact name as Odango. Usagi entered her number, and promptly changed the name.
“Hey,” Mamoru objected upon seeing her alteration, pouting slightly. “Odango is cute,” he contended, never having actually intended the nickname to be an insult.
Usagi was taken aback by the comment, but quickly hid her surprise determined not to show her change of heart towards the name. She looked up at him from her seat on the bench, admiring his statuesque build. “Whatever,” she shrugged.
The man chuckled, “I’ve gotta go, but I’ll see you around, Odango,” he teased, winking playfully as he left Usagi to her thoughts. The blonde watched as he walked away, her cheeks washed in pink. ‘Odango is supposed to be cute,’ she reiterated, unable to stop the grin that stole her lips; Saturday was shaping up to be the best day ever.
|← Chapter Four|