Fame – Chapter Four
by Dreams in Pink
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Chapter Four – Arrangements
Confused and defeated, Mamoru trudged back to the arcade, hoping a talk with Motoki would help clear his mind.
“Did you hear the news?” Motoki beamed, a ridiculous smile plastered on his face. “About Usagi, Minako and Rei being offered a – ”
“Yeah,” Mamoru interrupted, wanting nothing more than to avoid that very topic. The thought of Usagi becoming an idol was just asinine. It wasn’t that she couldn’t do it, it just didn’t seem like her. “I was there when –”
“Isn’t that exciting?” the blond interrupted, unable to contain his excitement.
“Yeah, it’s really something…” he sighed, unable to quell Motoki’s enthusiasm.
“What if they become really famous?” the starry-eyed man wondered, imaging his life with three famous friends.
“Listen, I have to tell you someth – ”
“Do you think they’d let me be in a music video?” he continued, “I could be like that token hot guy, in the music video, you know?” Pictures of him strutting his stuff as the girls sang in the background clouded his imagination.
“Motoki, seriously,” growing frustrated, Mamoru rolled his eyes, “when I was at the libr –”
“I’m sure we’d get to go to their concerts for free too…”
“Would you just list –“
“And maybe, they’d sign CDs at the arcade, which would bring in tons of customers…” he could see the hordes of people now, lined up out the door and around the corner waiting to get into the arcade.
“This is really impor –”
“Oh my god, do you think the paparazzi is going to start hanging around the Crown?” Catching his distorted reflection on the coffee machine, the blond fixed his hair.
“I kissed Usagi,” Mamoru stated, mouth drawn tight.
“Maybe we should get their autographs and put them –” Motoki stopped. He couldn’t have heard that correctly. “You what?” He asked, staring at his friend straight on.
“I kissed Usagi,” Mamoru repeated. The more times he said it, the more it seemed real.
“What do you mean you kissed Usagi?” Motoki’s eyes narrowed as he studied Mamoru’s face suspiciously.
“I mean… that I kissed her,” he could tell that the blond was having a hard time processing the information. “We were in the library studying, and I don’t know,” he paused, shaking his head, “I just kissed her.”
Mamoru anxiously waited for his friend to reply. He knew Motoki saw Usagi like a younger sister. Was he angry?
A sly smile crossed Motoki’s face, “they’re going to want to interview you,” he whispered excitedly. Mamoru was at a total loss for words, rubbing his face in disbelief. “So, this means you’re admitting that you actually like her?” Motoki asked, picking up Mamoru’s annoyance.
“No?” Motoki repeated, puzzled. “No to what?” He questioned, “No you don’t like her,” he held out a finger singling the first option, “or no you’re not admitting it?” he added a second digit. Motoki waited, already knowing the answer. It never made sense to him why Mamoru just couldn’t admit it. Usagi was a great girl that any guy would be lucky to have, so what was the big deal?
“I don’t even know why I came here,” Mamoru scowled, wondering what he actually was expecting Motoki to say.
“So which one?”
“I gotta go,” he said, quickly standing to his feet. Avoiding the question was far better than having to think about the answer. “I’ll see you later,” he waved, lengthening his gate to get out of the arcade as fast as possible.
Usagi rushed through dinner, barely taking a break from eating to make small talk with her family. She still hadn’t told anyone about the performance, and hoped that no one had mentioned it to them.
“Usagi, slow down,” her mother warned, “you’ll make yourself sick.” Usagi cringed; she was seventeen years old, she knew how to eat.
“Sorry, it’s just that I’m meeting the girls at seven,” she explained through mouthfuls of food.
“No, not tonight,” her mother shook her head. “I ran into Umino earlier at the grocery store, and he told me you’re having a quiz in math tomorrow.” Usagi scowled; stupid Umino and his stupid big mouth. “You have to study.”
“I already did!” The blonde whined, “after school, I went to the library and studied.” She could feel her cheeks growing hot, as the suppressed memories from the afternoon boiled to the surface of her mind.
“Usagi, don’t lie to your mother,” her father warned, looking sternly at his teenaged daughter. Shingo, her younger brother, laughed, watching the entire scene, bemused.
“I’m not!” She jumped from her chair, running to her school bag to pull out her practice notebook. “SEE?” She said, showing her family her work.
“Who’s writing is that?” Her mother wondered, pointing to the example questions on the page.
“Who?” her father boomed, “a boy?” his hands clenched into hard fists, his face tightening.
“Is he a classmate of yours?” her mother pried.
“He’s….” Usagi paused, “tutoring me. He’s a tutor,” she stammered, hoping they didn’t see through her lie.
“Oh Usagi,” her mother beamed, “how responsible of you!” Her little girl had really grown, “Kenji, it would be okay for her to see her friends tonight, wouldn’t it?” She deferred to her husband.
“Well as long as you’ve studied…. I don’t see why not,” her father shrugged.
“Thanks Daddy!” Usagi smiled, hopping from her chair to kiss her father on the cheek.
Usagi ran down the dusky streets towards the temple where Rei and her grandfather lived. She stopped at the bottom of the tall set of stone steps, catching her breath before making her way up. Trees lined the stairway, their branches shading the path. There was something serene about the temple; it was quiet there, and the smell of incense lingered in the air. Having accomplished the climb, Usagi headed towards the door.
“You’re ten minutes late,” Rei stated flatly, as Usagi pulled back the sliding door.
“Too… many… stairs…” she said breathlessly, flopping onto a cushion.
“We’ll have to get you more in shape!” Minako warned, shaking a finger. “BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO BE FAMOUS!” she squealed.
“Can you just tell us what they said, before you make us deaf?” Rei snapped, already having dealt with Minako’s enthusiasm for far too long.
“Rude,” the blonde replied, sticking out her tongue. “But anyways, right after they announced the results, a secretary from Kunzite’s office called my phone!” Minako started, “and she said that they wanted to meet with us.” The girl paused, waiting for a reaction. Both of her friends were on the edge of their seats, leaning forward and waiting with baited breath for Minako to continue. “Apparently he liked what he saw enough to want a meeting with us!”
“So does he want us to be a real group?” Rei asked, curiosity piqued and excitement starting to boil.
“I think so!” Minako nodded, “they can meet with us after school one day this week. But we need a parent or guardian to come,” Minako frowned. That was the bad news. “We’re not eighteen yet, so….” she explained.
“So we have to get permission from our parents?” Usagi grimaced – this did not bode well.
“Yeah,” her blonde partner in crime replied. “But your mom is cool, I’m sure she’ll say yes!” she added. Usagi shrugged, hoping Minako was right.
“I’ll have to ask Grandpa to come,” Rei stated thoughtfully, “but since he secretly loves all those idol groups, I’m sure he won’t have any issues”.
“Are you going to ask your aunt?” Usagi wondered, knowing that both of Minako’s parents were currently far away in London.
“Yeah, I guess,” she nodded, “but she’s happy to let me do anything that keeps me out of her hair,” she joked.
“Hey, where were you this afternoon when they announced the winners?” Rei asked suddenly. Usagi’s face blanched – just as she had pushed all thoughts of the afternoon from her mind, Rei had to remind her.
“At the library,” Usagi replied simply.
“Alone?” Minako pressed, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.
“Um…” she stammered, “no. I was…” she stopped again, “with my tutor. My math tutor.” She managed, finishing with an half-hearted smile.
“You have a math tutor?” Rei was surprised – Usagi hated math.
“Yeah, well, I just want to get my grades up,” she admitted, and it was the truth. Both friends were eying he suspiciously; something was not adding up. Before they turned on the interrogation, Usagi changed the subject, “so what are we supposed to wear?”
The three girls spent the rest of their evening planning their individual outfits. While Minako was over the moon, both Rei and Usagi had their reservations. We’ll just see what happens, Usagi kept telling herself, unsure of which situation she was actually thinking about.
News of their upcoming meeting spread like wildfire through each of the girl’s respective schools. Minako happily flaunted the opportunity, flirting her way through the many boys who wanted a chance at being by her side. By the end of the day she had made plans for five different dates.
Rei attended an all girl’s school, and found that instead of asking her directly, her peers would whisper about it behind her back. A few girls were suddenly her very best friend, and a couple others offered their congratulations. Rei easily saw through their façade, and chose to remain silent.
Usagi was beaming the entire day, and everyone around her was happy to bask in her energy. Her classmates were generally supportive, many surprised by the fact that she could sing at all. While she gained a few new suitors, all were quickly turned away – not because of Mamoru, she constantly told herself.
By the time the girls were finished with classes and had met up at the arcade for their usual milkshakes and gossip, they had collected a small entourage.
“You guys are like local celebrities now!” Makoto said, keeping a close eye on their surroundings. It was definitely awkward having strangers interested in everything they did.
“You should see all the guys I have dates with this week!” Minako bragged, flicking her long blonde hair over her shoulder.
“I’d have dates too if guys actually went to my school,” Rei mumbled, crossing her arms over her chest.
“When is your meeting with Kunzite?” Ami wondered.
At the back of Usagi’s mind, panic started settling in. Why hadn’t Mamoru said anything to her? She saw him when she came in, and casually noticed that he was still in the same seat. Maybe he wanted to pretend that it had never happened. Maybe that’s what she wanted, too. Usagi had never felt so conflicted. She wanted to ask her friends for advice, but that would mean that she would have to admit that it really did happen, which she still wasn’t prepared to do. The petite blonde sighed, chewing on her lip.
“Usagi?” Makoto waved her hand in front of the blonde’s face.
“Is something wrong?”
“No!” surprised, she shook her head. “I’m just…” she paused, looking for the right words. “I feel…” the words died in her throat, as she watched Mamoru stand up, and push his way out of the arcade. Her heart dropped, and she couldn’t quell the disappointed that swelled in her stomach. Maybe he hadn’t seen her?
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