Fame – Chapter One
by Dreams in Pink
|Chapter Two →|
Chapter One – Rehearsal
Another ordinary weekend plagued the slate coloured skies of Tokyo as the lanky skyscrapers and stacked block buildings watched protectively over the bustling streets below. At the insistence of Minako, the perky self-proclaimed goddess of love, this particular afternoon found three girls locked away in a tiny karaoke room at their favourite hangout, the Crown Arcade. Accompanying her were two of her closest friends – Usagi, a bubbly blonde who was often mistaken for her sister due to her azure eyes and golden hair, and Rei, the polar opposite of the two with piercing violet eyes and a fiery temper to match.
Music from the karaoke machine filled the room as the girls each took their respective places on the elevated stage – Usagi in the middle with a friend on each side. They had decided to work solely on the choreography for the dance routine that Minako had brilliantly designed; the one that they were performing for the countless time that day. Halfway through the song, Minako paused. “Wait, we should do that part again,” she stated thoughtfully, biting her bottom lip as she rethought the steps.
“Minako, I’m about to fall over! Let’s take a break!” Usagi whined, taking a small jump off the stage, and falling onto the couch. She took a moment to pry the shoes from her swollen feet.
“I’m with Usagi, we’re not going to get any better without some fuel,” Rei agreed, her stomach growling as she picked up one of the menus strewn across the coffee table.
“Guys! We don’t have time to take a break!” The blonde on the stage yelled, placing her hands on her hips in a display of irritation. However, her friends failed to cave and merely stared back at her with raised brows. Minako sighed, “Fine. Ten minutes. But after this, we’re going back to working on our singing.”
“A milkshake sounds so good right now,” Usagi said wistfully; after all, that was the Crown Arcade’s specialty.
“It does… so does pizza,” Rei chimed, sitting next to the blonde on the couch.
“Mm… and french fries…”
“Ooh, don’t forget the gyouza!” Usagi pointed excitedly at the words on the menu.
“You can’t eat all that! You’ll never fit into your costumes!” Minako warned, shaking a finger in disapproval. Why weren’t they taking this as seriously as she was?
“These are our costumes!” Usagi replied, pointing to the school uniform she adorned day after day. “And it fits just fine!” She tugged lightly on the material to prove her point.
“Actually… we’re not really going to be wearing these,” Minako confessed. Usagi glanced at the raven-haired priestess, who only smiled sheepishly in response.
“What? You said we’d be wearing our school uniforms!” She looked back and forth between the pair, confused.
“No… I said we’d be wearing school uniforms.”
“… that’s what I just said.”
Minako went to her bag, pulling out three sets of clothing, “No, we’ll be wearing these school uniforms,” she stated proudly, handing an outfit to each girl. Usagi immediately unfolded the fabric to reveal a ridiculously skewed version of the stereotypical ‘sailor’ style uniform.
“You expect me to be seen in public like this?” She asked, shocked, holding the skirt up to her waist and realizing that it barely covered her bottom. “People are going to see my underwear!” She exclaimed, a sense of dread lain across her features.
“Exactly, so don’t wear anything too showy and make sure it’s clean,”
Minako advised with a wink.
“You want to win don’t you?”
“Yes but – ”
“Sexy wins,” Minako interrupted with a shrug. She wasn’t going to let all this effort go to waste, they were going to win and the way she saw it, they might as well use every asset that they had.
“My dad will kill me if he sees me wearing this!”
“Then put it on after you leave the house,” Minako suggested, having a bit of experience in the area herself. “It’s not like he’s coming to watch.”
“Yeah, besides, it’s not like you ever do anything bad,” Rei said, making Usagi feel like that in itself was a bad thing.
“I don’t know…”
“What’s really wrong Usagi? Don’t think you can pull it off?” She challenged, admitting to herself that she knew just how to press her friend’s buttons.
“I can too!” Usagi pouted, yet the image of herself dressed in those clothes, caused her face to redden.
“I don’t know…” Rei gave her a once over and shook her head.
“Ugh, whatever,” Usagi huffed. There was no way Rei was going to win this one – she would show her. Rei’s lips curved into a small smile of satisfaction. Sometimes ‘convincing’ Usagi was too easy.
“Okay girls! Break time is over!” Minako chirped, clapping her hands together.
“But we haven’t even gotten anything to eat!” Usagi complained, her stomach joining Rei’s in a chorus of grumbles. “Tell me what you want, I’ll go order,” she offered, leaping from her seat, more than ready to escape – if only for a few moments.
“Why don’t you just use the phone to order?” Rei asked pointing to the machine mounted on the wall near the door.
“I need to get some fresh air.”
“Translation: she wants to see if Mamoru is there,” Minako teased, watching the girl’s face turn a brilliant shade of crimson.
“That sounds more like it.” Rei agreed, grinning wildly.
“That’s not true!” Usagi protested with a stomp of her foot. She desperately wished that she had remained silent during the previous week’s conversation about the statuesque college student who seemingly went out of his way to pick petty fights with her. Somehow, her friends had decided that the couple’s banter was nothing but foreplay. Usagi flushed even further at the memory, and scolded herself for the small glint of hope that swelled in the pit of her stomach.
“What was it that she said?” Minako asked with a mischievous glint in her eye.
“Well… I remember her mentioning his dark silky hair and captivating cobalt eyes,” Rei replied dreamily, batting her eyelashes in a pure mocking fashion.
“Yes! And his sexy grin, and large masculine hands!”
“Don’t forget his soothing voice!” She added, her blonde companion nodding eagerly.
Feeling utterly embarrassed and having heard quite enough, Usagi interrupted, “Do you want anything or not?” The two girls glanced at each other with a pleased smile; they knew Usagi had a thing for Mamoru and they were determined to make her admit it.
“Oh come on Usagi, we’re just joking around.” Usagi’s twin had to admit she felt slightly guilty.
“Do you want anything? Yes or no?”
“Pizza!” Rei called.
“I’ll have a salad.” Minako ordered, trying to convince herself that was actually what she wanted.
“Get some fries too!”
“Okay. Pizza, salad, fries,” Usagi repeated, listing off each one with a tap of her finger. Determined to get another opinion on the ‘costume’, she grabbed the skirt that she had left on the couch, and took off sock footed down the hall.
“Hey Usagi!” A sandy haired man greeted her with a wave.
“Pizza, salad, fries…a strawberry milkshake and a hamburger, please!” She spoke quickly, not wanting to forget the order
“Coming right up!” He smiled.
“Thanks Motoki,” she sighed, falling onto one of the stools that sat in front of the counter.
“You girls have been in there for an awfully long time,” he noted, beginning to prepare her milkshake.
“You’re telling me,” Usagi snorted. “We’re rehearsing.”
“For what?” He wondered, somewhat surprised by her answer. The girls could often be found practicing their singing skills in one of the karaoke rooms at his arcade, but he always figured it was just for fun.
“Minako’s making Rei and me perform with her in this karaoke contest tomorrow at the Spring festival. The winner gets 150 000 yen,” she explained. “And she wants us to wear this,” Usagi frowned, pointing to the skirt which was crumpled on the counter beside her.
“I’m guessing you don’t want to?” The girl only crinkled her nose in response, “I’ll take that as a no.” Motoki eyed it suspiciously, “It can’t be that bad. It just looks like a normal skirt.”
“What about now?” Hopping off the stool, she held the skirt at her waist.
“What kind of contest is this?” He asked, brow cocked. That was definitely one short skirt, and he never took Usagi as the type of girl to wear such revealing clothes.
“Minako says ‘sexy will win’. And there’s no arguing with Minako. Especially when Rei is on her side,” she looked at him straight on, “I am grossly outnumbered.” Her serious tone caused Motoki to laugh.
“I’m sure you’ll survive. If they can pull it off, so can you,” he stated cheerfully, restoring some of Usagi’s confidence. “Here, it’s on the house,” he said, sliding her one thick, perfectly pink, strawberry milkshake.
“Thanks!” She grinned, starting on her drink.
“Hey.” As soon as Usagi heard the familiar voice, her shoulders tensed. Chiba Mamoru. Minako and Rei’s re-enactment leapt into her mind, and she could feel her cheeks grow hot.
“Hi Mamoru! The usual?” Without waiting for a reply, Motoki grabbed a mug and started pouring the coffee.
“That’d be great.” He slid onto the stool next to Usagi, who furiously tried to ignore him. “Odango,” he greeted her, holding back a smile at the intense look of concentration that was knitted across her face.
“Shut it.” Her hands started to ache from clutching the cold glass, as if it would somehow freeze her thoughts.
“Someone’s in a bad mood.”
“I wasn’t until you got here.”
“What happened? Did you lose at that video game again?”
“Can’t you just leave me alone!?” Usagi yelled, shaking her hand and spinning on the stool to face him. As she moved, her hand knocked the china coffee filled mug, spilling its contents.
“Shit!” Mamoru jumped from his seat as the hot liquid rolled across the counter.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to!” Usagi apologized profusely, as Mamoru grabbed her skirt, intending to use it to clean up the mess. “That’s not a rag!” She grabbed his hand. “It’s my skirt! I have to wear it tomorrow!” She shrieked. He held up the dainty piece of fabric, looking at it sceptically.
“No,” he stated resolutely.
“You’re not wearing this anywhere,” he ruled authoritatively. This was Usagi, sweet, innocent Usagi, and he’d be damned if he let anyone see her in such attire.
“Who do you think you are? My father?”
“It’s not – ”
“Wait, let me guess. A girl like me can’t possibly fit into something like that, right?” Tears welled in Usagi’s eyes – it was bad enough that Rei had said she couldn’t pull it off, but for some reason Mamoru telling her the same thing stung twice as much. However, as was common in their situation, she had misunderstood his actual intention. The thought of her parading around with those long, slender legs barely covered created titillating images in his mind. Images that he didn’t want anyone to see, except him. He groaned inwardly.
“Odango…” Mamoru knew that she was stubborn. There was nothing that would change her mind, and he’d never be given the opportunity to explain. Not that he really wanted to.
“Don’t call me that!” She snatched the garment from his hand, “and I’m wearing the skirt!” She yelled defiantly. “Motoki, can you bring our food when it’s ready?” Her voice was sugary sweet, as she turned to the man who had watched the entire display with an amused grin.
“Sure thing Usagi. Good luck with the rest of the rehearsal!” He gave the girl a friendly smile, as she spun on her heel and headed back to her friends. As soon as she was out of sight, he glared at his friend, “Man, what the hell is wrong with you?”
“I don’t know,” Mamoru replied, placing his head in his hands. “I didn’t mean it like it sounded,” he confessed.
“Are you going to the Spring festival tomorrow?” Motoki’s sudden question and change in demeanour made Mamoru feel uneasy.
“Well… she’s performing with her friends in the karaoke contest.”
“And I thought you might be interested in finding out how short that skirt of hers really is,” Motoki grinned and Mamoru scowled. However, beneath his unamused expression, he secretly considered going.