Seiko - Part 2
There was yet another uncomfortable silence in the room. I don't know which of us was most embarrassed, but it's the first time I ever saw the Seiko the Ice Queen lose her cool. But only for a gulping, sweatdropping, moment. Every eye was on her, except, that is, Usako. My junk food queen was in pastry nirvana and not paying much attention to the goings-on.
But finally, Saori said, a trifle *too* carelessly, I realize now, "Oh, he's just my old classmate from school." Chibi Usa wasn't buying that, I could tell. She was scrutinizing Saori narrowly, and even a bit nervously. I decided I needed to correct this erroneous impression she had formed about our relationship.
"We were at the same school, it's true, but I haven't done as well as you!" I said to Seiko, and meant it.
"No...please!" Seiko, blushed, embarrassed. [Seems to be her day for it, I thought.]
I turned to Usako and told her, "She's going to be a police officer after graduation."
My Usako's sky blue eyes got big as saucers. She's cute when she does that. "A female police officer--wow!!" she cried.
But Kobayashi was not to be outdone. "Not just a police officer--Saori's going to be head of our county's police department!" And then he beamed at Saori fatuously.
Now Seiko was *really* uncomfortable. "Stop teasing me!" she cried.
Kobayashi was indignant. "I'm NOT teasing you, Saori-san. I have a lot of respect for you."
Usako was still starry-eyed. "Head of the police department? How wonderful! I should think about doing that too." [Cripes, I thought I was going to choke on my green tea when she said that.]
The party broke up soon after that. After they left, Usako was babbling away about how as a powerful Senshi, she would make a wonderful police chief. To heck with being head of the department, she was going to be police chief. "The Pretty Sailor Soldier will solve every crime in Tokyo!! Can't you just see me, Police Chief Tsukino Usagi, sitting at my desk?"
"Uhhh, no..." I had to reply, honestly.
"Mamo-chan!" she squeaked. "You're always saying I should work harder, be more ambitious. And whenever I get an idea, you shoot it down. You never, never, take me seriously!"
"Seriously, Usako, if you don't stop gobbling pastries and daydreaming, SITTING at a desk will be all you can do-you won't be able to walk!"
"Mamo-chan!!" her squeak went up 20 decibels. She was turning red. I did know I'd put my foot in it again, minna-san. But by this time, I knew how to pull myself out of sticky situations like this with my wounded Princess.
After one sweatdropping moment, I cleared my throat. "Usako, would you mind helping me clear away the dishes? No, it's OK, Chibi Usa, we can handle this. Back in a few minutes."
Usako picked up the dishes without a word, but she was looking at me out of the corner of her eyes, reproachfully. She stacked the dishes in the dishwasher, with a loud clatter. I winced. My best porcelain dishes! But I said nothing.
"That was mean....!" she started to say.
NOW! I thought. Grabbed her and kissed her, hard. Took the breath right out of her. I wish I'd known to do this when I first met her. It would have saved a lot of misunderstandings, methinks.
When I finally let her catch her breath, but still kept holding her, her eyes were starry, and there was a dazed, happy look on her little round face.
"Oh, Mamo-chan...." she murmured, softly. I decided that more "apologizing" was called for. When I was able to disengage from those sweet lips of hers for a moment, I whispered in her ear that I was sorry for teasing her. And then I decided to play my trump card. "Isn't Chibi Usa going to her friend's tonight to rehearse for the school play?" [As if I didn't know the answer to that, perfectly well.]
"Yes, she is. Why?" Usako looked puzzled.
With a glint in my eye, I continued, "Well, you see, I made all this chicken yakitori for dinner, and I couldn't possibly eat it all myself--I made too much. Would you like to come to my place for dinner?"
"Mamo-chan, you sneak!" she squeaked. "You planned this all along!" The sky blue eyes looked at me accusingly.
"Guilty as charged, Officer Tsukino," I grinned.
"That's POLICE CHIEF Tsukino!" she snapped.
"Gomen, Police Chief Tsukino. And I was thinking about going out for chocolate sundaes afterwards, that is, if you didn't already have way too much sweet stuff today." [When in doubt, prescribe chocolate, has always been my motto in life.]
The blue eyes flashed at me, mischievously. "And how do you know that I might not be busy tonight? Your friend Kobayashi kept staring at me, you know."
"Yeah, right. I saw the way he was staring at you, Usako. That was because he couldn't believe anyone could eat that much and still fit in that mini-skirt!" Usako promptly grabbed the nearest tea towel and swatted at me with it. I promptly grabbed HER again.
After about five more minutes of "apologizing," we both came back from the kitchen, having pasted on innocent faces. Chibi Usa, sitting on the couch waiting, never had a clue....
In any case, Chibi Usa was apparently too absorbed in her own troubled thoughts to notice we were taking a little longer than necessary to put away the dishes. She had decided that I seemed to know Saori far too well to just be her "classmate," and she didn't like it at all....
Meanwhile, in a bar with a tropical decor and no bartender visible, three colourful denizens of the Dead Moon Circus sipped their cocktails, and talked about what they always talk about....girls.
One, dressed in a strange puffy blue outfit, looking a bit like the Michelin tire man, and long blue pony tail, was looking at a photo spread out on the bar--a picture of Saori. Red pointed fingernails made the speaker look feminine--but this was no lady. This was Fish Eye, one of three men searching to find and destroy the Pegasus, whose powers of good were a threat to them. Like the other two sitting at the bar, Fish Eye was a circus performer, in his case, a tumbler and contortionist. The Pegasus' hiding place, they knew, would only be found in the dreams of a girl with a truly pure heart. Each of the three, Fish Eye, Hawk Eye and Tiger Eye, was arrogantly convinced that he, and he alone, could find that one girl in a thousand.
With lacquered crimson nails, Fish Eye gestured at the photograph. "She's a perfect woman, this one. Very serious, she has a strong sense of justice, and she's at the top of all her classes."
Sitting next to Fish Eye, a slim young man with long blond hair, a red bandana around his forehead, a necklace of jungle beads round his neck, and yellow and black striped tights on his long, long legs, was Tiger Eye. Tiger Eye fancies himself a ladies' man, confidently believing he can seduce anything female on the planet, and when he is doing his knife throwing act, the ladies are definitely dazzled. The trouble is, Tiger Eye assumes that the female gender are all some kind of wild beasts, who need to be tamed by his irresistible charms, if not with his whip. Unfortunately, once Tiger Eye opens his mouth, he ruins everything. Mastering a good pick-up line, let alone, projecting sincerity, is one circus trick which Tiger Eye has never mastered. But I digress.
"You can say that again!" Tiger Eye agreed, enthusiastically. "She's the kind of woman who always does her homework, faithfully does whatever the adults tell her to do, and she's probably the teacher's pet." [Actually, Tiger Eye was wrong about that part. Seiko is so very bright that she intimidates the teachers--they're afraid she'll spot their mistakes, and embarrass them in front of the class. She's good at that.]
Now Hawk Eye chimed in. With red hair sticking straight up like a flame, it's easy to tell that Hawk Eye is the fire eater of the Dead Moon Circus. Hawk Eye smirked and remarked, "I bet she's the kind who tattles to the teacher when the others are lazy in their cleaning duties."
Tiger Eye sighed, regretfully, and shook his head. "This type of woman doesn't know much about love." But a secret smile played about his lips. He, Tiger Eye, was the one man in the world to teach her. Tiger Eye liked nothing better than a woman who played hard-to-get. And anyway, he reasoned to himself, who else would be more likely than this goody-goody to be the one special, pure hearted girl who was hiding the Pegasus?
Hawk Eye replied, "Well, for whatever reasons, she's your type, isn't she?"
Tiger Eye grinned wickedly at Hawk Eye. "It's just business." Then, just as he turned to leave the room, he said in an undertone, "Mind you, if I DO mix this little business trip with pleasure," and here he winked, and smirked, "that's MY business, isn't it, and not Zirconia's!" He then held up a one-finger salute in the direction of the Amazon trio's crotchety old boss, Zirconia. Hawk Eye guffawed so hard, he spat out his drink. Fish Eye grinned, though a little more hesitantly. For one thing, he was not sure if Zirconia could hear them, and for another, women were not HIS preferred pleasure, in any case. Tiger Eye mockingly bowed to the other two and gave his parting shot: "Since she's my Target, and I have to check her out, anyway, there's nothing more enticing than the satisfaction of melting an Ice Queen!"
In the plush animal toy shop, Usako was mulling over a difficult decision that had all her little brain cells going full tilt. In one hand, she held a plush hippo, in the other, a plush pony. "Oh, wow, look at these!" she squealed to Chibi Usa. "They're so adorable! I wish I could afford both of them! I wonder...which one do you think is the cutest?"
It will not surprise you, minna-san, to hear that in all these years, Usako's tastes haven't changed very much. As I believe I mentioned before, Neo-Queen Serenity's boudoir in the Crystal Palace is still a plush menagerie--there's scarcely an inch left for me on that bed. Fortunately, my furry rivals don't protest when I push them off to one side, in order to get close to their equally cuddly owner. I often wish, though, I'd bought stock in Gund plush toys or Ty Beanie Babies when I had the chance. But I digress.
My daughter, Chibi Usa, has not inherited her mother's craze for plush animals, and she doesn't like jewellery much, unlike Usako, either. Maybe it's rebellion, maybe it's because Chibi Usa likes to think of herself as serious and dignified, and above needing such frills. Whatever the reason, Usako's obsession with collecting these things really disgusts Chibi Usa. But oddly, Usako always thinks if she just shows Chibi Usa something really cute, she will be won over. She never, never learns.
Chibi Usa just stared at Usako, witheringly. "Aren't you even worried? Don't you feel uneasy right now? I do!"
Usako looked utterly bewildered. "What on earth do you mean?"
"Don't you ever worry about whether you're in danger of losing your happiness?" Chibi Usa asked.
"Why, what do I have to worry about? Well, I do worry a little about whether the hippopotamus or the pony is the most perfect addition to add to my plush toy collection. I really don't know which one I like the best. Decisions, decisions!" Usako smiled complacently, and gazed at each plush animal in turn.
Chibi Usa snorted in disgust, "They're both HIDEOUS!"
"You just say that because you don't understand what it is to have refined taste. But one day you'll learn...." Usako sighed, and continued to contemplate the hippo and the pony.
"Actually, it's Mamoru's taste that I can't understand!" Chibi Usa remarked, bitterly.
"What on earth does she mean?" Usako thought. "Oh well, she's always getting worked up over nothing...."
Late in the evening at a popular dessert bar, Usako had just about finished her chocolate sundae and was having trouble finishing it, because I kept making her giggle. I was regaling her with my Kobayashi imitations, you see. After a visit with him, I could never keep a straight face-he has that effect on me.
"Do that again!" Usako giggled. "Show me how Kobayashi asks you for help with his homework!" I could tell that she was pleased and relieved that there was someone who had even more trouble with math than she did.
I scrunched my face into the imploring, hangdog face of Kobayashi, and raised my voice into a wheedling whine. "'But sempai! Please! I know you have reports due tomorrow! But you HAVE to help me with this math homework! You HAVE to! Please!'" In my normal voice, I continued, "Usako, I have no idea how Kobayashi ever conned himself into getting into university. He's always coming to me for advice, and I don't which he is more inept at, math, or girls."
Usako grinned at me mischievously. "And which do you coach him in, Mamo-chan? Math, or girls?"
"Math, of course, the easy one," I grinned back at her. "I still haven't got my B.A. in girls yet, myself! Oh, and speaking of advice, I just wanted to let you know I'll be busy tomorrow afternoon. Saori has asked me for my advice in shopping for a gift for some guy she knows. She says she doesn't know how to choose gifts for guys. Usako, I don't know why everyone comes to me for advice. I'm pretty sure my tastes are a bit unusual, anyway. I could tell, from the way Kobayashi looked over my apartment, that he'd never decorate his place that way."
Usako put her hand on my arm and smiled, "Mamo-chan, everyone knows you have refined tastes. I should know-I have refined tastes too! So it's not surprising if Saori wants your advice too. And I know you'll be very helpful to her, as you always are to me." I got a lump in my throat then, at what she said, and the way she looked at me. I'm damned if I'll ever let on that Usako's idea of refined taste is very different from mine-she can fill our place to the rafters with tacky plush toys and ropes and ropes of beads, for all I care.
On a downtown Tokyo street, a tall slim blond man, wearing a tweed jacket and dress pants, and scholarly glasses as well, all intended to make him look like an English professor, was wending his way towards Saori. As he spotted Saori, "Professor" Tiger Eye leered, and said, under his breath, "There you are, luscious Ms. Goody Two-Shoes!"
Then he began his "bewildered tourist" act, in badly-Japanese-accented English. "Excus-a me!"
Saori, eyes peeling for Mamoru, who was meeting her there for their shopping trip, ignored him completely.
An angry glint appeared in Tiger Eye's eyes, but he mastered his annoyance, and tried harder to sound "English". "EXCUSE meee!" he tried to get her attention again. "What time eees eet now?"
Ahhh, he had said the magic word! He was asking "Seiko" the clock-watcher, the time!! The one pick-up line that might actually cause Saori's head to swivel!
"Seiko" checked her wristwatch, naturally, and replied crisply, "It's 5:30."
At this, "Professor" Tiger Eye dramatically put his hands over his face in horror and said, in English again, "Ohhh myyy Gawd!! Oh no! Is it time? I'm in trouble!!"
In Japanese, Seiko asked him, "What happened?"
And Tiger Eye, in Japanese, moaned, "I was supposed to meet the tour guide, and I'm late. Without the guide, I can't even find the restaurant! NO!!"
Then abruptly, switching moods, the "Professor" removed his hands from his face, and with a calculating glint in his eyes, asked Saori, "What's your name? You are very beautiful! Great! Super! Awesome! Would you mind if I asked you to have dinner with me?" He was laying it on with a trowel. And to a most unresponsive audience, alas.
Saori replied coolly, "Sorry, I'm meeting someone here."
"Professor" Tiger Eye, sounding like his heart was broken forever, moaned in English again, "Ohhh Myyy Gawd!!"
At that moment, I turned up, not having a clue about who the "lost tourist" really was, or even being interested at the time.
Saori wasn't even looking at Tiger Eye, the supposedly lost tourist. She beamed, "Oh, Mamoru!"
"Sorry to keep you waiting," I said politely, though I was right on time, actually. Being "Seiko", as usual, she had arrived early.
"That's OK," Seiko smiled. And we left together for Saori's planned shopping trip.
After we left, Tiger Eye was confronted by his two cronies, sneering at his failed attempt to interest Saori.
"If she's with a man, she's not quite the lonely Ice Queen I took her for," Tiger Eye said, dejected. "I'll have to re-think my strategy."
Hawk Eye snickered at Tiger Eye, "Well, anyway, you looked like..."
"A total nerd!" chortled Fish Eye, finishing the sentence. "You sure weren't a cool dude! It's no wonder she wrote you off as a total weirdo!"
"Shut up!" Tiger Eye hissed, furiously. "Next time, I'll take her by force!" He glared after Saori's retreating back, and if he could, I think the look he was giving me could have singed my hair. But of course, I had no idea that I had just interrupted a "snatch" by one of the infamous Amazon Trio.
Chibi Usa was having a nightmare. In her dream, Mamoru told Usagi he wanted to end their love, because he realized he'd been in love with Saori all along. Usagi was screaming, "No, no, wait, Mamoru!"
But the dream Mamoru just replied, "Please forgive me. Oh, and say hello to Chibi Usa!"
The dream Usagi cried out, "But if we don't get married, Chibi Usa won't be born!"
At this, Chibi Usa woke from her nap with a start, her mouth wide open with horror at the implications. "This is terrible!" She said to herself. "This is the biggest pinch I've ever been in!" She went out into the street, and to her further horror, saw Mamoru and Saori walking side by side down the street, and looking very cozy together.
"No way!" Chibi Usa exploded. Her nightmare, it seemed, had come true. She decided to follow the two, and spy on them. But in doing that, who should she bump into but the jealous Kobayashi, who was also hiding and spying on the couple.
"Hi!" said Kobayashi, looking down at the smaller spy.
Embarrassed, Chibi Usa stammered, "K-K-Konnichiwa!"
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: Konnichiwa means, approximately, "How do you do?" or "Greetings", so I think the closest translation that would imply the formality of what Chibi Usa said, would be "Good afternoon," in this instance. She is using her "Small Lady" manners here, and her father would approve <grin>.]
"So!" cried Kobayashi. "You're watching them too! They look really good together, don't they?" And he sighed wistfully. Do you know what they call them at the university? 'The perfect couple.' And I think they truly are."
Kobayashi and Chibi Usa stood and watched as Mamoru and Saori walked away. "If only Mamoru had an official girlfriend, I would still have a chance. But there's no use hoping for that...." Kobayashi remarked, despondently.
Chibi Usa piped up, "Don't give up! I'm on your side!"
Then, skipping along side Kobayashi, she began shouting, like a tiny cheerleader, "Hooray, hooray for Kobayashi!! Let's go, let's go, Kobayashi!"
But Kobayashi only smiled, a little sadly, and said, "You're a nice kid. I'll see you later." Then, squaring his shoulders, he left alone.
After a moment's thought, Chibi Usa decided on another prong of attack. If Kobayashi was going to give up so easily, maybe she could get Usagi to realize the seriousness of the situation. So she needed to find Usagi. And since Usagi had not yet brought home any plush toys, she knew just where to look for her....
Click here to go to "Seiko - Part 3"