Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Tumultuous Tides ❯ Chapter 1
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Ami twisted through the water lithely, barely paying attention to the other bodies close beside her. Her agile movements were undisturbed by the current and the waves, as if she were simply made to be in the water.
Coming up for air, Ami's face shone in the dim sunlight of the fading day. "Ami!" Ami turned her head to see who had called her, her eyes settling on the mature figure of a sandy-haired boy standing a few metres from the water's edge.
"Hey Shingo!" called back Ami, diving back into the water only to surface moments later in the shallower surf.
"Looks like you're celebrating," laughing Shingo, getting the attention of some younger girls in the water.
"Yeah, I aced all my courses at Uni so I thought I might come down here for a swim, you know, my own little treat," grinned Ami happily as she flipped herself over in the water to float on the surface.
"You knew you'd ace them, anyway, where've you been lately? You haven't visited in a while," said Shingo, his eyebrows furrowing, a squeal coming from the small gaggle of girls beside them.
Ami paused; she knew why she hadn't been to see Shingo in awhile, it was because of the unrelenting attraction Ami now felt towards the younger man.
"Well I've been studying like crazy you know, and anyway, you should have been studying for your school-leaving exams anyway," stated Ami, poking her tongue out playfully.
"Nah, they were a synch," shrugged Shingo, smiling down at Ami as she stopped floating and began to relieve herself of the water.
"New bathers?" teased Shingo, giving Ami a wink and thus sending the girls beside them into a swoop of laughter.
Ami looked down at her bikini, it was indeed new but it was nothing flashy. She was a simple kind of girl.
"Only you would notice," teased back Ami, mentally cringing at herself. He's Usagi's younger brother, its wrong!
The only problem being that making it wrong then made it all that more appealing to Ami.
"Anyway, you should come over tonight. Ma's making a roast and Usagi's coming," added Shingo knowing that the fact of Usagi coming to the dinner would make it all that more irresistible to Ami.
"Oh I haven't seen Usagi in so long," sighed Ami knowing that she was going to give in, "Sure, I'll come."
"It's at seven. Maybe bring some of the other girls too?" said Shingo as he turned, starting to walk away but giving her a short wave.
"Sure," whispered Ami to herself as she went and got her towel from the sand. Wrapping it around herself she watched as a few of the girls that had squealed beside them were now not-very-stealthily following Shingo from the beach.
A sharp twang of jealousy threw itself against her insides. You have no right to be jealous. He should date someone his own age.
Ami sighed inwardly, asking herself one very important question; When was it that Shingo changed from being a friend to being something more?
Cringing openly Ami reached down and grabbed her phone instantly dialling Makoto's number.
"Hello?" asked Makoto, her voice fuzzy down the phone.
"Hey Mako-Chan, it's me, Ami," answered Ami, her fingers playing with a longer strand of her hair.
"Oh, hey Ami! How've you been? I heard you aced all your exams. That's awesome." Makoto's voice was all crackly from the connection but Ami could easily hear the surprise in her voice; Ami hadn't talked to Makoto for months.
"Thanks, and I've been good. I called actually to see if you and Rei wanted to go round to Tsukino's tonight for dinner. Shingo invited me and told me to invite some of you girls," said Ami unsure. She was positive she could hear Rei in background saying no but when Makoto answered it was with a positive notion.
"We would love to," said Makoto confidently, the sound of a small scuffle breaking up the other end.
"That's great. It's at seven. It'll be nice to see you both again," said Ami shyly.
"Yeah it will," replied Makoto oddly; Ami was unsure if she really meant it, she knew she had been distant ever since she had left for Uni.
"Well, I'll see you then. Bye," finished Ami, only just hearing the return 'Bye.' before she hung-up.
Sighing Ami again punched in another number, this time Minako's.
"Mina-Chan, the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Style speaking," Mina's voice was overtly loud and sure of itself when she answered.
"Hey Mina-Chan, its Ami," said Ami, picking at a small scratch on her arm.
"Ami…" Minako's voice trailed at the end of the word slightly before picking up it's former pace, "Oh Ami! I haven't spoken to you in months! How did your exams go? I bet you aced them. You always were the smartest girl in the Juban district."
"Yeah, I did alright," said Ami, feeling a little ashamed at how well she had done.
"Oh anyway, what's up?" asked Minako instantly cutting to the chase.
"Well the Tsukino's are having a dinner tonight and Shingo invited me, and asked me to invite some others so I've already got a 'yes' from Mako-Chan and Rei and I was wondering if you could come? It would be great to see you again and catch up," said Ami hurriedly.
"Tonight?" Minako paused, "Sorry I've got a gig tonight."
The answer was short and concise and it made Ami think that Minako was deceiving her.
"Are you sure? I've really missed you," said Ami softly, worried that she might have given all her old friends the wrong idea.
"I'm sure but thanks for the invite. I might be able to see you another time. Just give me a call okay?" Minako didn't wait for an answer as she hung up.
Ami's shoulders slumped as she regretted her decision to have invited any of the girls. She knew that they had been great friends when they were younger but when Ami had left for Uni she had also left them in a way. She knew they all still kept in touch even though Minako was a huge idol now and with Makoto and Rei running their own businesses and Usagi being a mother.
"Stupid Ami," whispered Ami under her breath as she picked up all her things and began to walk to the verge of grass from the beach.
Ami stood in the mirror, twisted oddly, as she tried to inspect the backs of her legs for any rogue hairs that had escaped her shaving.
"Relax Ami," she said to herself as she took a deep breath, trying to calm the fluttering nerves in her stomach that were making her feel as though she were about to throw up.
"Being sick wouldn't help anybody right now," whispered Ami as she tried to swallow back her fear.
Running her hands down the length of her body Ami winced as another sharp pang racked itself through her torso.
"Maybe I should stay home…" winced Ami as she took another look at herself in the mirror. Even though Ami wasn't superficial she knew she looked gorgeous tonight.
"Ergh," Ami crouched down, hoping to ease the cramps but failing, "I have to go."
Taking another deep breath Ami stood up again, swaying slightly but able to keep on her feet.
"You can make it," whispered Ami to herself, realising how insane she sounded talking to herself. For Shingo, thought Ami as she opened her bedroom door and picked up her keys off the counter.
Shingo braced himself, he was anxious. She looked so… perfect today, thought Shingo as he paced in the front room, wringing his hands together.
"Shingo! Stop pacing! You're making Chibiusa upset!" Usagi's voice was hoarse and she sounded unbelievably tired.
"Do you want me to take her for awhile Usako?" asked Mamoru, his arm wrapped tendering around Usagi's shoulders as the small bundle that was Chibiusa continued her hiccup-y cry.
"No, it's fine," resigned Usagi, holding the small bundle as close to her body as possible.
"You look a little uptight darling," commented Ikuko giving Shingo the once-over to check that he was presentable.
"I'm fine," shot back Shingo as he stopped pacing, taking a seat next to Usagi on the lounge.
Mamoru eyed Shingo, taking in the dishevelled hair and the way Shingo was continually wringing his hands.
"So Ami's coming," said Usagi quietly, obviously concerned about her friend.
"Yeah, she said she was," replied Shingo, suddenly unsure of whether she would show up or not.
Shingo jumped slightly as the doorbell rang, instantly on his feet to answer it. Stopping himself for a moment before opening the door Shingo ran through the required conversation in his head, hoping that he didn't make a fool of himself.
Opening the door he was greeted to the faces of Makoto and Rei. Shingo sighed as he welcomed them and let them in, noticing how intimately their arms were entwined.
"Mako-Chan! Rei-Chan!" exclaimed Usagi from the room, causing another small bout of crying from Chibiusa. As he listened to the voices of the girls in the lounge room, Shingo stared at the mirror in the foyer, and was then startled when he heard the soft, clear tones of Ami's voice.
"Don't stare too hard Shingo, you might break the mirror," joked Ami as she walked over the threshold, planting a small kiss on Shingo's cheek.
Shingo tried to remember the words he had thought to himself previously but all the ability to talk seemed to have left him as he scrambled around his brain for something normal to say.
I've got to be witty, thought Shingo, trying to recall a remark for the teasing but failing. It's never this hard with the others, considered Shingo, remembering how easily he seemed to get on with the opposite sex.
"The others are here already," said Ami quietly, standing beside Shingo and looking into the mirror as well.
Shingo took in how easily Ami fit into the picture with him; took in how graceful she looked even when she stood still. We'd fit together perfectly, thought Shingo as he assessed their physical compatibility, noting how she was just the perfect height for him to put his arms around her without it being uncomfortable; how she was just the perfect height for him to bend down and kiss.
"You're nervous," said Shingo knowingly, giving a knowing nod to the lounge room where you could easily hear the three voices of the friends.
"I haven't seen any of them in so long," whispered Ami in reply as she fiddled with her bracelet, not letting her eyes stray up to Shingo's.
"They'll be happy to see you," said Shingo assuredly, hoping that it wouldn't distress Ami too much.
"I'm not so sure," replied Ami with a short, anxious laugh before her face turned back into the nervous mask.
"Usagi was over the moon when I told her you were coming, and you haven't seen Chibiusa yet either," pointed out Shingo as he turned his eyes away from the mirror, afraid of what else he might see.
"Yeah, I feel really bad about that," sighed Ami, her fumbling fingers fiddling with the bracelet, the latch opening, causing it to fall to the floor.
"Oh, damnit!" said Ami exasperatedly as she bent down to pick it up.
Shingo bent down in synchronisation, both his and Ami's fingers reaching the bracelet at the same time. His fingertips only brushed against Ami's but it sent an electric shock through his system. Looking up his face was merely millimetres from Ami's.
If I just leant forward a little, I could kiss her, thought Shingo as they both stood, hunched-over and transfixed in each other's gaze.
"Ami," Minako's voice startled the pair, Ami quickly picking up the bracelet and brushing away Shingo's gaze.
"Mina-Chan, I thought you couldn't make it," said Ami anxiously.
"Rei-Chan called me," said Minako stoutly.
Ami smiled a brief smile and leant in to give a dutiful hug to Minako.
"Mina-Chan!" called out Rei, flinging herself into the blonde's arms enthusiastically, "Oh, it's been so long!"
"Only a fortnight," laughed Minako back as Ami stared at her feet.
"Mako-Chan! Mina-Chan's here!" called out Rei, not noticing Ami as she shrunk against the wall, pulling in closer to Shingo.
"And Ami-Chan too!" exclaimed Makoto as she came round the corner, into the foyer and took in the scene with decisive eyes.
Ami braced herself against each of the hugs as her friends' critical eyes seemed to both gaze over and around her, yet stare deeply into her depths, as if trying to divulge some secret that had kept them apart for so many months.
"All of us back together again," said a tired Usagi happily, for once with empty arms.
Minako, Rei and Makoto all gazed happily at one another while Ami looked to the floor in guilt.
"Come on Ami-Chan, you have to meet Chibiusa," insisted Usagi, putting her arm out for Ami to grab, a bright smile alighting the weary face.
"Sure," said Ami, trying to make her voice sound hearty but to her it just sounded flat.
As Usagi led Ami out of the foyer Ami heard the distinct whisper of Rei, "I wonder how long she's going to stay this time."
Ami bit down on her bottom lip, her eyes tracing the floor's pattern her hand reaching out unconsciously to Shingo's strong form as she passed him.
Shingo watched as Ami left, seeing the small glimmer of wetness around her eyes as she bit her lip. He looked over his shoulder at the three whispering women behind him.
Shingo felt the animosity rear up inside of him as they ruthlessly considered Ami's presence. They're meant to be her friends, damnit! His brow furrowed together as the three women finally realised his presence.
"Come, let's go into the lounge room," said Minako, giving Shingo a small nod as she passed him, her arms both filled with Makoto and Rei. "So what have I missed?" asked Minako as she took the corner, smiling at her two dark-haired friends.
Shingo grimaced, How could they be so cold? He questioned angrily as he kicked his feet back against the wall.
"Shingo, darling," called Ikuko, poking her head around the door to her son.
"I'm coming," said Shingo, giving the wall one final boot as he sighed, glancing into the mirror again and remembering how he and Ami had looked standing side-by-side.
At least she has one friend here, thought Shingo as he rounded the corner into the lounge room.