Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Tumultuous Tides ❯ Chapter 3
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Ami again read over the information in the letter, she couldn't really believe that she had won.
"I was sure that I had done horribly," said Ami as she considered ringing the university and telling them to give the prize to someone else.
Sighing, Ami chucked the letter onto the dining table and walked off as she considered the irony. I win that stupid competition and now I have two free passes to the Hilltop Hotel, except I wouldn't have anyone to take with me if I went! Ami grinded her teeth together angrily as she walked into the bathroom, turning on the hot water and letting it run over her hands.
It's not like I could invite any of the girls, considered Ami, If Michiru and Haruka were still in town I could have probably given them the passes.
"Damnit!" exclaimed Ami in her annoyance, banging her hands against the basin. Feeling angry at herself she felt a few tears well in her eyes as she crouched down, the water still running in the basin and her hands still gripping the side of it.
Turning her head to the side her eyes strayed the bin she had yet to empty, the rough, pink packaging of the home pregnancy test staring right into her face.
"Damn him!" shouted Ami, swinging her arm down to knock over the bin in frustration as she thought back to how much shame and disappointment that one night those few months ago that had since haunted her with.
Collapsing onto the floor, Ami lay down, closing her eyes as she listened to the water splash in the basin, reminding her of the sound of the ocean.
"I wish I were a mermaid," whispered Ami tiredly as she yawned, her mind instantly taking her back to her swim with Shingo only a few hours previously…
Shingo pulled back, looking intensely into Ami's eyes as if trying to ask her a question and give her an answer all in the same instance.
Ami turned away, she didn't want to see the questions, she didn't want to give Shingo the answers that he desired.
Ami moved to the leave the water and Shingo didn't stop her as he let his arms drop to his side, his body bobbing slowly in the water as the swells grew in size.
"Ami…" started Shingo as Ami pulled herself out of the water and onto the rocking landing.
"We don't have to talk about this Shingo. We just… We made a mistake," whispered Ami, every fibre in her body hating the words as she spoke them.
"Please, Ami," whispered back Shingo, finally reacting and grabbing a hold of one of Ami's hands, causing her too look away shamefully.
"Please don't Shingo; you don't want me," said Ami, speaking the words forcefully, not comprehending just how much Shingo would understand in them.
"I do," said Shingo obstinately, sounding remarkably like Usagi as he did so.
"Shingo," pleaded Ami, trying to loosen his grip, trying to pull away even though those two words had sent a rash pounding of glorious adrenaline through her system that she instantly recognised. She knew that feeling now; it was the same as the night when she had been with 'him'; the one she could no longer speak of.
"I'm sorry Ami," murmured Shingo, instantly letting go of her arm.
Ami bit her lip, the adrenaline coming to a stand still as he let her go. "I'm sorry too Shingo," whispered Ami as she finished her climb and stood up, not taking a backwards glance as she left Shingo in the water…
Ami shivered. So close, she thought as she pushed herself up to a sitting position, turning her head upwards to stare out at the dimming light of Juban.
"I wish…" murmured Ami as she bowed her head, "I wish I was 14 again. I wish I could back to the start. I just want to be that smart girl again. I want…" Ami sighed, "I want to sit at Rei's temple at Homework Club and eat some of Mako-Chan's food, and then joke with Minako about the latest idol gossip."
Pushing herself up into standing, Ami slowly turned off the tap, leaving the remnants from the bin still scattered on the floor, too scared she might have to look at that pink packaging again.
Walking out of the bathroom Ami picked up her coat again, the feeling of Déjà vu strong in her body as she grabbed her keys off the counter, focusing on making the drive to the Tsukino's house.
Ami wasn't sure if Usagi would be here, she did live with Mamoru now after all, but she wanted to go back there and to see Usagi in that house; see Usagi sitting on the lounge reading a comic book as always.
Ami hesitantly knocked on the door, her throat constricting her air as she heard the evident voice of Shingo from the lounge room.
I shouldn't be here, thought Ami suddenly as the thought of Shingo answering the door made her want to run away, but before she could move the door was already flung open by Minako.
"Ami-Chan," said Minako slowly as Usagi appeared, holding the small Chibiusa behind her.
"Ami-Chan!" exclaimed Usagi happily, though her eyes wore a deep sadness for her friend.
Minako stood the side, obviously waiting for Ami to cross the threshold but the distant sound of Shingo's voice paused a distraught look on Ami's face.
"Ah, were you just leaving Mina-Chan?" asked Ami unsure of what she was actually doing.
"Usagi and I were just going to take Chibiusa for a walk was all," replied Minako hesitantly.
"That sounds like fun, would you mind if I tagged along?" Ami knew her voice sounded incredibly fake but she couldn't seem to inject any real happiness into it; it seemed real happiness had evaded her for some time.
"Sure," said Usagi brightly as she walked out past Minako and onto the front porch.
Minako pursed her lips at Usagi but followed suit, closing the door behind her, clearly not hiding the small scowl that was a-lighting her facial features.
Usagi placed Chibiusa's small hiccupping form into Ami's arms as she grabbed the parked pram from beside the table, adjusting the straps.
Usagi hummed as she worked with the pram, the role of mother seeming to come so easily to her while Ami stared incredulously at the little bundle in her arms.
Minako stood behind Ami, gauging her old-friend's actions.
Usagi turned back to smile at Ami, taking Chibiusa from her arms gently and placing her in pram, motioning for her friends to start walking ahead of her, "Tally-ho!" cried out Usagi cheerfully, causing a small hiccupped laughing-sound from Chibiusa.
Ami tried to think of something to say as they began to work but the words she had been planning on speaking were stuck back in her throat as if Minako's sheer presence had shaken her resolve.
What was I going to say? Questioned Ami to herself as she took each step slowly, eventually falling back Minako and Usagi as they chattered about Minako's work and career.
"How about you Ami-Chan?" asked Minako back to her, obviously referring to her and Usagi's conversation that Ami had been tuning out.
"What was that sorry?" asked Ami sheepishly, receiving a short, un-approving look from Minako.
"I was asking what had brought you back to town?" stated Minako, her eyes angry and overpowering, causing Ami to shrink back slightly.
"Just have a break from study," replied Ami shyly, her voice betraying her anxiety as it swayed up and down in volume.
"So how many more years do you have left now?" asked Minako scathingly, as she turned her face back to follow the path.
"Only one more," replied Ami sullenly as the pathway to the future then seemed to open up to her; and she realised it was a very bleak and lonely future ahead.
"But what about you Mina-Chan? I haven't heard much from you lately?" asked Ami, suddenly desperate for some sort of information to link her to her past life, if only it were a scrap.
"Well I've got a new movie coming up so that should be fun," replied Minako lazily, her tone of voice becoming more inviting.
Ami took the lead, "Oh, it does sound exciting. Where is it filming?" asked Ami as her pace picked up to stand in between Minako and Usagi.
Minako looked taken aback by Ami's enthusiasm but adjusted herself to the change quickly.
"Hillstop, you know that rich, little town on the mountains. I start filming next Monday," said Minako calmly, her eyes hesitantly looking down at Ami.
Ami stopped walking slowly. Hillstop Hotel… Minako's filming at Hillstop next Monday… The weekend away is this weekend…
Usagi and Minako stopped briefly after Ami, wondering what on earth had gotten into their old friend.
As Ami looked to her two friends' faces it dawned on her in all its harsh reality that she couldn't take either of them to Hillstop, neither could she take Rei or Makoto.
"I'm sorry, I just forgot something that I needed to do," said Ami rashly before she turned around and took off running, leaving behind Usagi's bewildered, sullen face and Minako's cold, un-accepting one.
I can't change the past! I don't know why I even bothered trying! Ami's voice was angry in her head as she ran, collapsing on the closest bench she saw.
The blood pounded angrily in her head, but Ami didn't know who she was angry at anymore; all her anger had just combined and let her without and outlet.
Shingo would come with me… The thought was ideal for the situation but with the idea came the infused vision of her and Shingo in a single hotel room with a whole weekend together in a day spa. The vision both terrified and excited her.
Shingo was used to the attention he received from the girls now, so it didn't surprise him at all when a tall, blonde came up and started to chat to him about the newest war game released.
Shingo's mind was barely aware of the conversation or of why such a beautiful girl would want to talk about war games anyway.
"So what do you think?" asked the tall blonde, Shingo looking over her shoulder to the clock that still insisted on reading 3.30pm.
"Sorry, ah… I've got to do something," said Shingo, going into the back office of the Crown Game Centre.
Shingo didn't look back as the girl pouted; his only thoughts were filled with Ami as he considered the possibility that she could be sitting just across the street from where he was working.
Why is she here? Asked Shingo to himself, not finding any reasonable answer in his head as the adrenaline pounded recklessly through his system.
Shingo headed to the office window that faced out to the street to find the image of Ami no longer seated at the bench but walking towards the sliding doors of the Crown Game Centre.
Shingo walked back out to the counter as the shy figure of Ami slowly wove its way around the bundles of people standing about in the open area.
Shingo held his breath as Ami finally looked up and caught his eye, a bright smile gracing her lips as if she were seeing the sun for the first time in her life.
Why does she have to look at me like that? Thought Shingo as his stomach preformed somersaults.
"Hey Shingo," said Ami shyly, the smile fading slowly as she played with the paper between her fingers, Shingo instantly recognising the writing from the letter he had opened when at her apartment last.
"Hey Ami," replied Shingo, trying to make sure his voice didn't rise oddly at the end as the memory of Ami's lips against his again rocked his mind.
"I was just wondering if I could ask you something. I mean, I know you're at work right now but I just… I just wanted to ask you…" Ami's words trailed as her suddenly bright idea now seemed to dim before her.
"Ask me what?" said Shingo trying to coax Ami into continuing her request as her eyes seemed to sadden.
"It's just, I won this competition at the Juban University and the first prize was a weekend away at Hillstop Hotel with a day spa pass and free voucher for the restaurant and it says I can bring one friend along and well, I was thinking you might like to come with me," said Ami in a rush as she crumpled the paper somewhat in her nervous fingers.
"That sounds great," said Shingo enthusiastically, unthinkingly taking Ami's hands as he did so.
Ami seemed to flinch back slightly but she allowed the accidental touch just before an icy voice came from behind her.
"Oh excuse me! I was waiting to talk to Shingo!" Ami turned around to see the angrily contorted face of a tall, blonde girl wearing something that could only be considered clothing to a harlot.
Ami seemed to shrink back, but Shingo still held her hand tightly so she could only move back slightly as the blonde girl tried to tower over her.
"I'm sorry, I can't talk right now, I'm helping out a customer," said Shingo decisively, the blonde girl looking shocked and storming out with a few of her friends behind her.
"Sorry about that," said Shingo as he looked down at his and Ami's hands, "What were you saying about a day spa?" he teased.
"Like you wouldn't know," teased back Ami, but without her usual lustre.
If only you knew, thought Shingo as he sighed, "I'd love to go with you Ami. When is it anyway?" he asked.
"This weekend; we leave on Friday afternoon and get back late Sunday night," said Ami suddenly realising just how impossible it sounded considering that Shingo worked at the Crown Game Centre almost every day that she knew.
"I'll have to talk to the manager but I'm sure he'll let me get it off, even if it is really short notice. I've bent over backwards for him before so I'm sure he'll agree," said Shingo happily, the joy seeming to swell in his chest somewhere and find its way through his veins to all the parts of his body.
Ami smiled, happy that she could at least give Shingo a little something back for being her friend for so long.
"Ah, how are we getting there?" asked Shingo suddenly, realising that his car was still in the shop and not knowing if Ami had her own car or not.
"I just got a new car so it should be able to make the trip," joked Ami suddenly seeming light-headed at the very real idea of being alone with Shingo for a whole weekend.
No going back now, coaxed Ami to herself as her doubts tried to shake her resolve, but only seeming to flutter against the joy that was now winding itself through her limbs and bringing back an unfamiliar flush to her cheeks that she hadn't felt in so long.
Ami's hands crumpled the paper as Shingo's manager came out, asking him to help unload the newest delivery.
Saying goodbye Ami felt a giddiness inside of her that strongly reminded her of the feeling she used to get just before a battle; it was a kind of uneasy readiness that made your senses sharper and your wits quicker.
Sighing Ami turned to leave; walking straight into the tall, blonde who she had thought had left before.
"What do you think you're doing you blue-haired freak?" asked the girl, a grimace on her face as she spat down at Ami.