Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Tumultuous Tides ❯ Chapter 4

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Ami looked over at the mirror, the soft swelling around her eye seeming to pulsate in the fluorescent lighting.
"Great!" exclaimed Ami, throwing down her hairbrush into the basin angrily, wincing as she closed her eye slowly, "Just my luck! Had I known that Shingo had so many crazy fan girls I wouldn't have gone in there!"
Deciding not to bother trying to cover the deep bruising around her eye with make-up Ami left the bathroom, her face still deftly showing an image of painlessness even though the swelling was slowly throbbing a dull, gentle rhythm of anger through her face.
"It's Wednesday," sighed Ami as she ticked off another day on the calendar, counting down to her intensive summer courses.
"And Friday I leave for Hillstop Hotel," continued Ami, not knowing whether or not she should be truly happy about the development or not. When she had thought to invite Shingo it had been a spare of the moment idea, something filled with wild, rushing motions and adrenaline. But now, as she poured her cereal into a bowl, Ami's rationality returned to her in full swing.
"I should have just left it and went by myself. Damnit! Why did I want someone so much? I've been perfectly alright on my own for the past three years!" Ami's rage was cold and harsh but it had no fuel to it, so it slowly burnt out as the conflicting emotions seemed to sap at her strength.
Pouring the milk into the cereal Ami bit her lip, she knew why she had wanted to be around someone so much, it was because she had been alone for so long. She knew that she needed somebody; otherwise she'd fall into a trap again, like she did with him, those several months ago.
"Too late now," whispered Ami, dumping a spoon into the cereal, a small amount of milk splashing out of the bowl as she did so, "I'll just to have to deal with it."
Ami slowly ate her cereal as she tried to stop the images from rocking her mind, the images that were so familiar now that they themselves seemed like friends to her and not the characters in them.
"I'd have never pictured Rei and Makoto together," considered Ami glumly, "Usagi's married with a child, Rei and Makoto share a business and a bed, and Minako has her huge career… I have study," sighed Ami as she mixed around her cereal with the spoon, not sure if she really was hungry or not.
"Yeah, study. Study to do what? To spend my whole life not having a life, to just work like my mother," muttered Ami, "But else could I have done?"
Ami pushed another sodden spoonful of cereal into her mouth, "Haruka's a racing champ and Michiru's a world-renowned artist and violinist. What's left for me to do?"
The question had no real answer and Ami knew it. She only ever asked it to try and give what she was doing perspective. She had been studying, even during the long summer breaks, to be a doctor. She was about to finish her course two years early. I should be happy, thought Ami as she finally gave up on the eating the cereal she had made herself.
"What can I do today?" asked Ami to her dim reflection of the window's glass. I probably sound crazy, considered Ami as she thought back to all the conversations she had had with herself over the past three years. At least my answers are intelligent though, argued Ami back, already tired of the incessant battle she had against herself. But intelligent to whom? Ami's teeth clenched together at her own pigheadedness. How am I meant to know?!
"How am I meant to know?" said Ami, staring out at the clear blue sky. I can't go to the beach again, I've been there everyday already, thought Ami watching as the sun beat down on the groups of people wandering the street below her.
"I'll go to the mall," said Ami confidently, a small smile breaking out onto her face as she considered the idea, "That's a very un-Ami-ish thing to do!"
Continuing to smile Ami left the kitchen, swinging into her bedroom and flinging open her cupboard doors. "Not really much choice," Ami tilted her head to the side as she spoke looking at the array of oddly-matched clothing in her cupboard, trying to find something that suited her style now.
"This'll do,' said Ami, picking out a denim skirt and a pink chiffon, lace-up top. Bending down she compared the three pairs of shoes she had access to. Biting her bottom lip she grabbed her black, buckle stilettos.
"Very alternative," she laughed as she surveyed her roughly put-together outfit affectionately.
Pulling off her pyjamas quickly Ami tried her hardest not to look in the mirror. Ami disliked her mirrors these days; they only seemed to lie to the world. She got wolf-whistles from guys nowadays, and it made her sad somewhat. Ami had definitely grown into a womanly figure but she still felt like the short, thin, quiet teenage girl she had always been.
As she ruthlessly pulled on her clothes, only giving her hair a rough shake-out instead of actually brushing it Ami sat on her bed, fighting with the leather of her stilettos as she pushed her heat-swollen feet into them.
"Damn heat," said Ami as she finally got the shoes done-up, standing to look into the mirror as she always inevitably did. The woman who looked back at her wasn't what she wanted. Yes, the clothes were hers from when she had left home at 18 but that described different parts of her body now. The pink chiffon, lace-up top which had before made her feel so sophisticated now made her figure all that more evident to the world. The denim skirt which had previously hung on to her body by the subtle curves of her bum and thighs now hugged at her hips lovingly. The stilettos which had once made her feel elegant and tall now only seemed to showcase how long her legs had gotten.
The look Ami held in the mirror was so different from the one she had always seen at home. When at Uni, Ami had always dressed very old for her years, preferring to hide the curves that made her an ogling item for men but now as she stood back in her old bedroom she suddenly saw the 21-year-old woman she was. Her blue hair was ruffled, somehow seeming to find its own grace in its unwashed exterior. The swelling around her eye was still evident but it only did its job to make Ami look far more dangerous than she could ever be.
"Hello Ami," said Ami to her reflection as she twisted, "You're very different from when I last saw you." Ami considered how she looked now to the way she usually appeared at Uni and then to the vision she had projected to the world when she was only three years younger.
"My, haven't you changed," came the soft voice from Ami's doorway.
Ami flung her body around, slinging her arms across her provocatively exposed chest as protection as she looked into the gentle face of her mother.
"I think you look lovely. My little Ami all grown up now," said her mother kindly as she appraised her daughter's look, "But I don't think the bruised-eye look is still in anymore." Saeko's laughter was soft and sweet as she gently teased her daughter.
"Come on, I'll take a look at it for you," offered Saeko affectionately as she held out an arm for her daughter.
"Its fine, I've already treated it," replied Ami.
"And already a doctor too I see," laughed Saeko again, the slow cascading rhythm of it humming in the room even after she finished.
"Not nearly as close," replied Ami jokingly, walking over and embracing her mother warmly.
"I didn't think you'd be back here this summer," said Saeko, holding her daughter at arm's length.
"I had a week break before I go back for a summer course," replied Ami, suddenly wishing that she wasn't.
"You'll only have one more year left then!" exclaimed Saeko with pride as she gently pushed on the swelling around Ami's eye.
"And you'll have to tell me why you've been getting into fights too," teased Saeko as she walked back to the kitchen, cleaning up the remnants of Ami's breakfast.
"It's a short story masquerading as a long story," said Ami, using the phrase that her father had always written to her.
"Well, how about you tell me while I get something to eat then?" offered Saeko as she pulled down a coffee cup from the shelf.
"I'd like that," replied Ami, a sad smile stretching across her face.
Ami was stalking the streets of the Juban mall as she went into the much familiar shops of her youth, barely paying attention to the gawking from the younger males around her.
Ami was looking at a shirt that in her previous years she would have adored. Looking at the shape of the shirt now Ami knew that the only thing she could accomplish with it was looking like a harlot.
"Mako-Chan!" the voice was Rei's exasperated tone and as Ami turned around she noticed it was hideously close.
"Oh, hi Ami," said Makoto, her eyes going wide as she took in Ami's appearance and much it differed from the small, shy girl that had all known before.
"Hey Mako-Chan, and Rei-Chan," said Ami shyly, dropping the material of the shirt that she had been admiring.
"How've you been?" asked Makoto warily, Rei obviously looking disgruntled at running into Ami.
"I've been…" As Ami's voice trailed she tossed up between telling the truth or creating another falsehood, "I've been pretty…" Ami bit her lip at her indecision, the words coming out without any negotiation from Ami's brain, "I've been pretty bad actually."
Makoto's eyebrows rose, either at Ami's response or at her inability to talk confidently. The uneasiness in Makoto's feature conveyed to Ami her mistake instantly. Makoto hadn't been looking for a conversation; she had just been being polite to Ami. Ami had meant to say that she was pretty good and then the meeting could have petered away and they both could have come across as old friends.
"Ah, sorry," said Ami, not really sure if she should be apologising or not, all she could feel was her own idiocy.
"It's okay," replied Makoto, obviously torn between being kind to Ami or keeping with the act of old friends.
Ami turned to leave; ready to walk out of the shop without a backwards glance but Makoto's arm caught her's as she started to move.
"Ah, if you want to talk Rei and I were just about to get a coffee. You know from the old hangout, Crowns Fruit Parlour," said Makoto, Rei looking very indignant behind her.
"That would be nice," said Ami brightly, amazing herself at how truly happy it made her feel.
"If you want to go ahead of us, we won't be very long," said Makoto, slowly getting sure of herself as Ami's smile stayed in place.
"Sure," said Ami, walking out of the shop.
Ami sat and sipped her coffee. Makoto was telling her all about how successful her and Rei's restaurant had been of late. Ami listened intently, nodding at all the right times and adding small little comments in every now and then. Rei's face turned from indignation to confusing and then to surprise. Ami supposed that Rei hadn't seen her be this animated for the past three years, and Ami felt as if she had recently found more facial muscles as she listened to the trials and tribulations that Makoto and Rei had slowly overcome in their business life.
"What about you Ami?" asked Makoto, obviously enjoying herself as she came to end of her long story about how her and Rei had got started in the restaurant.
"Only one more year left of Uni," said Ami, some sullenness finding its way into her voice as she spoke.
"That's a good thing though isn't it?" laughed Makoto as she took in Ami's face with confused eyes.
"I'm not so sure. I'm going to have peoples' lives in my hands," replied Ami truthfully, amazed at how easy admitting her fear was. The words only took on more emphasis as Ami looked down at her hands, wondering how on earth she could use them to save someone's life.
"You'll be fine. You were made to be a doctor Ami-Chan," said Makoto, giving Ami an encouraging smile.
As Ami described her Uni life to her two friends she felt something shift, as if the past reclusive three years of her life had never really happened the way she saw it. Ami had always seen her old friends as highly successful and that she would somehow be shunned for what she was pursing, but as she sit there detailing the campus that she lived and breathed at Uni she felt as though maybe she had been blinded by her own self-doubt.
Remembering back to the three years of her life she had spent as Sailor Scout, the comfortable, inviting feeling of being so close to someone began to encroach on her self-seclusion.
Ami didn't even look up until a familiar scent tingled in her nose, surprising her as she followed Makoto's and Rei's gaze.
"Hey Shingo," said Rei as she looked at the sandy-haired teenager who was standing oddly beside the table, his eyes clearly focused on Ami.
"Hey, ah, Shingo," said Ami, trying to sound nonchalant but only seeming to sound more idiotic, as a small blush crept up into her cheeks.
"What happened to your eye?" he asked, his voice easily depicting his aghast reaction to the swelling that was blocking majority of her sight.
"Just some girl," replied Ami, trying not to put too much into it, acting as if it were just something that could happen to anybody, any day of the week.
"It looks…" started Shingo, swallowing, unable to finish his sentence.
"Gross?" offered Rei off-handedly as she took in the close proximity that both Ami and Shingo had moved into one another.
Shingo shook his head as if trying to remove the image from it but all it seemed to do was further implant itself there.
Feeling self-conscious Ami looked down, suddenly remembering that she wasn't wearing her usual loose clothing, but her old, more feminine clothing. Ami crossed her arms over her chest, but realising that this action just emphasised her cleavage further she gave chance to just letting her arms drop back down to her sides.
Makoto looked down at her watch, looking startled by the time, "Ah, I'm sorry Ami-Chan but I've got to get back to the restaurant," said Makoto, sounding horribly sincere as she spoke, giving Ami a small smile as she stood up, Rei instantly following her lead.
"Good to see you Ami," said Rei kindly though an edge was still present in her voice.
"Good to see you too Rei-Chan," replied Ami, her hand coming up to give a small wave as the couple left, Shingo taking the seat across from Ami.
Ami looked over at Shingo, seeing the uncomfortable look in his eyes and knowing it was being echoed in hers.
"Ah, I got the weekend off," said Shingo, clearing his voice as he did so, and reminding Ami of Kenji, his father.
"That's great," said Ami, trying to sound truly happy for the event but she could only feel disillusioned as she considered how lovely it had felt to sit with Makoto and Rei again, which only then threw into focus how insatiably attracted she was Shingo.
That's going to be one long weekend, thought Ami as she stared at the table.