Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Tumultuous Tides ❯ Chapter 6
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Ami paced in the Tsukino's living room as Usagi sat quietly with Chibiusa in her arms on the lounge. Biting her nails, Ami's footfalls stepped out a rough beat as she anxiously waited for Shingo to return home from work so that they could leave for Hillstop Hotel.
You're fine, just breathe Ami, just breathe, urged Ami, repeating the words over and over as she listened intently for the sound of Shingo's motorbike.
"When will you be back?" asked Usagi as she burped Chibiusa.
"Late Sunday night," replied Ami mechanically as her pacing came in shorter and shorter strokes so that it appeared she were walking in an incredibly tight circle.
"Hillstop Hotel is a pretty fancy place. Mamo-Chan has promised to take us there when Chibiusa is a little bit older. So, how did you get a booking there?" asked Usagi, her eyes watching outside the window for any movement.
"I didn't get a booking. I entered a competition through Juban University about three months ago and first prize a weekend away at the Hillstop Hotel," replied Ami, biting the inside of her cheek as she spoke.
"Oh," said Usagi as she considered this new information, "What're you and Shingo planning on doing there?"
Ami paused, obviously thinking about her answer before she started pacing again, "I don't know, they've got great pool and spa facilities, and it's close to the beach. Or there are some tennis courts and mini golf. You can get a massage or do Tai Chi. There's a small feudal village close by that you can explore, or there's mountain trails you can walk on."
Ami had read the brochure before she came and memorized all the activities it had stated, hoping to consult with Shingo about them so as to reinforce the idea of them just being 'friends'.
That damn kiss, thought Ami angrily as her pacing faltered, If that kiss had never happened we'd just be able to relax like normal.
Ami hated to admit it but she had thought about that kiss more often that was really necessary, and thought about Shingo's body far more than was appropriate.
He's a friend, he's a friend, he's a friend… The mantra rattled through Ami's brain so loudly that she barely heard the evident sound of Shingo's motorbike as he pulled into the driveway.
Usagi stood up expectantly, switching Chibiusa over in her arms. Ami didn't stop pacing; instead her legs seemed to move faster as Usagi walked over to the front door and opened it wide for Shingo to come in.
"Thanks sis," said Shingo happily, causing Ami's pacing to stop abruptly, her right foot still raised in the air as if she were going to step again.
"Sorry to keep you waiting Ami-Chan, one of the younger employees got sick," said Shingo, the appraising smile holding none of the lustre that Ami was expecting.
Ami smiled back; the pure, fun smile that she had always reserved for Shingo in the past years.
"Okay, we'll we better get going then," said Shingo, the words helping Ami to move forward towards the door more as he grabbed his suitcase which he had left in the hall before work.
"Aren't you going to wait for Mama and Pa?" asked Usagi, her eyes bulging slightly as she spoke.
"I've already said goodbye to them," replied Shingo, a quizzical look on his face. "Don't worry so much Usagi, you'll go grey," teased Shingo as he bent down to give Chibiusa a small kiss on her nose before doing the same to Usagi.
Usagi scowled at the action but didn't say anything further.
Ami stood silently; still unsure of whether her body was working the way it was supposed to.
"Okay, well you two have fun. Try out some of the fun activities for me," said Usagi, trying to eject some enthusiasm into her voice.
Ami smiled uneasily as she took in Shingo's form, biting her bottom lip as she walked forward and over the threshold.
"Tell Ma and Pa I'll see them soon," said Shingo, as he left, suitcase in one hand and the other used to close the door; Usagi's concerned face slowly disappearing from view.
Ami stared at the road, trying to fight the urge to turn her head and look at Shingo who was thoughtfully gazing out the passenger window as if he were trying to memorize the scenery that was whizzing past them. Ami bit her bottom lip; they were only half way to Hillstop Hotel and neither of them had said a word since entering the car.
Taking a quick darting glance at Shingo, Ami noticed how at ease he was with the whole situation, even though Ami was obviously uncomfortable. Trying to put the memory of Shingo kissing her out of her mind Ami watched as the traffic zipped past her, face after face after face. Ami tried to search them but the movement of the cars were too quick for Ami to get any conceivable knowledge from the faces.
Feeling her eyes droop slightly Ami fought to suppress a yawn as her obvious weariness began to slowly but surely enter her mind.
We'll be there soon, I promise, thought Ami to herself as she turned the steering wheel gently, trying to imitate Haruka's style of driving.
"You look a little tired Ami, you sure you don't want me to drive the rest of the way?" asked Shingo suddenly, Ami not even having noticed that his focus had moved from the scenery outside.
Ami considered it, on one hand she didn't really want to have to sit in the passenger seat with nothing to occupy her, scared of what might occur, but on the other hand she also didn't feel like continuing to drive, she felt as though she had already been doing far too much of it.
"Ah…" said Ami, still undecided.
"Pull over and I'll take the wheel," said Shingo, settling the matter like only a man could.
Ami pulled over, not sure if the action had rational thought attached or not.
Shingo got out of the car and stretched, moving around the front of it where Ami still sat in the driver's seat. Ami slowly opened the door, pushing it as wide as it could possibly go and stepping out. Shingo held out a hand for Ami to grab but Ami used the frame of the car as support instead. The action didn't seem to affect Shingo's apparent happiness or ease about the situation.
How on earth could he be so calm? Thought Ami as she walked around the front of the car and turned to sit in the passenger side.
Closing the door, Ami's hands fumbled with the seatbelt embarrassingly, Shingo's instantly reaching over to help her.
Damn it Ami! She exclaimed to herself in agitation. Ami didn't want to admit to herself why she was so jumpy but she couldn't fight it any longer. She was terrified of being along with Shingo; really alone. She felt more attraction for Shingo than for any other man she had ever met and that signalled danger to Ami. She was even more attracted to him then the one before, the one who might have helped her destroy her own life.
Ami fidgeted as Shingo expertly drove off and onto the highway again, one hand resting on his thigh, the other lazily on the bottom of the wheel as he hummed to himself.
Ami felt her stomach rear-up. It wasn't just Shingo she was afraid of, she was afraid of what could happen if she gave into her own temptation. Ami had never really been one for redemption, but then again, she never had to use redemption before but now it seemed that it might be a very real idea.
Ami knew that you were supposed to wait until you were married until you had sex, but all logic had gone out the window with the other, and Ami felt that same uncontrollable urge when she looked at Shingo.
But Shingo isn't like him, is he? Questioned Ami as she considered her friend. Ami knew the word 'friend' didn't really apply because it meant some kind of intimacy and Ami hadn't truly had that with anyone for a long time. But he was a friend to her; he always called her, every week, too make sure everything was okay. He always visited when he could and would forever encourage Ami to visit.
I remember back to when he was only young, back when I was a Scout and I saved him from drowning, thought Ami, letting her mind take her back and give her a reprieve from the impossible tension she felt inside. Even then, and afterwards, he was a friend, considered Ami as her own weariness slowly got the better of her and melted away her tension into unconsciousness.
Ami's eyelids fluttered as she slowly awoke from her brief sleep, taking a look at the still relaxed form of Shingo as he effortlessly wove around the tight mountain roads as if they were nothing.
"Where are we?" asked Ami groggily as she pushed herself up into a more comfortable position, her eyes catching glimpses of lights slightly obscured by the growth of the forest on either side.
"Not far from Hillstop now," replied Shingo happily as he sung along to a song on the radio. Ami's eyebrows drew together realising that Shingo must have only turned the radio on when she was asleep.
"Thank goodness," sighed Ami as she sunk back into the comfortable, rich leather of the seats, taking in a deep breath.
"You must have been really tired," stated Shingo, looking hesitantly over at Ami as she bundled herself on the seat, her arms wrapping around her bent legs and holding them close to her torso.
"Why do you say that?" asked Ami, trying not to let a yawn escape her mouth as Shingo took another corner with ease.
"You were like the living dead," laughed Shingo as Ami kept her eyes on the road ahead of her, looking for any indication on the twisted, winding road that they were close to Hillstop, but there seemed barely any room between the car and forest at all; definitely not enough room for a sign to be visible.
"Yeah, I get like that sometimes," laughed back Ami, feeling a sense of ease come over her, something that Shingo had always been able to bring with him whenever Ami was around him.
"It was quite unsettling actually," said Shingo thoughtfully as the forest on the left side of the car disappeared, only to be replaced by an immense wall of rock.
"They cut this road right through the mountain?" questioned Ami as her eyes skimmed passed the shimmery face of the rock as the stars and moon were reflected by it.
"Yeah, this is a new road. It used to go right around it be apparently it was too precarious," said Shingo, shocking Ami with his knowledge of the road.
"Have you been here before Shingo?" asked Ami, trying to remember back if Shingo had ever mentioned visiting Hillstop before.
"Only once, about several months ago actually," said Shingo sheepishly.
"What for?" queried Ami, wondering what on earth Shingo could have wanted with Hillstop. Hillstop was a reputable, high-class society but most of the town was herald to the old feudal village, a place where olden-day movies were often filmed.
"For an audition," murmured Shingo, obviously a little put-out by the conversation.
"You went for an audition?" asked Ami, a little shocked by his response.
"Yeah, and I almost got it to, until they realised I was only 18." Shingo's voice seemed to pick up slightly as he spoke, "I mean, they said they loved the way I acted and that I would have been sure to get the role if I hadn't been so young. They said they were looking for someone older."
Ami blinked at the sudden onslaught of information and the joy that it seemed to give Shingo as he spoke about it.
"You want to be an actor?" questioned Ami, the words seeming incredulous on her tongue as soon as she spoke them.
"Not just an actor, a performer, of any type really," replied Shingo, a little half-heartedly as he assessed Ami's reaction.
"Well that's a very good aspiration at least," said Ami confidently, hoping to reassure the now uncertain Shingo.
"Yeah, I mean it's nothing like being a doctor and saving people's lives or anything but I think it's a little bit special," replied the suddenly shy Shingo.
Ami turned back to the passenger window and watched as the scenery slowly morphed before her eyes.
Ami took in how the rock slowly turned back into forest, and then the forest gently changing into a small grazing area with flocks of sheep as far as she could see in the dim light.
Ami sighed as she saw the dim outline of the old feudal houses, the moon shining down on the old stones that held them together, and the wind rocking the old wooden doors and windows in their frames.
"It's so much like a fairytale here," sighed Ami as the old village was taken over by newer buildings, all much like the European homes that Ami had seen on her travels in England.
"I know, it's all so beautiful," replied Shingo with the same awe as he too took in the morphing surroundings.
Eventually the houses gave way to shops, a marketplace and a huge garden right in the middle of the town.
"You could almost believe in all the stories you are told when you're young when you come here. It's almost possible to believe that magic can happen," whispered Ami sighing, unintentionally leaning over to Shingo as she said it.
"Sometimes that's all it takes," murmured Shingo, reaching out to place an arm around Ami's shoulders.
Ami didn't push away the touch even though she knew it wasn't the kind of motion that a friend would make.
It's like a friend's touch but different, thought Ami, remembering back to her past experiences. It's like the other's touch but more familiar.
As Ami contemplated Shingo, Shingo was slowly making his way through the sprawling town to the very top of the mountain where sat the glorious Hillstop Hotel, renowned for its beauty and enchantment.
Just like a fairytale, thought Shingo as he put his foot on the brake, progressing up to the Hotel slowly.
Ami turned to look at the huge, gracious building ahead of them, looking more like a castle than any type of hotel she had ever seen.
"Is that it?" asked Ami, her mouth dropping open slightly in awe as she took in the sheer abundance of the building and how skilfully it was perched right on the edge of the mountain top.
"Yeah," sighed Shingo as he placed two hands on the wheel and started the ascent to the hotel's entrance.
"Ah, one question, where do we park the car?" asked Ami as looked up to the entrance of the building, the huge looping road showing no ulterior route.
"You'll see," laughed Shingo as he manoeuvred the car around the tight corners, Ami watching as his muscles flexed with each turn.
"It's beautiful," sighed Ami, unthinkingly speaking her thoughts aloud as she studied Shingo's profile in the moonlight.
"Yeah, it is," said Shingo, obviously thinking Ami meant to the hotel.
Ami blushed and moved back into her seat as Shingo pulled the car to standstill just in front of the doors and even though it was obviously late, two smartly clad men were instantly at their doors, opening them.
"Welcome to the Hillstop Hotel," said the men in synchronisation.