<commercial break; Ami, Greg and Urawa skating, they trip over Ami’s computer>
The next day basically began like any other. If you ignored the fact that Urawa had been waiting by her locker in the morning, so Ami hadn’t gone inside right away. And also the fact that he approached her at lunchtime, to be thwarted by the timely arrival of Usagi.
Ami supposed she would have to deal with the situation before too long. But the memory of Urawa’s kiss still lingered in her mind, the whole experience still rather upsetting. So she didn’t want to seem too available, fearing he might take that as reason to continue.
Plus she still hadn’t determined what to say. If he was still waiting at her locker the next morning… then… then they would have a chat…
He came after her at the end of classes as well though; Ami saw him approach through the crowded hall after the bell. With Usagi in detention and Makoto nowhere in sight, it looked like they would have to speak.
Ami wasn’t sure what to do… she hurried out of the school ahead of Urawa, but a quick glance showed him following her. It wasn’t time for juku yet, so she couldn’t use that as an excuse… how could she…
Ami suddenly caught sight of a red bow by the exit to the school grounds. Minako? Ami hurried over.
“Minako! What chance, could you walk with me?” Ami asked.
Minako paused. “Ami… hi… actually, I was sort of waiting for someone else.”
Ami glanced behind her again. “Please… I’m- I’m trying to avoid Urawa at the moment,” she implored. “He may not interrupt when there’s two of us.”
Minako frowned slightly then shrugged. “Oh, all right, let’s go to the Crown Cafe then.”
The two girls hurried off and another glance showed Urawa was not following. Ami breathed a slight sigh of relief and Minako looked at her quizzically.
“So why are you avoiding your old flame, Ami?” Minako asked.
Ami pursed her lips. “There’s issues… with us. I’m not ready to talk with him at the moment,” she answered.
Minako nodded as the two girls walked into the Cafe and took a seat, ordering drinks. “Okay… guess I won’t pry then. For the moment anyway,” Minako said with a smile. “Unless you want me to,” she reassured.
Ami shook her head slightly. “I’m… working it out. I’m just glad you happened along when you did.”
Minako nodded and took a sip of her drink as it was served to her. “Actually, I was looking to run into Greg,” she admitted. “Can you believe it’s been over two days and he hasn’t called yet?” Minako shook her head. “I must be losing my touch or something…”
Ami gripped her cup slightly tighter. Of course, Greg. Why else would Minako have dropped by the school?
So he hadn’t called yet. Was that good? Or was that just Greg being Greg? Ami paused, suddenly realizing what an opportunity had been presented to her.
She took a sip of her drink to compose herself then came out with it. “S-so where do you know Greg from then?” Ami asked, trying to sound nonchalant.
“Hm?” Minako looked up. If she noticed Ami’s slight anxiety she gave no sign. “Oh, of course,” she said, nodding. “It was… about two years ago, I guess… we met back in England, he was visiting there. He certainly gets around doesn’t he!” She smiled.
“Anyway, he was there for a period of about six months, and we went to the same school. He was fairly popular then too, but never wanted to go out with anyone, didn’t hang around much… always seemed to keep to himself. Of course, he couldn’t resist me though,” Minako noted, twirling a strand of hair in her fingers, grin broadening.
“So… he asked you to go out with him?” Ami prompted, uncertainly.
Minako titled her head slightly then shrugged. “Well, no, more the other way around I suppose,” she admitted. “But I wouldn’t take no for an answer. I mean come on, everyone has to get out sometime, it’s only natural – I mean, even you’ve been out with Urawa. Not that I’m exactly comparing the relationship,” she added.
“We talked, and he eventually agreed to give a relationship a trial run for three months, with a possible extension. So we went out… didn’t really get intimate or anything but still had fun together. Then after the three months…”
Minako frowned slightly. “He broke it off,” she divulged. She took another sip from her glass, shaking her head. “And our breakup was sort of weird, too…”
“I suppose you know what day this is?” Minako said with a smile. She and Greg had gotten together in the park that afternoon at her request.
“Umm… National secretary’s day?” Greg joked, smiling at her.
Minako rolled her eyes. “No you goof, we’ve been going out for three months now to the day,” she corrected. “And I want you to admit you’ve been enjoying yourself.”
Greg nodded to her. “All right. I admit I’ve enjoyed myself.”
“See? This relationship stuff isn’t so bad,” Minako asserted.
Greg nodded. “Maybe we can do it again sometime.”
Minako smiled then paused. “Sometime? Uhhh… why not now?” she proposed.
Greg turned away slightly. “The agreement was for three months,” he reminded her. “It’s been three months. It was nice, but… I’d rather not pursue anything further.”
Minako blinked at him. “Why not? Do you have to leave or something? Is there someone else? Did I say something wrong? What…?” her voice trailed off.
Greg shook his head. “I am leaving in a while, but that’s not it. There’s no one else. It’s not you. It’s just me. I… I can’t do this any more,” he stated. “I’m sorry. Thanks for a wonderful three months,” he finished, starting to walk away.
“W- wait a minute!” Minako shouted, grabbing him by the shoulder to stop him. “What are you talking about? Just ‘thanks, sorry, see you later’? That’s hardly an explanation…!”
Greg shrugged. “It’s the only one I really have right now. Best hopes for the future.” He began to move off again.
“So that’s it?” Minako stared. “Not even a goodbye kiss or anything?”
“I’m not worthy of that,” Greg called out as he walked, without even turning around. “Sorry,” he repeated.
Minako opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, trying to figure out what to say.
“You’re crazy!” she finally shouted out after him. “What, love just isn’t in your vocabulary any more? Is it impossible for you to care about a girl?”
There was no reply. Greg disappeared around a corner.
Minako shook her head again. “Anyway, he left England a while after that; went home I think. I didn’t reflect on it too much at the time… and well, soon after came Artemis and…”
Minako paused to make the “V” sign on her forehead. “So I basically forgot about him. But now to see him again… I don’t know, sort of like fate, don’t you think?” Minako concluded.
She downed the rest of her drink as Ami shrugged in reply. “What do you think about him?” Minako finally inquired.
Ami blinked. “Oh, he’s… interesting,” she admitted. “Still seems to keep his thoughts to himself…,” she said, calmly as she could.
Minako quirked an eyebrow. “Uh huh. So I don’t suppose you’d have an address for him then…?” she continued hesitantly.
Ami stared into her half empty cup. Well, she’d told Usagi and Makoto… and it was really only a matter of time before Minako and Rei would find out anyway. She glanced around briefly to be sure no one else was within earshot.
“Actually, don’t tell anyone but… he’s… he’s staying with me…,” Ami murmured, quietly.
Minako raised both eyebrows. “He is, is he?” she intoned. “Well, well… I guess that puts a different spin on things… is this what Usagi meant last week – talking about you and him?”
Ami shook her head. “She only found out yesterday… my dad made the arrangements when he was in Canada and I didn’t find out until after,” Ami explained. “So he’s in our guest room.”
Minako nodded and looked at her empty glass. “Hm. I can’t seem to think of a delicate way of putting this…,” she mused aloud. “But basically… Ami, are you thinking of going out with him then?”
Ami blushed visibly. “I… n- no, I don’t think so… I mean… I don’t know…,” Ami stammered.
Minako sighed. “All right, let me try putting it this way… would you have objections to me going out with him? I can back off if you like. I guess I just assumed that you and Urawa…”
Ami stared, speechless. “You… want to date Greg again?” she finally forced out.
‘Now what do I do?’ her inner voice cried out.
“Maybe,” Minako said, non-committally. “After all, never give up, right? Plus it would be better than dealing with the guy who arrived at my school…,” she paused and shook off the thought with a slight frown. “Anyway – as I say, if that bothers you though…”
Ami shook her head, perhaps a little too quickly. “N- no, that’s… okay. I mean, that would be more Greg’s decision anyway, wouldn’t it? I- I don’t have any claim. Why should I mind?”
Yes, why should she mind? Greg might prefer Minako anyway… he could have been shy in the past. Then, if he was out of the picture, perhaps things could return to how they were before, with her and Urawa. And life would be back to normal.
Ami frowned. Somehow… somehow it didn’t seem that simple though. If only… if only she was sure what she FELT.
Ami realized she was clutching her cup tightly and forced herself to stop. She smiled back at Minako. “It’s okay,” she reiterated, hoping both that she believed it… and that her statement wouldn’t complicate things. “At the moment,” she added, almost as an afterthought; just to have a safety barrier.
Minako stared at her for a minute or two then shrugged. “Er… all right then,” she concluded.
Ami nodded as she finished off her beverage. A change of topic was probably in order. “So, who is it who arrived at your sch…,” she began, but her voice trailed off when she happened to glance at her watch.
“Uh oh,” she moaned, interrupting her own thought. “If I don’t hurry I’ll be late for juku! Th- thanks for the chat, Minako, I’ll see you around later!” she finished, hurriedly.
Minako smiled as Ami stood. “I’ll be around,” she answered. The two girls exchanged goodbyes and Ami hurried on her way.
Ami peeked out of the seminar building, but Urawa was nowhere to be seen. It almost surprised her, and she wondered if she should be pleased or not that he seemed to have given up.
It didn’t really please her. Now she felt guilty for not talking with him earlier.
Ami shook her head as she walked home. Well, tomorrow morning then, they’d talk… because despite what he did, she certainly didn’t want to lose him. Especially if Greg and Minako got to talking and… well… no, she was overreacting. She hoped.
Did saying that she didn’t care who Greg went out with mean that she didn’t like him? Had she said that? Ami frowned. Geez, she had to stop thinking about this situation so much! What would be, would be, right?
She turned her attention to the class she’d just been at and tried musing over the new mathematical notation they’d been taught. Her thoughts on that subject lasted a full five minutes… until she turned the final corner, looked up and saw Urawa waiting outside her house.
“Ami… please don’t run…,” he beseeched her. Ami stood nervously, then slowly approached. Somehow she felt like she couldn’t have run even if she’d wanted to.
“Ami,” Urawa started, “you’ve been avoiding me. I can sort of understand that given how I acted – but please understand I REALLY didn’t mean for it to come out like it did… or for it to upset you like that…” He paused, and Ami nodded. Words were trying to form on her lips, but they weren’t coming out.
Urawa pressed on. “I probably wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for the fact that I’m worried I’m going to lose you; plus I guess you were partially right… in my mind we never completely broke up. You know I’ve regretted what happened and if I’d only seen this in the future, I never would have let it happen. So to hear this stuff about Greg now, it’s… distressing.”
Urawa suddenly paused as if considering something.
“And there is one thing I’ve been holding back from you…,” he admitted. “About our breakup.”
Ami simply waited uncertainly, her throat dry. Urawa seemed to take that as an invitation.
“It… it didn’t seem too important at the time,” he revealed. “But the day I left Japan… it was actually the same evening as your ‘Snow White’ play. I figured you’d probably want to see me off and all that, and would have to drop your part… which may not have been a big deal, since you were short a dwarf already and, er, adapting parts of the story anyway. But there was a vision I had the day before we… parted.”
He paused again.
“I saw you at the play… I saw a cardian attack… and I saw you, Mercury, freeze him. Thus I was worried that if you weren’t there… something else might happen. Something bad.”
Ami stared, speechless. Of all the things Urawa could have said, this was probably the last one she’d figured on. He continued, relentlessly.
“I figured if I told you, you might shrug it off and come anyway, leaving it up to your admittedly capable friends… but I didn’t want either of us to feel responsible if it was YOUR attack that turned the tide. Plus I’ve found there’s an inherent danger in revealing too much about the future to others. So, considering I was going away in any event… plus given how worried I was about our relationship surviving the distance and my fear about tying you down… I decided it would be best if I just left. And I never intended to tell you. But if I hadn’t been so hasty, if I’d said something, if we’d stayed together for what turned out to be a rather unanticipated brief period of time… would things be as they are now? Because… because I won’t just give you up to him without a fight!”
Ami swayed slightly on her feet. Could it be possible? Their breakup… somehow the result of a miscommunication? Misinterpretation? Misunderstanding?
There was now apparently no doubting that Urawa cared for her… and… and she… she… Ami shivered, quelling the urge to cry out. She didn’t know what to do! What was she supposed to do??