"Well, that was a stupid thing to do," Taichi said after Yamato told him what had happened the night before. Taichi had come to find him the morning after "the incident" (as Yamato now referred to it in his mind), wondering where the heck he had gone because he had failed to return to the party after he performed the most stupidest act of his entire life. His mother was probably furious.
"Thank you, Taichi," Yamato said in response to his statement. "As always, your unwavering support is greatly appreciated." He wasn't really in the mood for Taichi's teasing at the moment…not that he was ever really in the mood for it in the first place. But that never seemed to deter Taichi in the slightest.
"No, seriously, you knew the woman for half an hour—forty-five minutes tops—and you decide that's long enough to make-out?" His tone was incredulous, but Yamato couldn't really blame him—after all, the man had a point. He had thought about it all night—his brain was nearly fried due to exhaustion and confusion—and he was still having trouble believing that it really happened.
Nonetheless, he felt the need to defend himself so he said, "First off, we did not make-out. The kiss lasted like two seconds."
But, as if Yamato hadn't spoken at all, Taichi didn't let him get much farther than that as he cut in with, "And now you're in here wallowing in self-pity staring at her shoes of all things!" There was a brief second where the two friends just stared at each other as Yamato could not come up with another argument to counter Taichi's observations. He was, in fact, staring at the silver shoes Sora had left behind. Collecting them from outside the door had been as far as he had gotten in chasing after her as he soon realized he had no idea what to say to her. Taichi shook his head slowly and continued, "My friend, you have hit a new low in life. What on earth has possessed you?"
Yamato didn't answer at first because he wasn't exactly sure how to reply to that, because that was kind of exactly how he felt at that moment—possessed. "It was as if something beyond my control was pulling me towards her, you know," he said almost unaware that he was speaking out loud at all, thinking back to that moment when he stared into those warm brown orbs, wondering when he had ever seen anything so beautiful.
"In fact, no, I don't," Taichi replied in tone that very well spoke that he thought Yamato was absolutely insane.
Yamato shrugged. "I can't explain it more than that," he said. When he had kissed her, it was like he had no control over himself at all—not that it hadn't been absolutely amazing in either case.
A few moments later, Taichi asked, "Well, what are you going to do about it?"
Yamato narrowed his eyes at him in confusion. "What do you mean?"
Taichi sighed and finally took a seat in front of Yamato, ruffling his hair almost as if he was uncomfortable. "Look, I'm not asking you if you love the woman or anything—it would be super weird if you said you did, by the way—but did you like her?"
Yamato only had to think about it for a second before he replied, "Yeah, I liked her. I mean, she was nice, easy to talk to, really pretty..."
"Enough to want to see her again?" Taichi asked, cutting across Yamato before he could continue.
"Of course, I'd like to see her again," Yamato said exasperatedly, not understanding what Taichi's point was. At this point, it wasn't the fact that he wanted to see her again stopping him so much as the other way around and began to tell Taichi just that. "Not that there's much of a chance of that—"
Taichi interrupted him again as he said (in a serious tone that Yamato usually didn't hear unless the situation involved Hikari), "What are you going to do about it?"
"Haven't you been listening?" Yamato asked his best friend with frustration, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "It's not that I don't want to see her, but I really doubt she'd like to see me. Never mind that I haven't a clue where to find her."
"Are you or are you not Yamato Ishida?" Taichi asked with his mischievous grin back on his face. "If you liked Sora enough to want to see her again after that debacle last night—that I assure you, as your best friend, I will no longer bring up, unless I have absolutely run out of things to tease you about."
"Oh thanks ever so much, you're so considerate," Yamato interjected sarcastically.
Taichi nodded once with a wide smile before he continued, "Then I'd say she's worth finding, wouldn't you? Commandeer your mother's army and go forth." He paused for a moment before he added, "Or you could just ask Hikari where she is. I'm sure she knows. She pays attention to the weird minor details."
Yamato stared at his best friend, lost in his thoughts. Taichi was right. He wasn't in love with Sora, but he would sure like to find out if he could be one day. He grinned as he stared as his disheveled clothes. "I suppose I should shower and change before I go," he said as he stood up.
Taichi stood up and said (back in his more teasing tone), "Well, I wasn't going to say anything, but I would imagine that would be a rather good idea."
"Thanks, Taichi," Yamato said with a genuinely grateful smile.
"Hey, what are friends for?" Taichi said, wrapping his arm around Yamato's shoulder in half a hug. As they walked from the room, Taichi added, "You know, once you get your happily ever after, I fully expect you to name your first child after me, in repayment for my help."
Yamato laughed. "Not a chance, Taichi," he said, shrugging Taichi's arm off his shoulder.
"Can I have your jet then?" Taichi asked and Yamato could tell he was still teasing by the glint in his eye.
"Sure," Yamato said and watched as Taichi registered his answer with shock—he'd probably been expecting Yamato to turn him down flat. Yamato grinned at his friend. "I have a feeling I might not need it for a while anyway."
Taichi smiled again. "No more running away?" he asked, cocking up an eyebrow.
"No more running away," Yamato confirmed.
"Bummer," Taichi said, sounding genuinely disappointed. "I guess I'll just have to go see Raiden without you." And Yamato laughed, more content than he had felt in a long time.
Sora felt completely pathetic. She was sitting on her couch—in sweatpants—clutching a throw pillow and watching a very stupid, cheesy romantic film on her television. No one had called her (yet) to inform her so she assumed that she still had her new job to look forward to tomorrow. Apparently kissing the CEOs' son wasn't cause for termination. Or Yamato hadn't told them. Or it was just something he did all the time so no one cared. There were those rumors of secret girlfriends.
There was a knock at the door, but she didn't feel like answering it. If it was important enough, they would come back later. Unless the firefighters started hacking down her door, she wanted to sit here all day and wallow in self-pity and just wait for tomorrow to arrive so that she could immerse herself in her new job and forget the ball had ever happened. But then there was another (more insistent) knock at the door accompanied by a voice that said, "Sora, can I come in?"
She was mildly surprised to hear Mimi's voice, wondering what the other woman could possibly want. She'd lost the shoes—nearly lost her mind—and she'd already gotten her wish. She'd gotten her new dream job outside of Terumi's thumb. "Sora, you leave me no choice but to…" A swirl of sparkles suddenly appeared in front of her and Mimi appeared and finished, "sparkle myself inside." She gave Sora a wide smile.
Sora just looked at her before she asked, "What are you doing here? I'd thought after I got my wish that..."
"That'd I disappear and you'd never see me again," Mimi finished arching a single eyebrow up. "That's usually how it works, but I sort of thought that we became friends in all of this and I was worried about you after last night, so I came to see how you were doing, which doesn't look very good, by the way, and I had something to talk to you about with you wish, so here I am."
Smiling at Mimi, Sora flipped off the television and said, "Take a seat then, my very good fairy godsister."
Mimi beamed and took a seat on the couch next to Sora, curling her legs up under her. "Congratulations on your new job," she said.
Mimi seemed to hesitate slightly after that. She bit her lower lip before saying slowly, "Do you remember what I said to you? Before I sent you off to the ball?"
Sora thought for a moment before asking, "That bit about my true wish not being what I thought."
Mimi nodded eagerly, but then began picking at her nails a little too nonchalantly. "That's what I wanted you to talk about. You see, I tried to tell you last night, but you were so distressed and there was so many people about that I couldn't really get it out, so I just let it go then, but I just knew that I'd have to come by and tell you, because what you thought was your wish, you know, getting that job, is not what the shoes did." She said that all in rush.
"But...I thought…what do you mean?"
"I felt the shoes work for you exactly two times: the day that you got invited to the ball and last night," Mimi said, still looking at her hands.
"Exactly," Sora agreed. "They got me to meet Hikari, and then they got me that job last night."
"You see, I don't agree exactly," Mimi said, flicking her gaze up to meet Sora's. "I agree that they got you to meet Hikari, but I don't think getting you that job is what they were going for."
"So, if they weren't getting me that job, what exactly were they doing?" Sora asked slowly.
"I didn't feel the shoes work until just minutes before you found me," Mimi said so quietly that Sora almost didn't hear her, and she almost wished she hadn't because she knew exactly what had happened a few minutes before she went to get Mimi.
"Are you saying…" she paused, swallowing the sudden lump in her throat before she began again, "Are you saying the shoes thought my true wish was kissing Yamato Ishida?"
Mimi's cheeks flushed brightly. "Perhaps not that exactly," she said. "But, I've often found that most girls' one true wish is to find someone that she can love and who will love her. 'The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.'"
"Moulin Rouge?" Sora asked with a curl of a smile at the corner of her lips.
Mimi nodded, giving Sora a warm smile. "Will you at least think about what I've said?" she asked. At Sora's nod, she clapped her hands together excitedly. "Great! Now turn that television back on, I'll go pop some popcorn and we can finish the movie."
"It's super cheesy," Sora warned as Mimi walked to the kitchen.
"But isn't that just what makes it super great?" Mimi shot back, causing Sora to collapse in a fit of laughter.
Sora breathed in the air of the studio as she walked in for the first time the next day. She was about to start her new job—she was supposed to be looking for Ms. Fujiyami, who she had met the other night at the ball. She'd gotten a call yesterday from Ms. Fujiyami's assistant say that she would be there to direct Sora where she would go. Finally, she saw the woman surrounded by a group a people, who were constantly changing as she shooed them away probably on some sort of errands.
Feeling slightly apprehensive, she walked over to the group and was about to make herself known, when Ms. Fujiyami turned right to her and said with a smile, "Ah, Ms. Takenouchi, how pleasant to see you again."
"Thank you, Ms. Fujiyami," Sora said. "It's very nice to see you again as well."
"No time for more pleasantries, I'm afraid," Ms. Fujiyami said. "Unfortunately, business keeps moving along and it's our job to keep up as best we can. This here is Mrs. Tachibana," she said, pointing to the rather nice looking woman next to her. "She's the head designer here for the wardrobes and you'll be working as her assistant."
"Nice to meet you," Sora said with a smile.
"Likewise," Mrs. Tachibana said with a warm smile. Sora had the feeling she was going to like working under this woman much better than working for Terumi.
"Well, I've leave you two girls to it, then," Ms. Fujiyami said before she turned and walked away, a cluster of people following her as she did.
Once alone, Mrs. Tachibana turned to Sora and handed her a clipboard and steered her over to a rack of clothing. "This is Ayako Nerumi's wardrobe for the movie," she said. "Everything is listed on the clipboard with accompanying pictures." Sora glanced down and saw that she was right. "I'd like you to go over it and make sure everything is there. Also, give them a good glance over to see if you can see any stitches loose, buttons missing, that sort of thing. I've already done it myself, but it never hurts to have a second eye, right?"
"Of course," Sora said, giving her a smile.
"I know it's never very exciting work—"
"But it's important," Sora finished for her. "It's not a problem. I'll get started right away."
Mrs. Tachibana smiled at her. "I'll just be over there," she said pointing toward the set, "if you need me."
"Thanks," Sora said and Mrs. Tachibana left her alone. Sora was just beginning to get lost in her work when she heard a commotion behind her—mumbled whisperings and a sudden hushed tension. She turned to look and immediately turned back around, her face flushing completely red.
Yamato Ishida was standing in the doorway.
Sora, trying so very hard to be invisible, ducked around the rack of clothes and pretended to bury herself with checking stitching, but couldn't help peeking over the clothes to see what he was doing. He was surrounded by a cluster of people—including those Sora recognized like the director and the producers and such. Even more people hung just a little way back, clearly interested in wanting to talk to him, but unsure of how to approach him. He looked really handsome, she couldn't help but note, and he was wearing a proper tie with his suit this time. He was now talking to Mrs. Tachibana, but Sora couldn't make out what he said, but when Mrs. Tachibana pointed in her direction and his eyes looked up to follow her hand, Sora ducked down behind the clothes again, hoping that he hadn't seen her spying on him.
For a few seconds, she thought she was off the hook until she heard that unmistakable voice ask, "Sora?" She felt rather than saw (because she had one of Ayako Nerumi's shirts so close to her face that she could see the weave of the fabric) him approach around the rack of clothes.
Deciding instantly to go for the nonchalant-nothing-happened-between-us-ever approach, she turned to look at him and said (way too brightly with a rather big fake smile), "Oh, hello, Mr. Ishida. How are you today?"
His smirk was entirely too knowing for her liking as he asked, "Can I talk to you?"
"Of course, I mean, technically we're on your property and I'm your employee, so I can't really stop you," Sora said, letting just a hint of sarcasm cross her tone in her annoyance. She peeked once more over the clothes rack and could see everyone in the studio trying very hard (and failing rather noticeably) not to look in their direction.
"If that's the way you feel about it, we can go somewhere else," Yamato said and Sora turned back to look at him and was surprised to see mild anger brewing in his cold blue eyes. But before Sora could answer he asked, "Why did you run away from me?"
"Why? Not the usual response you get?" Sora asked rather harshly keeping her tone quiet and low so that no one but Yamato would hear her, suddenly finding herself confrontational and angry at this infuriating—and yet oh so very gorgeous—man in front of her. "What did you expect me to do? Fawn and drool over you like some other brainless twit of a girl?"
"Why are you angry with me?" he asked suddenly.
"Because you're Yamato freaking Ishida, the "Prince", with super powers and secret girlfriends!" Sora yelled at him, peripherally aware that the room around them had quite suddenly gone rather quiet.
"Wait just one minute," Yamato said quickly. "I guess I can understand the whole secret girlfriends thing, what with me running off all the time and the media thinking that no rich man has anything better to do with their time. But where the heck did you get the idea that I have super powers?" He looked genuinely confused…and somewhat hurt Sora noted with a stab of guilt.
"I guess you never heard that rumor," she said quietly. She took a deep breath. "Look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean…what I'm trying to say is that never in my life did I really expect to ever see you again and you just kind of overwhelmed me by appearing here again and I don't know…I'm just not very good with surprises like that. You should see me in a haunted maze, sometime, it's not a pretty sight…I once knocked out one of the guys that scared me."
"Maybe sometime I will," Yamato interrupted.
Sora faltered and asked, "Maybe sometime you will what?"
"See you in a haunted maze," Yamato said, quite suddenly smiling much more gently than anything she had seen on him previously and his air somehow lost a little bit of its confident aura.
"Why would you do that?" Sora asked confused. "I understand, okay? Probably far more than you do, but I understand that the other night you weren't yourself and I don't blame you or anything. We can part ways and leave this whole thing behind us." She turned back to the shirt, fully expecting him to leave now.
"What if I don't want to?"
Her gaze snapped back to him and she asked, "Excuse me?"
"What if I don't want to?" he asked again much more slowly taking a step closer to her. She didn't say anything in response because she was certain that she had not heard right. Yamato Ishida could not be standing here implying what she thought he was. "I don't know what brought us together and I'm not saying I love you or anything like that, but I'd like to see where we could go with this. If you'd like, we can even just start out as friends and see how that goes."
Sora straightened and was silent for a few moments, thinking about what she and Mimi had talked about last night. She smiled and said, "I'd like that."
About 2 years later…
ISHIDA FAMILY GAINS A "PRINCESS"
It was confirmed yesterday that Yamato Ishida, called "Prince" by his many fans, proposed to long time girlfriend, Sora Takenouchi, who has now been given the name "Princess" by various media. The couple was unavailable for comment, but Ishida's best friend, Taichi Yagami, said that the couple "couldn't be happier" and he was "very excited" for them. The couple plans... CONTINUED ON PAGE 4D
Mimi folded the newspaper over and placed it gently on the table, smiling brightly, completely satisfied at another job well done. She checked the clock again and sighed, but brightened considerably when the door to the shop opened (a little later than she thought but still, she was close) and a girl in a high school uniform walked inside looking rather confused. Spotting Mimi, she started slightly, and said, "I'm sorry. I've never seen this store before and well…"
Giving the girl her most welcoming smile, Mimi said, "Oh, it's not a problem. Welcome to One True Wish."