WEE! cara410 I dedicate this chapter to you! Happy birthday (April 3 Thursday)! You're now 1 year older! Wahaha! Thanks also for supporting me in all my fics! You'll have mine too for sure! ü

Chapter 6: Pursuit

Athrun Zala was confident enough to say that handling women was nothing but a piece of cake. After all, he had been in a total of ninety-nine relationships which his male friends were really proud of. Not him. For Athrun didn't care much of the figures. What mattered mostly to him was the thrill it gave him in dealing complicated and challenging situations with women. Because when it comes to women, Athrun Zala always looked forward in making the impossible-to-deal situation possible.


"I'm having a date with Plant's top model Melinda. We're going to watch a play." Athrun grinned proudly, as he fixed his hair in front of the mirror.

"Athrun, you must have forgotten. Today's Friday." Dearka said unconcernedly while flipping the pages of the playboy magazine he'd been reading.

"Your date is Meleena." Yzak corrected.

But when Athrun arrived at the theater, it was not Meleena who he saw but his girlfriend Melissa!

"You'll be watching the play too, Melissa?" Athrun asked her, surprised.

"Oh bunny! You're so funny! You invited me here remember?" She said giggling.

"O-Of course Melissa! I did it! How could I forget?!" He exclaimed without further arguing. 'Maybe Yzak and Dearka just got my date schedule mixed up.' Athrun suspected as he wrapped his arms around Melissa's waist and then started heading their way to their seats at the balcony. A few minutes before the play started, Athrun excused himself to Melissa and went to the lobby to find a restroom.

On his way, a shrilling voice called out to him.


Athrun couldn't believe the person approaching him. Another one of his girlfriends—Melinda!

'Melinda? Here? Too?' His sweat dropped.

Before Athrun could utter a word, Melinda excitedly clung her arms around Athrun's and said, "Come on, darling! The play might start any moment now!"

"Uhm... Melinda, do you know that... today's actually Friday?" Athrun asked, checking if the lady had somehow mistaken the real day of their date.

"Athrun, you really have no idea how much I've anticipated for this day..." She frowned.

"Same here..." Athrun smiled at her and the lady's frown disappeared.

'This is going to be a two in one date!' Athrun thought delightfully as he and Melinda sat at the balcony far across where he had left Melissa. Sensing that Melissa might be getting bored by now, he excused himself to Melinda.

On his way to Melissa's balcony, a high pitched voice suddenly almost bit his back.

"Athrun Zalaaa!"


He turned...

"I was waiting for you at the lobby and you're just here?!" A skinny lady whimpered.

"Meleena?!" Athrun exclaimed, almost jumping.

"I thought you're not going to show up! That you forgot our first date!" She continued whining.

"I didn't!" Athrun said defensively as he held her close to him by securing her shoulders with his arm. "You see I went here to make sure I got you the best seat! Actually, right now, I'm on my way to the lobby to meet you."

"Oh honey, I never thought you could be that sweet!"

And with their hands clasped together, Meleena and Athrun went to their designated balcony—in between Melinda's and Melissa's.

Soon the play began and ended like a blur—at least for Athrun who didn't even understand the play. And how come he would when he have to keep transferring three different balconies throughout the whole play? Although, to him, it was alright. What was more important was that he made his dates' night wonderful, his excuses were flawless and not the slightest suspicion had graced within them.

When Athrun got back to his hotel room with an oversized smile, two shocked faces welcomed him. "Dearka, Yzak what are you still doing here?"

"How was your date?!" The two began, ignoring him.

"Fantastic!" Athrun exclaimed, before removing his coat. Then he continued, "In one night, I just had my dates with three of PLANT's top models." He glanced at his friends' faces. As expected they weren't surprised at all.

"You must be crazy, Athrun! Three dates? How did that become fantastic when you're only expecting one?!" Yzak demanded, his tone obviously irritated.

"That exactly how it becomes fantastic! The surprise of finding out I'll be dating Melissa, Melinda and Meleena at the same time and place. The challenge it brought me of having my date satisfied without making her suspicious that I was also dating another woman other than her. And of course realizing I have triumphed the night when I accompanied them on three different exits and even telling me it was their most wonderful night before kissing me goodbye. I tell you guys, this night couldn't get any better."

When Athrun finished, Yzak secretly hissed to Dearka, "Dearka, your stupid plan failed yet again! What he's all saying is rubbish—exactly the opposite of what I am expecting!"

"Quiet, Yzak! He might hear you!"

But it seemed Dearka's effort was useless when he heard Athrun said: "And oh before I forget, Dearka... Yzak, thank you so much for this night."


Athrun would never forget the night Dearka and Yzak set him up. He wasn't being sarcastic when he thanked them. Indeed it was something he really should be thankful, for what happened that night was something that added in his experience—experiences which prepare him in what he called 'Next level challenges'.

Although Athrun must admit that the situation he's currently in now was nothing compared to those 'next level challenges' he was craving. In fact for him, it's... lousy. And there's no way he couldn't get out on this one...

"Athruuun, you're Zala? Athrun Zala?!"

The blonde beside him was literally fuming, both her fists were tight and her eyes shut. He gulped somehow the flaming aura she's emitting was frightening. Although it was not enough for him to totally lose control of the situation. 'Think, Athrun! Think! It's not as if it was your first time to be caught in this kind of mess. Besides Luna just said 'Mr. Zala'. She didn't actually say Athrun Zala. Damn! But she did direct it to me. Argh!'

Of course he didn't have to answer Cagalli's question. He must not look defensive. He should be calm.

"Ms. Hawke?" He started, a bit surprised. "Mr. Zala is still not here! And we thought you're on leave today?"

"But you're the one who—"

"Ms. Hawke." He said, this time hard. "Please. Forgive our intrusion. Ms. Athha here and I were asked by the president to deliver some important files for the CEO and since we know you'll not be coming to office today, the president gave us permission to personally come here inside and just place this on top of the CEO's desk. But now you're here, I think I better hand it to you personally." Athrun searched for his USB on his pants pocket and gave it to the secretary. He could feel Cagalli's eyes boring into him. She wasn't saying anything. Was she buying his lie?

"But how about our—" Lunamaria Hawke, the secretary, attempted to speak for the second time.

"Oh yes don't worry all files are saved there! My apologies again, Ms. Hawke. We got to go."

"Nice meeting you Ms. Hawke." Cagalli greeted as she and Athrun got past Lunamaria and disappeared behind the door.

"Strange... Really strange..." Lunamaria shook her head. "I couldn't believe him! He called me at home and asked me to go here just to give me this!" She looked at the silly USB in her hand and frowned, "I thought he wanted my aromatherapy massage..."


"Uhm Athrun..." Cagalli spoke, breaking the dead air inside the elevator. "I'm really sorry about a while ago. I should've not—"

"Forget about it, Cagalli." Athrun cut her out.

"I feel really stupid for calling you Athrun Zala. I don't know what came into me that when Ms. Hawke called out for Mr. Zala I thought it was you she's talking with! Of course we're in the CEO's office! Who else she'd be expecting to be there—of course none other than the CEO who is Zala in the first place! Ah!" Cagalli slapped her palm on her head in exhaustion, "maybe it's just because I'm already starving..."

"You still haven't eaten lunch?" Athrun's face suddenly showed concern.

Cagalli bit her lower lip and slowly shook her head.

"Actually I still haven't had mine too. Hmm... why don't we have lunch together? My treat." Athrun grinned.

"Your treat? You don't know what you're saying, Athrun!" She chuckled, "But yeah... sure! Just don't complain to me when your pocket money runs out." She warned.


"I'm sorry, mister, but the lady you're looking for no longer lives here." An old woman behind the door said coldly.

She was about to close the door when the man spoke, "But do you at least know where she's staying now? Please tell me. It's a very important matter. It's about her daughter." There was a hint of desperation in his voice.

The woman stared at the young man in front of her. He carried a professional air with him. The way he looked with his apple green hair framing handsomely on his face could make anyone at ease in his presence. The old woman sighed. The cold expression on her face vanished instantly and was replaced with a serious one, "Please come in. We need to talk."

Inside, the young man sat across the old woman.

"Mr. Nicol Amalfi, right?" She began, checking if she heard his name correctly when he introduced himself a while ago.

"Yes and Nicol will do." He smiled.

"Nicol, the woman you're looking for is my best friend. Yes. She and I live in this very same place twenty-three years ago. But after the day she decided to go to PLANTs to work, she never returned here again. Then a year passed and still we didn't have any communication to each other. None until one day, when she called me telling me she was pregnant with her baby daughter. From the phone I could tell she was crying although she constantly denied it to me. I asked her about what exactly happened to her, how she did become pregnant, and who the father of her baby was but still she didn't let out any word about it. She just said she's done with the past and now she's only living for the present and the future—for her baby. I was really worried of her condition. Although she told me of her location just in case it's needed, she still didn't want me to go and see her. Because according to her the guy who got her pregnant was searching out for her and her baby, and she's afraid that anyone with connection to her would be trailed if they go to her. I respected her decision. And after that call, I didn't hear anything from her again."

"But, ma'am, do you still have the address she gave you?" She could sense his eagerness in his voice.

"Yes. But I promised my friend not to tell anyone of it."

"But, Ma'am, the father of her daughter he—he had stroke! And up to now he wasn't still recovering. The doctors are afraid he couldn't live much longer. Until one day, he was miraculously able to talk to his son. And you won't believe who he spoke of, of all people? It was his daughter! After all those years he still thinks of his daughter. And for his last remaining days here, the man's sole wish is to have his daughter at least recognize him as her father. Please, Ma'am, I need to know where they are. I just need to talk to your friend and to her daughter as well."

"My son, I know you know that it'd hard for someone like me to break a promise from a friend but I believe it's her daughter's right to know who her real father is. Besides, by now she must already be 21... she's in the right age to decide for herself. So I'll give to you their location only in one condition—that's if you will respect whatever decision her daughter will have."

Nicol agreed and she gave it.

When Nicol got out of the house, he bowed to the old lady and said, "Thank you, ma'am. I promise whatever decision her daughter will have, I will respect it."

And now, Nicol must go to Amanda Hibiki and meet Patrick Zala's long lost daughter.

-To be continued-

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