Hey, guys! It's been a pretty hectic few weeks for me, but I got an update in. :) I think this chapter will please quite a few people, so enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harvest Moon or any of it's characters, plots, etc. This fanfiction is merely for recreational purposes.
Summer, Day 8, Thursday
"Hi, Claire!" Ann smiled at the girl who had just walked into the inn. Her smile faded as she noticed Claire wasn't going to stop and talk to her. "Where are you going?"
Instead of answering the question directly, Claire mumbled two words: "the plan," and walked determinedly up the stairs.
Ann's eyes widened and a mischievous grin spread across her face as she comprehended what the farmer had just said. She went back to polishing the bar while whistling a tune.
"GRAY!" Claire pounded on the door of one of the upper rooms of the inn. Disregarding the fact that Kai and Cliff could also be in the room sleeping, she tried again. "GRAY, OPEN UP!"
"What the hell is going on over there?" Jack, who had moved out of Claire's farm and into the other upper room of the inn a few days ago, peeked out into the hall groggily. He saw Claire and sighed. Of course. No other woman in this town was crazy enough to go pounding on doors at freaking 6:30 in the morning. The door was promptly closed, and the squeak of Jack's mattress was heard as he flopped back onto it.
Claire stared at the door as if she had laser eyes and could burn a hole through it. "That's it!" Tired of waiting around, she grabbed the knob and forced herself into the room… only to hear a dull thud as the door collided with something. Or someone.
"Ack! Oh my god, Kai, I'm so sorry!" Claire apologized profusely, having slammed the door into the poor guy's face.
"S'okay," Kai grumbled. He looked like he had just gotten up, though he didn't sound sleepy – an obvious consequence of the blow to his head.
"Are you okay? Should I take you to the clinic?" Claire asked, hovering around Kai. Cliff had woken up after hearing Kai's yell of agony, and was now blearily watching as Kai stuffed tissues under his nose in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
"No. S'just a bloody nose," Kai replied, however, since he couldn't very well breathe through his nose, his 's's' came out sounding like 'th's'.
"If you're sure," Claire said after a pause, still watching Kai with concerned eyes.
"Why are you here this early in the morning?" Kai managed to ask around his mound of tissues.
"Um, I was looking for Gray," Claire admitted sheepishly, bowing her head. "I guess it wouldn't have hurt to come later over later in the day."
"Hm, ya think?" Kai retorted. "He went on a walk. Don't know where."
Claire took this as her cue to leave. "Thanks, Kai. And sorry. About the nose. Really." With that, she shuffled out of the room in search of the blacksmith's apprentice.
"Let's see. If I were Gray, where would I go?" Claire was standing outside of the inn, pondering where Gray could've possibly gone. "It's his day off, so… he must be at the library!" Claire realized with a grin.
She set off at a quick pace towards the library until she remembered something else. "Wait…" Claire checked her watch, frowning when it told her that it was only seven o'clock. The library didn't open until ten. Hmm. Well, this was a predicament.
"JACK!" Claire pummeled his door, getting a sense of déjà vu while she did it.
"WHAT?!" Jack yelled from inside his room. His voice was kind of quiet, so he must have had his face buried into his pillow.
"I'm coming in, so you'd better be decent," she informed him, lowering her voice to a normal volume. Opening the door, she found that Jack obviously hadn't moved, as his head was still in his pillow and he didn't look up as she came in.
"What do you want?" he asked in a muffled tone.
"Are you interested in Mary?"
"Well, you sure don't beat around the bush," Jack said, turning over, though the question had definitely caught his attention.
Claire rolled her eyes. "Jack, really."
"Well, what if I am?"
"I'm seriously considering pushing you off that bed," Claire said, crossing her arms.
"Because you can't answer a simple question."
"Fine. Yes, I like Mary. Happy now?" Jack turned back over so he was facing Claire and glared at her.
"Unquestionably," Claire hissed and stormed out of the room. "Phase one complete," she said gleefully to herself once out of earshot of Jack.
Mary looked up from a stack of papers as the bell over the library door jingled. "Oh! Good morning, Claire." She smiled warmly at the farmer.
"Morning, Mary." Claire looked around the library for a few seconds. "Have you seen Gray today?"
The librarian's eyebrows furrowed as she thought for a moment. "Actually, now that you mention it, I don't think he's been by today."
"Hm," Claire tapped her finger against her lips. "Anyway, I wanted to ask you something." Claire glanced at the librarian before continuing. "Jack likes you, you know."
"That's not a question," Mary replied, the hint of a smile on her lips. "But I figured he did when he talked to me at the Beach Festival."
"Really? What did he say?" Claire asked eagerly, forgetting that she had planned to ask something else. This was much more interesting.
"Oh, something about angels and a fall from heaven," Mary shrugged and peeked over to find that Claire's once interested expression had turned to that of pure horror.
"He said what?!"
Mary chuckled. "Actually, it was kind of cute. Jack was so nervous that he messed up completely."
Claire shook her head, embarrassed. "I can't believe he honestly said something like that."
"Well, at least he talked to me," Mary said with a frown. She let out a frustrated sigh. "I mean, Gray comes in here every single day and merely says "Hi, Mary," or "Bye, Mary." That's all!"
"Oh," was all Claire could come up with, but Mary wasn't quite done.
"I'm starting to think that maybe Gray is just a lost cause. At least Jack knows how to smile," she finished.
"I'm sorry, Mary," Claire tried to comfort the upset librarian.
"Gray asked me to the Fireworks Festival," Claire said quietly, almost reluctantly.
"Hm." Mary let Claire know that she had heard, but didn't say anymore. She looked kind of mad, in fact.
Claire turned to leave and paused at the door. "You know, I think Jack genuinely likes you. Later, Mary," she said with a half-hearted smile.
What Claire said left Mary pondering at her desk with a small smile on her face.
Claire meandered down the pathway behind her farm, deep in thought. She didn't even notice that she had made her way to the Goddess Pond until she almost fell in.
"Ack!" Claire yelped as the tip of her shoe slipped into the water. She immediately jumped back and her heel caught on a tree root. Landing on the ground with an "Oomph, she stared at the pond, not quite sure what just happened. Claire squatted on the balls of her feet next to the edge of the pond and let the tip of her finger trail through the clear water.
Startled, Claire lost her balance and fell face first into the Goddess Pond. After a few seconds, she came up sputtering and searched confusedly for the reason she had fallen into the water. Her eyes landed on Gray, who was now holding a hand out to her. Great. Just great.
She accepted Gray's help with a grimace and was soon standing in front of him with soaking wet clothes sticking to her frame. Oh joy. They just stared at each other for a few moments before Gray decided to break the awkward silence.
"Kai said you were looking for me," he stated, trying to keep his eyes on Claire's face instead of her wet clothes. Stupid hormones. "So did Cliff, Jack, and Mary," he added.
"Oh. Yeah, about that," Claire said, looking off to the side. A faint blush crept up on her cheeks, much to Gray's amusement. Okay, come on Claire, you can do this.
Before Claire even knew what she was doing, she closed the gap between herself and the blacksmith and kissed him. The plan, the plan, the pla- oh crap. Somewhere between Claire's mental screaming and the end, Gray had actually wrapped his arms around her waist and was kissing her back. Really kissing her back. Like, this could seriously become R-rated in a matter of seconds.
With the tiny bit of will she had left, Claire managed to push herself away from Gray. They both took in ragged breaths as they grasped what had just happened.
"I, uh, I have to-" Claire took a few steps back, contemplating what to say.
"Claire, wait," Gray took a step towards the disoriented girl.
"I have to go brush my cow!" she blurted out suddenly before sprinting away, leaving behind a rather confused Gray.
A/N: So there it is! Finally some Gray/Claire stuff. Hopefully I'll be able to write some fluff soon. Heh. Also, I want to add that my oneshot/drabble thing isn't associated with this story, just something I wrote down. :)