A/N: I am so, so sorry for taking so long on this story. You have all rights to throw tomatoes at me and place me in a cage with a vicious lion. D: Seriously though, trying to get through the writer's block with this story is like trying to tunnel through a cement wall with a spork. I don't know when I'll be able to update next, but I have a couple idea's in my head. Until then, I'm working on a series of holiday-related oneshots that I will start posting on Sunday. (:

Disclaimer: I do not own Harvest Moon or any of it's characters, plots, etc. This fanfiction is merely for recreational purposes.


Summer, Day 12, Monday

"Aaaaann!" Claire wailed, bursting into the back room of the inn. Her hair was disheveled, her clothes were soaked, and she looked like she'd just survived a thunder storm.

Doug looked at her strangely before Ann came out of the kitchen and threw her dad an apologetic glance. Sorry, dad, Ann thought. Sorry my friend is a freak. She frowned for a moment. Just like me! The revelation brightened up her mood again as she wondered what it would be like to have an identical twin. Oh, they would carry out the greatest pranks in the history of Mineral Town.

"Whaaaat?" Ann mimicked, pulling Claire into her room. She sat Claire down on her bed and herself in the chair near her desk.

"I'm such an idiot!" Claire complained, hitting her fists on the mattress. "Stupid, stupid," she berated herself.

Ann sighed. "What is it this time, Claire? And stop acting like such a baby. You look silly."

Claire glared at the redhead momentarily. "Oh, shut up." Look who's talking.

"Okay, Claire. I'm listening. So talk," Ann commanded, ignoring the farmer's comment. She crossed her legs and leaned back in the chair, waiting for an explanation.

"I kissed Gray. UGH. It was so bad!" Claire said, flinging herself dramatically across the bed. "I can't believe I did something so stupid!" Throwing an arm over her eyes, she sighed angrily.

"HOLY- Wait. It was bad?" Ann's eyebrows furrowed as she thought about what exactly could have gone so badly. Was Gray a bad kisser? He couldn't be that bad, right? Besides, there must've been plenty of girls that were all over him when he lived in the city. Oh, bad mental image. Snap out of it, Ann.

"Well, yeah. I mean, I went about it all wrong!" Claire was stopped by a look from Ann.

"That's not what I meant."

"Oh, you mean the kiss? Well, that was fine, I guess. Okay, more than fine. Maybe even amazing," Claire started rambling. "Especially since he is pretty cute." The blonde's self-hate session came to a pause as she recalled the kiss. "But that's not the point!" Claire yelled suddenly as she remembered why exactly she was in Ann's room.

"Then what the hell are you trying to get at, Claire?!" Ann yelled back, exasperated.

"Okay, so I was at the Goddess Pond, and suddenly Gray shows up and I fall into the water," she stopped and looked at Ann to make sure she was listening. "Anyway, he helps me out and blah, blah, blah. So I kiss him, remembering the plan. Everything was going like it was supposed to until he started kissing me back!"

"He… he kissed you back?!" Ann would've fallen out of her chair had it not been right up against the desk. "I can't believe… he… Gray?! Oh, wow," she sputtered out fragments of various sentences, still shocked.

"Yeah." Claire stared at the ceiling, waiting for Ann to say something else.

"So what do you think that means?" Ann asked after a few moments

"I honestly have no idea," Claire murmured. Did Gray actually want to kiss me? He did ask me to the Fireworks Festival, but that was just because Mary had a date, wasn't it? Even though he said it was because he wanted us to go together. Why did men have to be damn confusing?!

"Men," Ann and Claire sighed at the same time.

xXxXxXx

Back at the blacksmith, Gray had a strange feeling that someone was talking about him. He pushed the feeling away as soon as it had come and went back to the task at hand, which just so happened to be working Claire's watering can. He needed to have it upgraded to gold by tomorrow, or his grandfather would have his hide. Or maybe his head. Knowing Saibara, he'd probably mount it and hang it on the wall. Uh huh.

As Gray worked with the watering can, his thoughts started drifting to Claire. Granted, it was her watering can, and she had kissed him the other day. But all that aside, the poor guy probably would have thought of her anyway.

So why had Claire kissed him? That one question plagued his mind often, and now more than ever. Before she had run off, her expression was… confusing. She looked like she'd committed a crime. Or he had. Which leads to point b. What. The. Hell.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is point b. Gray smashed the metal with his hammer as he thought, each hit getting stronger than the last. Thinking about what had happened made him kind of mad, actually. By the time the blacksmith looked up at the clock, he realized that it was past one in the afternoon. Gratefully, he threw his hammer into one of the many bins in the workshop and stormed out of the place, not bothering to say a word to his grandfather.

"Hey, dude. Finally decided to show your face around here, huh?" Kai looked up from scrubbing the counters and grinned at the solemn blacksmith.

Gray grunted in response as he took a seat at the counter. If anyone could explain the mystery that was the woman, it was Kai.

"Women troubles?" Kai asked knowingly. Gray's expression became suspicious, and Kai threw his hands up in front of him before Gray could say anything. "I just know things."

Gray shrugged it off and nodded. "Uh-huh."

"Interesting," Kai mused. "So, who is it? It's Mary, isn't it. Haha, oh man, Gray. You have no idea what you're getting yourself into," he went on, stopping when Gray started glaring at him.

"No. It's not Mary." Gray paused for a minute, wondering if Kai was actually the right person he should be talking to. "Wait. What were you saying about Mary?" Gray smirked at Kai, whose face had gone pale. "Do you know something I don't know?"

"What? No way. Mary's too good for me anyway." Kai busied himself by scrubbing an already clean plate. That didn't go beyond Gray's notice.

"Egotistical Kai saying that someone is better than him, now there's a notion," Gray raised an eyebrow at the pale chef.

"What? Oh, shut up, Gray. I'm just saying that Popuri is a much better girl for me. Mary needs someone who will stick around town and help her with the library or something," Kai threw Gray an annoyed look and put the plate in one of the many cabinets.

"Suuure," Gray said, but dropped the subject.

"So, who is this girl?" Kai inquired with a lopsided grin. "Is she pretty?"

"Yeah," Gray confirmed before he could stop himself. "I mean… what does that have to do with anything?!" He pulled the rim of his cap down in embarrassment. "I'm not telling you who she is because you'll spread it all over town, but I'll tell you what happened."

"Aww, man," Kai whined, but leaned on the counter, eagerly awaiting Gray's story.

"So, this girl, she'd been looking for me all over town or so I'd heard. I found her at the Goddess Pond eventually. She fell in somehow, and after I helped her out of the water, she basically attacked me! And by attack, I mean kiss. So I just went along with it, you know. I mean, what else was I supposed to do? But after that, she just ran off like she'd done something wrong. And I think she might've said something about a cow," Gray finished.

Kai just laughed. And laughed. And laughed. After picking himself up off the floor, he managed to say, "It's Claire, isn't it?"

"What?! No, of course not!" Gray lied, but his cheeks contradicted him by turning a slight pink.

"Dude, it's no use lying to me," Kai said, still laughing. "Besides, you're blushing. Man up."

"Shut up," Gray said gruffly. "And you aren't helping."

"What do you want me to say, man?" Kai shrugged. "I may be good with the ladies, but I'm not a know-it-all. Maybe you should just go ask Claire about it. The answers aren't always so complicated, you know."

Gray took a deep breath and rested his head in one of his hands. "Women."