I'm back! My deepest and most sincere apologies for the friggin long and unplanned hiatus, but I will try my very best to write more often! Hopefully you guys have not lost interest in my stories, so without further ado,

Enjoy Chapter 5 of Co-Sign!

Ikuto sat awkwardly eating lunch in his room. He had to admit, it was kind of weird having Amu stare at him so intently. In fact, it was starting to freak him out. He sighed and turned to look at her. "Is there something I can help you with?"

Not breaking her gaze, Amu walked slowly around him in an almost menacing way. "The question is, is there something I can help you with?"

"Well… yes. That is the question that I just asked. Are you feeling okay? You're being kinda creepy right now."

Her eyes seemed to soften a bit as she sighed. "I'll be honest with you. I overheard the conversation you had with your father. I didn't mean to! It's just that I was walking by, and the door was open, so I just figured… I'm so sorry!" Amu rambled a bit at the end, but she at least felt good about herself for being honest.

Ikuto's eyes widened in both surprise and slight amusement. I mean, yeah, he wasn't exactly overjoyed at the fact that she was spying on a private conversion between he and his father, but based on her reaction, he could tell that she had already punished herself enough for it. He sighed. "Well, since you know what the deal is, do you think you could do me a solid and help me out a bit?" Ikuto rested his chin on his hands and fluttered his eyelashes in a flirtatious manner.

Amu's eyes sparkled in excitement. "I thought you would never ask! Don't worry, Ikuto-sama, I will find you the perfect date for this ball! She'll be so good that your father will have to let you continue on in the competition!"

Ikuto's eye twitched, and he sweat-dropped. Wow. She's really dense, isn't she? "Y-yeah. That's totally what I meant."

Amu was on Cloud 9 as she listed of all of the necessary requirements for his date. "She'll have to be tall, but not too tall because we don't want her to overshadow you. Pretty, but not so much that she draws attention away from you. They would also need the right kind of personality. It can't clash with yours or else this ball will be a total disaster. Then of course, there's the issue of etiquette. Although, that doesn't matter as much, since I could always teach her the basics if necessary-"

"Wait a minute. You know proper etiquette?" Ikuto asked, incredulous.

"Yeah, I guess. My father always thought of me as his little princess, so he wanted me to know how to act like one. Just in case…" Amu trailed off as she thought about her father. She was still kinda peeved that he had basically sold her to pay for his friends' stuff, but he raised her, and for that she would love him unconditionally. It's hurt when she thinks about him now, but who knows? Maybe someday she'll be free to go see him again.

She snapped herself out of her trance. After all, she had work to do. "Anyway, I'll get to work scouring online dating sites for this area! There's bound to be at least one lonely single out there that's perfect for the job!"

Ikuto sighed as he stared at her, her eyes filled with determination and excitement. Single? Yes. Lonely? Apparently not…

XXX

"Thank you for your time. We'll be in touch."

Over the last couple of days, Amu had somehow compiled a list of over fifty candidates to play the role of Ikuto's date. So far, they weren't very promising. For the most part, the girls were more concerned with ogling their potential date than paying attention to the questions that Amu was asking them. Ikuto had warned Amu that having him in the room during the interview process would not be a smart idea, but she had argued that it was important for them to look good together. Plus, Amu figured that it would be a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff. Anyone who is focused enough to provide Amu with proper answers instead of staring at the poor victim was well on their way of being worthy as the date of the (hopefully) willing and wealthy young man. Alliteration.

After going through about half of the candidates, Amu started to lose hope. The young woman in front of them kept glancing between the two. "Should you be chosen, how would you-"

"I'm sorry, I just don't understand what I'm doing here." The girl had a look of confusion on her face as she was seemingly studying her interviewers.

"What do you mean?" Amu asked. "You're here for the interview. We sent you an invitation, remember?"

"Yeah, yeah! No, I got that. It's just, why are going through all of this when you could just go together?" She asked.

Ikuto was no longer bored as he quickly sat up from his slouched position and looked between the two girls with a certain gleam in his eyes.

His hope was short lived with Amu's response. "Pfft! Ikuto and I? Please! I'm nowhere near qualified enough to be his date!"

The girl just looked even more confused now. "No offense, but if you're not qualified to actually do it, then what makes you qualified to hold these interviews? I mean, you obviously care enough about him to go to all this trouble, and you look compatible. If it's a problem of behaviorism, then if you already know what to look for, why can't you just fake it for the night? All the girls are acting the part to get a chance with this gorgeous piece of man-flesh."

Amu and Ikuto looked at each other before staring at the girl in awe. Amu cleared her throat before writing something down on her clipboard. "Thank you for your time. We'll be in touch."

After that little incident, the interviews went on as boring as before. As she was forced to turn down candidate after candidate, Amu was reminded of what that one girl said. Sure I would want to go with him, but who says that he would want that? This ball could affect Ikuto's future, so he deserves the best…and…that's certainly not me.

As the last girl left, they both let out a sigh of relief. Ikuto ran his hand through his hair. "Well," he said. "I don't see any way around it. You're gonna have to bite the bullet and go with me."

Amu turned to him in shock. "Ikuto-sama! You need the very best in order to do well at this ball! I have to keep looking. Your future depends on it."

"Stop, Amu! Just stop!" He sat up straight and turned to her with a stern expression. "You're pushing yourself too hard! When you said you would help, I thought you were volunteering to do the obvious thing and go as my date, but no. You wanted to do more, and I greatly appreciate that, but I don't want anything to do with those fakers! You are good enough for this. You have the looks. You apparently have the know-how. You're the obvious choice! Please, won't you just stop searching for someone else, and go to the ball with me?" His expression was pleading, and he was practically begging.

Amu was confused beyond belief. "I – I can't. I may have etiquette training, but I don't even know where to begin when it comes to socializing with all of those important people! What would I talk about? I would need to make a good impression! I can't!"

"I can teach you what you need to know about them. Just please, do this for me. It's the only way you can help me."

Amu's cheeks were dusted with a light blush. She sighed. "Alright."

Ikuto gave her a brilliant smile before settling into a smirk. "Then let's get started."

End scene! So what do you guys think? I would love to hear your thoughts in the form of a review! Not really sure what else to say now…

Until next time!