- The Twenty-Sixth Encounter -
Spring is perhaps my favorite season, warm without
being humid, pleasant throughout with flowers blooming
on every corner. I love the pink of the cherry
blossoms, the joyousness of the yellow forsythia, the
rising blooms of daffodils.. okay, stop me before I
turn into a home and garden magazine.
Anyway, I love spring. Even with the sudden cold
snaps that send all of my senses into whirling
pitfalls, I love the season. I can practically smell
the air warming, feel the buds rising out of the
grounds, et cetera. Too bad I live in the middle of
an urban center and I hardly get to see anything
resembling plant life, right?
So, spring hit my city with a gentle breeze, carrying
the scent of flowers in the air. I felt relaxed all
the time, the spring fever without the maddening need
to procreate hitting my nerves every time I stepped
outside. I wanted to float around doing nothing, just
sitting on a park bench absorbing all that was spring
instead of working my bones to grinding death.
If wishes could be horses.. then we would all be
eating horses, right?
Oh, maybe not. I have heard that horses taste rather
nasty. Do not ask how I heard, how I know. Some
things should be kept secret.
So, March was the beginning of spring for me, in more
ways than in just the weather pattern. Heero and I
entered into a peaceful time as well, our relationship
blooming healthily despite all the inconveniences
caused by some significant members of our lives. We
also got closer to having the sex each day which was a
relief to me Ė I was beginning to doubt if I would
ever be ready for it.
I suppose my reluctance had a lot to do with the fact
that I am a virgin in respects to having sexual
encounters with other males. Imagine it for just a
second. Here I am, having had sex many times over
many years, getting used to it being a certain way
with only women, trying to figure out the interlocking
procedures involved in an all male relationship.. but
Quatre and Trowa tried to advise me on the whole sex
thing, Quatre being a bit more frank than was polite
in company. On occasion, Trowa would suggest that he
draw me some diagrams and perhaps build me a working
model of the situation. I do believe my friends are
teasing the hell out of me, but if you canít make fun
of your friend and his sex life, then what is the use
of having friends at all? It is rather karmic anyway,
since I used to tease Wufei endlessly about sex,
seeing how I was always off getting laid in college
while he tried to wait for the perfect woman to come
As I was saying, spring. Work was still hell, but the
brimstone quality of it was tempered by the nostalgic
atmosphere bred by the season. I found myself
daydreaming about what Heero and I did, would do,
should do. I resembled a teenager in the blooms of
his first love, staring out into space at inopportune
times, losing entire trains of thought. If I was not
so happy with Heero, I would have seen how entirely
pathetic I was. In a good way.
But such feelings does not last forever, because
springs are notorious for their sudden showers, shifts
in weather and my life followed that pattern closely.
How shall I phrase what kind of a craphole into which
my life decided to plunge except to say that one fine
day, as sudden as a spring snow storm, I got the most
disturbing visit at my apartment.
There I was, innocently smoking one of my last
cigarettes in the pack, working through a terribly
unorganized box of discovery sent over to me by the
prosecutorís office, when there was a knock on my
apartment door. I was being quite industrious on
Sunday, having brought a lot of work home. Hell, I
had even asked Heero not to come over this day so that
I could finish work without distractions. But there
it was, the distraction, in the form of a knock on the
door. Grumbling inaudibly, I forced my legs to unfold
from their painful position and wobbled to the door,
ready to whip out a whole load of frustrated curses on
the unfortunate soul who had decided to convert me to
Jesus or sell me cookies.
Alas, there was no religiously dedicated Mormon nor a
overly cheerful girl scout on the welcome mat of my
door. No. There was a lady, dressed in a very
tasteful and expensive Prada suit, and wearing a pair
of shoes that Iím sure cost the amount of a small
countryís tax deficit. She had her blond hair curled
into a sedate chignon at the base of her neck and was
decorated with understated but pricey jewelry. All in
all, she was the picture of a proper, debutante ball
kind of a lady.. that is, until I looked into her
quite enraged and steely blue eyes.
"Can I help you?" I asked, slightly confused by her
presence and more than annoyed about the interruption.
"Yes," she answered in a cultured voice, modulated
just so to make it sound like a command rather than a
reply, "you may help me by dropping dead."
Well, thatís not very cheerful. Or nice.
"I see. Do you happen to be related to one of my
Yes, that is a very valid question in my line of work.
I have no idea how many hit lists my name must be
adorning at this very moment because of past clients,
but I can hazard a guess and say it is in the higher
"No," she said, her nose in the air, "but then again,
you canít guess who I am, is that it? You are not as
intelligent as I had heard."
Several things click at once. The hostility, the
genteel faÁade, the expensive clothes, the blond
"Relena. Nice to meet you."
Hah! I said that with a straight face, you know that?
No hint of sarcasm either. Okay, I donít hold
anything against the girl, because she had been duped
by her entire family, friends and Heero for so long,
but still.. Iím not perfect, I had jealousy issues,
She walked into my apartment without an invitation,
but I wasnít about to physically remove her either, so
I had no choice but to close the door and face her.
Really, I had not actually thought that I would ever
meet Relena, especially after she had kicked Heero out
of her life, but here she was, pretty as a porcelain
doll, standing in my living room with a very scary
look on her face.
Good thing Iím used to dealing with hostility and
"Would you like something to drink?" I asked, ever
the polite host. I had to admit it to myself, Iím
rather good at pretending as if nothing was amiss.
"You wouldnít put cyanide in it, would you?"
She sounded so utterly serious and suspicious that I
had to laugh. Did she spend her time reading cheesy
ass novels where the evil woman (or in my case, man,
definitely man) infused the coffee with a deadly
poison so that the former lover could be offed in a
tasteful manner? I really ought to buy her some
Capote.. she might get better, if not more gruesome,
"Sorry, fresh out. Used the last batch last week on a
particularly nasty client."
At this point, I think she realized how stupid she had
sounded because she blushed the shade of pink that
clashed with her lavender suit. Then she sat down on
my couch, still uninvited but who is caring, and faced
me with a slightly miffed look.
"I apologize," she said, her voice carrying a bit of a
rueful pout, "Iím not usually so.. catty. Itís just
that, well, I came here on an impulse.. and I have no
idea why Iím here at all."
I gave her high points for honesty and bravery. Here
she was, facing me, most probably the last person she
ever wanted to meet, and she had yet to throw things
at my face. She is doing much better than most
"Hey, I understand. If it makes it easier, I have no
idea why youíre here either."
I know I shouldnít be attempting humor in this case,
but I canít help it. One of my best defenses in a
tense situation is humor, even if it is out of place.
Defense mechanism is an automatic reflex, you know?
"Itís just that I really hated you," she intoned in a
very calm voice, "and I had to see if you were an
I see. I suppose it would make it easier if I was
some ugly bastard who somehow brainwashed Heero into
"The thing is, I really loved Heero. For a very long
time. I never imagined a future without him and
then.. he tells me that heís gay and he has been for
the longest time. He tells me that he stayed with me
out of pity, not out of love. He tells me that heís
in love with you and that everyone knew! It was
humiliating, mortifying. And yet.. still.."
Oh shit, this is when she begins tearing up. Her blue
eyes no longer held anger, filling up with frustrated
sadness and betrayal. How the hell do these things
happen to me?
"I hate you," she continued, her voice warbling with
unshed tears, "more than I hate Heero, because if it
wasnít for you.. heíd still be with me and I wouldnít
know all these things. But thatís not fair of me and
I know that it isnít, but I canít help but hate you.
Iím an awful person! And so are you! Heero is the
worst! No wait, my brother is! Oh damn it, everyone
Yep, thatís when she burst into full fledged crying,
her face buried in her tea serving hands still
sporting a diamond ring on her left hand ring finger.
I felt even more sorry for her than I did before. I
wanted to help her out, so I sat next to her on the
sofa, patting her shoulder awkwardly.
"Oh. Hey," I tried, I really did, "itís okay.."
Crying females is not my thing. I have no idea what
to do with them. I donít know whether to offer them
tissues or joke with them to stop their crying.
Especially in this case! This was Relena, Heeroís
ex-fiancee, the girl who stirred up trouble just by
being mentioned! And she was crying on my sofa,
sounding incredibly broken and dripping tears the size
of cantaloupes. What am I supposed to do?
It got even more complicated when she buried her face
in my chest and gripped my shirt for dear life. I was
about a millisecond from panicking, but I held back.
I didnít want both of us to be freaking out at the
same time, because it would have caused more issues.
"See," she hiccoughed and stumbled, "I.. I still
love.. and he sucks.. you do, too.. canít believe
this happened to me! I.."
From there, it degenerated into incoherent mumblings,
between the sobbing and the hitching breaths. This
was a situation I never had imagined. Relena, crying
on my chest, lamenting about her broken relationship
with Heero.. the only thing that could have made it
any weirder was if Solo was currently crying on
As Relena continued to soak my shirt, I realized
something. Relena, of course, still loved Heero, you
canít turn that off like a drippy faucet. She
probably didnít want to, not after what she had been
through, but she still did. She loved him so much,
but in the end, it had not been returned. It had
never been returned and she had found that out in a
very painful, humiliating way. She had vented her
rage at Heero, cried her sorrows to Milliardo, but she
had needed someone to hate desperately, to blame
someone for this unbelievable fact of her life.
I was the obvious choice.
The poor girl. I canít fathom the pain she must have
been in for the past three months, trying to come to
grips with a simple fact that her life for the last
ten years had been built on lies. I love Heero to
death, I would never let him go, but at this moment, I
was getting angry with him all over again. He could
have ended it for her way before this, been truthful
about who he was to her and let her move on with her
life. But he had used that feeble excuse about her
not being well.
Wait, sheís not well. Oh crap, what if she passes out
"Uh, Relena," I said, trying to keep the mounting
worry out of my voice, "Heero said that you werenít
well.. this canít be good for you, right?"
That got her going on the ranting mode again.
"Heero, that idiot! And Milliardo, too! And my
goddamn parents! I was not THAT sick, for the love of
god! They should have told me ages ago, but no, they
had to protect their weak, innocent little girl! They
are all idiots!"
Well, I canít argue with her there, can I? Havenít I
told Heero that he should have let her know? As soon
as she finished that short rant, though, she went back
to making my shirt into a damp rag.
To think that I was jealous of her.. sure, I had
every right to have been angry at Heero, but I should
never have held Relena responsible. I mean, she was a
victim, too, wasnít she? All the important people in
her life had lied to her for half of her life. What
did that say? Sure, they did it because they thought
it was for her best, so that she would not relapse
into the throes of her disease, but I honestly donít
think that should justify this at all.
This being the crying girl in my arms.
"I donít understand," she said, her voice muffled in
my very wet shirt, "why none of them thought I was
strong enough. Have I been that weak? And why am I
here, of all places, with you, of all people, crying?
Why am I crying on you? What do you care?"
Even so, she does not remove herself from me.
Instead, she lifts her head to stare at me in the
"You.. you are a good looking guy."
I smirk slightly at her, raising one of my eyebrows.
"Heero loves you."
I nod, my chin nearly bumping into her forehead, but
she does not notice.
"I hate you, you know."
"Yeah," I sigh, "I know. You have the right."
"You hate me, donít you?" She asks rather accusingly.
"Nah, I donít. None of this was really your fault,
She merely looks at me a bit longer before she
replies. Tough and thoughtful girl, she is.
"Partially, it is my fault," she finally says
resignedly, "because I really would have done anything
to keep Heero with me. Even if I had known, maybe I
would have continued feigning to be very ill to keep
him. As long as I could."
Honest, too. Sheís not so bad, Relena Peacecraft.
"But I still hate you. And I think I will need
something to drink."
Yeah, she did. Crying all those tears must have
dehydrated her. Hell, it drained me.
After she drank some water, she stood up, gathered her
purse and got ready to leave. At the door, she paused
for a moment and turned to me, her face an interesting
study of various emotions. I suppose she is very
embarrassed at having cried on me like that, not to
mention the things she said, but she faces me with
"Iíll have to hire someone to kill you if you tell
anyone I was here."
I expect no less. I suppose Iím on yet another hit
list, but for some reason, I do not mind it so much.