"Good morning! Today is a wonderful today!" said Duo in a cheery voice as he took a seat at the small kitchen table the next morning.

"You're up early for the second morning in a row," commented Trowa with a raised eyebrow. "And you're dressed all ready. Amazing." The tall man was still dressed in his pajamas, his long bangs were mussed up and he wore a sleepy look on his face.

"Ooh, aren't we all in a sunshine mood today," teased Duo. "For your information, Mr. Clown Man, today is the first day I start my work as a rising TV star and even if the director is Kalila, I'd hafta make a good impression on my first day on the job, right?"

"Good impression my foot," muttered Trowa as he took a sip of his bitter, black coffee. "You just want to get to the studio early so you could flirt with that hairdresser.. what's her name, Laura?"

"Her name is Linda and she's a make-up artist, not a hairdresser," corrected Duo as he snatched a piece of toast from Trowa's hand which he just finished spreading some jam on. "And no, I'm not going there to flirt with her. If I wanna get to the top, I'd have to flirt and suck-up to the big cheese of this production."

"You mean, Kalila?," asked Trowa with an amused look. "I bet she would be very happy if I told her about your plans."

"Ha ha ha. If you do that -," Duo put on his best glare. "I'll strangle you with my braid."

"I'll chop off your braid before you could do that."

"Then I'll strangle you before you could chop off my braid."

"Duo, why don't you go and watch some TV?"

With a grumble, Duo trudged into the living room and switched on the TV. "Hmmpphh. That Trowa. Why does he always have to tell me to watch TV every time I make him speak more than his maximum limit of ten words per day?" he mumbled as he watched his favourite cartoon, which was the 'Power Puff Girls'.

~*~*~*~*~*

"CUT!!" yelled Kalila. "OK, break time everyone. Be back on the set in ten!"

Duo walked up, no, practically bounced up to Kalila. "Hey, you're pretty good at directing, you know that?" he told Kalila with a grin.

"That's why I'm the director, aren't I?" said the blonde jokingly. "Pretty good acting you did, too."

"Well, that's me - Duo Maxwell, future greatest actor of all time!" Duo said with a wink.

"And let's not forget the future greatest actress of all time shall we?" said a feminine voice from beside them.

"Hey, Del!" greeted Duo happily with a grin. "So how'd ya think of the first scene we did?"

"I think it was wonderful!" said Del - Delaine Ingram, a woman around Duo's age with short light-brown hair cut into the latest hairstyle and smiling brown eyes. She was the leading actress and even though she had been in several TV series before, she still hasn't reached superstar status therefore she was not too popular, but famous enough to be known by a lot of people. "We only had to retake that part twice and everybody acted beautifully. The props and the costumes were great, as well as the script and the directing was very-well organized."

"Aww, you people sure know how to flatter me up," said Kalila with a smile.

"But it's the truth! You're a great director," insisted Delaine. "And the script you wrote was very well-written. Nobody could have written a script as well as you have."

"Eh? You're the scriptwriter also?" asked Duo, facing Kalila.

"Yep. Actually, I planned on just being the scriptwriter and let somebody else direct," explained Kalila. "But then again, I thought that since I was the one who wrote the script, I'd have a pretty good idea of how things should really be done accordingly to the script whereas the director would just assume things should be like this or like that. So that's why I decided to direct as well."

"Wow," murmured Duo. "Amazing. You write and direct at the same time!"

"Well, I guess that's just some of those things I can actually do," Kalila said airily. "And probably the only ones, too. I mean, I can't even cook or sew or draw! Believe me when I tell you that I can't even draw stick people."

"Oh, you're just being modest," said Delaine loyally.

Kalila laughed. "Enough about me all ready!" she said, a faint blush gracing her cheeks. "Which reminds me - break time's over! All right, everybody back to the set! Come one now, get your lazy bums here! We got a show to produce."

Duo, Delaine and the other actors as well as the people in charge of props, the make-up artists and whoever that was supposed to do whatever dutifully crowded around Kalila who was giving them instructions. Nobody grumbled even once that day and everything went as smooth as silk. Kalila proved to be a capable director and was well-liked by all involved in the production for her cheerfullness and friendly demeanor.

Duo smiled as he couldn't help thinking how Kalila resembled her brother very, very much.

~*~*~*~*~*

"Tro-man, I'm home!" yelled Duo as he burst in through Trowa's apartment door. He skipped inside and flopped onto the sofa, kicking away his shoes so that he could rest his feet on top of the coffee table. "Hey, Tro!"

"You didn't have to yell that loudly, you know," yelled back Trowa from his room. "I can hear you just fine!"

"Look who's yelling! I don't hear you talking so softly either!"

"Duo! Just stay there and watch TV!!"

Duo ignored Trowa's order and proceeded to barge right into Trowa's room, which of course, resulted in making Trowa jump nearly four feet high.

"Hey, whatcha doing anyway?" Duo asked, even though he could see that Trowa was wrapping a small box with dark green wrapping paper that had delicate golden flower patterns all over it.

"It's called, wrapping a box," said Trowa pointedly.

"Is it for me? Today's not my birthday though.. and I know it's not Christmas yet."

"It's for a friend of mine actually," said Trowa distractedly, as he was concentrating on getting the box wrapped as neatly as possible.

"Is this friend somebody I know?" Duo asked, his curiousity growing.

"Maybe and then again, maybe not."

"Can you at least tell me that friend's name?"

"I'd rather if he were anonymous," said Trowa briskly.

"Oh, so it's a 'he'!" exclaimed Duo.

"Duo…"

"Yes, Tro-man?"

"Go and watch that blasted TV!"

~*~*~*~*~*

'Sorry Duo, but I can't tell you whom I'm giving this to,' thought Trowa as Duo grumbled and exited his room to watch something on TV. 'I don't know. I guess if I told you, you might be mad or even jealous. Because I'm giving this to Quatre.'

Trowa held the now perfectly wrapped present. In the small box was a little soft-toy of Winnie the Pooh. Trowa felt his lips curve into a tiny smile. He remembered how much the blonde liked Winnie the Pooh. No, it was definitely more than like. Quatre was obsessed with Pooh. Quatre even had a pajama with Pooh and 'hunny' pot prints all over it.

'It may not change the past and even the present, but I hope this little gift would show you that I still remember and that I still care,' he thought. And of course, if Quatre didn't, he had attached an envelope with his letter inside, along with the gift.

The tall man knew, he could have just met or called Quatre and told him what he wanted to say, but knowing that if Quatre was mad at him, then Quatre wouldn't even give him a second glance. So the gift was a great idea to soften the blonde's heart - even if it was only a bit.

"Cow and Chicken! Cow and Chicken!"

Trowa could hear the moronic theme song of 'Cow and Chicken' from his room. He wanted to yell at Duo to keep the volume down but decided against it. He was the one who forced Duo to watch something on TV after all.

"Muahahahahaha!" Trowa heard Duo laugh like some sort of maniac. "That is sooo 'stewpid'!" (This Duo said ala Dexter from Dexter's Lab.)

'I guess it would be better to let the post office get this present to Quatre rather than having myself go to his house and put it in his mailbox,' Trowa thought. 'It's not that I can't put it in his mailbox myself but I can't risk having his wife see me putting the present in the mailbox - besides, I remember that there was a hidden surveilence camera near the mailbox, too! Not a great thing. Yep, I'll just let the post office take care of it.'

"Hey, Tro-man, where ya going?" asked Duo, seeing that Trowa had gotten out of his room and was reaching for a jacket on the coat rack.

"I'm going to the post office."

"I'll go with you," said Duo quickly, reaching for his own jacket as well. "I've got nothing to do here after all."

Trowa just raised an eyebrow. Hadn't Duo been watching his favourite 'Cow and Chicken' cartoon? But he let the matter rest and he made sure that the front door was locked before they began they're short journey to the post office.

~*~*~*~*~*

"I-I just don't understand," wailed Arabella, her shoulders racking with sobs as she buried her face into her hands. "I thought he married me because he loved me but why does he act like he hates me so much?"

"There, there now," murmured Iria soothingly as she patted Arabella's shoulder. She surveyed the sobbing woman before her. Arabella's peaches and cream complexion was tear-stained and pasty and her usually beautiful rich-brown curls looked dull and lifeless. "I'm sure he's just acting like that because he's under stress what with running the company and all.. I'm sure he loves you. Really."

"Really?" sniffed Arabella, raising her face to gaze into Iria's.

"Yes. I promise," lied Iria. The truth was, Iria didn't want to lie to her sister-in-law but what could she do? Go all out and just tell Arabella that her brother was gay and that he married her out of duty and not out of love like she thought? That would be too.. cruel.

"Then I guess I was just being worried and crying over nothing, huh?" said Arabella as she laughed shakily. "I feel so stupid - thinking that Quatre doesn't love me. Of course he does, doesn't he? If he didn't then he wouldn't have married me. It's just that I keep forgetting that he has a huge responsibility being the head of WEI and getting involved with all sorts of projects to make everybody's life better. I can't help feeling paranoid that he's actually going to all these business trips just to avoid me - I mean, it's not like we've spent so much time together after the wedding.."

"Yes, you might be feeling just a bit insecure because Quatre's away all the time," assured Iria. "But I guess Quatre being away most of the time should be expected. He is very busy after all."

"You're right," nodded Arabella. "I should stop fretting. I should put it in my mind that it doesn't matter if Quatre's not home most of the time - as long as his heart is with me, right?"

"That's the spirit," said Iria, forcing and encouraging smile. "I'll try to make sure that Quatre wouldn't be too tied up with work though so he couls spend some quality time with you."

"Thank you," Arabella said gratefully. "I can't thank you enough, Iria. You've been such a wonderful sister-in-law to me. In fact, I'd rather think of you as my real sister."

"You're welcome," said Iria, giving the other woman a hug. "I'm sorry I have to leave right now, but I have some patients I have to visit at the hospital."

"Oh! I hope I didn't waste your time or make you late for the visit with my unneccessary bawling," said Arabella guiltily. "I really should apologize for my childish behaviour."

"No need for apologies," said Iria with a dismissive wave of her hand. "Just cheer up, will you?"

"I'll do that."

After Iria had exited Arabella's room, correction: Arabella and Quatre's room, she was gritting her teeth and her fists were clenched into tight balls.

"I am going to kill that no-good brother of mine as soon as I get my hands on him," she muttered a vow to herself as she stepped out of the house.

~*~*~*~*~*

"OK, so now we're at the post office. Now what? You gonna buy some stamps for your stamp collection or something?"

"For your information, I don't collect stamps."

"Oh."

"Anyway, I'm here to have this delivered," said Trowa, getting the small, wrapped box from the inside of his jacket.

"Aww.. can't you please tell me to whom you're gonna give that?" pleaded Duo, making his eyes wide and childlike.

"No."

"Not even a small hint?" wheedled Duo some more. "Please? With cherries and whipped cream on top?"

"No. It's just for somebody - that's all," said Trowa, he's tone clearly meaning that he didn't want Duo to bug him with furthermore questions. "You wait here while I get this taken care of."

"Yeah, yeah. Just hurry up OK, cos I don't wanna wait too long for ya," said Duo and Trowa went off to line up in one of the lines in the' post office. "Damn. Why is he being so goddamn secretive anyhow?"

"Duo!"

"Kalila!" Duo exclaimed happily as he spotted Kalila waving at him not so far off from where he stood. He waited a while before Kalila trotted towards him. "Hey, what's up?"

"Nothing much - just came here to get some stuff delivered and all that," said Kalila with a shrug. "Where's Trowa?"

"There," said Duo, pointing out towards where Trowa was. "He's getting some present sent to some mystery person."

"Mystery person, huh?" mused the blonde. "Wonder who it could be. You don't suppose he's sending it to somebody he just fell in love with or..?"

"I don't know but nah, don't think so," Duo said carelessly. The braided man wished he was half as convinced as he sounded. Not that he really cared if Trowa had taken a liking to somebody else - after all, they weren't even an item, right?

"Um, anyway.. I'd have to ask for your help, Duo," said Kalila seriously. "You remember Gary Brandt?" Duo nodded his head, remembering one of the other actors he was working with. "Well, he's had an accident and I need to find somebody else to take his place."

"Accident? What happened to him?"

"His car collided with a truck and his leg's broken as well as a couple of ribs," explained Kalila.

"Poor guy," muttered Duo. "Why don't you just get the next best person who auditioned for the role Gary had."

"That's the problem!" Kalila bit her lower lip. "None of them are perfect for the role! I mean, the role calls for somebody who seems cool and sophisticated - as well as have a poker face and seem emotionless. I might as well find a robot to take on that role!"

"Ahem. Look no further, ma'am," said Duo drily. "I know the perfect statue for this role - Trowa."

"Trowa? Are you sure?" Kalila said, frowning a little. "He doesn't seem to be interested in acting like you are."

"I know. That's why we gotta beg real hard for him to take Gary's place - you know, make a really big sob story and even cry to make him cave in," said Duo. "If not, we could always blackmail him."

"Blackmail him? Yeah, right," said Kalila, rolling her eyes. "How in the colonies are we ever going to blackmail him?"

"You know, he has this Winnie the Pooh pajamas in his drawer.." said Duo suggestively.

"Trowa? Winnie the Pooh pajamas?" gasped the woman, clutching her stomache as peals and peals of laughter escaped her. "I can't imagine somebody like Trowa having those!"

"You can't imagine somebody like me having what?" came Trowa's voice suddenly and Duo and Kalila immediately froze.

"Oh, we were just imagining you owning a panda bear costume," said Duo quickly. He saw the taller man raise and eyebrow out of the corner of his eye but he pretended not to notice.

"Hello, Trowa," said Kalila with a warm smile. "Pleasant surprise running into you here."

"Well, I came here just to get something delivered," said Trowa vaguely.

"I see. Is it OK if I stopped by at your place or if we could hang out someplace for a while? I have some stuff to talk over with you."

"I don't see why not." said Trowa. "What do you want to talk about?"

"You'll find out soon enough," said Kalila mysteriously.

The trio chatted - or more likely, it was Kalila and Duo who were doing most of the chatting - as they walked towards Trowa's apartment which was in walking distance from the post office.

Not long after, they soon reached the apartment and upon entering, Kalila was inspecting this and that and turning knick-knacks in her hands as she scrutinised the stuff carefully. Duo watched her with a funny look on his face but Trowa just acted indifferently like he did most of the time.

"Give her a cape and a pipe and a magnifying glass and we have Kalila Holmes!" joked Duo as he and Trowa watched Kalila inspect even the furniture. "Hey, Kal. Don't tell me you're some sort of house inspector besides being a director and a script writer!"

"Whaa? Oh! Please, don't mind me," said Kalila, looking a bit sheepish. "It's just this err, obsession of mine to look at stuff in people's homes as if they were something out of an art gallery." [1]

"What kind of a weird obsession is that?" asked Duo, preplexed.

"Well, I don't think it's that weird - just call it a 'woman thing'," Kalila said with a shrug. "Besides, I feel that looking at the contents of one's home fascinating. I can learn so much about the people living here or elsewhere."

"Soooo.. what can you say about Trowa?" asked the braided man. "This is his house after all."

"Well," began Kalila, tilting her head to one side. "I can say that Trowa's a very neat and organised person. Other than that, he doesn't care much for frivolously and cutesy-wutesy stuff like picture frames or little ornaments - this shows that he doesn't like his life to be too cluttered with unimportant things.. and I can tell he is sophisticated, mature and simplistic by the looks of the interior."

"Wow! Are you some sort of expert on psychology or something?" Duo asked.

"Nah. It's just that I like to analyse stuff about other people," said the blonde modestly. [2] "You know, like their behaviour and reasons for acting this way and that... Anyway, I think Trowa's getting bored. He's heard me rambling about this before."

"I didn't say that I was getting bored," protested Trowa. "But I thought you had matters to discuss with me so shall we...?"

They all settled down on the sofas and Kalila began telling Trowa what she had told Duo. Surprisingly, she was quite a good actress herself - giving an occasional sniffle and looking as if she was on the verge of tears while making herself look very desperate and helpless that even stoic Trowa managed to get himself agreeing to partipate in Kalila's plans.

"Yay! So it's settled then!' cheered Kalila cheerfully, all traces of sadness banished. "I promise you Tro, you'll be a great actor! Now don't forget to come to the studio tomorrow, k?"

"Hey! You tricked me into doing this!" said the tall man in mock anger but he couldn't help smiling just a little bit. "Hn. The things I get myself into.."



[1] l think it oughta have been a 'middle-aged woman thing' cos my mom - and all her friends for that matter seem to like doing this everytime they go to their friends' houses. Well, this is what I observed anyway!

[2] Actually, this is what I like and do best - analysing people. I'm just a stupid high school student and I'm no psychology expert but I do know a bit about the subject. It's quite interesting to find out about why a person acts the way he/she does even though it might seem sort of busybody-ish. And let's just say I sorta have a flair for guessing somebody's personality after observing him/her for some time. ^-~


Muahaha! So know you know about my demented hobby. I hope this part wasn't much of a bore cos methinks it is and I know this is dumb but the part about Trowa wanting to get the present delivered by the post office?

I think I got that wrong.. maybe it should be delivered by some gift delivering agency or something? I don't know.. I've been to the post office like, twice in my whole life and once it was to buy stamps and the other time to deliver some letter by express and both those times I just stood like a fool and waited for somebody to help me or something but nobody did! So I had to ask somebody at a counter a good ten minutes later cos I was afaid to ask anybody...

Feedback? Please send them to blue_violet@gundamwing.org. Even a demented writer needs feedback you know!!


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