On Monday night, Zoro did not expect Tashigi visiting his home. It’s been a rough weekend for him. His mind’s still not as calm as what he wants it to. The recent conversation with his friends had made Zoro think hard on what really is keeping this relationship going. Or why he is still staying in this relationship.
“You looked like you’ve seen a ghost. Is everything okay?” He should not be surprised if she visits whenever she wants. After all, he was the one who gave Tashigi the extra key to his house a few months ago.
She rarely visits unannounced, not that Zoro minds that she does – but the timing is just too much for his muddled brain to handle. It is not easy dealing with her right now.
“Nothing. Why are you - ” Zoro stopped himself from finishing the question. It sounds rude as if he doesn’t want his girlfriend visiting him at all – this just further proves what his friends told him.
“Why am I here? Is it bad visiting my boyfriend whom I haven’t seen for two weeks?” His eyes blinked a few times trying to process what she just said. He didn’t even notice that he had not seen her for two weeks. What kind of boyfriend is he?
“Sorry, I’ve just been busy these days.” A total lie. Zoro is not that busy. What had he been busy for these days? Nothing. It’s just business as usual.
“Too busy to even call me at least once?” Tashigi’s voice sounds hurt, doubtful and this just made Zoro feel guilty for the lie he just told her. “I know your role in the company is keeping you busy for most days. I am not asking you to call me every day as you know that I am busy as well. A little bit of your time is all I ask.”
“Look, I’m sorry, okay? I’ve been preoccupied with a lot of things.”
“Preoccupied with a lot of things? Like what?” Her question made him silent. There’s no justified or decent answer he can provide that can justify his actions. Nothing and this makes him madder at himself. “Zoro, couldn’t you at least give me a bit of your time?”
“Alright. I’ll try.” This is all what Zoro can promise because even he can’t trust himself to do this. The whole thing about dating her is just so out of place. His mind is a complete mess.
She fell silent, not answering him at all. Instead, she chose to change the topic and asked him if he’s hungry and if there’s a meal he wants to eat. Zoro just answered anything. He’s not in a mood to eat anything anyway.
When she opened his fridge, she saw nothing but beer and a few drinks like soda and water. There’s nothing she can cook at all.
“Aren’t you doing groceries?”
“I did groceries last week, Luffia just raided them. Anyway, it’s not like I stay at home all day. We usually eat outside.”
“You have the time to eat with her and not call me. Impressive.” Sarcasm is practically oozing out of every word she uttered. It made Zoro edgy but said nothing. “I can’t help but think that your priority is her and not your work.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Zoro’s voice is low and firm, he’s slowly losing his patience at the conversation.
“Isn’t that the case?”
“Did you just come here to start a damn argument?” A sigh escaped Zoro’s mouth. He’s tired and mentally exhausted. Thinking things through is not his forte, but he was forced to think about it because he just can’t ignore what his friends said - and the fact that they made a lot of sense. It’s driving him mad.
"Damn argument? Really?”
“What is your point?”
“Zoro, you’re not that stupid not to think about my point here. Two weeks Zoro! I never got a call or text from you, because you are busy? Busy doing what?”
“I am busy doing work, Tashigi. You know damn well I had so many responsibilities.”
“Responsibilities to the company or to Luffia?” That made Zoro frown even more. There is nothing that irks him more than Luffia being dragged into something she shouldn’t be.
“Why are you dragging Luffia into this? You know very well what position I hold in the company. We’ve been busy preparing for a lot of projects.”
“Too busy to even ask if I am doing okay?”
“I reply to your messages.” Zoro answered.
A sarcastic sigh left Tashigi’s mouth, looking at Zoro exasperated as if he said something ridiculous. “That’s exactly the point! Since when did you message me first? I was always the first one to message you, had I not, you’d most likely forget that I even exist in your life!”
That felt like a slap to Zoro’s face. He stood there in his kitchen, staring at his girlfriend while trying to process what she just said. It was unbearable - seeing her desperately trying to make a point and get her arguments across. Zoro hates to admit it, but her statement is valid.
“What exactly am I to you, Zoro?” This is the question he’s been afraid of.
“What kind of question is that?”
“This is not the first time that I’ve asked myself about who I am to you. Of all the time that we have been together, I thought that we just have differences we can’t easily change. But, no. It’s been a long time, Zoro. Don’t I deserve to be in your list of priorities as well?”
“Tashigi - I’m sorry. I’ll do better.”
That was all Zoro can promise. And he will do anything he can to make things right with her.
A sigh left Sab’s mouth as she slumped into the couch, waiting for Koala to get their drinks. Today’s been eventful. Tuesday is supposed to be a lighter schedule for her. No crazy meetings and she was looking forward to getting a few of the backlogs done today, but she ended up spending the first half of her day at home, accompanying her mom.
Their mother visited last night, right on time before Ann can go to her date. As usual, she asked Luffia and Sab about their day and how everything is going so far. Then, she went to their rooms, checked on their wardrobes, and decided they need to wear the new ones she bought.
This is very common for their mother. She will casually visit their house and check their wardrobes, then decide if they need new ones or not.
Luffia and Ann have nothing urgent coming up, so they decided to stay in the house till 11 AM. Their mother arrived in their house at the ungodly hour of 7 AM and brought boxes of new clothes.
“Mom, there’s no need for you to replace them. They’re practically new!” Ann complained when their mother replaced a few wardrobe staples in favor of the new ones she bought in the recently concluded Fashion week.
“These are good quality dresses I bought. Something you need when you go on a date with Marco. Speaking of the date, how was it?” Rouge set down the clothes in Ann’s walk-in closet. Luffia and Sab are standing behind Ann, listening to the conversation.
“It’s great! He’s really nice and a gentleman.”
“That’s good to hear, my dear.” Rouge just finished setting the new shoes and decided to walk out of the closet. “Next is yours Sab.” She said. The sisters followed their mother to Sab’s room, helping her bring all the boxes. Just how many stores did she haul to get all of these? “Sab, aren’t you dating anyone right now?” The question took Sab aback.
“No. Nothing worthy to date.” She shrugged.
“Nothing? Not even suitors?”
“There are, but I turned them down.” Sab is not fond of letting the suitors continue their pursuit when she knows she has no interest in them. It will be a waste of time for both.
“And when will you start giving them chances? You have always been picky.” Their mother shakes her head at Sab while busy putting the new bags into the right places.
“It’s not worth it going on a date when you know it’s not going to work out anyway.” Sab reasoned out while helping in putting the clothes to the cabinets.
The four of them spent 3 hours just to get rid of the old clothes and place the new ones inside. Their mother bought a lot. It’s a good thing she did not decide to replace the entire closet. It would take them days before they can finish it.
As soon as their mother left, the sisters also decided to leave the house and get to work. Sab’s quite tired in just preventing their mother in bringing back more clothes. It’s too much trouble. Add to that stress is the fact that her mother is encouraging her to start dating just because Ann is.
She doesn’t want to date anyone she doesn’t like. Her schedules’ busy enough as it is, adding a new responsibility is just something she doesn’t want to.
With a sigh, she looked at where Koala is. She needs that coffee right now. As soon as she turned around, her stress level doubled upon seeing who Koala was talking to. Of all people, why does it have to be that red-haired bastard?
Ok, technically, Koala’s talking to the blond-haired friend of the bastard, but the fact that he’s there doesn’t make Sab happy at all. There’s just about him that irks her.
“Would you guys like to join us for coffee?” Sab’s eyes grew as wide as it could upon hearing Koala’s offer as soon as they arrived in front of where Sab is sitting.
Their eyes met. It didn’t take a second before they start glaring at each other. This is given. They just can’t stand each other, and for her friend to offer these men to join them is making Sab fume.
Alright, given they helped Koala - sort of - maybe one of the reasons why Koala is offering them, but knowing her best friend, Sab knew too well she just wants to mess with her.
He must have felt how irked Sab is upon hearing Koala’s question because Kidd smirked at her before answering: “Sure. I’d love to.” The nerve!
And he has the guts to sit right next to her! What the actual fuck?!
Sab’s not prepared to be stressed like this.
“Make sure you hold your coffee mug right. I don’t want to have another stain on my shirt... again." And he fucking smirked.
“Oh, you might as well watch out. You never know when my hand will slip. That would be a disaster, don’t you think?” She fired back.
“Wouldn’t that be clumsy and idiotic of you?”
Sab’s eyebrow just twitched in annoyance. Did he just call me an idiot?
Annoyed, she slammed her coffee mug on the table, right in front of Kidd, where it slightly spilled on the table. Her actions surprised Kidd a bit.
“Oops. How clumsy of me.” Had the impact been strong enough, the mug would have broke, spilling all over Kidd’s shoes this time. “Be careful, your pants and shoes might be next.”
It is Kidd’s turn to be annoyed at her. This woman just won’t stop irritating him for no reason at all.
“You two just won’t get along, would you?” Koala said while sipping on her coffee, feeling relaxed right next to Killer. Her statement earned a glare from Sab and Kidd.
“Who would want to get along with this barbarian?” Sab muttered, but it was loud enough for everyone on that table to hear.
“Like I’d like to get along with a witch like you.”
“Do I look like a witch to you?!” Sab gasped in surprise. The last time she looked at the mirror, she looked nothing like a witch. She looks decent enough and this man had the guts to call her a witch.
“And do I look like a barbarian to you?!” Kidd fired back.
“I am talking about your attitude, Mister.” Sab said to spite him.
“Oh, what a coincidence!” He sarcastically replied. “I am talking about your attitude too, Missy.”
“My attitude’s fine... Only to a certain group of people. Unfortunately, barbarians like you are not included.”
“Great. Because witches like you are not included in my list too.”
They just sat there, glaring at each other while Koala and Killer remained silent, staring at them arguing nonsense.
They’ve been nitpicking at little things, dissing each other like children. Koala had never seen Sab argue like an immature child like this. The sight is something foreign to her and amusing.
“Latte? Really? I thought you have better taste than that. I guess I should not expect anything.” Kidd looked at Sab’s drink, the one she almost spilled on him.
“Black coffee? I bet you put a lot of sugar in it. I bet you think it will make you look cooler if you’re seen drinking black coffee.” Sab fires back, looking distasteful at the drink in Kidd’s hand.
“Of course not! At least, my drink tastes better than yours!”
“You wanna bet?!” Sab did not back down.
Koala can’t discern why they arguing about the stupid coffee. To her surprise, they exchanged drinks just to prove their points.
They freaking exchanged drinks!
Isn’t that something a couple would do?
Kidd took Sab’s coffee mug and Sab took his. The scene is hilarious and funny. They’ve been arguing for the last 30 minutes only to end up exchanging drinks just to prove their drinks tasted better than the other. It is a pointless argument, but both are stubborn, so there’s that.
Koala and Killer exchanged looks as if they had a mutual understanding of the situation. They are trying so hard not to laugh.
“What is this? Did you put half a kilo of sugar in this thing?!” Sab burst out after drinking the coffee.
“Is this a whipped cream or what? I sure as hell can’t taste coffee in this thing!”
Both of them didn’t realize that they’re basically dissing the coffee in this coffee shop. Their friends can only sigh as they continue their banter.
“I think we should be going now.” Killer said. He must have thought that hearing the two argue like children are unbearable.
“Yes, we should. Thank you for the coffee Koala. Unlike you, someone else is too ungrateful to appreciate our kindness.” Kidd emphasized the word ‘someone else’ while looking at Sab which made her fume in anger. She was about to say something - which no doubt will spark another set of arguments when Killer pulled Kidd away from the table.
While walking away, Kidd was smirking at Sab as if telling her he won this round.
“Can you believe how crude he is?! And you have the decency to ask them to sit with us!”
“I can believe it. What I can’t believe is how you interacted with him. Can’t you at least be civil and not start arguing with him like a child?”
“I will, only if he will stop being a barbarian that he is! I just hope I won’t see him again!”
“Sab, do you realize every time you say that it always does the opposite? Grandline may be big, but you two sure looked like you live around the same area. Seeing him is not impossible.”
“Are you trying to jinx me?” Sab shivers upon the thought of dealing with him again.
“I am just being practical. Besides, if you do a slight investigation about him, you two share a few similarities.” Koala reasoned out.
“Please, if there’s anything similar between us, that is the fact that we both dislike each other.”
“If you exclude that info, you’ll know how you have a few similarities. Besides, don’t you know him? He’s quite famous.”
Sab gave Koala a look. A look that says: ′Do I look like I want to know him?′
Shaking her head, Koala just proceeds with telling Sab about Kidd. “He is one of the biggest Motorbike racers in this generation. Apparently, he’s also one of the most celebrated Metallurgical Engineer and sought after too!”
“I do not see any point why you’re telling me all of these.” Sab may say that, but the information Koala provided just perked her interest... Only a little. Just a little bit and nothing more.
“I am telling you because contrary to what you may think of him, he’s not a barbarian.”
“Not like I care! I won’t deal with him anymore! That’s it!” Sab stubbornly said to end the conversation about the man. but Koala won’t let it end without saying the most crucial thing.
“Seeing both of you argue about your drinks and exchanged them at the end reminds me of an old married couple.” Hearing this, Sab gaped in shock at her. “Just saying...” She smirks.
“Why are you looking at me like that, yoi?” Marco’s blue eyes landed on Izou’s. She has been staring at Marco for quite some time now and it is making him uncomfortable.
It feels like she wants to say something but hasn’t. Something must be bothering her.
“I heard that you took Ann around the building the last time she came here.”
“Yes. Is something the matter?”
“So, did you at least score a date with her?” So, this is what she wants to ask. Marco should have figured it out given how Izou’s been vocal on her observations that Marco is interested in Ann. Not like she’s wrong, but this is something Marco would like to keep a secret... for now.
“I took her around the building because Vista is not available, yoi.”
“Did you even ask her if she’s single?”
Marco rolled his eyes at his sister’s question.
“Asking her that when we are supposed to be working doesn’t sound professional at all, Izou. You should know better, yoi.” Marco tried to sound disappointed at his sister, feigning ignorance, and dodging the question altogether.
The main reason why he doesn’t want Izou or his family to know is that Marco would like to keep the relationship to themselves first. They just had their first date. They are still getting to know each other. Getting this news out means a lot of things for them.
Marco is being considerate to Ann. He has not asked her if she’s okay with dating someone with a public profile. Some of Marco’s ex-girlfriends are celebrities. They are quite accustomed to the limelight of celebrity life, whereas Ann is somewhat private. Even though she’s quite well-known in the business industry, but she kept her profile as private as she can. This means she likes to keep her privacy.
While Marco would like to do the same, his status has been cemented years ago. There’s nothing he can do at this point. She may not want to be in the spotlight or may want to keep things out of the tabloids.
Who knows how she will react if paparazzi starts to mess around with them or publish ridiculous articles.
“How slow can you be?” Izou sounds so disappointed at Marco. The blond man just kept his silence while he continues to review a few documents. “She’s going to be here this afternoon, is she?”
“Yes. She’s going to be meeting with Vista as far as I know.” Marco shrugs, acting as if he is not sure of the information. Of course, he knows. Ann told him last night after all, during their date. Not that he’d tell Izou that info.
“Great!” That was all Izou said before leaving Marco’s office. the only thing he can do is shake his head in exasperation.
He warned Ann last night about Izou’s nosiness. He’s clear that he wants to keep the date a secret from his family members first.
Marco was kind of afraid she will be offended when he said that, so he further explained that he doesn’t want to pressure Ann at all. His family can be a little too much. Scaring her away is the last thing he’d wanna do, especially when he really likes her.
She understood and agreed with him.
“I think it would be good to keep it a secret as well. Maybe we can just surprise them when the time comes. Wouldn’t their expressions look amazing in surprise?” There’s a hint of mischievousness in her eyes that Marco recognized. Something he had seen when his siblings pull a prank against each other.
After that conversation, they both agreed to act as if they haven’t been on a date when in front of others. Acting professionally is what they will do.
Right after meeting with Vista, izou apparently invited Ann for a tea, which she agreed on. It turns out the tea party’s location is in Marco’s office, which he didn’t expect at all. He’s surprised to see Ann, Izou, and Thatch coming to his office unannounced.
“Marco! Join us for a coffee or tea!” Thatch shouted before sitting on Marco’s couch.
His office is quite big. There’s a mini-living room on the side where they can comfortably drink a coffee or tea. There’s also a small area where his small refrigerator is as well as the coffee maker.
Without much choice, Marco stood and prepared coffee for his unwanted visitors. The two are unwanted, but Ann is a different case.
Ann and Marco greeted each other as normally as they can. Ann looks a bit awkward or maybe she is just trying so hard so the other two won’t notice anything at all.
Izou is definitely planning to hook the two of them up. Not like they need it, but she’s still under the impression that Marco is such a wuss when it comes to making moves to Ann. It’s kind of ridiculous how desperate Izou is to make sure Marco scores a date with Ann. Unbeknownst to her, he already did. And there’s more to follow in the coming days.
Izou started conversing with Ann about anything and asks her about work as well as her family. Base on the conversation, they have common friends.
“You are friends with Papagg? I didn’t know that!” Izou said.
“I met him through my sister, Luffia. They’ve been friends for quite some time now. He’s a great guy! Very accomodating.”
“His designs are fantastic. It’s difficult to get the exclusive and limited editions he released. I’m quite surprised you managed to get the shoes!” Izou was pointing at Ann’s shoes. It is one of the limited edition wedge shoes the brand Crimin launched last week.
“Oh, this is just a gift. Someone gave it to me.” Ann thought back to when her mom visited this morning, giving them the things she bought last week. It just happens that Ann liked this particular piece which is why she decided to wear them today.
"Someone. This person is generous given that these shoes are quite expensive. Wait, these are not a gift from your boyfriend, are they?” Izou’s direct question almost made Marco choke on his tea. He’s been silent all this time, just listening to the conversation.
“Wait, who’s the lucky dude you’re dating?!” Thatch questioned in shock. After a while, his eyes landed pitifully on Marco’s, as if he feels bad that his sibling will not get a chance with Ann at all.
Only if they knew... Marco thought.
“What? No! These are not from a guy.” Ann clarified. “Mom gave it to me today.”
“Oh, is that so? Speaking of boyfriend, are you dating someone? I hope you don’t mind me asking.” Izou carefully asks while sideglancing on Marco’s side.
The blond man fought the urge to laugh right there and then. Ann is right. Their actions are quite funny when they do not know anything at all.
“Oh...” Ann’s eyes landed on Marco’s for a second before looking at Izou. “I do. I’m dating someone right now.” Her declaration made Marco happy, but he has to keep a poker face lest Izou will notice something.
The disappointment in Izou’s eyes is clear. She briefly looked at Marco, pitying him for a second before forcing a smile to Ann’s direction.
“He is one lucky dude for sure.” That’s all Izou can say.
“Don’t worry. I’m lucky to have him as well.” Ann smiled, trying not to look at Marco.
Thatch decided to change the topic out of respect to Marco. Maybe he feels like he is disappointed and maybe hurt that his crush is no longer single. This is thoughtful of him.
Ann stayed for an hour, just conversing with Thatch and Izou. They have similarities and get along so well that Ann got an invitation from Izou to have dinner with her one of these days, which she agreed on.
She bid her farewell due to another meeting she needs to attend to. As soon as she was out, Izou looked at Marco, disappointed.
“Only if she’s single. Damn!” Marco just remained silent. He doesn’t trust himself not to laugh while looking at the expressions of his siblings. As soon as they were out of his office, he decided to call Ann.
“I didn’t know you’re dating someone. Care to tell me who it is, yoi?”
“Last time I checked, it was a blond, blue-eyed man named Marco.”
“Seems familiar to me.” They both laughed because of how good their acting was. “It’s quite hard not to laugh earlier, yoi.”
“It is! It’s funny how they were sideglancing on you earlier. I almost laughed when they asked who.”
“Izou’s probably going to kill me once she finds out we deceived her, yoi.”
After a few exchanges in conversation and setting another lunch date, they both bid their goodbyes.
As soon as the call ended, Marco’s phone rings. Upon seeing that it is from an unknown number, he hesitated if he should answer it or not. in the end, he decided to pick up the call.
“Hello, yoi? May I know who is this?”
“Marco! It’s me! It’s me! Luffia!” Hearing a familiar voice, Marco relaxed a little bit. He’s just guarded against any reporters or stalkers who get to know his private number. It will be a pain to change numbers again.
“Hi, Luffia! How are you doing?”
“I’m doing good and bored, but still good, hehe.” Her laugh is really contagious. It makes Marco smile as well. “Oh, by the way, are you free on Thursday night?”
“Thursday night... Let me check.” Marco took a quick look at his calendar before answering. “No, I have nothing at that time. Why, yoi?”
“That’s good to hear! Do you wanna have dinner with us at our home? We usually have big dinners on Friday nights, but since Ann’s going to the farm early Saturday, we can’t have that. We’d like to a little celebration when she closed the deal with you guys!”
“That sounds great! Sure, I’ll be there, yoi.”
“Oh, don’t tell Ann. She doesn’t know. It’s going to be a surprise. Shishishi!”
“I promise I won’t tell her at all. Do you need me to bring anything during dinner?”
“Not really. It’s just going to be four of us. I don’t know if Zoro’s going to come along, but yeah. Oh, wait, we may just order food from restaurants since Sab can’t cook on that day.”
Hearing these, Marco’s mind came up with an idea.
“How about I cook for dinner, yoi?”
“You know how to cook?!” She sounds terribly surprised. Her voice got louder making Marco wince a little.
“Yes, though, I am not a professional, but I can cook just fine.” Living alone for quite some time now requires Marco’s ability to cook for himself. And he likes to explore recipes too.
“That’s great! We have to do groceries. Maybe I can ask Sanji to deliver the ingredients. Do you have a list of what you will cook on that day? I do not know how to cook, but I will help!”
“Don’t worry, I’ll send you the list.”
With that agreement, they ended the call. Looks like Marco’s got another date. This time, with Ann’s family.