Luffia’s eyes stare at the retreating form of Zoro. She decided to pay him a visit in his office to ask if he wants to eat lunch with her. To her surprise, he declined. Zoro never declines any of her requests. Technically, he declines from time to time, but not like this.
It feels like something is going on with him. His eyes looked so out of it, so distracted, yet she can’t bring herself to ask him about it. Talking about issues is not Zoro’s forte. It never is. He’d keep the issue to himself until he can work something out.
“Hey, Zoro!” Luffia called out. He stopped to look back at her, curious as to why she called him. “Can we play Mario Kart tonight? I didn’t get to play last time I came to your house.” She smiles, looking forward to playing with him again.
Zoro’s mouth opened for a moment as if he wants to answer right away, but must have realized something. She expected him to retort and tell her she’s just going to raid his fridge, but instead, he shook his head.
“Sorry, Tashigi and I are going to have dinner tonight.”
For a moment there, Luffia’s eyes reflect sadness, but it went away as far as it arrived. She does not want to risk Zoro seeing the questionable sadness in her eyes.
“Aww, too bad! But it’s okay! Enjoy your dinner and say hi to Tashigi for me!” She waved Zoro goodbye before walking back to her office as fast as she could. She can’t keep the act after all. They’ve known each other for years and he will notice how she is faking it.
How many years has she been doing this? Faking laughter when he mentions Tashigi, talking as if she is okay with everything.
She is not. And will never be.
For all the years they have been together, Luffia never questioned why Zoro is special to her. He just is. He’s her best friend, the man she can rely on and the one who will be by her side no matter what happens - a partner. They’ve always been best friends, partners... It’s quite hard to describe how deep their bond is.
During those years, she had seen how women tried to woe Zoro. These never bothered her as she knows Zoro has zero interest in them. But when he started dating Tashigi, she realized a lot of things.
For the first time in her life, she felt jealous of her. There is this indescribable feeling in her whenever she is mentioned. Luffia thought that she is just not used to seeing Zoro with her, or Tashigi is a new addition to her circle that she did not expect.
She was wrong. It is not as simple as what she thought it was. It is not about her not being used to Tashigi’s presence. It is about her discomfort that someone aside from her is standing next to Zoro.
She lost count how many times she wanted to reclaim her position in Zoro’s side. That’s always been hers all this time. For the first time, she wanted to selfishly drag Zoro away from anyone and keep him to herself - and this is the first time that she didn’t.
Luffia’s not stupid. She knows what Tashigi is in Zoro’s life, and selfishly demanding Zoro’s time and presence is not right for her. She doesn’t even have the right to ask.
Not as the President of the company.
Not as a friend...
It was unbearable. And that is the time when she realized what this indescribable feeling is. Jealousy.
She’s not jealous because Zoro doesn’t have time for her. She’s not jealous because he’s paying more attention to someone else aside from her. No. She’s jealous because she loves him. She loves him more than a best friend should.
Why didn’t she realize this earlier? Sometimes, Luffia blames her idiocy for not realizing it at all. What if she realized it and told him earlier? Would things be different now? It is uncertain.
It is uncertain because Luffia realizes even if she told him she loves him, there is no guarantee he feels the same. She may end up destroying their current relationship than strengthening it, and there’s nothing that scares her more than losing him.
She’d rather stay by his side as a best friend rather than losing him. Even if it hurts being in love with no hopes of reciprocation, she will accept it if it means still being with him.
It was pathetic. Luffia can’t even tell her sisters about it. She told no one about her discovery and kept these feelings to herself.
A sigh left her mouth as soon as she arrived in her office. Leaning on the closed door, she can’t help but close her eyes. Alone, she can finally let out a heavy sigh.
Luffia met Tashigi and knows she is a great woman, kind and beautiful. No wonder Zoro likes her. She could never bring herself to hate her even if she tried. All she can do now is keep hiding this feeling. No one must know. Especially not Zoro.
Zoro can’t help but pinch the bridge of his nose after Luffia bid her farewell. It made him uncomfortable declining her like that. He shouldn’t feel bad at all, after all, he is not rude when he declined, but deep inside, he feels something is not right.
It doesn’t feel right at all. It’s not like she is forcing him to go with her usual escapades - no. Far from it, Zoro was the one who always agrees.
He sighed in exasperation, tired of thinking so much.
He flinched upon hearing his cellphone ring. When he looked at who the caller is, he feels relieved that it was his adoptive brother that’s calling him.
“Hmm, do you have free time this afternoon?” Mihawk’s always direct to the point. He will tell you what he wants or asks you what he needs.
“Yes, I am. Why?”
“Good. Meet me at my office. We have a few things to discuss. This is regarding your shares in the company.”
“Alright. What time?”
Zoro quickly agreed. This is a good time to be distracted about something else than his current predicament.
As soon as the clock hits 2:00 PM, he called Nami and told her that he will be leaving earlier as he needs to meet with his brother. It surprised her that he called her just to say that. He usually never does.
But Zoro feels like he needs to. He contemplated if he should call Luffia as well. In the end, he decided not to do so.
He arrived at his brother’s office quarter to 3. A few minutes to spare before the agreed time. As soon as he walked in his office, as usual, he sees Mihawk on his desk, a wine glass on his side, and busy typing on his laptop.
Zoro sees a lot of documents on his table, which is unusual. Mihawk likes to keep his desk as clean as he can. This just goes to say that he prepared beforehand. Those must be the documents they need to discuss.
“Take a seat.” Mihawk said before leaving what he was doing to get Zoro a glass of wine. Drinking win at 3 PM is not unusual for the two of them. They can’t live without alcohol after all. “I thought you would be late as you always do.”
The green-haired man took the offered wine glass while rolling his eyes at his brother.
“So, what do you want to discuss with me?”
“Impatient, as always. Regardless, what we must discuss is about your shares in the company. As you are of age, it is time for you to get full control of your parents’ assets.”
Mihawk’s requirement before turning over the assets of his parents to Zoro is that he needs to finish a college degree and work in the business which he did neither. That may be the case, Zoro proved to be capable of handling these matters by himself.
Mihawk may not openly say this, but he is deeply impressed at how much he had achieved in a short amount of time. A college degree doesn’t matter at this point, so he might as well hand over everything to Zoro. Mihawk thought he needs to keep these assets under his control until Zoro reaches the age of 30, but he proved to be more capable than he expected.
“Why all of a sudden?” Zoro asks.
“It is necessary. Keeping them under my control is impractical. Best to have your inheritance at your disposal.”
Zoro can only nod. When he starts reading through the documents, he can’t help but frown. “I can’t possibly have the time to manage all of these.” His position as Vice President of SHI is keeping him busy enough. Handling all of these assets will just take too much time.
“You do not need to handle all of them personally as most of them are just shares of stocks in different companies. You will have these documents as references.” Mihawk handed over another folder to Zoro for review. “The bank account will officially be under your name as well. I’ve already signed the bank documents.”
“Alright.” Zoro is not in a mood to go through all these documents. Not like he needs to anyway, given Mihawk is someone he trusted with his life. He knows he calculated everything accordingly.
“You don’t look good. I assume something happened.” Mihawk’s eyes continue to stare at Zoro, studying his weary form. Zoro should have known Mihawk will notice something.
“It’s not nothing if you look tired. What happened?” His tone is demanding answers and he won’t take no for an answer.
This time, Zoro gave in and told him everything that happened and what is bothering him. It is not in his nature to constantly tell anyone about his problems, but he can’t keep it anymore. He needs to voice it out.
Mihawk was just silently listening, asking a few questions to clarify a few things. There was a heavy silence after Zoro told him everything. It was eerie.
“I cannot blame her for saying such things. You should know better where you lacked.” Zoro figures his brother will say that. “However, given that is the case, more than knowing what you lacked, you should know at least why the situation has escalated to what it is now.”
“What do you mean?” Zoro can’t understand what he’s saying at all.
“What I mean is, you are not committed. As to why you are not, think about it for a second. Think it through of where and to whom your commitment lies.”
They stare at each other for several seconds. Mihawk’s eyes are trying to tell Zoro something and he is trying to understand it but fails to do so.
Where and to whom your commitment lies... Why do his words make sense, but also confusing at the same time?
But, the more Zoro thinks about it, the more everything becomes clearer. A certain image of someone came to his mind.
" Shit. " He muttered to himself.
“It appears you’ve realized something you should have a long time ago. Now, it is up to you how you want to proceed moving forward. Think about your actions. Should you decide to take a step forward, remember, there is no turning back. You must take responsibility for your next actions.”
As if Zoro has a choice but to do so...
Thursday came, something Luffia’s been looking forward to. As a form of tradition, the sisters usually have big dinners when there is something to celebrate in their work. Even if it’s small.
This time, they are celebrating Ann’s contract with WGC. It is a bit late due to being busy, but hey, it is better to be late than never.
She left the office quite early, making sure she is at home when Marco arrives. Ann’s going to be a bit late due to pending meetings till 6:30 PM, so they still have time to prepare dinner
Marco arrived in their house around 4 PM and was welcomed by an energetic Luffia. The ingredients are ready. Sanji had them delivered this morning, all prepared so they won’t have to do too much.
“I brought a cake, yoi.”
“Ohh, a cake! YES!” Luffia took the cake from Marco to put it in the fridge. “I have the ingredients here!”
As they walked in the kitchen, she pointed to the walk-in refrigerator they have, which kinda surprises Marco. It’s rare to have a walk-in fridge after all.
“Did you know? One time, I got locked inside the fridge. It was sooo cold! My sisters scolded me afterward. Haha.”
“How did you get locked inside?”
“I was hiding in the corner, eating fruits, so they didn’t notice me at all when they locked it.”
Marco can only shake his head in amusement. Deciding to get this dinner ready, he took off his coat, leaving his long-sleeve shirt on, folding it before donning the apron.
“What are you gonna cook?” Luffia’s sitting in front of the counter, watching Marco behind it. “What can I do to help?”
“You got all the ingredients I need right, yoi?”
“Yeah! I asked Sanji to prepare them for me!”
“Great. I’ll be cooking Chicken Alfredo, roasted turkey, steak, and salad. I may add beef broccoli and chicken soup.”
“Ahh~~ I’m getting hungry! I can’t wait!” Marco smiled while started cooking. Luffia kept her company and also helped to prepare a few ingredients. Mostly, she keeps him entertained by telling him stories about Ann’s youth. She went as far as showing him the baby pictures.
It’s been some time since Marco laughed so hard while hearing a story. The sisters’ shenanigans are mostly funny and reckless. Cooking for an hour is not tiring at all. Not when Luffia’s there to tell him interesting stories.
They stopped talking when they heard a car parked in the garage. When Luffia ran to see who it is, she saw Sab getting off her car.
“Hey, Sab!!!” Luffia jumped on her sister to hug her. Good thing Sab’s used to it, or else, she would have found herself stumbling on the floor.
“Is that Marco’s car?” Sab asked. She saw the sports car parked in the garage.
“Yes! I invited him to our dinner and he’s in the kitchen.” Sab placed her bag on the couch in the living room before following Luffia to the kitchen. Upon seeing Marco cooking a feast, Sab can’t help but sigh.
“Oh, hello Sab! How’s it going, yoi?”
“I am fine. Why are you cooking? Luffia, why did you let our visitor cook the dinner?!” Sab’s hand was on her hips while demanding Luffia for an answer.
“He offered! He says he will cook.” Luffia pointed at Marco as if he is at fault, making him smile in amusement.
“Don’t worry about it, yoi. I offered to cook instead of ordering for food.”
Sab can’t do anything since it was Marco who said so.
“You don’t have to do that, you know. Or is this your way of earning brownie points?” Sab can’t help but tease him a little.
“Let’s just say I am trying to impress the three of you, yoi.”
“Alright, you win! Can’t say anything at this point, could I? Let me help you at least, okay? I know Luffia’s worst at doing kitchen duties.”
“Hey! I helped Marco!” Luffia pouted.
Sab took off her wristwatch and washed her hands before wearing an apron and helped Marco finish cooking dinner.
“I can’t wait to see Ann’s reaction when she sees you cooking. If impressing Ann is your goal, this is the best way to do it.” Sab commented.
“But Marco doesn’t need to impress Ann. She’s already impressed with him and his car racing records. She had your posters after all.” Luffia said off-handedly making Sab stare at her sister wide-eyed.
“Did you just - don’t tell me you showed Marco the poster?!”
“Oops. I slipped.” Luffia’s hand was on her mouth as if trying to cover up what she said. “But Marco knows!”
“Ann is going to kill you once she finds out.” Sab warned Luffia. “When did she show you the poster?” she turned to Marco this time, curious.
“When we went to her office to get my car fixed, yoi.”
“Wait, that was before you asked her out, wasn’t it?”
“Yes. To be fair, Luffia sort of encouraged me to ask her out, so I owe her for that one, yoi.”
Luffia giggled while nodding in agreement. Sab can only shake her head in amusement.
The three of them continued their enjoyable conversation. Sab took this opportunity to get to know Marco, after all, he’s dating her sister. It doesn’t matter if he’s a well-known bachelor or from a great family with a great reputation. If he’s up to no good, Sab will not hesitate to do anything to protect her sister.
Suffice to say, Marco lives up to his reputation. A gentleman, easy to get along with, and pretty nice too. For him to last in Luffia’s presence is an additional good point for him in Sab’s books. It should be known that Luffia’s too hyper for anyone to deal with.
When the three heard another car parking in the garage, they knew it was Ann. At that time, they are almost done with cooking dinner.
Luffia volunteered to welcome Ann, hugging her as she welcomes her home.
“Is that Marco’s car in our garage?” That was her first question.
“Yes! He’s in the kitchen with Sab!” Ann did not know Marco is coming over tonight, so as soon as she saw the sports car, she assumed Luffia or Sab invited him. As they walked into the kitchen, she saw him wearing an apron and cooking dinner.
As soon as their eyes met, they instantly smiled at each other. Dare Ann says, he looks hot wearing an apron.
“Who made you cook? Let me guess, it’s Luffia.” Ann looked at the youngest, pointing her as the culprit.
“I offered, yoi. Don’t worry about it. This is done. Shall we eat dinner?”
With Marco’s backing, Luffia avoided being scolded by her sisters. The sisters set the table so they could eat dinner. Sab and Luffia are on the other side while Ann is sitting right next to Marco.
“You cooked all of these?!” Ann can’t believe the number of dishes Marco cooked.
“Luffia helped for the most part. And I know how much Luffia can eat, so I assumed the same goes for you twins.”
“They eat a LOT!” Luffia said before getting the turkey legs.
“Let’s dig in and maybe we can judge if these dishes are as tasty as they look.” Sab jokingly added before getting a good amount of food on her plate.
Ann and Marco did the same. As soon as Luffia tasted the turkey, she instantly gave Marco two thumbs up while chewing on the meat.
“Wow. These taste great.” Sab complimented. “Ann sure got lucky to date you. At least both of you won’t get hungry as Marco knows how to cook.”
“Ann nearly burned the kitchen.” Luffia giggled while telling Marco.
“Hey! It was only a few times! And I didn’t know the microwave will function that way.” She tried defending herself from the embarrassment.
" A few times. Those few times are enough to burn the whole house.” Then Sab looked at Marco. “Don’t trust her cooking in your kitchen alone. Please.”
“Noted on that.”
Ann can only glare at Marco for agreeing on her sister.
“Sab is the only one who can cook in the kitchen alone.” Luffia off-handedly said. “I might burn the food. I only know how to eat, not cook.” Her honesty is cute, Marco thinks.
“If Luffia calls you and wants to visit your house, please say no.” It was Ann’s time to tell something. “She will just raid your fridge empty. Trust me. I’ve had Nami call me a LOT of times, complaining that Luffia’s been raiding her fridge at least twice a month!”
“I was hungry! And her house is nearby, so I might as well get some food.”
“Did you know how much she asks us to pay for the food you stole?” Sab can remember when Luffia was just starting her business, she has limited funds at that time which is why Nami has to ask the sisters for a refund.
“I am no longer raiding her fridge now!” Luffia pouted.
“You are not because you are raiding Zoro’s instead.”
“It’s okay. Zoro doesn’t mind and we get groceries together. Oh, did you know? I took a good wine from Hawky’s cellar! Let me get it! It’s perfect for our dinner!” Luffia excused herself to go outside, probably in her car to get something, leaving her older shaking their heads with a confused Marco.
As soon as she got back, Sab and Ann almost spit their food upon seeing the two bottles of wine in her hands.
What Luffia bought are two of the most expensive wines in the world. Very rare wines that could cost up to 100 000. Only a few have them as the producers of these wine only sell 10 bottles per year.
“Luffia!” Sab shouted. “What did you steal in his cellar?!”
“Wine, of course.” Luffia has that look that says ′ duh, isn’t it obvious.′ Or something like ′ Are you stupid?′ It makes Sab irritated.
“When did you get these bottles?!” It was Ann’s outburst this time.
“Uhh, I dunno. Two weeks ago?”
The twin sisters looked at Luffia, baffled and defeated.
“He’s really going to kill you this time.” Sab warned while taking out wine glasses for the four of them.
“Don’t worry, he has not killed me yet when I broke three wine glasses last time I visited him in his house. Hahaha.”
Marco looked a bit confused or more like - amazed at the situation. Leave it to Luffia to steal expensive wines and get away with it.
“Who did you get this from, again?” He asked Luffia.
“Hawky!” A simple answer, as if expecting Marco to know who Hawky is.
“Dracule Mihawk. She calls him Hawky.” Bless Ann for giving him a better explanation.
“Isn’t he the biggest wine collector in the world, yoi?” Marco saw a magazine with Dracule Mihawk’s interview on it. There was also a picture of his amazing wine collections. As big as a wine store. All of the wines in his cellar are hell expensive.
“Yes, he is. More like, alcoholic.”
“Nuh-uh.” Luffia shook her head along with her pointing finger as if Ann made a mistake in her statement. “He is a wine enthusiast - a sommelier. That’s what he told me.”
“That’s just a decent synonym for an alcoholic. I can’t believe how he and Zoro can drink so much alcohol in a day.” Sab muttered while pouring wine in each glass.
Marco finds it funny how the twins just accepted that their sister stole a very expensive wine from a very influential person and drank it like it’s nothing.
“If I call him an alcoholic, he’ll never let me in his house again!”
“I am surprised he has not banned you from entering his mansion given how many times you stole from him and how many times you broke a lot of his expensive wines.”
Luffia’s reply to Ann was simply a giggle. Her shenanigans are far too much for Marco to process. It’s too amusing. Getting a warning from the twins to not say yes to Luffia when she wants to come over is still lingering in his mind.
“If she steals food in your house, you have to tell me.” Ann said to Marco in a serious tone.
Marco was about to say that he could always decline her, but seeing Luffia’s innocent eyes staring at Marco paired with a very innocent and angelic smile, the blond-haired man figures the reason why no one can say no to Luffia. Not when she pulls that smile.
While continuing their conversation over dinner, Marco noticed how the food on the table is decreasing at a fast rate. Leave it to them to get the dishes gone in a matter of time. Not that he minds.
That was the telephone ringing in the kitchen. Sab stood up and picked the phone.
“Hello? This is Sab!”
“Hey, Sab! This is daddy! I’ve been calling your mobile number but you are not answering at all. Neither do Ann and Luffia.”
“Oh hey. Sorry about that, we were having dinner.” Sab can’t help but glance at Ann and Marco who was still busy conversing with Luffia.
“Why are you whispering?” Her dad asks.
“Nothing. So, why did you call, dad? Did something happened?” Sab is praying her dad doesn’t hear Marco’s voice or else... No. She doesn’t want to think about it.
“Anyway, your mom and I are bringing meals right now. We are almost at your house.” Sab started panicking while constantly staring at Marco.
“Y-You’re almost at our house. Ok, how far are you guys?” Shit.
“Hmm, 10 minutes?” Oh, fuck. Sab can’t help but curse in her mind.
“Alright. See yah. Bye!” Sab hurriedly ended the call and returned to the table while looking at Ann.
“Who was it?” Ann asked.
“Dad called. They’re coming over right now.”
“Oh, Dad called...” Ann stopped for a few seconds before abruptly standing from her seat, wide-eyed at Sab. “They’re coming over now?! What? Why?”
“I don’t know! They’re gonna be here in 10 minutes or so.”
“Oh shit.” Ann looked at Marco, panicking the hell out.
“This is not good.” Luffia muttered while looking at Marco. This made Marco visibly confused at the situation, especially Sab and Luffia’s stare. Did they just look at him with pity? Or was it helplessness?
And seeing Ann’s state, panicking as if she is doing something wrong is making Marco confused.
Alright, they are pretty much new in this relationship and meeting the parents stage is far off in the future, probably in a few months or something, but there is nothing to panic, is there?
“I’m sorry Marco. You have to go.” Ann said, helpless while looking at Marco.
It kind of stings that she doesn’t want Marco to meet her parents. Right, maybe because the relationship is pretty new, but still...
“Alright. It’s time for me to leave anyway, yoi.”
“Marco, I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t want you to meet them... It’s just...” Ann’s eyes look as if she is torn between something, one way or another. Marco can’t be mad at her. She must have her reasons.
“No, it’s okay. I understand, yoi.” He reassured her.
“No, you don’t. Ann doesn’t want you to meet our dad is because he will kill you.” Luffia blurted out which surprised Marco.
“Luffia!” Ann reprimanded.
“But it’s true! Dad doesn’t like us dating. He will try to kill you, that’s for sure.” She shrugged as if the whole dating thing doesn’t involve her at all. Once she dates someone, their life will be in danger as well.
“Luffia, that’s not helping.” It was Sab’s turn to reprimand the youngest. Her words might scare Marco - even though she is just telling the truth.
“Don’t worry Marco! Our mom knows you’re dating Ann. She won’t tell Dad, so you get to keep your life safe and sound!” Then she gave her two thumbs up as if it’s meant to reassure Marco’s safety.
Smack! Sab’s hand is quite fast in smacking Luffia’s head.
Marco can only nod in confusion while being ushered by Ann to leave.
Once they are in the garage, Ann looked apologetic.
“Sorry, it’s just that Dad still doesn’t like the idea of us dating even though we are adults already. I’ll explain more to you.”
“I’m not mad, okay? Anyway, I gotta go now, yoi. Take care.” Marco kissed him goodbye before driving away.
Two minutes after he left, they heard another car parking at the back garage. Ann can sigh in relief. Had their parents arrive when Marco’s still in the house, no doubt their dad will be enraged and go on rampaged mode.
Marco’s life may not be intact if that happens.