To Care for Him
Chapter 1: The Restaurant

Author’s Note: Anime-based. There will be three main acts: diamondshipping (Delia/Giovanni), haleshipping (Delia/Spencer Hale), and eldershipping (Delia/S. Oak). Delia wants the perfect family, but is that possible? Rated PG-13 for innuendos and violence.

Delia pedaled as fast as her teenage athletic feet could pedal, over rocks and branches and ditches, feverishly trying to get to the restaurant in Viridian City before nine o’clock that Sunday morning. Her mach bike, an aluminum custom collapsible bike in red and black stripes, could barely withstand the barrage of obstacles she deliberately ignored, but that was no matter. She would get there.

Her parents were farmers, sharecropping on a vast farm owned by the reputable Oak family. They grew a multitude of vegetables and then sold a portion of them to the Viridian Café for extra money. They worked long hours in the sun and, despite thirty-four-year-old Samuel Oak’s expert advice and help, they continued to be too exhausted to do anything around the house, even to sell their own produce. So it was that Delia was “volunteered” for the job. She had to clean the small house while her parents were away and then cook supper that night and in the morning, first thing, she had to deliver the produce to the restaurant so the cooks could prepare the dishes before lunch.

Like any girl of sixteen, Delia just wanted to get married and get away from her family before their rules drove her insane. They never asked her if she wanted to go somewhere or do something -- it was always about getting the house cleaned and delivering the produce. As the trees and the bushes swept past her, she found herself daydreaming of what the perfect man would be like….

Delia wore a Marilyn Monroe white dress with cream-colored sandals, the kind that used straps that wrapped around the ankles to keep them on. She stood forlornly on the street corner of some bustling metropolis, her normally tied-up brown hair loosely curling around her face. She was so beautiful, but no man would have her. She was destined to be alone, abandoned by friends and family alike because she had nothing to offer besides her looks, and they were fading with every passing year.

A gentle shower began, moistening her hair and dress, causing her to shiver. The world was dull and gray except for a few neon signs here and there above her head. Just as she was about to resign herself to pneumonia, with a little melodramatic coughing for effect, she realized the rain had suddenly stopped. She looked up and saw a giant black umbrella shielding her from the intensifying downpour. A young man with chiseled good looks and mystifying cologne and dark black hair smiled warmly at her. He dried her face with a small handkerchief, laughing gently.

“You look as though the world has thrown you away,” he told her, smiling.

She nodded.

He took off his leather jacket and wrapped it around her, revealing a tight blue sports shirt of spandex and dark blue running pants. As she felt the heat from his body transfer to hers, she smiled back and gazed lovingly into his eyes. Suddenly, she glanced back at the cold wet concrete below her. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but you have the wrong person. I’m not meant to be loved by anyone. I have no skills and no money and I don’t even have my own umbrella -- how sad is that? Surely you want some other girl who’d make you happy.”

He laughed and pecked her on the cheek, before nuzzling her behind her ear. “All I did was walk to this street corner, prepared for nothing else but a long day of paperwork at my office, yet the moment I saw you I knew there was no Goddess in Heaven for She was standing right there on the corner.”

Delia smiled reluctantly and nuzzled back. “Can it be true? Have you come to rescue me from my wretched life?”

The young man brushed against her ear with his hand, caressing her tenderly. “I shall resolve this very second to walk you back to Heaven where someone of your stature truly belongs. For this impermanent earth can do you no justice -- only in my arms shall you find everlasting paradise forever and ever.”

She brought her lips up to his -- God, he smelled like the spring mountain air….

Her bike jerked out behind her and she fell face first in some moss deep in the Viridian Forest. She quickly sprang up and tried to retrieve her bike, but found it being enveloped in a silky material, which was spurting out of the mouthpieces of very angry weedles, yellow larvae that reached halfway up to her knees when they reared up, with a sharp poisonous horn on its head. She had unknowingly raced across a section of forest filled with weedle eggs and the insect pokemon were quite upset with her lack of empathy.

She started to kick away the strings of silk angrily, swearing at the weedle, demanding that they stop so she could get to the restaurant in time. They responded simply by engulfing her in the same sticky material. She growled in frustration, as she knew it must be fifteen til nine already. As her legs and torso were being wrapped like a Christmas present, several baseball-sized rocks came flying out of the air and struck each weedle with amazing precision. She glanced around and spotted a small geodude, really just a stone head with muscular arms jetting out where its ears would be, flinging rocks at the larvae pokemon. As grateful as she was to be rescued, by human or pokemon it did not matter, she couldn’t help but wonder how a geodude got to be in the Viridian Forest, for they typically preferred rocky environs. She struggled to get the silky trap off her body, finally succeeding a few minutes later, as the geodude succeeded in driving away the last of the weedle.

The geodude bounced over to her and asked inquisitively, “Geodude? Geo, geo, dude?”

Delia sighed and nodded. “I’m fine, thanks. I could have taken them on, you know.”

“Is that so?” a male voice asked from behind her. Delia whipped around to see a young adult male leaning against a nearby tree, smiling smugly. “From where I stood, you were about to need a machete just to get that stuff off had my geodude and I not arrived.”

Delia brushed what silk threads were left off and grunted. “Thanks for your help, but I’m not a damsel in distress.”

The man shook his head. “No, you were a supplier in distress. My mother expects timely deliveries and yet you continue to defy common sense by entering this forest without your own pokemon. Really, I get tired sometimes of having to watch you trap yourself in foolish scenarios.”

Delia lifted up her bike and inspected her produce to see if any had been damaged. Fortunately, they were alright. She shot the man an irritated glance. “I don’t care if your mother owns the restaurant or not -- I’m not late and I don’t need rescuing. Now back off or I will be late!”

The man checked his black sports watch with red lettering, which didn’t seem to match his light yellow tank top and blue jean shorts and beige hiking boots. It only seemed to accentuate his dark brown hair, so dark it could be black, combed neatly even though most trainers who came through Viridian Forest looked like they had been in a wind tunnel. They would also bear the dusty appearance of someone who ran up against pokemon knowing sleep powder and stun spore and such, yet this trainer was immaculate. He chuckled as he checked the time. “It’s 8:55. The ‘shortcut’ you’re taking will ensnare you for a further fifteen minutes. Really, was using the trail that much more terrible?”

Delia shook her head and swore under her breath, stomping the ground with her feet in frustration. Finally, she ripped off the crate of produce from the back of her bike and thrust it into his arms. He stumbled back from sheer surprise. “Here,” she ordered. “If I deliver them to you then I’m not late because you’re the owner’s son. If you have any trouble, I’ll be back at my house, putting ointment on all these scrapes,” she said, pointing to half a dozen red lines crisscrossing her arms. There were twigs and moss hanging from every inch of her red t-shirt and black riding shorts and she could feel a few pebbles in her sneakers. Today was a rotten day and she was in no mood to bow before her family’s all-powerful boss, or her son.

The early-twenties-something man snorted his disapproval. “Don’t expect to get paid since I’m the one delivering your produce.”

Delia smiled as she got on her bike and began to pedal past him, despite her aching muscles. “Oh no, they’re your produce now -- better get a move on or Mommy’s gonna ground ya!” She laughed as she rode away, finally free of such an inconvenient chore.