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Thread: Finding That Which We Do Not Seek (SapphirePearlShipping, NC-17)

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    Default Finding That Which We Do Not Seek (SapphirePearlShipping, NC-17)

    Now here this. The work you are about to read begins a lemon; the first one for me on this site. As you can tell by the rating on the title, this is an NC-17 work and has been approved by moderator Encyclopika. The primary ship is SapphirePearlShipping, as you could also tell by the title of this fic.

    I am very serious when I tell anyone who read this that this will contain yuri, female/female romance of a sexual nature between May and Dawn and that such actions will happen between three and six times. While I'd prefer that only people of age read this story, if you cannot handle the strong sexual content, nudity, graphic language, some drug abuse and some violence, my recommendation is that you turn away at this time without another word. Please be constructive and on point in your criticism of this fic, as fics of this nature are under greater scrutiny. Please be patient when you request to be added to the PM list and please note that the first instance of graphic sexual content doesn't take place until about chapter eight or twelve and other ships (the nature of which would take away from the fic if they were to be revealed here) are forthcoming.

    With all of that said, here we go!

    DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokemon, a creation of one Satoshi Tajiri, and is produced domestically (in the United States) by Pokemon USA/The Pokemon Company, and internationally by Shogakukan and OLM. I personally own nothing and make nothing by writing this. Please do not flame.

    (Chapter 1- The New Frontier)

    ---------
    The room, a large auditorium in the heart of Saffron City, is truly abuzz with pages running about to make sure that the invited guests received information relating to today’s presentation, are in their proper positions and know an extent of the plans for the day’s big announcement by the suits of the business side of coordinating.

    Conversations are taking place between various coordinators, all of which rank among the best in their trade. With no one knowing why this meeting is being held, they take the time and wait for some opening statement to start this mystery meeting.

    Among those sparking up a conversation are coordinators Ursula and Dawn. Previously, they were rivals of the cutthroat variety, but now at the age where they can look back on these times, learn and laugh, they find themselves in a fine position of being friends after so many years of competing against one another. People can only grow closer because of this in most situations, and the two of them are no exception.

    “So just what do you think that Contesta and all of his executives have planned for this big meeting?” Ursula flat out questions the other teen.

    “What do I think?” Dawn responds as she eyes the rest of the crowd for only a brief moment or so. “I believe that they are going to announce some sort of tournament. I mean, I remember when I got the e-mail from the head offices about this meeting today; I kept racking my brain over the last few weeks to figure out just what was on their mind next. We had the…trainer/coordinator tag battles that were really cool, we had the different exhibitions for the all-star contests and after that, I just remember going to Kanto and then to Hoenn and not really taking part in other tours or special tournaments. I wish we could travel, though.”

    “Well, that just might be the case,” Ursula mentions while Dawn looks around the auditorium once again as if she is searching for someone out in the crowd. “I always hear that only the cream of the crop in coordinating tours overseas and they only do that once a year and only in certain parts of the world each year.”

    “Really? Ah, that sounds real cool!” she exclaims. “I mean, going to a new continent would be great and doing all of this before my eighteenth birthday makes it that much better, too.” Dawn really does sound excited at the idea of possibly being a part of an overseas tour, but reserves such emotions given that she has no idea if Ursula’s hypothesis is correct and she’s looking around to see if another member of this so-called ‘cream of the crop’ is in attendance at this meeting.

    There are so many people around her that Dawn can’t even tell if the person she’s looking for is here or not. Somewhat frustrated and not seeing any activity taking place at the front of the stage, she makes a move to get out of the aisle and check for someone she hoped worked hard enough to receive an invitation to go on tour, as well. Before she can make her way out of her seat in the middle and over to either side on the right or the left, she’s stopped by one of the female pages in her black blazer, informing her that everyone is being told to head back to their seats so that they can commence with the morning announcement.

    As the page tells her, “Everyone will be allowed to speak with the people around them after the conference and announcement. Until then, just have a seat. We’re about to get started.” Somewhat disappointed as she’s been waiting along with the other invited guests for over half an hour just to hear about possibly being a part of a new project that the front office is putting together to further promote their stars.

    Dawn doesn’t complain or talk back to the page knowing that she’s only doing her job. She just wishes that whatever happens in this meeting won’t be too detail-intensive as of yet thereby giving all of these teens, preteens and some adults a severe case of information overload.

    It doesn’t take that long, per Dawn’s silent wish. The people behind this gathering have taken their places at a table in front of those seated in the auditorium. About five folks, most of which the attendees already know from past meetings, sit down with the director taking the center seat at the table, banging a gavel a couple of times before he brings a microphone closer to his lips. “Good morning, everybody. This meeting will now come to order.” Contesta’s open gets the attention of everyone, given that the gavel does its job. Also, the microphone can be heard from every part of the auditorium so in just a few seconds, the pages surround the aisle ways like ushers, the coordinators take their reserved seats and the meeting begins.

    Contesta opens his official remarks by saying, “I’d like to take this opportunity, first off, to thank you all for coming and accepting your invitations via e-mail or express mail from every corner of every region. We did our best to get you this information because we find that you coordinators seated here are the best of the best in contests and exhibition tournaments and have proved yourself worthy of a plan that has been in the works for the past several months.

    “As most of you are already aware, an annual overseas tournament is reserved for veterans of this sport that have been coordinating for at least five years or youngsters that have shown fantastic ability even in their young age by becoming Grand Festival champions, winning tournaments of great merit and mention or a high number of Pokémon Contests in a decidedly brief period of time. Today, and later this afternoon, I shall announce a tournament unlike any that we’ve ever held since sanctioned contests began in the mid-19th Century.

    “We’ve been to virtually every continent on Earth over the past several decades Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Asia, but given various agreements with the cable and broadcast companies in the west; we are able to sanction a proper three-month tour for all qualified coordinators in a summer tour of the United States of America; our first in nearly forty years!”

    The announcement certainly does not disappoint. Murmurs amongst the crowd of coordinators, many who would be going to America for the very first time in their lives, young and old, have differing feelings about traveling nearly 10,000 kilometers to a brand new land of critical fans to pack several large, multi-purpose arenas and entertain people of all ages with their sport. Some are nervous about going such a distance for so long. Others question whether or not they are worthy to go that distance for the first American tour for Pokémon coordinators and others still can’t wait to board a plane or boat and start making their rounds in the various American cities.

    In the midst of all of these different feelings and emotions, there is one amongst all of these hyped-up coordinators that is surprisingly underwhelmed. It had nothing to do with the news not being what she expected, as she thought that a trip to America would be good for herself and the sport in terms of exposure. The fact is, though, through no fault of the directors of Pokémon contests, very few things could perk this young teen up at the moment.

    Even if May was told by her peers that they thought she was a great performer and they loved working with her, that the people who rank coordinators said that she were number one, though she doubted that seriously, it wouldn’t do much for the sixteen-year-old. A few recent occurrences in her life have taught her that coordinating ultimately ranks low among things of great importance to her. At the same time, however, they’ve left her ultimately unsure of where to go and what to do next aside from following along in the same pattern that she has ever since passing her tenth birthday.

    ‘There’s gotta be more out there,’ she thinks as she hears about the coordinating directors’ desire to be the new NASCAR. ‘Whatever that means,’ she remarks in her head. Certainly she will never fault anyone or any entity for wanting to succeed in a world where supply and demand are like commandments in the monetary and economic tablets which hold them.

    Money just doesn’t matter as much to May. Given that she has done her share of work to earn enough that she’ll eventually head to an academy to pursue other interests outside of coordinating, it has never felt like work to her. That’s not to say that given a recent shock in her life that her passion has all of a sudden become just another way for her to make a living. This experience, dating back to just one month ago, has left her rethinking everything. It has May questioning her life and wondering if certain matters that are often touted as musts in a life are truly worth it if they cause such pain to others because they are worth fighting for.

    FLASHBACK

    Using the Skype program on the computer to speak with her father, May gives Norman all of the details of an e-mail which she recently received from the front office that she and all other coordinators would get occasionally. These e-mails give the coordinators detailed information about matters which they should be informed about depending upon which city or region they were in at that time. Along with that, they would be apprised of news pertinent to them and dates they should be aware of during the future.

    “It’s probably going to be a tour,” Norman tells May over their connection. “It’s about that time for one, I’d say. After all, most of them start during the month of May and it’s April.”

    “You really think so?”

    “I’m…willing to bet a small sum on it,” he admits. A moment of silence, interestingly enough, occurs during the conversation before Norman snaps his daughter out of it and says, “I really think you should go, May. To say very little, there is a lot on all of our minds, and the less that we focus on the negatives, the more we can think about the positives. You’re likely gonna go all across America and go to all these different places where I’ve never gone and your brother’s never gone, either. Don’t you see it as an opportunity above all else? It’s for you, so go out there, grab it and hold on for all it’s worth. Who knows what you’ll find there? It—I just have a feeling that it will be good for you to know that while I’m alone here and taking care of…proceedings that I will be fine. I get the sense that that will set your mind at ease. You think you’re the only one ****** off about this?”

    “Hardly,” May speaks, though not really wanting to say much on the matter as the story does make her very angry right now, though for her father, she’ll keep up appearances and end the conversation if the emotion takes her over…like it’s about to do right now. “Dad, I should be going. I do have to get in some training before I go for dinner.”

    “All right, sweetheart,” he concedes. While he’d like nothing more than to keep May on the line and to continue this conversation with his only daughter for fear that he might just leave and go to his bedroom and cry his eyes out in shame, he respects her wishes and requests that she, “Take care—oh! One more thing; I really think, despite what he says and how he thinks…you gotta apologize to your brother. He didn’t do anything wrong, and…you nearly went off the deep end with him just because he disagreed with you.”

    With as much pride resting in between her ears and in her heart, she finds it hard to admit to being wrong about many instances in her life. This, after much consideration is not one of those times. “I know, dad. I just…got so ****** that he seemed not to care about this at all! This has as much to do with him as it does you and I and he’s like ‘No problem,’ when it comes to...” Hesitating for a second, she says, under her breath, “Goddamn it. I can’t even…****ing say it without wanting to tear her head off.”

    “What was that, May?” Norman seriously asks his daughter, not knowing that she cursed just seconds prior.

    “Uh, nothing dad,” she lies. “I’ll apologize to Max, though.”

    “You’re doing the right thing, princess.” As Norman further explains, “Let’s just be honest; everyone that goes through this handles it differently. I handle it a certain way for you and Max and you two handle it however you feel is appropriate. Just because it appears as if he doesn’t care doesn’t mean that that’s the case. It’s just a matter of how he feels he has to deal with it. Okay?”

    “Okay,” May answers. “I understand. Now, I really have to be going.”

    “All right, May,” Norman concedes. “You take care and remember; one day at a time, May. Things will get better.”

    Shutting her eyes for a second, cursing any tears that might shed for her, May nods her head and says, “You’re right. If I don’t get in contact with Max first, please tell him that I said hello and that I’ll personally apologize very soon.”

    “Will do,” he responds. “Be good,” and with that, Norman’s feed from Petalburg goes black. May closes the program that allows her to make these calls and momentarily presses her hand to her face, while her face is down. Pride just won’t allow her to break down in tears. May won’t do it, especially not in this Pokémon center and not while many people are around. Quietly, she leaves for her room this evening where she can be alone to mourn her family’s loss however she pleases.

    END FLASHBACK


    “If nothing else, then this meeting is adjourned and everyone is now dismissed,” Contesta speaks before banging the gavel on the table once again.

    Because of this banging, May gets knocked back into whatever passes as reality for her these days. ‘Oh, don’t tell me that I missed the whole meeting?’ May questions, feeling that she better find some way to shake herself of this or she’ll miss out on something truly important. “Well, I’m sure that the pages might have some info for all of us to look over before the American tour.” Getting up out of her seat and saying hello to some of her coordinating comrades of the past, she wants to do her best to get in contact with an executive or a page to have them break down the details that she missed while her last conversation that she had with her father rang in her head.

    Before she can get near any of these officials, however, a voice calls out from several rows up near the stage, “Hey, May! May, wait up!” the female-sounding words sound. Turning back to the front of the auditorium, she sees one of her fellow coordinators coming up the aisle and excusing herself a few times to get to May and reintroduce herself.

    For once something, or rather, someone, actually piqued the interest of the teen and gotten her to respond to something without sounding like a droning downer. “Dawn Berlitz! Well, I’ll be!” she exclaims.

    “I was wondering if you would be here or not, May! How’ve you been?” Dawn questions as she finally approaches the other girl and they meet face to face for the first time in several months. The two initially hesitate as they shake hands because Dawn makes the initial motion, unsure how to greet the other girl.

    “Well,” May begins, “to be honest, I haven’t been myself as of late.” Not wanting to release too many details at one time given that none of her big coordinating friends even know about her situation, May leaves her present situation at that after adding, “I think, though, that this trip across America should be good for me. If nothing else, it will be something new to do outside of going to a brand new region year after year.”

    “Tell me about it!” Dawn acquiesces. “This whole process that they put us through just to announce something like this is…it can be taxing but rewarding, as well.”

    “Speaking of that, I…kind of zoned out during the meeting for a bit,” May embarrassingly admits to the younger teen. “I have a lot on my mind and I missed some of the details about how I get into this tournament and what not. I’m sure that the entry process isn’t an automatic one.”

    “Oh, no problem!” Dawn says, more than willing to accommodate May. “Most of us aren’t gonna be making it to America. Only thirty-two of us can go on the trip. There’s gonna be a few eliminations based on the aggregate score of two appeals and a mini contest battle that we all have to go through and win. If you don’t win that, then you can also qualify via wild card. We’re essentially qualifying for the tournament which starts in late May. The qualifying starts in about a week and you can do the two appeals after any Pokémon contest by granting them your license, which shows that you’re eligible for the tournament.”

    “All right, then,” May replies. “Thanks for paying attention when I wasn’t.”

    “I’d love it if you could go, because I’m going if I qualify,” the younger teen admits. “It’ll be a lot of fun. We could even room together just like we did at the Wallace Cup, who knows? If you haven’t been yourself, perhaps there’s something I can do,” Dawn adds, concerned for her friend.

    “I really don’t know what you can do about my present situation,” May laments somewhat. “What’s happened recently will take time for me to get over or past.”

    “Was it a death in the family?” Dawn asks, fearing the worst.

    “No, that’s not it,” she clarifies. ‘Though it might as well be,’ May thinks, not revealing these thoughts for anything. “Maybe I’ll say something once I actually come to terms with what has happened, but…I’m not ready to talk about it at the moment. I hope you understand, Dawn.”

    “That’s not a problem, May,” she responds. “I’ll see you around, then. Hope you feel better and…remember that the next meeting for qualified coordinators is on May 12th. Did you get that?”

    “No, I didn’t,” she admits. “Thanks for informing me about that, though.”

    “It’s no problem. Well…I’ll see you around, May. Nice seeing you again.”

    “Same here, Dawn,” May replies as she walks out of the auditorium, not speaking to anyone else nearly as long as Dawn. The spare ‘hello’ or ‘how are you’ is all that anyone else will get out of her before she makes her way to Cinnabar Island.

    “Man,” Dawn interjects. “She really doesn’t look like herself. I wish she would come and if she does, that she looks better than she did a few minutes ago.”

    “Daydreaming, Berlitz?” someone questions out of nowhere.

    “Oh!” she now exclaims before turning around and seeing the unexpected face of Ursula, who she just sat with a few minutes ago. “Don’t do that, Ursula! You just took two years off of my life that I’m not gonna get back.”

    “Hogwash, Berlitz,” she refutes. “You’re a strong, healthy, girl…if your past relationships are any indication, I think you can handle an early Halloween spooking or two.”

    “Hey, shut up about that, all right?” she warns Ursula and emphasizes this by pointing in the other teen’s direction. “We’re in mixed company. Besides, those days have been over for quite a while. You know that for the longest time, the muscle has been beating for only one person.”

    “It’s…crazy, though. I mean, don’t you think that you’ve got pretty much no chance?” Ursula questions. “The girl’s never been noted for being with anyone else and she’s never given any indication of playing for…your team. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if with all of the planets aligned during this tour that you screw up and take a decade of her life!”

    “Oh, ye of little faith,” Dawn declares, “I have as much of a shot as anyone. I just need to take things slow, show some initiative, let her know that she’s not held to do anything for me and see what happens.”

    “But what if she really does flat out tell you ‘no’, say she isn’t interested in what you have or any other girl, for that matter?”

    “Ursula, that’s a chance that I’m just gonna have to take if it means that May knows this is how I feel and have felt for…many years.” Blinking her eyes a couple of times, she adds, “It’s better than leaving her in the dark and leaving me not knowing either way. I just have to go for it.”

    Nodding, Ursula respects the plan that Dawn has in store for letting May onto her feelings. As a sign of support, she pats the blue-haired teen on the back, saying, “Good luck to you on this one, and…I don’t think I need to tell you how much you need it.”

    “But you already did,” Dawn responds.

    Shrugging her shoulders, she says, “Well, what do you know? Okay, I’m off to—no, actually. Why don’t you and I get an early lunch and you can talk about just how you’re gonna pull this off? How’s that sound?”

    “All right,” Dawn answers, having no problem with it. With Ursula leading the way, and paying, the two head out into the streets of Saffron to take in the flavor of the city and decide which one among them would be the most pleasing to their palates this morning.

    ---------

    Your Thoughts?
    Last edited by Rave The Rich; 28th August 2009 at 1:25 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Seeing how serious you and seeing how others are either under aged, easily offended or close-minded, I think I’ll place in a review, which I rarely do nowadays unless it’s a fic that I’ve been reading for ages.

    Yes, not the most exciting chapter ever I have read but it left me quite curious, mainly because of May’s loss, which could get the other readers interested. Another thing that could the readers, myself included, is how Dawn will confess to her. Obviously, plot is one of the main focuses when it comes to fics and you’ve done an okay job so far but it didn’t have the ‘spark’ that I always look for in the fic. Spelling/grammar wise, I found none of them but MS Word has but that's mainly because it’s following the UK version of the English language. Me? I know better.

    Overall, it’s an okay job so far. It just lacked the spark. But then again, it’s at an early stage.
    Last edited by Brian Powell; 3rd September 2009 at 5:57 PM.

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  3. #3
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    Default Here's Chapter Two and Thanks, Brian!

    @Brian Powell: I thank you for putting feelings about the content aside to help me out here, because that's what I consider a review to be; help for me so i don't stray too far away form the plot.

    The shock and excitement is bound to come later, as the story is planned in notes, but for now I have to set the stage and do it with couples not often seen (if at all) with the different characters and their stories having a profound impact on others in this work.

    I did check Merriam-Webster and the American Heritage Dictionary and both said that 'underwhelmed' is a word; the antonym of 'overwhelmed'. Despite that, I'm sure that something like 'not overwhelmed' could work just as well. Also, I'm glad that I didn't have any annoying errors as far as spelling and grammar. If you've been writing as long as I have, them popping up at this stage can be downright annoying.

    With that said, I've finished chapter two. You (and anyone else interested) enjoy. This chapter might answer a question that people reading might have about one storyline. Enjoy!

    DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokemon, a creation of one Satoshi Tajiri, and is produced domestically (in the United States) by Pokemon USA/The Pokemon Company, and internationally by Shogakukan and OLM. I personally own nothing and make nothing by writing this. Please do not flame.

    (Chapter 2- Who Wants In and Who Needed Out)

    The plan has been in place for several weeks; the steps in sync as they are truly one with another as trainer and Pokémon should be. The moves are crisp and sharp with little in the way of mistakes being made by any casual observer. They appeared to know what they were doing and then some.

    Fifteen-year-old Barry McMullen knew the performance aspect of working with Pokémon very well. Outside of training to earn badges, participating in conferences and excelling in tournaments, it was his forte and it gave him an outlet to express his life-loving, fun-having disposition more than anything else that he, his family or his practitioners could conjure or imagine. In some instances, science certainly didn’t know it all and he is living proof of this.

    Along with that, it had a surprisingly calm effect on the teen. Considered quite hyperactive from a very young age, Barry seemed to put many of his efforts into entertaining and giving his friends, his Pokémon, another opportunity to take center stage that didn’t include them getting defeated so he could pad his competitive record. No, working with Barry during these times couldn’t even be called work most days they weren’t training. It was about a lot of fun once they got their respective jobs done and he always wanted people around to see him having fun with his friends as they danced.

    The young man was very much a jack of all trades and people saw it quite clearly as he did the moonwalk, the Macarena, and the electric slide over a period of about two minutes. Combine that with an mp3 boom box playing electronic music mixed in with some break dancing and twisting with his Roserade in tandem. They made quite the team and appeared to be ready for primetime to some who made up this street corner audience.

    As the song providing their backup wraps up, the crowd applauds the efforts of this blond kid who seemed to run on the air he breathed and his accompanying grass Pokémon. Upon the conclusion of their performance, Barry’s Empoleon passes a top hat around to the different folks who fill it to the brim with money as they got their fill of enjoyment from the performance of the two. Any way they can make money in a short amount of time as long as it didn’t involve any chicanery was fine with them.

    Barry also made sure to provide for his Pokémon, because they were half of the show in and of themselves. Much of the profits went to providing them nourishment, accessories and technical machines for battle while the rest either went into savings or helped Barry with his meals out on the road.

    With the crowd quickly dispersing off to their separate destinations, Empoleon makes his way back over to his trainer to present him the top hat.

    The three, one trainer and his two Pokémon, make their way over to an abandoned, nearby alley to count their keep. As the bills pile up, Barry becomes more and more pleased at the effort put in by him and his Pokémon given that they’ve recently only started routines similar to this a couple of months ago.

    “Wow, if we don’t battle for the next two…maybe even three months,” Barry explains to both Empoleon and Roserade, “we’ll still be able to eat like royalty! Great job, guys!”

    Giving his team a round of high fives, he suddenly hears a sound to the tone of ‘Personal Jesus’ in midi style. He knows that’s a sign of a phone call his way so he reaches into his pockets and checks the screen to see that it’s his fellow Twinleaf Town native and best friend Kenny giving him a call this afternoon.

    Opening the phone shaped just like a clam's shell, Barry says hello but then says, “You’ve got about ten seconds to tell me what’s on your mind because I am a busy person, as you know.”

    “Some things never change, I see,” Kenny slyly remarks while on a phone at the Fallarbor Town Pokémon center. “I’m about to qualify for a Pokémon tour in the United States and if I make the final cut, I want you to be my roommate for the tour.”

    “Whoa, really?” Barry asks, quickly forgetting about his personally implemented ten-second rule. “How long is the tour?”

    “Three months and there’s the potential for us to take part in some trainer/coordinator activities if the opportunity arises in some cities.”

    “Three months?” Barry questions nervously. “That’s quite a while. Uh…when does this whole tour begin?”

    “In late May,” his friend responds. “I believe that the last Friday in May is the day where we board the plane for Honolulu, Hawaii to have an exhibition tournament on Saturday evening and then we go to San Diego on Monday for another tournament that takes place during the U.S.’s Memorial Day holiday.”

    “You said there was no guarantee that you’d make it to the finals, though, right?”

    “That’s true, Barry,” Kenny admits, “but I’m ranked in the top twenty-five amongst coordinators and have been for about a year. My appeals have consistently ranked high, so while I’m not cocky about it, I know I can back it up when my number is called and I need to qualify for this tour.”

    He’s nervous and he shouldn’t feel like a chicken just for admitting that he has nerves. Barry hasn’t traveled that far in his life, only going from one region to another in recent years. A tour of America would be a completely different turn of sorts for the fifteen-year-old and he’s a bit scared having heard so many things about the so-called Land of Opportunity. He has no idea what to expect and his language with Kenny over the phone emphasizes this. “Well…”

    “Please say yes,” Kenny pleads with Barry over the phone. “I really don’t want to room with anyone else because all of the other guys in coordinating have already said they’d room with certain people, which I’ll respect. Other guys are rooming with their girlfriends and I just don’t wanna risk rooming with someone I don’t know or am not as familiar with and eventually regretting it.

    “Even though you declared us best friends from the first moment we met, I took that to heart,” he admits. “We’ve since become the best of the best friends that I know and…I think we should do this together. I mean, there’s no way of saying when we’ll get another chance to do something like this, you know? Soon, I’m gonna be heading for post-education to work in pre-law. Who knows what will happen from there?”

    Since Kenny put it that way and Barry was actually a couple of years away from starting school himself to work in the field of physical education, he decides, “I…I’ll give it some thought. There are a few things I think you should know, however.”

    “Whatever it is, I’m sure there’s a solution for it,” Kenny assures the other teen. “Fear of flying, motion sickness and all of that other stuff is just in the head.”

    “Well, now that you mention it…” Barry begins, but before he can complete the thought he had, he decides to shrug it off and say, “What do I have to be afraid of, damn it? Here I am not having been on a vacation quite like this and…I’m just thinking about this new experience and hoping that everything will go all right, you know?”

    “There’s nothing wrong with that, for sure,” Kenny replies, wanting to do his best to convince Barry to tag along so that the three months can be memorable for a few other reasons aside from coordinating and battling all across the United States. “Look, I’ll hang up and you can call me later to tell me what you think about the idea. For now, I have to start qualifying. Wish me luck, talk to your folks about it and tell them I said hello. This will be the experience of a lifetime, I promise you.”

    “I’ll be sure to tell my folks you said hello and get back to you with my answer.”

    “Take care, Barry, and remember; a chance like this might not come along again. If you want in, I want to have you there. Sure, there’ll be familiar faces and whatnot, but…you’re different and I like that. That’s about it. Again, take care.”

    “You too, Kenny,” Barry replies as the two young gentlemen then say their final goodbyes for now before hanging up their phones and getting to their respective business.

    Barry does keep his promise not too long after hanging up the phone. One thing stuck in his mind about the trip in that it would require one plane ride, which is something he’s never done in his young life. With it comes some clear apprehension, but he wouldn’t necessarily consider it a fear of flying as much as it was a fear of the unknown.

    At that point, though, the question of ‘Why’ always surfaces as in why would anyone be afraid to go to America? Some of his ancestors went there for opportunity, much like his friend Kenny wants to do in about a month.

    Thinking about it harder, Barry gets the idea that he should go for it. Fears and misgivings aside, he’s always wanted to go places and this is certainly a time to do it, especially with the right person, as well.

    Returning his Pokémon back into their Poké Balls, Barry heads for a local Pokémon center. If he’s going to take part in a trip this summer, then he should brush up on his research and should start doing it right now.

    ---------

    In an entirely different part of the world, yet another coordinator wraps up work and desires nothing more than to qualify for the big American expedition. Knowing that the sizzle is often times more important than the steak in some cities, Zoey feels like she’ll do well overseas should the opportunity to qualify for this once in a lifetime tour arises.

    She doesn’t want to go alone, though. Zoey would only take one person with her and it’s the same person whom she’s speaking with at the moment. “I’m telling you, this could be a big break for us! This is the time where we can really connect, just like my folks told us a few months ago,” she says to someone on her cell phone right after a ribbon ceremony. Although Zoey was disappointed in that she didn’t take home this particular ribbon in Trovita Island, she knows that enough traversing from one island to another has warranted needed results and allowed her the opportunity to just go for the ribbons in each contest, having already gotten the necessary five to go to the Grand Festival in Pummelo this September. “And you’ve talked about needing a vacation for such a long time. This is our chance! Every night will be like a honeymoon for us and we’re not even married—well…yet, at least.”

    The person on the other end of the line, while no one can see her reaction, is quite elated at the idea of going on vacation with Zoey. It’s intriguing and since getting together two summers ago, this is what they’ve been hoping Zoey would be eligible for when she reached her fifth year of seniority.

    “Oh, you have family in America?” Zoey inquires based on some of the points the person on the other end mentioned. “Wow! Just like I said, I didn’t know that about you until I spoke about this vacation. I’ll be honest; given the fast pace of these tours based on what my best friend Candice has told me I don’t know if we’ll run into them. But it’s New York City, which is probably gonna be a multi-day stop, so who knows? We’ll talk about it but, again, I’ll have to qualify before we even start making any plans.”

    Some more talking on the other end, and Zoey has to answer a question, saying, “I think that I’ll have to wait about fifteen or twenty minutes before I get my shot. Once I get that out of the way, then we can really start…going to the mattresses, if you know what I mean.”

    Yet another pause for listening and Zoey asks this person she’s having a lively conversation with, “Oh, so I should stop making so many movie-themed puns?”

    “Yes, that’s what I’m telling you, Zoey,” says this person while she brushes her hair before she gets back to her work in Hoenn. Given that they are so far away with Zoey living in the northernmost city of Sinnoh and her phone buddy living in the south, they don’t see much of one another given their distance. Because of this, each one’s phone bills tend to be on the high side at the end of the month. “Besides, you know that I can’t get out seeing movies whenever I want, so…I’m behind the curve in that respect.”

    “But that was a Godfather reference!” Zoey exclaims, knowing that there was one time that they watched the movie together, even though that might have been more than a year ago. “You can’t be behind the curve of something that came here long before you did, Kelly! You shouldn’t be, at least.”

    “Well, forgive me if I’m not as interested in the silver screen as I am in what we can do without your folks in our noses and my folks always thinking ‘What the hell are those two doing, now?’ That **** gets tiring after a while especially since they already know that we do it often. Doing it publicly is something I’m just not interested in, especially if we get caught, and doing it over the phone loses its luster, especially if that’s the only action we’re getting!”

    “You don’t think I know all of this stuff?” Zoey questions the girl over the phone. “As much as you can’t leave your work in Lilycove with the health department, I can’t do the same if I’m around Sinnoh or another region that isn’t Hoenn. So that’s our lot in life; Zoey Martin and Kelly Bradford are madly in love, can’t take their respective hands off one another for a second, are hornier than the brass section of a symphony orchestra and all we can do is long-distance love. We need this more than I initially thought.”

    “Exactly,” Kelly agrees. “So go out there and give us this time. Do two appeals unlike you’ve ever done them before. I need this vacation after such a long year looking over regional health care reform since the winter months. I don’t know how some of the delegates do it, to be honest, but you won’t see me making a career in this end of the health industry. No way. That’s neither here nor there, though. All in all, Zoey, just do your best with this so we can have this alone time and…win one for the two of us, ‘eh?”

    “All right, then!” she loudly answers over the phone getting a couple of stares from passersby. Somewhat embarrassingly, she gets back on the phone with the Lilycove City resident, saying, “I think the only thing that I should warn you about is that…Dawn ranks as a pretty strong contender for going on this tour, too. Three months of vacation might also have to include traveling with her given how she feels about the two of us.”

    Sighing on her end, Kelly wonders “Why can’t that girl just move on? Seriously, it’s been nearly two years this summer. If she had such strong feelings for you like she always claims, why the hell didn’t she speak up?”

    “That’s what I ask her, Kelly, and she always keeps saying ‘You saw it, Zoey,’ and ‘You knew it, Zoey’. I didn’t know anything about these feelings until after Dawn told me and after it was too late! Look, we’ll just keep our distance from her for now if we make it in…”

    “But you will make it in! The reason why is because I believe in you. How’s that for inspiration, huh?”

    “Well, Kelly, I’ll put it like this; you know about your day job?”

    “Yeah, what about it?”

    “Stick with what you know, Kelly, and we’ll both benefit,” Zoey informs her older girlfriend.

    “Well, since you asked nicely, okay. Good luck qualifying, Zoey.”

    “Thanks, sweetheart,” she answers, kissing the receiver on her phone for added effect. “Bye for now. I’ll let you know how I think things went.”

    “Sounds cool! Later, girl,” and with these words, Kelly hangs up on her end of the line, immediately followed by Zoey who decides to take a momentary break before getting back in line for tournament qualifying.

    The prospect of traveling overseas with her long-term girlfriend really did appeal to Zoey. Always on the road, she doesn’t get moments like this all the time, so she’s very happy that this time has come right now in her life to take part in something truly unique for her generation, and if Kelly has her way at some points during the trip, it’s bound to become a lot of fun.

    Either way, she wants it…badly, in more ways than one.

    ---------

    On the phone and in his office, like he has been for the past two hours this evening, Norman Maple has been handling calls coming to the Petalburg City gym since closing things down for the evening. Maintaining his position amongst the eight sanctioned gym in the Hoenn region takes a great amount of time and energy and leaves him in a position to not do too much during the remainder of the day and evening.

    Most nights he would not get into bed with his wife, Caroline, until about one or two o’clock in the morning. Keeping the gym in good condition was his job, plain and simple, but it was often times a job that would often take twenty-four hours out of the day. He got the feeling that she understood this, but could never be completely sure.

    With charts and graphs on his desk and a receiver to his right ear, Norman hears from Flannery about the newest crop of trainers that are on his way in the next few days. Over that time, he also gets a notice from the Lavaridge Town gym leader about one of his former comrades, which gets him up from out of his seat and causes him to make plans to soon depart from out of the house and to a nearby medical center to send well wishes.

    After getting some directions from Flannery, Norman hangs up the phone in his office, turns off the desk light in his room and gets up from out of his seat once again. From there, he goes over to his bedroom, where his wife is sleeping right now to wake her up for just a moment.

    Stirring while in bed, Caroline is happy to see the face of her husband; a face that she hasn’t seen much of in recent months during bedtime, is here.

    “Oh,” she opens. “Norman, what time is it? You should come to bed.”

    “Caroline, I’m sorry,” he regretfully says, “but there was an incident that took place when Mr. Moore came back into town to see the family in Lavaridge Town again. He had a fall while walking and coming to the front of the gym and the family just took him to the hospital. Flannery asked if I would come with her to check on her grandfather and given that he was such an influence to me when I came up…it’s just the right thing to do.”

    “It’s fine, Norman,” Caroline says, turning her back to her to find a more comfortable position to sleep while quite annoyed at her husband at this moment. “Just go.”

    “Oh, Caroline, please don’t be like that.”

    “Just go,” she replies, now really annoyed at her husband. “It’s not like it’s different from any other night in the last few months; you go out to save the world and forget about home.”

    “That’s not how things are at all!” he exclaims in a futile attempt to argue contrary to what his wife is saying.

    “Just go, Norman!” Caroline interrupts, turning back over to the man. “You made a promise to the Moore family; follow through on it! If you can’t do anything else while you’re here, at least do that. For now, I really need to get some sleep.”

    Nodding his head, he senses that this battle is a losing one. With Caroline’s body turned away from his, he shakes his head and responds, “Okay. We can…talk about this some more when I get back and when I have the time.” After this admission, he leaves the master bedroom once more, leaving a small crack in the bedroom door that Caroline kept there to keep air circulating in the room.

    The instance where she is sure that her significant other is not in the house and can’t hear or see her, she decides to leave her pride aside and let the tears come out of her eyes. It could not have happened to them, not Norman and Caroline, but here they were at a crossroads in their lives.

    Neglect; while not in and of itself a dirty word, in a relationship, few things can possibly be compared to one party not doing their part and talking to the other. The sex of the partner doesn’t matter and neither does the situation surrounding them, but the lack of conversation in a romance can often signal its untimely and unfortunate end.

    “This just can’t be my life,” Caroline sobs. With determination in her voice, she makes it very clear to herself, primarily, that “It won’t be my life. Something has to change because this isn’t working! I’m not ready to just fall in line like an old lady at age thirty-nine and take this lying down."

    Settling down to go back to bed, Caroline makes a final point before allowing her tired body to lay down for rest. “If he won’t change, then I need to do something because this can’t continue at all.”

    “No,” says a teenage girl in a bed while she tosses and turns. “No, don’t do it, mom. Just talk to him. Tell him how you feel, but don’t—NO!” Shooting up from her bed, May looks around and sees the complete darkness in her room. Shaking for a moment, she thinks how real that moment felt and how relevant it was to her current state.

    She gets up from her bed for a moment, trying to think of anything that will send her back to sleep and miserably failing right now. May isn’t able to really help the fact that the tears are forming in her eyes. She’s alone right now, so there is no shame. May doesn’t have to worry about who sees her crying here, so she lets it go and bangs her fist onto a nearby desk, lamenting, “If only it were just a dream.”

    ---------

    Your Thoughts?
    Last edited by Rave The Rich; 6th September 2009 at 9:38 PM.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2004
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    London
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    Default

    I did check Merriam-Webster and the American Heritage Dictionary and both said that 'underwhelmed' is a word; the antonym of 'overwhelmed'. Despite that, I'm sure that something like 'not overwhelmed' could work just as well. Also, I'm glad that I didn't have any annoying errors as far as spelling and grammar. If you've been writing as long as I have, them popping up at this stage can be downright annoying.
    I see that you’ve checked my review before I changed it. Yes, I checked for that word shortly after dropping that review off and found that the word does exist. I was mainly following MS Word for spell checking. But as it turned out, it was wrong, which meant that so was I. Also, I should chuck that old dictionary away.

    Now, back to your fic, it seems that you’re putting in more characters, which is a good thing because that’ll get readers interested in your fic because of the history you’re going to provide, but don’t overdo it. This brings me to some criticism I have.

    You’re basing the characters from the anime/manga of the pokemon franchise and everyone knows that for fact. Even though you’re describing the goals and personalities of the characters, none of us know what they look like. Sure, most of us know their faces and hairs and how they’re dressed in the anime/manga but what about those who are wondering what their fashion sense is like for this fic? May I suggest that you write down what they’re wearing? I presume that you’ll be doing for their upcoming contests, yes? And about the hairs and faces, describe them as well for those who have been living in a cave.

    You may need to work on your paragraphing/spacing a little bit…

    Barry also made sure to provide for his Pokémon, because they were half of the show in and of themselves. Much of the profits went to providing them nourishment, accessories and technical machines for battle while the rest either went into savings or helped Barry with his meals out on the road.
    With the crowd quickly dispersing off to their separate destinations, Empoleon makes his way back over to his trainer to present him the top hat.
    How about this…

    Barry also made sure to provide for his Pokémon, because they were half of the show in and of themselves. Much of the profits went to providing them nourishment, accessories and technical machines for battle while the rest either went into savings or helped Barry with his meals out on the road.

    With the crowd quickly dispersing off to their separate destinations, Empoleon makes his way back over to his trainer to present him the top hat.
    This isn’t the only spacing problem you have on this fic. Just make sure to double check on your fic before posting them on, and that goes for spelling and grammar, which I found none.

    I see that you’ve been writing in present tense while many people often write in past tense. Nothing wrong with that, really. Just in case that people didn’t notice.

    Based on what’s going on with May, I have a little prediction… and I’m 99% sure… but I won’t spoil it.

    Overall, good development, good way to get readers interested but it’s still lacking the spark. Don’t forget to double-check as well. Keep up the good work.

    Check these out:

    Thanks for the card, Skiks
    Pokemon Impact (PG13):
    Series: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 (Cancelled)

    Starring Black Jack, a veteran pokemon trainer who saves the lives of others while breaking necks of his enemies in cold blood. You want action? You got action!
    (Continue or Reboot? That is the question.)

    Goldenrod High (Chaptered Comedy Multishipping fic PG13) Updated: 02/12/09
    Who says school is just for learning? ^^

    Check out my other stories, and everyone else's in the Completed Fics forum!

    Been doing some singing and voice impressions too! Check me out at the Brian Random Channel Thread!

  5. #5
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    Manila, MM, Philippines.
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    Oooh, even though the hardcore stuff hasn't started, this fanfic looks promising with the different pairings we see here... 8D

    Plus, the tournament will be so exciting, for sure, can't wait for it... 8D

    Looks like something bothering May a lot... though, maybe I'll have to wait for the next chapter or so to find out what it is...

    Either way, awesome work as always, Rave... ;D

    GPXPlus Profile | Electromaster | Alert; Obsessions
    Paired with the awesome Orion-Sama~

  6. #6
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    Annapolis, Maryland
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    Exclamation I know you REALLY don't want to hear this, but...

    Hey, to anyone (and I mean, everyone) who reads (or has read) this. First of all, I thank you for doing so and second of all, I thank those who have reviewed.

    The reviewers should know that their advice and compliments have been both read and followed.

    To Brian Powell: I knew in my heart 'underwhelmed' was a word and it's somewhat of a feather in my cap to know that you checked my sources and checked back to verify. That's the sign of a good reader. (See? Even reviewers can be reviewed!)

    Continuing, Encyclopika told me to not overdo ships and you are telling me not to overdo in terms of quantitative character usage and my promise is to not do so much on either end but the temptation is always there, I'll admit. More characters will come, but they should remain mostly static in nature, involved only somewhat in the main storyline.

    Going further, I understand describing their fashion senses, facial and bodily features, as well. All that will come and I will cater to all those cave people that you spoke of.

    Finally, the paragraph issue is a problem with the 'copy and paste' method in certain programs which don't retain the paragraph format going from one program format to another. If I have that problem, I have no choice but to go into the text box and fix the problem, setting the paragraphs to my discretion and for proper formatting. Sometimes I'll miss paragraphs, and this is where a problem like the one you found will come up. For that reason (and many others) I absolutely should double check my work...again.

    That should cover everything outside of I'm glad that you couldn't find any spelling and grammar errors.

    Now onto the reason for my delay in this third chapter, I will admit that it's twofold. One reason is my other projects, including one really needing an update after some time. The other reason for the delay had to do with a health issue in real life that outright put my life on hold for a time, yet I'm back for the most part and am here to inform everyone that the next chapter will come no later than Monday. I hope everyone who reads enjoys that.

    Unfortunately, and this part I don't care if anyone reads and takes offense to because I feel it MUST be said, a portion of this website's (and this section's) population have gathered together as a ruling elite and leisure class amongst all others to define what is talked about, who gets attention or praise (whether correct or otherwise), who rises and who falls.

    I am not among this spoken elite but I admit to being an anomaly, an outlier and an outsider to most on these forums. This is likely due to my open and honest portrayal of shoujo-ai/yuri and shouen-ai/yaoi, which could understandably conflict with other people's views, realistic or otherwise.

    I have no problem with people not reading my works or not taking part in projects of mine due to religious views. It has never been my wish to change those matters, however, I highly doubt that it is in the vision of this site to fervently restrict people from having competent reviewers look over their works just because a few people on top have a problem with it, just or otherwise.

    Because of these backdoor, whisper politics from members who should never have such pull and influence, I do not feel welcome here (that's honest), and a large part of me wants to go where I feel like people will first and foremost look at my works and then not feel like they can't help me by reviewing for fear of retribution from a potentially homophobic puppet master yielding more control than even the so-called controllers and seeking a mission to purify the forums to their liking and call out any outliers for satiating their need to flaunt their power. I want to be recognized like all the other authors here, but because of multiple dimensions of fears and uncertainty of status among one's clique, that doesn't happen and likely won't.

    In my opinion, that is extremely sad and it speaks very poorly of the self-consciousness of certain members on this board, specifically this section. If I had a wish for the world, much less this forum, it would be that people would simply be themselves without feeling that that is such a bad thing. This forum would be better, people's satisfaction would be better and to be brutally honest, the common sense and respect in these forums would be better so people would not feel the need to leave because it's gone south.

    This post is not expected to make much change outside of a drop in the bucket, but this is something I just had to get off my chest. Perhaps because real life bites and I need a release, but take it for what you will. If you read my works and understand where I'm coming from, you'll get it. If you don't and continue to ignore me and pass me by, it's probably not for you to get in the first place.

    To those people I just talked about, most already know who they are and already know what they want to do around these forums. To put it simply, they want power and they want it absolute. If they take offense to what I say, it won't be the first time, but please handle your discussions civilly as it pertains to me as I will do the same for you. I won't call you names, but I will call you out on things that you post and your actions.

    Should things get too out of hand and I've had enough of the games of the aforementioned, I will probably leave, and that won't be a bad thing. Just another thing where I move on. It's cool. People who want to read my works will find me and I'll continue on with my head held high and my confidence level even higher.

    It's more than I can say for most members here and especially more than I can say for this 'elite' group. Please remember these words if you remember nothing else...

    I am to fear only because there are still those who refuse to learn and know.

    If you get to know me, you'll find nothing to fear, otherwise you leave me be and never know what I could've been.

    Just something to think about as I write a chapter and continue to just...

    Be myself.

    Pass it on and thank you all, whether you agree with me or not.

    Just stay tuned.

  7. #7
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    Default Here's what you wanna see!

    It's been a while, but I made this deadline! Here's chapter three! Link soon to come.

    DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokemon, a creation of one Satoshi Tajiri, and is produced domestically (in the United States) by Pokemon USA/The Pokemon Company, and internationally by Shogakukan and OLM. I personally own nothing and make nothing by writing this. Please do not flame.

    (Chapter 3- Qualifying Commence!)

    ---------

    On a bench by a receptionist’s desk sit a few coordinators just after a contest in Fallarbor Town in the hopes that they will be a part of the ‘Terrific 32’ who will compete in America. There are only four people waiting at the moment for this chance and the opportunity to prove their worth overseas. The only instructions they’ve received is that they could qualify, but only once and only after they’ve participated in a Pokémon contest.

    Right now, four people that have been deemed eligible to at least make an attempt are here. Two of these four are good friends from a time back and have come back to their home region of Hoenn, specifically Oldale Town, to win the Grand Festival.

    Those plans, however, have been put on somewhat of a hold as a chance to network and spread their names internationally is one that neither of them wishes to pass up.

    A door opens over by a receptionist currently taking a call. A young male page in his blazer calls out the name of “Harley Davidson-Schuler,” signaling him to come with him so he can begin the qualification process.

    As this young man in his late twenties and the Cacturne-like getup gets up from his seat, he feels a bit of a tug from his green shirt and knows it to be the friend he was sitting next to while playing the waiting game. “Good luck in qualifying, man,” are the final and sincere words from Drew right before Harley goes to enter the unknown.

    “Thanks, Drew,” he says with a smile before heading into these foreign parts led by this page. Honestly, he does feel good about his chances. If nothing else, he knows how to make appeals happen and this is no exception especially if it means he’ll reap the benefits of financial gain that the directors promised at the coordinator’s meeting.

    Once entering through the door, Harley walks down a couple of flights of stairs not once feeling rushed by the assistant with him while they came to a door locked by a keypad and keycard system. While punching in the code for the door, he says to Harley, “I thank you for coming here and bearing with me not saying much to you.”

    Shaking the coordinator’s hand, he adds, “Harley, my name is Tim Vecks, but you won’t see much more of me until you finish qualifications. You don’t have many instructions, but you are expected to follow all of them when you see Contesta, Sukizo and the Oldale Town Nurse Joy standing in for Fallarbor because she’s on assignment. The qualification for the United States tournament is in three parts. The judges make up part number one and they will give you further instructions from here to part two. Is that clear?”

    “Yes, Tim.”

    “All right, head inside and good luck to you, sir,” says the page as he opens the door for Harley and leaves up the stairs once more. Harley goes inside what appears to be a poorly lit gymnasium down in the bottom of the contest house with the three judges standing at a table. This table, off by the right side of the gym is covered by a black cloth, cups and some papers on top. They have nothing else on the table; nothing is there to score the bout other than a pen and paper for each judge.

    The judges each have on their best poker face. Even the cheerful Nurse Joy and Sukizo appear as statues of themselves sitting down. Harley thinks about asking what he should do next, but before the thought can be spoken, he’s instructed by Contesta to, “Come forward and present us with your ID, please.” Harley does so without a word. A quick look at the Pokédex is enough to satisfy Mr. Contesta, so he hands it back to the coordinator, saying “Stand on the black circle right there, Mr. Schuler.” Looking down, he sees one across and to the left of the judges’ table. He does as instructed, again without another word, and waits for further instruction just as the page told him.

    “Please raise your right hand, sir,” requests the Oldale Town Joy while standing up and reading from a clipboard in her left hand. “You will not need to repeat after me.” Harley does so and waits for further instruction. “Do you, Harley Davidson-Schuler solemnly affirm that as an ambassador and representative of the sport of Pokémon coordinating that you shall put integrity first and foremost in all that you do?”

    ‘An oath?’ Harley wonders. ‘I’ve never had to do anything like this before.’

    Despite this, he continues to listen to what’s being spoken. “That you may coordinate only for the sake of coordinating and never for ulterior motives and agendas or for gains, whether they are personal or professional? That you recognize participation in this sport and related activities to be a privilege, not a right, which can be taken away with probable and sufficient cause, so help you?”

    Harley answers, “I do,” knowing that’s the only way most people respond to oaths or affirmations. He gets the feeling that this is not just any ordinary qualification process as Nurse Joy sits down after thanking Harley. From there, Contesta decides to finally inform him of the process involved.

    “Welcome to the qualifying process for overseas Pokémon coordinating tours,” he begins. “This is stage one of three in your qualification today and the one which will take the least amount of time. Your object is simple in that we will ask you to perform two appeals using two different Pokémon. For each appeal, you have a time limit of two minutes and we will warn you when there are fifteen seconds remaining in either appeal if needed. We will not—I repeat; will not inform you of your appeal scores so please do not ask as it’ll be a waste of time. After your two appeals, we will direct you to your next step and that will be the last we see of you today. Do you have any questions, sir?”

    “No, I don’t,” he answers, getting a bit of a frog in his throat.

    Despite this, he hears all further instructions loud and clear. “Remarkable,” Sukizo remarks. “Whenever you’re ready, you may now call out your first of two Pokémon.”

    “All right!” Harley exclaims, ready to make this qualifying bid a successful one. Pulling out one of his Poké balls, he throws it onto the playing field and shows the judges his Cacturne and calling for, “Leech seed, now!”

    --------

    With the right focus, the attack lands right in the middle of the field. Once completed, it leaves behind a long but thin…icicle. Dawn knew that she had to bring out something that would be attention grabbing. While Buneary landing an icicle onto parquet flooring may not necessarily be what the judges had in mind, she hopes that they will take the time to notice that the thin end of the icicle balancing on the gym surface.

    Just getting something like that perfected with her Buneary takes time; it’s time well spent that Dawn works towards day in and day out since she learned about this overseas tournament. Her concentration rests on two items that have kept her more than focused. One of them was the chance to go to the United States, something that her mother as a former champion never got to do, and see it for herself. The other is far more personal in that if all the cards fall where she wishes, a scenario will develop where she’ll be able to find the time to convince May of her feelings and see if an opportunity between the two can brew.

    As of now, Dawn is doing all she can to make this dream a reality and qualify. Her next move will be in an effort to show the judges Buneary’s discipline by having her balance on top of the icicle. “Now, Buneary…”

    ---------

    “Use Bounce!” commands Zoey to her Pokémon, Finneon. The thought of using one of her water Pokémon in this scenario was somewhat foreign to Zoey, but she got the feeling that two appeals would each have to stand on their own for the judges to notice her.

    “Now use whirlpool!” she adds while Finneon remains high in the air of the gymnasium. The process was all coming together for her nicely, just like she planned with her girlfriend, Kelly. Getting away from the stresses of their lives and having a nice, long summer vacation can only help the cause they talked about a few days ago. The command elevates Finneon high up in the air at the top of a giant whirlpool that had to be worked on over countless to make it so large. Zoey thought that her Pokémon would be touching the lights given the heights, but such thoughts were unfounded and her mind was focused solely on the next command. “All, right, Finneon…”

    ---------

    “It’s time for Safeguard!” Kenny calls to his Alakazam. A protective field rises for Alakazam and right now, Kenny just wants his Pokémon to be calm for what he’s about to do, so he calls for the psychic type to use calm mind. He had no issue with doing multiple appeals after he had to something similar just a few hours ago to qualify for the Vermilion City contest with two Pokémon performing appeals at once time.

    Since he entered coordinating, success has never been that far away from Kenny. Taking part in this most unique tournament and advancing from there to possible victory would rank up there with a Grand Festival in terms of importance to him. Perhaps of more importance, however, is the bond he seeks to form with his fellow Twinleaf Town native Barry. While he might have declared the two of them good friends five years ago on a whim and knowing that they grew up around the same locale, time and trials have proven Barry’s words to be more than just that.

    Kenny knows that he won’t be coordinating forever, just like Barry won’t be training until his elder days. The two teens are banking on Kenny’s confidence to see them through to a fine time in about a month. Enough practice with Alakazam in this particular move has him ready for just about any appeal but as he probably suspects his peers also have special tasks and movements in mind, as well.

    Digging into his pockets, he shows the judges two spoons, not unlike the ones in the hands of his Pokémon. The main difference is that these two spoons are black in color compared to the two silver spoons that serve as the trademark item of the psychic type. Kenny holds the spoons in front of the judges so that they can see the difference in the spoons. “Use teleport, Alakazam!”

    Enough focus on the attack and he knows that Alakazam can switch the spoons from trainer’s hands to Pokémon hands. All it takes is a lot of concentration and it can happen.

    “Fifteen seconds remaining, Kenny,” Contesta warns the coordinator, who doesn’t respond to the warning. Instead, he just focuses on making this appeal work. He feels a headache coming on as the concentration from him to his Alakazam increases and the need to make this exchange work becomes much more imminent. He’s starting to scream in pain as he feels the heat in his hands from the spoons get hotter and hotter.

    Then he suddenly felt something cool in his hands and opened his eyes to find the silver spoons replacing the spot where the black metal ones were. He sees a fatigued but alert Alakazam holding his spoons and knows that the judges had to be impressed by the effort shown to get the appeal locked in and on time for the three. Checking for reactions, he only sees faces of granite. It was as if they were blindfolded throughout the appeal and missed it all given its intensity with the legitimate pain Kenny suffered through to make it all come together.

    He looks for some opinion or remarks from the judges only to find empty stares. Kenny then opened his mouth to speak on that issue and, as if they were waiting for him to do just that, Contesta emotionlessly asks Kenny, “Would you begin your next appeal please? We’ll start the clock when you call out your next Pokémon. Hello?”

    ---------

    “Miss Michaelanova,” Contesta speaks to another coordinator, “Please call out your next Pokémon.”

    “Will do, Mr. Contesta,” and on this command, coordinator Ursula performs a bit of a twirl before sending out her Sandslash for her second appeal. “Now, Sandy! Let’s start things off with defense curl.” Sandslash goes about rolling up into a ball like a hedgehog in the middle of the gym.

    The redheaded girl, who still wears her hair in curls, knows what’s coming next. Bringing her black shirt down a little bit, she commands “Okay. Let’s see rapid spin!” Ursula knew that this wouldn’t be much of a surprise, much like the plan of her friend Dawn to let her love for May be known. The two friends haven’t seen much of each other since leaving the meeting in Saffron City, but they have talked quite a bit. The conclusion Ursula has come to is that Dawn has to be a little bit crazy to think that she can pull this off. Among her words to the Twinleaf Town coordinator, they included that she would have a greater shot at winning the lottery than landing May Maple as a partner.

    Despite that fact, Ursula unquestionably supports Dawn in her efforts, knowing that she’s gone through a lot and, in her mind, deserves the company of someone who will love her back with the same effort and vigor as Dawn would. Seeing her friend’s failed attempts at love have shown Ursula that she might be ready for it herself, but it’s all in the way she picks and chooses her company, as she’s slowly learning. Her first appeal with Wormadam went well, if not for some issues with time. Despite that, she feels confident about wrapping up business with her Sandslash while he continues to build up speed in his spinning top motion. “Okay, Sandslash…”

    ---------

    “It’s time for swift!” and Drew commands his Masquerain to perform that very move sending stars of various size and color out from his wings. “Now, fly and send them out into other directions with air slash!” Before all the stars can fly off in the direction they were pointed, Masquerain brings them back over to where he originally flew with a gust of air from his wings. Drew knew that the time was now and that impressing the judges would have to be at a primary for him given that he’s decided to buck a probable strategy of using variety in his appeals by using different type Pokémon.

    The first appeal he did for the judges he used his Butterfree and now he’s gone to Masquerain. There wasn’t much distinguishing the two Pokémon aside from a name and a distinguishable body type, but he desired to tell a story with these appeals the likes of which the judges hadn’t seen prior to this afternoon. After not hearing or seeing anything from Harley, who went through this same process just a few minutes ago, Drew had nothing to base his strategy on, other than putting together a story and hoping that it keeps the judges’ attention span. It sounds simple, but nothing of the magnitude that the directors have planned should ever be as simple as is made out in places such as the press or the public.

    Drew wants this, plain and simple. Proving his might amongst the sport’s class is his goal, yet he refuses to let this life-changing experience keep him from seeing the forest for the trees. Traveling is fun, meeting against coordinators in the Hoenn region is also a thrill, but above all else, Drew wants to prove himself beyond the regions while, of course, having a lot of fun in a country he’s never went to since beginning his contest career.

    All that comes to mind as Masquerain performs silver wind and several quick attacks to keep the powdery substance in one place directly in front of the judges. Despite the lighting in the gym, they could still see the pile of thin, white scales building up. The trio waited with caution to see what would happen next. Drew then commands gust and while people would expect the pile of scales to quickly disperse, they don’t. Instead, they glide across the gymnasium like a gentle, wispy feather floating along the atmosphere. While they attempt to hide it, Drew gets a brief glimpse of the judges showing approval through some slight smiles and even a wide-eyed glance from the Fallarbor Nurse Joy.

    ---------

    While his Venomoth flew through the air doing tricks like a fighter plane without him having to make any commands, he had to be impressed. There was just no way around it. He has not had an appeal quite like this in a while and Chaz definitely needs it. This coordinator has had a decidedly unique road back to coordinating since deciding to go to school in between contests and tournaments to improve his training methods and techniques some years back.

    School apparently didn’t do much for this fair-minded coordinator from the Hoenn region and he seemed to fall further back in terms of success, winning only one ribbon at a Sootopolis City contest in a year’s time. Nothing seemed to help for him, not even the encouragement of his rival and primary bug-type trainer Janet, so he took a sabbatical from coordinating to focus on gym battles, to a fine amount of success.

    This all happened in the space of ages thirteen to fifteen and during a time in which he grew more as a person than any other point in his life. Chaz now has more poise and direction since returning to coordinating than he ever did when he began his journey. He saw it as a change for the better and had a turnaround that he believed needed to be marked both by his attitude and his look. His eggplant-lavender hair has now been cut to nearly nothing, leaving him with a fresh, military look. He wears frameless bifocals over his eyes now; a result of staring at computer screens too long most nights during study. Both of his ears are pierced with silver hoop rings and he entered the gym in green boarder shorts and a collared shirt designed for rugby.

    He’s come back and put a lot of past feelings and emotions behind him, including those felt for his rival. Some could fairly say that Chaz is on the path to prove himself worthy of even being considered among the best of coordinators. After all, even though he is sixteen, he doesn’t have nearly the experience of his peers due to numerous times he hasn’t been coordinating.

    Flying around and doing tricks as a means of appeasing the judges might work for Chaz. There’s no doubt that it’s a different route to go as far as performing an appeal, but he needs that extra boost even while Venomoth appears to perform aerial ace without a technical machine. Chaz decides to make a move to hopefully put him over the top in this final appeal and call out signal beam. His advice to Venomoth is to, “Aim for the lights,” which he does, thereby sending the light back down and dispersing it through various points in the gymnasium including the eyes of the judges, giving them a small taste of confusion. It’s not enough to leave them vulnerable, but enough for them to experience how it feels, and it all took less time to do than most appeals when Chaz announces to the judges, “That’s it,” and then recalls his Venomoth back into his Poké Ball surprising the judges with his bravado at about the same level as he did with the second appeal.

    Whether it was force of habit or an early sign of dementia, Contesta announced that Chaz had fifteen seconds remaining, even though his Pokémon is recalled and he said that his appeal was over. ‘It’s probably just some residual effect of the confusion attack,’ Chaz figures while he waits for further instruction.

    ---------

    “Miss Maple?” Contesta calls to May after she recalled her Blaziken. After the appeal ended with a powerful flare blitz, he could see her ball both her hands into a fist and repeat the words ‘It’s not true,’ slightly above a whisper. He was more than just a little bit concerned about these actions, but had to keep to his neutral stance and show no ounce of favoritism during the two appeals. With both of them wrapped up, May has completed step number one in the qualifying process.

    Contesta had to have heard May say ‘It’s not true,’ another two or three times before she called her name once more to get her attention.

    May snapped her head toward the judges, loudly asking what they wanted without thinking much about them, their opinions of her appeals or anything of the sort. They weren’t on her mind at the moment as much as some words, specifically a single word, spoken a month or so ago by her father that weighed on her mind since she came to Viridian City for a contest.

    Conversely, she didn’t think the judges thought much of her present issues so after her snap reaction; she apologized to the judges and used the excuse that she was very much into her work and badly wanted to enter the tournament. It was the truth, but not the truth completely. It would do for now as she just had to follow their directions just as the pages informed her. If she does that, then there should be no further problems.

    “It’s no problem, May,” Contesta replies to her, going for a more personable route to get her “I’m just a bit concerned about you, but if you’re fine, may we continue?”

    She could talk about it. She really could, but this might affect how she stands as far as her position on making the final cut for the tour. That means she’ll never be too far from the cause of her strife and anger; her mother. She can’t let any executive know about this, as much as it might affect her mood, so she simply tells the man, “I’m fine, and thanks for your concern.”

    “Very well,” Contesta says. Reading from a paper in front of him, he continues, “You have completed step number one of the qualifying process and if you’ll go through those double doors over at the opposite end of this gym from where you entered, you’ll see another page who will give you your next step. We thank you for your participation and wish you good luck going forward.”

    May thanks the three of them, but heads directly for the door, not shaking any hands. She suddenly feels the need to get this over with sooner than later and opens the double doors to see another page, a different one than the teen girl who directed her to the gym, to greet her and lead her down a lengthy, white-painted, drab corridor of rooms she’s never seen before. She’s brought to one with a label of ‘16A’ and told to sit down at the one desk-chair combination inside and wait for even more directions from this older teen named Ollin.

    She sits down and just a minute later, she’s met with an older gentleman, casually dressed in blue jeans and a forest green shirt. For some reason, he’s carrying a few sheets of paper and a couple of number two pencils. She bids May good afternoon and asks her, “Are you ready for your written exam?”

    At that moment, the emotion inside of May went from anger to shock. She thought she was done with exams but life, in more ways than one, offers up its fair share of surprises.

    But an exam? ‘Seriously?’ she silently questions. ‘What the hell am I gonna do in America besides coordinate?’

    ---------

    Your Thoughts?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Annapolis, Maryland
    Posts
    123

    Default Chapter Four is here! Approach with caution.

    The original can be found here and uncensored. You might love me or hate me for this, but you gotta respect the effort. Enjoy!

    http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5339838/...We_Do_Not_Seek

    DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokemon, a creation of one Satoshi Tajiri, and is produced domestically (in the United States) by Pokemon USA/The Pokemon Company, and internationally by Shogakukan and OLM. I personally own nothing and make nothing by writing this. Please do not flame.

    (Chapter 4- This Is Only a Test)

    “Excuse me?” May asks just to make sure that she absolutely did not hear differently from this young man. “Did you say an exam?”

    “That’s what I said,” Ollin affirms while walking up to May sitting at her desk and handing her a packet and a few pencils. Sensing some uneasiness on the part of May, her test proctor attempts to turn it in another direction by claiming, “You have nothing to worry about, trust me. This is just a fifty-question multiple choice exam which tests your aptitude as far as being a Pokémon coordinator is concerned. You’ll have twelve minutes to complete these questions and you won’t know your score until Contesta gives you the invitation to take part in the American tour. You got it?”

    Slightly nodding, May admits, “As much as I’ll get it, I’ve got it. Thanks.”

    “Excellent!” Ollin remarks before going back to his seat at the desk, placing a vane clock display on top of the desk and setting it for the time allotted for the exam. “Once again, you have only twelve minutes for this written portion and when I start the clock, I can’t give you any further help or instruction with the exam as I am not to know of any of its contents. Is that clear?”

    “Yes.”

    “Very well. If nothing else, May, your twelve minutes begins…” Ollin, unbeknownst to May, is at this point waiting for the right time to synchronize his own stopwatch in order to have a backup during any unforeseen circumstance. Once his is set, he simultaneously hits buttons on the large time display and his watch and says, “Now!” to let May know she can open her packet and start the test.

    As Ollin takes his seat, May does exactly that and goes through the questions without much of a problem. The test, as Ollin told her, would not be too difficult. It was a simple test of her Pokémon knowledge and asked her about types, battle techniques, contest rules, procedures and the like.

    Everything is going smoothly right now with the exception of one or two questions she’s not completely positive about. Not willing to stress on such instances in what appears to be a run of the mill test, she just keeps going, as is her current plan, until the time runs to nothing. All is going well for her and May is feeling confident about the test…until she gets to question number forty-three.

    ‘Which of the following attacks,’ May ponders, saying the question in her head ‘is most likely to cleanly split and separate rocks in half—what?’ The question, while certainly not directed to her, got May’s attention for all the wrong reasons. ‘Those words,’ she thinks while looking over them again. A quick look at the answers and she knows that of the four given to her, ‘Iron Tail’ is the only one that best fits the answer as Mega Punch, Fire Blast and Hyper Beam don’t make nearly as much sense. Split and separate might have a different meaning to whomever else might see this exam question, or it could have no meaning at all, but May can feel it all coming back to her in an emergency meeting that her father called less than three months ago.

    It was the meeting where everything changed and not for the better.

    ---------

    FLASHBACK

    Opening the door to her house after several days traveling to Petalburg from the Kanto region, May says hello and is told by her father to come into the family room with her brother so they could have the talk he mentioned over the phone. Though not thinking much about it, May does find it quite curious that her mother, Caroline, wasn’t mentioned as being in the room or being a part of this conversation. If this were truly an emergency family meeting, then wouldn’t she be mentioned as one of the heads of household?

    Her father, Norman, said that what they would be discussing was not a matter of life or death, but was also something that he couldn’t reveal over the phone. When she enters the family room, Max and Norman stand up to give May a hug and to tell them that they love her.

    “I love you both back,” May replies before her father asks her to have a seat. When she does, she asks, “What’s going on, Dad? Max, do you know anything about this?”

    “I don’t know anything about this,” he honestly speaks. “I got the same call as you to come home.”

    “Well,” Norman interjects, internally willing himself to go through delivering this difficult news, “I do think that you all should know about this and…the reason why your mother isn’t here when I called a family meeting.”

    “Yeah, I wanted to ask about that,” the thirteen-year old young male wonders, “because I just thought it was odd that we’d have a family meeting without mom.”

    “You both deserve to know what’s going on, Max,” he tells both of his children, “and you should know, first and foremost, that…everything is going to be okay. Your mother and I love both of you very much and struggled—really struggled long and hard, to figure out the best way to…break this news to you.”

    “Dad, what’s going on?” Max asks, the concern clearly laden on his face as well as May’s.

    “Your mother…” he begins, shutting his eyes for a bit as if to force the tears back down the same ducts where they formed. “The reason why she isn’t here is because she doesn’t live here anymore and she will no longer be living here…and that’s a choice she’s made…”

    “But why?” May suddenly asks as she begins to cry and fear the worst might have happened between her folks while she was off traveling. “And if she made that choice, why not stop her?”

    “Because there was nothing left, May! There was nothing else anybody could do to save it! I didn’t know it, but our marriage has been dead for quite a while,” he answers, not wanting to yell at his daughter, but still quite wary of the seriousness of this matter, he let his emotions briefly take control.

    Shaking it off, Norman seeks to continue with what he was saying, but before he can open his mouth, May comes back at her father, asking, “So does this mean what I think it means, daddy? Are you and mom…?”

    “I’m so sorry, May,” he interrupts, his emotions doing it to him again. “I’m sorry, Max, but this is why I asked you to come back home.” Nodding his head while the tears win him over, he confirms the news. “Your mother and I are currently separated and will eventually…get a divorce.”

    “What?” May shrieks, feeling her worst nightmares imaginable coming true. Her family; the strong Maple family unit, was being shattered to pieces right before her eyes. The tears are imminent and once they come, a likewise tearful Norman and Max are there to console her and each other. They all join together in a group hug and for a few minutes, they just share their tears. “You can’t be serious, Dad! You just can’t!”

    “May, I’m sorry,” Norman reiterates while looking her teen daughter in the eyes. “I…I really need to tell you what led to this because once I saw the writing on the wall for what it was, I knew this wasn’t as straightforward as the situation we find ourselves in as we speak.”

    “Come again, Dad?”

    “Sit down, Max. May, I…” as his two kids sit down, he knows that this will require more will power than he’s ever had to muster for anything else. “Don’t take this the wrong way, you two. I can’t change the past and now that I’ve gotten this time to look back, I saw many areas in my marriage where I didn’t do my part and it only made sense for your mother to become disenchanted with me. Kids…you are old enough to hear this. The fact is your mother...she’s in love with someone else.”

    “What?” the Maple kids question in unison. At this point, both May and Max have to wonder what will come out of their father’s mouth next. Already, they’ve heard that their parents are having a divorce and that Caroline has already found someone else to love.

    May has had more than enough of this piecemeal offering of bad news after bad news and asks her father, “Dad, what else? I don’t know if I could…what happened between you two? What led to this, and just who does mom think is better for her than you, especially since you’re the one who’s actually been by her side all this time?”

    “Sweetheart, as much as it hurts to say it after knowing her for over twenty-five years and being married to your mom for eighteen of them, I failed her and I failed us. I’ve been neglecting her for a long time. It wasn’t intentional, but there’s no excuse for it either. I’m ashamed that I did it, too, because it didn’t have to happen at all. For over a year, I pretty much phoned in being a husband to my wife and…I have to look at myself in the mirror every day for the answer to why she no longer wants to be with me.”

    “But, Dad,” Max interjects, “you said that mom is having an affair, right?”

    “Yes, Max. That’s right.”

    “Well, how can you possibly say that you’re the one who failed if mom is out there with some other guy behind your back?” May questions. “I don’t get it.”

    ‘Oh, what are they gonna say when they learn the truth? God only knows,’ Norman wonders. Looking his children right in their eyes, he wills himself, once again, to speak the truth to his kin about their mother. “Kids, you…I’m not gonna lie. This is shocking, even for me.” He’s far from able to turn back from this story now so balling his fist, Norman admits,” Your mother…is not seeing another man. She currently lives in Lavaridge Town with her new girlfriend; gym leader Flannery Moore.”

    “Are you kidding me, Dad?” Max questions his father, rising up from his seat while May just sits there, hanging her head in her glove-covered hands and starting to sob without shame. While this goes on, Max openly questions, “What’s next?”

    “That’s it, son,” he assures the young man. “I promise you…that’s everything.”

    “So this means my mom is a lesbian? Is that what you’re trying to say? Things were so bad that she left us for the granddaughter of a family friend who’s almost May’s age?”

    “She didn’t leave us, Max; she left me,” Norman clarifies. “There’s a big difference between the two. And, she hasn’t gone as far as saying that she’s gay, but she is with Flannery right now and…seems to really be in love her. I look at them and think that I could’ve done that, but didn’t do it for stupid reasons like being busy with work or tending to some other public affairs with the government. Despite how much I abhor the idea of my wife being with someone else, no matter what sex they are, I’m not gonna bash her at all for this because she’s her own woman and I can’t keep her tied down to me if I’m not giving her what she needs like I should’ve done this entire time.”

    “Why won’t you, Daddy?” May questions in the midst of her tears. “All the years that you’ve given her don’t mean anything? They don’t mean enough that you would fight for your wife?”

    “May, believe me! I tried my hardest!” Norman contends. “It hurts me to know all this, but in her mind, I have nothing more to give her than what she wants and that’s to no longer be with me.” He sees his eldest child shaking her head while her head remains in a lowered position. It is a sight he hates to see even more than the images of his wife and her new girlfriend “Look at me, May. Please, look me in the eye and listen to what I have to say.”

    She does just that, though not right away; it takes about five seconds before Norman can see the red eyes of his only girl. She isn’t well. Learning that her parents will get a divorce and that her mother has run off to be with a twenty-three-year-old gym leader will never do anyone’s emotions a favor.

    Though Norman isn’t sure if his next words will help May, he knows that the whole truth has to be told. His kids will appreciate him for it and through this form of catharsis; he’ll get his peace out to everyone relevant in his life. His parents already know this, and now it’s down to his children.

    Portions of his remarks have already been spoken to a point, but now comes an instance where Norman will have no choice but to admit to the main reason for why he’s no longer with his wife. "May,” he begins. Then he clarifies “You two, I’m going to be real frank here kids. I'm gonna call a spade a spade and say that…I'm a lousy husband and I failed. That’s the bottom line, May and Max. It hurts to admit I wronged your mother and neglected her the way I did. So please don't make this harder for her and us than it already is. Your mother…she found something in someone else that I wasn't providing for her, especially since it's something I should have been doing.”

    “But, Daddy…”

    “No ‘buts’, May!” Norman exclaims, making it known that nobody can talk him out of the idea that he was wrong. “I was falling down on the job! I can't accept any excuses from myself about this because that's not fair! Not to you, this family or to myself!"

    “I don’t care what you or anyone else says, Dad,” May speaks, coming closer and closer to her father, “in my mind, you’re still the best dad I could ever hope to have.” Suddenly, she wraps her arms around her again continuing to cry out her frustrations, saying, “How could she do this to us?”

    “May, I don’t have the answer to that,” he admits. “I don’t have the answer to many things in this life. Just know that…love is something very powerful and very scary. When you find that special person understand that that’s not the end but think about the people around you, as well. I’m not saying your mother didn’t think about that.”

    “How could she with this mess that we have now? You’re trying to say she gave all of this some great thought?”

    “She’s giving you this time, May!” Norman interjects. “Think about it! We both knew that this news was not the best thing in the world for the two of you to hear; not by a long shot. Despite that, we both agreed that it had to be told. Your mother knew that this would be your reaction, so she’s going on your time and letting you decide when you want to talk with her.”

    “Will I have to go see her with…Flannery nearby?”

    “I highly doubt it, sweetheart,” May’s dad assures her. “She gets that you probably don’t want to see her right now, so this is what we agreed to together. It’s not as if she’s afraid of meeting you face to face. That’s not the case, but she would rather all of us meet together with cooler heads, you know? Listen, May,” Norman continues, lifting up May’s chin and making sure she hears every word. “Remember what I’ve told you and Max when you were younger?”

    “Yes,” she solemnly replies. It’s a conversation that she, her father, mother and her brother have had for many years. “You’re gonna be tested in this life. How you perform in these tests will determine your character,” she answers near-verbatim.

    “That’s right, May,” Norman says. “You...you think you’re the only one affected by this? Hardly, May. All of us are going through our own tests, including your mother. If you think that she’s in a bed of roses right now, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong!”

    May has had enough of this. Another instance of this behavior from her father and she might just crack. Pushing him away, she frankly asks him, “Why the hell are you defending her? She cheated on you! Are you trying to sugarcoat that?”

    “No way! It’s not like you don’t have a right to be mad at her, May! I’m ****** off more than you could possibly imagine! I just don’t want this to hurt our family beyond repair! That’s why I keep a straight face; for the two of you. This is how we handle matters in an adult way. And if you want to know why I defend her, I’ll tell you.”

    “Oh, I’d love to hear this,” she sarcastically remarks. Max, off to the side, listens and thinks that his older sister will be admonished for such a remark, but it doesn’t happen.

    Norman, instead, explains, “Despite everything that she’s done and everything that she’ll continue to do, I still love your mother.”

    “How could you possibly love someone who clearly doesn’t return the emotions and did you so wrong, dad?” May desires to know. “What could you possibly see in her that says ‘love’?”

    “You!” he unexpectedly exclaims. May and Max didn’t expect that answer and neither did Norman, apparently, as he shocked himself with just one word. In spite of that, he continues, “It’s you and Max that cause me to continue to have feelings for Caroline. She and I brought you two into this world. The fact that she gave me the two of you is enough for me to love her as long as I live. So it’s true that you, May, and you, Max, are the reason why I stick up for her.”

    After Norman finishes with what he has to say in defense of his estranged wife, May begins to shake her head fervently. It would seem that she doesn’t buy what her father’s trying to sell her in his rhetoric. “I still don’t get it,” May relents. “If we use your example, then apparently mom didn’t feel nearly as compelled to love you back.”

    “Don’t you think you’re being a bit harsh, May?” asks, of all people in this conversation, Max. Surprised to hear this come out of his mouth, May turns around and listens some more to the person who hasn’t said all that much during this family meeting. “I mean, this is not something uncommon, unfortunately. People get divorced; it happens. We…I just get the feeling that mom never meant to hurt anyone by doing this. Sure, she knew it’s a heartbreaker for all of us, but seriously what good way is there to tell your husband and two children that you’re a lesbian? It…I’m glad mom and dad didn’t dance around the issue here, I suppose. I think they know what we can take and I can certainly respect that.”

    “You’re sticking up for her?” May questions, very surprised at Max’s remarks. “Even after all of this, you’re still gonna stand up for her and defend her?”

    “No, May,” Max quickly refutes. “Don’t you get it? This has nothing to do with me or dad or anyone taking anyone else’s side. I’m on the side of our family, first and foremost, and from the inside it appears that we’re in quite a bit of turmoil. The last thing I’d want to do is escalate that by taking a side which, to be quite frank, is exactly what you’re doing right now.”

    Max saw it. If only for a moment, it stared him right in the face and dared him to blink. It was the look May just gave him; a look of unbridled scorn equitable to that of a woman who’s felt the harsh sting of mistreatment over a long period of time. “You’re wrong,” she informs him. “I love you, brother, but you’re dead wrong.”

    The use of the word ‘brother’ in lieu of his name threw Max off, but only for a moment before the moment came and went. “But what I really want to know is what makes me so wrong?”

    “Dad wants us to not…become divided or flustered because of this, right?” Max questions. May nods her head and the thirteen-year-old continues, “Well, saying how dad shouldn’t defend mom’s decision to file for divorce is one major issue, where both mom and dad agreed to separate. Don’t you think that that’s going against the wishes of the heads of this family? Dad isn’t stopping this…” Max needs to take a deep breath right now. The realization sunk in when his father told him the news, but having to repeat it over and over again breeds contempt deep within the recesses of his mind as it pertains to this matter. Nevertheless, he’s determined to make this point to his sister. “Mom and dad both agreed to this, so it will happen. I’m angry at her just like you are, May, but…there’s nothing I can do if both of them are saying that there’s nothing left.”

    “But both of them haven’t been saying this,” May counters. “It’s just been dad because my mother doesn’t want to see me.”

    “I told you, May, that’s not true!” Norman and his son say in unison.

    “She does want to see you,” Max reiterates, “but on your time! I would just like to sit down, talk to her and see what was on her mind. I may not get the answers to all of my questions, but perhaps everything shouldn’t be told to me. Maybe I shouldn’t know everything that went down. But you know one thing I do know?”

    “What?” May asks, slightly annoyed.

    “No matter what happens, I still have my mother and so do you! Perhaps there was a better way to handle matters, but hindsight is what it is. For now, though, I just look forward to talking to her and I think it would be a good idea for us to do it together.”

    “Talk to her to—oh, are you serious?” May inquires incredulously. “Talk to her because it will be good for her and she’ll be comfortable knowing how I feel? **** no!”

    “Hey!” Norman interjects.

    “I won’t give her the satisfaction,” she continues unabated.

    “I know one thing you won’t be doing any longer,” May’s father speaks, quite perturbed at May’s attitude at the moment. “I don’t want to hear that language coming out of your mouth anymore. You’re upset, and that’s okay, but you can let that anger out in a much better way than cursing. You understand?”

    Scratching her forehead and feeling those cursed tears arriving once more, May turns her head a bit, just so her dad doesn’t have to see the tears and comment on them again. May figures that she’ll have to affirm the words of her father or face consequences, so she answers him. “Yes. I get it.”

    “Good,” Norman responds.

    “I get that no one is seeing this sorry story for its craziness,” May clarifies. Now pointing at her father and brother, she adds, “If you two stand up for her, then you should eventually fall for her. Two wrongs don’t make a right; another thing you’ve always taught me and Max, dad. No way will I give that…***** the satisfaction of a hug and a kiss telling her that I love her, forgive her and understand when nothing could be further from the truth.”

    “May!” Max pleads with his sister.

    She hears none of it and retaliates with the suggestion posed to her by her male family members. “Speak with her? Come around to her?” She scoffs and then comments, “What a crock of ****. I’m outta here. Enjoy your conversation, Max.”

    “May, please!”

    Despite the pleadings of her father, May is fed up with talking and tells her family, “She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned.”

    “But she’s our mom, May,” Max argues with tears reforming in his eyes once more at the hurtful names May just called her mother. “She gave you live and no matter what she’s done, that won’t change!”

    “Once again,” she says, turning to Max, “it’s on her shoulders now. She’s made her bed, so why doesn’t she just go to that home wrecker for understanding and togetherness?”

    “Because we’re still family!” he screams back to her. “We support one another through thick and thin and have each other’s back just like mom has had mine and yours. That’s what will keep this family strong; not holding grudges because real life becomes too much to handle.”

    Why is it, in May’s mind that her family can’t see where she’s coming from? Why do they have to persist in having her fall in line and accept this so-called reality? It’s really not working for May and she’s reached a breaking point with Max claiming she can’t face the news for what it is.

    The truth is, though, no one can tell her she doesn’t know what it is, especially her little brother, and she shows him this in the only way that comes to her. “You ****ing liar!” she screams after slapping him across the face with her right hand and forcing him about six inches off to the side.

    It shocked Norman to absolutely no end to see what has come about due to the anger of his children, more specifically his daughter. Despite it, blaming Caroline for this would not necessarily be fair. May, after all, did introduce violence into this equation when it was not welcomed. “May? Please, just calm down!” he begs his teen daughter. “Violence? Even you have to admit that this is too much!”

    “Too much? Why don’t you ask…her about what’s ‘too much’, because I don’t have to stand for this belly rubbing ******** for another second. Why…you—you can’t tell me this is anything but wrong! That’s it! I’m done! I’m ****ing done!”

    END FLASHBACK

    ---------

    “Miss Maple,” Ollin says from his desk. Getting up from his chair, he again says, “Miss Maple,” causing her to raise her head.

    “What?” she questions snappily.

    Ollin is taken aback for a second before saying, “Your time is up, May. I have to collect your test.”

    “Oh!” she embarrassingly speaks before handing off the exam to her proctor. “My apologies. There’s a lot on my mind right now.”

    “No worries,” Ollin replies, blowing off whatever reaction May might have had to his reappearance. “A lot of people are on edge for this exam for different reasons. There’s a lot on the line as far as this test goes, you know?”

    “Yeah, I get that feeling,” May says. Afterwards, she thinks ‘More than most would know,’ before Ollin goes back to the desk and reads off some material required of him as a proctor.

    “All right, May. This will conclude part two of three in your qualification attempt for the American tournament. The final part is a simple physical combined with a few questions and afterwards, you will be given instruction as to how you will find out if you made the cut or not. Is that clear?”

    “Yes, it is.”

    “Well, good luck to you,” Ollin says, shaking May’s hand after she gets up and giving her a card with what appear to be further instructions on where to go next in the qualifying process.

    It’s her hope that the physical and the questioning—any questioning can get her mind off reliving her most arduous ‘test’ to date.

    ---------

    Your Thoughts?

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