7:30pm Friday Evening.
Things finally settled down in the Tea Room. At Keiichi's request, Belldandy also joined him in eating the stew. As a goddess, Bell didn't need to partake of food for nourishment because she, like Skuld and Urd, derived their powers from the earth which was then processed by Yggdrasil, the hopelessly complicated computer system that governed both the Divine and the Human realms. She could eat food and derive pleasure from it, but it was not necessary for her to eat to survive. If anything, she received more satisfaction from cooking for Keiichi than from eating her own food. But Keiichi told her that it would make him happy if she were to eat with him. And as the first function of a goddess was to make those with whom she interacted happy, she could not refuse his request. They had gotten about halfway through the stew when another set of voices from outside put Keiichi's teeth on edge.
“Oh no, not them!!” Keiichi lamented, fearing the worst.
Belldandy got up from the table and walked up to the front door. “Hello, everybody! Come on in, we're just eating dinner.”
“Thanks, Belldandy, don't mind if we do.” a gruff low voice rumbled.
Into the temple walked Keiichi's sempais, Tamiya and Ootaki. And they also brought along Chihiro Fujimi, the owner of Whirlwind as well as Keiichi's boss and Sora Hasegawa, the current director of the Nekomi Tech Motor Club was bringing up the rear.
Tamiya and Ootaki were the former directors of the Motor Club, which was the group Keiichi belonged to when he attended Nekomi Tech. The club existed to foster a love for various types of motor vehicles. The club was founded by Chihiro, and Tamiya and Ootaki took over from her. They were two inseparable brutes that towered over the rest of the club in terms of height as well as influence. In order to raise money for the club's constantly empty coffers, the two crazies would hatch all sorts of hare-brained schemes, often at Keiichi's expense in terms of both finances and pride. Tamiya was as wide as he was tall and wore a wife beater shirt,and Japanese pants and tabi socks no matter what time of year. Of the two, he was the acknowledged leader even though he was as dumb as a post when it came to knowledge other than fixing cars and bikes. Ootaki was equally as tall, a little more intelligent, had the greatest mohawk mullet ever conceived and wore a leather jacket that had hundreds of tools stored in various loops and pockets of the jacket. He also had two spark plugs dangling from his ears. He insisted that it wasn't a fashion statement, but rather it insured that if he needed them, they were readily available.
Chihiro was an attractive, outgoing woman a little older than Urd, who had a stellar career as a motorcycle racer after she left Nekomi Tech. It was after she raced Keiichi on a minibike through the streets of the Nekomi campus that she rediscovered the fun times she had in the Motor Club, she then left the racing circuit and opened her own motorcycle shop and hired Keiichi and Belldandy on as a mechanic and shop assistant, respectively. Even though she was no longer part of the Motor Club as a student, she used her self-proclaimed founder's privileges to remain involved in club activities.
Sora Hasegawa was a cute, shy girl younger than Keiichi who took over as director of the Motor Club after winning a mandated race against Keiichi, who assumed the directorship after Tamiya and Ootaki graduated. She had a very young looking face and body and was constantly being mistaken for a high school girl. She was also very insecure, couldn't cook if her life depended on it, and was not at all thrilled about taking over the directorship of the Motor Club. But she was a tireless worker who loved to deflect the credit to her more visible companions, very intelligent when it came down to cars, and Keiichi and Belldandy were quite fond of her.
No sooner had the Motor Club leadership barged into the temple, than in walked Keiichi's younger sister Megumi Morisato. Perky to the point of being a smartass and also extremely cute, Megumi was a year behind Kei when he was at Nekomi Tech. She was almost as good a rider as Keiichi and not too shabby with a wrench either. Despite having an apartment in Nekomi City that she got for a steal with Keiichi and Bell's help, she couldn't resist coming over to the temple on most days for one of Belldandy's delicious breakfasts.
“Hi, Kei,” Megumi chirped. “I was passing by, and saw the lights on, so I just wanted to drop by and hang out.”
Keiichi said with resignation in his voice “C'mon in, Meg,”
Chihiro walked up to Keiichi and said “ There's a Motor Club meeting, and we decided to have it here at the temple. Hope you don't mind.”
“Did I have a choice?” Kei asked, and Chihiro immediately responded “No.”
“But I'm no longer a member of the Motor Club”
“ Nonsense, Once a member of the Club, always a member of the Club.”
“ Where does it say that in the by-laws?”
“ Article 4 Subsection 3, and I quote 'All current members of the Motor Club will retain their full membership status after they cease their attendance at and obligations to The Nekomi Institute of Technology whether by graduation or leaving the institution by other means.'”
“There's nothing in the by-laws that says that” Keiichi blustered incredulously.
“Yes there is, because I put it in there.” Chihiro said triumphantly.
“And what gave you THAT authority?” Keiichi bawled.
“Article 4 Subsection 1, and I quote 'The Founder of the Motor Club retains the right to add or subtract from the by-laws as she sees fit.'”
“Oh.” Keiichi mumbled. He knew that such authority didn't exist, but he didn't want to go round and round with Chihiro. Besides it had become a lot for fun in the Club since she came back, and Tamiya and Ootaki have been better behaved with her riding herd on them. “Oh, all right. Make yourselves at home. We have a really good fish stew and plenty to go around.”
“ Hey guys! Keiichi's inviting us to dinner!!!”
“HOOOORAYYYY!!” a loud cheer bellowed from the Tea Room.
Keiichi pulled Belldandy aside and said. “I'm sorry this happened, Belldandy. I wasn't expecting all these people to show up. I hope this isn't going to make extra work for you.”
Belldandy put her hand on Keiichi's arm and said “Don't worry Keiichi. It'll be no problem at all. Besides, it's been a while since we had company in the temple. This night could turn out to be a lot of fun.” Bell was always quick to see the good in all situations, even in the infamous Motor Club meetings.
“Thanks, Belldandy. You're the greatest.” And then Keiichi leaned over and gave Belldandy a kiss on the cheek. She blushed and said “ What was that for?”
Keiichi grabbed her hand and lead her into his room so they could have some privacy, and said “That was for the kiss you gave me a few minutes ago. While we were embracing, I was concerned that somehow our relationship wasn't moving along as we'd like. I was afraid that it might be that I'm not being assertive enough in conveying my feelings to you. And if I were, you'd be insulted. Or maybe that you're willing to move along, but waiting for me to take the lead. I'm so confused, Belldandy. I don't know what to do about us.”
Belldandy took Keiichi's hands into her own and said “Keiichi, ever since we met, you have been nothing but a true gentleman to me. You have never taken advantage of me, nor have given me any reason to put anything less than my full faith and trust in you. You have treated me with the utmost respect. And you've always considered my feelings in all things. Every day we have spent together has been a blessing to me. You have taught me so much about life as a human. I can only hope that I have done as much for you, as you have done for me. Our relationship will grow as strong as the mightiest oak. But like that mighty oak has to grow from a tiny acorn. It will take time, don't rush it. One day we'll both know when will be the right time to make the next move. After all, I did say that I would stay with you forever.”
Still holding hands, Keiichi said “Thank you Belldandy. That takes a very large load off my mind. But what happens if one day, you can no longer fulfill our contract, and you have to go back to heaven?...”
Bell put a finger to Keiichi's lips and said “First of all, It's not just about the contract. I'm here because I really and truly want to be with you. When and if that day comes, we'll deal with it then, but know this, Keiichi Morisato. I love you with all my heart and I always will.” Bell moved in to give Keiichi a real kiss when Chihiro stumbled between them. It was apparent that she had already found the liquor cabinet.
“Aw-right, you two lovebirds-s-s, The date-sh over! Meeting time!!!” With that, she grabbed both of them by the arm and marched them back to the Tea Room.