Chapter 4: "Olivie-samaís Eccentricity"

"There you are, my child." A female voice lulled. "My, how you have grown..."

Sidra tried to lift her head to see who was speaking. But an unseen force stopped her. All she could see was the white furs the woman holding her was wearing. She stroked Sidraís head and held her as if she were a loving mother. But her voice was deep and menacing. Definitely not her motherís voice. Her motherís voice was more loud and screechy, like a flock of seagulls fighting for a scrap of food on the beach. Moreover, her mother never held her after the age of five.

"Who are you?" Sidra whispered, not even trying to put up a struggle.

"Someone who cares about you." Sidra felt a sharp pain run down her back. Then a great deal of pressure. "You donít need their powers. You have your own." She felt something being pulled out of her back. Sidra turned her head just in time to see a long, slender, pale hand holding a clean, War and Peace sized book. A few seconds later, the hand had pulled out a small wisp of flame and then a handful of leaves.

"I left some Earth Sacrea so you can still communicate. But donít get too attached to them." A hand covered her eyes. The world faded to black.

~~~

Sidra opened her eyes and looked up at the ceiling of her room. After regaining her bearing, she shot up, pulled the blankets off of her and looked under her checkered flannel nightshirt at her back. The wound was missing. She let out a relieved sigh. "I hate it when that happens." She said to herself, "Damn nightmares... What time is it?"

She threw her legs over the side of the bed and placed her feet into her plush cow slippers. After stretching and yawning, she walked over to the curtains, giving off the slight rosy glow of daylight. She pulled them back, wincing as the sunlight rushed in to illuminate her room. After her tired eyes adjusted, Sidra looked at the clock tower of the Holy Palace. It was 9:30. "Wow, itís early..."

Sidra turned and looked around her room. It was more of a small apartment then a room, with its small kitchen area and adjoining bathroom. The room was decorated with a girl in mind. Since everything in it was a sugary shade of pink. Pink wallpaper, pink carpet, pink table cloth on the dining table, pink cushions on the chairs of said dining table, pink curtains, pink blankets on the bed with pink pillows. It made her sick.

"I hope they fired the guy who decorated this place." She mumbled to herself. It had been almost a week since Sidra had first arrived to the Sanctuary. By Thursday she had ruled out the possibility of all of it being a dream. There was too much substance and regularity to everything. Plus, Olivieís outfits were so extravagant that even her unconscious mind couldnít have possibly come up with them.

Speaking of the Dream Guardian, she had gotten a letter from him earlier in the week. Along with the baskets of food that Luva had been giving her and the daily flower from Marcel. It was an invitation to a party he was going to throw on Saturday. Which Sidra then realized was today. She had never been invited to a party before. So she felt kind of honored that he had invited her. However, she had ultimately decided not to go. If she couldnít even sit down to lunch with all nine of the Guardians without her nerves acting up, there was no way she would be able to attend a party with them. Also, she had nothing decent to wear and couldnít dance.

After showering and changing back into her pajamas, Sidra walked over to the kitchen area and started to root around in the refrigerator. After a few moments, she pulled out the carton of eggs and some bacon. She shut the fridge door with her socked foot, placed the items on the counter, and started to search for a frying pan. The Guardians had off on the weekends, so today would be a good day to go to Luvaís place and thank him for the food. She also needed to tell Olivie she wasnít coming to his party. She wouldíve done it over the week, but she didnít want to bother them during work or risk running into Julious.

Sidra pulled her hair back in a ponytail and washed her hands before opening the carton and reaching for an egg.

~~~

Olivie made his way down the corridors of the Dormitory. This was the place in the Sanctuary where servants and other assorted people had their quarters. The outfit he had chosen for this day was, surprisingly, very plain. A very simple shirt, jeans, jacket ensemble. He had taken off his fake nails earlier, knowing that he would have to get his hands dirty. He could wow the others later at the party.

Olivie came to the door of Sidraís room. It had the best view in the whole place with its balcony. He knew, since he would often see Sidra on it at night looking up at the stars. This was the only time during the week that he saw her.

ĎThatís not good," He thought, frowning. Never before had he met someone who acted the way Sidra did. Unlike all of the other women in the Sanctuary, she was very nonsocial and seemed to dislike talking. He had met people like this before, but Sidra had taken it to an unhealthy level. After lunch on Sunday, she had retreated to her room and stayed there. Even when Marcel and Luva came to visit she would be reluctant to have a conversation, according to them. And Marcel and Luva were both very easy people to speak to.

The smell of bacon frying met Olivieís nose. ĎThis girl is killing herself.í He pushed the doorbell. After a few seconds, Sidra opened the door and flinched. She was still in her pajamas, even though it was obvious from her half dry hair that she had bathed. In her right hand was a buttered piece of toast.

Olivie flashed her a smile. "Good morning," He said.

Sidra looked him over a little. "Morning," She responded. There was a couple seconds of awkward silence before the crackling of oil caught her attention. "Oh hell..." She murmured, walking over to the stove. Olivie walked in and shut the door. Finally, he got a good look at her hair. It went down to her waist and was a deep chocolate brown color. Far too pretty to dye completely. However, it also lacked body, shine, and the bottom was nothing but split ends.

He took a seat at the dining table. "How are you today?" He asked.

"Good," Sidra frowned at the frying pan in front of her. She took the spatula on the counter and scrapped at the bacon in the pan. "Stupid baconís burnt..." She made herself a plate of bacon and eggs and sat down at the table.

~~~

Sidra tried her best to hide her discomfort. What a great way to start off the day. The crazy drag queen wanted to have breakfast with her. ĎRelax,í Part of her thought, ĎItís just for a few minutes. He probably just wants to know if Iím coming to his party or not. Once I tell him heíll leave.í She looked up at Olivie. ĎHold it. Heís underdressed. Somethingís up...í Another part of her thought. She poked some eggs with her fork and took a bite. Her sense of courtesy reared its head. She swallowed the eggs quickly.

"Umm... you want me to fix you a plate?" She asked.

Olivie smiled again, revealing his immaculately white teeth. "No thank you. I donít like eggs. Some grapefruit would be nice though. If you have it." Sidra nodded and got up from the table. She took a large grapefruit from the fridge, a container of sugar from the counter, and a knife and spoon from one of the drawers, and handed it to him along with a small plate.

"Thank you," He said, cutting the fruit in half as Sidra sat down. "Do you have any plans today?"

She shook her head. "No"

"Hmm... You know my partyís tonight, right?" Olivie cut the pulp of one of the halves into quarters.

"Iím not coming," Sidra went back to eating her food.

The Dream Guardian looked at her and frowned. "Well, that puts a kink in my plans..." He put the knife down and reached for the sugar and spoon. "You see, youíre my guest of honor."

A knot formed in Sidraís throat. ĎOh shit...í She thought. "Umm... I canít dance." She said quickly.

"Oh? Is that all? Donít worry, Iíll teach you," Olivie grinned. "Iím an excellent dancer."

ĎDamn it...í "Well... Iím not really a people person."

"It will only be a handful of people. Just us Guardians. You need to get out of this room anyway. The fresh air and sun will do you some good. Not to mention put some color in your cheeks."

Sidra flinched. This guy wasnít taking no for an answer. "I... have nothing to wear." She winced internally. Not a good argument to use against a drag queen.

Olivie chuckled. "Thatís the reason why Iím here." He took a bite from his grapefruit. "Once youíre done eating, get dressed. We have a big day ahead of us."

Sidraís throat dropped into her stomach. "What do you mean?"

"What I mean is, I think itís time you changed. Youíre getting a full body makeover, head to toe."

This statement angered her. "No, Iím not. Iím fine the way I am."

Olivie looked at her solemnly (something he rarely did with anyone) and shook his head. "No, youíre not. Youíre neglecting your body. If you keep this up, youíre going to kill yourself." The vanity mirror near the bed caught his eye. He stood up and walked over to it. "Come here," He beckoned to her. Sidra huffed and reluctantly walked over. He positioned her in front of the mirror and placed his hands on her shoulders. She became light headed as she was hit by Olivieís Sacrea. The dizziness quickly gave way to a strange feeling that Sidra couldnít rightly describe. She felt elated and in awe, and at the same time relaxed. Like she could fall asleep standing right there.

"Look at yourself," He said. "Youíre a mess. I donít even know where to start. Your skin is dry and dull. Youíre as pale as a ghost. Your hair looks like straw." He took one of her hands. "Your nails... Have you been biting them?"

Sidra shook off the drowsiness and wrestled out of his grasp. "Yeah, but whatís it to you?!" She grunted. "Why do you care?!"

"It annoys me when such a beautiful woman doesnít even try to take care of herself." He replied calmly, folding his arms across his chest.

The statement caught her off guard. She felt her face turning red. She looked down. "You know what you remind me of? A peacock. Always strutting around and showing off your plumage."

Olivie laughed. "And you know what you remind me of? One of the turtles in Marcel-chanís garden. Always staying in your shell and poking your head out on occasion." He pushed a stray pink hair out of his face. "Thatís what Iím going to call you from now on." He put a hand back on her shoulder and lifted her chin gingerly with the other. The strange sensation returned. "Come out of your shell, Sidra-chan. Just for today at least. Itíll be fun. I promise."

Sidraís eyebrow raised. "I donít want to end up looking like you."

"Donít worry," He positioned her in front of the mirror again and reached for the hair brush on the desk. "Iím the Guardian of Beauty. I know exactly what would accentuate and what would take the attention away from your natural beauty."

ĎAgain, with the beauty thing.í Sidra thought. She was no longer angry. In fact, she felt happy. Something she hadnít felt in a long time. She didnít even protest when Olivie took her hair out of its ponytail and began to brush it. "Natural beauty? Please... Iím not pretty."

"Donít ever say that. Every woman is beautiful in her own right."

"Yeah, Iíve heard that before. Try telling that to the 2.5 billion something men on Earth. All they care about is who theyíll look good with while theyíre fucking." She chuckled, then stopped abruptly. That was something she would never have said outloud. Olivie stopped brushing and gave her a startled look.

"... I didnít mean that." She whispered softly. "Not all men are like that."

"Hmm..." Olivie resumed brushing. Then stopped. "Uhh, your hair... This is awful." He pulled out a sizable clump of hair from the brush. "Your hair is falling out."

"It always does that."

He tsked, tossing the clump into a nearby trash can. "Itís because youíre so stressed. I have a shampoo that will strengthen it up." He placed the brush back on the desk. "But for now, thereís nothing I can do with it. Go ahead and finish eating. Oh, do you have a bathing suit?"

"Yeah..."

"Bring that with you." Olivie walked back to the dining table to finish his grapefruit. Sidra followed him. Wondering why she needed to bring her bathing suit.

~~~

"Whatís down there?"

"Youíll see." Olivie opened the double doors and walked down the steps before him. The steps lead down into a room that looked like it was ripped right out of a health spa. Complete with a pool, (covered) Jacuzzis, juice bar, tanning beds, a small salon, everything. Around the perimeter of the room were long screens.

"Oh my god!" Sidra exclaimed, "You have a whole spa in your house?!" She shook her head in disbelief. When it came to his mansion, Olivie didnít skimp in decorating it. The whole place looked like it had been sat in the middle of an exploding paint factory. (A tasteful one, of course.) Also, he didnít have closets for his clothes. He had rooms. As they walked through, they past several rooms filled with nothing but shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, and every accessory under the sun.

"Do you like that?" He asked.

"Donít you think this is all a little..." Sidra made a flustered gesture with her hand. "...much?"

Olivie shrugged. "If Julious can have espresso beans imported in from another system, I donít see the problem with having a spa in my mansion." He grinned, "Besides, it was all free." He continued down the steps. Sidra followed him reluctantly. Wrapped around her was a white cotton robe Olivie had given her. Embroidered on the breast pocket was a large, black ĎSí. ("I would have made you a dress for tonight," He had told her. "But work kept me tied up all week.")

"The first thing I want to do with you..." He began, leading her to a white divider in the middle of the room. "...is get rid of this." He pointed to her eyebrow.

Sidra shrugged. ĎA brow wax. Alright, no problem.í "Okay" She said. She knew her unibrow would be the first thing to go. Even she was a little bothered by it. The only thing that kept her from waxing it on a regular basis was the pain.

"After that, weíll move on to anything else that needs it." He paused. "Show me your leg."

Sidraís eyes widened. "No... youíre not waxing my legs. I can shave those."

"Me? No, Iím not doing it." Olivie clapped. "I think it would be more comfortable for the both of us if another woman did that." A side door opened. Out stepped a young woman with curly green hair piled on her head in a messy bun. She wore an all white suit.

The woman smiled. "Yes, Olivie-sama?" She asked.

"Sidra, this is Yvonne. My personal... defuzzer." He chuckled.

ĎOh god...í Sidra thought.

"Now show me your leg."

"Iím not getting my legs waxed."

"Waxing lasts longer then shaving. Trust me, youíll thank me once youíre done."

Sidra grumbled, then opened and closed the bottom of her robe quickly. Long enough for Olivie to notice her horribly frizzy legs. As well as some hair poking out the bottom of her bathing suit.

Olivie sucked air through his teeth. "Itís worse then I thought." He turned to Yvonne. "Remove it all."

Sidraís eyes widened again. "What?!" She tried to protest. But it was too late. Yvonne had already lead her to the chair and Olivie was making his way back to the steps. "Where are you going?!"

"To change." He shouted, leaving the room.

"Uhh..." This was it. She was trapped. "Just hurry up and get this over with."

~~~

Rip

"Oww..."

Rip

"Ouch..."

Long rip

"OWW! Son of a bitch!!" Sidraís yells could be heard through the floor as Olivie changed into his thong. This morning went much better then he had expected. Usually, girls felt intimidated by his presence. Of course, she seemed that way at first. But after a while, she started to open up to him. The comment about Earth men did startle him a little, however. Not even Zephel was that harsh when it came to insulting people.

ĎSounds like Sidra-chan has had some bad experiences with men.í The Dream Guardian thought. ĎPerhaps thatís why sheís so reluctant to make herself look good.í He chuckled. ĎWell, Iíll just have to change her opinion.í He figured that if she felt better about herself, the openness would come naturally. And socializing with the other Guardians would make her feel more comfortable around men. It couldnít have been because she thought she was ugly. He wasnít lying when he said she was beautiful. Despite the fact it needed a little maintenance, Sidra had a gorgeous face. Everything about it was almost perfect. Her chin, her jaw, her nose, her cheeks, her lips, everything. The thing that stood out the most though was her eyes. She had big, beautiful, expressonate brown eyes. No doubt they sparkled whenever she smiled.

Now if only he could get her to do that.

Olivie put his robe on and started for the door. He paused when he heard Sidraís voice screaming from below.

"No! No way! Forget it!" A pause. "Hey, hey, hey! Thereís hair there for a reason, you know!"

There was a loud rip. A faint gasp. Then a loud, blood curdling scream.

"Better get down there before she kills Yvonne." Olivie said to himself, walking out the door.

~~~

Sidra laid in a fetal position in the chair as Yvonne quickly left the room. Needless to say, she felt horrible. Her whole body stung, the smell of the wax lingered on her skin, and it felt like a layer of her skin was missing. But the important thing was that she was hairless. Most of her body was as smooth as a babyís backside and she had two eyebrows.

"Is it safe?" She heard Olivie ask from the stairs.

"I will kill you." She grumbled.

"I felt the same way when I first started waxing." The Guardian of beauty-bringing Dream walked around the divider. "After a while, you get used to it."

"Yes, but did you have everything done in one go?"

"Actually, yes. It gave me a new appreciation for what women go through."

Sidra shifted a little. "Give me one good reason why I shouldnít just walk right out of here."

"You want to quit now? We havenít even gotten started yet." A machine somewhere turned on. Olivie glanced around the corner of the divider and grinned. "Youíll like this next part. Now come on." He took her hands and pulled her out of the chair. It was then Sidra realized why she hadnít walked out yet.

ĎItís his Sacrea!í The moment he took her hands, Sidra felt the Sacrea entering her body lifting her spirits and eradicating the bad mood the waxing had put her in. "Please... donít... touch me..." She jerked her hands out of his.

Olivie frowned. "Are you actually agreeing with Julious about that ridiculous physical contact rule?" He started to laugh. "Of all the people... Iíd expect Oscar to follow it. But not you!"

"No... itís not that." Sidra shook her head.

"Well, what is it then?" Sidra didnít answer. "Hmm, well, whatever it is donít worry about it for now. As for that rule..." He leaned in close to her ear. "When Julious rambles like that, itís best just to ignore him." He whispered. "We all do to some extent. But donít tell anyone I told you that." He turned and started to walk away, undoing the belt of his robe. As she followed him, Sidra noticed that the cover of one of the Jacuzzis had been lifted, revealing a steaming pit of mud.

"This mud bath should ease the pain of that waxing." He explained, removing his robe and getting into the bath. Like any girl, Sidra took note of Olivieís body. He wasnít particularly muscular, but he had a nice shape regardless. His skin was silky smooth and devoid of any blemishes. The thong he was wearing showed off his tight, cute butt and... large package.

Sidra realized what she was doing and shook her head. ĎStop that! Get your mind out of the gutter, Sidra!í

"...also cleanses it of impurities and relaxes your muscles. Oh, youíll feel so wonderful when-- Sidra-chan? Are you listening to me?"

"Hmm? Oh, sorry." Sidra went and joined him in the bath.

~~~

Several hours later, Sidra had gone through three different facials, two hair treatments, a manicure, and a pedicure. By that time, Sidra had absorbed so much Dream Sacrea and was in such a good mood that she almost felt like jumping up on a table and singing.

ĎGod, I hate this power.í She thought as she examined her hair in the mirror. Across the room, standing in front of another mirror, Olivie touched up his makeup. "Hey, can I ask you a question?" She turned to him.

"Sure" Olivie replied, reaching for a tube of mascara.

"What exactly are you the Guardian of?" She asked, "I mean... dreams? That canít just be it."

He paused for a second, then continued applying mascara. "Well, itís more then just dreams that you have when you sleep. Itís also peopleís hopes, desires, inspiration. Dreams bring beauty. Beauty brings love and happiness."

"What about sex?" She asked, grinning.

Olivie chuckled. "I never thought of that. But itís an expression of love, so I guess so." He looked at her reflection in his mirror. "You have a very lovely smile. You should do it more often."

Sidra felt herself blushing. She casually turned her head away from him to hide it. He didnít seem to notice and kept looking himself over in the mirror. Finally, pleased with what he saw, he sighed contently and stood up. "Well, Iím done. Time for us to go." He reached for the purple handbag sitting amongst the makeup on the desk.

"Go? Where?"

Olivie grinned, reached into his handbag, and pulled out several plastic cards. "Shopping! You need a dress! I know a great place that has every style of clothing that you could imagine! Theyíre also the biggest shoe outlet on the Main Planet!"

"Wonderful..." Sidra mumbled.

~~~

"Youíre out of your damn mind! My boobs arenít even big enough to fill this out!"

"Youíre right, strapless gowns just donít suit you."

"Glad you finally see that. After Iíve tried on almost every single one in the store!" Sidra wasnít exaggerating, nearly all of the dresses in the store were laid in a heap next to the dressing room. Several workers were busy gathering the discarded clothes and taking them into a back room. They had been there for hours and still had not found the "One Dress" as Olivie put it.

Olivie sighed and leaned back in his comfortable looking, velvet cushioned chair. "My fashion sense is off today. I was certain that was the one..."

"Weíve been here for hours! Why donít we just pick one and get out of here?!" Sidra shouted, frustrated with the whole situation.

"You canít rush these things." He argued calmly, "Wearing the wrong gown can ruin a whole evening. Plus the whole shopping experience is suppose to be enjoyable."

"Youíre not the one running back and forth from the dressing room changing your clothes every damn second!" She growled. "I guess you enjoy being Ďfashionably lateí, huh?"

"íFashionably lateí? Oh no!" Olivie rolled his eyes. "Whoever thought that up was truly the tackiest person in the universe. You donít want to be late for anything."

She sighed. "Look, youíve been making decisions for me all day. Why donít I just pick out a gown I like and try it on? And if I like it, Iíll go with it."

"But-"

"No, Iím the one whoís going to wear it. I should have some say on it. Just like I told you earlier with the highlights: Itís my hair, not yours."

"I really do think you would look good with some blonde highlights." He insisted, tossing his own hair a bit. "But, youíre right. If thatís what you want to do, go ahead."

Sidra nodded and walked off, still wearing the awful dress made for only the biggest of well-endowed women. She wandered aimlessly around the Womenís Department, looking at all of the different gowns. Most of the racks had been cleared out earlier, leaving some of the duller, uglier looking ones. Sidra also noticed that most of them were either black, white, grey, or a combination of the three. After searching through, she found something. It was a simple, no frills, one shouldered black dress. The only thing fancy about it was the embroidered image of a phoenix on the entire front of the dress. The phoenix itself was a whole barrage of colors and resembled one that Sidra had seen in an art textbook.

"Hey... this oneís nice." She said to herself, walking over to it and feeling it. "Damn... This must have taken a lot of work..." She paused for second, then took the dress off of the rack and walked back to Olivie.

~~~

"I canít believe it..." Olivie sighed, "I spent several hours trying to find the perfect gown for you. And you go and find one in 5 minutes." He started to gather up bottles upon bottles of makeup and placed them all on the table in front of Sidra. Their little adventure had definitely wore her out. After completely embarrassing Olivie with her sudden spark of fashion sense, they moved on to the Shoe Department. The time spent there resulted in a lot of strutting, stumbling, and probably the formation of some blisters.

"Stop worrying about it. Itís not that big of a deal."

"Yes it is. Look up."

Sidra did so as he started to apply mascara on her eyelashes. "Well, thereís a first time for everything."

Olivie smiled. "How true... By the way," He put down the mascara and started to look over the contents of various compacts. "Is there a specific reason why you donít wear makeup?"

Sidra thought for a moment. "Well... I guess itís because I never learned to use it. That, and it costs a lot of money and my mo-" She paused, realizing that she was going to mention her mother. Her thoughts wandered back to the dream. Oh, get over it, Sidra! It was just a dream. It wasnít real.

"And what?" Olivie asked, putting down his makeup brush and the compact he had chosen.

Sidra shook her head. "It... just doesnít suit me... makeup."

Olivie chuckled. "Now, who told you that?"

"No one"

"Well, youíre wrong. You donít need a lot of it, but a little here and there helps. Especially with you skin. Once you balance out the tone, everything else just follows through with you."

"Hmm..." Sidra watched him reach for a lipstick tube. Once he chose one, she puckered her lips.

Olivie paused and laughed. "But you are right about needing to learn how to apply it. One of the first rules is you shouldnít pucker your lips." Sidra stopped and Olivie began to apply a light beige color to her lips. "You wonít get it on evenly if you do." He reached for another tube. "...and a little gloss...There. You look marvelous!" He took a small mirror among the makeup and held it up to her.

It took Sidra a few seconds to realize that the person staring back was herself. Wow... I look great, She thought, Damn...

"Hmm? No smile?" Olivie frowned, "Darn... I thought that would at least get a smirk."

"No... I like it." She continued to scrutinize her reflection. "Damn... youíre good."

Olivie beamed. "I know. However, that dress is missing something. No jewelry..." He got up and walked to a large box sitting on one of the dressers. "I bought this the other day. But it didnít fit." He continued, opening the box. "I couldnít give it to Marcel-chan. Chokers donít suit him. Nor would it look good on Rosalia." He pulled out what he was searching for and held it up. Sure enough, it was a choker. It wasnít one of the fabric ones Sidra often saw some of her classmates wear. It looked more like a bracelet, since the band consisted of small, semi-precious stones strung together. In the middle was a large, diamond-like stone with a shorter chain hanging from it.

"Itís pretty." Sidra remarked, pulling her hair away from her neck.

"Yeah" Olivie looked at the choker longingly. "I wish I could wear it. But I can always buy another one." As he walked over, Sidra began to hold her hand out to receive the choker. But instead of handing it to her, Olivie walked behind her and started fastening it for her. "This particular one just wasnít meant for me." There was a snap. "There. I have some earrings that would go with this choker." He brushed one of her earlobes with his finger. "Unfortunately, your ears arenít pierced. Shouldíve done that while we were out..." He shrugged. "Oh well."

"So, weíre done?" Sidra asked.

"Yup... Well, Iím not. I still need to get ready." He took her hands and helped her out of her seat. "The party room is downstairs to the right of the entrance."

Sidraís stomach dropped. That meant she would have to brave the crowded room alone. She started having flashbacks about her junior prom. What an awful night that had been. All she did was sit by the buffet and endure some snide remarks from cliques of girls and a few of the guys from the football team. The night was capped off by the Prom Queen celebrating her coronation by "accidentally" knocking the punch bowl on her. She wouldnít have gone at all if her mom hadnít made her.

"I... I could wait for you outside." She suggested. If Olivie was with her, some of the attention would definitely shift over to him.

Olivie shook his head. "This is your night, not mine." he grinned, "Iíll steal the spotlight if I escort you."

"Great..." She murmured sarcastically.

"It wonít be that bad. The way you look right now is enough to make any woman here green with envy!" He began to push her to the door. "Now go on. Your public awaits!"

Sidra glanced back at him and left.

~~~

The "party room" was considerably more classy then the rest of Olivieís mansion. While the other rooms were decorated with a unorganized mess of color, this room was just white with a few pink curtains draped over the entrances. Everyone in attendance knew that this arrangement was temporary. When Olivie threw a party, they were crazy, magnificent galas consisting of a lot of people, a lot of food, and a lot of alcohol. If you stayed long enough, chances are you would wake up in a strange bed with a nasty hangover and no memory of what happened the night before. Oscar knew this firsthand. One time he woke up in Olivieís sewing room, naked, in a pile of silk fabric. He decided he would take it easy tonight. He would only have a few glasses of wine, dance a little with the missy, and that was it.

He looked down at the small bouquet of red roses he had brought for Sidra. He wasnít the only one with the same idea, however. He watched for his place near the buffet table as Luva walked up to Marcel. Who was sitting in a seat near the wall.

"Why, hello Marcel"

"Hi, Luva-sama!"

Luva smiled. "Are those flowers for Sidra-san?"

"Yup!" In the Guardian of Greenís arms was a bouquet of several different types of wild flowers. The bouquet itself was almost as large as he was, forcing him to lean it against the side of the buffet table. "What do you think Olivie-sama did to her?"

Luva shrugged. "I donít know. Weíll find out when they get here." He took a seat next to Marcel. "He was very secretive about it. He didnít even hand out invitations for the party."

"Actually, he told me he just gave Sidra-san one and that was it." Lumiale added, walking over with Clavis in tow. "Since she didnít seem to want to come out of her room at all."

"Yeah..." Randy walked over to the group, carrying a large plate of food in one hand and a tall drink in the other. "I wonder why he did that. Itís not like itíll ruin anything."

"He did it because he doesnít want Julious showing up and crashing the party." Zephel chimed in from his seat. It was then Luva noticed that the head Guardian was nowhere to be seen. The Steel Guardian walked up to the buffet and began to look over the selection of food. "This whole party is a waste of time. Tomorrow sheíll just go back to wearing those sweatshirts." Zephel scoffed at the platters before him. "Figures... I came here for the free food and thereís nothing good!"

Luva sighed and shook his head. "Zephel, I wish you would... Wait, who is that?"

All of the Guardians turned and looked at the person the Earth Guardian was pointing to. Making her way across the dance floor was a woman in a black dress that looked similar to Sidra. She tried to make her way over to the buffet, but people kept stopping her to comment on her outfit. Whenever that happened, she would smile nervously, thank them, and continue on her way only to be stopped by someone else. "Is that Sidra-san?"

Marcel watched the girl a bit with Luva, then smiled. "It is her!" He grabbed his bouquet and ran over to her.

~~~

"Sidra!" Sidra turned to see Marcel running up to her excitedly. He held the huge bouquet out to her. "These are for you!"

Sidra blinked. "Wow... Marcel..." She slowly took them from him. "Thanks"

Marcel grinned. "Youíre welcome"

"Sidra-san, you look wonderful." Luva exclaimed, following Marcel.

"Thank you... geez..."

"Hey... what kind of bird is that?" Randy asked, walking over with a tray of food.

"I think itís a phoenix." Lumiale answered, "Am I right, Sidra-san?"

Suddenly, someone pulled Sidra out of the swarm of Guardians, much to her relief. She turned to see a strong hand gripping her upper arm. She followed the arm the hand was attached to up and saw that it was Oscar. In his other hand he held a wine glass and the bouquet of roses.

ĎOh great...í She thought.

"Missy..." Oscar said, nodding slightly. He moved his hand down to herís, lifted it to his lips, and kissed it.

Sidra blushed, completely unaware of the heat Oscarís hand gave off. She actually started to find the Fire Guardian attractive...

"Oh... Oscar, I was going to ask Sidra-san a question." Lumiale interrupted.

"It can wait, canít it?" Oscar replied. He turned back to Sidra and handed her the roses. "For you..." He smiled warmly.

Sidra, having come to her senses after Lumiale spoke, politely took the roses. "Thank you, Oscar."

Oscarís smile grew wider. He downed the rest of his wine and wrapped his free arm around her waist. Sidra flinched. ĎUh oh...í

Luva, seeing her uneasiness, walked up to them. "Oscar... you... umm..." He hesitated for a second. "How much wine have you had?"

Oscar frowned and glared at him. "What are you? My mother? Go away." He pulled Sidra closer to him. "Címon... I know a place where we can be alone." He took her hand and started to pull her toward an open door leading out onto the balcony. Sidra looked back worriedly at the other Guardians, hoping one of them would help her. But they didnít. They just stared back at her and looked at each other, wondering what to do.

ĎThanks a lot, guys...í

~~~

"Here we go..." Oscar walked over to the railing and pulled Sidra toward him. The entire deck wrapped around Olivieís mansion and overlooked the numerous flower beds and pool. Around the deck were doors leading to other rooms in the mansion. As well as some assorted patio furniture. It was a warm summerís night and the full moon illuminated the whole area in a blue glow. He tossed the two flower bouquets in Sidraís arms aside haphazardly. "I have to admit that I didnít think Olivie could do it..." He began, "...But, he surprised me."

"Uh huh..." Sidra tried her best to hide her discomfort. She had seen this type of guy before. She had never encountered one in real life, of course. But she always heard about them in Health class and on television. Oscar was no exception. Though the fact that she looked astounding and that he was drunk made it worse.

He lifted her chin and got so close to her that his nose touched hers. "You look lovely... Why do you always wear those horrible clothes?" He asked, staring at her with his icy blue eyes.

Sidra fidgeted. She began to feel uncomfortably warm and a little frightened. ĎShit... Okay... What to do?í She thought. She glanced at his arms. Under his sweater, she could see the defined outlines of muscles. If she tried to fight him, he would definitely beat her. Ď...Whew... his breath stinks...í

She sniffed. "You smell like a winery."

Oscar threw his head back and laughed, almost hitting her face as he did so. Then, he continued. "Iíve seen girls like you before."

"Oh, you have, have you?" She replied. The heat was now starting to get to her. The whole situation started to piss her off.

"Yes... shy... awkward... sharp-tongued when they do speak..." He pulled her closer to him. "Almost like you have a frozen heart." He grinned. "Your problem is youíve never felt a manís touch before."

Sidra inhaled sharply. She knew what he was planning to do. Without thinking, she tried to bring her hand up to slap him, but his grip on her body was too strong. Oscar didnít notice.

"Perhaps I can melt that icy shield..." He situated her so he had one arm around her waist and the other grabbing the back of her neck. He arched her backward and leaned over her. Sidra had seen couples this way on the covers of so many cheesy paperback romance novels. It meant he was going to kiss her. "Let me relight the roaring flame of passion..."

"That is so fucking cheesy. Now get off of me!" Sidra began to struggle. Her hands began to feel like they were touching a hot plate. Oscar would have none of it. His grip tightened.

"No need to be frightened..." He leaned over and pulled her into the oncoming kiss. "I promise Iíll-"

The next thing Sidra remembered was seeing a blaze of orange light streak flying up from her left side and hitting Oscar square in the jaw. As the blow jerked his head backwards, she saw that the streak had left a nasty burn under his chin where it hit. The funny thing as that the streak was where her hand was supposed to be.

Oscar howled in pain and dropped Sidra. He shut his eyes and walked around the deck, trying to work through the obvious pain he was in without actually touching the wound. She could see why. The burn was a horrible looking patch of blood and broken skin. Sidra sat on the ground and stared at him in shock.

"Oh my god... What happened?!"

"Gahhh... What the fu-?!" Oscar turned and looked at her, glaring daggers. A second later, the look of pure hatred turned into one of fear. Sidra watched him for a second, wondering what the Fire Guardian was looking at. Something flashed in the corner of her eye. When she turned to look at whatever it was, she saw what had given Oscar the burn. Her entire left arm up to the elbow was engulfed in brilliant orange and red flames.

Sidra opened her mouth. At first, nothing came out. But a second later, the silence was followed by a piercing scream loud enough to be heard from inside the mansion. She shut her eyes and began waving her flaming left arm around in an attempt to extinguish the flames, but to no avail. She screamed herself hoarse and eventually, passed out. A few second after, the flames disappeared, leaving her arm unscathed.

Oscar continued to stare, dumbfounded, at the now unconscious Sidra. He didnít know what to think about what had just happened. He continued to stare as the large crowd of people, headed by Olivie, appeared on the deck. The Dream Guardianís outfit for the night was a white tuxedo with a white feather boa draped over his shoulders.

"Goodness!" Lumiale exclaimed, kneeling beside the unconscious Sidra. Luva, Marcel, and Olivie closely followed him.

"By the Queen... Oscar, what did you do?" Luva asked, looking up at him. His eyes widened at the sight of his neck. "..."

"Ha! We should be asking what she did to him." Olivie commented, chuckling. The crowd behind him began to murmur nervously.

Oscar, finally regaining his composure, glared at Olivie and growled under his breath. "Olivie, shut up." He turned to Luva and pointed to Sidraís body. "That girl..."

That was all he had to say. The entire crowd became more restless. Most of the people started to reenter the mansion. Zephel, who was leaning against the wall and watching the whole situation casually, grunted. Randy decided to walk over, sans the tray of food, and try to help.

"Umm... Luva-sama, do you want me to get some water or something?" He asked, looking at Sidra. "Her face is red." He noted.

Luva nodded. "Sure Randy. Oscar, why donít you go to the infirmary and have that burn look at?"

"Wow! You know, I never would have thought of doing that." Oscar replied sarcastically. He stormed off, holding a hand over the burn.

"The bathroom is two doors down that way." Olivie told Randy, pointing to the left. "There should be some clean washcloths in there as well." Randy nodded and headed for the bathroom. Olivie sighed. "Well, there goes my party... and Sidra-chan."

"I hope sheís okay." Marcel said.

"She just fainted. Sheíll be fine." Luva assured him. "Sheís breathing normally. So she doesnít have hyperthermia."

"You know if Julious finds out, sheís out of here." Zephel commented. "Good riddance... Iím sick of all these girls..." He added to himself.

"We canít tell him!" Marcel said, looking worried. "Itís not her fault..."

"Marcel! You barely know her!" Zephel shouted.

"Both of you calm down. Marcel, even if we didnít tell him now, Julious-sama would find out eventually." Luva told him calmly. "Iíll just... have a talk with him about it."

"Mmm..."

A few seconds of silence passed. Then...

"I donít think Sidra-san is a threat." Lumiale said suddenly. "This wouldnít happen if she knew what she was doing." Luva, Marcel, and Olivie nodded in agreement.

"She had all day to get rid of me." Olivie added. "If I were her, I would have seized the first opportunity that came. Then again, maybe my beauty got to her." He gloated.

Zephel turned his head away. He murmured something. But no one could tell what it was.

"Randy sure is taking a long time..." Lumiale placed his hand on Sidraís forehead. "Sheís burning up..."

Suddenly, Sidra moaned and moved her head. Lumiale quickly took his hand away.

"Sidra! Youíre okay!" Marcel cheered. Sidra winced.

"Put that compress back on... headache..." She whimpered.

"Here Lumiale-sama," Randy returned with a damp pink washcloth in his hand. He noticed Sidra. "Oh..."

"Thank you, Randy." The Water Guardian took the cloth from him, folded it, and placed it on Sidraís forehead. "How do you feel, Sidra-san?"

"...Did I faint? I never faint..." She murmured. She squinched her eyes and looked around at the 6 Guardians standing over her. "Whatís going on?"

Olivie smiled. "You gave Oscar a nasty looking burn. What did he do to you?"

Sidraís eyes widened. The incident from a few minutes ago came back to her quickly. "Oh god..."

"Itís alright, Sidra-san..." Luva assured her. "Youíre not in trouble." He paused. "I think you should go back to your room and rest."

"What about the party?"

"I can always have another one." Olivie said, "But you still owe me a dance." He winked at her.

"..."

"Let me help you to your- Oh! Clavis-sama!" Lumiale exclaimed. The Guardian of Darkness finally decided to make his presence known and stepped out of his spot in the shadows. Everyone, including Zephel jumped a little. He walked over and looked down at Sidra.

"Iíll carry her." He said softly, without even a hint of emotion.

"No, thatís alright, Clavis-sama." Luva replied, "We have it un...der..." Clavis ignored him, walked over, and lifted Sidra up into his arms. "I think Iíll go with you, if you donít mind."

"Me too." Olivie said. Clavis shrugged indifferently and walked off with Sidra. The flamboyant Guardian grabbed the discarded flowers and followed him and Luva.

~~~

As Clavis carried her to her room, Sidra felt all her anxiety about the incident with Oscar leaving her body. Another type of energy entered her in its place. She felt calm and peaceful. The calmness turned into drowsiness. She sighed contently, curled up next to his chest, and fell asleep in the dark Guardianís arms.

~~~

Authorís Note: *Collapses onto the table* Whew... finally got this chapter done... Hope the wait was worth it. ^^



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