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Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon. Never have, never will. Only in everyone's dreams, especially mine. Naoko owns it, and doing a great job, too. I got the idea for this story from a book I read by, I think, Jo Beverly. E-mail comments, ideas, bad or good... however, I don't like rude people, so tell me in a nice way if you don't like it, TO: Usagi_Rachel@Hotmail.Com

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Unexpectedly Snowed In Christmas - Chapter One

Rated: PG-13

Serena Tsukino was naked.

Her towel had slid to the floor with barely a whisper and here they stood, finally alone together, staring at each other. She posed provocitively, lifting her floor length long blonde hair, down from it's usual odango's, and letting it fall over her shoulders and down her back.

"Am I beautiful?" she asked. "Am I sexy?"

The questions proved she was vulnerable, which was the very last thing that she wanted to be.

Was that a critical look she detected? Silence filled the bedroom. If the answer to her questions took this long, perhaps the answer was no!

She looked straight into the blue eyes, saw the humor lurking there and her exuberant self-confidence came flooding back.

"Yes, you're beautiful; yes, your sexy! You're also intellegent, successful, and independent," came the answer.

"You forgot crazy," she told her reflection as her body shivered with goosebumps. "Anyone who would stand butt-naked in front of a mirror talking to herself when it's below zero outside has got to be crazy!"

Serena knew Creig Barlow's Christmas present would be a dimond ring. As she drew on her panty-hose, she asked herself if she was ready to be engaged. The answer came back yes. She was twenty-five years old-- the perfect age for marriage. Everything else in her life was just about perfect, too.

Her career was in high gear, her finances were rock solid, and her fiancÚ had all the qualities that would make him the perfect husband: sensitivity, kindness, and understanding. Creig was an English professor at Western Michigan University and often quoted poetry to her.

Serena chose a red wool suit, then pulled on a pair of black high-heeled boots. Even with a powersuit she always wore heels. There were no rules that said a career woman couldn't have sexy legs. She fixed her hair in it's usual style-- two round buns on each side of her head with hair coming out of each; so long that the end of the long locks of hair went to mid-calf. She smiled with satisfaction. Her own little trademark. The minute she picked up her briefcase, the phone rang.

"Serena? You didn't give me a definate answer about coming home for Christmas, dear."

"Hi, Mom. I sent you and answer via e-mail last night."

"Oh, Honey, you know I don't understand that computer stuff. Your dad has tried to explain it to me, but I feel so much more comfortable on the phone."

"Of course Creig and I are coming for Christmas dinner. It's my turn and I would love to take everyone out to The Plaza-- I hate to see you cooking all day."

"You know it's fun for me. I just love doing all those things that make a Christmas special."

"I know you do, Mom. That's why we all love you so much. I have to run-- I have the keys to the office and I have to open up today. See you Christmas morning. Love you."

"Drive carefully, dear. Love you, too."

Serena sighed. There was absolutely no point in trying to change her mother this late in life. Her mother was a perfectly contented housewife, and angel of domesticity who'd been kept in place by the men in her life. She had no idea there were worlds to conquer out there.

Serena pulled her Mercedes into the parking space that had her name on it, then unlocked the front door of Coderwell Baker Real Estate. Within six months, she hoped to be a full partner in the privately owned company.

Before she read all the faxes, the other agents started to arrive. Bob and George arrived together because Bob had cracked up his Caddy and was in the shop. When Serena had started working at the agency, they had joked about her aggressive salesmanship, calling her a ball-breaker, but now that her sales topped theirs, they gave her the respect she had earned.

"Sorry about the accident, Bob. It must be milder today-- the ice was melting when I drove in."

"Warm enough to snow," said George, who always tended to look on the dark side.

"Congrats on breaking into the President's Circle, Serena," Bob said.

She had been in the Multi-Million Dollar Club for the past two and a half years. "I haven't quite made it yet, Bob, but thanks."

"Oh hell, it's only December twenty-third. Still nine more days left before the year is over," he said, winking at George.

The sons-of-bitches hope I don't make it, Serena realized.

Other agents began arriving and the first thing they did was look at the coffee urn. When they saw that none was brewing, they second thing they did was glance at Serena. Make your own damn coffee, she thought, going into her office to go over the listings.

When the secretary arrived, the men heaved a collective sigh of relief. They fell over each other helping her off with her coat and boots, then followed her off en masse to the coffee urn. Bo Peep has suddenly found her sheep, Serena thought sarcastically.

Someone came through the front door. Since all the agents were at the back of the premises, Serena came out of her office to attend the customer. He was tall with jet black hair, wearing a heavy blue long sleeve shirt and blue jeans.

"I'm Serena Tsukino. May I help you?"

The mans deep blue eyes stared at her mouth, lingered on her breasts, went down her legs, then climbed back up her body to her long blonde hair and finally to her eyes.

Why don't you take a bloody picture? It'll last longer, she thought silently.

"No, I don't think so. I'm looking for Roy Maxel."

He had the deepest voice Serena had ever heard.

"Roy has an early appointment; he won't be back until ten. Are you sure I can't be of some service?"

"I can think of a dozen, none of them appropriate for a real estate office." He gave her a lopsided grin.

Serena did not smile back. She turned on her heel and walked back to her office.

"You could get me a cup of coffee while I'm waiting for Roy."

Serena stopped in her tracks and turned, shooting him a look that would wither a more sensitive male. She bit back a sharp retort that sprang to mind and said, "Feel free to help yourself."

"Don't tempt me." He winked at her.

The sexit son-of-a-bitch actually winked at her! Serena went into her office and slammed the door shut behind her. He turned on her computer and saw that she had e-mail and accessed it. The message was from Creig.

  No classes Friday, so I'll see you tomorrow night. Would you like to go to Cygnus and dance under the stars?

  Love, Creig

Serena smiled as she replied.

  Sure, that sounds great, but we can't stay out too late because I might have to work Friday.


Within half an hour, she got her reply.

  Sure, whatever's good with you, Sweety. I understand. It's a date! Can't wait. Love you.

  Love, Creig

She was lost in in her own thoughts when she was cut off by Roy's voice coming through the intercom.

"Serena, are you free to come into my office?"

As she opened the door, she heard the deep voice say, "I don't want a female agent, Roy. I want you."

"The property you're interested is in Serena Tsukino's listing. It's exclusive." There wasn't really any reason he couldn't sell it, but he obviously wanted her to qualify for the President's Circle.

"Ms. Tsukino, this is Mr. Chiba. He's interested in that lafefront property that's in your listing, as I've just explained to Mr. Chiba."

Serena shook hands with Action Man, as she had already named him, making sure her qrip was firm.

"I'd like to take a look at it," he said, turning to look at Roy. "Can you go with me?" directing his question again to Roy.

"I told you that's Ms. Tsukino's area. I have appointments all day."

"I'll take you to see it Mr. Chiba. Are you free to leave right now?"

The rugged-good looking man drew his dark brows together, frowning. "It's over a hundred miles."

Serena shrugged, failing to see his point. "About a two-hour drive, two and a half in bad weather."

She looked at him, raising a nicely defined eyebrow. "Perhaps you don't have time today."

"I have all the time in the world," he stated simply.

"Alright, just let me get my briefcase and I'll meet you at the front desk."

She met him a the desk, and despite the fact that he resented dealing with a female agent, he helped her with her coat and opened the door for her.

The gestures were politically incorrect this day and age. Any woman now-a-days could put her own coat on and open her own doors. Chiba had obviously been living under a rock, or was being deliberately annoying. She suspected it was the latter.

Serena walked toward her Mercedes but when she looked behind her, she saw that he was not following.

"It's part of my job to provide the transportation, Mr. Chiba."

"We'll use my car," he repeated, already at his front car door.

Serena glanced at his Dodge Ram, four-wheel drive truck and suppressed a curse. "The Mercedes will be more comfortable," she asserted coolly.

"This is a rough terrain vehicle," he pointed out.

Serena crossed her arms. "You don't trust my driving?"

"I have nothing against woman drivers, but I wouldn't let a woman drive me even if I had two broken arms."

That can be arranged, you sexist swine!

Serena decided that if she wanted this sale, she had better do things his way. She walked towards the Dodge Ram. It had flames painted across the doors as if it were coming from the engine.

The first thing she saw when she got in was a fun rack holding a rifle. Action Man was obviously a hunter. She liked him less and less. He drove aggressively, but he didn't race, yet nothing passed him. Before they got out of the city, it began to snow-flurry.

"So, talk to me... tell me about yourself," he invited, making small talk.

I'm a feminazi who loathes macho men, she thought, then immediately thought of her six percent commission.

"My name is Serena Tsukino. Lived in Tokyo for a while, then moved to Detroit. When my dad retired from the air force, my parents moved to Detroit at well, then decided to move to Grand Rapids. When they moved, I came here."

"I moved her from Detroit myself a couple of years back. All the males in my family were police officers, so I know all about the crime rate."

Chiba. Tough as boiled owl, she thought. Born with too much totesterone!

How did you get into real estate?"

"It's a field where women can excel, so chose it very deliberately. The idea of spending years at a university, living at home, didn't really appeal to me. I wanted to be independent. I'm on my way to breaking the glass ceiling."

"Glass ceiling?" He looked at her, puzzled.

He's got to be kidding; the man's a Neanderthal!

"Is that some sort of feminist term?"

She nodded. "It's a ceiling erected by the men who run the corporate world, to keep the women from high earnings and high potential."

"Bull! If a woman doesn't reach her full potential, she only has herself to blame for it."

Serena tended to believe that herself, but she had an urge to disagree with him. She looked out the window, noticing how hard it was snowing now. Serena also noticed that the harder it snowed, the faster it seemed to snow, the faster he drove.

"What do you do for a living?" she asked.

"I'm a Fire Captain," he replied.

You're kidding. That explains the flames on your truck then."

He laughed. "My attempt at humor. I'm a fire captain studying for my chief's exams."

"So how do you know Roy?" she asked, suddenly curious if Action Man here had that kind of money for the property he was thinking of purchasing. The property was a quarter of a million dollars. Did a fire captain have that kind of money or was he just leading her on a wild goose chase?

"I'm also a scuba instructor. He's in one of my diving classes."

She only nodded. Encasing yourself in rubber, sticking a breathing tube in your mouth, then isolating yourself in dark murky water wasn't her thing. Serena considered herself a city girl.

He continued, "That's one of the reason's I'm interested in lakefront property. There are miles of bottomland for exploring shipwrecks."

"Wouldn't a summer cottage be just a good? This is a year-round cabin," she said, trying to hint at the price.

"I need something like this for year-round ice diving."

"Ice diving?"

He nodded. "You cut a hole in the ice wih an auger. Of course you tie yourselves together with a safety rope."

"You do this for pleasure or for some sort of penance?"

"If that's a jab at my religion, you're politically incorrect, Miz Tsukino."

Serena stiffened.

"I'm surprised you even know what political correctness is, Mr. Chiba. You make sexist remarks everytime you open your mouth!"

His eyes were like blue ice. His glance lingered on her hair and mouth, dropped to her breasts, then lifted to her eyes. He shook his head. "What a pity; you obviously hate men."

"Your father, the cop, must have shot you in the arse... you obviously have brain damage!"

She saw the amusement in his eyes.

"You have a sharp tongue. I could teach your sweeter things to do with it then cutting up men, Miz Tsukino."

"Don't call me that," she snapped.

"Okay. I'll call you Serena. My name's Darien. Darien Chiba."

The visibility was disapearing fast. "The weather's closing in fast. Wanna turn back?" he asked.

"If I couldn't handle snow, I wouldn't be living here."

He shrugged. "Choice is yours."

"Good. I like making decision's and I don't have much use for macho, sexist men."

"That's alright, Serena. I don't have any at all for feminists."

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Chapter Two

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Please send all comments to the author at Usagi_Rachel@Hotmail.Com

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