Author: Honor A. De'Mandoren
see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Matchmaker + Part Six
Assumptions

There cannot be a crisis this week; my schedule is already full.

+

My grandmother was just as composed and lovely as usual when I joined her at the table. I was thankful she had chosen an outside table. If this turned into a shouting match (and it might) I could make a cleaner escape this way. She nodded to me coolly as I sat down.

Well. At least I know the tone of this meeting.

"Good morning."

"Good morning," she returned. "I've ordered chamomile for you."

It was my usual order, so I nodded in acceptance. "What do you want to say?"

"Your doctor no doubt told you that I saw him." She smiled, more a baring of teeth than a warm _expression. "Yes, I can see by your very unhappy _expression that he did. I was rather... impressed, actually. He's a very strong man, with very high principals. He rather reminds me of your grandfather in that aspect. I wish I had met him in a different way. I might actually have come to an appropriate friendship with him."

I didn't care for where this was heading. "Please stop dancing around the subject."

"Very well. I cannot, apparently, convince him to leave you. However, I also cannot let this... relationship continue like this. The truth of the matter is, Quatre, is that you are Master Winner. You must have heirs. I am willing to compromise. Marry someone of appropriate breeding and have a son, and I will allow you to remain with Dr. Barton without saying a word against it."

Very deliberately I steepled my fingers in front of my chin. "Let me get this straight. You want me to marry some poor woman just for appearances sake, and impregnate her, and in the meantime keep Trowa in a closet somewhere, out of sight?"

"You must think of your position," she returned softly.

"You did hear me when I said that I loved him, didn't you? You heard him when he said that he loved me? You actually understand what it means to love, do you not?"

"Do not take that tone of voice with me!"

I slapped one my hands down on the table, making everything jump a little. "Listen well, woman. I will not betray Trowa -- not by thought, not by word, and certainly not by deed. I love him. He's the one that carries my heart, and with it my trust."

She straightened in her chair, eyes blazing. "I said don't take that tone of voice with me!"

I rode over her indignation, becoming even louder. "I don't care a fuck about appearances sake, or the 'purity' of the Winner line, or for that matter whether I ever have your approval. You've never approved of me! Nothing I have ever done has satisfied you and I think it's apparent by now that I can be extraordinarily happy without your 'approval'!"

She sat back stunned. "You -- you've never spoken to me like this before."

"My mistake," I responded coldly. "Apparently, this is the only way that you'll listen to me. No, grandmother, I will not marry someone of 'acceptable' breeding. If I marry anyone at all, it will be Trowa. If you feel that you must supplant me with someone more acceptable, than by all means do so. I will hardly be beggared if I am not CEO of the company." I stood up, narrowly avoiding crashing into the waitress bringing my tea.

"Quatre -- " she glanced nervously at the hovering girl, but at this point I didn't care who heard me.

"I've heard enough," I interrupted harshly. "I cannot believe that you would actually condone adultery like that. I cannot believe this whole conversation took place... and I will never participate in another like it. Accept me and my lover, or don't. It makes no difference to me." Turning on my heel sharply, I stalked away. I felt like I was steaming with anger, but another part of me was calm. If nothing else, I knew precisely where my grandmother stood.

Best yet, I knew where Trowa stood and that I was coming home to him, and Amee.

Nothing could beat that feeling.

+

When I arrived home, Trowa was sprawled on the couch, phone to his ear and a book in front of him. As I came through the door he looked up and smiled, mouthing 'How did it go?'

'Later' I mouthed back.

He covered the bottom of the phone with his hand so he could talk to me. "It's Cathy. Don't ask how she tracked me down here, I have no idea. Right now she's ranting at me for not telling her about you."

"Ah. Hence why you're paying no attention to her?"

"Yup."

"Where's Amee?"

"Duo swung by a bit ago and picked her up. They went shopping."

Duo, I had a feeling, just became one of Amee's favorite people. As I stood watching him, it slowly sank in that we were home alone. Hm. Now this raises some interesting possibilities.

Casually I strolled to the living room window and closed the curtains. Then I went back to the door -- and locked it. While Trowa watched me, one eyebrow raised, I toed off my shoes and crossed to the phone line. "Do you really want to talk to your sister right now?"

"Not really."

"Good." I unplugged the telephone line and let it drop to the floor.

Trowa put the phone on the ground and slowly sat up, setting his book aside. "Whatever it is that you're planning, I hope it involves taking off all our clothes."

"As a matter of fact... it does."

Trowa grinned and started unbuttoning his shirt. "The day is definitely improving. Get over here."

That was an order I was only too happy to obey.

+

Monday morning was a depressing one. There were several reasons for it. Trowa went back to work, Amee went to school and the clincher -- I went back to work. Sometimes I really hated paperwork.

The only thing that got me through the morning was a solid promise to myself that I could get Trowa into the back of his suburban during lunch. Without that assurance, I don't think I would have made it. I had become very intimate with my lover during the weekend, and I was desperately missing his presence right now. Why do we even have to work? Can't I just keep him locked up with me in my bedroom all the time?

Charlene poked her head in my office. "There's a call for you from Dan McLean on line one."

Dan McLean? He was an independent news anchor who owned his own TV station. I actually had a modicum of respect for the man. I've never heard him report news that was slanted, and he's never gone for 'sensational' stuff. "Thanks, Charlene."

She ducked back out and I picked up the phone. "This is Quatre Winner."

<<Good morning, Mr. Winner. This is Dan McLean. I'm sure you're aware of the interest surrounding your recent relationship?>>

Well, he certainly cuts to the chase. "All too aware, I'm afraid. What's your point Mr. McLean?"

<<Just Dan, please. I want to do an interview with your grandmother, Mrs. Winner and with your sister Amee.>>

That was an interesting choice. "Why those two exactly?"

<<A lot of the controversy and rumor mill is about you... but another part of it is your family. I want to do an interview with them to see how this affects family more than anything else.>>

A different angle, in other words. "Hm... it's not entirely up to me, naturally."

<<Naturally.>>

"Tell you what, Dan. I'll talk it over with my family and get back to you. When do you want this interview done?"

<<Is three days from now too soon?>>

"I don't think so, assuming they agree."

<<Then thank you for your time.>>

I hung up and stared thoughtfully into the distance.

+

About seven that night I brought it up while we were eating dinner. I'm seriously thinking about having Trowa move in with me if only to have his cooking skills within easy reach. Damn, can the man cook!

It was funny, but the more I thought about the idea of Amee doing an interview the more I liked it. I could just imagine how this would pan out. He wanted to do an interview with Amee and my grandmother. I grinned to myself, bubbling over in sadistic glee. That poor sod. He had no idea what he was requesting. "Amee, do you want to do an interview with Dan McLean?"

Trowa looked at me like I had lost my mind but Amee was grinning. "Sure! You're going to let me do it?"

"You're better with reporters than I am," I reminded her. "Besides, if there is anyone that can turn this around in our favor, it's going to be you."

She preened, eyes dancing. "I think the cobalt blue dress will be right for this."

+

Trowa and I both went with her to the interview, naturally. She went a half hour before the show was supposed to start and went into make-up. I half-expected them to put her into another outfit or do something with her hair, but they just took one look at her and started complimenting her on her style. Figures.

As we stood out of the way, waiting for everything to start happening, my grandmother came in. She stared at us frostily for a moment before sweeping past and into make-up as well. I exhaled softly when she was out of sight, fighting down my anger with her.

"Easy," Trowa murmured to me. He slid his hand into mine and squeezed slightly.

"I just want to pound sense into her."

"I know. But you've already given Amee that job, remember?"

I smirked and shifted so I could lean my head against his arm. "True."

+

Dan McLean was an impeccably dressed man of thirty-five, dark hair and light grey eyes. He was cordially charming with my sister and grandmother, and politely welcoming to myself and Trowa. I don't think he was expecting us there, but I wasn't about to leave Amee by herself here. Especially with my grandmother nearby. I assured him that we were only going to watch, not come into the interview itself. That settled the issue, I think. He seemed calmer after that.

They sat in several plushy chairs in the typical studio room. Grandmother was so rigid I thought her spine would just freeze up in that position. She kept giving Amee worried looks too. That just warmed my heart. Grandmother knows as well as I how well Amee can manipulate the press.

The camera started rolling, and Dan did the usual introductions for the TV audience before he turned to face the women to the side of him. "Now, Amee," Dan started calmly, "I assume that you know about your brother and his boyfriend."

"Yes I do," she answered with a charming smile. "And I get the credit for introducing them."

Dan's eyebrows shot up. "You introduced them?"

She nodded, hair swaying around her face a little. "Mm-hm. I was hurt at school, and Trowa was the one that bandaged me up."

"So the report that your brother's boyfriend is a doctor is true?"

"It is."

"And what do you think of this, Mrs. Winner?"

"I think it's reprehensible," Vivian replied coldly. "I am firmly against this... alliance, and I think it's wrong that my granddaughter's thinking has been altered to believe that this is acceptable."

Amee rolled her eyes. "No one 'convinced' me one way or the other. I figured out last year that Quatre was gay. He never said anything to me. How can you convince someone if you never say anything?"

In the wings, I was silently cheering her on. Good point, keep going!

"So your brother -- Quatre -- never suggested to you that he was gay or that loving someone of the same sex was appropriate?" Dan was very careful to say this as neutrally as possible.

"Nope."

"Then why do you think it is acceptable?"

"Why shouldn't I?" Amee countered. "Everybody always tells me that everything is alright if you really love someone. Why should that change just because it's two men that love each other?"

God, I love this girl!

Dan blinked, and slowly started to smile. "You know Amee, I never thought of it that way. You make a very valid point. So how did you know your brother was gay?"

Amee cocked her head slightly. "Well, he never really looked at other women. It was easy to figure out why."

Vivian shifted in her seat irritably. "I certainly didn't figure it out by observation."

"You were too busy trying to set him up with girls," Amee countered.

Oooh. First blood! I really shouldn't be entertained by this...

Dan quickly intervened before my grandmother could let loose with a scathing remark. "Amee, how did your brother react when he saw his picture in the Exclusive?"

"I've never seen him that angry," she admitted. "I couldn't really blame him either. I would be angry too."

"And you, Mrs. Winner? What did you think of it?"

"I have never been so ashamed and embarrassed in my entire life," Vivian remarked with a noticeable tic in the corner of her mouth. "The only thing I did approve of in the whole affair was when Quatre bought the Exclusive and shut it down."

"Even if he used the family fortune to do so?"

"He used his personal account," Vivian corrected. "The purchase did not come from family funding."

"Ah. You've stated in several ways that you do not approve of your grandson's sexual orientation or of his lover -- how is this going to affect the future?"

"I respectfully decline to answer that question, Mr. McLean."

Dan sensibly chose to go back to Amee, who had proven to be very open on this subject. "And you, Amee?"

"Hm... " She slowly smiled, then winked at him. "I think it's going to be even more fun! Quatre's happier because Trowa is here and I like playing with Trowa too."

Vivian snorted. "Fun? Is that all you can say about this?"

Amee sighed, very put upon, and gave her grandmother a put out glare. "Stop pouting, grandma. Just because things didn't turn out the way you wanted, doesn't mean that it didn't turn out the way it was supposed to."

"And just what does that mean?"

"Yes," Dan inputted with great curiosity, "what do you mean by that?"

"You forget," Amee told the two of them smugly. "I was there when they met and I saw what happened -- and I don't think anyone has the right to argue with love at first sight."

+

As the interview ran down, Trowa leaned in close to me and murmured, "Love at first sight?"

"Personally, it was lust at first sight," I muttered back. I was fighting down a smile though. Amee was much too observant at times. "I didn't fall in love with you until that first date."

"Ah." He thought about that for a moment, then shrugged. "Well, I guess it was one-sided love for a while then."

My head snapped up to look at him. He'd... "You mean... it was love at first sight?"

He gave me a small enigmatic smile but didn't respond.

"Trowa," I growled. If he thought I was leaving it like that, he was crazy.

"So?" A bright little girl voice demanded. "How did I do?"

Mental note: deal with Trowa later. I turned my attention back to the present and my sister and gave her a thumb's up. "Excellent."

Amee beamed back at me, gloating.

Trowa picked her up (this is beginning to become a habit) and planted a kiss on her cheek. Judging from her happy sigh, she appreciated being picked up and the kiss. "You were marvelous. I think we should go out to dinner to celebrate."

"Chinese?" she asked hopefully.

Trowa quirked a brow at me. "You two are definitely related."

*click*

My head snapped around to see a reporter standing a few feet away. He lowered the camera and gave us a grin. "If you absolutely insist, then I'll hand it over. The boss has warned all of us that he'd rather keep you happy than have a scoop. But I hope you'll at least have the film developed -- the three of you together are picture perfect."

"Let him have it," Amee whispered to me. "Publicity can't be a bad thing right now, can it?"

I thought it over, looking at Trowa for his opinion. He only shrugged. "I think she's right."

"Hm. Alright." I turned to the reporter, giving him a stern frown. "On one condition."

"Name it."

"I want the original."

He blinked then laughed. "Done!"

Trowa shifted Amee more comfortably in his arms, then reached down and tangled a hand with mine. "Chinese Garden?"

"You read my mind," I responded happily.

"Trowa?" Amee frowned a little and put her finger against Trowa's neck. "How did you get this bruise on your neck?"

Trowa and I both went beet red.

"It's a weird place to have a bruise," she continued with a frown. "Does it hurt?"

"Not a bit," Trowa assured her in a slightly choked voice.

That damn reporter nearly laughed his head off as I quickly towed Trowa outside, doing my best to distract Amee away from that hickey.

Why does she always notice things that are sure to embarrass me?

[part 5] [epilogue] [back to Singles a - k]