Look to the Stars
"So this is Star?" the man shrouded in dark asked as he held to the compact disk. It had a picture of the aforementioned musician dressed as though she was a little girl. She had dyed her hair dark green with small pigtails on top of her head. The setting looked as though she was at a tea party. "Seems to me that she has some sort of complex." He commented as he inspected it. He adjusted his earpiece which was virtually invisible if someone didn't look particularly for it. The person on the other side of the earpiece laughed.
"Well, that's her niche or gimmick or whatever," he said.
The man rolled his hazel eyes. "Whatever. As long as she gives me everything I need to know."
There was a bit of silence on the other side.
"You do know that if you crack this case, you'll become legendary. Nebula has been missing for years!"
The other sighed. "And if you fail, you'll lose your clients. Do you realize what'd happen to me? I wouldn't be able to get another job! My life will be ruined!"
The other smiled.
"Don't worry. As I said, as long as she gives me everything I need to know, I will be able to crack this case."
When he whipped out his other hand from his pocket, he glanced at his watch.
"Well she is one of the most popular artists of our time," the other side paused. "Besides Nebula of course."
The man ignored him and looked at the vast amounts of tourists passing by him, some glared at him for being in the way when clearly he wasn't.
It's a good thing I bought this outfit over in Juhi. He thought to himself as he grabbed the newspaper from the ground that conveniently blew his way. It had the headlines on the front page:
CELEBRITY P.I. SOLVES YET ANOTHER CASE! MURDER MYSTERY SOLVED
The man glared at the photos below. It had him and a Space Cadet trying to hide the suspect, but ultimately the photographer got a really good shot of his face.
Man, if I had it my way, I would make sure no one could ever see my ugly mug on the morning papers. He thought to himself as he balled up the newspaper and threw it in the nearest wastebasket.
"What a bunch of rubbish," he muttered to himself. He glanced at his watch once again and sighed heavily. "I think I'll call it a day. Maybe I'll achieve legendary status some other day."
He sighed heavily once again; really irritated that he wasted about an hour of his busy schedule to wait around for nothing. He lowered his hat further down, as though he wasn't concealed enough. He bumped into someone, someone who dressed like a little girl.
He was about to curse them out when he realized who it was. He almost audibly gasped at the sight he saw before him. The woman had a white bonnet on her head. Her hair was quite short, but it was really blonde and curled to the utmost perfection. She had on a dress that'd seem to come from some other era. It had plenty of lace and frills. She had on white gloves and she had a small white parasol with just as many frills and lace as her dress did. Her shoes were really quite large and gave her quite a bit of height, but she still wasn't as tall as the man was. Maybe she was just really short altogether, but he couldn't really tell since she was sitting on the ground.
She held on to a piece of paper and she had a confused look on her face. The man cursed the scout in him as he offered to help her from the ground. She accepted the invitation and the man helped lift her off the ground.
"Thank you." She said in a very sweet voice, so sweet, he thought about going to see the dentist to check for cavities.
He nodded. "You're welcome." He was about to turn around and move on out when the girl grabbed his coat. He turned to ask her politely, though with some anger, to let him go.
Instead, he saw probably a sad sight. The girl was biting her bright red lips with the puppy dog pout, glowing eyes and the works, and with a strong grip to boot.
"Are you the infamous Touji, the celebrity P.I.?"
His eye twitched.
"I might be. Who's asking?"
The girl looked both ways and pulled out a purse, which Touji felt, came out of nowhere. It was, once again just as frilly and lacey as her other accessories. She reached in and pulled out a card. He took it and glanced at the simple name.
It sunk in when he realized who it was. Instead of apologizing for his mistake, he grabbed her hand, quite hard, and took her to the back alley when he was sure no one was looking.
"Shh." He said as he brought his index finger to his lips. Needless to say, the girl was grossed out by the grotesque scene. There were cats eating out of fallen trash cans, there were mice running around and there was sewage leaks all across the ground.
"There is no way I'm going in there."
The man rolled his hazel eyes as he put a dark lock behind his ear. "Yeah, whatever, let's go." He said as he pulled her through the trudge.
She yelped as she walked in, each time she shared eye contact with an animal or when she almost crushed baby mice crawling towards its scrap of food.
Touji kept hearing her squeal, groan, and cry about how dirty it was back in there. He merely ignored her as they went deeper and deeper into the seedy back areas that paralleled the glittery part of Uji. The two had to jump around pipes, more sludge, more creatures of the alleys, horrible smells which emitted from the trash cans. It was quiet between the two as they continued their way.
Then he heard her scream.
He turned to see what the matter was but it was just her screaming over a little stain when he accidentally splashed some sewer water onto her dress. He sighed with a lot of irritation as he grabbed her laced hand and groaned aloud.
"Come on. We're almost there."
The woman glanced at her feet as she saw the mud and gunk at the bottom of her platinum white platform shoes. She made a whimpering sound as she placed it in front of the other.
"I-I sure hope so," she whined, clearly acting like a little girl. The man ignored her as the duet continued their trek to where he'd usually take his clients where they could not only talk about the case in the utmost privacy especially in the world where celebrities and the likes of him are in the public eye constantly, but the sooner he can solve this case and get her off his back. After all, even though wasn't officially part of the investigation, from what he read, it was s simple matter of who she was with last and interviewing them.
After a few more jumps around the alleyway, Touji saw the failing neon lights nearby.
Finally, we're here, he thought to himself as the two got closer and closer towards the restaurant.
"Where are we?" the woman asked, obviously tired from all the walking and climbing she had to do.
"We're almost there." He said, not really feeling like to dwell into the details.
She groaned but he ignored her. They passed some shady looking people who stared at the two mainly because of the girl's garments. She got closer to Touji and clutched to his coat tightly. He didn't mind, after all, most celebrities aren't used to the dark underworld of Uji. There were some women smoking from extremely long cigarettes who wore clothing that showed lots of skin that neither of the two wanted to see. Their hair was up similar to what's currently the hairdo of the 'season'. They wore gaudy makeup and jewelry that made them look like they were circus clowns. The men didn't look like men to Star. They looked like hairy huge monsters with the most yellow teeth someone could ever have and still have most of their teeth in. Some of them barely had any hair on their head while those who did had them extremely long. There was smoke everywhere. There were barely any skinny men, and when there was, they would ask poor Star for some spare change.
Touji waved them off and told them that she was with him. The men would grunt and grumble but overall they did what he said. The men would glance at the woman and that only made her grip stronger on him. Touji tossed an arm around her neck and brought her close enough to here their lips almost touched.
"Follow my lead," he whispered. The woman still didn't have a clue what was going so she merely continued to clutch to him. They were close to the restaurant, she could tell since she could smell the booze that emitted just near the restaurant. She gagged slightly while Touji was used to the smells, sights, and everything in between. He told her to be quiet once more as the two got in line for the restaurant.
When they finally got to the back of the line, Star felt pretty scared. The men, and some women, winked at her as though she's some form of fresh meat for them to eat. If she could, she would've held on to the man tighter.
It was quiet between the two save for her whining, groaning and gasping. Touji ignored her once again as he counted one to ten over and over to keep his patience up with the woman. Sure, he was used to even worse sniveling clients, but at least they did what he asked of them, which was to dress in clothes that they're willing to get dirty. He didn't know what in the universe possessed her to wear her garments including the makeup and accessories. Either way, he'd make sure to remind her the next time they'd have a meeting.
Within the hour, the two were inside the seedy restaurant. When the waiter asked if they wanted a private booth (as he checked out Star's outfit), Touji angrily flashed his license and the waiter nodded. He brought out his walkie-talkie and whispered something into it Star couldn't understand. She glanced at Touji for reassurance that things are going to be okay, but received no response. When she realized this, she bit her lip once more, not feeling all that confident. The other people who gathered behind the couple started to complain about the waiters not doing their jobs for assisting them soon enough. Star whimpered lightly and held as tightly as her laced hands could, feeling the incredible tension in the crowd.
A waiter finally appeared. He didn't look any older or younger then someone who had just got out of their teens. Star blinked at the young boy. She was sure she saw him before, but where?
"We apologize for the inconveniences," he said as he started to direct them away from the main crowd. "Please follow me to your seat."
The two followed them as they tried to hide both their identities, especially Star, not feeling very confident in her ability to run in her sewer drenched shoes. Soon they made it to a really dark area of the restaurant that is obviously not part of the main part of it.
Once she sat down, the waiter asked if they wanted something to drink as he passed out the menus for three people. Star was curious who's the third person was, but got distracted by the waiter's question.
"Uh, miss? What would you like to drink?"
The woman turned back to the waiter.
"Oh. Sorry," she laughed slightly at her mistake. "I'll have some water please."
The waiter nodded as he turned to Touji. "And for you, sir?"
"I'll have water as well please."
The waiter bowed as he left the two to their devices.
Touji glanced at the woman. "Would you let go? We're away from the main crowd."
The woman looked down and noticed that she was still clutching to his coat. "Oh," she laughed at herself once again, "I-I'm sorry."
The man shrugged. "It's okay."
She glanced at the coat before her and realized that she defiantly wasn't the only one who came down in that area afraid of the other population.
She glanced at the other empty spot and stared at it for a while, wondering who could be the mysterious person who would sit next to him.
"He's on his way."
Star blinked. "Who?" she asked dumbly.
"You have a partner?"
He nodded. "He doesn't like to go out of this area a lot. He says that he's afraid that he'll get caught up in your world." He said with some anger in there.
The woman blinked once again. "My world?"
"Stop playing dumb," he said bluntly.
Star glared at him. "I'm not playing dumb."
"Yes you are. You're a grown woman who wears childish things." He said as he placed a copy of her latest CD on the table. The light, however dim, hid the singer's face on the cover. "I don't care what you do for your music or what you do outside of the business. Just know that I would like to speak to the adult side of you, instead of the child."
The woman stuck out her tongue and picked up the menu as she glanced through it. Everything seemed to be swimming in grease one way or another. She groaned.
"Isn't there like a salad menu or something?" she asked, feeling absolutely revolted by the items they were offering at extremely cheap prices.
Touji rolled his eyes for the umpteenth time. He sighed as he got the small menu out of his own. He handed it to her.
She took it and nodded her head as she went through the menu. There wasn't much. There were only the basic salads. Star sighed as she decided on a simple Caesar Salad as she placed down the menu. Touji was busy muttering something to himself and it seemed that he was arguing with himself. She raised an eyebrow and glanced all around the area where they were sitting at.
"Just get over here! Stop acting like an idiot! We're here on business!" Touji said aloud. Star stared at him in confusion. He glanced at her as though she was the one who was the center of his anger. She merely glared back and decided not to even look at him. She scooted a little bit away from him, because she felt that he didn't want her around (although that wouldn't be far from the truth).
When he stopped muttering, he turned to the menu and started looking at the items. The two sat in silence with tension so thick you could cut it with a butter knife with ease. Star crossed her arms, telling herself how foolish she was for even considering going to the likes of him if he was going to treat her this way.
It was quiet for a bit longer when the waiter returned with their drinks and took their orders. They returned to the tension filled silence as they waited for their food to arrive, much less the other companion.
"He should be here any minute," he finally said. Star glanced at him. He went through his coat and pulled out a notepad, a notebook, and a couple of pens. He put them on the table and pushed the one pen and notebook towards her. The woman continued to give him a confused glance. "Go ahead and write down your case."
Star gave him a glare once again. "Well, if all I'm going to do is write, why did you need me to ruin my dress, my shoes, my petticoat, and everything else?"
"It's just a formality. Do you have the money?"
"Not until I meet your partner."
Touji sighed. "Well, you better get to writing. Make sure you write down every detail that you remember that night your mother disappeared. Be sure to include the names of all of her bodyguards, the people who worked at the concert that night, and all the security. I have heard when your grandfather passed away; he had given all his worldly possessions between you and your older brother, including the legendary security tape that shows Nebula in her dressing room before her disappearance. Please write down his contact information and include any passwords, codes, and everything else. My partner and I will require some badges that will allow us to go back to the scene of the disappearance, especially in the Museum of Music. We will also need some funds –"
It was then that Star finally was able to interrupt him.
"W-what? You expect all that from me in little time?" she asked angrily as she slammed down the pen. She stood up and pursed her face in the other's face. "Whether you want to think otherwise or not, I'm a human being and my body is sore from all the walking and jumping and the," she paused to gulp dramatically, "sewage touching. Don't you dare think I can write all of that in such little time, much less getting any more money then your fee for solving this case! Do you have any idea what would happen if my mother were to be found by you?"
"Yeah, Touji," said a voice, "Do you really grasp the situation at hand?" The two glanced the male who now sat next to Touji. Star gasped while he merely groaned.
"Takeru," he groaned out, "how many times do I have to tell you not to sneak up on me like that?"
The blond man shrugged. "Sorry, dude, but you two looked so focused on each other I didn't want to interrupt the moment."
"Ew, me being with him? You have to be joking!" she said as she pointed at the other.
The other man laughed. "I'm just teasing you!"
Star sighed with relief while the other just groaned once more.
"You haven't introduced me yet." He smiled at the woman as she blushed.
Touji placed an elbow on his table and placed his head on his head. "You already know who she is. Don't make me do anything more then I have to."
Takeru merely laughed as he stood up reached over to grab Star's hand. "Since Mr. Sunshine over here doesn't want to, I guess I'll have to introduce myself. My name is Takeru, and well unfortunately, I'm this guy's partner in crime."
Star shook his hand and nodded her head.
When the two sat down, she had her eyes fixated on him – anything to distract herself from the grump that is Touji, the infamous Celebrity PI. The blond man went through his bag that Star didn't even notice until then. Takeru took out a camera, a book, and another pen, Star was completely unsure what was going on.
"I was wondering..." he started as he zipped up the bag and as Touji pulled out a cigarette. He fumbled for a lighter as Takeru went on. "May I have an autograph?"
Star smiled as she took the book and smiled. "Sure! Would you like a picture too?"
Takeru smiled as he turned on the small camera. He nodded. "Okay. May I also have a picture too?"
The blonde girl nodded. She opened the book to a blank page and wrote all over it in her style as Takeru set up the area. Touji blew out the smoke as he brought the ash tray closer to him. He then tapped it slightly to let loose some of the ashes. He awaited the usual demand from the blond man that he usually says.
"Hey, Touji. Take a picture of us."
Without having to answer, he handed him the camera and the two exchanged seats. Takeru tossed his arm around Star and brought his face closer to hers. She flashed the camera the autograph she did for him as well as a bright smile. Touji pressed the appropriate button. A small flash of light appeared and the photo appeared in the camera. They changed back to their normal seats as Takeru put it back in his bag.
The blond looked at Touji. "Did she write down her case yet?"
The other shook his head as he took the cigarette out and blew out. He placed the stick back in his mouth.
Star sighed. "I just thought that you'd know the whole story by now. That's all." She responded as she placed two hands on her lap. She crossed her ankles out of habit.
Takeru sighed. "It's okay. I do apologize for Touji's attitude. He tends to get really cranky when he doesn't get his nicotine. In any case, it's very important you write down what happened. Yeah the story has been published by countless media. However," he said as he got out his own cigarette and lit it himself, using the lighter Touji had placed on the table earlier. "It is very essential that we have your story written down."
"Why?" she asked once more.
The man sighed as Touji watched the blond man slowly but surely gets annoyed with the woman before them.
"Because, Miss Star, it's important to look into the point of view of anyone who might've noticed anything out of the ordinary. Think of it as filling out a simple police report."
The woman blinked her piercing green eyes.
"Well, in that case, why don't you just look up the police reports yourself?"
Once again, Takeru sighed. He placed his head forward and ran his hands through his now visible spiked hair.
By now the waiter had delivered the food and the three had started to dig in their meals. Takeru had ordered himself a hamburger that hadn't arrived just yet.
"Before my partner losses his patience," Touji interjected, speaking for the first time in a while, "The reason why we do this is because there may be things you didn't remember then, but now you do. It's way too late to report to the police, and besides, with the government supplying them the funds, or lack thereof, it'll take them years just to get them to get to your file. So once again, miss Star, for you to do write down and give us access to your dressing room anytime. We'd also require your personal cellular phone number as well in case we may need to require your services further or in case we may need to inform you."
Star sighed as she picked up the notebook and pen, seemingly to finally comprehend the situation at hand. The men puffed their smoke and tapped their sticks almost synchronized.
"So, let's get started," she said.
Soon Touji escorted Star back to the glittery part of town as though she never had disappeared. Touji adjusted the ear piece in his ear.
"So you'll be sure to call me tomorrow for the next meeting?" she asked him.
The man nodded. "And tomorrow please wear something decent. You stick out like a sore thumb."
"If you're suggesting that I wear clothes like those people—"
"I'm not asking you to dress like a prostitute. I'm asking you to dress normally."
Star glared at him. "Don't take that tone with me."
Touji glared at her back. "Look, do you want us to search for your mother or not? I suggest you keep your big mouth shut." He stopped himself from going any further. He then realized that he was talking to her like a little girl. He put his hand through his hair and pulled slightly, messing up his hat a little bit. "Look, I'll just call you when the next meeting is going to be. Just don't wear those things again to our next meeting, alright?"
The woman reluctantly nodded. "I guess so," she said as she crossed her arms.
He nodded as he threw of what little was left of the cigarette. He really needed all that nicotine that day. "Fine. Till some other time. Adieu." He started to walk off, and waved to the girl who just stood there.
Star glared at the disappearing figure as people passed by the sewage drenched woman.
"Ugh," she thought to herself as she started make her way back to her apartment. She had to sneak out of her apartment and don a wig in order to hide from the paparazzi. So far, it had worked since the only reason people looked at her was to look at her dress. Only her doorman knew it was her since she tended to sneak out every once in a while. Once she made it to the apartment complex the door man opened it for her, saying his hellos as he would normally would to strangers. When Star was close enough, he winked at her.
"I hope you have a nice afternoon, madam," he said.
She nodded and continued her way up. She made it back to her room and took a shower. Of course, she tossed the wig in the basket as well so it's for her people to clean it up later on. She breathed out as she took a warm bath. She felt so much better then earlier when she was covered in mud, sewage water, and God only know what else.
When she finished she reached for a towel and wrapped it around her wet body. She stepped out and sat down in her little seat and whipped out the hair dryer. She turned it on and started to continue her routine by getting lost in her fantasies of seeing her mother once more for the umpteenth time. She started to hum the melody to her song, "Look to the Stars", something she always kept close to her heart.
She wasn't surprised to notice that there wasn't any light behind her other then the light emitting from the small lamp on the small table. She needn't to guess who it was.
"Where were you?"
"That's for me to know and for you to find out."
"Your wig is filthy. Did you play in the alleys?"
"So what if I did?"
It was quiet. The creatures made some noise but Star was used to them by now. They no longer scared her like they did when she was younger.
"You can't be running off like that all the time. You're no longer 8, Star."
"Thank you, Captain Obvious. But if you simply must know," she said as she turned around to face the Man in Black, "I went out and got Touji."
"Who?" he asked, angrily.
"The famous Celebrity PI. He's out to solve the mystery."
The other was quiet. She smiled and almost laughed at the fact that she'd shut him up for once. She resumed with her hair drying and brushing her hair.
"I don't trust him."
"That's your job, Blackie," she said. After her mother's disappearance, most of Nebula's people had quit on the spot, in fear that the same would happen to them. Except for the Man in Black, of course. He started the initial investigation. When Star's grandfather mysteriously passed away, he took it upon himself to raise Rocky and Star. Star, at first, rejected him at every chance she could and did not allow him in her life at all. Rocky accepted him and tried to get Star to do the same. When they were old enough, the two siblings got into an argument and the Man in Black tried to keep things in contact.
It was only until recently that Star started to welcome him in her life mostly because he was the only other person that was involved in her mother's disappearance. Granted, she'll never admit to the fact that he'll always be part of her life one way or another, but that doesn't stop her from suspecting him. She merely called him Blackie because she never wanted to learn his real name. The way she figured it, she'll find out what is when she's purchasing his tombstone after execution.
"Either way, Star. You really shouldn't sneak out when you should be composing your new song. Your latest single didn't do so well in the charts."
"I will, Blackie," she said in a sing-song tone. The man rolled his eyes as he and the creatures exited the room. "Oh, Blackie? Can you take my outfit to the cleaners?"
The man didn't answer, but Star knew that he had gotten the message.
She got up and grabbed her cellular and turned it on. Once it was on, she checked for new messages from her latest lackeys.
"Oh, that's right. I need to get them their security badges. Ah, they won't need it right away."