"You are no longer alone." The words of her father echoed in the head of the boyish fairy princess. "I'm not alone? Is it that obvious?" The doubts that had plagued her since that night in the woods came back to haunt her, just what did Cocoloo see in her?
"Belbel?" Her voice seemed distant, somewhat hollow in the darkness.
"Hai, Master?" the overly bubbly steward replied, her tiny hands brushing sleep from her eyes.
"I'm sorry... I didn't mean to wake you." the fairy princess said, the words filled with concern.
"It's ok, Master, I am not sleepy tonight," the young fairy responded. "Do you need me to move?" The fairy rolled slightly in the space where she lay, the space between her mistresses small breasts her favorite bed.
"No, no..." Beth replied. "I, um... well... um... I need to ask you something..."
"Yes, Master, anything?" the fairy steward's eyes lighting up. "I am all ears, desu."
"Um... its about... Cocoloo..." Beth starts, then stops as the steward grins at her.
"Yes?" the tiny fairy replied.
"Would you be concerned... um... if... um..." the princess candidate started.
"No Master!" Belbel said loudly, perhaps a bit too loud cause she blushed deeply at the sound of her own voice. "Cocoloo-sama is good for Master."
"Good as a friend, you mean?" Beth said, uncertainly.
Belbel gazed deeply into her Master's eyes. "Good for Beth-sama."
"Even if..." Beth started but cannot finish the sentance.
"Even if you fall in love with her?" Belbel finished.
Beth stares at her diminuitive steward. "Am I the last to know?"
"Oh no Master!" Belbel chimes, "Belbel is certain Yucie doesn't know, desu!"
"I know you meant that to comfort me." Beth said, her eyes narrowing.
"Yes, Master. Belbel is sorry..."
"But she's a girl!" Beth says.
"Yes, Master. Cocoloo is a girl."
"And I'm a girl.... I know I don't really look like one..." the princess candidate begins.
"Yes, Master looks like a girl." the tiny steward pokes at one of her master's breasts. "Even here. Totally girl-like. Desu."
Beth blushes. "Stop that." She laughs. Then stops. "Did I just laugh?" Belbel nods. "Yes, desu."
"You really... think it would be ok if Cocoloo and I..." the pink haired fairy begins.
"It isn't... you know... wrong?"
Belbel stares at Beth. "If you love her, how could it be wrong?"
Beth thinks about that for a while, her silence broken when her steward yawns deeply. "I'm sorry Belbel, I'm keeping you up..."
"Don't worry about it, Master. I'm your steward and... your friend."
"Thanks." the pink haired Platinum Princess candidate says, "I mean it, I don't know how I would have made it without you, Bel-chan."
"No problem, desu." the softly glowing fairy steward replies.
"You don't by any chance know where Cocoloo is?" Beth asks.
"I could ask Chou," the steward replies, "hold on." She then pulls out a tiny cellphone and pushes on the buttons. She finishes her call and turns back to the princess. "I'll show you the way, desu." Her wings glow and she lifts into the air.
"But..." Beth begins.
"No buts... Chou agrees." Belbel says firmly. "You and Cocoloo need each other, we'll do anything we can for you... And that means all of us, Cube and Balthazar also... We all care about you. All of you. Yucie and Arrow-sama, Grenda and Ermina-sama... We will do anything for you and the ones you love."
"Wait... Grenda and Ermina?" Beth stutters.
"Hello! Blind desu?" Belbel says. "Its so obvious... they fight to cover it up, but... We're not sure they're even aware yet, but..." The steward pauses. "I shouldn't have said... I'm sorry, Master."
"It's just..." Beth looks stunned, then beams, "well, well, well... I don't feel as... weird about liking Cocoloo now."
"Good desu." the steward replies, "it is good you like her, she likes you, very good. Now... no more dawdling, we go find her and you kiss the girl."
"HEY!" Beth says.
"What? You weren't going to..." Belbel teases.
"But..." Beth says.
"Teehee." Belbel giggles as she flies off, hovering to wait for her Master to catch up at even intervals. "This way desu!" she says from time to time, her glow brightening as she gets closer and closer to the house where Cocoloo and Chou have been living, a truly haunted house since their arrival from the spirit world.
Beth lingers at the doorway, lifting her arm to knock, then lowering it again, her body shivering nervously. "I can do this. I can do this. I can do this." she chants inside her head. Then finally knocks at the door, jumping backwards as she realizes her hand has passed through the insubstantial form of the girl she has just realized she loves.
Cocoloo giggles and smiles at Beth. "That tickles you know."
"Um... yeah... um... sorry." the pink haired princess says, her eyes locked on the dirt in front of the door.
"Chou said you were coming... is there something wrong? Do we need to get Yucie?" Cocoloo asks, her feet coming into the view of Beth's eyes, still gazing directly at the dirt of the road. "There must be, you forgot your shoes! Quickly, come inside and I'll get you a washcloth and some slippers." A look of concern is evident in the blue haired girl's face, but Beth doesn't see it, her gaze still locked on the ground.
"Um... thanks." Beth manages to stutter.
"I'll go home now," Belbel says, whispering in her master's ear. "Don't worry, be yourself, be happy, she loves you, you love her, just reach out..."
Beth blushes at Belbel's words as the fairy wings away and Cocoloo opens her door.
"Please come in, Beth," the ghost-girl says, smiling at the fairy princess.
"Sorry for the intrusion, maybe I should come back...."
"No!" Cocoloo says, then steps back, shocked at her outburst, "I mean... its ok, I want you to come in. Please..." she nearly begs, rather than requests.
"Ok..." Beth climbs the three steps and walks into Cocoloo's house.
Cocoloo leads her from the entranceway, showing off the rooms of her haunted mansion. "You wouldn't believe this place was unoccupied when I got here, they said it was haunted." The Princess of the Spirit World giggles. "No ghosts here but me!" She laughs, uncharacteristically Beth notes. "It must be Yucie's influence, she wasn't open like this..." Beth remembers how Cocoloo used to act, all closed off and shy, seemingly scared of her own shadow and easily overlooked, not the confident, beautiful girl that Beth watches walk from room to room in the slightly rundown, but still well-kept mansion.
The pair enter the bathroom, and Cocoloo wets a washcloth. The ghostly princess looks at her friend and motions to a bench. "Please, have a seat." she orders.
"I can... do this myself." Beth replies, embarassed.
"No, please... let me..."
Beth looks at the other girl, seeing the set look in her eye and shrugs, sitting on the bench. Cocoloo kneels down and lifts Beth's right foot from the floor. Beth watches as the seemingly frail, bespectacled girl rubs the road dirt softly from the bottom of her foot, the feeling oddly pleasant and causing a strange reaction in her body.
"Um, Cocoloo..." she says, gazing down at the princess kneeling before her.
"Yes?" the blue haired girl says, gazing up at her, her small round glasses falling down her nose again.
"Um..." Beth starts, then shifts slightly on the bench. "You really.. don't..." she loses concentration as Cocoloo starts cleaning off her other foot.
"Huh?" Cocoloo says, "Is there something wrong?"
"Um, not wrong," Beth begins, biting back the sensations running through her body as Cocoloo tenderly rubs her foot. "I've been..." she moans slightly, despite her best efforts.
"Are you ok?" Cocoloo asks, her face filled with concern upon hearing her friend moan. "Does it hurt?" Beth blushes. "Do you have a fever?" Cocoloo stands up and leans toward Beth.
"No... no..." Beth says, as Cocoloo leans toward her, visions of the kisses they shared in the forest replaying in her mind, then the cool feeling of Cocoloo's forehead touching her own.
"You don't seem to be running a fever," Cocoloo says, the concern still in her voice.
Beth looks up at her. "Cocoloo... do you..." she begins, then suddenly, "the heck with it." She lifts up slightly and touches her lips to those of Cocoloo, her hands reaching up to pull the other girl toward her.
"Mmmmbemmmth", Cocoloo mumbles into the other girl's mouth.
The two part. Cocoloo blushes. As does Beth. The two linger in the small room wordlessly until Cocoloo breaks the silence. "What took you so long?"
Beth's jaw drops. Cocoloo laughs at her friend. "I thought you... didn't like me. That what we did in the forest was... a mistake." the white haired girl stammers.
"It wasn't a mistake, it was..." Beth pauses searching for the words, "marvelous."
Cocoloo giggles. "It was... since then... well... I've wondered."
"You too?" Beth admits. "It seems like every time I get close to you, well, there's Yucie... And Grenda and Ermina... And you know... stuff breaking."
Cocoloo laughs. "Well, they aren't here..." she smiles at Beth. "Would you kiss me again?" Beth nods and they kiss again. And again. And again. And again.
The finally part, laughing and breathing heavily. "I think..." Cocoloo begins.
"We need somewhere more comfortable than this bench if we keep it up?" Beth says.
"Can fairies read minds?" Cocoloo asks.
"No," Beth giggles. "But, it was obvious."
"Follow me." Cocoloo says, pulling the pink haired girl out of the bathroom and into the hallway. She tugs at her, noticing that Beth is lingering behind. "Are you checking me out?" she asks. Beth blushes and nods, causing Cocoloo to giggle. "I'm growing up nicely," she says, causing Beth to cough. "You too by the way." the ghostly princess says, looking closely at her friend.
The couple walk hand in hand down the hallway, lingering to kiss from time to time in the cool darkness until they finally reach a door. Cocoloo reaches out and opens the doorway and pulls Beth in behind her.
They kiss again, then Cocoloo leads her beloved princess to the bed. The two girls sit down, their hands clasped together. They gaze into each others eyes, smile and kiss again. The door creaks shut loudly, causing the two princess candidates to jump, then fall backwards giggling in a pile.
Beth rolls over to half-lay on top of Cocoloo and brushes the ghost-girl's hair from her eyes. She looks down into Cocoloo's eyes and whispers, "now what?" Cocoloo giggles and rolls Beth onto her back. "This..."