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It was a gorgeous summer day with minimal clouds dotting the vibrant blue sky. The sun's warm rays shined upon the blooming flowers and energetic people enjoying the park. Tk and Kari were no exception. They took advantage of the good weather and abandoned their homework to laze in the sun. They strolled along a less popular dirt trail until reaching their secret plot of grass. It was surrounded by shrubs on three sides and even if someone else was enjoying the trail, they'd be unlikely to notice the pair lounging.
They'd talk for over an hour about school, their friends, and of course their large headed brothers but now a comfortable silence lulled them towards sleep along with the sun's rays. Kari's head rested on Tk's hard stomach while they both peered upward with drooping eyes. There breathing was in sync which surprised neither. They had been friends for so long it was easy to harmonize their rhythm. Their brothers thought it was a combination of creepy and cute, and they never hesitated to tease the pair. They were adamant that boy-girl friendships couldn't be harmless and soon they'd be brothers-in-law.
Over the years Kari and Tk had flushed red, denied their claims, and let them have their laughs. Nonetheless, it never ceased. Not even when they'd been dating other people.
Today, Kari was two weeks post breakup and Tk had been single for more than a month. It had been a few years since they'd both been unattached at the same time and everyone seemed to be waiting for them to get together. Tai had even mentioned it the night before and his words rattled in Kari's head, Why do you keep dating such dicks? You've already got Tk. Stop fooling yourself and snag him.
Without thinking Kari asked aloud sleepily, "Tk, do you want to go out?"
"Where to?" Tk said in a deep and smooth voice. His voice was one of his finest features besides his blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. Kari always felt that he managed to sound gentle and strong at the same time.
"It doesn't matter," Kari replied, "I just want to go somewhere date-like."
As Kari heard the words repeated back to her she flushed and was no longer sleepy. She couldn't believe she had started this conversation. Stupid Tai was in her head. Nonetheless, she couldn't turn away now. "Yeah, I want to go on a date with you."
Tk didn't immediately respond and Kari wondered what was going through his head. To get a glimpse of it through his facial expressions she sat up and faced him. He too raised his upper body into a sitting position. His eyebrows were furrowed when he asked, "Why do you want to go on a date with me?"
Kari cheeks remained flushed as she explained, "I'm not sure. Everyone, especially Tai, has always been telling me I should date you. We're both single now and I guess I'm just curious about why everyone harasses us. What do they see?"
"So you want to go on a date to prove that we tried it and get them to shut up?"
Kari hit Tk's arm lightly, "It sounds terrible when you say it like that?" Kari paused and looked up at Tk's eyes. As usual their were watching her intensely and she could imagine the thoughts running through his head. "But yes, that what I'm thinking."
"That's not romantic," Tk sighed and scratched the back of his head, "but I get what you mean. I wouldn't mind putting an end to Matt's jests."
"So, is that a yes?"
Tk shrugged, "Yes."
Kari turned to lay back down on Tk's chest but he was still upright so she settled for resting her head in his lap. She looked up at the sky and noted her best friend looking down at her kindly. "Can I ask something selfish of you?"
Tk smiled his quirky smily with the left side of his face more raised then the rest. "Lay it on me."
"Can we not tell everyone right away?"
Tk laughed and his whole body shook, "Isn't that the point of this? Make an effort to quiet all the busybodies in our life?"
"Yes, but if we tell them now it will be overwhelming. I can just imagine Mimi and Sora breaking down my apartment door and throwing my clothes everywhere to find a perfect outfit for our date. Their enthusiasm is destructive."
Tk laughed again and Kari joined him.
"It's true, you can't contain those two." Tk swept her eyes away from Kari and watched a bee buzz past him towards a nearby tree. "Will you promise me something, too?"
Tk paused and Kari felt her heart rate quicken.
"Promise that nothing will change our friendship."
Kari sat up as quick as lightening and faced him, "Never! Tk, you my best friend. Nothing and no one will ever change that."
Tk smiled. "I think I overheard you uttering those same words to Yuki Mizuki two weeks ago. He didn't like hearing that."
Kari flushed. She'd specifically avoided telling Tk the details of her recent breakup but it was evident that he'd witnessed the incident. "Yuki was a jealous prick. He didn't understand our friendship."
"He'll probably punch me when he finds out I'm taking you on a real date so soon after your breakup."
Kari paled, "Another reason to wait to tell anyone about this."
Tk laughed and climbed to his feet. He offered a hand down to Kari. She eyed it curiously. "C'mon, I've got to go home and research someplace both secretive and romantic to take you to for our first date."
Kari grabbed Tk's hand and let him pull her up. "Nothing too fancy. We are still poor college students."
"Secretive, romantic, and cheap. Sounds easy." Tk gave off another dorky grin and Kari playfully pushed him again. "Not even my girlfriend yet and you're already abusive."
Kari flushed again and looked up at Tk's face. His gaze was focused forward but she could see a slight reddening of his cheek. It was one thing to talk about going on a single date. It was another to think of herself as Tk's girlfriend. He must have thought the same thing.
Kari didn't need Mimi and Sora's help tearing apart her closet. She surprised herself and did it all on her own. It was difficult to choose a first date outfit when the first date was with her best friends for over a decade. He'd likely seen everything she owned. Luckily, she'd had enough foresight to pick out her outfit in the morning and, considering she had nothing desirable in her closet, she could still make it to the mall to pick up something new before said date.
With the help of a sales assistant who she'd unexpectedly and nervously explained the entire situation to, she walked away was a simple light pink dress. The neckline was lower than Kari normally wore but the sales assistant had insisted the dress fit her perfectly and a sweater could remedy any other concerns. Kari had agreed.
Kari was back at her apartment by noon, and had no sooner sat on the couch when her phone began to ring. She noted happily it was her brother.
"Hey, baby sister. What are you doing tonight?"
"Tk and I have plans." Kari was a terrible liar and knew her brother would see right through her so she stuck with the truth - minus the "date" part.
"Perfect, Mimi is inviting everyone to her studio to try out some new recipes. You guys in?"
"Ah," Kari stumbled, "actually we can't. We're meeting with a study group for our English class. The group, myself included, won't survive our next test without Tk's help." This also wasn't a complete lie. They did have a study group, but it happened to be tomorrow night.
"Ok, your education is definitely the priority. I'm going to need your brains to support me when I turn old and ugly."
Kari laughed, "You're already old and ugly."
"How dare you?" Tai mocked he was offended, "my precious little sister has turned so mean."
"Only because I love you so much and I think you deserve to know the truth," Kari continued to laugh. She'd never fool anyone into thinking she was mean.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love you, Kar."
"Love you, too."
"I gotta go. My teammates have finally recovered from their last beating."
Kari said her goodbyes and let Tai return to soccer practice. She looked at the clock. She still had five hours before she needed to get ready and may as well as attempt some homework.
Tk arrived at Kari's doorstep a quarter till seven. He was wearing dark slacks with a matching jacket and a simple white button up. To complete the look was a striped fedora on top of his shimmering head.
"What's with this thing?" Kari asked while reaching on her tippy toes and grabbing the hat from his head.
"Hey, give that back," he said while running after Kari into her apartment. She stopped in front of a mirror and tried the hat on herself. When turning around her smile was radiant.
"I think I just lost my hat. It looks much better on you," Tk pouted.
"Nah," Kari said standing on tip toes again to replace the hat, "you're more of a hat person."
Tk smiled with thanks then swept his eyes over Kari. He tried not to linger and make her uncomfortable but she looked fantastic. "Did you buy a new dress just for me?"
Kari flushed, "Maybe."
"I like it. As usual you look beautiful."
"So do you," Kari motioned at Tk's get up, "I see why they call you a suave heartbreaker."
"I think you've confused me for my brother."
Kari linked arms with Tk and walked him to the front door, "Nah, it's you."
Tk chose not to respond and instead led Kari to a quaint Italian restaurant he'd heard about from friends. It was reasonably priced and in a less trafficked part of town where they'd be unlikely to run into anyone familiar. The entire meal was an ease. Tk and Kari acted no different from usual. If not for the setting, it wouldn't have been a date.
The evening was warm so they decided to walk most of the way home rather than take the train, and they walked with linked arms. Since Tk had paid for dinner, Kari insisted of buying ice cream along the way. Finally, as it was nearing eleven they arrived back at Kari's door.
"You want to come it?" Kari asked while fumbling for her key.
"Kari, don't tell me you ask that after every first date?"
Kari flushed and stared at Tk speechless.
"I'm kidding," he laughed. "I know you wouldn't do that."
Kari regained her words, "Of course I wouldn't. Tai would have a heart attack and ground me for life."
"You're an adult, I'm pretty sure he can't do that."
"He'd find a way," Kari said seriously. She unlocked the front door and held it open for Tk.
"It's actually best if I go home," Tk said regretfully, "I've got an early basketball practice tomorrow."
"Oh," Kari replied and awkwardly stood by the door. "It was fun tonight."
"It's always fun being with you, Kari," Tk said with a smile. He looked too damn charming all dressed up and smiling like that. Kari felt a measure of jealousy towards all the woman that had seen this sight before her.
"You, too, Tk."
Tk looked meaningly at Kari and she simply returned his gaze in wonder. After several moment of silence he said softly, "Should I end this first date with a kiss?"
"A kiss? Do you think that's weird?"
Tk shrugged, "Didn't we promise to stay friends no matter what? If this first date kiss goes horribly wrong we'll pretend it didn't happen."
Kari nodded her head, "I guess you're right."
"Ok," Tk said while taking a step closer and cupping her face, "here I go."
Kari closed her eyes and felt the softness Tk's lips upon hers. He was gentle and sweet, and soon a warmth started spreading throughout her body. Her hands were paralyzed against her sides but her lips pressed back greedily. Soon, Tk coaxed her lips apart just enough so that he could invade her mouth but the moment their tongues met he jerked away.
Kari opened her eyes and saw Tk had taken a step back. He gave her a quick lopsided smiled and said hurriedly, "Goodnight, Kari." He left.
Kari shut the door and leaned up against it in wonder. Her hand traveled to her lips and lightly touched them. She couldn't really explain the myriad of emotions within her, but she understood that Tk's kiss was significant. At least more significant than all the other boys she'd kissed. Nonetheless, she wasn't smiling.
Kari didn't know what the kiss meant.
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