Okay, indefinite hiatus is no fun. So after almost three and a half years, I return with the last couple installments. Yes, I was a slacker, back in the day. But no more! Between the ending of Same Time Next Week and the beginning of my arrogantshipping story, I thought I'd get it out of the way. Why not? I plan to do likewise with my Les Mis hiatus-ed story, but that will be a whole lot more work.Uh, thanks for your patience, I guess! Don't own YGO - Enjoy!
I thought to myself as they remained upstairs, making up the guest bed. I really didn't feel like staying in the same house as my worst enemy. I mean, being on the same island had been enough. The same house? I didn't want to think about it.
'Oh come on,' sighed Seth. 'It'll be fine. Think positives! You'll also be in the same house as Serenity.'
I hadn't thought about that, but maybe Seth's mind was just that much more messed up than mine. I didn't see how that could be, as we shared a mind, but whatever. Ugh. I didn't think he meant it that way. I hoped not.
I heard Joey's loud stomping on the stairs. I hoped I wouldn't have that to deal with all night. Then again, I probably would. Oh well. It could be worse. I knew worse, and I didn't want to go there. I immediately thought of Mokuba. I hoped he'd be okay tonight. I'd call at his bed time on my cell phone to make sure. I didn't want to cut into their phone minutes. I felt guilty staying here, really. I knew their finances were tight, and well … being a millionaire but accepting 'charity' from them just didn't feel right.
I tried to get my mind off my cheek, which throbbed, to say the least. My vision was a little clouded over. I was afraid to tell Serenity. She would worry and blame it on herself. There was really nothing more that she could be doing to help, but it was like Serenity to worry anyway.
The siblings walked back into the room, laughing and chatting. I suddenly felt a little like an outsider. They had their own perfect lifestyle together, and I felt as though I was invading or something. It was a queer feeling, not belonging, but I'd felt it too many times before to say it was alien. When we first moved in to the Kaiba mansion, Mokuba and I felt like outsiders. I never really belonged in the role I'd been forced to play.
"I have an idea!" exclaimed Serenity. "Let's invite Yugi and Tristan and Téa and Bakura over! That'll be fun!" I inwardly cringed. She really refused to realize that she was making a bad situation worse. Joey, however, brightened up. Obviously having me here wasn't going to be as terrible if he could share the burden with friends.
"I'll invite Mai, too," he smiled, looking a little dazed. Puppy love, no pun intended.
"And Seto," she continued. "Wanna invite Mokuba over?" I liked that idea. I was going to miss seeing him this evening. I knew he'd like the idea of ordering pizza. I nodded and pulled out my cell phone. Ordinarily I would have stepped into another room to make the call, but moving wasn't exactly the wisest thing to do at the moment. I dialed the number.
"Hello?" a small voice asked on the other line.
"Hey," I said, realizing the change in my own voice after hearing him. The sound of his voice was so comforting I couldn't help but smile a little.
"How are you, Seto?" he asked concernedly.
"I've been better, but I've also been worse," I compromised, not wanting to worry him. "We're going to order a pizza tonight and have sort of a party. Interested in coming over?"
"Are you serious?" he asked, sounding more excited by the second. "Of course! Who else is coming?"
"Well . . . Yugi, Tristan, Téa, Bakura, Mai, and of course, Joey and Serenity," I listed.
"Sweet! I'll be right over," he promised.
"Okay. Have one of the maids drop you off," I suggested.
"I'll just meet up with Yugi, Téa, Bakura, and Tristan at the corner and walk with them. See ya!"
He hung up before I could protest, which was probably for the better. He needed some exercise, and somebody to talk to. Besides, then they'll all be here together. It made more sense, and he'd have fun. I didn't really see a problem with it.
We sat around the living room for the next few minutes, chatting a little, mainly small talk. There wasn't really that much to say. If it weren't for the soft background music, the silence in between conversations might have gotten awkward. That might have been the idea when she put it on.
Suddenly the doorbell rang.
They both jumped up to get it; I stayed put. I shouldn't move too much, and Mokuba was the only one I was really interested in seeing anyway. I heard them greet their friends, but Mokuba ran ahead to the living room.
"Hey Seto!" he dove onto the couch beside me, grinning widely, but his grin faded at the sight of the enormous bruise on my cheek.
"Wow . . . impressive." He sounded somewhat proud and mischievous. I smiled back wearily.
"Yeah. It hurts a little," I reached for the bag of ice.
"I bet," he nodded.
The others returned to the room. Yugi just smiled and said hello. Joey must have prepared him. Téa looked concerned, and Tristan slightly impressed. Mai gave me an odd sidelong wink that I didn't choose to interpret. Instead I looked the other direction.
We sat around, talking as they had before. Serenity turned off the music, as it would have been hard to hear over the din of eight voices anyway. I would have felt even more outside and alone than before, if Mokuba hadn't acted as a mediator of sorts. He was involved in their conversation, being far more of a people-person than I was. He made an effort to include me, which I appreciated. Suddenly, the doorbell rang again.
The Wheeler siblings got up to answer the door, and soon walked back in, carrying the boxes of pizza. They set it down on the table, and Serenity got some place mats and silverware. Along with some napkins, they table was soon ready for us to eat. We sat down.
"Okay," started Joey. "There is no way we are paying for all this pizza."
"It was about thirty dollars, so if we each pay $3, it should cover it," explained Serenity. "Since Joey and I are hosting the party, we'll make up the difference."
There was a little bit of noise as everyone reached for their wallets. I pulled out mine, and spoke up.
"Don't worry about it," I said as I pulled out a twenty and two fives. "I'll cover it."
"Wow, thanks Seto," Serenity smiled, accepting the bills. Everyone was silent for a few minutes as they put the money they had gotten out away. I hoped it didn't look like I was trying to show off. I just didn't see the need for everyone else to have to pay their lunch money for the next day when I could cover that easily. I hadn't meant to make it so awkward.
"Hey!" Serenity spoke up. I jumped; I'm not sure if anyone else did. The silence had been loud, and she had punctured it quite unexpectedly. She continued, oblivious.
"How about we sit in the living room, like a picnic! That'll be fun!" I shrugged.
"That sounds fun!" Joey exclaimed. "I remember when we used to do that."
Joey pulled a picnic blanket out of the top cabinet and moved the coffee table to the corner of the living room. He and Tristan set out the blanket, and we all moved our place settings to the floor. Mokuba grinned. I bet he was having a blast. We never got to do anything like this at home, it was all formal, and we often had associates over for dinner. To tell you the truth, I wasn't having a terrible time either.
The concept of pizza seemed to disturb Seth. I don't think that he had ever had it before.
'What is this stuff?' he whispered. I inwardly suppressed a laugh.
'Are you telling me that this was devised by the Roman Empire?!'
'Just forget it.'
"Pizza rocks," sighed Joey. I couldn't help but agree with him, for once.
"I second," Tristan said with his mouth full. It sounded more like 'Uh fecon'. We nodded in agreement. Yugi laughed, and I couldn't help but smile. Serenity noticed and grinned.
We had a few pieces each, with the exception of Joey and Tristan. It didn't matter though; there was plenty to go around. As we were finishing up, Serenity walked over to the freezer and opened the door. She pulled out a few cartons and placed them on the counter.
"Well, who wants what?" she asked, indicating the three ice creams. I love ice cream, but I haven't had it in forever. And I mean forever. Our adoptive father didn't really tolerate that kind of thing, and well . . . we just never got back into the habit of buying it. My choices were Rainbow Sherbet, Rocky Road, or Cherry Vanilla.
We all rattled off our preferences. Very few people chose Cherry Vanilla; most everyone took either the more sugary option or the more colorful one. When I last had ice cream, I would have done the same, but for some reason vanilla seemed to appeal. I would have had it with chocolate syrup had there not been cherries, but they were my favorite part.
"Okay," smiled Serenity as she pulled out an ice cream scoop and three bowls. "I think I'll join you for Cherry Vanilla, Seto." She added the ice cream to the bowls, and after taking a moment to put the cartons away and get us spoons, she handed the servings out.
"Let's eat them at the table," she suggested. We followed her into the more lit room and took our places around a circular table originally intended for about five people. We were squished, but it hardly mattered. I sat between Serenity and Mokuba.
"Let's play BS!" suggested Joey. They all laughed, but agreed it was a good idea.
"You guys know that you can play that with Duel Monsters cards, right?" asked Mokuba. I smiled, shaking my head. That brought back some old memories. He and I had actually developed that method, back in the orphanage days. We'd go back and forth with the other boys, and I'd most often end up the victor. I'm a pretty good liar, interestingly enough. That wasn't exactly a surprise, as Seth commented, but it certainly helped me to develop my taste for winning.
"Really?" Téa asked in surprise. "I'd say that we should try it, but I don't have my deck with me."
"Well, we could make teams," Yugi suggested. It worked out that Mokuba and I shared my deck, Yugi and Téa shared his, Tristan and Bakura played together with Bakura's, and Mai and Joey argued for a little while over who's deck they would play with. Eventually, they just decided to cut each deck in half and combine them.
"So what are the rules, Mokuba?" Bakura inquired.
"The same as always," my little brother shrugged. "Just go by card type instead of suit, like you would with regular playing cards."
"Easy enough," Mai shrugged. "Everybody ready?"
The consensus seemed positive enough.
"The winner will receive a brand new pack of Skittles!" Serenity declared, holding up a red pack of Original Flavor Skittles. Joey and Tristan's eyes narrowed in competition. "Let's start with Mai and Joey!"
Joey placed a card face-up, which happened to be the Red-Eyes Black Dragon. It was, of course, a dragon-type, and so it followed suit, each person around the circle putting one down face-down on top of it. The game was particularly interesting with Duel Monsters because we all knew each other's decks, and we all knew about the time the others would run out of said type of card and start BS-ing.
Mai was actually the first one to make an accusation, and interestingly enough, it was to me. Unbeknownst to either of them, Mokuba and I were using our old strategy: we'd BS the first few times and when people started getting suspicious, we'd do the real thing. When I picked up the Blue Eyes and smirked, she groaned and collected the large pile of cards on the table. Joey, too, seemed frustrated and asked if we had to play teams. When she hit him upside the head, however, he again quieted down.
The game continued for a good hour, until Bakura and Tristan managed to empty their hand.
"Wow, I never thought that you guys would win," Joey pointed out all-too honestly. Tristan was reaching over to hit him about how Mai had when Yugi got between them.
"You guys, this has nothing to do with dueling skill," he pointed out. "It's just that none of us know what Bakura's deck has, anyway."
"That's true," Tristan agreed, putting his hand down. "But I'm still not sharing my half of the Skittles."
"Fine," Joey stuck out his tongue. "I don't want your Skittles, anyway."
It took us the better part of the next half-hour to sort out everyone's decks. Finally, when they were all back to the way that they had been before the game began, people getting ready to go.
"Well, it was great and all, but I've got to go to dance practice," said Tea as she stood up.
"Yeah," agreed Yugi. "I should probably go and work on the PowerPoint presentation for history tomorrow."
All the color drained from Serenity's face.
"T-t-tomorrow?" she choked out. I had only finished it a few days ago. It was gigantic.
"I haven't even started on it!" she wailed. I bit my lip. This was a huge grade. If she didn't turn this in tomorrow, she had the potential of failing 10th grade history.
"Well, then you should probably get started," Joey acknowledged. She bit her lip and nodded, dashing upstairs. After she left, the guests somewhat dissipated, and the party seemed to be at and end. Joey started cleaning up, and after hugging Mokuba goodbye I moved back to the living room to replace the ice on my cheek.
'So, this sounds bad,' mused Seth. I silently nodded.
'If she fails this project, she'll most likely flunk the class.'
'Good thing,' he started deviously, 'that she has a computer expert staying over at her house tonight.'
That was so brilliant; I didn't know what I hadn't thought of it sooner.