Here's the so wished for chapter! (Hahaha, I wish.) But there is a lot of mushiness... I think.

Disclaimer: I'm just a daydreaming writer... who puts everything else aside and writes, writes, writes. (Another way of saying that I love to procrastinate! Argh... but homework looks so unappealing....) ^_^


Love's Promise

Chapter Two: Promise

By: Enchanted Pink Jade

*~*~*~*~*

"The only reason why Saint Nick is always so jolly is because he knows where all the naughty girls live," Akito said disdainfully, followed by a collection of laughter from the boys, and indignant gasps from the girls. "All you girls better board up your chimneys tonight."

"Akito! How can you say that?" Sana exclaimed furiously, after successfully hitting him on the head three times in a row. "And on Christmas Eve, too! You're unbelievably twisted!"

Akito rubbed his hammer-abused head and carefully chose his next words. "It's just another way of looking at things..."

Sana was about to let out another round of verbal assault when her manager interrupted.

"Want me to throw him out of the house, Sana?" Rei stepped towards Akito, cracking his knuckles and flexing what muscles he thought he had.

Sana blinked and eyed him warily, as if he held in his hands a whip that was ready to lash upon its victim. "What are you talking about? Akito is one of the guests of honor!" she proclaimed. Rei stared stupidly after Sana, as she ran off to another group of friends, her anger forgotten.

Hayama? Guest of honor? The over protective manager couldn't grasp the concept... couldn't connect that Hayama gaki to the word 'honor', much less 'guest'. On the verge of tears, he lowered his head in defeat.

Akito chose that moment to pour salt on his already injured wound. "Give it up, Gigolo. She's gonna take my side over yours anytime now. Get used to it." And with that said, he walked away with a smug air that only served to infuriate Rei all the more.

He watched as Akito made his way towards Sana, who chatted animatedly about the times of way back when. Truth be told, he didn't really want the karate kid to be there at all, but what choice did he have? None, of course. And yet... as he observed him and Sana a little longer, he found an unusual sort of peace in his heart, and he calmed down.

Rei knew that Akito would never hurt Sana, not intentionally. He could tell just by looking at the way Akito stood next to the child actress. Rei, knowing his family history, noticed that the boy always seemed to be on guard, more so now that he knew how to fight. But his stance always relaxed a little to be inviting only to Sana, which was probably the reason why he was never able to intimidate her. It was because of this that she had a sense of security. Sana had a fierce protector, and she wasn't even aware of it.

"Sana! This is a slammin' party!" Fuka declared over the chatter. Sana only grinned in response, before she remembered that Fuka couldn't stay for long.

"You said that you had to leave early?"

"Um... yeah." She glanced at her watch. "Pretty soon I think."

Sana grimaced. "Oh! You can't leave yet! You haven't had Sana's Secret Surprise yet!" Then she went to go find her manager.

Fuka looked to Akito in question. "What's a Sana's Surprise Secret?"

"No idea," he replied disinterestedly. He was curious himself, though he thought that it was some game that she came up with. He couldn't have been more wrong. She came about with her manager and mother's editor in tow. Both her heaving enormous sacks in each hand. Sana then called for attention and began to explain.

"It's time for Sana's Secret Surprise!" She motioned for Rei and Onda to come forward. They removed the items from the sacks and placed them on the tables nearby. They were gifts. All with different sizes, different colors, and different wrapping designs. The only thing they had in common was that they were numbered. Sana pulled out two small baskets, one white and the other blue, that contained what looked to be folded pieces of papers. "These are going to be your presents. There were just too many of you, so I decided to do it this way. The guys pick a paper from the white basket, and the girls from the blue one. Whatever number you draw out is the gift you get!"

Murmurs of excitement gushed from the crowd until someone, a male, spoke up. "Why can't the guys choose from the blue basket?"

Sana grinned. "Unless you guys want to end up with make-up kits and handbags, you pick from the white basket."

Point taken, Sana handed the white basket to Rei, and the blue one to Onda, who passed it around to everyone. Rei skipped Akito completely. "She doesn't want you getting one from here, little brat." Akito only shrugged and retreated off to the back to watch everyone else discover what surprise Sana had in store for him or her. The door rang and Sana asked Akito to get it for her, as she'd be right over.

He was taken aback when he saw who it was on the other side. Neither knew what to say to each other, and an uncomfortable silence engulfed them both. Akito was saved from having to say anything as Sana came by.

On her doorstep was a boy she had never seen before, and he looked a little anxious standing there. In his right hand he held a small gift-wrapped package. He was the first to speak.

"Hi, uh... Kurata-san." The hand that wasn't holding the gift went behind his head as he gave a shaky smile. He put his hand down and coughed, before deciding to put his flittering hand in his coat pocket, where it would be less likely to move as much.

Sana smiled, oblivious to his distress. "Are you here for my party? I don't remember having seen you before, but I've always had bad memory." Akito tapped her on the shoulder, but she waved him away impatiently with her hand, as if he were an annoying fly that hung around her all day.

The boy spoke again. "Not 'sactly-"

"What now Akito?" He'd tapped her on the shoulder again. "Tell me later." She turned back her back on him. "Who are you? Don't mean to be rude..."

"Takaishi Yuta," he said, and bowed.

Sana paused, then pointed at him. "You're Takaishi? You look like a Takaishi..." Sana nodded in affirmation. Akito had a weird sense of Dèja Vu, but almost choked when he heard the dense actress's next words. "That name sounds familiar somehow..." Akito looked at the girl incredulously.

"I sure hope so. You told me once yourself that you already felt like you knew me," Yuta said, his uneasiness seeping away.

Sana put her finger up to her lips in thought. Akito brought his hand up to his face. The girl was hopeless. Just hopeless. He was about to tell her just how clueless he thought she was when Fuka came.

She smiled at the sight of him, and a shade of pink tinted her cheeks. "Yuta! You're here! Just let me get my stuff n' we can go."

This was when it finally dawned on Sana. "Wait. Yuta. As in Takaishi Yuta?" He nodded. Silence... and then, "OH MY GOD! You're Takaishi!" With this revelation, she went back inside to track Fuka down.

Both guys were left there with nothing to say... "Not very fast on the uptake, is she?" Yuta asked finally. Akito shook his head ruefully, though he said nothing. Instead, he decided to admire how the snow fell slowly to the ground. His eye would lock onto one snowflake and follow its journey down. Once it landed, he looked up to pick another to trail.

Yuta cleared his throat. "So, how are you Sana doing?" Akito looked up sharply, his gaze pierced through Yuta's inquiring look. "I uh... I've just heard everything from Fuka. That's all." Akito's lack of response made Yuta queasy all over again.

"About Fuka-"

Yuta shook his head. "Ya don't have to explain anythin'. I think I can understand," he said quietly, remembering Shizu, and feeling a small pinch of remorse. But it was she who had broken up with him first. They had been on a "date", or at least, they were supposed to be. And as per usual, his mind was wandering endlessly. He knew that he should've been paying more attention to Shizu, but he couldn't have helped it any more than he could have stopped breathing. Not when his mind was constantly on another someone.

Shizu couldn't fail to notice this. And it was on this day that she'd asked if he still loved her. He didn't even have to ask who the "her" was that she was referring to. He stopped walking and turned to face Shizu, his head bowed in shame and embarrassment. He opened his mouth to speak, but she held up her hand and shook her head. She smiled and gave him a small hug. He didn't know what to do, but before she left him standing like an idiot on the street, she told him to go back to her.

To Fuka.

He wanted to. He did. But there was still one factor that was in his way. Akito. He'd remembered on his visit there how happy Fuka had looked with her 'boyfriend', and he wasn't about to be the one who would take that away from her. So he never called, nor did he bother to inform Fuka of his new number and address. But then he came home one day, with his mom telling him that he had a call from someone named Akito. And now he was here, picking up Fuka for their date.

Akito looked carefully at Yuta for awhile, thinking along the same lines. "Take care of her then- make her happy the way I wasn't able to."

Yuta blinked at the request and nodded. "I will." He wasn't sure, but he thought that he just made another friend.

Inside, Sana and Fuka were taking their time getting back to the boys.

"Fuka this is great! And you're going by first names- so familiar with each other! Why didn't you tell me of this? When did this happen? How? Did you call him after I gave you his number?" Sana gushed, barely taking in a few breaths.

Fuka blushed a little more. "No. He called me... and- well... We just started talking. One thing led to another. We met a coupla times... and we kinda decided to go somewhere for my birthday. Actually, he did. I still have no idea where we're goin'."

"Oh Fuka! This is great. He's the reason why you have to leave early. "

"Yeah... it's always been a little dream of mine, to be able to spend my birthday with my boyfriend. And here I am, just about to do that."

"Go Fuka! You foxy girl you! If I'd known, I'd have done something special for the both of you and-"

"Which was exactly the reason why I didn't tell you," Fuka said as a matter-of-factly when they reached the front. Sana grinned, despite her efforts to keep from bursting. Fuka walked calmly over to Yuta's side and took hold of his hand. "We'll be leaving now. I'll see you guys tomorrow. Bye Sana. And Aki, you behave!" They both turned to leave when Sana screamed for them to stop. She called her manager over, who still had the white basket in his hands, and asked Yuta to pick out a paper. Akito rolled his eyes, but was inwardly amused. Leave it to Sana to remember something like that at a time like this.

Yuta, unsure what it was about, still drew out a paper as he was asked. He opened it on Fuka's coaxing, and read out loud, "36."

"Rei, bring me 36!" Sana clapped her hands. Her manager came back quickly with gift #36 and handed it to Sana, who handed it over to Yuta. "Here's your Christmas gift! Have fun you two!"

Both pairs waved to each other and called their 'good nights' and 'Merry Christmas's'. (Happy Birthday for Fuka.) Sana closed the door as the couple disappeared into the night.

Sana sighed happily. "Wow, who would've known...? I wonder what was in gift 36... That's right! I almost forgot your present, Akito!"

"You're not gonna make me pick a number, are you?"

"No! I bought yours especially. I didn't want you to end up with any random thing." Out of nowhere, she produced a small bundle and handed it to him. He opened it. It was a stuffed animal this time. A cheetah. "Heehee... I don't know why. But when I saw it, it reminded me of you. So I bought it. Do you like it?" she asked nervously.

"I don't hate it..."

Sana beamed and let go of her doubts. "Where's my present? You did get me something this time, right?"

Akito pricked at the words 'this time', but nodded in response. "I'll give it to you later."

"Okay! I have to go find Aya and tell her about Fuka! See ya Akito, enjoy the rest of the party!"

*~*~*~*~*

"Wow... look at this mess," Sana proclaimed, looking around. It was now close to midnight. Aya and Tsuyoshi had been the last to leave, along with Gomi and Hisae. That was about thirty minutes ago, though Tsuyoshi was a little reluctant to leave. Akito still hadn't given Sana her present. He felt uneasy, but whatever Sana did to Akito, he probably deserved. So he waved the worry goodbye and left with a clear conscious.

"A mess is what you get after throwing a party," Akito said from his perch on the couch.

Sana wrinkled her nose and chucked a pillow at him. "Wait, later is now! Where's my present?"

"Where's your mom and Sunglasses guy?"

"Probably already in their rooms. Don't change the subject! What did you get for me?"

Akito hesitated, then- "What would you say if I'd gotten you a wonder bra?"

"Nani? What did you say?" Sana said slowly, thinking that she couldn't have possibly heard him right. A wonder bra?

"I did think about getting you that last Christmas, but I didn't know your size... Your present cost me a fortune. Cost more than everything else I bought put together."

Sana, already shaking with rage and disbelief, couldn't string two coherent sentences together. "You- Present- Bought.... Akito..." she said through gritted teeth. It must've pained her, Akito thought, for her expression was anything but pleasant. He saw the telltale signs and ran. "Come back here and face me like the mouse you are!" She chased after him and saw that he was headed for her room. "Akito!" She barged into her room and screamed into the darkness. "That was a waste of your money! You shouldn't even have bothered wi-"

Akito shut the door behind her and pushed her against it gently, but the force was still strong enough to take the wind from her breath. Akito left her no time to respond as he leaned down until their lips grazed in a tender kiss. Sana was glad for the support that the wall gave her, for she was sure that her knees would have collapsed then.

"You don't play by the rules," Sana said weakly as he reluctantly pulled away from her.

A chuckle arose from deep in his throat. She liked the sound of it. "What rules?"

Sana's anger started to build up again, as she remembered how she ended up there in the first place. "Did you really get me a bra?" she demanded up at him.

"No. I was just wondering how you would react is all."

"Then-"

"The kiss. Did you like it?"

"Nani?" The guy was unbelievable! Sana was about to about to pull out her hammer when he spoke again.

"Kiss me back."

Sana looked up at him in bewilderment. "What?" she asked breathlessly. Akito took a step back, and another one, his eyes never leaving her face. A long pause followed- neither uttered a sound. Was there such a thing as living even when your heart has ceased its beating? That's what Akito asked himself as Sana took one step closer. His heart stopped completely, while hers accelerated like crazy. She was certain that he could hear it from where he stood.

Akito now understood what those lovesick idiots meant when they said something about discovering the unknown. He had officially become one of those idiots. For the first time in his life, he had that indescribable feeling that time has stopped.

But the world was still moving.

Around them...

Beneath them...

Inside them...

Sana never looked away once- it wasn't possible even if she'd wanted to. Seemed like last year's Christmas all over again. It was his eyes. So mesmerizing as they poured into hers all the love he felt. Only this time, she knew how he felt. How she felt. She could only hope that her own eyes mirrored his.

Sana took the step that closed the distance between them so that she was now staring into the base of his neck. She wasn't able to hear his sharp intake of breath- she was more caught up in her own thoughts. Bit by bit, she raised her head only to look into his expectant and hopeful gaze. It took all of Akito's training in karate, mustering his self-control to keep from taking her in arms and doing the deed himself. This was different. This was her choice.

She was so close to him, she could smell his scent. A little crisp like the autumn air, it intoxicated her mind. She placed her hands on his shoulders and raised her face to his. Softly, she pressed her lips with his, just like he would do. Akito gave up on his self-control and wound his left arm around her waist to bring her closer and to deepen the kiss.

When they broke off, Sana laid her head in the crook of his neck and sighed contentedly, and he rested his chin on top of her head. They stayed that way for what seemed like hours, until he spoke up again. "Here, let me give you your present."

Sana looked up. "What? There's more?"

He smirked. "More what? What were you thinking about?"

"Nothing!" she said, and buried her head back onto his shoulder. Sana was thankful for the darkness of her room, it was able to hide her embarrassment. Akito chortled and pulled something out from his pocket. It was a ring. A silver band with a simple design, but intricate nonetheless. He slipped it into her left pinky finger. "Oh! Akito... it's beautiful... What's the ring stand for?"

Akito admired the way it fit snugly onto her finger. He'd guessed right. Size 4. "A promise."

"What promise?"

"Our promise. Just our promise."

Love's Promise.

*~*~*~*~*

Author's Note: Woohoo! Me is finished! Well? Was there too much sugar? Or maybe I put lemon instead? Salt? I dunno why I'm asking with those words... I think I'm hungry. Yeah, that's gotta be it. Anyways, that part up there where Sana had just gotten into her room, I didn't copy that from the manga, just to let you know. I had the whole thing planned, started writing it, and got lazy... I wanted to get this story out before the 9th book came out... But as you can see, that never happened. ^_^ Hey, at least I wrote it, didn't I?

How many of you honestly thought for awhile that Akito got Sana a bra? Hehehe. He got her a ring instead. ::grins:: But it irks me, really irks me that someone was able to see through me, and hope/guess that it was a ring that he was gonna give her. Oh well. L0L

Hm... what I want to know is if I'd overdone it here... Yeah... But it's finished!

And thanks so much for your reviews! I loved all of 'em! They helped me get off my lazy butt. ^_^

Anyways, until next time! (In a different story)

~Enchanted Pink Jade

E-mail: Lyricalaznangel@aol.com