I have updated! Be happy... be very very happy. Yep... I have nothing else to say. Oh, and for some reason, that line button that allows you to put in a line between paragraphs isn't working... hasn't been working for the past week or more maybe. So I have to come up with some other way to put in breaks. Sorry if it looks stupid.
"What the hell is he doing?"
Seto jumped slightly at the sound of Tea's groggy voice, which hadn't been heard in a good hour. He blinked slowly, wondering what on earth she could be talking about, when he realized that she had finally decided to speak up about her moronic friend and his camera. He glanced at the top of her head, as she hadn't decided to lift it when she spoke and it was still buried in his chest. "I can't believe you're just mentioning this now."
Tea sighed, but stayed in her position. "Well, I considered it earlier, but I'm tired. It took me that long to work up the energy to deal with it."
"Dear god, Gardner – it's only hour 5. You can't possibly be so tired that it takes you an entire hour to form a sentence."
"It does if I'm trying to form a proper sentence."
"Ah, yes," Seto snorted. "'What the hell is he doing'" - so eloquent"
All was silent for a moment before Tea's soft voice drifted up to Seto's ears again. "You know, despite his incessant weirdness, he's really not that bad a guy." Seto glanced down, then to the sidelines, but didn't respond. The brunette girl shifted tiredly. "I mean, I know you only see his bad side… but really, that's not how he is most of the time."
Seto could have easily made some sort of caustic remark here, but he didn't. He merely grunted in a manner that was neither agreement nor dissent.
"You know, when my mom died, all my friends tried to be there for me, of course. And I appreciated their efforts… but most of them didn't really know what to do except offer to listen if I wanted to talk."
Seto was glad Tea wasn't looking at his face, for he was sure it was etched into uncharacteristic shock and a little bit of sympathy. Tea's mom was dead? When did this happen? The friend quartet hadn't been friends until the beginning of high school. (Seto didn't know how he knew this, he just did.) So it must have happened not too long ago. Seto was actually surprised that he hadn't known anything. True, he wasn't exactly a close acquaintance, but still, he had figured he always knew (not by choice) about the big events in each of their lives. Especially their big personal problems. How could this incident have escaped his knowledge?
"But I didn't really want to talk. So I basically just wandered around like a zombie every day, not really caring either way what happened. And Joey was the only one who was really able to cheer me up." She stopped for a moment as a small smile crept onto her face. "I was walking up to school one day and suddenly he ran up behind me and whirled me around. And he shoved these two tickets in my face. And then he yanked me off to this new amusement park that had just opened up, making us skip school and everything.
"We got in soooooo much trouble for that. But it was the best day ever. We just goofed off at the park. And the entire time we were there, I kept expecting him to be luring me into a sense of security so he could try to get me to talk again. I was waitin' for it and waitin' for it… just ready to get mad and storm off when he revealed that he had tricked me."
The duo had turned now so their sides were facing the group. Tea gazed at the blonde in an adoring fashion while Seto merely glanced at him, waiting to hear the rest of Tea's story. Joey was now screwing around with his camera and Tristan was yelling at him – it looked like the idiot had broken it.
Tea gave a little breath of laughter. "But he never did. He never asked… he never tried to get me to talk… he didn't even act nervous and cautious around me like everyone had for the past few weeks. He just acted weird… and like himself. And we had fun. I actually had fun."
Seto nodded slightly, unconscious of the fact that he was willingly listening to every word that came out of Tea Gardner's mouth.
"And the thing that really got me…" The girl's breath hitched a bit in what sounded suspiciously like an attempt to hold back tears. "When he dropped me back off at home that night… he just smiled at me and said 'Thanks for coming with me today Tea. I was in kind of a bad mood but this trip really cheered me up. I'm glad you were there, otherwise it wouldn't have been any fun by myself.' Can you believe that?" Tea sniffed. "After the weeks of walking around in a depression, he was thanking me for cheering him up. It really made me… I dunno… realize that it was ok to be happy again.
"I know he really did do that to cheer me up, but still… the way that he did it was so…"
"Yeah… just totally out of the blue and upbeat; so obvious and still somewhat subtle."
"Sounds like something stupid he'd do," Seto agreed.
"Stupid but sweet." Tea nodded. "That's Joey."
The CEO glanced to the side at the blonde once again and couldn't help the slight swelling of what…? Jealously maybe? At the way the mutt's name rolled so affectionately off Tea's tongue. Did the dancer have a thing for the stupid dog? If so, why hadn't she asked him to be her partner? Why bring Seto here just so she could rub it in his face how much better that stupid Joey Wheeler was than him?
It wasn't jealously in the sense that he was upset that Tea's affection wasn't on him – hell no! Of course not! It was the fact that she was probably aware of how insulting comparing the two of them was. No, she hadn't said anything about how horrible Kaiba was compared to Joey, but the man knew she was thinking it. That pissed him off.
And here he was feeling sorry for her and her loss. What was wrong with him? He should have known something was up the minute she started her sob story. Why on earth would she tell him something like that without some sort of ulterior motive? She was just looking for some subtle way to crush his pride. He should tell her off… he really should.
Tea turned her head to the side to survey the room, then suddenly straightened up, all trace of tiredness gone from her demeanor. Seto quirked an eyebrow. "Johnny," Tea whispered hurriedly.
Seto glanced up and noticed that, indeed, Johnny and his partner were drawing near, still dancing energetically among the other worn-out contestants. "So?"
Tea started to force him to dance faster. "Well, come on, Kaiba! We can't look like we're exhausted already!"
"But you are exhausted already."
"But if he sees that, he'll torment us to no end! Let's go, Kaiba! Look alive!"
Seto resolutely moved at his slow swaying pace. "I don't feel like prancing around like those two idiots. Who cares how lively we look? If they want to wear themselves out before we're even halfway through, let them - but don't make us follow in their footsteps!" Tea glared at him. "I'm serious, Gardner. I'm quite happy with the 'dancing' I'm already doing. And nothing you do is going to change that."
Tea shot Kaiba one last death glare, then looked over her shoulder to see where their rival duo was. They were almost upon them! Tea's mind whirled. Kaiba may not care that they looked like lazy losers, but she did! And Johnny was going to! And she was not going to present herself that way in front of him! This was too important!
She glanced back at Seto's determined face. She couldn't get him to move faster by force - she was way too weak. But there had to be something… A thought sprang to mind… but… She glanced at Johnny, then Kaiba again. No way! Kaiba would kill her! And it would be way too embarrassing! But… Johnny…
Save pride by not doing it - or save face by going for it…
Tea closed her eyes tightly and sighed. 'It's not like I haven't humiliated myself in front of him a thousand times already.'
Seto let a half-curious, half-worried look cross his face when Tea's eyes suddenly snapped open and locked their gaze on him with a new flare behind them. "Alright, Kaiba. You leave me no choice."
"Hey, Gardner! Dwindling down already?" Johnny's mocking voice floated nearby.
Taking a deep breath and praying to any god that may be listening to grant Kaiba the mercy not to murder her - at least until she won - she quickly reached a hand behind her partner, found her goal, and squeezed tightly.
If Seto had been one to squeak in an undignified matter, he would have done so. However, Seto Kaiba did not squeak. He gave a low, manly gasp of surprise, and jumped a good foot or two in the air. Tea seized her opportunity to catch him off balance and start swinging him around to make it seem as though they were still going strong. "Nope! We're still pretty damn vivacious!"
Johnny and his partner gave the two a weird look. While they hadn't seen the hand, as they were on the opposite side, they still noticed something strange about the way the CEO was acting. And Johnny might have asked, had Seto not suddenly regained control of his and his partner's movements and began glaring promises of mass destruction right at his female companion. The other two quickly shimmied away.
Back on the sidelines, three teenagers were frozen in place with wide gaping mouths and idiotic looks on their faces. Yugi was the first to recover the use of his voice. "Did - did Tea just grab Kaiba's…"
"Ass?" Tristan supplied monotonously.
Joey silently dropped his camera, plodded back to his chair, and curled up in the fetal position.
On the dance floor, Seto looked like he was about to explode. Tea held up one hand, trying to calm him. "Please, please, Kaiba! Don't be upset!"
"YOU EXPECT ME NOT TO BE UPSET?"
Tea laughed nervously. "Look, I was just trying to wake you up a little…"
"If I need to 'wake up a little', we can dance over to the coffee station! You don't need to grab my ass!"
"I didn't grab it, I squeezed it."
"THAT'S EVEN WORSE!"
"Kaiba, please… you are making a spectacle…" Tea murmured, glancing around at all the dancers whose attention had been drawn to the argument.
"I'M MAKING A SPECTACLE? I'M NOT THE ONE GOING AROUND GRABBING PEOPLE'S ASSES!"
Tea smiled sweetly. "It's a very nice ass." She inwardly grimaced. He was never going to buy that.
"I KNOW IT'S A NICE ASS! IT'S MY ASS! I DON'T NEED YOU TO TELL ME ABOUT THE CONDITION OF MY ASS!"
Tea desperately tried to shush her partner. "Kaiba… Kaiba, please! I swear, I will never do anything like that again…"
"Damn right you won't! I'll take your damn head off!"
"Look, I'm sorry! I'm tired! You're tired! We're all tired! My brain isn't working right!" 'God, it really isn't working right, is it?' "Could - could we just forget that this ever happened?"
"You mean forget that you just molested me like some perverted dominatrix?"
"D - Dominatrix?" Tea couldn't help but blush as the statment brought even more turned heads in their direction. "I only grabbed your ass - I didn't whip it or anything! Geez, Kaiba! Keep it down, would ya?"
"So I should keep it down and act like you didn't just treat me like some sort of personal sex toy?"
Tea squeezed her eyes shut. There was no use arguing with Kaiba - he was being ridiculous. "Yes… come on, let's just agree to never mention it ever again. Please?"
Tea looked so desperate now that Seto almost felt sorry for her. Almost. After all, what right did she have to just go grabbing at his goods? Crazy bitch - he should have anticipated weird crap like this from her at the very beginning when she was foolish enough to ask him to be her partner.
He huffed. Tea looked at him hopefully. Seto quickly reached around and returned the favor.
Tea yelped and jumped and glared. But before she could get an obscenity out of her mouth, he smirked. "Payback."
And now we finally get to the bonding... yeah, I figured I had made enough fluff and funny chapters. Of course, I still tried to add an element of humor to the chapter. But now it's time for some of the serious relationship stuff. Please review! I love you!
Song Quote of the Week: It's not always rainbows and butterflies, It's compromise that moves us along - "She Will Be Loved" - Maroon 5