AN: Well. It HAS been a while, hasn't it? I'm really sorry about the wait for this chapter… I know I said I would update every week… but that was a long time ago… and things happened… and yeah. I'm really sorry you guys. Thank you to everyone who has been really supportive and sent really nice emails/reviews about how much you love the story. I love you guys so much :3 Happy belated New Year's! Also, I edited the first two chapters a bit. There's more detail (I hope) and it might explain things better? I'll be doing the rest of the story soon. There isn't any major plot changes, so you don't have to read it all again.

Tutoring and Rollerblade Lessons by Strawberry'd

Chapter Twelve: Of Dresses and Fathers

It had started off as a regular, normal day. One of those happy-go-lucky, let's-go-ride-on-the-merry-go-round kinds of days. But everyone knows those days don't last.

Sora got up, had some toast, took a shower and was halfway done when the phone rang. As it were, the entire Inoue family was out. Sora, dripping wet, hair plastered to her face, clutching a towel around her ran to the phone, thinking it was an important person who needed a message delivered or something.

Funny how it almost never is? Sora's so-called "important" caller was instead, her employer, Yagami Taichi.

"What do you want?" She snapped at him grouchily.

"Ooh, someone got out on the wrong side of bed today." Taichi said, his tone amused and Sora was damned if she didn't hear the fainted chuckle.

"I was in the middle of – " Sora stopped. Better if she didn't tell him; who knew what kind of perverted image he would have of her. "I'm busy, ok?"

"Sure, sure, but you have to come over."

"What? Why?"

"Er, emergency. Found out from Yamato that Hanashi's gonna pop a surprise test on us."

Sora stood in the middle of the hallway, dripping wet, her hair etc. etc, and he wanted her to help him study? "Look, Taichi. You gotta find someone else this time. I'm busy."

"Not right now. Later on, ok? And it'll probably take the whole afternoon/evening so tell your folks you'll be back late." Taichi sounded anxious. Sora stared at the phone for a moment, debating whether to go help him, or to brush him off.

"Fine." She resigned. "What time?"

"You'll come? Great! Um, around four would be good." Taichi smiled into the phone and hung up.

Four…? Sora thought murderously. It was only 12 in the afternoon! Why did he call her so early?

Grumbling about stupid boys and their stupid necessities, Sora stepped back into the shower, and stayed there for a good hour and a half.

By the time Sora was all ready and willing to go to Taichi's aid, it was too late. She halted in front of the main door, looking at the outside world with horror. It was raining, no, correction, it was pouring.

"Inoue-san and Miyako are out today." Sora breathed, incredulously. "I said it was ok if I walked."

Sora blinked a few times and went to go get her umbrella. It was a rather cheap umbrella and too bad Mother Nature hated Sora.

Accompany the buckets of rain was very strong gusts of wind. The umbrella had absolutely no purpose inside-out as it was.

Last time I ever buy an umbrella from a bookstore again, she thought darkly. And I just took a shower this morning!

By the time she got Taichi's apartment, she was soaking wet, her clothes plastered to her skin and her hair limply hanging into her face. She looked like crap and she knew it. Grumbling all the way up the stairs, Sora stomped in front of his door and slammed her fist on his door. "Taichi!" She yelled furiously at him when the door opened. "Yo…" Sora stopped and looked up. That wasn't Taichi. Taichi wasn't 6'2". Taichi was tall, but this guy was… gigantic.

"Uh, hello? I'm here… for Taichi?" She said, immediately subdued. "This is the right apartment, right?"

The man, whose intelligence left something to be desired nodded mutely and opened the door wider for her. She found Taichi pacing inside, wearing a tuxedo no less. Sora's first thought was something about how she never expected Taichi to even own a tux, never mind wear one. Then common sense kicked in and she blurted, "Why are you wearing that? Aren't we going to study?"

He looked at her for a moment like he didn't know who she was. "Oh, right. Sora. There's been a change in plans." He wrinkled his nose at her. "Why are you all wet?"

When she opened her mouth to explain, he shook his head. "Never mind. Here." He shoved a towel and a coat hanger holding something underneath the plastic into her arms. "Go shower and change. We have to leave soon."

"Taichi! You have to tell me what's going on first." She said, exasperated. Why did he always do that? He just thought that she would go along to everything he said. But when she looked back at him, he was pacing the floor again, without another glance at her. She gritted her teeth. Maybe if she just did what he asked he would tell her what was going on.

Sora stomped to his bathroom, which was pretty luxurious she noted. She stripped down and turned the water on. As she soaked for a bit, she heard a pounding on the door. "Sora, I didn't tell you to take a bath! I said take a shower! We have to be somewhere!"

Sora grumbled under her breath. "Fine." Quickly she took a shower, shampooing her hair with the best brand money could buy. As she stared at the bottle, soap sliding into her eyes, she wondered if this was why Taichi's hair was so soft.

The red-haired girl finished up her shower, got out, dried herself off and picked up what she was supposed to wear. She slid the plastic covering off of it and gasped, almost dropping it. It was a dress… not just any dress, but a Gucci dress.

"Sora! Hurry up and put the stupid dress on. We're late." Taichi's voice called to her from the door. She looked at the door sharply and held the towel herself tightly. Could he see her somehow? How did he know what she was doing?

She picked up the dress and held it to herself. It had straps that would go around her shoulders and a tight bodice. She grimaced at it. Those were the only things that would hold the dress up... but she supposed it was better than other dresses she had seen.

"Sora!" His insistent voice was slowly grating on her nerves. Wasn't she doing him a favour?

"Alright, alright," she replied, rolling her eyes and she tugged the dress on. It was a deep red dress that clung to her shapely figure until it hit her waist. It flared out slightly and ended in ruffles around her ankles. The dress fell to the floor and Sora was a little afraid that she would stumble in it to wherever they were going, dressed as they were.

She toweled her hair semi-dry and was about to plug in the blow-dryer when the door opened. Sora shrieked as Taichi came in. "What are you doing?" She yelled at him. "I might not have been changed!"

He remained quiet. Sora could feel his eyes lingering on her and the dress she wore. She stepped back instinctively. "What?"

"Nothing. The dress..." He cleared his throat. "It looks good on you."

"Oh. Thanks."

"Here." He threw some things at her. Sora opened the bundle to find open-toe red shoes with a heel as high as anything. She stared at Taichi.

"You expect me to wear this... and not fall? Wait," She looked more closely at the shoe. "These are Sergio Rossi shoes!"

He shrugged at her. "Do your best. Put that on your neck and those in your ears, 'kay?" Then he left.

Gaping, Sora stared at the shoes some more. Did Taichi even know how expensive these were? They had a band of jewels that went over the foot and were fastened at the side of the ankle with two small silver buckles. The back of the ankle was covered in an ornate jeweled pattern.

Sora strapped them on slowly and then reached into the bundle he had given her before. Out came a long velvet box. She opened it shakily and gasped. At first glance, it was stunning diamond oval which hung on a simple silver chain with matching earrings. When Sora looked closer, however, the simple silver chain turned out to be hundreds of tiny diamonds linked together with white gold.

After everything was strapped, clipped, and fastened on, Sora stepped out of the bathroom to Taichi pacing the living room again. "Sora, this man will do your hair."

She nodded numbly and allowed the elderly Italian man to fuss and play with her hair until it pleased him. Soon a make-up artist lightly brushed her eyes and cheeks, dab on some mascara and eyeliner, and glossed her lips plenty. They were done.

Sora stood up, wobbling on her high heels. "Taichi... explain everything." He shook his head, meaning that he would tell her later. She planted her hands on her hips, ready to argue with the boy until he told her what was going on when the door burst open. Taichi had finally stopped pacing.

"He's here, Master." The goon who had opened the door when Sora first came in finally spoke. Taichi nodded. He took her arm and went to greet the man at the door. He was tall, just slightly taller than Taichi. Deep set eyes and a head full of dark chestnut hair greeted Sora.

"Sora... this is my father."

Woah, Star Wars ending. xD;; Anyways, just because it was late, I made it extra long… even though it's not really that long. I was gonna include where they were going and all that but decided not to in the end. I'm not quite sure about all the details in the anime… Taichi's father. Where they just divorced, his mom and dad? Or did he die or something? Thanks SO much to everyone who reviewed! I appreciate every single one of you, but I'm not allowed to reply to them… because of some… fanfiction rule or whatever. D: But I want you to know that I love each of them and thanks so much for telling me what you think :3

And if you want to see the dress/shoes Sora's wearing, head over to my profile and I've got the links there. Thanks for reading!