Chapter Twenty-Five: Awkward Awkwardness
Serenity sulked at the breakfast bar, musing quietly to herself. Her mind was in turmoil. She hadn't felt so confused and annoyed in such a long time. Mokuba, Mai and Joey were out setting up plans with Disneyland, taking everyone's costs and making reservations. Kaiba was somewhere around the mansion...as well as the rest of the bunch. She was a loner, sulking on a warm summer morning inside, debating with an uncompromising mind. She closed her eyes, trying to see if it would shut up her damning thoughts. Nope. They continued to argue and bicker. She sighed.
"What's wrong?" Shaila popped into the scene, hopping down the stairs. She was smiling brightly, just having finished a conversation with her boyfriend in the states. She sighed and chewed her lip happily. "Someone seems down"
"I am. I'm in a hole, a deep, deep hole" Serenity mumbled. She released another distraught sigh.
"Awww...you feeling okay?" she checked her temperature and studied her eyes. She seemed fine, but the lost twinkle in her eyes and the frown that was stitched to her face ruined the look. "What's up? As your best friend, I have a right to know this kinda stuff"
Serenity looked at Shaila and released a small smile. Shaila was her secret keeper. She was her sanctuary of releasing thoughts. She was miss advice, miss cry-on-my-shoulder, miss help-me!, miss therapist. She was everything to Serenity. When talking with her, her turmoils would spit out without hesitation.
"Let's go somewhere private 'Ren" Shaila suggested. She dragged the distraught redhead to the living room and sat her down. "Talk to me"
Serenity sighed. "Okay...where do I start?"
Kaiba was off walking amiss in his quiet manor, finding out that he was...bored. Yes, bored. Nothing to do. Not a smudge of work to do. Nothing to order. Nothing to type. Nothing to demand. Nothing. Absolutely Nothing.
It was times like these that irritated Kaiba. He found it unsettling when there were times in his life that there was nothing to do. It created a huge, unpleasant void in him. A void that told him arrogantly that his life consisted of nothing but work, and if there wasn't any work to be done, then he was a nothing.
He sighed and ruffled his hair. He shook the annoying thoughts off. He was Seto Kaiba, a person who wasn't allowed to even think that way. He would just have to find something amusing to do. Yes...something entertaining. Where was the mutt?
He sighed when realizing that he was out with Mokuba and the poodle, making reservations. Right...well where was Kari? Maybe she would accompany him. He set his sights for her, beginning with her room. Empty. To the backyard then. Playing with her cousin...and his butler? He would leave them be; she looked like she was having fun. The butler...he would have to talk to him later.
Next on the list...Miss Serenity Wheeler. Now, now, where could she be? He went back upstairs, knocked softly on her door, awaiting a response. No answer. Deciding to butt in, he butted in through the door: Empty. Closing the door, he went down to the kitchen. Empty. His whole manor seemed like it was empty.
"This is a huge place...she could be any where"
Recreation room? Empty.
Backyard? Searching, searching, searching... "No sir, Miss Serenity did not come outside. I can explain what this looks like...this isn't what it looks like! Ahem, I'm merely teaching these kids how to-"
"Don't care for it...at least for now" With that Kaiba left and continued his search.
Front yard. Crickets could be heard from this point on.
Basement. Why would she be in the basement?
Bathroom? There was at least 15 to 20 bathrooms and he wasn't that desperate to find her.
He huffed, tired of his search. The only thing he got out of the search was plain old exercise, not that he needed any anyway. He decided to relax himself in the den when suddenly hearing voices coming from the den. Her voice. And her little friends voice. They were talking, it seemed, in private. Why? The double doors were closed and their voices were hushed.
"I shouldn't interfere" Being the gentleman, he turned on his heel when suddenly...
"Serenity...spit it out already! What is with you? Usually, you're a natural with saying stuff around me. Now you're a...mute!" Shaila said, frustrated clearly.
It was true. This particular thing, was something Serenity was not at all comfortable to say. She herself could feel a bitter taste in her mouth when trying to say it.
"Well...it can't be that bad. I mean it's not like you robbed a bank, or Kaiba...Did you?"
"NO!" Serenity fumed at her friend.
"See! Now...what's worse than that?"
"A dream?" Shaila's mind clicked. She smiled widely. "Oh...and this dream...was it about a certain brunette-"
"Don't." Serenity visibly shuddered. She pulled up her knees and hugged them, as if reliving a traumatic experience.
Shaila giggled. "Serenity...It's natural"
Serenity looked at her bewildered. "No it's not!" she stood up, frantic. "Not the one's I've been having anyway..." she muttered to herself quietly the last bit.
"Hmm...what was that?" Shaila pried, but she had heard her very clearly.
"Nothing. This was a mistake. Let me just take care of my own sick problems" She turned to leave but Shaila had grabbed her wrist and pulled her down, scowling.
"Talk missy" Frowning, she pulled on a face of seriousness, startling Serenity.
"Now. You are not leaving until we discuss this dream. Because I know you Serenity Wheeler. You hold in your emotions, swallow them, and then just smile them off, which is a sick way of 'releasing' your feelings" she hissed. "Now start talking!"
Serenity took a deep breath. She glared at her nosy friend softly, and with a huff, released a dejected "Okay"
At this point, Kaiba's interest had peaked, rivaling that of Mount Everest. His curiosity turned into a maximum, which enabled him to forget morals and all thoughts of what he was doing, which was clearly wrong. Bad Kaiba. He shouldn't eavesdrop. C.E.O.'s aren't supposed to eavesdrop anyway! They have much more class than that. Not with this one.
His interest and curiosity had risen when Serenity's friend had made it evident that Serenity was having dreams about him. Who couldn't turn away from this? The guy of the dreams, duh!
So he pressed his nosy ear, (ironic yes?) against the white wood of the door, intent on finding out everything possible. Just what were these dreams? Maybe they were his shot to winning her back. If he reenacted the dream, maybe it would help her trust him again, and possibly like him again. He smiled, waiting for her to reveal her thoughts.
"Okay...see...it started with that nightmare I had. You know the one I screamed my head of and everyone in the mansion came running?"
Shaila nodded in reply.
"Well...that dream was about Kaiba...and me. I don't know what happened but I saw myself naked, wrapped around in bedsheets and...he was next to me, all...over me, hugging me and just holding me" She squeaked out in reply. At the moment, Serenity's face was flushed while Shaila's was calm and collected, like a therapist in a way.
Serenity frowned, expecting a hyperactive response rather than the dull response she gave. She waved it off, and continued, just as she had ordered.
"Okay...the next dream I had..." she stood up, and started pacing around the room.
"Another Kaiba dream...heh" she ruffled her hair nervously, while chewing on her lip. "This wasn't so bad though...we were just eating dinner in this fancy restaurant and there was a saxophonist entertaining us and we were all alone under the moonlight" Serenity sighed, bitting her lip. "And then we were walking down this beautiful park at nighttime and we were holding hands. Then there was this swing set and he asked if I wanted to be on the swings and I said okay, and then he started swinging me" Serenity giggled nervously at this point. "I felt like a little girl in that dream"
Shaila smiled. "You liked that dream"
"Yes..." Serenity snapped out of her muse. "I mean NO! Goodness. It's Kaiba! The jerk, the asshole, the-"
"Must we really curse 'Ren?"
Serenity's head fell down. "No..." she twiddled her thumbs.
"When did you have that dream?"
"A couple days after the 'nightmare'"
"Were there anymore dreams?" Shaila inquired.
Serenity smiled. "Yeah...last night" She plopped back down on the couch, looking at the carpet. "But it didn't feel like a dream, it felt, real" She turned around and faced Shaila. "I think it was real..." she gasped suddenly. "Then if it was real...Kaiba's gonna get his butt kicked!" she stood up.
"Calm down...just what was the dream?"
"Well...to put it simply...he kissed me" she said as she ruffled her hair.
"Rough or gentle?"
"Passionate or innocent"
"Like a couple of horny teenagers or like two little brats kissing each other like you see in those cute, angelic, cherubic figures?"
Serenity gaped at her. "This is ridiculous. What does it matter?"
"Answer the question!" Shaila raged suddenly, her eyes boggling out, startling Serenity for the second time that day.
"The second one!" Serenity spluttered out in sudden fear.
Shaila suddenly smiled, making Serenity question her antic now.
"Awwwwwwwwww" Shaila squealed out.
Serenity nearly fainted with all of Shaila's sudden mood swings.
"You're insane" Serenity muttered quietly with a groan.
Meanwhile, our nosy billionaire had retracted himself against the door as soon as the loud, shrieking wail was given out by Serenity's friend. He looked at the door peculiarly, as if to also say she was insane.
He sighed and decided there was not much to linger around for. He had heard what he had heard, and Serenity's reactions. He blushed when he first heard Serenity talk of the first dream, or the nightmare as she calls it. He didn't know whether to laugh at the dream, be embarrassed by it, or have that manly pride feeling followed by a smirk. The second dream he was impressed with; even in a dream he was still smooth and still a gentleman. He smirked proudly at the behavior Serenity saw him with. His smirk faltered as he thought about Serenity's last statement, the recent "dream" she had. Was his kiss 'gentle' and 'innocent'? He felt hurt! He had wanted her to be...eh...what's the term?...'wowed' with it. Not say it was gentle and innocent. Then again, she didn't even remark what it was like; all she had done was state how it felt. He rushed back to the den doors and held his ear close to the door, awaiting for the bit of information he was hearing for.
"Did you like it?" Shaila asked, after she had calmed down and Serenity had calmed down. Both had gone through a silent period before this, both of them digesting what one had said or heard.
Serenity looked down. She was tired; overcome with emotional thoughts and burdened by pestering questions. She let herself go until she was lying down on the couch.
"Serenity!!" Shaila shook her legs.
She sighed deeply and closed her eyes, thinking maybe if she kept quiet, than Shaila would understand her turmoil and leave her alone. It was worth a shot before she succumbed herself entirely to vulnerability. She had enough of her therapist.
"SERENITY!" Shaila had now screeched, startling Serenity and forcing her to open her eyes.
"Fine!" Serenity sat up now fully and hugged a pillow.
"Well...did you like it?!" Shaila had asked again anxiously, her eyes gleaming at the suspense.
A simple, shy nod was given. A blush had crept its way back up to Serenity's face and had decided to blossom there once again. A few strands of her hair had come forward, attempting to shadow her discontent.
Serenity waited for a response, anything. Nothing was heard. Shaila has stood up now, smiling brightly.
"I'm glad we had this talk Serenity" She patted her friend's shoulder softly before attempting to leave.
"Wait..." Serenity had stood up now. "You're not going to tell anyone...are you?"
"Not unless you want me to"
Serenity smiled half-heartedly at Shaila's antics. She sat back down while Shaila started to leave again.
"But I will give a word of advice"
"Never tell your inner most thoughts to a meddling friend" With that she gave a wink and rushed out the door.
"Shaila!" Serenity shrieked as she chased after her. "What do you mean by that? I hope its not what I'm thinking it is!"
"Oh it is definitely what you're thinking that I'm thinking" Shaila had cried out gleefully as she had ran toward the kitchen.
"Shaila!" Serenity had cried as she dashed up the stairs that were in the kitchen. She huffed, tired. Groaning she sat down in the breakfast bar, slumping in the chair.
Kaiba was walking idly around the ground floor hallways now, gone out of sight before Serenity and her friend got out. He was infuriated at the response she gave out. For one thing, she didn't even say anything! And her pesky friend didn't even bother to pester her any more about it. Later on, after he had calmed down and analyzed his thoughts, his mind came to the conclusion that she had either nodded or shook her head, and that's why her pesky friend had left her alone. Yes that's it. There was no either way. Her friend wasn't one to give up, so it had to be that!
The question now was...which was it? Nod or shake?
This was maddening to him. His undying curiosity was frustrating him. He just had to know the answer! It was a matter of knowing facts, drawing conclusions, and satisfying that male ego he had. He huffed, deciding to cool himself down in the kitchen. All this eavesdropping and curiosity had made him hungry.
To his surprise, Serenity was there, sulking evidently on the breakfast bar. He eyed her awkwardly, not wanting to engage in a conversation with her at the moment. He felt weird and tainted. If only he knew that she felt exactly the same.
So he ignored her presence for the time being and strode on over to the fridge. But he later learned it was hard to ignore her because he was just thinking about her, and now she was here!
Serenity sat up with a jolt as soon as Kaiba walked into the kitchen and went to the fridge, facing her with his back. She eyed him, surprised by his sudden appearance. She had just gone through talking about him and now, he was here! Her face flushed and she made an attempt to go upstairs and hide in her bedroom but she couldn't move.
Kaiba felt her stare against his back. He wanted to go upstairs smoothly and not say a word but it was hard to move when someone was holding you in place with a stare. Never had he remembered such a moment of discomfort. Deciding that he wanted to break this uncomfortable atmosphere, he turned around and stared at her. Her eyes immediately shifted and she looked down. He turned away as well.
Right at the moment he turned around to stare at her, she felt as if everything that was known to both in the last few moments was revealed. She didn't want this to happen. She broke the gaze and looked down instead, wanting to shield the embarrassing thoughts.
The backyard door shot open and in came in Kari, Matt, and Kaiba's butler. All were huffing and panting.
"I'm tired" Kari complained as she panted breathlessly. She lumbered over to the kitchen, reached for a stool on the breakfast bar and collapsed without warning next to Serenity. "Ahhhh...the surface is so nice and cool" she mewed. Matt joined her moments later.
"I'll fix us all a cold drink" the butler stated as he cleared his throat and tried persistently to look straight and sharp, however, the sweaty clothes and musky scent wasn't making it easier. He avoided Kaiba's gaze, fearing he would collapse any second now if he had accidentally met Kaiba's gaze.
Serenity eyed the children, bewildered. No greeting, no gazing, no indication that they knew she was there. She looked at Kaiba, seeing the same puzzled look etched on his face, but in a less obvious way.
"Hi Auntie Ren"
"Hi Mr. Kaiba"
The children's greetings rang through their ears as if on cue. They smiled at her and she returned the smile.
"Hi kids. Did you have fun?"
And as if there energy had been refilled magically, they started shooting their mouths off, babbling with excitement and giddy as they recalled their fun.
"And then Matt almost hit the-"
"Well Kari almost hit Mr-"
"I did NOT-"
Serenity's smile kept them going. Little did they know, she was hardly paying any attention. The butler came by with cool glasses of lemonade and set them down on the counter.
The kids stopped talking immediately and looked at the cool drinks, grabbing them hastily and gulping them down without another thought. As soon as they were finished, they started again.
"I hit a goal Auntie, right past Kari's-"
"I hit one past you too!-"
On and on they went, bickering and babbling while Serenity smiled. She felt at ease now.
"Would you like a glass Ms. Wheeler?" the butler asked.
"No thank you"
"Well then, excuse me. I'm going to go...um...refreshen up a bit." Off he went up the stairs. Kaiba was about to follow suit when Kari stopped him suddenly.
"Where are you going?"
The kids stopped talking and all eyes were on him, even Serenity's, much to his dismay. "Upstairs"
"Why? Come join us!" She threw a pleading gaze at him and he had no choice but to comply.
He sat awkwardly in front of Serenity. And just like that Serenity's ease vanished. The four sat quietly now, not talking. Crickets could be heard again.
"So..." Matt started, trying to begin a conversation but could think of nothing to talk about. He pondered for awhile before a topic struck him and his face lightened up. "I liked the gathering yesterday. It was fun. Thanks for inviting me"
Kaiba looked at the messy haired blond child, giving him a soft smile. Unlike his father, this kid had manners. Kaiba figured he got them from the mother, but then again the mother wasn't this gentle either. Serenity then?
"Yeah! It was better than I expected. At first I thought it was going to be boring because we had to dress up but it was fun! And I got to dance the way I wanted too" Kari exclaimed.
Serenity giggled softly while Kaiba gave an amusing smile.
Kari turned to her mother. "Did you like it mom? And dad?"
"Y-Yeah. It was surprising for me too but...fun" she mumbled while staring at the counter top. She didn't want to admit this thought to Kaiba. Her eyes looked up, and saw Kaiba smirking deeply.
"I liked it too. It was an interesting gathering. I've never experienced something like it before" Kaiba replied. He fiddled his fingers boringly, feeling a sudden ease at the moment. It was nice to be around Kari; she made him relax and temporarily dismiss his awkward behavior with Serenity.
The four sat quietly again, thinking of another thought to talk about but couldn't find any.
"Let's go play something else Matt" Kari had said after a long boring silence. Both the kids stood up and left the room.
Silence and stillness.
The clock on the wall made annoying ticks and tocks. The kitchen sink failed to cease its drips and drops. The refrigerator hummed endlessly. All these everyday sounds had intensified with Serenity's and Kaiba's silence.
"Did you actually have a good time?" Kaiba asked. All the sounds diminished and his voice had instead intensified.
Serenity looked up and shrugged. "It was alright." She looked out the window, her thoughts coming back to nag her.
He felt awkward again. Kaiba didn't like feeling awkward. He wasn't a person that was supposed to feel awkward. "What are you thinking about?" he decided to be brave and ask. "Me?" he needed to disguise this growing awkwardness.
Serenity blushed while Kaiba arched an eyebrow. He was merely teasing but he had received an answer that he would proudly smirk at another time but at the moment, he didn't.
Serenity realized her mistake and decided to retaliate. "W-W-Well..what a-are you thinking about? Hmm...?"
"You" he spluttered without a thought. He hit himself mentallly. He came to the conclusion that his mind had turned to mush and now was acting, strangely, arrogantly honest.
"I'm going upstairs" she announced, trying to cover up her blush. She practically ran up the stairs. As soon as she left, Kaiba slumped his head down and banged his head once against the counter top, deciding to hit himself physically now.
(A/N: Hello everyone! Sorry for not posting in ... (looks at the last updated date) SEVEN MONTHS!! Holy...um...really sorry for the long wait. What can I say but the usual...school, more school this summer, and a new twist, a wedding that took the whole month of July. Yup. But now its over and I've dedicated my time to making this chapter...and school. School will never be out of my life...unfortunately. ANYWAYS...I hope you liked this chapter and THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR STILL READING MY STORY. If you don't...I understand. Thanks!)