A/n:Sorry—but Happy Halloween!—for not updating. It was my computer! Hopefully I will put y'all's mind at ease by listing the other pairings: Joey/Mai, Tristan/ Miho, Yugi/Serenity (I always wanted to try this), and uh, I forget. Oh yeah Yami/Ishizu from last LLL. Last time I only posted initials, so . . . I don't own YGO.
Chapter 6: The Curse Of The . . . Etc.
The nest day—which was a hot, sunny Saturday—we decided to go and sightsee. Around the volcanoes, on the island, that is. Later, we would have a barbecue, by the beach.
All in all, a typically hot day in Hawaii.
I was still mad at Seto for faking the drowning bit yesterday. He nearly scared me to death. And I'm not exaggerating about that, either. Being so close to death was definitely not a good feeling to feel for a human being. But I didn't tell him, that I was seething I mean. It was such a stupid reason. What would I say, "Don't do it again or I'll kill you"? Not very romantic words . . . not to mention makes any sense . . .
The thing was, I wanted this trip to be romantic. I was a girl. Girls wanted to be romanced and wooed. Whatever they may say. I wanted to feel very much like a young woman. And so far, it hasn't.
I voiced this with Mai while doing the barbecue. She nodded, understanding, and silent, for once. Until I had finished. "Oh, hun, don'tcha think you're expecting too much out of Kaiba?"
I frowned, "What do you mean?"
"Well, seeing this is his first relationship, you ought to expect him to make some mistakes." A stunning beauty of twenty-something, Mai had never told me her age, but I knew it was twenty-something. "Just like he'd expect you to know that and when he's sorry."
Her words spun my thoughts in my brain rather than settled them. "It's my first relationship, too. You mean . . . I shouldn't worry whether things . . . will work out the way I visualized? I shouldn't try as hard?"
"Well . . . not, " she lifted a perfect nail, "the first sentence, but 'yes' for the last one." Ishizu came along with a plate. "Sometimes you've got to let things flow. And go along . . . "
Seeing the confused expression on my face, Ishizu smiled gently. "She means, everything will work out fine in the end. You'll see."
Her words had if not reassuring, but comforting effect on me. My shoulders sagged and I expertly flipped a chicken drumstick.
" . . . Yeah. And if they don't," Mai said over her shoulder, "leave them to me. Woohoo!"
I rolled my eyes, smiling a half smile. I think she was kidding. She always says stuff to get a reaction. Glancing at her retreating, curvy figure, then looking at perfectly supermodel-like Ishizu, I felt plain and frumpy in my one-piece tankini. Self-consciously I readjusted the shoulder strap. "Chicken or chop?"
"Chop, please." I put a pork chop on her plate. Ishizu frowned. "What . . . ? Too well-done? Too rare-? I can get you another one," I offered, reaching for the tongs.
"No, no." She was squinting at me, stepping away as the boys whooped with glee past her. "I sense something is wrong . . . different. About you. Would you care to inform me?"
I hesitated, and glance around for anyone listening. They would think I was mental, but I felt I could trust, if anyone, Ishizu about myths. "Well, earlier this morning . . . " I whispered.
"Right this, way right this, way. Good, good. " The man--who was our tour guide--said in broken English. He was deeply tanned with a mustachioed smile. "Ah, yes, this way, Miss." One could tell that he was the type to please, a doormat.
I understood why they were being so cautious, though. In front of us was the hole to a real-live volcano. I don't have to say that I was scared and a tiny bit nervous. It looked, exactly, like the gate to fire and brimstone.
We shuffled along with other people on the tourguide, not saying much. I could hear from a very far distance the tour guide say, " . . . And here is the place to young lovers, unbidden by their parents to marry, threw themselves off the cliff to appease Pele, the Hawaiian god of fire and love . . . thus fiery love, passion . . " I blushed. "Too bad they didn't think that much ahead. Ha, ha."
I cringed, thinking of them. I always loved mythology and stories when I was little, but I thought that was inappropriate. "Poor-" I began. And then I looked up at Seto.
He was smiling. "I guess that he's right. They didn't think ahead." He said, staring down at the mouth of the volcano.
"How can you say that?" I looked down. "The poor people . . . " Something caught my eye.
"Don't tell me you believe . . . ?" I bent down and picked it up, knowing he was thinking of Yugi and his Egyptian myths and me believing them. "Ah. Never mind," he said dryly. "Listen, Tea. The guy is just trying to be—ugh—dramatic and showy."
"And the volcano erupted in 400 BC, killing all of the inhabitants . . . " The man, the tour guide wailed dramatically, even further away, confirming Seto's theory. They had already gone ahead and left us alone.
"You see?" Seto said. Then, "What is that . . . ?"
I looked up, forcing my gaze. "Still, it could've happened! You don't know, unless you're a time traveler . . . and you've been there." I didn't half believe, but I blabbered on, wishing his could at least try to what? Agree with me? Still, my passionate words sounded silly and naïve even to me, as I clutched the stone.
"Let me see." He took the stone away from me, lifted it up to study it. When he took it away from me, I felt a sense of . . . deep loss. I couldn't explain it. Telling myself to chill out, I shifted my weight from sandal to sandal. "It looks . . . dirty. Don't keep the stone, I'll get you a new one at the tourist shops."
"No! I mean . . . uh, no thank you, I'll keep this one instead. I like it." It was a jade-colored stone, obviously foreign to this soil. It seemed to glow with its own light, though I knew that it was silly. "Come on, they've left us, we'd better go and catch up," I said, taking him by the hand and we ran along the trail. It had gone strangely night, though I knew that it was morning just then. Probably the palm trees were shading us.
As I ran, I felt a strange kind of happiness. It was only there for a moment.
"But it wasn't mine," I said to Ishizu, who was looking at me owlishly, totally immersed in my tale.
"Strange . . . " she could only murmur.
When we reached the others, mostly old people out on their retirement money, the man breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank the Gods, Mister and Missus Kaiba!" I blushed again, opened my mouth to correct him, but then decided that it was a little bit romantic. "We had made plans to rescue your bodies in the ocean of lava. Cancel them!" he called over his shoulder.
Seto was right, this guy was dramatic. "Um . . . " I said. "Is there a jeweler around here? You see, I found this nice-looking stone and was wondering if I could have it made into a neckla-"
He snatched it. "Oh?" His deep brown skin went pale as me. And that was saying something. "This-! This glows all by itself! A sign that it is cursed! Oh NO" He moaned, clutching his cheeks.
I went whiter than a ghost. Again it wasn't mine.
"Okay, okay, that's enough! Theatrics!" Kaiba snapped, snatching the stone. "You go on and have this made, Tea." Uncertainly, I took it.
As I finished my tale, I saw, predictably, Ishizu looking at me with mixed emotions. One of them was pity.
"What did you do with it?" She asked only.
"Well, after hearing that, I wanted to chuck it into the ocean, but . . . I'm afraid . . . I mean-" I straightened my spine. "Well you know."
"Indeed," she murmured. "Well, I hope it works out for the best. Might I have a look?"
"Sure, but I don't have it with right now. It's in my room." I was beginning to regret saying anything. "Don't tell anyone? Please? Especially Yami. I know you're dating him," I said in a rush, breathing deeply. "But he'd overreact, and you know . . . and stress."
"Of course." With an enigmatic smile and a slight bow, she left.
I sighed, still wondering. I sort of wished Mai would return so I could talk to her about romance and men some more—she was supposed to be an expert—but instead Joey came. "What're you sighin' about. You look smoked. Here I'll take over for awhile." He set his plate down on top of the grill.
Too close to the fire. I snatched it away and stomped it out. "Joey, don't you know that your plate is-was- paper?"
"Paper burns-ah, never mind," I said, thinking that this was what Seto had said earlier. Never mind. "Who's winning?"
"Us. Mind handin' me a new plate? You stomped over ova mine." He gave me a half grin.
"Sure." I couldn't help noticing he was being short with me. "So, how's Yugi?"
"Fine. What, haven't seen him in awhile? I'll bet."
"And what is THAT supposed to mean?"
"I'll tell ya. He hasn't seen you in awhile. He was really worried, ya know, when you just left without a word. Ta anyone."
I blinked guiltily.
"Feelin' guilty yet? Ya should be. And yer parents were outta their minds with worry . . . " He shook his head. "Very unlike you . . . seems like we don't even know ya anymore . . . "
"Stop!" I screamed, before his last sentence. "What . . . ? What do you mean, you all don't know me anymore? I''m still . . . "
"The same person? Hmmm," he said, doubtfully grinning. "Go talk with Yuge then. See ya later." He left, leaving me seething.
"Hey! I thought that you'll 'take over'?" Grumbling, I looked around for the tongs, but it seemed Joey had taken them along with his plate. And I wasn't just talking about the barbecue. Yugi had been my friend for years. Surely he understood why I couldn't spend my time with him much . . . ?
Especially now. Once again I felt that hopeless disconnection off my friends and me. Did they really think me weird for this impulsive trip? Stupid Joey. And stupid Mai for not being there for me. I need to talk to someone.
" . . . " I heard muffled footsteps vaguely. " . . . There you go. Don't look so down. It's just a pair of tongs." Seto's voice said. "That stupid Wheeler. He left them on the side of the beach, in the sand. One wave would've washed them out to sea."
"It's not that. And don't call him stupid." I murmured, taking them back. I didn't know, but I was really glad to see him just now. I leaned toward him for a hug. He was wearing that silly Hawaiian shirt that had made me laugh. I wonder what I would say if Joey had called it stupid.
He hugged me back, and the steaks sizzled. I knew they would turn black if no one turned them, and he took them back and flipped them over, behind my back, one arm still at my side.
"What's wrong?" he said. "Did that silly guy scare you with his stupid tales? You did turn it into a locket, didn't you?"
"Yeah," I said, not wanting to talk any longer. I was glad for someone taller than I to be there, for once.
"Good. B4cause it's just false myths. Purely for marketing purposes."
I looked up. "You think everything's for 'marketing purposes' Mr. CEO." I grinned.
"Probably," he admitted, and I laughed, then sighed. There was a silence, then, "Your pork chops are getting black, Ms. Chef."
I put them, all fifteen, on two plates and shut down the grill. We walked to an outdoor table and sat down. "Drinks, sir?" said an outdoor waitress.
"Two sodas." He looked down then at me. "Mm. Charbroiled chops. Yum."
I said proudly, "Yup. No propane for me." I imagined that his middle name was propane.
We ate with our fingers, since there was no forks, but it was still neatly. He was being so nice I tried not to gawk. " . . . I'm sorry that things haven't been going well," he went on after a long combined silence of chewing. "What with the plane . . . and the myths . . . "
"It's okay," I said, suddenly my heart feeling lighter. At least he understood. Our drinks came in a soda can, and I took a long sip and smiled at him. He had only taken a bite out of the pork chop that I had cooked, but it was all right. They were kind of black. But still delicious.
"I just want you to enjoy yourself here. Did I already say that?" I nodded, then shook my head. "And I know from the guilty looks you've been giving your friends, they've been piling it on you. Aren't I right?" I nodded after a hesitation.
"They mean well." I took a bite of chicken. I could scarcely believe we were having this conversation. It made me feel excited, somehow. "They were worried."
"Mm . . . of course they do," he said dryly. I could still tell that he thought they were a bunch of bumbling idiots. "About big, bad me huffing and puffing at Little Red Hiding Hood." He waved a sticky hand towards my direction.
"Uh, I think you've got your fairytales mixed, there, buster. But that's okay. And it's little Red Riding Hood."
"Right. Whatever." He looked chagrined as the chicken, but very cute. I took a sip of Coke to hide my amusement, and my gawking. "And after all the fairytales I've read to Mokuba, too . . . he'd kill me. I hope he's doing well at the Motou's."
"I'm sure he is," I soothed, thinking See? He's only got Mokuba for me to like. And Mokuba's pretty an okay kid. Sure a little spoiled but generally likeable. If only he could get along with some of my friends, not all, but some
"Let's . . . Let's talk about something else," I suggested, and he agreed. But silence was the only thing on my mind, which had suddenly gone blank. "Um . . . that STUPID tour guide. How idiotic was he? What a worse guide ever!"
We abused him for a while and I was starting to believe that it really wasn't cursed at all and that it was just a jade stone. And plus, all my anger at Seto for faking his death had melted away. Well, a little bit. He HAD scared me. Witless. I was just glad he was all right. Plus, he was actually making that shirt look handsome. And that was really saying something, I'll tell you.
A/n: Oh, the mystery BEGINS! I love mystery! Nothing like a good mystery . . . I think I'll make this part mystery . . . and don't mind the bit about Hawaiian gods . . . I KNOW IT'S NOT TRUE! I hope that's you'll review! Rhyme time! Three more chapters, I hope! Muah!