How Time Flies…
Sequel to "The Gift"
Disclaimer: Maybe I'll get some more cards for Christmas but I'll never own Yu-Gi-Oh. Sniff.
Oh yes, our favourite couple is back for more adventuring during this festive Christmas season. How long will their little secret remain a secret? What new troubles await them? Well, for starters - morning phone calls from friends, gift shopping in the mall, annoying little brothers that barge into someone's office unexpectedly… and we haven't even gotten to the party yet! Want to know more? Then read on and find out.
I apologize if it's a little rough in spots. It's been a while since I've done "fun" writing.
Yes, it's still fluffy time. And I've taken a few liberties with ages and what not. Yes, Seto is old enough to drive in this.
Sunday, December 21st, 7:32 a.m. - 3 days until the Christmas party and counting.
Seto woke up smiling, feeling more refreshed than he had in a long time. Shifting a little in the semi-darkness, the smell of strawberries surrounded him and he inhaled deeply. Chocolate brown hair tickled his nose and chin and someone warm and soft pressed in closer to his chest.
The events of yesterday and last night played themselves again across his mind's eye. She'd been expecting him to come upstairs to her room. Shocked, to say the least, was his reaction. But he'd slept so comfortably and so well with her nestled in his arms that he wasn't looking forward to going home to spend his nights in his big, empty bed. Hell, he really didn't want to get out of this bed at all. Snug as a bug in a rug, his mother used to say as he smiled fondly at the memory. Then again, he had promised Téa breakfast. Seto gave the top of her tousled head a quick kiss as he gently disentangled his arms from around Téa's back. A low moan of protest passed across her lips as she tried to reclaim his warmth. Quietly, he slipped out of bed and tenderly tucked the pink and white comforter around her sleeping form. Half-lidded azure jewels peeked up at him over the edge of the blanket as he tucked a stray wisp of hair behind her ear.
The tips of his fingers caressed her cheek as he whispered, "Go back to sleep. It's still early." It still surprised him that she had touched him so deeply in so short a time period.
"Where are you going?" she asked, her voice thick with slumber, as she tried to untuck herself from the massive mess of pink and white. She failed miserably and flopped back down on the pillow, closing her eyes again.
"I promised you breakfast, remember?" He started for the door and heard a muffled mumble in response that mentioned something about snowballs and target practice if he didn't stop talking and get out. After that, no more discernible movement or sound came from the vicinity of the bed. Padding down the stairs in his socks, he grinned.
Téa Gardner was most definitely not a morning person.
The sunlight caressed her cheeks as Téa slowly opened her eyes, blinking a couple of times to clear them. The comforter was still tucked snugly around her shoulders, just as Seto had left it.
'Seto?' she thought to herself, her heart starting to race. Where was he? She remembered inviting him into her bed last night, well, early this morning. He'd been so… so… shocked when she'd done that that she couldn't help but smile and giggle at the look she'd seen on his face. And then, a vague, foggy memory surfaced.
He'd gotten out of bed before her. Told her to go back to sleep. So, she had. Who was she to refuse an order that let her stay in bed longer? His warmth, though, was something she dearly missed. Last night was the first time she'd ever had anyone join her in bed. Except Yugi, but he didn't really count. He was her best friend. Had been for years. But her heart didn't do flip-flops when she thought about him like it did when Seto popped into her head.
Shuffling under the heavy blanket, she was about to go back to sleep, it was Sunday after all, when the aroma of fresh brewed coffee reached her nose. Inhaling appreciatively, she decided it was about time to get out of bed. There was only one person who could be brewing coffee at this hour in her house. It wasn't her parents! And he'd promised her breakfast.
Smiling happily, she hurried out of bed, threw her silk robe on again and padded off to the bathroom, still trying to put on her fuzzy, pink slippers.
He heard her thumping down the stairs, the sound only slightly muffled by the fuzzy slippers he'd seen by her bed last night. Sure enough, two seconds later, her head popped around the corner into the kitchen to see what he was up to. She still had that sleepy look and her dishevelled hair had been pulled back into a neat ponytail. The necklace still glittered around her neck in the flood of mid-morning sunshine, the diamond reflecting rainbows onto the walls.
The sight that greeted her eyes was amazing. Seto stood at his favourite spot by the counter, sipping a cup of coffee, black, she remembered. He looked freshly shaved and his hair wasn't messy from sleeping all night. That was when she noticed the silver briefcase sitting on the floor next to the counter. That had definitely not been there last night. Must have grabbed it from his car, she thought. Probably kept a shaving kit and a few other things in there in case he got stuck at the office. The table was set, intimately, for two with a lit candle in the centre. A spray of fresh daffodils completed the look, the sunny yellow flowers highlighted by the light streaming in through the large window. A quick look outside showed her that at least another six inches of snow had fallen last night. Groan, another round of shovelling awaited her. Maybe she could talk Seto into joining her again.
"Morning, sleepyhead," Seto said, a smile gracing his lips as he took in the look of shock on her face this morning, for a change. Almost a-deer-caught-in-the-headlights look. Satisfaction rose in him as her open mouth changed to a delighted smile, her blue eyes beaming. He couldn't wait to see the expression on her face when she saw what else he'd been up to this morning.
"Good morning, Seto. Wow, where did you get the flowers from? They're beautiful! Could you get me a cup of coffee, pleeeeease?" Well, it was nice to see that once she was up, her bubbly personality was back in place and there was no more mention of target practice. Her step had a little more spring to it as she came fully into the kitchen while he poured her a cup of the steaming brew. Handing the mug to her, their fingers caressed in the middle of the exchange and both of them felt that now familiar jolt of heat at the contact. With slightly reddened cheeks, she murmured a quick thank you and proceeded to fix up her coffee. Just a splash of cream from the fridge and a spoon of sugar from the bowl on the counter with a quick stir to finish it off. She felt his eyes on her, following her every move around the kitchen, but she managed to, somehow, keep the blush from going to full bloom. One look from him and she went all weak in the knees, though.
"Tastes almost as good as mine," she complimented after taking a quick sip. "Now, I believe that last night you promised me breakfast…"
With a hopeful glance at him through her lash-lidded eyes, she saw him grin quickly, turning his head off to the side, obviously trying to smother it. She reminded him of Mokuba just then, and the puppy dog eyes he used to get what he wanted. "It's in the oven. Just needs a few more minutes to finish cooking," Seto replied, his blue eyes dancing with laughter as she sauntered towards him.
"I never ever, in my wildest dreams, thought this day would come," she commented, setting her mug down on the counter next to him. "Seto Kaiba, CEO of KaibaCorp., is cooking me breakfast. And you still haven't answered my question. Where did you get the flowers from at 9:30 am, on a Sunday, after a major snowstorm?"
"Being the CEO of one of the largest companies in the entire world has its perks," he replied slyly, his hands snaking around her waist and pulling her close. The damned robe was still too slippery but he made do. "Now, how about a good morning kiss?"
"Hmm, usually I have a coffee to wake me up. Let's see how this works instead," Téa said, linking her hands behind his back. He needed no more encouragement and proceeded to let his lips thoroughly wake her up. The soft moans and sighs from both of them were interspersed with the sounds of bubbling from the coffeemaker and sizzling from the oven. "Think I prefer coffee to that," she quipped when their lips broke apart.
Her smile was infectious and her tone was amused. His little laugh felt good. He hadn't been this happy in a long time. "I think breakfast should be ready. Just give me a minute to get it out of the oven. Have a seat at the table."
Picking up her mug, she settled herself in at the table as Seto put on a pair of oven mitts and pulled something out of the oven. Whatever it was, it smelled delicious. Her stomach rumbled loudly and amused laughter came from the vicinity of the oven as he picked up on it. "Hope you're hungry. I made a lot. Even Wheeler would want leftovers."
"Joey will eat anything. It smells great, though. What is it?" she asked, taking another sip of her coffee. He carried the pan over to the table and set it on the waiting trivets. Peeling off the foil, steam rose and she looked at the jumbled mess before her.
"It's my answer to your Dieter's Nightmare Lasagna. Breakfast Strata," he announced, putting the foil on the table and picking up a spatula. Her speculative look made him explain further. "It's a mixture of eggs, onions, peppers, bacon, ham and cheese layered on bread. Trust me. It tastes better than it looks."
"Well, it smells good at least." He dug out a piece and plopped it onto her plate. Unbelievably, it actually looked good as it sat there, cheese oozing all over her plate. Serving himself, he sat down and picked up his fork.
"Bon appetit," was all he said and took a huge bite. Mokuba would be jealous when he found out that he'd made this for her. Bringing leftovers home would be good. Téa took a much smaller bite and chewed it thoughtfully. Not half bad. Not bad at all, she decided. Definitely a recipe she wanted from him. And a few other things as well.
"Surprisingly, it's pretty good. It's just as sinful as my lasagna, I think. Thanks." Taking another bite, he savoured the look of delight on her face. It wasn't everyday that a CEO made breakfast for a cheerleader. Maybe that would change in the future.
Breakfast continued without anything bad happening. Téa was too hungry to really talk much and Seto served her a second helping of his creation without hesitation. He'd scored some points with her here.
"That was amazing," Téa stated, getting up and making a move to pick up her plate. Seto beat her to it.
"What do you think you're doing?" he asked, bringing both their plates over to the sink. She followed behind him, confused. What did he think she was doing? More like what did he think he was doing?
"Cleaning up. You made breakfast so I do the dishes," she explained, trying to muscle him out of the way of the sink. A gentle hip-check made him sidestep slightly but he didn't budge from his position. Putting in the plug, he turned the hot water on. She wasn't going to deter him from this.
"Thanks but no. I like washing dishes, crazy as that sounds," Seto replied, adding dish soap and watching the bubbles form. It was true. Washing dishes relaxed him. That was one way he got rid of stress, too. His housekeeper had sometimes come in and caught him washing every dish in the cupboard, even though there was a dishwasher and every dish was already spotless. Of course, she'd never breathed a word of it, just shook her head and let him continue. It was his house after all.
"If I'd known that, I would have let you do last night's dishes, too."
"What? And have Wheeler making fun of me? Not in this lifetime," he replied, shutting off the hot water and turning on the cold for a few seconds.
"Well, if you're going to do the dishes, I'd better get in gear and head outside to shovel all of that snow that fell last night. You could always come help me when you're finished in here," she commented, turning away and starting towards the stairs.
"Don't bother. It's already done." Her look of surprise was worth the small back ache he was suffering from shovelling that nasty white stuff again this morning.
"Have I told you you're amazing? You made breakfast, shovelled snow and now you're washing dishes. Will wonders never cease?" She shook her head. He had so much initiative in the morning. She certainly didn't. Then again, his company wouldn't be worth billions if he didn't.
"How else would I have gotten flowers delivered this morning and picked up my case from the car? You can thank me later," he replied, dunking his hands into the sink and swirling the water around. She shrugged her shoulders and started towards the stairs once more. At least she could put some clothes on instead of wandering around in her pyjamas all day, like she usually did.
"Sure you can handle it?" she questioned flirtatiously. Memories of last night flashed into his mind and he groaned softly. If she did that again, he really wouldn't survive. He was saved from answering by the phone.
"That's probably Yugi," she said aloud, taking a detour towards the phone that hung on the wall. Seto stayed silent. The look in her eyes warned him not to make any jokes about the 'shrimp'. He smiled knowingly and turned back to the dishes in the sink, giving her some measure of privacy. Last night's dinner had mellowed him a little, a very little, towards her little gang of friends but they still weren't out of his bad books yet. No jokes, aloud at least.
"Hi, Yugi. What's up?" she answered brightly, twirling the long black phone cord between her fingers. Why was he calling so early in the morning? Hopefully, nothing was wrong. What was he doing up? He was notorious for sleeping in on Sundays since the shop didn't open until 12.
"Morning, Téa. Just called to see if you needed any help cleaning up after last night. I would have stayed but Grandpa needed my help getting a display ready for today's sale. He made me get up early to finish it with him," Yugi said on the other end. Yami had been, and was still, murmuring about the amount of snow that had fallen from the heavens last night for the last half hour. 'Yami, quiet already. You've been talking about nothing else since we got out of bed. Could I talk to Téa in peace at least?' his mind voice asked a little exasperated at the Spirit.
'My apologies, aibou, but this is something I have never seen before, even in my years as Pharaoh. There were tales, of course, of lands covered in white for half a year but…' the Spirit replied, a little miffed at his hikari's tone of voice.
'Yami! Quiet or I'll tell Téa what happened when you tried to make cookies last week…' Yugi threatened. He wasn't one to do this on a regular basis but Yami was being annoying this morning. And all because of snow. Then again, simple things… Yami immediately quit thinking about snow and sat silently in a corner of his soul room with his arms folded across his chest. Yugi would have to apologize to him later. Maybe a trip to the bakery down the road for cream puffs would be enough.
Téa grinned. So there was a reason for him to get out of bed. That made more sense now. "No, it's all under control, Yugi. Just have to clean up a couple of loose ends in the kitchen. It won't take me long." She gave Seto a sidelong glance and saw him watching her intently.
She thought he was a loose end? Seto Kaiba was most definitely not a loose end. He'd show her he was a live wire. Wiping his hands dry on a dishtowel, he sauntered over to where she stood, standing just off to her side. She had a habit of walking and talking on the phone, it seemed, and she'd stopped under the lamp. Which still held the mistletoe. Would she never learn? This was the third time she'd gotten trapped under it.
Seto was going to have to thank Mokuba with a trip to the toy store for this one.
Téa eyed him warily. That gleam in his eyes suggested he was about to do something he wasn't going to regret. A grin spread over his lips as a simple but devastatingly wicked plan formed. 'No one said that the kiss had to be on the lips,' he remembered her saying last night. His eyes glanced upwards, making her look up as well. Gasp. Not again. And somehow, she knew exactly what he was about to do and, more importantly, why. Uh-oh.
"Well, if you're sure, Téa…" Yugi left the question hanging. She was being awfully quiet on the other end, which wasn't like her. Usually he couldn't get a word in edgewise.
With her hair up in a ponytail that left her beautiful neck exposed to his roaming lips, Seto let them skim over her creamy skin. His hands settled on her waist and she shivered a little as she couldn't help but lean against him.
Just concentrate on trying to have a normal conversation with Yugi. Pretend Seto wasn't there. Pretend that his warm breath wasn't turning her on. Pretend that just having him this close wasn't making her think about tearing off his clothes and getting him into a steamy bathroom… Concentrate! His mouth felt hot against her neck as he let his lips press down softly just behind her ear. "What was that, Yugi? I didn't quite catch what you just said," she managed to say, proud of herself for stammering only slightly. Another kiss a little further down made her hiss softly.
"Are you okay, Téa? Is something wrong?" Yugi asked, hearing a weird sound issuing from her end of the conversation.
"No, I'm fine. Just… um… cleaning up the sink. Got something stuck in it and it's not draining properly." Good cover, she thought, finally trying to shoo Seto away. He wasn't one to be driven from what he wanted to do, stubborn guy that he was. Smirking triumphantly, he placed a harder kiss on the base of her neck and gave it a little lick.
That's when everything started to go so wrong.
First, Téa gasped loudly into the phone. Yugi had no idea why.
Seto's pants started to ring. Which Yugi heard over the phone. Something wasn't quite right in the Gardner residence and he was bound and determined to find out what.
"Téa? What's going on over there? Are you sure you're okay? Is someone over there with you? I just heard another phone ring…" Yugi started and Téa had to think fast. It wasn't that she didn't want to tell him about her and Seto but judging by just Joey's reaction to him yesterday, she didn't want to have to defend herself against whatever he might say over the phone. So she covered.
"I'm fine, Yugi. Kaiba just startled the hell out of me. I went to open the door to get the paper and there he was, standing there. It's his phone you heard ring." Seto was currently fumbling to get said phone out of his pocket. He was going to kill whoever was calling him.
"Kaiba? What's he doing over there?" Yugi asked. Something suspicious was going on. He just knew it. Even Yami was sitting up and paying more attention to the phone call. Or else he just wanted to hear Téa's voice better.
"Kaiba here. What do you want?" Seto asked coldly into the phone that he'd finally managed to get open. He didn't even look at the caller ID.
"Seto? Where are you? Did you go to the office today? You promised no more Sundays at work…" Mokuba started to say. He knew full well where his big brother was. He'd already called the office and security had assured him that the president of the company had not walked in yet, nor was he expected to. That left only one place he could be. And Mokuba couldn't have been happier. Of course, Seto had explained what was going on between him and Téa, after a lot of prodding, pleading and puppy dog eyes.
"Kaiba came by to… to pick up his wallet. I guess he left it on the counter last night and came by this morning to retrieve it." 'Please buy that,' she thought to herself. It was a pretty good story and it was half-true, at least. Only he'd left a lot more here than his wallet last night.
"You know where I am, Mokuba. I explained everything to you last night in the car," Seto replied, hearing the slyness in his younger brother's voice. How his brother had cajoled him into letting him in on what was going on between him and Téa was still a mystery. It had something to do with puppy dog eyes and sugar. Seto could never resist those eyes. And his mischievous little scamp of a younger brother knew exactly how to wield them as deadly weapons of mass manipulation.
"Are you sure everything is okay, Téa? He sounds kind of angry. He's not mouthing off to you, is he?" Now he was getting a little worried. Whomever Kaiba was talking to in the background was getting an earful, it seemed, and Yugi didn't want Téa to be caught in the backlash when he hung up the phone. At least he couldn't really hear what was being said.
"You must have went to Téa's pretty early this morning, huh, big bro. You weren't even here for breakfast. And guess what? Lois made Breakfast Strata today but it was nowhere near as good as when you make it." Mokuba must have eaten something else for him to get that high-pitched tone of voice. Seto was betting that he'd gotten in the Reese Puff's again.
If only Mokuba knew that he'd spent the night here, he'd be deliriously happy. Someone had implanted the idea in his young, impressionable mind that his brother needed a girlfriend and he'd been harping at him for months now. Well, at least he'd finally found one under his own free will. No more dinnertime talk about it anymore. No more sending him to his room for mentioning it once too often on the same night either.
"No, he's just talking to Mokuba. Really, Yugi, you act as if Kaiba is going to turn into a fire-breathing dragon any minute. He's not that bad, you know." So Seto's little brother knew about the two of them now, eh? It would have been hard for Seto to hide that from someone as nosy as Mokuba. She wished she could be as straight up with her friends but it would be better if she just eased them into it, bit by bit, over the next couple of weeks. At least that was the plan she was forming. Seto would probably agree with her.
Sometimes even the best-laid plans have wrenches thrown in them.
"I know he's not that bad but I just worry about you. If you're sure you're okay…" Yugi let the concern he felt colour his voice and she appreciated that he cared for her enough to voice that worry.
"Yes, I did leave early. You weren't even up yet for cartoons. I'll be home shortly." Seto loved his little brother dearly. Mokuba was the only family he had in the world and he'd die before he'd let anything bad happen to him but if he ate any more sugar today, the surprise trip to the toy store at the mall tomorrow was going to be cancelled. Seto could picture Mokuba just vibrating from whatever cereal he'd eaten for breakfast. Sigh.
"Okay, Yugi. I'll see you guys at the mall tomorrow, how about 4 o'clock at the food court, okay? You have to help me find something for your Grandpa. I never know what to get him. Okay, gotta go, bye." Yugi was such a sweet guy but so over-protective. If Seto ever did get out of line with her, well, she knew how to deal with that. She wasn't as defenceless as everyone thought. She hung the phone back up at the same time as Seto closed his cell phone. They both sighed in unison. Turning to face him, she saw his eyes lift skywards and he mouthed something that she couldn't really understand except for the word "sugar" – that one came out a little loudly. "So, I guess you have to go home. Did you really tell Mokuba about us?" Another sigh from him and his shoulders slumped a little.
"My little brother should be hired by the UN for any kind of negotiations. Those eyes of his would melt the heart of anyone he pointed them at." Seto laughed softly and heard Téa join in.
"Let me guess. He threw the 'look' at you and you caved, right?" Téa surmised.
"It wasn't just the 'look', it was the whole lead up to it as well. Mokuba is a very gifted child when it comes to getting what he wants," Seto replied, smiling. What a difference that made, she thought. His whole face lightened up and her heart skipped a beat or three.
"Maybe I'll have to get Mokuba to teach me that look," she said, her finger tapping her chin in thoughtfulness.
"You're already getting the hang of it. How else would you have gotten me to make breakfast for you?" Seto quipped as he got his silver briefcase from beside the counter. He really had to get going. Maybe, if he was lucky, he could get some work done at home on those reports and design specs. Assuming Mokuba didn't have any other plans for him today. Her laughter surrounded him as he turned around and stepped towards her.
"So I guess you have to get going now?" Her voice came out a little more softly than she'd intended. She really didn't want him to go home. Then she'd be all alone for the rest of the day. Well, there was more decorating to be done before the Christmas Eve party anyways. At least she'd have something to do.
"Unfortunately, work calls. I've taken two days off and if you expect me to be here for the party on the 24th, I have to get cracking on all the work that's been piling up on my desk at home. Listen, I'll call you later, though," Seto said, enfolding her with his one free arm. Leaning in close, he smelled her hair once more and felt her tilt up her head. A searing sensation burned through him as he felt her lips press in hard against the base of his neck.
"You better or you'll be in big trouble," she promised with a smile.
"If I don't get out of here now, I'm going to drag you back to that big bed upstairs." He grasped her small, warm hand in his and started towards the front door. He hadn't been kidding. Her robe had been slipping open a little and it afforded him a view of so many delights to come.
"Would that be so bad, Seto?" she asked, coyly, her eyebrows innocently arching up at him. Her eyes, her round, luminous, beautiful, blue, blue eyes, however, told him a different story. 'What had he gotten himself into?' he thought. Now he was waxing poetic about her eyes. He should have never told her that she had the 'look'. It got better every time she used it, too. He was having an extremely hard time resisting that temptation to drag her upstairs and do what he'd been dreaming about all night. Stopping at the front door, he let go of her hand, set down the briefcase and slipped his gravity-defying coat on before stepping into his shoes.
This was the hard part. Saying good-bye again. At least he'd get to kiss her today.
"That wouldn't be bad at all. Quite the contrary. But Mokuba is expecting me home soon and I have to keep my wits about me." Delighted laughter and glittering eyes swamped his senses and he fought the urge to take his coat off again.
"You always have your wits about you," she replied, her arms wrapping about his waist once more. He wasn't leaving without giving her a proper kiss good-bye this time. The muscles in his back tensed as he leaned lower and let his lips connect with hers. The intimate contact of tongues and lips had them both sighing once more. He never wanted to let her go.
"I really must get going. Call you later, Téa," Seto stated when they broke the kiss. She nodded her head silently and moved to open the door as he retrieved his briefcase.
"You better call me. I'm going to hold you to that. Verbal agreement," she quipped, her smile breaking through once more. He grinned at her and slipped out the door. Turning back once, she waved at him and shut the door.
Wow, the start of the sequel ,finally. Hope you liked it. Hope it was worth the wait. Trust me, it gets better. Suspicions have already been planted and are growing nicely. Woohoo! Please leave a review and let me know what you think.