It had been almost 3 weeks now, far too long.
Squall Leonhart wore his usual frown as he stared out of the open window in his new, much larger, room which gave him a picturesque view of Balamb, the sea gently crashing against the soft sand, long, luscious green grass swaying gently in the warm breeze and the sun burning brightly in the cloudless, clear blue sky. Most people would have loved the view, or at least have appreciated having such a nice one, but to Squall it probably wouldn't have made much difference if he was staring out into the rear end of an Ochu, he wasn't paying much attention to the view anyway. He rarely did. He was always too deep in his own thoughts, just as he was now.
'Why was it taking so long, is it really that hard a decision to make? It's either 'Yes' or 'No'. I suppose you do need a certain amount of time to think, a few days, a week at the most, but this was just getting ridiculous.'
"3 weeks. 3 whole weeks!" he moaned in his frustration.
'Maybe I should just take it all back,' he thought to himself, 'maybe it was just one huge mistake, I never should have asked her in the first place. How could I have been stupid as to think that someone as amazing, beautiful and desired as her would ever want to spend the rest of her life with...me'
He knew, in his heartthat Rinoa loved him. Ever since he met Rinoa he knew she was special, and he was right. Without her he would still be similar to the nothingness he was 4 years ago on the night of his graduation.
The changes she brought to his life were part of the reason he loved her. He remembered saying those three little words to her just before he proposed; he had to tell her, so that he knew it was right, so that he would know if she felt the same way and partly to save himself any embarrassment of being refused when he proposed. If she hadn't have said I love you back, then he wouldn't have proposed and he would probably have ended their relationship then and there, but now he knew, they were meant for each other.
'Then why was it taking so long?! It's not as if…..'
A loud knock on the door interrupted his train of thought. Dammit. He really didn't need this right now.
"Heeeey!!! Squall open up! I know you're there! We gotta go to Deling, remember?!"
He sighed heavily as he ran a hand through his hair. He had completely forgotten about the shopping trip he had planned with Selphie. He could just ignore it, but he had to buy Zell his birthday present. Dammit. Why did it have to be today? He was under too much pressure right now; promoted from commander to the new headmaster of Balamb; proposing to Rinoa; he had to organise the next SeeD field exam and on top of that there was the graduation party! But he could probably persuade Selphie to do it, either that or Selphie would persuade him to let her do it.
"C'mon! Open up!" Selphie yelled from the other side of the locked door.
"Alright, alright. I'm coming."
He opened the door as slowly as he could; he didn't particularly enjoy these little outings with Selphie, ever since her new found love of caffeine.
The moment he stepped outside Selphie grabbed him by the wrist and began to drag him down the hallway, barely giving him time to grab the door handle and yank it shut.
"C'mon Squall! The train is leaving in 10 minutes from Balamb station, we gotta run!!!"
"You're hurting my wrist."
"If I don't we're not gonna get there in time!!!"
'Who knew someone so small could run so fast?'
"HEEEEY!!!! WAIT FOR US MR. TRAIN MAN!!!" Selphie yelled, literally seconds before the conductor blew his whistle, but sparing just enough time for Squall to be embarrassed by the disapproving stares of every person within 30 feet of them.
Rinoa sprinted towards the lift in which Xu was standing.
Xu was about to close the doors, when she heard a familiar voice call after her. "Hey Xu! Do you have any idea where Quistis is?"
"Oh, hey Rin!" She struggled to hold the almost closed doors open while Rinoa ran up the short flight of stairs to reach her.
"Oh, it's not that important, it's just that I needed her advice on something and I've looked everywhere, seriously! She's not in her room, cafeteria or even anywhere in Garden! Her phone is switched off and I don't even remember seeing her yesterday!"
"Oh, well I know I shouldn't really be gossiping but I heard that she's with this totally hot guy! Intellectual too! Should be a perfect match, huh? Well anyway she could be with him."
"Oh, Ok, thanks Xu."
"Rinoa, It's not anything I can help you with, is it?"
"No, it's not that important anyway, but if you see Quistis when she gets back from her make-out session then ask her to come find me 'kay?"
"Sure, see ya!"
Rinoa sighed, she may not have made it out to be a big deal to Xu, but it would be one of the biggest decisions of her life. She might get engaged, for Hyne's sake! But all Quistis was worried about was how long she could sneak away with this 'hot, intellectual guy' for. Though, Rinoa couldn't blame her for not being there to discuss Squall's proposal, since she didn't even know about it, but that wasn't the point! She needed someone now!!!
Who else was she supposed to talk to? Selphie had been out shopping with Squall for a few hours now, no doubt she was high on caffeine now, and Squall would be cursing himself for not having a stop spell. Irvine would be absolutely no good whatsoever for advice on serious relationships, since the furthest he had probably gotten with any girl (excluding Selphie) was a slap in the face for the use of some dumb chat up line. Of course, there was always Zell, Rinoa didn't know a whole lot about his relationship history, but he seemed to be her only option right now and he was pretty good at the whole advice thing.
Sure enough, when she turned the corner, she was almost knocked out by him throwing punches at an imaginary person.
"Oh, hey Rin! Sorry, didn't see ya there. S'up?"
"Erm… well I kinda have this problem, and I really need to talk about it to someone."
"Sure, you wanna go grab a hot dog?"
"Ok, will they even have any left?"
"Sure! It's early, there's no way they can already be gone."
As she walked absent mindedly through the crowded corridor with Zell, she wondered if it was really a good idea to tell him about Squall's proposal. Maybe it would be better to wait a while for someone who wouldn't give her, well, such an inappropriate reaction. But then again, maybe he wouldn't maybe he wouldn't make a huge scene, maybe he would be totally calm about it… what was she thinking? This was Zell for Hyne's sake! No-one could ever get a calm reaction out of him, no matter how hard they tried. He was her friend, sure, but he was really good at pissing her off, usually without even realising it.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN SOLD OUT?!"
"I mean finished, all gone, nothing, no more, all eaten. Zell, you of all people should know how quickly they go!"
"Oh man, but we got here early!"
Zell sighed in defeat as the cafeteria lady shrugged and turned her back on him. He trudged slowly away towards the tables followed by Rinoa who was struggling to contain her laughter at her friends devastating experience.
"So what did you want to talk about, it better be something good 'cos I need some major cheerin' up" he sniffed.
It was actually quite pathetic in a way, how he always got wound up over suchsmall things. He was likean immature child, trapped in a 20 year olds body and trying desperately to get out. Still it was a good source of entertainment for her, most of the time.
"Well, you know when me and Squall went to dinner about three weeks ago…well…don't overreact or get all happy because I haven't given him an answer or anything…well, he kinda, mighta asked me to maybe....marry him?
"WHOA!!! Why the hell haven't you decided yet?! You guys are meant for each other!"
This was exactly what she was hoping he wouldn't do. His reaction was so loud that most people in around them were staring, no doubt they would be eaves drooping on the rest of their conversation. Rumours would be flying around Garden within a few hours. She knew it was a big mistake even considering telling him, especially in such a public place.
"I'm not entirely sure, I guess it might be because I've been so, well, free spirited all my life, and this is such a huge deal! I'll be making an enormous commitment to him. That reminds me, the ring was also pretty enormous! Anyway, I don't know if I'm ready for that kind of commitment. I mean, one day I might get sick of it and want a divorce, not because I don't love him, because I do, but because I would hate the commitment!"
"Well, can you ever picture you guys being a happy married couple?"
"Well yeah, sure. I guess but it would take me a long time to get use to the lack of freedom thing."
"You know it's not like Squall is gonna tie you up in a teeny box and feed you bread and water every day if you get married. You'll still be able to do what you want, you'll just be making a commitment which is to love Squall for the rest of your life and love your kids too n stuff like that."
"Zell! I haven't even completely made up my mind yet and already you're thinking about kids?! ...But you do have a point, I shouldn't be so scared about this, it's a change for the better right?"
"Exactly! Now you're getting' it!"
"Yeah, thanks Zell!"
In an attempt to look cool he winked at her leaning back on what he thought was a chair, but what was, in a not so convenientand surprisingly cruel reality, actually a stool.
Rinoa burst into a fit of laughter, along with the rest of the students currently eating in the cafeteria who had heard the loud crash.
"THANKS FOR THE HELP GETTING UP!!!" he yelled at her as she walked away, still in fits, leaving ared faced Zell lying on the flooron top of his 'chair'.
It wasn't so bad asking Zell for advice, Rinoa was just dreading the rumours she would soon be hearing, walking toward the library, she could already hear one girl, who had run out of the cafeteria just before her, gossiping to her friends. All she could make out was something about Selphie proposing to Squall, then Rinoa having a one night stand with Irvine on the same night. How did people come up with this stuff?! It was ridiculous!
"Heeeey! What about that one? Or that one? Ooh! What about that?"
"Squall! C'mon make up your mind! We've been in here almost 3 hours!!"
"Correction, four hours."
"That's even worse!!! Oh hey, what about that one? He'd love that one"
"Just as much as he's going to love those adorable fluffy bear slippers you got him?"
"Hey! That's mean! He is going to like them, and for your information they are MONKEYS!!!"
"Whatever. What about that?"
Squall pointed to a plain gold medallion ring.
"I could get that picture of his Grandfather engraved on it."
"Wow Squall, I never knew you could be so…thoughtful."
"Don't get used to it."
"I won't, but I bet Rinoa has! Oh yeah, did she give you an answer yet?"
"No. I'm starting to thing that I should take it back. It's pretty obvious her answer is no."
"Squall! How can you think like that?! She will say yes, it's just going to take a bit of time. It's a pretty big decision you know!"
"I guess. But she has had a lot of time already."
"Want me to talk to her? Maybe she just needs a little encouragement?"
"Selphie, you're not even supposed to know, if I hadn't left the ringon my deskthen no-one would know yet. In fact, why were you going through my desk?"
"You were taking a long time in that stupid meeting. But you're glad I know, right? You need some support from someone, just in case she says no… Oh! But she won't!" Selphie added after realising what she just said.
"Uh huh...whatever." Squall walked towards a sales assistant at the back of the shop.
"Um, excuse me, could I get a picture engraved on this?"
"Certainly sir, do you have the picture with you? Also you will need to fill out this form."
"Yeah here it is, oh, do you have a pen?"
"Heeey! You don't carry that picture round with you everywhere, do you? 'Cos that's kinda creepy."
"No, you don't really think I had that idea spontaneously. I thought of getting a ring engraved ages ago, which is why I have a copy of the picture with me."
"Well if you already knew what to get him then why have you been dragging be around Deling for the past four hours?!"
"Because I enjoy your company."
"That had better not have been sarcasm I just…."
"Sir the ring will be ready for collection on Friday, or we could have it delivered to you?"
'Heeey! What a rude, snobby man! I was in the middle of talking. Hmph.'
"I'll have it delivered."
"Certainly sir, please fill out this form."
'Why do I have to fill out so many damn forms? Can't he just have given me one?! Bastard.'
Squall sighed as he filled out yet another form. If he was given just one more that guy might as well start digging his own grave. He couldn't believe he was going to so much trouble for Zell. All he got from Zell for his birthday was some CD of a hip hop band he had never heard of in his life. Still it was better than the fluffy lion slippers from Selphie; apparently it was 'an addition to his Griever stuff.' Where was she getting these slipper things from anyway?!
Quistis Trepe stormed along the stony path. She was in a terrible mood. Everyone had been given tasks to complete in preparation for Zell's party. Everyone had their part done at least a week in advance, which she was extremely happy about. But two days ago a dark cloud came and rained on her image of Zell's party going totally to plan. Irvine Kinneas was sailing on top of that cloud.
He had to be 'Mr. Cool and relaxed' which meant he forgot he had ever been asked to get a band, but apparently they just cancelled. He was such a terrible liar and he was seriously pissing her off. He had been given one job. ONE DAMN JOB and he couldn't even do that. It wasn't as if it was anything particularly hard! He just had to find a band, any band at all and he failed miserably. He hadn't even tried. Apparently they cancelled, coincidently; this happened right after Quistis had reminded him of his task. His exact words were,
'What band…? Oh right, um yeah they…um…cancelled? Yeah! They were so rude! I never had time to find one, Oh! Ahh, I mean find another one! Hah hah! Tragedy isn't it? But I'm sure we'll get one.'
She was sick of him. If he wasn't Selphie's so-called boyfriend she would have seriously hurt him by now. But at the moment, the most she could do was scream at him, so loud, in fact that she would have beat Fujin in a screaming match hands down.
"IRIVINE KINNEAS!!! YOU ARE A BLOODY MORON! WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR A BAND FOR THE PAST TWO DAYS!!! WE'VE SEARCHED THROUGH NEARLY EVERY PLACE WE KNOW!!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! YOU SAID YOU'D GET IT SORTED WHEN I ASKED YOU IF YOU WANTED TO DO IT!!!"
"Chill Quisty! I got a band, they just cancelled…"
"Chill? CHILL?! YOU WANT ME TO CHILL WHEN YOUR STUPID BAND CANCELLED 5 DAYS BEFORE ZELL'S PARTY?! HE IS EXPECTING A BAND YOU KNOW! AS WELL AS THAT I HAD TO MAKE UP AN EXCUSE SAYING THAT I WAS WITH A GUY, TO XU, SO SHE WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO TELL ZELL THAT YOU'RE A MORON AND LOST THE BAND!!! OR SO YOU SAY, BUT I DOUBT THERE EVER WAS ONE!"
"Hey, hey, Quisty, don't doubt my manly charm! I'll get us a band. Don't worry, in fact I know this great band, they're called..."
"ABSOLUTELY NO ALL GIRL BANDS."
"Huh?! Why not? Some guys, like me, are actually looking for a date! So Zell could be too! It could be like and extra birthday present!"
"OH, YEAH! I FORGOT, SELPHIE JUST VANISHES INTO THIN AIR WHENEVER YOU FIND A GIRL IN A LOWER CUT TOP!!!"
"Selph…Oh, right, um, yeah, ah, hah hah! Um, oh wow I feel drowsy, yeah! Um I…"
He was immediately interrupted by the sharp, stinging pain of Quistis' whip whacking the back of his knee, causing him to buckle as he watched Quistis storm off down the road. She could be really scary when she was angry.
"Ow, HEY QUISTY WAIT UP!!! HELP!! MY LEG!! Ow shit! YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO HIT ME THAT DAMN HARD!!"
"IRVINE KINNEAS YOU ARE NOW A MORON AND A WIMP! THAT WAS LIGHT!!!"
'Dammit, I'll show her. I'll get up by myself, and then I'll find her a damned boy band. The way she acting she NEEDS a date. That's why she won't let me get a girl band; she wants some dumb baby-faced boy band member boyfriend.
I guess she does need some romance in her life more than me. I mean I do have Selphie, she's cute n all, but does she have to play hard to get ALL THE FRIGGIN TIME?! But she wants me. She totally wants me. I am sooo slick and manly. Oh yeah. She wants me, and she could have me if she wasn't so caught up in that damn hard to get thing!!! But still, I know she can't resist me. My athletic body, long ponytail, smooth skin, great features. Oh yeah she totally can't resist me.'
"Irvine, seriously, I doubt the pain in your leg was enough to stop you speaking for the last ten minutes!"
"Huh, wha…? Ten minutes?"
'Was I really thinking about myself for ten minutes? Damn I'm vein.'
"Alright I'm all better now, no thanks to nurse Quisty."
"I could have left you whimpering on the road for a lot longer than ten minutes."
"You couldn't leave poor defenceless ol' Irvy all alone without any female company for more than ten minutes, could you?"
"I'd love to, and I hardly call being armed with a gun 'defenceless'."
"At least I didn't shoot any of my friends with it."
"Shut up. You still need to find a band, remember?"
She then ran most of the way to Deling, dragging a limping, quite pathetic looking Irvine behind her. Ignoring most of his complaints and answering the rest by running faster, they eventually reached Deling, where Irvine finally said something worthwhile.
"Hey y'know there's probably a lot of amateur bands around the Shopping Arcade, you wanna go look there. Um, I'm not coming, I'll be in the hotel if you want me, I don't think I can go much further with my broken bones."
"Well that's just too bad. You got us into this mess and you're going to get us out no matter how bruised you are, hey, isn't that Squall and Selphie over there?"
"OW! Stop dragging me everywhere Quisty! Take pity on an injured man!"
"SELPHIE!!! SQUALL!!! Wait up!"
"HEEEY! Quistis! Irvine! What are you doing here?"
"Mr. 'Manly Charm' here lost the band!"
"Irvy! How could you…Heeey! Maybe we could perform!!! Like we did in FH!!! Well, except no tap dancing. Squall, what do you think?"
"I think that you two should work on it yourselves, I have better things to do than sort out someone else's mess."
Selphie gave Irvine a small peck on the cheek before she and Squall went off though she was wondering why he looked so disappointed, and why he was limping. She turned to Squall who was already making his way back to the station. Just before they got onto the train, he said something quietly to her.
"Selphie, I changed my mind. I want you to talk to Rinoa for me."
Author's Notes: Okay, this is my first ever fan fiction thingy (That I wrote, not submitted):) Sooo please forgive me if anything dragged on or whatever. If anyone has suggestions on how I can make it better then please tell me, I think I need some help on this! So R & R!!!!