So there I am, too-bright theater light and "What is this?" I say to Carma, shifting through the different fanfictions full of broken characters, it doesn't make any sense. "Are you actually uploading another chapter to the story? This thing is so... short! Why is it written like-"
"Because," with exaggerated patience, pushing back her mop of hair, even moppier than mine, "SJB's let this story slide for way too long. She feels like she's letting everybody down. It's the least she can do... Even if it is smaller than a kumkwat. Just thank the people and introduce the chapter, get it? You don't have to start monologuing on us."
"Thanks Ranawe, Stargiven, Sora Potter, The Light's Refrain, and Dark Qiviut. We don't deserve you guys."
"Yeah, and we don't own kumkwats, Talk by Kathe Koja, Digimon, or-"
"Show the people the story, please."
Her sharp elbow digging into my side: "That's you. Go."
"Um... Welcome to chapter eighteen, guys. We hope you enjoy it?"
&&Chapter 18: The Good Times?&&
T.K. Takaishi let out another agonized grunt and pulled his knees closer to his chest, slowly letting the breath come out. Inhale. Exhale. Count. That's what Matt had told him… Too bad it wasn't working.
"Just apologize to him."
"JESUS CHRIST CODY, FOR THE LAST TIME I AM NOT GOING TO APOLOGIZE!"
The brunette backed up against the elevator wall, shooting a terrified glance at the other boy, and then at Kari Kamiya. Her hands were curled up in fists and she looked like she was about to explode. She seemed to be having trouble breathing.
"He should be the one to apologize. Not me."
"For what?" T.K. shouted, face pale. He was vaguely aware that they were both staring at him now, boring holes into his skull. He just kept his blue eyes fixed on the elevator door. The elevator… door… that… was… moving. "What the…"
A hand stuck its way in between the metal doors. "You guys?"
Cody's eyes widened and he pressed himself back against the wall. "I'm not here…" He whispered.
"Yes, you are, dipshit." T.K. rolled his eyes. "There's nowhere else for you to be. We're alive, Yolei! Thank you for the heart attack!"
The hand stopped and pulled out, an eye sticking its way to the thin crack between the doors. "T.K.? Are you okay? You sound like someone hit you in the nuts or something."
"Yes. That would be Kari."
Kari blushed and pushed a thin ribbon of hair behind her ear. "Ignore him, Yolei… He's not himself right now. Can you get us out?"
"N-n-n-no!" Cody stuttered. "Y-y-y-you c-can't leave me out th-th-there with h-her!"
"I think so. The building people called a technician. He says he can open the door."
"Relax, Cody. I'm not gonna hurt you… Yet. This place has cameras, you know."
T.K. raised an eyebrow. "Really? Where?"
The eye moved up and down. He assumed the girl had shrugged. With a sigh he took another deep breath and tried moving to his feet. Kari was staring at him – anxiously, now. It still hurt. A lot.
Hang on. I missed something… I missed eight.
Davis caught Ken's arm before he had the chance to leave the room. Ken shot him a questioning look.
"Ken… There's something else I wanted you to know."
"Push harder!" Kari yelled. "I want out of here already!"
"Piss off, you stupid security guard! Almost… ow…"
The doors opened just enough for Yolei to stick her foot through.
Ken turned around to face the bed. He caught Davis' eye for a long moment, thinking to himself.
"What… Did you want me to know?"
"I… wanted to tell you… I just… didn't know how…"
Ken squinted. "What happened, Davis?"
A loud jerk sounded and the doors slid open, lights and numbers popping up outside. A relieved-looking Yolei and two sweaty men in uniforms stood outside, smiling in triumph.
T.K. fell down again by the wall, wincing. Yolei rushed over.
"Jesus, T.K.! What the hell happened?"
Kari rolled her eyes and left the elevator. Cody blushed again. "You know what he said about… Kari being the one to… kick him… ahem…"
Yolei's jaw dropped. "Kari kicked you in the genitals!"
Ken studied Davis' face for a long moment in concern, waiting.
"Ken… Sarah… she miscarried."
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