before I apologize profusely...

QUESTION! Have I uploaded this chapter before? because I swear I did... if I did, please let me know!! if not... enjoy!

and heeere we go. apologies for the incredibly late update! school hates me. let's leave it at that. shall we?


CHAPTER EIGHT: Chick Flick, Kurogane Style

Brmmm...

The sound of a cellphone vibrating on a nightstand is truly an annoying sound.

Brmmm...

Face still planted down in his pillow, Kurogane's broad arm, fumbling, found it's way out of the sheets and groped about, trying to found his nightstand and to chuck his cellphone across the room.

Brmmm...

"Auuuuuughhh," came Kurogane's muffled groan. With a strained effort, Kurogane located his cellphone and instead of flinging it across the room as he had intended, he flipped it open. "What?" he asked in his fresh, croaky, deep, morning voice, barely turning his head to make the word audible.

No response.

Opening an eye a fraction, Kurogane looked at his cellphone screen with utter annoyance, only to see the words '1 NEW TXT' burning into his eyes.

Mentally muttering obscenities after seeing the time (Who the hell needs to talk to me at seven in the morning?!), Kurogane pressed the 'view' button with enough force to compact his cellphone into a junk pile of technology.

Good morning, Kurogane!

Groaning as he flipped onto his back, Kurogane's fingers fumbled to text back. Stupid texting. What was the point of it? Who in the world would waste a good couple minutes to type a conversation out when you could be having one actually talking and save more than mere minutes?

who the 4hell is this ?

Not only did Kurogane despise texting, he clearly sucked at it, too.

In a split second the response came in the form of '1 NEW TXT.'

Tomoyo ^_^

What the hell was that at the end? Kurogane scrutinized the symbols more than taking in who exactly was texting him. Oh, it was supposed to be a smiley face. Or something. What a second... Had he ever exchanged numbers with Tomoyo? Of course he hadn't. Because he could tell Tomoyo was a texting type of girl and there was no way Kurogane needed that, especially not at seven in the morning.

What dyouu want. and how di2 you get my number?

And clearly, Kurogane was a master at being rude through technology, too.

Again, in a split second, another text arrived with another burst of three vibrates.

Fai gave it to me. Are you busy right now?

Hardly, Kurogane thought sarcastically. I was only sleeping... (Kurogane also made a mental note to kill Fai and have his cellphone number changed.) Regardless (and oddly, without thinking) Kurogane replied:

No. WHat do you want.

Always the gentlemen, Kurogane.

I was about to run some errands. Join me? ^_^

Stupid weird smiley faces. And stupid women who wake up at seven in the morning to run errands. Weren't young people supposed to like sleeping in?

And Kurogane typed back that fateful word.

Fine

-- -- --

As Kurogane stepped out of the shower, he could hear faintly through the door what sounded like an announcer crying, "CHECKMATE! BLACK, WIN!" Shaking his head as he dressed and running a towel through his hair, Kurogane reminded himself that he would have to have a talk with his neighbors about the volume on their TV set.

Wait a second... Was this déjà vu?

Dropping his towel and yanking open the door, Kurogane's suspicion was confirmed: that absurdly loud voice was coming from his TV.

"What are you doing?!" Kurogane roared, somewhere in the deep area of his mind already knowing what to expect.

"Good morning, Kurogane," Tomoyo replied cheerfully, waving a spatula at him from the kitchen.

Oh God, hearing that phrase was even better than seeing it in a text.

"What is wrong with you?! People are sleeping!" Kurogane yelled, turning the volume down and tossing the remote onto the couch.

"You're being the loudest one here," Tomoyo pointed out in the same cheerful manner, pointing the spatula in Kurogane's direction.

Ignoring her (truthful) statement, Kurogane folded his arms and glared at the woman in his kitchen. "What are you doing here? I thought you wanted to run errands or something."

"I do," Tomoyo shrugged, though her back was to Kurogane. She shook the pan a little bit. "I figured I'd come feed you since the sight of your lovely refrigerator's innards have forever been seared into my memory." Tomoyo reached up to the cupboards and pulled out a plate. Turning to Kurogane, she again shrugged and smiled, sliding the pan's contents on the plate.

Ah, good smells...

Tomoyo slid the plate across the counter and looked at Kurogane expectantly. Sighing, Kurogane strode to the counter to eat whatever the hell the chef wanted to feed him.

Ah, omelette and cubed potatoes with some type of spicy seasoning... Smells good...

Kurogane ate without sitting down, still standing at the counter. He ate, disgruntled, as Tomoyo watched him, eyes still expectant.

Aside from the fact that Kurogane could pretty much report Tomoyo for breaking and entering, he was thinking he could get used to yummy food. (Kurogane wondered how easily she had found his key's new hiding place.) He also realized that Tomoyo's bright eyes were waiting for a comment.

"It's good," Kurogane mumbled indirectly as he set his empty plate on the counter. He pointedly avoided looking directly at Tomoyo's eyes.

She graced Kurogane with a pleased smile and nodded, more to herself than anyone else. "Okay. Shall we go?"

-- -- --

Eyebrow twitching violently, Kurogane glared at Tomoyo's back, ears canceling out whatever the hell she was blabbing about. "You..." he started in a low voice, close to a growl. "You..."

"Hmm?" Tomoyo stopped talking and looked back at Kurogane, as she tipped back her sunglasses. "Are you alright?"

"YOU INVITED ME SO I COULD BE YOUR FREAKING BAG BOY?!" Kurogane roared, finally snapping.

Tomoyo, completely not phased by Kurogane's outburst, merely laughed and set her sunglasses back on the bridge of her nose. She patted Kurogane's arm and continued walking.

Damn you... Kurogane thought. He was shouldering an enormous sack of flour and under his other arm was a smaller bag of sugar, though with his free hand he was clutching bags of fresh fruit galore.

"A morning workout through the farmer's market is good for you," Tomoyo sang back at Kurogane when she saw her companion wasn't following. "And it's a beautiful day, don't you think?" Tomoyo gestured widely with her arm and twirled in the bright sunlight. She giggled to herself and stood facing Kurogane. This time she took off her sunglasses and smiled. "Don't be so sour, Kurogane. You know you want to be here."

Like hell I do!

"That's her!" came a shout.

Both Kurogane and Tomoyo whipped their heads to the side to see a young man from across the street pointing in their direction.

"Shoot!" Tomoyo muttered. Kurogane focused his attention back at his companion, feeling a little confused at the situation.

"Oh, that's her!" exclaimed another voice, this time coming from an elderly woman who one second ago was busy arguing with the fish stall's fisherman.

Tomoyo bit her lip and before Kurogane knew it, he was being dragged through the market and he was trying his best to avoid barreling people over.

"Wha—?!" Kurogane started.

"Just run!" Tomoyo shouted.

As the two ran, or as Tomoyo dragged Kurogane behind her as he tried not to whack innocent civilians with the sack of flour or bags of fruits, Kurogane could her snips of conversation that seemed to be getting louder and louder.

"It's that famous baker person!"

"Hey, isn't that that pastry chef that was in the news yesterday?"

"Oh em gee, it's Tomoyo that used to work at Mokona's!" (This particular cry came with a ridiculously high-pitched voice.)

"I can't believe we have celebrity in town!"

Wow, was this really happening? Because Kurogane swore that they were being followed by a camera crew and he was pretty sure this sort of madness only happened in movies.

"In here!" Tomoyo cried and Kurogane's body all but flew forward into a moldy looking cupboard.

"Wha—?!" Kurogane wildly tried to find balance in this new shady environment, eyes not adjusting to the dark as quickly as he liked. And he was thinking that he probably just dropped the sack of sugar a good ten feet back.

"Shhh!" Tomoyo hissed as there was the sound of a slamming door and everything turned dark.

Oh, God. Kurogane really didn't want to think it, but he was sure he just found himself in a B-movie chick flick. Was he really stuck in a closet with a member of the opposite sex?

Kurogane tried to turn around as he found his foot in a bucket with wheels.

Yep, it was a bad chick flick in the making.

"Will you quit moving around?!" Tomoyo hissed as Kurogane nearly fell backward and banged his head on a shifty shelf. Tomoyo's voice sounded hassled yet very amused at the same time. It seemed like she was fighting really hard from giggling.

"Will you explain to me what the hell you're doing?" Kurogane hissed back, still not seeing anything, but pretty much crashing into everything in the closet. He had lost track of the flour and was somehow holding in his hand a single apple.

Cramped closets may be Tomoyo's favorite thing at seven-thirty in the morning, but they sure as hell are not for Kurogane.

"Where the hell is the door?" Kurogane grumbled, his hand groping in the darkness.

"Augh, Kurogane, please stop moving," Tomoyo pleaded from the darkness. "We should— whoa—"

Kurogane was thinking that his hand was not tangled in the strings of the dirty mop, as much as he hoped. Because dirty mops don't have that silky smooth texture that Tomoyo's hair has. Wait, what?

There was a moment of silence and Kurogane could practically feel the temperature in the pathetic little closet go up. "Um..." Tomoyo mumbled.

Tomoyo's voice was suddenly very close. Too close.

"Yeah, sorry," Kurogane mumbled back as he tried to shift around and withdraw his hand from the waves of Tomoyo's hair.

"Ow," Tomoyo whispered as Kurogane unintentionally yanked on her hair.

Surprised, Kurogane repeated a stumbled apology and tried taking a step back. And of course, forgetting he was all but hunched up in a closet that was made for people shorter than him. From Tomoyo came a sound of protest as Kurogane yanked on her hair harder and lo and behold, in some mysterious act of God, Kurogane managed to trip backwards taking his lovely female companion with him. (And as a perfect day would go, Kurogane's head came in contact with every shelf on the way down.)

"Ooomph!"

Kurogane didn't need to have the power of vision to know that this was wrong on so many levels.

Strike one: Half laying, half sitting on the floor of a minuscule, potentially germ infested cabinet that had been randomly, conveniently open for occupation. (Granted it belonged to the café right around the corner, but who the hell left the door wide open?!)

Strike two: Half laying, half sitting on the floor of a minuscule cabinet with a woman, who is apparently running away from the media and is half laying, nay, fully laying on you.

Strike three: This woman who is a fugitive running from the media and fully laying on you in a minuscule, very warm cabinet is Tomoyo, never mind the whole co-worker fact. Oh, and the back of your head is throbbing.

Kurogane remembered how much he hated life.

"I'm really sorry about this," Tomoyo whispered, wincing but not from the pain in her head.

It was barely eight o'clock and with every second Kurogane's day was getting increasingly better. Obviously.

"Next time you want to stir up the press, leave me out of it," Kurogane mumbled, feeling irritation seeping into him at an incredibly high-pace. He was surprised to hear a giggle in response.

"I would never torture you that way, Kurogane."

Yes, you would.

"D'you think it's safe to come out?" Tomoyo continued, her voice a little worried. Her breath tickled the bottom of Kurogane's chin. Too close for comfort.

Kurogane tried to clear his throat discreetly. "It's hot in here..." he managed to mumble, also managing to feel like an idiot.

"Hmm? I think it's kind of cool, actually," Tomoyo countered honestly, a hint of curiosity in her voice. "It's only sixty-some degrees outside. The weather forecast said it would be sunny, but— Kurogane? Are you alright?"

There wasn't a reply because Kurogane couldn't help thinking that he was burning in his own personal hell. And the back of his head was really starting to hurt. When things couldn't have possibly gotten worse, Kurogane felt a cool hand on his forehead.

"You're burning up!" Tomoyo exclaimed. "Are you sick?!"

In a great desperate act in the midst of his lightheaded feeling, Kurogane drew up reserve energy to groan in frustration and literally drag himself to a standing position, taking the shocked Tomoyo with him. And this was with occupied hands, with nothing to grab onto to support his trip up.

"We are leaving. Now," Kurogane commanded in a forced voice, staring over Tomoyo's head at the moldy closet wall. He had also promptly dropped Tomoyo's hand when both were standing.

Tomoyo, still in slight shock from Kurogane's burst of energy, was staring at him (or more precisely, his chin). The events of the morning replaying in Tomoyo's head made her burst into a shower of giggles.

"What's your problem?" Kurogane demanded, shifting his gaze down to Tomoyo. Her peals of laughter was making the closet seem all warm again.

"You, Kurogane!" Tomoyo gasped in between laughs. Her giggles were slow to subside but once they did, the pastry chef was smiling wide, her eyes shining with delight in the dull light. "Trying to be all manly!" Tomoyo's pealing laughter prevented her from reenacting Kurogane's deep monotone, which she was tempted to do with her arms on her hips for extra exaggeration.

"Trying to be manly?" Kurogane repeated with near disbelief. He was trying?

When Tomoyo did not elaborate on her peculiar claim, Kurogane couldn't believe he let a woman doubt his manhood for a single second. Thus resulting in an eye twitch. Now it seemed that Tomoyo was musing to herself and after a few seconds, she touched a finger to her chin and did that infuriating tilt-of-head thing she did.

"Y'know, Kurogane, you remind me of a cream puff."

What the?!

"On the outside, you seem all tough but once you bite through the very top layer, you're kind of soft and chewy and then in the very inner core, light and fluffy and mildly sweet, in a good way of course, on the very inside," Tomoyo explained, though barely half way through her description, she seemed to forget Kurogane's likeness to a cream puff and was indeed describing an actual cream puff. Her eyes had slid into that girlish day dream look as she described the delicate details of "Kurogane."

"Light and fluffy?" Kurogane repeated in mild disbelief. Was this woman really as insane as he thought she was?

"It's so simple!" Tomoyo exclaimed suddenly. "It makes sense!" Eyes shining, she bounced onto the balls of her feet. "Thank you so much, Kurogane!" And she playfully tugged on Kurogane's ear and promptly crashed through the closet door and ran off.

As if nothing that morning made no sense, this last bit had to take the cake. Fresh air filling the closet and Kurogane's lungs, he stared after Tomoyo as she ran away, her hair somehow through all the madness, Kurogane was still holding that single apple.

Without even a sigh, as if he were already used to the madness that seemed to appear when around Tomoyo, Kurogane made his way home while munching on the crisp Fuji apple, every now and then unconsciously touching a hand to the ear Tomoyo tugged.


tell me how i did, pleeease! hugs to all for being patient and for reading!