Chapter 2: Insistence

Sorry for the short chapter everyone, but with finals coming up its so difficult to find time to write. I hope this will hold you all through the next couple of weeks, when I promise to write more chapters (and longer ones!). Enjoy and please review, they are an inspiration to write!

The first time it had happened, Ichigo had only relented because he was so busy standing with his jaw slack and door wide open, that he had no time to refuse.

"Hey, what's for dinner?" Was not what he had been expecting when he'd opened the door at the sound of a knock. Even less expected was Rukia, in all her short stature, walking right past his shocked form, wearing a pair of track pants and matching zip up jacket with her hair in a ponytail, tossing a belated "hey" over her shoulder.

He had the presence of mind to shut his door, but agitation was soon replacing his confusion as Rukia seemed to making herself comfortable in his kitchen, opening his oven door and poking at the casserole that was cooking inside. "Uh, Rukia… what the hell are you doing here?"

"I think that's obvious. I'm going to eat dinner."

"I was wondering about that. Who invited you? Because I certainly don't remem- oi, stop touching that!"

Amazingly, she put down the wooden spoon she'd been using to examine his dinner with and shut the oven door. "Since when do I need an invitation? We're neighbors after all."

"OK, first of all, we are not neighbors. You live, like, 4 doors down from me. Plus, I just met you not even a week ago!"

Ichigo really didn't know Rukia all that well, so the mischievous smile on her face really wasn't very telling to him. He was just a tiny bit dense sometimes. But, only when it came to women.

"But I brought you something!" She pointed to a clear glass bowl sitting on his counter, which had a rather nice looking salad inside of it. He wasn't sure how he'd missed that when she first came in, but she really had brought a salad. "See? How can you refuse me now?"

Ichigo would have, he just didn't know how. Rukia was unlike anything he had ever encountered before. Any preconceived notions he'd ever held about the female gender were thrown away whenever she was in the room. When she wanted her way, it was clear that nothing less was acceptable.

She'd already proved that to him by knocking sweetly on his door a few days ago and asking him to help her move some particularly heavy boxes. It was only the second time he'd spoken with her and that first time, he had a feeling he'd sort of pissed her off a bit, so he had thought he could make up to her. He wasn't a complete jack-ass after all.

But the ensuing hours of helping Rukia unpack, he had been totally unprepared for. Every time he'd tried to slip away she'd caught him and it was hard to tell her "no" when he'd already said "yes". He'd been working himself into a fine snit but before he'd left her apartment she'd stopped him and told him to rest a few minutes on her couch and that she would even make some lemonade for him.

He'd thought he might have been totally wrong about Rukia as he watched her rummage around her kitchen, washing out a pitcher, pouring sugar, wrestling with an ice cube tray, which for some reason seemed incredibly foreign to her. She didn't seem so pushy, she'd merely needed help moving some things, and he'd probably been the only person she'd met in the complex.

These thoughts were totally erased though, when after watching him drain his glass, she told him that there were still some unpacked boxes in the bathroom, thank you very much.

So, when she was standing in his kitchen, salad on his counter, waving a wooden spoon in his face and asking him, if he really could send her away after she'd brought him food, he realized that, no, he really honestly couldn't.

And, even though dinner had been spent with little more than the sound of forks clinking against plates and limited small talk, she left telling him, "Again, okay?"

And for some inexplicable reason, he'd been shaking his head yes, as she'd walked out the door.

This time was nothing like that first night, so Ichigo wasn't sure why he'd been recalling it a few moments ago. Perhaps it was the fact that even though they had barely known each other, knew nothing about each other, there had been a feeling. The feeling that they had known each other, the feeling of comfort and companionship, and something just a little bit more. A potential.

He had brought a pizza, he really did know the way she liked it, and they'd eaten with the noise of the TV in the background. He supposed that maybe the atmosphere in Rukia's apartment was why when she'd suggested coming over, the idea had seemed so perfect. He would never admit it to a living soul, but her apartment was something that just reminded him of home. And not the home that his apartment was, his apartment was nothing more than living space, a place to eat and sleep and get away from the world.

Rukia's place felt like home, it always had some sort of cake or cookies on the counter and soft lighting and a large fluffy couch with throw pillows and… thinking about this was making him feel extremely girly. Besides, he knew most of the reason laid with the fact that this was Rukia's place. Her personality was infused in every piece of furniture and bright painting. He walked in and swore that he almost smell her. He really was turning into a romantic sap because of this.

When they sat down on the couch to watch TV, Ichigo pulled Rukia down next to him, wrapping her firmly to his side, with his arms around her and his chin brushing her soft hair, because he just could not help himself. But Rukia didn't seem to mind, she only burrowed deeper into the couch, closer to him and breathed a contented sigh.

With that warmth pressing against him, Ichigo decided, he really didn't mind turning into a cheesy sappy kind of guy.

--to be continued--