Thank you to all the reviewers so far! I got this out as soon as I could, but I've been a little swamped lately with school work and what not. I hope you enjoy it!

Disclaimer: If I owned Star Ocean, there would already be a show

Now, if it is chapter two that you want, it is chapter two you shall have!

Chapter 2

Of Jealousy and foiled Desserts

Nel sighed gratefully as she heaved the giant doors to the castle shut. For a moment she leaned back against them, her eyes shut. 'First Michell and Gossam act all weird, and then every male on the street I pass stares at me! What's wrong with me? Is it something I'm wearing? She pushed herself off the wall and spread her arms out in front of her. Glancing over them she found nothing out of the ordinary. She then proceeded to inspect the rest of her body. 'Nothing out of the ordinary there.' She shrugged. Maybe it was just one of those days.

She sighed, happy that nothing was wrong with her physical appearance. At least that was one plus for they day. Deciding that she should get something to eat, she began to walk in the direction of the kitchen. Then she noticed it, that feeling that makes your spine crawl. Your entire being is filled with disgust and the air becomes so nauseating that you feel as if your insides are going to pour out your mouth. Oh yes, there was a certain someone's eyes upon her and they were in none to wholesome a place. She fought back a gag as she turned around.

Two beady little eyes looked back at her in surprise. They were mocking eyes, ones she despised. Ever since they had met they were enemies, maybe even before that. Oh yes, these were the eyes of none other than the most irritating man on Elicoor, Lassel himself.

Being that she was a respectful person and had reigned in her temper, she addressed him properly.

"Magistrate Lassel, is there something you need?" She asked, placing her hands on her hips and staring directly at him. He immediately lowered his eyes and began mumbling things to himself, showing off his quite extensive noble vocabulary. She couldn't quite hear what he was saying, but she didn't need to, the look of anguish on his face was enough. He wasn't happy about something. But, that didn't mean she was going to help him spit it out. She rather liked him with a look of pain on his face.

After a few moments it seemed as though he was done muttering and his face was quite red, he looked like he was forcing himself not to fall over in pain. He began walking to her, a gesture she did not understand being that he could just say whatever he needed from the distance he was at. It didn't matter though, she just figured whatever it was he was to inform her of was of a more private type.

He came up in front of her, a little closer than she considered appropriate, but this man always loved to get under her skin. Then he crossed the line. He did the unthinkable. There was no turning back now, one day he would die by her hands. He actually had the audacity to think that he could touch her.

She could feel her temper rising, but forced herself not to explode, that's probably exactly what the man wanted. But that hand, it was on her waist, and all she could think about was painful ways in which she could detach that hand from its owner's body. How she could make the man drop to the floor in a pile of pain and agony, make him cry like a little girl. 'I think I've been hanging around with Albel too much. I'm not usually this violent...'

"Lady...Lady Nel. I need..." He was forcing every word through tightly sealed lips. She her hand to try and casually brush his hand off her waste, but he wouldn't move it, he merely pressed it harder against her body. With growing distaste and a shortening temper, she waited for him to finish whatever it was he was going to say. Then, she could kill him.

"I!" He gasped out before falling to the floor clutching his head. Nel jumped back in surprise. Before he could even look up again she was gone. Lassel lay there in a heap, mumbling to himself about insubordinate wenches and unattractive redheads.

It was needless to say that Nel was just a little flustered after that encounter. Then again she was also quite appalled as well. Lassel was the last man in the universe she would ever expect to hear those words from. 'Well except a certain moody dumbass.' She thought wistfully. Luckily for her she had reached the kitchen, exactly where she had been going before the 'incident', as she would now call it, occurred.

There were a few chefs here and there preparing some food. In just a few hours the kitchen would be swarming with servants all preparing for dinner. It was just the way it worked. The one's present now were either preparing for the cooking to be done, or they were making little things for those who could not wait until dinner. Of course, as she expected, a certain blonde headed Klausian was there. His was an appetite that never seemed to be satisfied.

She walked over to where he was an examined what was on his plate, trying to get some ideas of her own as to what she wanted to eat. But her indecision was not helped by the giant swaying mountain of food he had heaped on his dish. If anything she felt her appetite dwindle at the sight of such a combination. Cliff hadn't really noticed her yet because he was still gathering food for his mountain. Though usually she wasn't one to scold, Nel felt it would be best if she cut this all consuming beast off.

"Cliff, don't you think you have enough on your plate?" Nel asked, her arms folded in a dominant manner. He turned to her and smiled.

"Nope, you can never have enough food!" He replied giving little attention to her. He then turned back around to look for more sustenance just waiting for his consumption. As he gazed over the plethora of food, he decided to be gentlemanly all of a sudden.

"Hey, do you want somethin? I'll get it for ya." Cliff's offer wasn't expected, but he was one who was quite nice at times, though slightly dim at others. She politely denied his offer and began to look around herself. She was hungry and she hadn't eaten breakfast this morning either.

"You sure? Wouldn't want ya to go through any trouble." Instead of replying right away, Nel looked around and waited for something to catch her eye. She had a sweet tooth, and was looking more for a delectable treat than a meal. It was then that she spotted it. One of the most heavenly dishes ever made. It's soft and fluffy sweet dough cooked to perfection. Then some delectable and fresh strawberries aligned perfectly in a circle. Finally, the bouncing fluff of whipped cream crowned the lovely desert. She could almost feel herself drewling.

Cliff didn't bother to wait for a reply, he just followed her longing gaze. It unexpectedly landed on the corner of his plate where the last strawberry shortcake lay. He smiled when a glorious idea came to his mind.

"Why don't you sit down and I'll get the object of your drewl." Nel just stared back at him and did as he said. She had a passion for strawberry shortcakes ever since they had come out onto the market. They were her weakness. Her impatience was mounting when the dish wasn't placed immediately in front of her. She began to fiddle with her hands while she waited for Cliff to bring her the treat of all treats.

He finally came over bearing a fork and the shortcake. But he didn't set it down on the table, he merely held it while standing next to her and he seemed to admire it. "This is such a beautiful little dish." He said. "But not nearly as beautiful as the chick that's gonna eat it." Nel found these words a little strange. Then again, he was known to flirt with women relentlessly and she had been subject to his light jabs once in a while. Usually Mirage kept him under control though.

"Well, can I have it?" Nel asked. That was her dish, and she wanted it. Now. The look on Cliff's face confused her. He looked slightly evil. Briefly she wondered if he had poisoned the shortcake, but quickly dismissed that idea trusting that Cliff would do no such thing. She rose to her feet and moved to take the dessert plate from his hands, but he moved it away.

"Nope, sorry. The only way you get to eat this is if I feed it to ya." He replied, holding the dish away from her and above his head, completely out of her reach. She did a double take on what he said. A little flirting here and there was expected, but he never went this far. She continued to pursue the dish, trying to get her little hands on the plate.

"Just give it to me Cliff." She said in exasperation. To her surprise he lowered the plate down in front of her. Then, with the fork, he broke off a piece of its sweet goodness. All Nel could do was watch in awe as he brought the piece onto the fork and held it in the air. Then, he began to approach her with it. She snapped out of her reverie when she realized his close proximity and began to back away from his slowly.

"Uh, Cliff, what exactly do you think you're doing?" She asked.

"What does it look like? I told ya I was gonna feed it to ya." Cliff replied, following her and gaining ground. Nel was trying to think of something else to say, but her mind was drawing a blank. This wasn't the kind of position she was usually caught in. Unfortunately for her, she didn't notice the wet spot on the floor behind her. When she stepped on it, her boot lost all traction and she found herself falling to the floor. She landed with a thump, but didn't hurt anything.

When she looked up she found Cliff's face peering down at her. She moved to get up when he straddled her, pinning her to the floor.

"Cliff what do you think you're...!" She quieted when he brought his finger to her lips. Despite herself a small blush was creeping across her cheeks.

"You know, you're even cuter when you're mad." He said as he leaned in closer to her. Nel's eyes were wide with shock. What was wrong with him? Had he always felt this way? Or was he playing with her? No matter what was going through that head of his, she didn't like it. But he was quite heavy and she wasn't in the right position to escape at all.

She could feel his breath at her lips. His finger had left them just a moment ago. She brought her hands to his shoulders and attempted to push him back, but her tries fell short. His lips moved dangerously closer to hers. All hope was lost. There was nothing more she could do.

"Cliff Fittir! Care to explain what it is you're doing?" Nel thanked Apris for that voice. The voice of Mirage Koas had just become her savior. She felt the weight of Cliff disappear from her body as he stood up suddenly. He even dropped the dessert in his surprise. It landed directly on Nel's stomach. Upside down of course.

"Mirage...Uh...Well...You see...Funny story actually..." Cliff stuttered trying to come up with some sort of excuse to tell his beautiful blonde and excessively violent partner. Mirage didn't give him a chance to continue though. She applied a death grip to his ear and dragged him out of the room quite forcefully. Right before she left she threw a very menacing glance back at the bewildered Nel. Of course, Nel noticed it.

'She can't think that I...wanted that? No! But she looked so mad at me. Damn, now I'm going to have to explain this to her. But right now. I have to clean this ruined dessert sob off of me.' She pulled the plate off of her and as much of the goo that she could and put it on the plate. She then stood up and grabbed the dish. She'd just have to find something else to eat now.

The cooks in the kitchen stared at her oddly. As soon as she could she threw disposed of the mess and grabbed a roll on her way out. She was embarassed enough and she decided that a roll would be enough to hold her over until dinner anyway. Besides, she wasn't up for dealing with any more strange occurences. With that thought, she headed off to her room, avoiding everyone on the way and staying out of sight. She made it back to her sanctuary and began to removed the stain from her shirt.

Laughing eyes watched as the flustered maiden left the kitchen. The sparkled in a mischievious light. Things were getting quite interesting in the castle. Quite interesting indeed.

Well, that;s chapter two! Review please!