Title: 1000 Miles In 10 Seconds

Authoress: Ladya C. Maxine

Rating: T

Summary: Sequel to 'Our First Noel'. Ray survived the Christmas holiday from hell in Japan. Now living with Kai in Russia, can he survive everyday life in a country he knows nothing of...? One thing's certain. Fate is not done with him yet. A Kai/Ray yaoi fic with Bryan/Tala on the side.

Warnings: yaoi, language

Disclaimer: I do not own Beyblade or any of its characters. Any and all unrecognizable characters belong solely to me and are not to be used period. I am not making any money off of this and I write with the sole intent to entertain.

A/N: What? You seriously expected me to just leave it at that? Obviously, a lot of you didn't, but I felt like taunting you all so I didn't mention anything at the end of Our First Noel. So this is the follow-up. It won't be as long as Our First Noel, though I have said that in the past with surprising results. Like the title? I had another one but this one just popped up out of nowhere and refused to leave me so I was forced to change it.

Off we go!

1000 Miles In 10 Seconds

by Ladya C. Maxine

"This country is too confusing."


"This language is too confusing."


"I'm confused!"


"It isn't funny, Kai."

"Hn," he begs to differ, still smirking.

Frowning, I burry my nose in my book once more, trying to find some sort of similarities between Russian letters and English letters that will facilitate me in learning this confusing language that is spoken predominantly in this confusing country. I bought this supposedly handy-dandy learners' guide to the Russian language off the internet. Was it worth it? Let's just say that I now know even less than I did before.

"So, the Russian 'Y' is a 'U' in English and the funny looking N-like thing is a 'P'."

This would be a lot easier if someone would help me out but Kai is having too much of a laugh at my expense as he watches on, sitting back with one leg crossed over the other as he drinks his coffee.

"The normal looking 'B' is actually a 'V', and the wonky 'B' is actually a…oh, that's also a 'B'. Stop laughing."

"I'm not."

"Well then, stop smirking."

That only makes him smirk more as he raises a brow.

"Come on, Kai. Some expertise would be much appreciated."

"You can't learn an entire new language, its phonetics and grammar, from a seventy-two page book. If you're that dead-set on learning Russian then go to the university."

University? One of those dreary places where you have to sit in large lecture halls with boring professors and actually study? I think not. By neko-jin standards I finished my education last year during the tag-team championships. I'm done studying. I may not be as intellectually advance as those who attended what people in the modern world call high schools, but I can easily live a normal life without knowing advance algebra. In other words: screw university.

Putting down the book with a resigned sigh, I pick up my hot chocolate and proceed to simply look down from our vantage point up here on the second floor on the street below. It's nice and warm in here, but outside is teeming with heavy coats, gloves, shawls, scarves and ear muffs. The television promised a lot of snow for the weekend and the skies are thick with clouds. It has been raining on and off all morning.

It was one of those showers that drove us off the streets and into this conveniently situated café. Do know that there aren't any Starbucks cafés in Russia, but this one, whose I cannot repeat though Kai has read it out for me a few times, is popular amongst city goers, and the service is good. I have yet to develop a liking for coffee so I ordered hot cocoa with whip cream and caramel. Actually, Kai chose it for me since it took me ten minutes just to decipher the first word on the front of the menu. I was so sure that it read 'caffeinated', but Kai says that it's the café's address.

While waiting for our orders I decided to try my luck and practice my Russian on Kai. For me it was a learning experience; for him it was dinner and a movie, figuratively speaking since it's only something past 12.

And that's where you came in. It's been a while, hasn't it? It doesn't feel like it, though. Why, it feels like only a few days have passed since Kai and I got into that cab that drove us away from Tyson's home back in Japan. Believe it or not, almost six weeks have gone by since then. Today's Thursday, February the 1st. Just another day in my new life with my former captain-now-turned-boyfriend, Kai.

Ignore him laughing at my honest attempt to learn his native language; he's a great guy. An awesome guy. A totally-out-of-this world perfect guy. Hell, he's the god of all that is sexy, starting with physical faultlessness and ending with cool collectiveness, with a lot of studliness in the middle.

He's most likely right about me needing to attend a university to learn basic Russian; he knows pretty much everything that I don't, which, as I've discovered, is a lot. He's had home-schooling and Russia's top tutors at his calling, and still does, and he is going to study in two years once he's done his secondary education, which he is passing with flying colours.

As we all know, he's one of the best bladers in the world. Arguably the best. Personally, though I do acknowledge that Tyson is a stronger competitor than myself, and though he has beaten him on a couple of occasions, Tyson isn't better than Kai in the beydish. His first victory three years ago was by pure luck and his second may have been brought on by honest effort, but when one compares the general beyblade knowledge, experience and skills between the two of them Kai is clearly superior. He doesn't need Kenny explaining everything to and planning all his attacks for him.

So, all in all, I've got myself one damn fine man.

And, as you may also recall, that has lost me my entire family as well as my friends and hometown. Disappointed? Kinda, even though I expected as much. Luckily, being with Kai does make up for my loss. I've lost more than a hundred old friends/family, but the one person I can now attach myself to understands me better than all of them combined. No hiding of feelings or being too afraid to disclose anything. I can always talk to Kai when I need to and he listens.

I've even told him what I consider to be my most shameful fault: I suffer from major arachnophobia. Not a good thing when one lived in a village where glass windows have yet to be discovered and nature is literally creeping through the walls. In return for this honour, Kai willingly told me his biggest secret (after I begged and pleaded for several hours); he hates clowns. I'm sure he means that he's afraid of them, but Kai Hiwatari doesn't admit to being afraid of anything so he insists that he hates them so much that he can't even be around them.

"What time do we have to be there?" I ask, putting down my cup.

"One," he answers, still staring outside.

When he continues to do so I lightly run my foot up the inside of his lower leg. He kicks me gently, but I persist, smiling teasingly. He finally gives in.

"What is it?"

"Have you considered it?"

He sighs and meets my eyes calculatingly.

"I still have two weeks."

"Just curious," I mumble, taking another sip. "I just don't understand why not…"

"I can't understand why your so eager. Well, I can, but you were the one who said that sex wasn't important to you."

"A sex-only relationship," I correct. Resting my chin in my palm, I stare despondently outside. "But we're together now and we have been living together for more than a month and we even share the same bed and still…You were all for a one-night stand back in Japan and now you're hesitant. I just don't get it."

"Exactly. If it had been just some fling then I could have put it behind me once it was over. Now, however, it means something. It's supposed to mean something."

"It will," I assure, looking into his dark red eyes. "I'll admit that when we first met I just wanted to make out with you for lust's sake. But over the years…It has changed into really wanting to share something special with you and now I finally have the chance…"

"Two weeks," he repeats. "I'll have an answer by then."

You guessed it: end of discussion.

Yes, it will be February the 14th in two weeks and, being the devoted romantic that I am, I want to mark my first Valentine's Day with my first crush and boyfriend with the consummation, if you may, of our relationship. To my fellow simpletons: I want Kai to make red hot monkey sex to me on the most romantic day of the year. We've done some brow raising foreplay in bed, but I want to go all the way. Strangely, Kai's not that willing to meet me halfway on this one. He isn't as hormone horny as myself, but judging from the way he's reacted to my advances I know that he isn't about to go all saintly on me and abstain from having a healthy sex life. I am glad that he has fully embraced the fact that he indeed wants me as a boyfriend instead of simply a friend, but now he's caught up on my proposal. But since I am the one who set this sort of deadline I am obligated to give him more time to mull it over.

Still, despite the lack of sex, I have nothing to complain about. For now I can (easily) settle for heavy petting and his toe-curling kisses. Besides, he has given me so much more to live for outside of the bedroom. I've gone from a little hutch in the middle of No (gay)Man's land all the way to a multi-roomed mansion in the capitol of Russia. From fire and kindling to electricity and cell phones. From watching the wise men of the village chase after a leave in order to determine that it is indeed a windy day to professional weather people who are just one click of the remote control away. From hiding my sexual orientation to having tong-wrestling matches with Kai. From having to do my own laundry down by the river to having servants who will do my every bidding.

Yes, let's talk about our home.

Technically, it's Kai's house, which his grandfather bought for him, but as far as I'm concerned everything in it is also mine, including Kai. In that sense, I'm even wealthier than him. Not only do I share/own his property; I got him as well, whereas he's stuck with plain old me. What a life. I feel like Cinderella without the lame fairy godmother and talking mice. Damn Disney.

Anyways, from rags to riches. When I say that everything in it is also mine it's because Kai shares practically everything with me. He even has stuff that he has never used before that I have claimed as my own. Through this method I have acquired loads of things, including stereos, televisions, computers, beyblade equipment, clothing, a washing machine, a lot of books, four cell phones, a dirt bike, membership to a couple dozen clubs all over the world, a piece of land on some island in the Caribbean and my very own yacht! I can't sail it, but now it's mine. Everything, except the strip of land and the yacht, is stashed up in the huge attic since, like Kai, I don't need any of it; he buys me everything I need. I'd be a considered a gold digger if I didn't love this guy with every fibre in my body.

As you've noticed, all this wealth is overwhelming. My jaw had almost cracked the pavement when I saw the black limo that was waiting for us at the airport upon our arrival. I was but a millimetre away from needing extensive jaw surgery when we pulled up to what was to be my new home. Seven weeks down the road and I still haven't explored all the rooms. And how good is the staff there? They're like leprechauns: you know that they're there since meals are always ready on time and the place is kept spick and span, but you don't see them walking about.

"We have to get going," Kai announces, hailing the waiter with a nod of his head.

"Is it already time?" I bemoan, checking my shiny Swiss watch. A quarter to one. It will take us about ten minutes to reach our arranged checkpoint. "Oh goody."

"You're enthusiasm is contagious," he teases and pushes his chair back.

"I'm here, aren't I?"

"Only because you can't order a soda without me."

"Is someone would help me out with the language I wouldn't have to depend on him all the time."

"We're going somewhere where you'll be able to communicate with the natives soon," he promises.

Family-business calls for him to make frequent trips to Japan, Europe and/or America and the next one is planned for mid-March in Florida and he has asked me to come with him. I responded by glomping him, which made my answer pretty clear.

"Besides," he continues, "I have arranged for a private professor, who will begin your Russian lessons at home once we're back from the U.S."

"…" I stare at him with wide eyes.


"I love you."

"Really now?"


He snorts and holds up my coat for me. I accordingly turn and slip my arms into the sleeves and he pulls it shut. Leaning over my shoulder, he kisses the corner of my mouth. His arms tighten as he pulls me back against him.

"Love you too," he whispers in a solemn voice.

Purring softly, something I can now do in the open, and which drives him crazy in the bedroom, I lean back against him, feeling the exquisite sensation of being the only two persons on Earth.

The beautiful moment, though, is broken when someone says something. Opening my eyes, I find four older men, around late thirties, sitting further away at a table watching us with disapproving scowls. Since Kai and I have been speaking English the entire time they have mistaken us as foreigners. I cannot help feeling self-conscious and I step away from Kai, who has also heard them. He, however, can understand every word and from his steely glare I know that he does not like what he's hearing. The men are stunned when he retorts in brusque Russian. He doesn't say much, as is his typical way of dealing with strangers, but he gets the message across and the four turn away humbled, their shoulders hunched and their eyes fixed squarely on their drinks.


I obediently follow him down the narrow stairs as he goes to the cashier for his credit card. I want to hug him for some measure of comfort, but down here it's a lot more crowded than upstairs and I don't want to draw any more attention so I patiently wait at an appropriate distance from Kai. As he puts his card away he turns and, finding me further than expected, he sighs. Kai doesn't care what others think of him, simply because he doesn't think much of others to begin with. Stuffing his wallet into his coat pocket, he takes me by my hand without reservations and we leave under the scrutiny of many eyes.

"Why accept your preference if you're too ashamed to face the consequences?" he asks, turning left once we are out in the street.

The sudden onslaught of cold air makes me instinctively move close his side. The reaction out here isn't as outraged as back inside the café since a lot of people are keeping close on the streets to preserve warmth.

"I'm not ashamed of being with you...I just don't know how things work here. I once heard years ago that a man was beaten to death in a nearby village when the others found out that he was gay. I used to be terrified that someone would find out about me and that I'd be killed too. It's something that's stuck with me since, I guess."

"Nothing will happen to you," Kai assures plainly. "Not as long as I have something to say and do about it."

"I'll hold you to that," I sigh. "Make sure to put that in my Valentine's card."

Our journey continues in silence.

We're in the heart of Moscow and the closely situated shops provide a continuous string of hearts and little cupids. Russia isn't as big a celebrator of Valentine's as other countries, but it's catching on. Roses are already being arranged and chocolates are in almost every display window. The most regular shoppers are school girls but the jewellery stores are making a lot of profit as husbands and boyfriends buy their lovers precious diamonds and gold and silver pieces.

Of course, with all this shopping there are a lot of people on the streets and, being one of Russia's hero bladers, Kai is often approached by people who want pictures or autographs. Some even remember me as the foreigner who defeated Bryan. You'd think that they'd hate me for that, but a lot of them show great admiration. Even better is that in Russia the fans are a lot more manageable and reserved than in other parts of the world. Kai says that it has to do with the manner in which kids are raised here; discipline and manners are taken very serious here. Screaming and carrying on is frowned upon. Most of those who approach us are usually too awestruck to take notice and wonder why we are together. I am surprised that the news hasn't already gotten wind of our liaison.

"There it is," Kai points out, tilting his head to the monument ahead of us where the street spills out into a large plain of red bricks and fountains. Shoppers use it as a landmark to know where they are. We use it as our standard meeting spot. "Looks like we're not early after all."

Enter the proverbial pebble in one's shoes. In this case it's a jagged rock lodged painfully in my shoes, cutting deeply through flesh and bones.

I managed to get rid of a lot of burdens back in Japan by moving in with Kai here in Russia. Alas, there's one thing I have foolishly underestimated. Two things, actually, who we are now approaching. I instinctively hug Kai closer, as is also part of our pre-arrangement. We usually spend an hour the night before these gatherings planning out our every move. My every move, really, since Kai doesn't have anything to worry about. Feeling me move in, he accordingly loops an arm around my waist. People are staring but it's worth it considering what will happen to me if I neglect the standard safety issue. Being caught out in the open alone, even if but a couple of feet from Kai, by these two is a dubious fate.

Yes, I am talking about the diabolical duo who go by the mortal names of Tala and Bryan.

You're all probably dying to know how things are going for them. If I recall correctly you last saw them back in Japan leaving/sneaking out of the dojo during the Christmas feast after almost sucking each other's face off in what had to be the most heat-driven make-out session that dojo has ever experienced. Be prepared to be scared/fascinated/surprised by the mysterious love(?)lives of my boyfriend's best friends.

First of all, their blow out during the Christmas holiday was just one of the twenty or so they have every month. There are different levels to look out for, as Kai has taught me. Those two quarrel on a daily basis over the most mundane things: Who hogged who's side of the bed? Who spends too much time in the bathroom? Who used/lost/broke something that belonged to the other? Who started it first? Etc. In this stage, Level 1,they will snap and shout at one another and may come to heavy shoving.

Taking this up a notch, we get Level 2, in which they snap more frequently at one another and shout even louder. Fists sometimes come into play, but more often than not Tala will throw random objects at anything that moves, though he mainly aims for Bryan, and I must say he has one wicked pitch. This is Tala's special level, really. Generally, it's Level 1 that has gone on too long without intervention on Kai's behalf, and in which Tala, when faced with the prospect of losing the argument, refuses to let Bryan anywhere near him as a form of cruel punishment.

This leads to the level I fear the most: Level 3. It goes without saying that this is Bryan's terrain. Level 3 arguments are brought on by the aforementioned Level 2, only now Bryan's actively involved in the shouting/hitting matches because he hates being deprived of the one thing he wants the most, namely Tala. Sometimes Tala calms down soon enough to prevent bringing on the horror that is Level 3, but so far I've witnessed 5 different occasions in which he denied Bryan any form of bodily contact. I get a bit cranky when I haven't kissed or touched Kai for more than an hour; Bryan becomes a threat to humanity when he is denied booty.

If a total stranger had walked up to me two weeks ago and told me that Bryan Kuznetsov sulks when he doesn't get some I'd have laughed in their face and then forcibly have them institutionalized.

First of all, Bryan doesn't sulk. Sulking is a passive, non-destructive reaction to not getting what one wants, in which one will resort to glum silence with a stern pout.

Second, Bryan has never shown much interest in something normal like sexual urges...right? Wrong. Dead wrong. Bryan gets pissed when he cannot lay so much as a finger on the redhead. Bryan gets destructive when he cannot lay so much as a finger on the redhead. Very destructive. And he doesn't care if the property he damages isn't even his.

Take for example their routine when they come over to our house. I have yet to see either of them enter quietly. Tala usually storms in, followed by Bryan, the both of them condemning the other to very unpleasant places. Bryan tries to get to Tala, Tala chucks something (uncannily always picking up the most expensive thing within arm's reach) and when Bryan dodges it he uses the distraction to stomp upstairs and lock himself in one of the many rooms where he remains for a day or so. Bryan hangs around like some vulture, grumbling and cursing and striking out at our furniture and other artefacts. He took a few swings at me the first time they pulled this off in my presence, but Kai almost dislocated his lower arm in warning. My guardian.

But that's not even the weirdest aspect of their relationship. They fight, verbally and physically, and hardly ever agree on anything. Sane people would see this as a sign that things are just not meant to be. Key word there is sane. Whether it takes hours, days or weeks (as has been the case in the past), Tala always returns to Bryan and Bryan always waits on him. They come together, they leave together. Considering how scarily protective Bryan is I was under the impression that they were engaged in some twisted case of master/slave.

That thought was shot down during my sixth or seventh day here when it quickly became clear to me that Tala is the one in control of the proverbial reins. I have stumbled across them during their rare bouts of peace and from what I've seen it's obvious that when it comes to the physicality of their relationship, Bryan is the dominant one. However, the one who decides when fun time can commence and when it ends is Tala. Meaning that, statistically, Tala holds power over Bryan. And judging from my brief near seven weeks here I can positively say that Tala is one mean dictator.

Living in a high rise apartment flat not too far from our home, a well-kept and respectful establishment, means that they can drop by at any moment, but it also means that we can go over to them as well. I prefer to avoid the building all together by walking several blocks around it on my way home, but neither had been home on one particular occasion and Kai needed something he had left there since before Christmas. Having a copy of the keys to the apartment, he can enter it at any time. I tagged along since I was curious at the state of their place, considering the damage they inflict upon ours.

Despite their destructive visits, their apartment is kept in good condition with only the basics when it comes to furniture. I had expected a lot less, to be honest. Like some secluded cave on the outskirts of the forest, or a big cage in an alley.

I'm guessing that the reason why they keep their home clutter free is because: (a) neither are into Martha Stewart's interior home decorating, (b) things that are light enough to be lifted and thrown don't last long around Tala so they don't even bother buying any, or (c) Bryan has forbidden it. That last one probably led to a Level 3 outburst and Tala probably ran next door to grab something to hit him with, but I can only speculate. It's one vicious cycle, both literally and abstractedly.

Of course, there's another side to those two. When they aren't making Jerry Springer blush with their language and fights they can be very sweet together. I don't have front-row seats to this since they are a lot more secretive about it, but as mentioned above, I have encountered them during intervals. Some times I fled the scene blushing like a tomato, but 2 out of the 5 times I am left wondering if there's some strange force at work here. Like the time I came across them peacefully asleep on the couch in (one of) our living room(s). They had been caught up in a heated argument an hour earlier, but having made up they had settled down for a well-earned, and much needed, nap. Bryan had been asleep on his back, one arm thrown over his eyes to block out the afternoon sun. Tala had been sleeping on his stomach between Bryan's legs, his cheek resting on the falcon's chest.

I would have aw-ed, but if they had woken up and caught me staring I wouldn't be alive right now to tell you of this precious moment. On the most rarest of days they will show affection to each other when in our presence. No eternal vows or cootchie-wootchie snuggles; they'll simply stand closer than usual or Bryan will keep an arm around Tala and the redhead will allow him to keep his arm intact. It's the small things that counts.

However, while I prefer them when they aren't fighting, their temporary peace accord isn't always spent on some quality together time. When they aren't fighting or making out or actually behaving like a normal couple, they like to participate in the one thing they both like other than fighting and sex: Giving me good enough reasons to not stray too far from Kai. They're really good at that.

It took them around a week to figure out that, as Kai's love interest, I am no longer theirs to vent out their seemingly endless anger on. Kai has made it clear that I am not to be touched by either under any circumstance for two simple reasons: because I am his and because he doesn't like sharing me. Alright, so he didn't say that out loud, but the general message was that seeing as we are together they have to behave, at least out of respect for him.

However, Kai, despite me idolization, isn't a miracle worker. He may order them to not harm me personally, but even he can't get them to like me. They have resorted to lots of rather creative measures. In the beginning, Tala preferred to act like I wasn't even there when we were together, or he purposefully refused to speak English, though we all know he's fluent in it. Bryan, not really one for mind games, simply intimidated me whenever he could. Kai interfered sometimes when they got too carried away, but I told him that I don't want him defending me against his friends, mainly because I know that this is simply in their nature and nothing anyone can ever say will make them change their ways, and because I don't want to give any of them the impression that I can't stand up for myself.

So I simply weathered it out. And guess what? It worked!

Instead of ignoring or threatening me, they now challenge me. They go jogging with Kai for 10 miles three times a week. I used to stay in bed until he returned since I am not a lover of dawn, or any time before ten a.m.. Tala was the first to issue the challenge to me to join them. He did so knowing full well that they have an advantage because of their strenuous training back in the Abbey. Running 10 miles is a mere warm-up for them, not to mention that all three of them seem to require no more than five hours of sleep every night.

Not to be outdone, despite the odds, I had agreed, much to Kai's surprise and pride. I've got good endurance due to my own (martial arts) training. My main problem was getting out of bed before sunrise. It took Kai many prods and a few kisses, but that morning all four of us took to the off-road trail that runs through a large wooded area within walking distance from the train station. And though I was panting by the time we reached our final checkpoint, whereas they weren't even breathing heavily, I had been able to keep up with them during the entire run, thus proving myself capable of running with the big boys.

The next challenge was that I join them once a week, every week. The trails become more and more trying every week, but I'm still hanging in there. They'll come up with something else soon enough, but let them bring it on. If they think they can scare me off then they obviously do not know of the curse that is the stubbornness of the neko-jins.

Is it that they just don't like me, or because I'm with Kai? Both are most likely, though I'm inclined to lean more towards the first.

Them and Kai are still as close as ever and now that I have…soften Kai up a bit he can offer Tala a more sympathetic shoulder to cry on when those dreaded arguments arise. He's always been there for the redhead, but now he can express more sentiments and support. Not nearly enough to qualify him as a love counsellor, or even an average adviser, but I'm making progress here. His and Bryan's bond hasn't changed other than that previously mentioned incident in which he grabbed the falcon's arm when Bryan had made to inflict some form of pain upon me. That's nothing new, though, since he has had to restrain the pale teen on numerous occasions.

Don't make Tala out to be the victim of domestic abuse, though. He may be slender and he may specialize in air strikes with household objects, but he has given Bryan a couple of black eyes and a busted lip in the brief time I've been here. Now that I think about it, while capable of taking out the entire Russian army while in Level 3, Bryan never hurts Tala as badly as one would expect. Some light bruises, but compared to what the redhead inflicts upon him, and their difference in height and strength, Bryan usually ends up with the most wounds.

Coming back to why they won't leave me alone. I believe that to them it doesn't really matter if I'm with Kai or not. What they don't seem to like is the fact that I'm just here. My terribly annoying habit of being alive seems to grate on their nerves.

"I can take you home first," Kai now offers as we draw near to them. The three of them basically hang out in town during these meetings and since Tala and Bryan only speak Russian (on purpose) Kai knows that I'll be blocked out of the majority of the conversation. "We're only going to the Red Square."

I look over at the two.

Tala's standing with his back to us, talking to Bryan, who sees us first and straightens from where he is leaning against the monument. His light grey eyes grace me with The Look. He's wearing a parka unlike the one he brought with him to Japan. This one is thicker and black with grey fur lining the neck and hood, which he never puts on. Another favourite sartorial choice of his in his homeland are his heavy combat boots that can dent walls when he kicks them, which he sometimes does when their lovers' squabbles reach Level 3.

His shift in attention alerts the redhead and Tala looks over his shoulder, his startling blue eyes even more noticeable above the pure white jacket with same colour fur. It's shorter that the one he wore during their Christmas stay, the hem reaching just below his knees. His moccasins are also a Moscow-only wardrobe preference. The most noticeable difference, though, is that Tala sometimes wears his flaming red hair in a short ponytail, leaving the trademark twin strands loose while the rest is gathered back. It changes his appearance drastically, yet it also suits him better.

I don't know why he does it, since he also leaves his hair unbound a lot of the time, but there are a lot of things I don't get about them, though I am slowly learning. For example, the looks they are now giving me as we reach them make it clear that they are already up to something.

"It's fine," I turn down Kai's offer. "It's not like they ever say anything of importance, so I don't mind missing out on the conversation."

Tala kisses his teeth in dismissal. Bryan looks like he wants to test Kai's tolerance by taking a swipe at me. I don't flinch. I'm this close to wetting myself, but my face is determined as I pointedly entwine my fingers with Kai's. He smirks at my reply and I feel smug satisfaction.

What a strange group we are. His friends hate my guts; I want them to lighten up towards me, but I will not beg for their friendship; and Kai's the one who has to mediate between our two camps, keeping me out of harm's way but still being their friend. At least the two of them are on mutual grounds...for now. It won't last long, so we'd better get through this outing now before the tides turn and Tala begins threatening Bryan's primal satisfaction.

Welcome back to my life.


A/N: You guys wanted the sequel? You got it. No way in hell was I going to leave Ray and Kai's relationship at that. And Tala and Bryan are just too delectable to leave alone. Yeah, Valentine's over, but since when has late updates stopped me? What's the storyline here other than it leading up to the Day of Loooove? You'll see…

Let's get ready to rrrrrumble!

Read & Review, please.