February 9, 2011. I can't believe how long it took me to finish this chapter... and i'm very embarrassed that it has been nearly 8 months since I last posted. Last year was an extremely horrible blur in my mind, but it's over now. I'm back to working two jobs though, so again, my life is kind of hectic and my muse has been nonexistent. I apologize to you all, but this chapter is a little bit longer than the past few have been. :) Well, I hope you enjoy. :D


It was the first time in a long time (if ever) where I was disappointed to see the rain start to slow down a little bit. It was still sprinkling, yet not at the same monsooning rate it was about ten minutes earlier. As I was floating on my back I could still see that the clouds, although moving rather quickly, weren't quite ready to let up yet and another bout of rain was sure to follow in just a little while. Again, as long as there wasn't a bolt of lightning across the sky, I wasn't going to get out of the water just yet.

Yuna was grunting a little bit, so I tilted my head just enough to not have ocean water go in my eyes to see what she was doing. I had to smile as I watched her attempt to float on her back like me. Key word there really was 'attempt' because she was having a hell of a time getting her feet to stay up and she more or less looked like she was flopping around and half drowning.

"I seem… to have lost my touch here," she said in the middle of an attempt, thus splashing me in the face as her arms flailed around. So much for not getting water in my eyes.

"I see this." I let my feet fall back to the ocean floor, wiped my face with my fingers, and I made my way over to her to give her a hand. "You don't even have shoes on, this should be easy!" She cupped her hand and skimmed it on the edge of the water to push water into my face after that remark… which I was thankful that my hands were still close enough to my face to protect my eyes from being completely full of salt. I had a point though, and the smirk on my face showed her how entertained I truly was. I was so used to swimming with shoes on that it almost seemed odd to not have them on while in the water. Blitz seemed to bend all the rules of swimming and I had just become accustomed to them over the years.

She let her feet touch the ground again and bobbed up and down on her tippy toes. "It has been a very long time since I've been swimming, thank you very much."

"Okay, shorty, I can help you." She never used to be that much shorter than me, but now I seemed to be a good six inches taller than her. It was almost humorous, actually. I put one of my hands on her lower back and my other on her stomach to spot her, which seemed to have startled her for some reason or another. "On the count of three, gently push your feet against the bottom of the ocean and relax. I'll help you do the rest."

With a nod, she was just about ready to push off, but stopped and gave me a worried look. "You're not going to let me drown, are you?"

"If you don't trust me, I just might," I replied, giving her a pat on the back. I held her steady and said, "On the count of three." She nodded. "One, two, thr—"

Her hand shot up and pointed to the sky. "I just saw a shooting star!"

"What?" Her exclamation surprised me so much that I didn't even really hear the words.

"I just saw a shooting star!" She shook her wrist as she continued to point to the same section of the sky. "It was right over there! Did you see it? Did you see it!"

I knew it was too late and I missed it, but I removed my hands off of her and looked up at the sky regardless. "Um, not with an overcast sky, but I sure hope you made a wish to be able to float on your back!"

She clicked her tongue against her teeth a few times and I involuntarily cringed. I hated when people did that… mainly because that was what my mother did when she was about to scold me for something stupid or talk about something stupid that my father did. To me, those two categories were too closely related for my liking. I hated being grouped in with my father, even though it did happen quite a lot since I was a blitz player. It was almost a double edged sword because people then believed I had some form of talent if I was my father's son… until they remembered all of his drunken antics that ruined his chances of getting into the pro leagues. "No, I can't tell you my wish or else it won't come true."

I crossed my arms. "Well, I didn't see the star, so isn't there a special rule about that? A loophole or something?"

Tilting her head at me, she said, "of course not, silly. That's the best part about shooting stars; your wish stays between you and that star or else there isn't a chance of it coming true. It would just be a wasted wish if you shared it with someone."

"Sounds kind of childish," I stated, mainly because I just wanted to know what her wish was. Talk about being childish.

She uncrossed my arms and put my hands back on her stomach and back to spot her again. I think. Looking at me directly into my eyes, she smiled and said, "perhaps, but don't you wish everything remained in its childlike state of innocence?"

I wasn't exactly sure what she meant by that statement; whether it be about the way my hands were on her or about all the wonderful things she heard out of Lenne's mouth today. I let my hands drop back to my side and decided that it was time to drop the subject all together. "Yes, I suppose. But, um, we probably should get going back to my house or else all the pie is going to be gone."

I figured that we would just have to have another swimming lesson before she left back for Bevellle. There were a ton of fun things to do in Zanarkand in the summer, but being in the water was a must. We made our way over to the ladder to the dock and I helped her climb up, then we walked back to my car without saying a word to each other. She was too quiet and I was beginning to think that the Lenne topic wasn't going to get out of her head anytime soon. Hell, every time I thought of the girl I ended up with a headache too, so I could totally relate to what Yuna was probably going through.

Pausing as I opened the car door for her, she said, "I'm going to get your car full of sand." She lifted up a very sandy foot and pointed at it.

I shrugged. "Yuna, it's Zanarkand. There is more sand than oxygen in this city, I believe. However…" I didn't want her to get my car sopping wet, so I went into my trunk where I kept a whole bunch of towels and blitz balls stored there in case I was in the middle of driving and I got a call from my team to play. I took one out and gave it a good shake to make sure that it wasn't full of dirt and sand before giving it to her. "You are kinda wet."

"Gee, who's fault is that?"

My mind went so far into the gutter that I actually believe I blushed. I certainly grinned like a damn idiot, but she was drying her hair with the towel and didn't see. Thank Yevon. After I quickly dried off my hair and legs, I stripped off my shirt and gave it a good wring to get most of the water out of it. When I got home, I would be able to hang it up in the laundry room, but for now, it was good enough.

Tossing my shirt and the towel in the backseat, I went into the car and put the keys in the ignition. She was giving me a queer and rather uncomfortable look as she sat down next to me, holding the towel on her lap.

"What?" I asked, hoping that I wasn't stepping over the line by driving the five seconds home without a shirt on. She practically already saw me change earlier, so I didn't think it was that big of a deal. Putting both hands on the wheel, I leaned toward her and offered, "if you feel left out, you could always take your shirt off too~"

She gave me a hearty smack on the shoulder. "I'm fine, thank you."

"Just thought I would offer…" We exchanged a smile and I added, "also, I was just trying to take a stab at guessing your wish. Am I right? Am I close? Did your wish come true?"

"Tidus!" She burst out into giggles and I figured that was a good time to actually start driving the car. If anything, I broke the ice a little bit and it wasn't as awkward anymore that I just got half naked in front of my best friend. She was sure to see me in a bathing suit several times over the summer, so really, what was the difference? I wasn't going to tell her that if she was in her bra that would be no different than a bathing suit (I didn't feel like getting slapped today), but the thought certainly did come to mind. It shouldn't have, but it did.

I also almost asked her if it was the first time she has seen a man half naked, but I figured that wouldn't be a good idea either. I couldn't imagine her and her boyfriend ever taking off any articles of clothing. Except socks. Probably socks. But something like shirts? Probably not.

It only took a few minutes to get back to my house and I was quite surprised to see Yuna's dad's car out of the driveway. It wasn't that late and I was sure that our moms would still be yakking away until the wee hours of the morning. I liked seeing my mom that happy though; it only seemed to happen when she talked to Yuna's mom or if summer vacation was starting.

"How much you wanna bet my dad went home to get some sleep and my mom is still here chatting it up with your mom?"

I let out a small laugh as I put the car in park. "Ha, I bet you're right." I grabbed my shirt and we walked to the front door, which was unlocked. Very odd for my mother to unlock the front door but she was probably expecting my father to stumble on home drunk and be unable to use a lock and key. Wouldn't have been the first time. Or the twentieth for that matter.

It only took about three seconds for us to hear the laughter of our mothers coming from the living room, proving Yuna's theory correct. "Told you!" She said with a beaming smile.

"Hey, I didn't doubt you." I smirked back at her and I poked my head around the corner where the ladies were drinking wine and laughing hysterically. My mom was one of those people who sniffed the cork of the wine bottle and got drunk, so I was wondering just how much she had. "Hi, moms. We're home!"

"Hi, welcome back… did you drag Yuna to play blitzball tonight or something?" Typical mother question when her son comes home dripping water all over the foyer. Yuna's mom raised an eyebrow as well.

At the same time as I said, "something like that," Yuna decided to say, "we got stuck in the rain." Neither was a lie and neither of our moms seemed the least bit surprised. It wasn't the first time we've came home dripping wet, although we usually had some kind of a guardian with us knowing we were ten the last time. My mom was used to it though; I think I came home drenched more often than not.

My mom put down the glass of wine in her hand and walked over to us, Yuna's mother close behind. Neither of them seemed to be stumbling at all and when I took a second glance at their glasses, they both had a significant amount left. They probably had a grand total of two sips between the two of them. "Tidus, go dry off and change. I'll get Yuna something to wear so we can get her out of those clothes. I don't want you two to catch a cold."

"Mom, it's a billion degrees outside," I said with a shrug. "We're not going to catch a cold."

"True, but you don't want our guest to be all wet and uncomfortable now, do you?" I didn't answer before she grabbed a towel out of the linen closet and handed it to Yuna. "I'm sure I have something for you to wear for a little bit…" She was nearly out of earshot when I heard her add, "Maybe you should keep a set of clothes here for the next time Tidus decides to throw you in the water, hmm?"

I exchanged a glance with Yuna's mom and we both smiled. My smile was probably bigger and she put her arm around me in a half hug. "Braska went home a little while ago to get ready for work stuff, so I was wondering if you'd be okay with driving Yuna and I back in a little bit?"

"No problem," I said, figuring that was what I was going to end up doing anyway. I didn't mind though. I could hear my mom talking to Yuna and asking her if whatever outfit she got her fit her all right and all of a sudden I grew very embarrassed that I was shirtless in front of Yuna's mom. I brought the poor girl back all wet and I was shirtless. It was innocent enough, but still, I was uncomfortable. "I'm going to go change so I don't get my mother's carpeting all wet. I hope you and mom didn't eat all the pie!"

"I think Braska left you both some, so don't worry about it," she replied as I started to bolt up the stairs.

"Thanks!" I went into my room and quickly found a wife beater and a pair of shorts before shedding off my wet clothes and drying off. Most of the time, I would just throw them over my chair and deal with them later, but since I was going downstairs anyway, I decided to be a good son and bring the clothes and the towel down into the laundry room after changing.

Both moms were still in my parent's room laughing, so I could only assume that they were trying to get Yuna into my mom's clothes. Even though my mom was a tiny woman, Yuna was a little smaller and I figured I had some time to go investigate the pie… which was still whole. I was very excited over that. More for me!

Humming a little tune, I grabbed a knife out of the drawer and put it over the pie and tried to gauge how big I should cut the pieces. After a few guesses, Yuna walked into the kitchen wearing a pair of my mom's pajamas. I stopped and, after a moment of thinking that she looked adorable as she sat down at the kitchen table, asked, "How big of a piece do you want? Little? Big? Or do you want me to just bring two forks and we can go to town?"

"Just a little piece, thanks."

"Okay." Since I liked my last option so much, I ignored her completely, picked up the dish, grabbed two forks out of the silverware drawer and plopped it down in front of her. "I don't think you have cooties anymore, so we can share."

"Of course I don't have cooties, but you still do." She dipped her finger in the whipped topping of the pie and smeared it across my nose. "You have something on your face."

I left it there because I knew it would bother her and started to get to work on that pie. "This pie is so amazing. I'm glad you came to visit. My mom only makes it for special occasions and I can't remember the last time she actually made the time to make it. Maybe for my birthday last year or something, but that's it."

After a second, she looked at me seriously. "So if I wasn't in town, what would you be doing on a Saturday night? You know… typically."

I had a feeling I knew what she was prying into, mainly because it seemed like everything we talked about that night revolved around Lenne. I swallowed the bit of pie in my mouth and then let out a short sigh. "I don't know. It really depends on what time the year it is. During blitz season, usually the guys and I get together and watch the game if it's a good one. If it's not? We usually play blitz. I don't know, my life is kind of redundant and nothing really changes a whole lot!" Before she could ask me to embellish, I asked the question back. "You?"

She reached over and wiped the whipped cream off my face with her finger. I knew it would bother her after a while. "I'm kind of boring. I'd usually be studying or hanging out with Baralai. Most of the time, both at the same time." She focused on the pie. "Isn't Saturday night like a designated date night or something?"

Resting my forearm on the table, I looked her dead on in the face. She was still looking down, but if she was going to look up, I knew we'd make eye contact and she would know I was sincere. "Don't listen to what Lenne said today."

She put her fork down and tilted her head to the side a little. "It's going to be difficult to forget what she said."

"Oh come on, Yuna." I took another bite out of the pie and chuckled at her. "That's exactly what she was trying to do. To get a rise out of you and make you angry the first day you were back in town in hopes that you would stay away from me. She just likes to exaggerate quite a bit about everything and try to 'one up' you. She's always done that and you know it."

She remained silent and I wasn't sure if she wanted me to shut up or continue. Thankfully she broke the silence. "What's the point of her trying to rub it in my face when I have a boyfriend and you and I are just friends?"

I opened my mouth and then shut it quickly. I didn't want to say anything that was direct to the point or make her embarrassed. I inhaled before I decided to just be straight with her. "She doesn't know that you have a boyfriend, I don't think, and well, um, like you said; Saturday is usually date night. You and I were there with Wakka and Lulu on your first weekend back and…"

"It looked like a double date," she finished with a nod.

So she saw it too. I was hoping she didn't look too deeply into me paying for our portion of the food or anything, I just couldn't see her paying. Isn't it a man's duty to pay even when a woman refuses? "I just want you to know that what I said earlier in the night, I really did mean."

"What's that?"

"That she and I have only been seeing each other for the past few months. Two, maybe three months max." I wasn't sure how brutally honest I wanted to be with her, but if it was all out in the open, we wouldn't ever have to have this conversation again. "And I do really use the phrase 'seeing each other' loosely. It was kind of an image thing at school so I played it off as more than it was. We really didn't see each other that often outside of school because I never wanted my parents to get to know her or think that there was more going on. The only date we've ever actually been on was prom this year and that's it." I should've stopped and not go one step further, yet I did anyway. I lowered my voice and said, "I don't want you to think that I sleep around. Lenne's… the only girl I've ever slept with."

She blushed at hearing that and I sort of regretted telling her. "Why are you telling me this?"

I didn't want to tell her but with the way Lenne was talking to her earlier at Shinras, who know what she was going to tell Yuna when they ran into each other again. I could try to avoid them running into each other as much as I wanted, but they were going to see each other at the beach or at a get together or something. It was just bound to happen. Again, I told her the truth. "You're my best friend, Yuna. Aren't you supposed to know everything about me?"

"Um…" She started and laughed nervously. "I don't know if I'm suppose to know that much about you."

I nudged at her fork with mine so she would continue eating and not lose her appetite again. "I'm not asking for you to share the same information with me about you. I just know that some things travel like wildfire and for some reason, everyone likes to gossip about the captain of the blitz team and the captain of the cheerleaders. People talk."

"I know they do." She humored me and picked up her fork again. "I just don't want to be afraid of running into her all summer. It makes me feel like I'm back in elementary school, praying that she and I wouldn't end up in the same class again that year and yet… every year we were on the same roster and I would cry." She let out another long sigh. "Tidus, I don't want to go to Wakka's on Friday."

"I never said you had to," I said with a huge sense of relief. I didn't want her to go. Lenne with more alcohol in her system than tonight and sober Yuna really wasn't going to be a good mix. I didn't want to play mediator all night. I just wasn't sure if that meant that I was staying at home Friday night or going to the party. That was a decision I would make later and leave it vague to her for now. "Now come on, eat some more pie."

She stuck the fork in the middle of the pie and dug out a decent sized bite. "You'll explain to Wakka why I'm not there, right?"

I nodded. "Of course. I'm sure he will understand more than you think he will. He's a pretty intuitive guy and can read people." Thinking about that for a second, I continued with, "it's rather amazing and annoying all at the same time."

"That reminds me," she licked her fork before she continued. "I don't want you to think that you need to entertain me this summer. I want to see you, yes, but please don't put your life on hold on while I'm here."

She had a little bit of chocolate on her upper lip, so I stood up to grab a few napkins. "I don't see it as putting my life on hold at all." She tilted her head toward me, so I leaned over and got down to eye level. By seeing her, I wasn't putting my life on hold. That was the truth.

Was I thinking about saying something else? Of course I was. Was I going to say it? Absolutely not. As I looked into her eyes, I could tell she was waiting for me to continue, but it was just a better idea to keep the words inside. I missed my friend and I liked having her back and if I said that, she might take it completely the wrong way or really look into it and I didn't want that. Instead, I handed her a napkin, said, "Here you go," then went back to my seat.

I just knew that it was going to be short lived and every time I thought about it, it really sucked. She was going to go back to Bevelle and life would go on back to the way that it had; her with her life, me with mine. She was going to get back to focusing on her studies and I was going to get back to focusing on blitz and trying to get a great scholarship. I felt kind of selfish that I wanted this summer to be like the ones that we had before she went away and I didn't want her to know that for some reason.

For now, I knew, and that was enough.