So here it is guys, the first chapter. Quick recap: Ryoma and Sakuno are together and we've discovered how jealous Ryoma can get (Hitting Kenichi on his, ahem, must've hurt). Since the prologue received good (but few) reviews, this story is going to have a lot of chapters. Because the girlfriend-boyfriend relationship (especially my last one, super funny) has lots of…what's a good word?...events and through the progression of this story, if ever you want me to write something that resembled what happened in your previous or current relationship or just something totally hilarious that you find absolutely fitting for Ryoma and Sakuno, PM me and I'll whip something up. As I've promised, in this installment, Ryoma and Sakuno are going on a "double-date" with drum roll Momoshiro Takeshi (We'll call him Momo-chan, since I think he likes it) and the girl Sakuno always hangs around with! Her name? Dunno…let me take a quick look at character information…Tomoka Osakada (who is coincidentally still the President of the Ryoma Echizen Fan club).

I remind all readers that I haven't watched all episodes of the show. I never even got to Season 3 so let's just assume that the characters are a year older and I am so clueless regarding the events that transpired after season 2. Help me out here guys. Characters are a little OOC – all of them. You are now warned.

For Ryoma's Pronoun-Antecedent agreement, it's a direct quote from Prentice Hall Grammar & Composition 1. It's a book I've had forever.

This is a long chapter, guys because of the flashback but please don't give up on me just yet and I'm not really into the –chan, -senpai, -kun but I do consider Ryoma-kun, in case you were wondering.

So here it is – Chapter 1. Enjoy. Peace(" ,) Chapter's 2…a bit, well it's gonna be late because I write slow and writer's block does exist unfortunately.


Pairing: Ryoma Echizen, Sakuno Ryuzaki

Rated: T (Please take note.)

Genre: Romance/Humor

Read and review guys. Tell me if I delivered or not, whether I paid justice to the story and to your expectations. (" ,)


Reaching To Touch You

Anna Roma

Chapter 1 – Rollercoaster Part 1 "So, what do you say? This weekend. Double date?"


Present day

11: 22 a.m.

Seigaku High School

Hallway B

"Come on, Sakuno…you'll be our ultimate alpha female, queen!" Tug. "We'll even call you 'madam', how does that sound? Regal right?" Tug. Tug. "Please! Do it for me. I'm your best friend in the entire world; best friends always pull through for their best friends, it's practically a commandment." Tug. Tug. Tug. "Don't you agree that's it's a little obviously obvious that our beloved prince's girlfriend, the tennis coach's granddaughter, who may I add is still pretty tough. How does she keep up those…never mind. Not the subject of this matter. It's you! Please, please, please, please…" Tug. Tug. Tug. Tug.

"Tomoka, please."

"Just accept the offer. You know what, it's not even an offer, it's an order."

"An order? When did it become that?"

"Three seconds ago. I deemed it so as president."

"Tomoka," She stopped walking and gave her friend the sweetest, most understanding look she could conjure and maintain on her face. "It's…great that you want me to become president of the Ryoma Echizen Fans Club but I don't really have enough time as it is with studies, AP classes, tutoring-"

Tomoka's eyebrow sharpened at the tip and arched all the way to the middle of her forehead. "He hates you tutoring, by the way." She continued their walk to the school library to return some books their teacher assigned them with, with her best friend mildly surprised. Sakuno hauled her school books closer to herself and resumed walking briskly to catch up with her friend.

"What do you mean he hates my tutoring? 'Hate' is such a strong word…" Her English II fell from her grasp and haphazardly landed a few inches behind her. She stopped and started to struggle with the rest of her books while trying to find a way to make her right hand available for picking up said fallen book. Advanced reading was such a perilous task.

Tomoka sighed and very reluctantly walked over to the book, picked it up and took half of the books Sakuno carried. "Sakuno, can't you just for once place yourself with us mere mortals when it comes to studying? I mean, you surprised us all, our eyes were popping out of our sockets when you became class rep. and so far, you've always, always, always been in the top three when the test results come back. What on the good Earth could've prompted this freaky studying streak? It's starting to scare, though completely amaze, congratulations, us."

Sakuno smiled. What prompted this? That was a very simple question to answer.

Flashback

Seigaku Library, High School Department

Wednesday

1:13 p.m.

4 months ago

"Pronoun and antecedent agreement…'One rule of pronoun and antecedent agreement is the basis for almost all of the other rules. A personal pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number, person and in gender. The grammatical number of a pronoun indicates if it is singular or plural. The person of a pronoun indicates whether it refers to the first person, the second person or the third person.'" Having read the material before, he had no problem in dictating it and having understood it before too, he wasn't even reading it now, just taking sentences from memory. He looked at her as he continued reading and a grin appeared on his mouth. They had been in the library for 45 minutes. He picked the secluded table at the back of the room and sat across her at the table.

She was reading her own text book dejectedly, wringing her fingers together, a part of her blouse somehow was caught between the knots. She nibbled on her lower lip, to his amusement and personal torture, in the most annoyingly attractive manner, making her lip look more rosy and full. However, cute nibbling aside, he could see her under pressure. English was noticeably not her best subject, accompanied by the fact that she asked him to tutor her when they had free time. He could've been playing tennis right now, the more preferred option to spend his academic-free breaks since the position of tennis team captain was so close given that Tezuka would be graduating this year and who could replace him better than he. But instead, he chose to be here, tutoring the coach's granddaughter. He was aware that this was and will be eventually once his teammates found out about their arrangement, considered a form of 'sucking up' which he was totally against but as he thought of it, it was worth a shot since he was persistently vying against the upperclassmen for the position of team captain and with Sakuno, it made his goal all the more easier and closer to accomplishing. Then again, he seemed cruel, even to himself. He had morals instilled into his system, after all and he wasn't a big fan of trouble (yet trouble seemed to enjoy him) and Sakuno was susceptible and easily swayed. He worried about her sometimes, whether or not she'll be actually able to stand on her own or get around town without getting lost, at least. He was even wondering right now if she was listening to him. This girl was such a handful.

"'Historically, a masculine pronoun is used to refer to a singular antecedent whose gender is not specified. Such use of the masculine pronoun is said to be generic…'". Did he hear something? It sounded like a sniff or something.

Sniff.

"'…but many writers today prefer to avoid the generic masculine pronoun by rewriting the sentence.'" Sniff.

There it was again but now, he had an idea what it was and who it came from.

He sighed and closed the text book. "Ryuzaki, what are you doing?"

She jerked up all of a sudden, her impossibly long pigtails which she refused to trim for unknown reasons joggled with her body. Upon closer and prolonged observation, he noted that her eyes were slightly gleaming – tears – and desperation was written all over her face. "Nothing, Ryoma-kun. I'm fine." She touched her cheek to check if she was blushing and by the way her face was warming up, she concluded that she was absolutely blushing again. Yet, that wasn't her biggest concern at that moment. She stared dismally at the words on her text book, hoping so powerfully that all the information would turn into oxygen and she could inhale it all and be ready to pass their English exam in two days. She couldn't even remember what antecedents were and there were masculine pronouns and they had to coincide with number and everything else. This was torture, a massive headache on the rise. She didn't know how much more she could take. Taking Japanese was hard enough but English was on a whole different, more hellish level. How will she ever going to survive this?

Ryoma pretended to adjust his cap after he leaned back on his chair and made himself more comfortable. "Do you remember what antecedents are?"

Sakuno couldn't hold back her tears anymore and she let one drop escape and fall on the page. "I'm so sorry, Ryoma-kun. I know you're probably so bothered with me now and I'm sorry if I'm keeping you from practicing. I'm even sorry that I asked you to tutor me. I'm sorry that I'm not excelling here. I'm so sorry." The tears welled up significantly in her eyes. This was exactly what he had been expecting.

"Geez." He muttered as he stood up.

'Oh no. He's leaving…what have I done?' More tears fell as she allowed her sobs to overwhelm her body. But then, she felt something soft press against her cheek and she peeked to see what it was. It was a white handkerchief and the person that held it was none other than Ryoma. 'He's so close…' She thought. He was beside her actually and that drew out a slight gasp and prompted the sudden stiffening of her body.

Earlier, he stood up, when she wasn't paying attention and silently carried his chair over to where she was and settled it beside her, close enough to hand her his handkerchief. "Here." He said flatly. Her fingers slowly curled around his handkerchief and she proceeded to wipe away her tears. He watched her carefully, taking in every single detail he could. She still had the pigtails and he was sure they would stay on her head for a long time and her eyes were still brown. But other things rubbed him in a new way, he noted.

She smelled like apples. The scent wasn't too strong but it definitely left something to the senses and her pale skin was devoid of any make-up unlike the other girls that had the stuff all over their features. The longer he examined her, the more he was pulled in to the movement on her face. It was magnetic – the way she blinked, how gently she held his handkerchief, the way she breathed slowly. Every time she moved, time seemed to slow her actions and freeze the second her expression resembled something close enough to be considered ethereal. Her cheeks were tainted pink, slight rose color – she was still blushing. Why was it that every time he happened to look her way, she was always blushing? What was there to blush about? Honestly, he couldn't understand and he wasn't particularly interested in finding out why. Yet.

Ryoma managed to shake himself out of his momentary daze and looked directly at Sakuno. "Ryuzaki," He said, keeping his features hard and imposing.

Sniff. "I'm sorry, Ryoma-kun." She told him again.

"I know, so stop apologizing."

Sakuno was somewhat dismayed at Ryoma's harsh tone. "O-okay…"

"Listen Ryuzaki 'cause I'm not going to say this again."

"Okay." A hundred different things rolled around inside Sakuno's head. It was possible that he was going to tell her he didn't want to tutor her anymore in studies and tennis or worse, he didn't want to associate with someone like her again, among other assumptions. But the later one, she was sure, was going to affect her more than anything he might say – that he didn't want to be around her anymore. Ryoma had been a part of her life every day since she met him on that bus. She watched his games, studied with him, walked with him and they talked. Rather, she talked and he listened. But the important thing was they were together and that mattered so much to her. However, if Ryoma didn't want to be her friend anymore then she would respect his wishes. She thought it was her fault after all, for not working harder and longer. She braced her heart and hoped it held together after he was through.

"Ryuzaki, a lot of people excel at different things. Some are good at sports, others academics, medicine, whatever floats their boat. They do extremely well at their chosen field because they chose to pursue it and thus are driven to give their best and everything they have – they work hard at it until they're satisfied. A doctor, for example. A doctor saves lives; he or she wants to save lives. That's why they studied hard, suffered through internship and their residents. They focused solely on that goal and it made them what they are." He stopped and gave her a harder look.

Sakuno's unease intensified as it was continually fed with sheer dread for what could happen next. She didn't know what to do with him staring at her like that. He must've been expecting an answer or some sudden blow of realization on her part however she didn't understand what he tried to tell her. She was too scared to analyze anything so she did the only thing she could think of doing.

She cried some more.

Ryoma was disappointed yet to some extent amused. The girl had such a small amount of self-assurance. He smirked. "Ryuzaki,"

"Ryoma-kun, I'm sorry. I should just go…"

"I'm not finished yet."

She wiped the damp handkerchief on her cheek. "Okay…"

Ryoma leaned back on the chair and crossed his arms. He better get team captain after all this trouble. "You stink at English."

"Wha…I…I…"

"Let me finish."

"Okay…"

"And you sure as hell aren't any good at tennis."

Sakuno felt a new wave of tears coming. "I know that, Ryoma-kun…and that's why I think you're going to say we should stop–" Tears spilled from under her eyes.

"But it doesn't have to be that way."

Sakuno jerked her head and looked at him straight in his eyes. "What…what do you mean?"

Smirk. "You need to focus, Ryuzaki. When you try two things at the same time and you realize you're not very good with the one you should know when to give it up and focus on the other productive one wherein the outcome is more beneficial. I know you want to continue tennis and I'm not saying this to discourage you or to try to convince you to stop. But sometimes, no matter how much you're determined or how much you believe a person can accomplish when he or she sets his or her mind to it, the things we sometimes want to achieve are just not meant for us to pursue. I don't think you have a future in tennis, Ryuzaki. But you can excel here." He pointed to her textbook. "Coach told me your grades were slipping because of tennis but she doesn't want to stop you because she was afraid you might not handle it so I'm telling you now, Ryuzaki because I know you're stronger than what people give you credit for."

Sakuno stared at Ryoma, a mixture of disbelief, awareness and new-found motivation on her face.

He leaned in closer, their noses centimeters apart. "Forget tennis for a while. It's always gonna be there, just waiting. But your education right now, that's what more important and you have to remember to concentrate on your priorities. You're meant for other, greater things, Sakuno."

She finally stopped crying and she looked at his handkerchief briefly then his face. "All right, Ryoma-kun. I'll give it everything I've got." She flashed him her winning smile.

Time stopped for Ryoma, then continued.

He pretended to have something caught in his throat so he could look away, not sure if he was blushing or was even capable of such. He still wasn't taking any chances. "Good." He muttered and sat upright and flipped a few pages on her textbook. "Now can we please get this so we can leave here? Those girls are here again."

"Girls?"

Ryoma pointed lazily to a table not far away from them. Sakuno cringed faintly when she noticed they were making 'I Love Ryoma, My Prince' signs all in glitter, paper hearts and tennis balls, and neon-colored magic markers. When Ryoma stole a glance at them, one squealed in delight and five girls tried to fan her to consciousness but they weren't making much progress since they were started to make kiss-y faces at Ryoma.

"You're right. We should hurry." She told him.

So, the two of them studied for a good thirty minutes non-stop when the proverbial fire cracker exploded above Sakuno's head. 'Did he really call Sakuno a while ago?'

End flashback

"Sakuno? You okay?" Tomoka waved her hand repeatedly in front of her friend's face.

Sakuno snapped out of her stupor and recalled where she was and where she was trying to go to. "Yes, I'm fine. Where were we?"

Tomoka shrugged. "Eh, can't remember. Let's go. Ten minutes to lunch, if we take the long way we won't have to go back to class."

Sakuno shifted her books closer to herself. "Tomoka,"

"Yeah?"

"What do you mean when you said Ryoma-kun hated me tutoring?"

Tomoka placed her free hand on her hip and smiled. Her best friend could be so clueless sometimes and it clearly showed on her face. "Oh, I remember…of course you're not around when he seethes and schemes to stab your seeking suitors as you steer them to see the significance in Science and Statistics. Nice tongue twister…I'm so good."

"Come on, Tomoka. Why does he hate me tutoring?"

Tomoka sighed and stopped walking. She faced Sakuno and gave her a stern look. "He hates you tutoring because you tutor other guys. You're right. 'Hate' is too strong. He um, finds it insufferable – there, poetry."

"I don't understand. Why?"

"Don't you see, Sakuno?" She said desperately. "Because you're within two feet of other men. You tutor guys, right?"

"Yes."

"So, that's the reason!"

Tomoka started walking again and Sakuno followed. She still couldn't understand. Was Ryoma really that jealous? Surely he wasn't. Hadn't she already made it clear that there wasn't and never will be anyone but him? It was a little ambitious, assuming that he was 'The One'. She dismissed the thoughts of spending the rest of her life with her current and only boyfriend to date. She supposed it was far safer to say that all her loving attention were solely centered on him at the moment and no other men would or can distract her. "I still don't understand…" She said quietly.

"Sakuno, remember what he did to Kenichi? Yeah, guess what, he still has to carry that ridiculous ice pack around. He's never going to live that down. And remember the time that junior asked you to Cultural Day and he bought you the bouquet? Gosh, the look on his face when Ryoma 'indirectly' told the whole tennis team to gang up on him – priceless! Let's not forget the exchange student from Austria!" Laugh. "That one's my personal favorite. Remember? He was so scared when Ryoma and him played against each other and then when that Austrian guy told him he was planning to ask you out – wooh! Ryoma shattered the guy's racquet with a smash! I mean, come on, how jealous can he get, right? I couldn't believe it myself! I thought it wasn't humanly possible to pulverize a guy's racquet like that and–"

"Okay, Tomoka, I get it! I get it!" Sakuno practically jogged to the next hallway, trying to forget all the incidents that came in torrents inside her head that concerned Ryoma's 'incidents' with other men that wanted her attention. She couldn't believe it. Tomoka was right. Ryoma seemed to have developed some sort of…

"Obsession…"

"What?"

"Obsession. You know, mania, fascination, passion, he has a thing for you, etc., etc."

"I know, I know but like 'hate', 'obsession' is too strong a word. Trouble just seems to have a thing for Ryoma."

Tomoka shrugged and continued walking. "Whatever you tell yourself to get through the day, Sakuno."

The knot on Sakuno's forehead seemed to get tighter and tighter as every confirmation of her boyfriend's alleged jealousy problem came out in the open. She couldn't ask Ryoma directly about it and she couldn't tell him to stop either because for one, she didn't believe he can get jealous that easily in the first place and two, there was nothing much to be jealous about. She didn't really think of herself as drop dead gorgeous or as attractive as some of her classmates. There was no comparison to her against them. Ryoma was by far the only person she ever attempted to have a serious relationship with. "I still don't get it, Tomoka."

Tomoka shrugged again and craned her neck a bit when she saw the doors to the library at the end of the long hallway. "You will someday when Ryoma eventually commits manslaughter when you're married to him and the guy bagging your groceries accidentally brushed his hand on yours."

"Tomoka!"

Tomoka sheepishly grinned and realized she had been thinking aloud. "Kidding! I'm kidding! Just a joke, Sakuno. Don't drop the books. I thought you didn't believe he could get that jealous. Why do let this affect you so much?"

"It doesn't really. Let's just move on to another topic to talk about." Sakuno sighed and slid the door open. The librarian looked at the two of them and suddenly pointed to a sign above her desk that read 'Please maintain silence'. Sakuno nodded understandingly. "Good morning, Ms. Tanaka. We just came to return some books." She whispered and gently crept in the library and proceeded to the Social Studies section at the back of the room.

Tomoka waited past a few bookshelves to talk about her favorite topic again. She faintly bumped against Sakuno to get her attention and smiled covertly. "So, when's your next date with the Prince?"

Blushing really got Sakuno into trouble almost half of the time and she couldn't help it which only made the problem worse. "Date? I…I don't know. He's always busy with tennis, grandmother is training them longer because the tennis meet is coming in a few weeks and I have a meeting with the Creative Committee, we really need volunteers for Culture Week."

"You're really impressing me with your studies, Sakuno. Kudos to you."

"Thanks."

"Oh, here." They reached the last bookshelf at the back and started to correctly apply what they knew about the Dewey Decimal System. "You know Sakuno, if you're free this weekend despite your hectic schedule, you can come with me to that new amusement park."

"Amusement park?" Sakuno stretched to reach the topmost shelf. "Where?"

"I heard it's about 25 blocks from the zoo."

"Doesn't that bother the animals?"

Tomoka couldn't stop the chuckle that reverberated inside her throat. "You ask the most unexpected questions, are you aware of that?"

"It's logical. Noise bothers some animals."

"It's far enough from the animals and I heard they had a love tunnel, a rollercoaster, bump cars, a ferris wheel, a bazaar and fireworks." Tomoka carried the last book a few paces to her left and put it between two history books. "So, what do you say? This weekend. Double date?"

A double date? Sakuno thought. She had never been on a date with two other people before. The dates she had with Ryoma could be counted with one hand and they were pleasant, in her opinion. She was content even when he was the only one she was with because their schedules and activities pulled them apart or didn't leave much time for the two of them. A date would be nice, she concluded, a much needed break from studies and tennis. But then she considered how Ryoma would react to this. "I'll tell Ryoma about it. I'm sure he'll warm up to the idea." She smiled to herself. He probably would concede her this weekend, if she acted like she really, really wanted it. "By the way, who are you taking?"

A surge of reality quickly pierced through Tomoka's line of thought. She turned her back to her friend and silently thought of a quick way out. Oh no. How could I have not thought of that? Geez, now she'll find out. No, no, no, no, no, no, no…yes! I know now! He's easy bait, he'll practically jump into my arms! Evil eye glint. Of course, he's perfect for this. Ryoma, my Prince always agrees with him. This is gold! I'll finally be able to hook her in! Yes!

"Tomoka? Let's go. The bell just rang. It's time for lunch."

Tomoka snapped in attention and started to lead her friend out of the library hurriedly, shouting her farewell to Ms. Tanaka, the librarian whose bun twisted out of shape at Tomoka's loud voice.

"Tomoka!" Sakuno tried to keep her sleeve intact and the possibility of tripping on her face and on her friend to a low percentage. "Wait! What's going on?"

"Come on! You have to ask Ryoma out this weekend while I find the guy – I mean, my date! Tell him it's really going to be fun and you need to relax for an afternoon!"

The two burst out of the school's back entrance and out into the courtyard where students were already going to the benches under the trees to have their lunch. Tomoka quickly scanned the crowed trying to find Ryoma, the tennis team or a red cap. She pulled her bestfriend gracelessly to the center of the field, completely forgetting to stop by the cafeteria to retrieve her food and Sakuno's too. "There!" She screamed triumphantly as a red tennis racquet came into view and she ran, practically dragging Sakuno along to catch up with Ryoma. She couldn't pass up this opportunity to get Sakuno to give in to her wishes. She had recently acquired a tendency to finish the things she set out to do which in hindsight, was really a good thing but in her case, her drive revolved around Ryoma and his new girlfriend of two months. Life couldn't get any better with gossip about the sweetest couple on campus and actually being in their budding love circle which inevitably meant she had access to small facts: what Ryoma gave to Sakuno occasionally – flowers, candy, toys, whatever, the places he liked to take her, his favorite food and whatnot to hot chitchat material: how good a kisser was Ryoma, what he looked like shirtless and other scandalous tidbits. She was so excited, she was afraid her pores wouldn't be able to hold it all. So much so, she nearly bumped against the bench a few Seigaku regulars were seated at. She halted abruptly using her heels but didn't notice Sakuno's bewilderment when her hip was almost going collide with the sharp edge of the concrete table.

Sakuno braced herself for the pain that was surely coming.

Any second now…

She didn't recall concrete being soft, warm and had traces of Bulgari cologne.

Sakuno opened her eyes a bit and peeked at what happened and all she saw was black.

"Osakada,"

"I'm so sorry, Sakuno!"

"Why the hell were you running so fast?"

"I…because…Sakuno has something to tell you!"

"And why the hell were you pulling Ryuzaki like that?"

Oh boy. If I didn't get rid much of that intense crush on Ryoma a few months ago, I would've died at his interrogation. I'm sure… "She's your girlfriend. Why do you still call her by her last name? Anyway, Sakuno, you okay?"

Sakuno blinked a few times to pull herself together and realized that she was staring at Ryoma's uniform, just on his shoulder. She had his hands on his chest and he had one arm around her waist and his other hand on her hip. Still surprised, she tried to figure out why they were in such a position in public with everyone outside virtually burning holes in her uniform because of their staring. But she concluded only one thing and confirmed that it was actually what happened: he got in front of her when she almost lost her balance and was about to have a painful encounter with the hard edge of the courtyard table; he broke her fall, so to speak. "Yes…yes, I'm fine. I think." She remained where she was as she looked to Ryoma. He seemed to be glaring at Tomoka, who in defense was grinning as widely and as cutely as she could. Glaring wasn't a good sign, especially when her boyfriend was the one who was looking that way. "Ryoma, I'm fine, really. Thank you."

He took a break from staring daggers at Tomoka and turned to his girlfriend. "You sure you're okay?"

She stood up straight from leaning on him and folded her hands modestly in front of her. "Yes." She turned to her bestfriend, not really minding that Ryoma's hand was still on her hip. "I'm okay."

"Good! Now we can get on to business!" It seemed Tomoka's vivaciousness didn't diminish a bit.

"We're already on business." A deep, monotone voice was heard behind Ryoma. Tomoka and Sakuno glanced behind and discovered that they were in the midst of a tennis club meeting.

Tomoka's eyes glittered with interest as she started to dramatically wave her hand high above her head at the tennis regulars. "Oh hello, Fuji, Inui, Tezuka! Hey, Momo-chan, you're a regular again, how cool is that?" Tomoka trotted over to Momoshiro and plopped herself down where Ryoma was previously seated. She draped her arm vividly over his broad shoulders and picked up his sandwich and waved it around in front of the two of them.

"Hey girl, that's mine! Get your own sandwich!" Momoshiro started to wrestle pointlessly for his stolen lunch and Tomoka simply steered it frantically in different directions.

"You want your sandwich? Well, you have to come and get it from me first!" Tomoka jumped away from the table and started to run with said sandwich, heading inside the high school building. "Come on, Momo-chan, you big dummy, hurry up or else I'll eat this!" She laughed all the way to the entrance and stopped to turn around. She opened her mouth and took an impossibly big bite of the sandwich.

Momoshiro's eyes widened. Who did this girl think she was? And she was taking off with his lunch! "Wait, come back! Fuji, what's her name again?"

"Ms. Tomoka Osakada," Fuji supplied.

Momoshiro jumped from the table in the same bumbling manner as Tomoka had and started to chase after her but stopped when he heard Tezuka address him. "Momoshiro Takeshi! We're not done with the meeting yet. Come back here. Now."

Giving the team captain a theatrically exaggerated explanation with loud gesticulations as to why he should chase after his lunch, Fuji started to laugh to himself. "Let him go, Tezuka. I'll brief him later."

The captain's eyes narrowed to slits. "Fine," He said as he adjusted his glassed on the bridge of his nose. "Momoshiro, it's just a sandwich…"

Inui who remained quiet until now, pulled out a jug of his moss green health drink. "Tezuka's right. You can have my new health drink."

Momoshiro paled considerably and started running in the direction Tomoka took. "No thanks, Inui. Euchk…I'll see you guys later!" Drinking Inui's juice was like eating half of the produce section in a market raw. He'd rather fight for his sandwich.

Tezuka sighed disconsolately at Momoshiro's lack of sense and looked at Ryoma. "Echizen, you can get the rest of lunch off. I'll brief you on a few other things at practice today."

Ryoma shrugged and reached for his duffel bag on the bench. "Whatever." He mumbled and led Sakuno away from the table.

She hurriedly waved good-bye to the upperclassmen and Fuji waved back. When they reached Ryoma's usual spot under a tree at the secluded section of the courtyard, she smiled at him as he set his bag down and leaned against the trunk. She settled beside him quietly, tucking the back of her skirt under her knees. "Have you eaten?" She asked him.

"Yeah. You?"

"Not yet. We came directly from the library."

He raised his eyebrow at what she said and hauled his duffel bag to him. He unzipped the zipper and started to rummage. He reached something on the side and pulled it out then zipped his bag up again. Sakuno's eyes lit up and she couldn't stop her smile as it grew. "Ryoma, you don't have to."

"Take it." He told her as he leaned back against the tree again.

Sakuno carefully touched the plastic container which housed Ryoma's homemade ham sandwich. His cousin must have prepared it for him. "Thank you, Ryoma." She told him as she opened the container.

He observed her while she ate – she bit slowly and chewed in a deliberate fashion, probably savoring the whole sandwich because it came from him. He smirked at that and pulled his cap further down to shield his eyes from the light. Schools should definitely incorporate nap times in the curriculum. God knows how many students need it even if they deny they do. As he was about to doze off, he remembered something. "Sakuno,"

She looked at him after taking a bite. "Hm?"

"What was Osakada talking about when she said you had something to tell me?"

Sakuno immediately began to choke on what she was chewing as it refused to go down smoothly down her throat. She drummed her fist repeatedly on her chest. The morsel didn't want to relinquish its place just above her esophagus. Ryoma reached forward and rubbed her back soothingly. "Ryoma…" Choke. Choke. "Thank you." Gulp.

"You okay?" He asked, staying where he was – close to her.

"Yes, I'm fine." She took a few seconds to calm herself down.

"Good. Now, what're you going to tell me?"

Oh no. He still remembers. She looked at him worriedly. What if he didn't approve? She reminded herself not to get so affected by asking him. It wasn't as if he had already said 'no'. There was the possibility he could agree and it would be a new experience for them as a couple. In all honestly, she wanted to try this double-date thing out. For one, it wasn't just the two of them, which was fine but sometimes it got a little awkward because she was still a bit inhibited by him. The reason for which was because for so long, she had dreamt of being by his side, being at the receiving end of his kisses (which she wasn't planning to tell him any time soon), the one he'd dedicate his games to. Of course she wanted what they had to grow stronger. Maybe this double date was the answer to the whole equation. "Um…we…we were at the library and Tomoka asked me when our next date was."

He unconsciously raised an eyebrow and let her continue.

"Well, I told her that we didn't have anything planned for this weekend and she offered to…um…" She looked away from him and started picking at the crust of her sandwich.

"Offered what?"

She took a deep breath. "To go on a double date."


"Sheesh. Where did that Osakada girl go?" Murmur. "Crap. I'm so, so hungry…!" Momoshiro trudged along the hallways, stopping every now and then to look inside the classrooms and virtually drool over the students who were quietly enjoying their lunches. He'd sigh and curse while he stalked the girl who got away with his lunch. The school had 7 floors, how was he going to possibly find her before the bell rang? He was about to give up and head back to his classroom when a giggle behind him suddenly caught his attention. He swiftly turned around, prepared to jump when he saw the devilish glint in her eyes and her hard grin. "What's wrong with your face?" He asked.

Tomoka thought a vein had popped somewhere in the back of her head when she realized that he didn't get the I-Want-Something-And-You're-The-Person-To-Help-Me look she was recognized for. "Nothing, you big dolt! My face is perfect, if you must know." She then gave him her sexiest smile and an extravagant hair flip.

Momoshiro started to walk toward her, a little confused. "Yeah, yeah, whatever you have to wake up to in the morning. Now, give me back my lunch, girlie."

Managing to let a small gasp escape, Tomoka maintained her composure and pulled out what was left of Momoshiro's sandwich. She had taken a big portion and what remained wasn't even good for a couple of bites. "Don't you call me 'girlie', girlie."

Momoshiro's eyes widened substantially as he looked at his decrepit sandwich and Tomoka swore she could identify tear formation just under his eyes. "What the hell have you done to my lunch!"

"Duh. What're you supposed to do with lunch? Eat it; it's common sense, Momo-chan. Geez." Her grin grew gloriously and Momoshiro cringed at every second that passed by.

"You must be PMS-ing, that's why you're this conniving. And I'll let it slip, girlie, just give me back the sandwich and walk away. See? I'm being considerate…walk away…walk away…"

Tomoka chuckled and started tossing around the sandwich up and down, Momoshiro's eyes following. "Nah-ah. Not yet. You want this thing? For a hot shot tennis player like you, this is ant food. And I'm not PMS-ing, for your information."

Momoshiro didn't know how much more of the ridiculous situation he was in he could take. "Why are you even doing this? Why am I even doing this? What do you want, anyway? That's it! You want something!"

Tomoka's face suddenly morphed into something that resembled Sakuno's – sweet, innocent, completely clueless. "Why Momo-chan, why would think that?"

Placing his hands on his hips, he closed the distance between the two of them and looked down at her knowingly, having found new confidence. She had to want something from him and he realized he had the power to agree or disagree with whatever plan she was concocting. "Come on, girlie, just tell me what it is you want and I'll be kind enough to forget this whole embarrassing thing with the sandwich and you."

She smiled. "All right."

"Wait." He held his hand up to her face. She stepped back, surprised.

"What? Your hand, please."

He dramatically placed his hands behind his back and gave her the smartest look he could conjure. "I wanna know what's in this for me."

Smirk. "What do you want?"

Momoshiro suddenly was enveloped in a fit of giggles, throwing his head back. Tomoka was starting to doubt her decision when he wouldn't stop and people were already poking their heads out of their classrooms to stare at the maniacal laughing fit of Seigaku's Power House. But all of a sudden, he straightened up and pointed his fist at her and said in his more satisfied voice, "To repay this crime you have done on my person and my sandwich, if I agree to whatever crazy, perverted, clinically insane proposal you've prepared, probably to steal another innocent man's sandwich, I want free lunch for three months!" He produced a smirk at the end of his statement and Tomoka couldn't help but roll her eyes.

"Three months? That's practically exploitation!"

Momoshiro's eyes widened for the umpteenth time. "And this isn't exploitation, girlie? Get a dictionary!"

'I have to calm down. I have to calm down.' She took a few seconds to compose herself. "Fine, fine, fine, you big cheat. Okay. I'm getting you free lunch for three weeks."

"Good." Momoshiro crossed his arms victoriously over his chest and his chin extended proudly in the air. But all faltered when he realized the crucial mistake. "Wait! Hold on there, girlie. I said three months."

"No way." Tomoka started flicking what's left of his sandwich in the air and down again.

"Then I won't concede to your little scheme."

"Two months, then."

"You know, you have bad negotiating skills, girlie. You have to give the other party exactly want he wants in order to make them tag along to your plan; you're not doing that. Really, I personally think that–"

Another proverbial vein popped behind Tomoka's head. Why did she ever think manipulating him was easy? She probably could've had an easier time going to some other lanky tennis player around the school but she knew she had to get Momoshiro to agree. He was, bluntly put, perfect for the job. He had the rare ability to annoy the hell out of Ryoma which once again provokes his envy towards Sakuno and the gentlemen that can't seem to get enough of that certain type of innocence. It was a good plan in her mind – get him as her 'date', they go to the amusement park, Momoshiro 'accidentally' does something stupid and jealousy-inducing causing Ryoma to get protectively hands-on with Sakuno, then she'd discreetly pitch him the idea that Sakuno will be well guarded in the Ryoma Echizen Fans Club because it consisted wholly of girls and score, Sakuno will become president and she'd become vice president of course which she didn't mind at all because then their club would be complete. Her rival fans club at other schools would be obsolete to the cheering power they could harness. It was absolutely fitting. Then, inevitably, the principal and all her classmates would recognize the amazing amount of school spirit she could handle and create thus nominating her to become the Events Committees' head honcho. It would be easy to be elected in a snap because she had Sakuno on her side and Sakuno was the Prince's girlfriend. Everybody loved the Prince and they idolized his woman.

"All right! All right! I get it. Fine. Three months but you have to do whatever I ask, okay? No backing out, no rude comments, no stupid improvisation. We are going to do this exactly as I plan. There is no room for mishaps for repeats, got it!" She emphasized her important points by taking small bites of the sandwich. Momoshiro seemed immobilized. Then, silence ensued.

Tomoka finished off by dusting crumbs off her fingers and blouse. Once she was satisfied with her clean self, she brilliantly put on her exultant expression and immediately addressed Momoshiro. "So, since I'm already giving you what you want, I'm assuming you agree already. I'll take to you later to discuss, 'kay? Oh, and one final thing, no telling of this to anyone or else the deal's off." When he didn't reply, she started to wonder if he understood anything. "Momo? You okay? Why are staring at me like that? Do I have a bug on my face? What? You're…contorting…what the heck are you doing? Stop it. It's freaking me out. Is that steam from your ears! What!" She started to back away as he proceeded to stomp toward her direction with his head down, his fist curled tightly and his whole presence screamed warning bells.

"You…" His tone of voice had changed drastically. It was heavier, threatening. "ATE…MY…"

Tomoka's face dropped. "Uh-oh…" She quickly realized she wasn't holding anything anymore and started to run away.

"LUNCH!" Momoshiro's loud voice echoed through the halls and bounced back with a vengeance.

"I'm so sorry Momo-chan! Sorry! Talk to you later when you're not planning on strangling me, 'kay? See ya!" Tomoka ran away laughing.


"A what?"

"Come on, Ryoma-kun, I already said it four times."

He huffed and pretended to adjust his cap. A double date? Why would she want to double date? Wasn't she happy being alone with him? Did she want another guy during their time together? "Why, though?"

She fumbled with the empty container. She just couldn't look at him straight in the face. "Well…I thought it would be…um…"

Sakuno delayed her answer and Ryoma's impatience and newly developed puzzlement reached another higher level. "Would be what?"

It was now or never, Sakuno conditioned herself to think. A double date would rarely change anything in their relationship, she decided to tell him. If anything, it would open him up to new experiences and they could only grow stronger after. It was only a date after all, nothing potentially life-threatening about going on a date. She became a woman determined. Looking at him firmly and taking her hand in hers, she said her piece. "I think it would be fun, refreshing. A double date is still a date; I don't see anything wrong with that. We will have time together along with another couple. We should try different things once in a while – our growth as individuals and as a team needs it. It's the best part of growing up – having the chance to experience new and exciting things. I don't know why you're so hesitant with this." However, in actuality, she had a very vague idea. Does this confirm all that Tomoka said about Ryoma's jealousy?

"I'm not hesitant. It's just, do we really need it?" He was now the one who tried to avoid eye-to-eye contact.

Sakuno started to brush her thumb over the skin on his hand. "It's not a matter of us needing it exactly. We don't necessarily need it but trying new things, we need that." She knew she wasn't hitting any of the crucial buttons that would eventually get him to agree. Then her best friend's voice instantly replayed in her mind. 'Obsession. You know, mania, fascination, passion, he has a thing for you, etc., etc. He hates…because you're within two feet of other men…' Sakuno still couldn't believe that would be the reason why he was so cautious with the matter at hand – that he was indeed jealous. It was a bit too extreme for her – the envy he seemed to be struggling with. Though, it was tremendously flattering, it was simply absurd to feel that much jealousy. The other guys she had met didn't even meet up to where he was. How could she possibly find joy and love in them when she already had him? A barrage of questions flooded her thinking: Doesn't she say she loved him enough? Should she be more obsessive? Should she consider boosting PDA? Does she really have to stark acting that way when he's in front of other girls to satisfy him? "Ryoma," She started. "Look at me."

He very reluctantly tilted his head on the tree trunk and obliged. She was surprised when she witnessed the apprehension on his face.

"Are you at all jealous when I spend time with other boys?"

She seemed to have hit the main nerve. Ryoma's eyes suddenly flashed defensively. He quickly looked away from her, trying his hardest to hide the truth. She squeezed his hand tighter and he made no move to pull away yet he was starting to distance himself by not replying to her query. Sakuno became worried at his silence and sighed. What could she possibly do to prove that there wasn't any reason for him to get jealous?

"Ryoma, why?"

She thought she heard him speak so she leaned closer to him. She was surprised when he suddenly met her half way and kissed her full on her lips. She felt the heat pass through his mouth to get to her and she nearly crumbled completely into his arms. He broke away first, leaving her tingling and amazed at the power he had over her. In the few seconds they locked lips, she had half fallen on his lap as he supported her against his chest with his arms. It was incredible – the way Ryoma could kiss a girl and she would still feel the kiss after they parted. The whole experience of his beautiful mouth was an adventure all on its own. He gazed absorbedly into her eyes, trying to make her feel the worry he felt, the fear. "That's why." He said.

"I don't understand." Sakuno replied, her fingers unconsciously clutching his uniform.

He took a moment to breathe and continued. "You know I'm scared of things, Sakuno. Even though I may not appear like I am because I don't allow myself to show anything that would tell others of what bothers me. Otherwise, I wouldn't have achieved the impression they associate me with – powerful, hard, winner. I like how I appear to them and I have no plans in changing it any time soon. But when you came, it all changed. At first I thought you were a hindrance. Then when you didn't come to my games anymore, I missed you. Finally, when I had you, I never wanted to miss you again."

He swallowed the lump in his throat and Sakuno was speechless. She thought it was her turn but he wasn't quite finished yet.

The wind carried her scent to him and he breathed deeply. "Here's the real deal: I'm afraid that you'll meet other guys that are more intimate than me, smarter than me, more successful, who can provide you with things I haven't yet, a better boyfriend and you'll love him more than you do me right now."

Sakuno was stunned. "Ryoma, I won't. There's no way–"

"But it's possible." He said immediately. "Nobody finds their soul mates or whatever at 14. There's no way of knowing. But you have to hang on to the things that make you happy, to the things that matter at least. And you've been both so there's no chance in Hell I'm ever going to give you up. I know I sound neurotic or crazy to feel these things towards you without knowing what they are exactly but I trust the gut feeling which tells me you're the one for me, Sakuno. You're what's best for me. No one will ever be better than you. What we have, right here, it doesn't get much better than this for me." He smiled. "You were it for me the first time we met. I don't want anyone else."

The air was thinning inside Sakuno's lungs and she felt every burning glide as the warmth spread all over her body after hearing Ryoma's confession. She started to tremble from the rush of emotions and the heat was almost unbearable. "I didn't know you felt that way…" She whispered, overcome by the deep, intense feelings which stirred inside her.

He caressed her reddened cheek with his hand. "I do and I'm still not okay with the prospect that guys might take you away from me. So that's why I'm not into the whole double date thing."

She giggled as his other hand, unnoticed, was just at her side and he started tickling her. "We don't have to go if you don't want to."

He was finally at ease. But something at the back of his mind told him otherwise. Sakuno was willing to go on the double date and he'd do potentially anything to keep her happy. He thought more of the situation silently. It would probably make her happy if he considered and agreed to do this thing. She wanted to try new things with him after all and it couldn't be all bad if she wanted to spend time together. He may be able to think of some sort of plan to avoid the other couple, whoever they may be and they could enjoy down time, just the two of them. Besides, she was a good girl. She deserved a break and if she wanted to spend that time with him, he was absolutely all for it, no objections whatsoever. He tickled her again when things seemed to have settled down and it catapulted her into a frenzied fit of giggles.

He let her catch her breath for a while and smiled at her again. She mirrored him and he calmly smirked. "If you really want to go, I'll go with you. Just promise me you won't look or breathe in the other guy's direction."

Her face at once brightened, her eyes glittered with joy and she forgot all about caring for Ryoma's jealousy and Tomoka's voice. "Really?" She nearly squealed in pure delight.

He replied with another smirk, a mischievous glint and another round of tickling.


Osakada Residence

7:15 p.m.

Tomoka's bedroom

"So he really said that?" Her voice was almost swooning as she flopped down on her stomach near the edge of her bed and imagined all the sweet things Ryoma said.

"I know…" Sakuno replied.

Tomoka adjusted the cordless telephone on her shoulder and dramatically pressed her hands against her heart. She was deliriously happy for her best friend but she just couldn't help imagining how passionate Ryoma's attractiveness was as Sakuno described her little experience with her boyfriend. Tomoka sighed. When and where would she find a man who says things like that, given he doesn't have an obsession thing? Good guys were a rare minority and she had better hop to it if she ever wanted to find a sensible man who'll adore her like a goddess on Earth. Tomoka let a dreamy sigh escape from her lips again and sat up straight. Her eyes landed on the four amusement park tickets on her desk and it dawned on her that she hadn't asked yet if Ryoma agreed to the double date. "Hey Sakuno, what did he say? Is he up for the double date?"

"Oh, yeah. He agreed eventually on the condition that I pretend the other guy doesn't exist. He'll be fine."

Tomoka sighed once again in relief and lied down on her bed. "That's good. Remember, it's this weekend, okay? Let's talk about what you're wearing. I think you should wear those sexy hip huggers I picked out for you. They're perfect! But then again, Ryoma might overload with the attention guys would give you once we got inside…but never mind that. Wear the jeans; you look awesome in them."

There was an obvious hint of nervousness interlaced in Sakuno's voice as she replied. "I'm not sure about that, Tomoka. Those jeans are great but they're a little too…maybe, too sexy or something. Ryoma might disapprove."

Rolling to her side, Tomoka let out an unwomanly snort. "He won't. He'll love you even more for it. Guys can't stand their girls in jeans, a flimsy shirt and sneakers. Trust me. It's a change for them from seeing girls all dolled up and prissy. Live a little on the edge, best friend. Go with the jeans."

Tomoka could sometimes be a little too strong and persuasive even for her own good. However, Sakuno trusted her best friend and she was sure Tomoka was thinking for her well being. Sakuno got up from her bed and walked over to her closet. She opened the doors and proceeded to look for the jeans. She found them between her pink cardigan and Ryoma's red jacket which she couldn't remember to return to him after they got caught in the rain after one of their dates. Pulling her jeans out, she right away noticed how the cut was fashioned. No doubt that if a girl her size wore this it would make her legs look slimmer, drawing immediate attention to the hips and back area. She liked the dark denim and the beaded embroidery at the back pockets. She liked how the fabric fit her legs perfectly and she started to reconsider wearing this particular article of clothing to the double date. It wasn't that bad. "Maybe I will. Thanks for the advice, Tomoka."

"Anytime, friend." She replied, very pleased with herself. Tomoka checked her wall clock and was reminded that she had to call Momoshiro to finalize their plans. She could feel the excitement and victory once she jumped that final hurdle: getting Sakuno to join the club and being projected to the Events committee limelight. Once she got there, she would be able to boost their school morale with more youthful events and fund-raisers. She was so over the Kabuki presentations and the old celebrities representing their fund drives. She'd be well-renowned for the size of her contributions. She was going to make Seigaku history.

"Tomoka? Are you all right?"

"Huh? What?"

"You were saying something about renowned history?"

Tomoka's eyes widened. 'Oops. Must really learn to contain excitement,' "It's nothing. Just thinking about…um…our history assignment. Gotta know what Noh is, yeah?"

"Yes…I guess…"

Tomoka quickly steered their conversation to another direction. "Well, Sakuno, I have to wash the dishes now. Mom has this new rotation schedule thing."

"Okay. I'll see you tomorrow, okay? Good night."

"Yeah, good night." She hung up the phone and wiped a non-existent sheet of perspiration on the side of her head. "Whew. Almost got caught. Now, onwards to another part of the plan." She referred to her forearm where she wrote earlier Momoshiro Takeshi's home number and dialed in what she presumed were the right numbers since some of the ink had rubbed off. She waited patiently as his phone rang. She was in the middle of checking her nails to see if the manicure had chipped when a bubbly voice answered on the other end of the line.

"Hello! This is the handsome and talented, not to mention muscular Momoshiro Takeshi at your loving service. How may I take you out?"

She had to roll her eyes at his opening statement and didn't even try to hide her laugh. "Please, get over yourself. What if a gay cable guy happened to answer to that?"

"Oh," Momoshiro recalled perfectly who the voice belonged to and he instantly put on a bored and irritated front, expertly altering his voice to appear as if he had better things to do. "It's you again. What? You don't have dinner? Want to steal mine?"

Snort. "Please. I'd rather choke on my own burnt toast than eat anything you prepared."

"That was low, girlie. I cook gourmet if you must know and I do gourmet good." He defended.

Snort. "Whatever. Anyway, moving on, I didn't call to remind you of your bad cooking skills. I want to discuss what you're going to do this weekend since you didn't exactly give me a chance to explain what the plan is at school today."

"Well, you ate a determined man's lunch. I wasn't in a generous condition."

"Fine, fine. So, here it goes. I want you to go as my date for the double date with Ryoma and Sakuno this weekend at the new amusement park. I want her to join the Echizen Fans Club due to 1) popular demand, 2) so guys would finally believe that she's Ryoma's girlfriend – you know his jealous streak right? I only want my best friend's safety securely settled – and 3) with her membership, I'd be able to form the most amazing pep squad in the state. People would recognize my clever wiliness and I'd finally have a shot at the Events committee. For your information, it's been hard getting into that committee. It's the extra curricular that gives the highest number of extra points in school and I want those points on my file, it's a big boost in my social life if I get in, and part of the audition for Head is to organize a big rouse at a particular sports meet at school. Do you follow me?"

"Yeah, I get it."

"Good. Now, since the tennis matches are coming up, what better sporting event is there at Seigaku? It's perfect. The tennis team is basically the pride of the school especially with Echizen there."

"Hey! What about me? I'm back in the team and I'm still the Power House."

"I know but that isn't really important here. Now, listen. All the girls have been idolizing Sakuno ever since she became Ryoma's girlfriend and wherever she goes half the school follows because wherever she is, Ryoma's there and wherever Ryoma is, the action always appears. And if I add the Fans Club to that population and make it the leading group, it's utter pandemonium! I'll be at the Events committee head in no time. So, what do you say?"

Momoshiro was stunned and that was a complete understatement. He put the phone on his other ear. "Girlie…" He said calmly.

"What?" Tomoka asked.

"You're a nutty psycho freak!"

"What!"

"Sakuno's your best friend! How could you use her like that? And your fuzzy reasons stink. I can't believe I even listened to it!"

"My reasons do not stink! They're brilliant."

"Once again, EXPLOITATION."

"Would you shut up with that word already?"

"Why? It describes you perfectly."

"Listen, I'm not using…okay, maybe I am, a little, but I'm doing this for the two of them too."

Momoshiro shook his head at this. "Oh, really? How?"

"Ryoma's too edgy with guys and that has made my best friend a little worried. Ryoma just needs some sense knocked into his head. Particularly, the kind of sense that assures him that what he and Sakuno has is as real as your bad cooking."

"Girlie, one more comment on my cooking…"

"Fine, I'm stopping with the comments. Anyway, once he realized Sakuno is definitely not going to leave him for another guy, they can finally and freely enjoy their relationship."

Momoshiro stayed silent for a while, actually considering her reasons. He had to ask himself one more time, how did this girl think she was? "Are you normally this devious, you know, like some underlying birth defect or do you just decide to spruce up your weekends by interfering with your best friend's relationship by actually using your best friend and to up your social life at school?"

"Ha-ha." Tomoka replied unaffectedly. "I'd give up my legs and limbs for Sakuno and even if I'm not urging her to join the club to make me Events committee head, I'd still be going through with this plan because she's been my best friend since forever. Even I don't have the audacity to use her that crudely like you accuse me of doing. You should give me more credit, Momoshiro because I just want to help her out. I know she needs me on this one and I'm not just going to sit back and wait for something to happen. She's my best friend and real friends are hard to hang on to."

He sighed after he heard her finish her sentence. Momoshiro could instantly tell she was telling the truth by the sound of conviction and the genuine thoughtfulness in her voice. He gradually softened up to her, sighing as a sign of this. "I believe you, all right? Just one more question."

"What?"

"That was your original reason, wasn't it?" He said, sounding more like a statement rather than a question. "The Events committee thing's just a cover up."

She smiled unknowingly and played with her pillow. Maybe he wasn't a fool like she thought he was. "You're getting sappy on me, girlie." She replied, the smile on her lips changing the tone of her voice.

"Its practice for our date this weekend, and Tomoka, one more thing…"

"What?"

"You don't have to appear independent and tough all the time. I've seen you around campus before and you're so, you know, strong and stuff. It's okay if you just say you want to help Sakuno out because she's your best friend like you did earlier. The Events committee head excuse was pretty lame and you would've done fine without it. Good thinking though. Never thought you'd be able to integrate all the events into your plan. Bravo, girlie."

They both chuckled at the same time, she noticed. "Whatever." Understanding sigh. "Okay, here's part 2. It's going to be our job to keep Ryoma jealous and when we accomplish that, we let Sakuno step it. She's understanding, consoling – exactly what he needs to calm him down and make him see she's not going to run off with the next guy that flashes her a gorgeous smile."

"Gotcha."

"I'll e-mail you the amusement park site map later so you can plan ahead; just get some ideas going and I'll do the same. We'll try to come up with one, solid plan tomorrow at lunch. Send me a text message with your e-mail address, okay?"

"Yeah sure, but regarding tomorrow, does my free lunch period start there?"

Smirk. "No. It starts after the date."

"Why? A guy needs a little motivation, especially with this crazy plan of yours."

Tomoka rolled her eyes. "All right, but you have to take this seriously or else we're going to get caught. Understand?"

"Gotcha! No mishaps and repeats or else we'll get caught."

"That's a good boy. Now, roll over. Sick 'em."

"Now that was the lamest comeback ever."

Laugh. "I bet you have lamer comebacks than that."

"No, I don't."

"Yes, you do."

"No, I don't."

"Actually, yes, you do."

"You know, girlie," Momoshiro, at this point, was quite amused and was truthfully, keyed up for the coming weekend. "If you keep this attitude up, you're never ever going to get a boyfriend."

"Well, thanks for the tip. I'll be sure to tell your man you give great boyfriend-grabbing advice. I swear, Momo, once I become head of that Events committee, I'm going to get you so hard."

"Why do you do this to me? First, it's my delicious cooking, now, I have had girlfriends before, okay? And I thought you only mentioned the Events committee as a cover up!"

Smirk. "No, I really want the position and I didn't read anything that mentioned girlfriends in Inui's notebook."

"Oh, so you're friends with the tennis team now, huh?"

"I have more charisma than you, Momo."

"No, you don't."

"Yes, I do."

"No, you don't."

"Yes, I do."

The hands on Tomoka's clock ticked by closer and closer to the coming weekend.

"No, you don't."

"Yes, I do."

"No, you don't!"

"Yes, I do!"

"Wanna bet, girlie!"

"Bring it on!"


(" , ) To Be Continued…


Part 2 is being typed now as you read this. Don't worry. I'll come up with it probably before June 13, before school starts. Thank you for reading this very long Part 1. I'm working on Redemption In Your Kiss, Chapter 1 right now, simultaneously. Read and review! Peace. Secrets will eventually have a first chapter. Please be patient with me. Please.

My 2 new stories on the drawing board (so to speak):

Fire Kisses – Heero comes back from a mission with severe burns on his back to his neck. Would Relena be able to look at him like she did when he proposed now more than ever with his deformity? 01XR, T/M, Romance/Drama. Excerpt: "When you touched me, every nerve in my body felt alive, Relena. But now, when you hold me, I can't even feel your skin on mine. Let's call this whole engagement off. Find someone else."

Aisle 9 – Relena and Trowa do a little grocery shopping and they come home with more than just the week's carton of milk. 03xR, K, Humor/Romance. Excerpt: She did a little twirl number that he'd witnessed commercial models were asked to do for ads. They looked like models naturally and it was their job to look so. But when she did it, it wasn't even pretty. She was goddamn beautiful and the whole motion of her body took his breath away. God, what this woman does without even trying…

Read and review. I love it when you review (" ,) Peace! Remember, Part 2's coming by June 17 or 18 hopefully.