Author's Notes: Okay let me clear up one question that has popped up several times in reviews? Yes, this story is a modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice which is one of my favorite books. I started thinking about what it could be like if it was set now, what parts would be different or the same, and this story was spawned from that. Originally I didn't intend to make Taichi like Elizabeth and Mimi like Mr. Darcy but that sort of happened while I was writing it.
Now this is the last chapter. This is a very bittersweet moment. I have enjoyed writing this story and don't really want to see it end but nothing lasts forever, right? Please read and review and maybe you could check out some of my other Michi stories as well? I have this new up called Disenchanted that I'd like some criticism on especially.
So here it is. The final chapter.
When they say you're
not that strong
Well you're not that weak
It's not your fault
When you climb up to your hill
Up to your place
I hope you're well
There's nothing left to prove
Nothing I won't do
Nothing like the pain
I feel for you
Nothing left to hide
Nothing left to fear
I am always here
-"Not Enough," Our Lady Peace
"Thanks for doing this, Taichi."
Sora reclined in a chair at the kitchen table as she ran a towel through her still damp hair. She wore a long black tee-shirt and dark blue jeans of Taichi's, who had hung her wet clothing in the bathroom to dry. He smiled and pulled up a seat next to her.
Yamato was going to be in for a surprise when he got back home. Maybe they could get together…finally. Well either way, Sora's sudden arrival was going to be interesting all right.
The two talked for the better part of half an hour when the door to the loft creaked upon and Yamato's deep voice called out. Sora froze, hands balling into fists, but Taichi grinned and replied to his best friend.
Yamato was surprised when he found the two of them but only partly for the correct reason. His expression lit up when he stared at Sora sitting in his own kitchen but his eyes darkened to midnight blue when he observed the clothing she wore and he tilted his face a few inches to glare at Taichi.
The other man was completely shocked at the reaction before realization crashed onto him. Sora was wearing his clothing, her hair was still a little damp, and they had been alone in the loft for the entire time.
So he did the only thing he could to defuse the situation before Yamato stormed off.
"NO!" he shouted, breaking the silence and bringing their attention completely on him. Sora appeared slightly confused, arching one eyebrow, but Yamato imperceptively sighed in relief and managed a weak smile. "Um, Sora's here to talk to you, so I'll just leave you two alone."
Of course his idea of leaving them alone was to duck out of the kitchen and flatten himself against the wall so he could eavesdrop on their conversation.
Yamato leaned up against the kitchen counter, arms crossed over his chest nonchalantly, and an impassive expression on his handsome face. "Hey…"
"Hey…" She smiled thinly and continued, "How are you?"
"Okay. What about you?"
"I'm doing good. Nothing too much going on."
The conversation lulled and for at least five minutes silence reigned throughout the apartment. Taichi bit down hard on his lower lip, nearly drawing blood, to cut off the frustrated scream that was threatening to rise up from his throat. He was another minute away from leaping into the kitchen and solving the problem for them when Yamato spoke up.
"Why did you come back?" His voice was guarded, his final attempt at protection.
She flinched at how cold the question sounded and said in almost a whisper, "I'm an idiot." He arched an eyebrow, waiting for her to continue. "I'm such a stupid idiot…I hurt you and I'm so sorry…but I still can't say it."
"Say what?" His tone quavered as he spoke; his hope was locked in a battle with his natural defenses.
She sighed, getting up her courage, and answered, "I love you."
He blinked, trying to process the information and desperately attempting to remain standing as his legs had weakened considerably at her declaration. After a moment he inquired in a strained tone of voice, "Then why did you leave?"
"Because no matter how hard I tried I couldn't think of reasons for you to feel the same way."
He had steadied himself and was striding towards her before he could even think to do so. She had her face angled downwards with shoulders hunched in preparation for what she perceived was about to be a negative response. To her shock he cupped her face in his hands and kissed her softly on the lips which she quickly returned.
They broke apart and he said, "I love you too."
But at that point she didn't need to hear the words to understand how he felt.
After Sora's departure and vow to return the next morning for breakfast Yamato was practically floating around the loft. A rare grin had spread across his features and nothing could deflate his good humor, not even some crankiness from a tired Jyou.
Taichi as well was overjoyed by the news. He had clapped Yamato hard on the back and embraced Sora in a friendly hug before just stepping back and observing how much happier the two were now that they were a couple.
The only thing that would really make this Taichi's day would have been Mimi waltzing through the door to tell him that her feelings hadn't changed at all since the night of her confession. But no such luck. While there had been another visitor the intrusion was not so pleasant.
At nearly midnight a loud banging on the door awoke all three of the loft's inhabitants. Taichi was able to stumble to his feet, and making sure he looked presentable in his navy tee-shirt and hastily pulled on jeans, and was the one to open the door.
And for the second time in a period of twenty-four hours he nearly slammed it shut in surprise. Ken's father stood with perfect posture and a most displeased look outside the door and Taichi stumbled backwards to let the man in.
Mr. Ichijouji stared around the loft in supercilious distaste at the humble surroundings he found himself in. Taichi scowled, but said nothing, in disgust over the elder man's pride. In as polite a voice as possible he asked, "What brings you here, Ichijouji-san?"
"What is your relationship with Mimi?"
His mouth gaped open without a sound coming from it and this only made his unexpected guest even more irritated. "Don't stare at me with that stupid look on your face! Now I will ask you as nicely as possible. Are you engaged to Mimi?"
"What?" he managed to stammer out. His ears pricked at the sounds of doors being creaked open but he ignored it.
"You realize that your situation is impossible. Mimi has been intended for one of my sons her entire life. So are you or not?"
"How can I be? You just said it was impossible."
For the first time in the short period of Taichi knowing the man, Mr.Ichijouji flinched and cringed back. "Mimi and one of my sons getting married wasn't something that was authenticated. It would have been ideal for our two families."
That was enough. Mimi wasn't engaged to Ken, was probably never going to marry him, and he wasn't in the mood to have this disagreeable man telling him what he could or could not do. He took a deep breath and said, "Even if we were engaged I don't see how it could be any of your business. Now could you kindly show yourself out?"
But Mr. Ichijouji wasn't about to back down. "Are you?"
He sighed. "No. There's nothing going on between us." This part hurt to say. "Is that good enough for you? Or do I need to spell it out?"
The elder man flushed angrily. "Why you obnoxious-,"
"Get Out!" Ken's father jumped startled and Taichi stalked past him and held upon the door in expectation. The other man growled but exited the apartment with his head held high, not even starting when Taichi slammed the door behind him.
Taichi turned around to glare at Yamato and Jyou whom had been listening in on the conversation from the sanctuary of their rooms. "Tai," began Yamato but he ignored them all and stopped them from following by closing and locking his door in their faces.
"Just drop it Yuuko." "I'm just trying to help him! Is it so wrong for me to want to see him happy and settled with someone! Even his sister has gone back to dating Daisuke…"
"Please. Just let him be for now."
"Oh alright," she glared at her husband from her seat in the living room as she watched her husband prepare a late lunch for themselves and for Taichi. She sighed in frustration as she remembered the way Taichi had shown up, out of the blue, and holed himself up in his old room, falling asleep almost instantaneously, and without so much as a hello! It was simply unacceptable!
And to top of her pique her husband wasn't even going to let her cook a meal for their son's sudden return home! It was all she could do to keep from-
Her lamentations were cut off by the ringing of her doorbell which bewildered by her and her husband. They shared a glance before she nodded and answered the door. To her continued surprise, and now delight, an extremely attractive young woman with long wavy honey hair was standing outside their home.
"Hello," the woman greeted with a pretty smile. "Is Taichi here?"
She nodded mutely and merely pointed in the direction of the room her only son was resting in. The woman smiled again and quickly slipped her shoes off before walking towards the room without glancing at anyone or anything else. Yuuko stood next to her equally stunned husband and as soon as the door closed she dashed towards the room.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm eavesdropping of course!"
Taichi was turned on his back in light slumber, his mind filled with fitful dreams, and when the door snapped shut the noise was enough to surprise him into wakefulness. He flipped over onto his side and his chocolate eyes widened when they landed on Mimi.
"Mimi," he asked, rubbing his eyes. Was he dreaming?
She strode forward and took a seat on the foot of his bed and he swung his legs over the side of the bed so he could sit next to her. His arm brushed hers, signaling this wasn't a dream, and the two were silent for a long moment until he broke the tension.
"I want to thank you for what you did for Takeru and Yamato and Sora. They're all much happier."
She gazed at him from under a veil of honey and answered, "That's weird. I wasn't really thinking about any of them. I sort of only thought about you."
She still loved him. After everything that happened from his rejection of her feelings to Takeru eloping with Catherine, she still loved him! While he was still processing this, she gently held his hand in both of her smaller ones.
"Everything you said to me was true. I am arrogant. I can be too self-centered at times and I don't always think before I speak. I hurt people without meaning to, but I love you." Tears glazed over her cinnamon eyes and she blinked them back. "And I hope that you can look past all of that and maybe see me for just me. Please, I need to know…have your feelings changed at all?"
Silently he lifted her hands to his mouth and kissed both of them. Her body tensed and he slowly moved forward and brushed his lips against her warm ones. His arms wrapped around her and when they broke apart she rested her head on his shoulder.
"I love you too," he whispered and she snuggled closer into his embrace. The smell of cooking food reached them and his stomach grumbled audibly causing her to giggle. He blushed and asked, "Do you want to stay for lunch?"
"Ask if she can stay forever!"
His mother's exclamation made him flush darker and to his slight surprise Mimi tilted her head back and laughed heartily. A smile pulled upwards on her lips and a part of him shouted for joy as her arrogant pretenses had melted away entirely. She appeared exactly as she had in the photographs he had gone through back in her apartment.
As she slipped her hand into his, giving it a small squeeze, and tugged him upwards off the bed, he couldn't help but think over what his mother had said.
"Forever huh? Doesn't sound so bad…"
He'd have to check to see if California had detached itself from the United States to see its friends, Alaska and Hawaii.