Author's Note: Wow. Sorry it took so long to get this out. It was actually my Film class that inspired me (and reminded me!) to post the last chapter. And believe it or not, the topic of the week was fan-based media (i.e. fanfiction, fanart, and all things of the like). The discussion reminded me of this old thing that I've had, gathering up virtual dust over the months. And so, almost exactly a year and a half later, here it is! The last installment of Summer Lovin'. So, without further ado...

--

Summer Lovin'

by dreamcruiser

5: Late Night Joyrides

A loud electronic jingle broke the silence of an otherwise peaceful evening at the Takenouchi household. A slumbering Sora was unwillingly pulled out of her reverie. With a growl, she rolled over to squint at the glowing display screen of her phone. The name of her boyfriend laughed at her from the phone with each pulse of the vibration; it dared her to pick up. After a moment of debating whether or not to give in, she pushed the green button to retrieve the call.

"Hello?" she croaked.

"Sora! Are you busy right now?" She pulled the phone away from hearing range momentarily. Taichi Kamiya's loud chipper voice made her ears ring.

She sighed, but had to at least give him credit for having enough brains to call her cell and not the house phone. She didn't need her mom waking up and yelling at her for a spontaneous call from Taichi. "Not busy. But I'm definitely awake now. Why?"

"Just wondering if you were up to some late night joyriding."

She took a deep breath. Stay calm, Sora, stay calm became her mantra. "What makes you think I would want to do something like that? Especially at this time."

"…Hence the term 'late night.'"

"Oh no, Tai. That's where you're wrong. It's four in the morning. Tai, what are you thinking? Are you even thinking?"

"Oh, come on. It's not like we have school tomorrow."

"Oh but we do. The day after tomorrow, and unlike you, I would like to regulate my sleeping schedule and start off well rested."

"Hey! I'll be well rested. I guarantee you, I'll have at least an hour of sleep the night before."

"…Your sense of logic astounds me."

"My sense of logic astounds everyone."

"Point taken. But you know what? I think I'll take a rain check on that late night carousing. Good night!" And with that, she hung up the phone with a flourish, cutting off Taichi. She loved him and his hair-brained schemes, but sometimes they were a little too much.

She nestled back into her sheets, finding a comfortable position on her pillow before the jingle pierced the silence once again. She buried her head into the pillow, using it to cover her ears, but to no avail. Grumbling she picked up the phone once again.

Almost as if she didn't hang up to begin with, Taichi continued, "Since when do you refuse an offer for a late night drive? Why start now?"

"Because, Taichi, even partners in crime need their rest." Honestly, this kid never gives up. She sighed to herself for what felt like the millionth time that night, and probably the zillionth time since she'd known him.

He chuckled. "Well then, partner, I guess you're just going to have to get your rest tomorrow night."

"Oh?" The statement made her sit up, intrigued. "And why is that?"

"Because I'm standing outside your door."

Her hand slapped to her forehead in exasperation. "You're standing...? I don't believe this."

"Believe it." He laughed in mock triumph.

"I can't believe I'm doing this," she muttered under her breath. "Fine! Hold on while I grab a sweater… And am I correct in assuming that you will be the driver on this adventure?" She headed towards her closet to retrieve her light, red sweater that Taichi had given her for Christmas the year before.

"Umm," he hesitated. Hesitation was never a good thing. She waited for it. "Actually, my parents took the car away from me."

"Taichi!" she was fuming. "First you wake me up in the middle of the night. And you show up at my door, and now you expect me-"

"Kidding! I'm kidding. Calm down, sheesh. Don't I always drive anyway?"

"That wasn't funny! Here I am dragging my ass out of bed for you, and you're being a bit-"

"It was just a joke, Sora. You know me."

She continued rummaging through her closet looking for that sweater. "Well, I was just making sure. So I guess I WILL be getting some sleep tonight!"

"Sora! It won't be any fun if-"

"Found my sweater!"

"-the sound of you snoring is my only source of company."

"Hey! I resent that! I do not snore!"

"You do too. I remember, even when we were little, your snores were loud enough to shake up Highton View Terrance. Forget those terrorist attacks, your snoring was enough to do the damage."

"Oh. Ha. Ha. You think you're so funny don't you?" She expertly made her away past the creaks in the wooden floorboards to the front door.

"I try. So, are you coming out or not? It's getting kind of cold out here."

She paused in front of the door. "For being so funny, I'm starting to rethink going out on this little adventure. I'll talk to you later, Taichi."

"No! Wait! I was just joking."

She wasn't really going to hang up on him, but she would at least tell him face to face that she wasn't really intending on going on this little adventure. "Honestly, I don't see the whole point to this to begin with. We start school in a week. Seven days. We've had the whole summer to do stuff like this."

"That's my whole point. We only have a week off summer left. Seven days, just like you said. We need to make the most of it."

"I guess..."

"Think about it. When are we going to get another chance to do crazy stuff like this again? This is our last real, care free summer together."

"You're acting like this is the last time we're ever gonna spend a summer together."

"Look at us! We're growing up. We're heading off to college next year. You'll be busy. I'll be busy. There's just not going to be enough time for us to get together anymore!"

"Is that what you're afraid of? Losing me?"

"Among other things."

"You're always going to be my best friend. No matter what. I'll never be too busy for you."

There was an intake of breath from Tai's side of the phone. "You're cute. Really. I almost believed that."

"Taichi! Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound?"

"Ridiculous, but true. You can't deny that."

"Don't you think our relationship… no, not even that, our friendship is stronger than that?"

"I like to think so. But you never know. What will happen in a year? Two? three? You don't know."

"Exactly. You never know what will happen in the future. Yes, we might drift apart. But we have just as good of a chance at being greater friends than we are now... Even more."

"But what happens when even that doesn't last?"

"Tai, you are the most wonderful person who has ever come into my life. I would never want to lose you. You have to remember, I will always, and always have been your best friend first, your girlfriend later. Friendship isn't like a hobby you pick and drop. This isn't something you can quit whenever you want. With me, it's for life. Like it or not, it looks like you're stuck with me."

"Sora?"

"Yeah?"

"I love you."

"Love you, too."

"So are you coming out or what? It's freezing."

She smiled. "It's summer. You're not freezing. But don't worry, I'm right here."

End.

--

End Notes: Though this has been on my plate since 2006 and haven't really been working on it in between then and now, I'm sad that it's officially over. But thanks to everyone for reading and for the great reviews! Never in a million years would I have expected such nice compliments. I really appreciate them. Thanks again! With that said, until next time! Hopefully it's not too far from now.