author's notes: For checkerboxed's fluffy, happy, fluffy, sugary-sweet fluff contest. Don't shoot me for this. XD -hides-
x. shattered slippers .x
- - at least they're not made of g l a s s - -
It was all a bit surreal.
She gazed at the beautiful young woman in the mirror, in absolute awe at the transformation. She was elegant, graceful… absolutely breathtaking. Her hand slowly rose up and touched her face; fingers traced along the reflection's cheek simultaneously. But the sleek blonde hair pulled into a loose bun wasn't hers... it couldn't be. Likewise, the shining pink lips and full, thick eyelashes seemed like they belonged to someone else.
"It's not me, Kairi," she said as her hand drew forward to touch the mirror itself. The reflection reached out its hand as well, and their fingertips touched briefly.
"Oh hush, Naminé. Admit it- you're beautiful," Kairi replied as her grinning reflection forced its way into the mirror and wrapped its arm around Naminé's shoulders.
Naminé glanced up at her sister. She choked back a "no, I'm not", knowing that Kairi would reprimand her for thinking so low of herself, even if it was true. "Not as beautiful as you," she commented with a small smile, deciding that was a much better thing to say. Kairi threw a grateful smile back at her sister, and her indigo eyes glowed with appreciation. After all, Kairi had sent the greater part of six hours prepping the two of them for tonight.
"Do I have to go?" Naminé asked for approximately the eighth time in the last hour. Kairi groaned.
"No, you don't. But I want you to go!" Her eyes pleaded with Naminé's.
"Fine." She rolled her eyes. "It's not like you're my twin, or anything, not like I love you." Kairi laughed her giggly laugh. "You owe me for this, y'know?"
Naminé and Kairi certainly looked alike. Well, besides their hair color. But two people couldn't be any more different. Kairi was cute and girly and just plain outgoing, while Naminé… wasn't. She was shy and quiet around everybody except her sister. Kairi was excitable; Naminé was mellow.
But they were best friends anyway.
The familiar ding-dong of the doorbell chimed its way up the stairs. Naminé bolted up instinctively, her cerulean eyes wide with fright. Kairi grabbed her sister's wrist and pulled her down next to her on the bed.
"Bu-but," Naminé began. She heard voices muttering down in the front hall.
"But, it is well-known that guys are supposed to wait for their dates."
As if on cue, their mother's voice called up to them.
"Girls," she yelled, "your dates are here!"
"Okay!" Kairi replied, "We're almost done getting ready!"
"But… we are done getting ready… shouldn't we go down?" Naminé tilted her head toward the door inquisitively.
"Of course not," Kairi assured. "We're gonna wait just a few more minutes. Make them eager to see us." Naminé stared at her reflection once more, and her fingers prodded her lips.
"Well, Sora will be eager to see you," she mumbled under her breath, half-hoping Kairi wouldn't hear her comment, half-hoping she would.
And… she did.
"Oh Naminé, stop getting so down on yourself. I'm sure Riku will be glad to see you-"
"He barely even knows me." Naminé tugged at her bangs, twirling her finger around flaxen locks. It was true that the four of them hung out rather often. But usually, it was Sora and Kairi who did all the talking. Occasionally, Riku would join in, but she… she was always quiet. Naminé was sure that she was just another… nobody to Riku, that he just regarded her as Kairi's quiet shadow. Honestly, Naminé couldn't help it if she got all tongue-tied in front of him. "I… I don't even know how Sora convinced him to take me…"
Naminé was lucky to have Kairi; she was extremely grateful she didn't have wicked stepsisters, or something. Kairi was kind and caring and attentive and Naminé usually told Kairi everything, but something, she wasn't really sure what, but something prevented her from confessing that even though she usually sat in silence, she really did want to talk to Riku.
More than anything.
"You know he just asked me so that Sora wouldn't be so nervous taking you by himself," Naminé sighed as her head fell into her hands in frustration.
Kairi stroked her sister's back, fingernails scratching the skin soothingly, but hesitated in her response.
"…You don't know that."
Naminé refused to respond, deciding it was better to let Kairi think that than to start up a fight. She heard the low muttering of male voices rising up the stairs. They had been waiting for a while now.
"Do you think we should go down?" Naminé mumbled after a few seconds of silence.
"Yeah, we should. But first," Kairi said as she pulled Naminé up from the bed, "Chin up! I don't want you looking so glum!" She tapped Naminé's chin upward with a smirk.
"I'm not glum," Naminé stated simply as she smoothed her ivory dress. Kairi put a hand on her hip and looked Naminé up and down.
"Not glum?" she asked sarcastically, "You've been doing nothing but complaining this whole night!"
It was true. Naminé was dreading this for weeks upon weeks. Ever since the prom theme had been announced over the intercom (Under the Sea, how original), she knew that she absolutely didn't want to go. Hell, she still didn't want to go.
She was going for Kairi. Just Kairi.
Naminé shook her head resolutely, promising herself to at least act happy. She shouldn't be bringing Kairi down with her.
"Okay," Naminé groaned with a slight smile. "I won't be such a downer. I want you to have fun, even if I don't."
Kairi looked suspicious, but shrugged it off as she said, "All right, let's get going." She fiddled with her dress, tugging the puffy, pink skirt away from the bodice before picking up her handbag and striding out their room.
Naminé lifted her dress up from the floor and followed, the silky smooth (white-silver-shimmering pearl) fabric rippling about her ankles. She had only taken one step- one tiny step- when her heel caught on something. The carpet, the dress- she couldn't really say what.
Her cerulean eyes widened in fright as she tripped forward, arms flailing about wildly. It happened so fast; she didn't have any time to utter a scream. Her hand grasped for something, anything, and finally clutched around the smooth skin of Kairi's upper arm. Kairi gasped.
Naminé used Kairi's arm as an anchor and pulled herself back up to standing height. She whisked the strands of hair in her face away and sighed.
"Tell me again. Why am I wearing these God-forsaken things?" Naminé growled as she thrust a foot out from underneath her dress. Three-inch stilettos were clasped to her feet, glittering with tiny silver rhinestones. Kairi laughed.
"Well, they're cute!"
"Cute?" Naminé said as she lifted her dress again, walking more slowly out the bedroom door, still stumbling quite a bit. "They're monsters!" Kairi laughed again. "I can't believe you're actually making me wear these demons…"
"I'm pretty persuasive, aren't I?" Kairi whispered. They were nearing the end of the hallway, the top of the stairs.
"You're pretty evil, that's what." Kairi giggled, glad that Naminé had gotten in a slightly better mood.
Kairi was the first to emerge at the top of the stairs. Naminé heard their mother's squeal of delight and the click of the camera, undoubtedly being managed by their father. Naminé peered down, still obstructed from everyone's vision, and watched as Kairi floated down the steps. Kairi was a lot better at walking in heels than she was.
Naminé looked toward the bottom of the steps and couldn't help but giggle. Sora's eyes were glowing with astonishment, and he was grinning so broadly that one might have thought his face would split in two if his smile got any wider.
Kairi reached the bottom of the stairs and, after linking her arm with Sora's, turned to watch her sister's descent.
Naminé took a deep breath. This horror would only last for a few hours, a few measly hours, and then everything would be okay. She just had to make sure Kairi enjoyed every moment. She had to. Nobody was going to ruin Kairi's night.
Not even her.
She exhaled and came into view. She heard her mother whispering, "Naminé…" over and over, the joy evident in her tone. One of Naminé's hands was holding up the front of her satiny dress; the other was clutching the banister for dear life.
She kept her gaze fixated on her feet, taking every caution necessary to not trip and fall on her face.
Shockingly, Naminé made it to the bottom of the stairs without any injuries. She peered up and caught Kairi's eyes. She was grinning at her. Sora, too, was smiling, but he wasn't looking at her. She followed his gaze.
And then she saw him.
It's not like she had never seen him before. But, he looked different. He usually had a more solemn expression upon his features. Now, he looked… taken aback, maybe? His aquamarine eyes gleamed, and he had the tiniest of smiles on his face and it seemed like he couldn't get a word out.
He had never looked more handsome.
"Take a spin, Naminé!" Kairi bubbled happily. She was obviously proud of all the hard work she had put into this night. Naminé begrudgingly did as Kairi asked, and her dress swirled about as she did. She heard more snaps of the camera. "So, what do you think?" Kairi asked.
Naminé looked at her parents first. Her mother was almost in tears, clutching to her husband's arm in a sad attempt to control the rush of emotions she was feeling. Naminé turned to Sora; he didn't say anything but smiled instead. She turned to her date, horrified at the prospect of what he was going to say. Probably something about how much he regretted asking her in the first place.
"Wow," he finally was able to spit out, "you look… breathtaking."
She turned away after managing a quick smile, attempting to hide the evident blush creeping up on her cheeks. He was just saying that to be nice, she told herself, it wasn't true, he didn't mean it like that.
"Well, shall we go?" Kairi asked cheerfully, breaking Naminé's thoughts.
"Ladies first," Sora replied dramatically, causing Kairi to giggle with excitement. The two girls gave a quick goodbye to their parents before ambling out the door.
"Thank God I didn't trip down those stairs," Naminé mumbled under her breath to her sister. Kairi laughed again, her shoes clacking loudly against the sidewalk.
Out of the corner of her eye, Naminé saw Sora take hold of Kairi's hand as they walked to the car. Finally, they were taking some action with their relationship. But wait… wasn't he supposed to be nervous about taking Kairi?
"We'll take the back," Sora said, cutting through Naminé's thoughts as they approached Riku's shiny black car.
Naminé reached her hand out, pale fingers prepared to open the passenger-side door. But before she could grab it, Riku had somehow already managed to yank the door open. He stood next to it with his arm outstretched.
Naminé looked around for Kairi, searching for the answer of what to do. But her sister was already climbing in the backseat. She looked up at Riku, and he smiled at her, his silver hair blowing softly in the gentle spring breeze.
Her cheeks felt like they were on fire as she stooped to enter the car, and she had to assure herself for the second time that night that this kind of behavior was expected. It's not like he was opening the door for her, he was just trying to be a gentleman on prom night. He probably was just… copying Sora.
Her head jerked to look at Kairi, who couldn't seem to take the grin off her face. It looked like Kairi was mouthing, "see, not so bad" to her. Naminé shrugged and pulled the seat belt over her body, bracing herself for the horrible night to come.
Before she knew it, Riku had shut her door and flew to the other side. He entered his side quietly, just as fast, and the key turned in the ignition.
The ride was a rather short trip. After all, the location of their prom was at their school's gym, less than ten minutes away. Yes, the gym. Classy.
Despite the shortness of the ride, Naminé still felt the awkwardness pressing in on her from all sides. Everything had already fallen into the norm; Sora and Kairi were jabbering away about who knows what, and Riku offering his ever-solid opinion on occasion. But Naminé?
Oh, she was staying as quiet as ever, staring out the window at the rushing cars and the flashing lights, wishing, hoping, yearning that she could have enough courage to open her mouth for once.
She felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Are you okay?" Riku's voice seemed to ring through her ears, the words bouncing and echoing inside the walls of her head.
Slowly, she turned to face him, trying her best to calm her rapid breathing and… failing quite miserably.
When cerulean caught sight of aquamarine, her heart skipped a beat.
No, she told herself, no! Stop reading into these things!
Her hand rose instinctively to her chest in a sad attempt to slow her heart rate. It's just prom, she reasoned, he's trying to be a gentleman.
Her lips curved up just slightly, and her head bowed in a tiny nod. He wouldn't ever know that she really wasn't okay, that she already regretted coming already, that she had embarrassed herself more than she had thought possible, that she could have smacked herself upside the head for not speaking a single word to him again.
All it would take was a "yes", nothing complex, nothing difficult, just one word.
Her gaze returned to the traffic outside, and the familiar burn in her cheeks flared again. Sora and Kairi were still chatting in the back, so Naminé silently thanked God for not having Kairi make that into a… a scene. Kairi made scenes a lot…
The car rolled into the school's parking lot, and almost instantly, Riku was at the door, playing the chauffeur. He took Naminé's hand within his own, his fingers tugging gently at her own, and pulled her out from the car. His smile was dazzling; she couldn't take her eyes off him.
She heard Kairi's gentle giggles resounding from behind her, more than likely due to something that Sora said, and snapped back into reality.
Her eyes widened at the scene playing in front of her eyes. Hundreds of couples were flooding out of the parking lot, up the stairs, and into the school. Naminé, ever the keen observer, could tell that every single girl had spent time and money on tonight.
Her schoolmates seemed to float past her, shining in fabrics of pastels, a glowing smile adorning their faces.
She saw Selphie practically drooling over Tidus, and Fuu was walking stiffly with Seifer. Was that Olette with Roxas? And Hayner? And Pence?
They were all beautiful. Like graceful princesses. And Naminé couldn't help but feel like the ugly stepsister.
Why didn't Riku ask one of these beautiful girls to go with him?
She couldn't figure out why he had asked her. Yeah, there was the whole Sora thing. But he definitely seemed to be doing fine without Riku.
Maybe she was just… lucky?
But as luck goes, Naminé was in fairly short supply. Those dreadful three-inch heels were bound to get caught in a crevice on the sidewalk, and they did just that.
Talk about graceful.
She stumbled forward, waving her arms about, attempting to step somewhere that her dress was not. She shouldn't have worn a floor-length. But then again, this whole thing was Kairi's fault.
She braced herself for the collision, but was able to steady herself without using Kairi as a human post, and thankfully, not using Riku, either.
But that didn't stop them from seeing it.
Kairi laughed and launched into a descriptive lecture about the proper way to walk in high heels. It's heel-toe, heel-toe! None of that sliding her feet without picking them up like she usually did.
She even heard Riku chuckle.
"Kairi, I doubt Naminé has ever worn heels before," Riku commented, interrupting the lecture. "Am I right?"
And then he did that thing again. The one where he would glance at Naminé, and have that look of genuine concern painted on his face.
And of course, Naminé could do nothing but nod, blush, and turn away.
"I could walk in them; they're not that hard," Sora added as an after thought.
"Oh, I'm sure," Kairi teased.
"I think not," Riku said.
"I so could."
Just say something. Anything.
"Y'know, Sora," she muttered, her tiny voice growing louder with each word, "I'd like to see these monsters forced onto your feet by Miss Kairi here, and walk on an uneven sidewalk without falling flat on your face at least once!"
She turned to her sister, looking for a hint of approval, and found a huge grin.
"Now that's a sight to see- Sora in heels… sprawled on the sidewalk… wow," Kairi giggled.
If Kairi was laughing hard, Riku was laughing harder. Naminé felt the usual pitter-patter of her heart and the warm sensation of a blush rising in her cheeks. But this time, it wasn't because she was in the process of embarrassing herself.
"Fine," Sora groaned, "I wouldn't be able to do it." He held out an arm, and Kairi linked her own through his they ascended the steps leading to the school's gym together. "How do you guys do it?"
Kairi's heels clacked against each step. "Practice."
Riku held out his arm for Naminé, and her mind instantly put up its defenses. He's just copying Sora, she reassured herself.
She followed Kairi's exact movements, slipping her arm in through Riku's, and thank God she did; she wouldn't have been able to walk all those steps without a bit of support.
When they entered the gym, Naminé forced herself to suppress a laugh. The 'decorations' (a sea of balloons scattered across the floor and streamers draping across every surface) were horrendous.
"Wow, even I could have done better than this."
"Huh?" Riku asked.
Crap. She didn't think that he could hear her.
Naminé steered herself to one of the plastic molded chairs lining the walls and plopped down rather ungracefully. While all the other girls were screaming with excitement as they heard the familiar pulse of a popular song, Naminé was leaning back against the chair, wondering again how Kairi convinced her to come in the first place.
"Don't you wanna dance, Nami?" Kairi asked with her head bobbing slightly to the beat pounding around them.
Those stairs had not been kind to her feet, and they were already throbbing with pain. Was that a blister starting to grow?
She'd rather not leave the sanctuary of her chair.
Besides, Kairi had Sora.
"No thanks. I don't think my feet would allow it." Naminé put on a smile. Above all things, she did not want Kairi to feel sorry for her. She wanted her sister to go have fun with Sora.
Even if Naminé wasn't going to have any fun, that didn't mean that Kairi shouldn't.
Kairi threw a hesitant smile over her shoulder as her fingers wrapped around Sora's wrist, pulling him onto the dance floor. Naminé was just beginning to relax in her position against the wall, arms crossed over her chest, foot bouncing in time with the beat, eyes soaking up the overly vivid atmosphere, when Riku sat down in the seat next to her.
"I didn't see where you had gone." God, why did he always pretend like he cared? She could see straight through that mask; he didn't have to keep up the charade, especially now that Kairi wasn't there to keep a watchful eye over the two of them.
But even though she knew (she knew) he didn't care, she couldn't help but blush. Her imagination had a tendency to run away with her.
"Don't you want to go dance?" he asked.
"…No. I don't dance." She realized that this was probably the first time she and Riku had been together without Kairi and Sora hawking over them. Naminé couldn't meet his eyes.
"Do you not like dancing?"
"Not to this kind of music," she replied softly. The steady bass of the hip-hop song was shaking her chair. Her shoulders hunched over slightly, and her hair was starting to loosen from its bun, falling slowly against her face. Strangely, she was finding it rather… easy talking to him. Maybe it was because nobody else was there to talk over her?
Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw him lean forward, elbows propping himself up on his knees.
"Well, what kind of music do you like?" he questioned with his eyebrows raised.
So far she had been doing a rather good job of actually speaking. Why not keep it up?
"I like classical, mostly," said Naminé in that quiet, hesitant voice. Riku chuckled.
"Oh don't tell me that you're one of those people who don't listen to classical because there's no words! Classical has more emotion than this crap could ever dream of having," she growled, pointing angrily to the dance floor. Riku was speechless, and when Naminé got the nerve to actually glance over at him, his eyes were wide with surprise.
"I… I didn't mean it like that," he said. Naminé tightened her arms over her chest, trying to suppress the guilty burn rising in her throat. "I was just going to say that… that's really cool that you like classical music. It's very… very unique."
Her tongue seemed to twist itself into a thousand knots; she couldn't get a single word out. Again, the faint pink color flushed her face, and Naminé tucked a loose strand of hair behind her hair, out of habit.
She was wringing her hands absentmindedly in her lap, and she bit the inside of her cheek.
"I… I," she struggled to speak. See? This is why she didn't talk. She only wound up making a fool out of herself. Riku leaned back against his chair, head bowed low so that his silver hair created a screen between his eyes and Naminé. Was he… angry?
"I have to go." The words escaped her lips quickly as she shot up from her chair. Her ankles screamed with pain at the quick movement, but she tried her best to ignore the pain and focus on actually walking as she fled the scene.
She plowed through the crowd of dancers, getting a plethora of dirty looks along the way. Every person she pushed (it was an accident, an accident) whipped around and glared as she ran away.
Naminé flew through the bathroom door with a groan, the clacks of the stilettos that were currently digging into her flesh echoing against the poorly painted walls.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid," she berated herself. Slowly, she pushed open the squeaky door of the farthest stall and slipped inside. She lowered the seat cover and sat down, breathing heavily.
Her head fell into her hands, and she stared at the satiny fabric of her dress glowing in the bright fluorescent light of the bathroom.
If she kept blushing and stuttering and tripping every time Riku said something complementary to her, he was bound to find out how she felt about him. She needed to calm down. Control. It was all about self-control. Her fingers scratched her scalp, ruffling her hair.
Her head jerked up. She hadn't heard Kairi come in.
"I know you're in here, Naminé," she whispered. Naminé groaned audibly. How long had she been in here? Fifteen, twenty minutes?
"Go back out there. Go dance with Sora. Have fun."
Kairi stood in front of the stall and swung the door open with one arm, revealing Naminé's pitifully hunched form.
"Naminé, tell me what happened. I was worried when Rik-"
"Nothing happened; I just made a fool of myself," she said, cutting Kairi off. "No surprise there, though." Kairi remained silent and leaned against the wall. It was a bit crowded in the stall, with Kairi's dress taking up half the space.
"Just go, Kairi," Naminé pleaded, "I want you to be happy tonight, not moping with me about my utter lack of social skills."
"Y'know what would make me happy?"
Naminé raised her head up from her hands and looked into her sister's wide, indigo eyes inquisitively.
"What?" she asked. Kairi smirked.
"If you would admit that you liked Riku," she laughed. Naminé gasped and nearly fell off the toilet.
"How… wh-what?" Naminé stuttered embarrassingly.
"Don't think I don't catch those little smiles every time he talks to you."
The bathroom door flew open, smacking against the wall as another girl walked in. Naminé bolted up and took her chance to escape the horribly awkward situation. Kairi looked shocked but didn't try to stop Naminé as she pushed her way past.
As she left the bathroom, sidestepping to let another girl through, Naminé cringed. How could anyone walk in these shoes without attempting to kill herself? How? The straps were biting into her skin, and it was quite unpleasant.
Her eyes took a few moments to adjust to the change in light. The darkness of the gym flooded her eyes, and was broken only by the brief, colorful flashes of light emanating from the DJ's stand.
There wasn't an open seat (besides that one next to Riku, but she opted not to embarrass herself again), so she just stood against the wall behind the punch table. No matter how much she wanted to slip down and sit on the floor, she knew that Kairi would kill her for ruining her dress like that. So she leaned against the plastic paneling of the gym wall, taking occasional sips of punch and watching the crowd.
Was she really that obvious about liking Riku?
Was she really?
Sure, she could barely hold a conversation around him… and she did tend to be unable to meet his (gorgeous blue-green-aqua) eyes… and there was that whole blushing thing…
Damn, she thought as she took another gulp of the fruity drink, it was obvious.
"Naminé?" Her eyes rose up to meet his briefly; he looked concerned. "I've been looking for you. Where've you been?"
She struggled to swallow the lump rising precariously in her throat.
He shifted his weight onto one side and rubbed his elbow.
"I'm sorry about before, Naminé," he apologized, shaking his hands with each word. She raised her eyebrows.
"It's not like you snapped on me. I'm the one who should be sorry." Riku stood, not saying anything for a few moments (in which Naminé felt very awkward and out of place), until he spoke.
"C'mon let's go sit down. Your feet must be killing you. Why don't you just take them off?"
Naminé smiled openly. "Kairi would kill me."
He laughed and grabbed her hand gently, and Naminé flinched automatically. He led her over to the seats where they had been before, and she sat down in the molded chair without even being told to.
The strobe light flashed annoyingly in her eyes as another annoying hip-hop song came on. Her foot bounced instinctively to the beat. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Riku peering over at her through his long bangs, but she refused (refused) to turn. It was all about self-control, right?
Her hands clutched the sides of the chair, her knuckles whitening with the intensity of her grip. She couldn't believe what she was about to say.
"Why don't you go dance with some other girl? I'm sure there's tons of them eager to dance with you." Her voice cracked. When he looked at her, a wave of guilt coursed through her veins. "Please, you don't have to sit here with me."
His eyebrows rose, and he left without saying a word.
Naminé threw her head back in a huge sigh. This night was a disaster. She felt terrible, but she wasn't going to force Riku to sit with her. He should go have fun; it was his prom too.
She watched as Riku was sucked into the dancing crowd and lost sight of him.
Her eyelids closed as her head rested against the wall, the raunchy lyrics filling her head. But then the beat stopped with one final chord, and she was glad that song was over.
But another song didn't come on right away. The DJ's voice did. Naminé vaguely recalled him introducing himself as Demyx earlier.
"Alright, how's your prom going?!" he yelled into the microphone. A chorus of screams answered him. Apparently, everyone else was enjoying the night. "Well, I have a few requests here that I'm going to play back-to-back. This first one… odd request, might I add… was hard to find. But I got it here, so… enjoy, and keep having fun!"
Naminé grimaced at the screams again, and closed her eyes, expecting more horrible music. Why was this popular?
She braced herself, but all she heard was the soothing sound of violins.
Wait, classical music?
"Vivaldi's Winter…" she murmured under her breath as her back straightened up. She hummed the tune under her breath, and several people on the dance floor groaned and walked off to slurp down some punch; others escaped to go to the restroom. And as the crowd started breaking up, she saw him walking toward her.
He bent down in a low bow as he whispered, "May I have this dance?"
And suddenly, she didn't care about how painfully her feet were throbbing or how brightly she was blushing or how hard her heart was pounding in her chest.
Riku's hand wrapped around her wrist and tugged her gently on the dance floor, and the melody wrapped around the two of them; every other sound was drowned out by the music.
Hands clasped together, they began a slow, steady waltz. If her heart was beating fast before, it was nothing compared to the rate at which it was pounding at now.
One, two, three, one, two, three, she counted in her head, determined to keep in time to the beat.
They swayed together, and Naminé couldn't help but notice that they were the only couple on the dance floor. She must be dreaming. She must. This kind of thing happens only in those cheesy romance novels that Kairi obsessed about, only in those corny chick flicks, only in fairytales.
So why did she feel so comfortable around him now?
"R-Riku…" she stammered as he pushed her away gently from him, ready to spin her back into his arms. He drew her arm closer to him, and she spun, spun, spun.
And of course, without even knowing it had happened, she tripped (compliments of those high heels she loved ever so much) and fell against him. His arms wrapped tightly around her, and she couldn't help but lean more into his body, her face pressed against his chest. The slight scent of expensive cologne enveloped her.
He smelled so good.
No! He was going to find out how she felt. She wasn't going to let that happen. Besides, he needed to be with someone who was fun and pretty and could actually hold a proper conversation. Someone who wasn't a shadow.
Someone who wasn't a nobody.
"Riku…" her voice was muffled by his chest, "I… I…"
The enchanting melody slowed, the final note resounding about them hauntingly, and he released her from his grasp, and bent down to her eye level.
"See, you do dance."
She bit her lip, avoiding his gaze. And with every ounce of courage she could muster, with the guilt raising painfully in her throat, she did the only thing that she never, ever in her wildest dreams wanted to do. All the months (years) she had dreamed of being this close to him, and she did the complete opposite.
She pushed him away.
Her arms slipped easily out of his tender hold about her shoulders, and she could feel the tears searing her eyes as she swept past him. Her ivory dress rippled across the floor as she ran, ran, ran away.
"Naminé!" she heard him calling her in that oh-so-wonderful voice of his. But as a new song thudded through the speakers, the huge mass of students returned to the dance floor chattering, blocking out the rest of what he said.
She couldn't stay. She had to leave.
The sound of her clacking steps echoed through the empty hallway as she made her way to the front doors of the school. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that he wasn't following her.
Good, she reasoned, he's probably dancing with another girl. Someone that he actually liked and not someone that he asked to come out of pity.
Her arches screamed as she thrust open the door, her hair blowing softly in the night breeze. A couple sitting against the brick wall turned and looked shocked to see her there. Naminé reached up to touch her cheek, and felt a constant stream of moisture flowing down. She hadn't realized she was crying that much.
Ignoring the watching couple, Naminé clutched the fabric of her dress tightly and lifted it from the ground. She rushed to the stairs, and before she realized what had happened, the heel on her left shoe snapped off with a sickening pop, sending Naminé flying forward.
She grabbed onto the stair rail and felt her heart throbbing in her chest. With a heavy sob, she reached down and released her feet from the binding straps of her shoes. Naminé lifted the unbroken one in front of her face. The rhinestones were glittering beautifully under the moonlight.
Angrily, she threw them to the cement and leapt down the stairs Her shoes tumbled halfway down the steps, sparkling like glass slippers as they fell.
She had crossed the parking lot and was nearly out of sight from the school doors when someone yelled her name into the crisp, spring air.
"Naminé! Come back!"
She ignored whoever was calling for her and sprinted along the sidewalk, her dress flying behind her. She would run all the way home if she had to.
And in the back of her mind, her subconscious couldn't help but berate her. Naminé hadn't even wanted to go; something like this had been bound to happen. Bound to happen.
"Naminé, please stop!" the voice called again. Without slowing, Naminé glanced over her shoulder, and her heart skipped a beat.
Riku was chasing after her, carrying something shiny in each hand.
The tears were slipping from her cerulean eyes rather easy now, but she kept sprinting. Her bare feet slapped against the concrete, and the wind blew Naminé's hair completely out of its bun.
She looked behind her again, and he was only a few feet behind her. After all, he did have much longer legs. Not to mention the fact that he was wearing shoes.
She couldn't run anymore; she slowed underneath a streetlight. The stars twinkled through the inky black sky, shedding more light upon her trembling figure.
Naminé gasped as she felt his fingers wrap around her wrist, jerking her back to him. Her mind instantly flitted to their dance together, when Naminé was lost in her own little fairytale.
"Naminé," he whispered into her hair, "what's wrong?"
She struggled to escape his grasp, but his arms were loosening their hold around her anytime soon. Realizing her obvious failure at escape, she collapsed against him. The question that had been haunting her the entire night (or past few weeks, more like it) bubbled up, and she couldn't control it anymore.
"Why did you ask me?" she mumbled into his shirt.
"Huh?" he asked as he finally let her go.
"Why did you ask me? Why didn't you go and ask someone like… Selphie, or Olette? Someone who isn't a nobody?!"
But Naminé continued, cutting him off, "Or was I right all along- that you just took me so Sora wouldn't be so nervous taking Kairi by himself? Or was it all out of pity?"
"Please, just go back and have fun without me. And make sure Kairi's having fun with Sora, too," she muttered as slumped into a wooden bench underneath the lamppost.
"I don't want to go back without you." Naminé's breath hitched in her throat.
"Wha-what?" she stuttered. He sat next to her, still holding one of her glittering stilettos.
"It wasn't Sora who was nervous about taking Kairi," he confessed, ruffling his hair with his free hand, "I was nervous about taking you. Kairi was the one who finally gave me the courage to ask you."
"Naminé, I have liked you… for… so long." Naminé could feel her heartbeat in her ears. "I wouldn't even dream of asking someone else to dance. I only want you," he admitted in a soft, defeated voice.
"But I'm just a nobody. Nothing special," she whispered. "You deserve someone pretty and fun and-"
"You're far from pretty, Naminé. You're… you're breathtaking… and different and unique and kind and wonderful."
Naminé could have sworn her cheeks were on fire.
Riku hesitantly curved his hand underneath her chin and tilted her face toward his. Their eyes met, and Naminé could have melted under his intense aquamarine gaze.
"But… I could never talk around you before… wasn't that annoying? And what about how I always blush at everything you say?" she confessed. Riku chuckled.
"I find that Sora and Kairi talk way too much." He flashed a brilliantly white smile. "And for the blush?" His voice was almost inaudible. "It's cute."
Naminé couldn't believe what was happening. Things like this definitely only happen in fairy tales.
Her heart skipped a beat as his face drew closer to hers, his eyes never breaking away from hers. He tilted her chin up higher, higher, higher until their lips touched softly, sending a wave of joy through her body.
Naminé pulled into the kiss, fingers weaving their way through his silky hair.
Was this all a dream?
Was her imagination playing tricks on her again?
Riku broke away and knelt in front of her with a broad grin shining from his face. Naminé had forgotten that he was still holding her shoes. He held the unbroken one up to her foot.
"I thought Kairi was going to kill you if you took these off?" he laughed. Naminé giggled uncharacteristically.
"I think I can manage without them," she said with a smile. He placed the shoe on the bench and stood up.
"I think not."
"Well, I don't think you should go walking around barefoot." He reached down and lifted her into his arms; she wrapped her arms around his neck, laughing.
"I don't think I should either."
He kissed her again, and spun her around in his arms. Her hair whipped around in the wind, and all her cares, all her worries, seemed to evaporate.
Sure, she was no Cinderella, and this was no fairy tale.
...It was better.
author's notes: Again, it was meant to be this fluffy. Don't shoot me. Review with your thoughts?