Her cell phone jingled on her nightstand. Groggily she reached for the device, her hand slapping aimlessly against the wood. Her fingers finally caught hold and she flipped it over in her hand, glancing at the screen.
"Hello?" she said sleepily. She looked at her clock. 3:27.
"Kai? Are you okay?" he asked, care evident in his tone.
"You never called... I was worried," he admitted, and Kairi could visualize the blush racing up his cheeks.
She hadn't called. Shit.
"I'm sorry, I guess I just forgot," she said, sitting up in her bed. Well, it wasn't lying. She had forgotten. But she never forgot. She always, always remembered… but then again, it could have been because a sex god had made out with her on her front porch.
"Oh…" he mumbled slowly. "Well, sorry for waking you."
"It's okay. It's my fault that I worried you. I'm okay." She bit her lip, regretting the night.
"Well, goodnight… I love you," he confessed.
"Love you too."
She snapped her phone shut and curled her legs up under the covers. What had she done? Realization struck her, and her conscience seemed to come to life at that very instant.
She had kissed someone other than her boyfriend. Not only that, but she had agreed to go on a date with the guy.
Instantly, she felt disgusted with herself- like she had been tainted. She was no longer pure, sweet, goody-two-shoes Kairi.
She stared at the huge X still evident on the back of her hand. Tainted. At least that would wash off eventually.
She snuggled into her blankets… and never fell asleep.
Kairi tossed and turned until the morning, her mind racing the entire time. She didn't know what to do or what to think and she hated herself for it.
At nine, she finally decided to get out of bed. It was doing no good to just lay around, when she could be doing something- hopefully something that would clear her mind.
She showered, dressed, and headed over to Selphie's house. Selphie would be able to convince her that everything was okay, even though it clearly wasn't. And besides, Kairi still hadn't complained about that whole 'ditching' thing. She'd take care of that first.
Kairi walked into Selphie's house without knocking (bad habit), and waltzed into her room.
"Selph, what the hell!" Kairi exclaimed, one hand on her hip.
Selphie wordlessly pulled her pillow over her head. Kairi ripped it from her and threw it on the ground.
"You so ditched me!" she yelled.
"Kai, I'm sorry!" Selphie defended, "But Marluxia had been drinking and needed a ride home!" Kairi crossed her arms over her chest, trying to pout. "If it's any consolation, he's taking me out next weekend… be happy!"
A tiny smile blossomed on her lips, and she sat down on the bed.
"Oh, fine," Kairi agreed. "I can never stay mad at you!" Selphie giggled and sat up.
"So whatever happened to you? I went back to the club!"
"Well… it's all good. I just walked home," she said, averting her gaze to her feet.
"Not exactly…" she admitted. "Axel walked me back."
"Bless you?" Selphie said with a tilt of her head. Kairi laughed.
"The birthday boy that I danced with. His name is Axel," she explained. Selphie's face dropped.
"He didn't hurt you, did-"
"Am I a bad person, Selphie?" she asked, standing. Her voice was cold and distant and somehow contemplative.
"He kissed me…" Kairi began slowly. "I kissed him back." Selphie stood up and hugged her.
"Oh, honey. That doesn't make you a bad person. It was just a mistake." Kairi nodded into the crook of Selphie's neck, and the tears began collecting in her eyes. "You still love Sora, and that's all that matters."
"You're right…" she said, even though her conscience was screaming out in disagreement.
"And it's not like you're going out on a date with him," Selphie added. Kairi swallowed.
The lie came so easily that it scared her. Selphie pulled away from the embrace, smiling.
"I think you should go and spend today with Sora… oh my God, you should do a picnic! How romantic! A wonderful autumn day, picnicking with your love!" she gushed, spinning around. Kairi couldn't help but laugh.
"I think you need to go back to sleep," Kairi suggested, gently pushing Selphie back onto her bed. "See you!"
"Bye!" Selphie shouted as Kairi left her room.
The cool, autumn air felt good against her cheeks as she walked over to Sora's. She would just stay with Sora all day. Axel would be pushed from her mind, and everything would go back to normal, right?
Sora answered when she tapped lightly on his front door.
"Hey!" he exclaimed. No hug. No kiss. No hope.
"Hey," she repeated, stepping inside. Despite the wrenching guilt in her stomach, Kairi somehow managed to kiss him on the cheek as she entered.
"So, I never got to ask you," Sora said, linking his hands behind his head, "Did you have fun last night?"
Kairi turned and smiled. It felt so fake.
"Yeah, loads!" she exclaimed. She was with Sora, shouldn't that make things better?
But all she could think of was Axel and his smoky scent and his passionate lips and gleaming eyes full of mischief. Instinctively, she checked her watch. Eleven.
"Let's go to the park!" she said, grabbing his hand. He laughed and pulled his hand away.
"I don't think letting the sick boy go to the playground is good for his health." He noticed her downcast expression. "But, not letting his girlfriend go isn't good for him either," he explained with a laugh.
So they did what Selphie had suggested- a picnic in the park (how romantic). But that still didn't put Axel out of her mind. Kairi insisted that they rent a movie (so they could spend even more time together), and that didn't work either. She continuously offered up more things to do, and nothing was able to shove Axel away.
But the worst part was how she continued glancing down at her watch, and the more she looked down, the faster time seemed to fly away.
Seven-o-clock rolled by, and Kairi swallowed. She didn't want to do this… but she had to.
"All right, my brother wants me home by seven-thirty," she lied, indigo eyes flashing to the door instead of making contact with Sora's cerulean ones.
"Oh… why does Leon want you back so early?" he asked, obviously curious.
"He said something about making me dinner. For my birthday, I guess." She shrugged.
"Oh, okay," Sora mumbled as he walked her to his front door. "I'll call you this time, okay?" He laughed.
"Kay," she said, stepping gracefully onto the front porch. She closed the door, and started running. She had to hurry; she couldn't leave Axel waiting.
It wasn't until she got home that she realized that she hadn't told Sora that she loved him.
The thought made her heart hurt.
She ran into her room, ignoring her brother and his girlfriend, Yuffie, and they ignored her as well. Most of the time, she hated when the two were like this. But it was times like these that she loved it. But then again, she didn't have a say in the matter. He was all she had left.
She escaped into her room, and started flinging clothes out of her dresser. As she pulled a dainty, black dress over her head, a rumbling motor could be heard outside. With finesse, she applied mascara onto her eyelashes. She hoped she wasn't too overdressed. After all, he had said 'someplace classy'. The motor outside stopped.
She had to hurry; she couldn't let Leon see him.
Kairi yelled a quick, "Bye! I'm going out!" to her brother and Yuffie as she flew out the door again.
And there he was, leaning against a shiny, black motorcycle in all his glory. She couldn't even voice words to describe how much of a sex god he was while wearing that suit.
"Damn," she whispered under her breath as she approached him.
"Hey, Princess," he said, tossing his helmet to her.
"I thought I told you my name," she said, smoothing her hair back and pushing the helmet on her head, pretending that this wasn't the first time she had ridden a motorcycle. Axel snapped the strap under her chin and smirked.
"I like Princess better," he laughed. She was about to protest, complaining about how that was the stupidest nickname she had ever heard, when her breath just left her.
Axel picked her up easily and placed her on the back of the motorcycle. He swung his leg over and kick-started. Kairi yelped.
"Hold on," he demanded, twisting the gas. She grabbed onto his shirt, pressing her face into his back.
And then she was flying.
She had no idea where he was taking her, and frankly, she didn't care. She buried her nose into his warm jacket, and the smoky-cologne aroma reminded her of the night before.
All her worries were left behind, because tonight was fresh and new in her heart. It was just Kairi and Axel. Just the two, and that's what mattered tonight.
She pulled away for a moment, the wind whipping playfully against her face. Buildings, lights, and cars flashed by. She smiled; he had taken her into the city. How did he know?
The motorcycle slowed in front of a fancy Italian place. Axel was right when he said "classy". He cut the engine and slid off the bike. Again, he lifted a wide-eyed Kairi, putting her down on the sidewalk.
"Was that fun, Princess?" he asked with a smirk, holding out his arm for her to take.
"It's not like it was my first time," she lied, running her fingers through her now helmet-free hair. She took his arm, and the butterflies in her stomach were set loose.
"Liar," he laughed, digging his free hand into his pocket. "You were squeezing my waist a bit too tight for me to know that you had never ridden a motorcycle before."
"Oh…. sorry…" she mumbled, looking up into his twinkling green eyes.
"It's okay," he said with a wink, "I liked it." Kairi turned away, blushing.
As they walked into the restaurant, the hostess noticed their entrance. She smiled politely. Axel nodded at the pretty girl and held up two of his long fingers. The hostess turned, snatching two menus, and Kairi couldn't help but notice how pretty her long braid was.
She led them deeper and deeper into the restaurant, finally seating them in the very back corner.
"Is this private enough, Axel?" she asked before setting the menus down.
"Yeah," he said, taking off his jacket, "Thanks Aerith."
The hostess smiled and turned, her braid waving behind her. Kairi leaned over the table.
"You know her?" she whispered. He shook his head.
"It's called a nametag."
"Do you take all your dates here? To butter them up?" she continued with a smirk, folding her hands gracefully underneath her chin. He mimicked her movement.
"No," he admitted slowly, eyes sparkling. And then the butterflies started up again. Damn those butterflies. She forced herself to keep eye contact.
"Yeah, right," she said, trying to laugh it off.
"Truly, Princess, you're the very first. And I had to do quite a few favors to get us in on such late notice."
She blushed, moving her hands to her lap. Their waiter came over quickly and took their drink orders.
"So. Favorite color?"
"Um, Dirty Dancing?"
"What's with the interrogation?" she asked, leaning back in her chair. Axel smirked.
"I want to get to know you, Kairi," he said, tilting his head backward, "What's so wrong with that?" She shrugged and sipped at the iced tea the waiter had given her.
What was so wrong with it? He was just being a nice guy, she thought as she lifted the menu. After all, he was paying for her meal, which was going to be inhumanely expensive. A plate of plain old spaghetti was nearly a hundred and eighty munny!
He must have seen the reaction on her face, because he laughed.
"Don't worry about the price. Get whatever you want."
She smiled, but there was still something about everything that made her stomach churn. Was it because she felt guilty about lying to Selphie? Lying to Sora? Here she was, disobeying her conscience by going on a date with Axel.
But it was just one date. Nothing serious.
"I'll have the chicken marsala," she said when the waiter returned. Axel ordered the same. When the waiter left, Axel leaned forward.
"So, are you going to do anything rebellious now that you're eighteen?" he asked curiously. "That is, besides riding on motorcycles."
"I wasn't planning on anything special… well, I did go to that club," she admitted, her voice trailing off. His tone sounded as if he wanted her to do something rebellious and totally out of character.
"I got these tattoos the very day I turned eighteen," he declared, pointing up toward the two little triangle-shaped tattoos underneath his eyes. "You didn't want a tattoo? You seem like you would."
"Guess I'm too chicken." She laughed at herself. She'd never really had a legitimate reason. Axel smirked; it was something that he seemed to do a lot.
"You should get one."
Kairi would never have gotten a tattoo in her life. That is, she wouldn't have before Axel suggested it.
Her indigo eyes shifted their gaze up toward the ceiling contemplatively. Why not? She took a deep breath.
Axel liked asking her questions. He liked asking her questions a lot. And Kairi didn't feel like she had to close up, hide the truth away or cover it up with nonsense. She was completely honest, totally comfortable. It took her ages to open up to other people… but Axel was different.
"What're your parents like?" he asked.
"They're dead. My brother, Leon, takes care of me. I don't know what we'd do without each other."
She couldn't say why she felt so relaxed around him. Maybe it was because he made her laugh. A lot.
Maybe he did it because he enjoyed watching the expression on her face when he twisted her words up so much that they were unrecognizable. He was always implying something sexual from what she said.
"Well, I think art's my favorite class right now… not because I'm good at it. I'm far from it. I think it's just the fact that, with art, you can really see a person for who they are. Once someone creates something, it's stripped of everything but their emotion."
"Sure," he retorted. He took a bite of noodles, the last of his meal. "You like it because of the naked statues. They turn you on, don't they?"
Kairi rolled her eyes.
"Or is it the nude figure drawings? Y'know, I'll come in and pose for your class," he offered with a wink.
"Oh God, please don't!" she exclaimed, burying her face in her hands, but smiling all the while. He laughed, keeping his firm gaze on Kairi. She laughed audibly and lowered her hands, revealing glowing cheeks and a bright, wide smile.
It was like a scene cut straight out of a Hollywood movie.
When Kairi finally gained control of her fits of giggles, she whipped out her vibrating cell phone and frowned.
Sora. He had said that he was going to call her. But she couldn't answer it, especially in front of Axel. She let it vibrate in her lap, her heart racing.
Axel didn't question her actions, but he was looking suspicious. Maybe that was just how he always looked? His eyes glinted at her, and his tattoos crinkled.
She looked at her phone again and gasped.
"Oh my God," she whispered angrily, shoving her phone back into her purse. "It's past nine-thirty already!"
"Calm down, Princess," he said, his voice as smooth as honey.
"Leon will kill me, you realize that? He'll kill me!" she exclaimed, standing up in a hurry. She ran her fingers through her hair, eyes wide. Axel tilted his head, confused. "Nobody knows I'm here!"
All Axel did was smile, seemingly bemused.
"That makes two of us," he muttered under his breath with a smile, but before she could comment, he'd already laced his fingers between hers, ready to rush out. "All right, let's go," Axel murmured, tossing nearly five-hundred munny on the table. Now that was expensive.
Kairi hurried behind him, ignoring the outrageous sum of munny, ignoring the charming waiters and the pretty hostess. Her mind was fixed on getting back before Leon started freaking out.
Axel tossed the helmet to Kairi and lifted her onto the motorcycle in one smooth motion.
"Hold on, Princess," he commanded as he mounted, and her arms squeezed his torso automatically.
The authority in his voice sent shivers down her spine. But it frightened her at the same time. It was as if he had used the tone too many times that it was wearing him down.
Kairi shrugged and buried her face into his jacket again, inhaling his scent. His voice echoed in her mind. "That makes two of us." So she wasn't the only one keeping secrets?
Axel sure was a mysterious guy… a puzzle just begging to be solved.
And Kairi loved solving puzzles.
"You can stop here!" Kairi bellowed against the rushing wind. "I don't want Leon to hear the motor!" Axel obeyed, and cut the engine a few houses down from Kairi's.
She hopped off and started running toward her house.
"I'll see you Tuesday." He stated it like a fact, rather than asking her. Kairi stopped running.
"Huh?" she asked as she kicked her heels off, opting to run while carrying them.
"So you can get your tattoo?" he laughed, as if it were obvious. She laughed nervously; she had totally forgotten that she had agreed to it.
"Tuesday!" she yelled over her shoulder as she sprinted to the house.
The lights were off. A good sign.
She slipped through the door, making sure she made barely any noise. A quick look around the house was enough to prove that Leon was still out with Yuffie somewhere.
She trudged along into her bedroom, flipping her cell phone open and dialing Sora's number as she did.
She wouldn't want him to worry.
"Hey!" he answered happily. She smiled at the sound of his voice and turned the light on in her room.
"Hey," she replied softly, "Sorry I missed your call. My phone was on silent." The lie came out like second nature.
"It's okay," he said, oblivious to her deceit, "What did Leon cook you?"
"Chicken something-or-other with noodles. It was great," she lied, remembering the expensive dinner Axel had bought her. She held the phone in the crook of her neck as she took out her earrings.
"Sweet!" Sora exclaimed.
Then there was a tap outside her window. Her heart skipped a beat.
"So, I'm assuming you've already finished that English paper due Monday?" he continued. Kairi hesitated as she walked slowly to the window, her heart pounding.
"Actually, no…" she admitted, her voice trailing away. She stood there, hand shaking, unwilling to pull the curtain back.
"Really?" Sora said incredulously, "Usually you have these things done by today!"
Her hand slowly grabbed onto the curtain, and pulled it back. She had half-expected to scream, but all she could do was smile.
Axel was standing outside her window.
"I think I'm actually going to start it," she said to Sora, "You got me motivated."
"All right, have fun!" He laughed.
"Bye!" she said, ending the call immediately.
Kairi wrenched the window open, and leaned out, grinning.
"I didn't tell you goodnight," he whispered, emerald meeting indigo in unspoken passion.
She leaned farther and farther out her window, her heart thumping and her lips yearning for his.
The kiss held the intensity of a burning flame; he pressed against her fiercely. The heat rushed through her body, and she kissed him back just as passionately.
They melted together into a mess of kisses and moans and rough touches.
Kairi heard the front door unlock. Leon was home.
She started pushing the window down, their lips still locked. Kairi finally pulled away, grinning from ear to ear. Axel smiled back, his eyes ignited in fervor.
"Goodnight," she whispered. She shut the window, pulled the curtains shut, and leaped onto her bed. She grabbed some gossipy magazine from her nightstand, and opened it.
"Hey," Leon mumbled as he walked in.
"Hey!" Kairi replied, bubbly as ever. She tried to pretend that nothing was wrong, but her heart felt like it was about to explode out of her chest.
"What've you been up to?"
"Just reading this magazine… nothing special." Leon raised his eyebrows.
"Okay… well… good night."
Leon closed the door behind him, and Kairi collapsed into her pillow with a great, heaving sigh.
She had always thought that she and Sora were meant to be. Destined lovers, Selphie always liked to put it.
But now there was Axel. Every kiss, every touch, every sexual innuendo made her feel fresh and new and wonderful inside. She loved… no. She couldn't love Axel. She wouldn't allow herself to love him. Besides, she'd known him for what… two days?
She loved Sora.
a/n: Reviews are very much appreciated. And this is the last of what I have written so far. So… reviews will motivate to finish!
And, seeing as how I'm on a time constraint to finish this bad boy, I think I'm going to have to cut it short. I was thinking of scrapping it, but nah. I'm just gonna shorten it. Hopefully that'll work.