Chapter 18

"Mm," the stranger said, "That looks really good. Can I have some?"

It can't be. Slowly, Asuka turned to see who the voice belonged to. She lost her grip on the box of chocolates. Her knees threatened to buckle. She lost her voice, but managed to utter two words: "It's you..."

Edo smiled. He walked towards her and picked up the box on the floor. "You dropped this," he said, handing it to her.

Asuka was speechless. She took the box from the boy's hands. She stared at him open-mouthed. She tried to form a question.

"Edo, Wha… What are you doing he-"

Edo took her face, leaned in close and met his lips with hers. Asuka's eyes fell shut, and soon she dropped the box again and wrapped her free arms around his shoulders. She tasted cinnamon, and her heart leaped for joy. It's him, She thought, her eyes forming tears, it's really him… And he's right here, in front of me! She opened her mouth, and Edo's tongue entered her. Holding me… She pressed against him harder, and she met his tongue with hers. Kissing me… She grabbed his suit to pull him closer to her.

Loving me.

They broke off. Their faces were close, only inches apart.

Asuka stared at his cool, sapphire eyes. They stared back at her, looking thrilled and content.

"What a kiss!" Fubuki exclaimed. Asuka looked to her side and saw her brother Fubuki, holding up a video camera.

"Oniisan!" Asuka exclaimed. He only laughed.

"This is going to be the most popular video on Youtube!"

"No!" Asuka fumed. "Delete that right now!"

"Goin' to youtube!" Fubuki jeered, dashing away.

Asuka sighed frustratingly. "That idiot!"

"I personally don't mind him posting it on Youtube." Edo said with a shrug.

Asuka turned to him. He was still there. In front of her. She wasn't dreaming.

"I already have that Fleur scandal to worry about," he continued, "This is not a big deal. I mean, at least this is real."

Asuka's heart melted at his words. "Your duel... with Fleur-"

"-It was you, Asuka," Edo admitted finally, "Your deck. Fleur's deck. She reminded me of you. And I..." he stopped, taking a moment to stare at her brown eyes. " distracted," he finished. "And I knew I was throwing away a big honor. But seeing you right now, having to be able to kiss you again... that's all I really need."

"Oh, Edo..." Asuka muttered sadly, "I'm sorry."

"There's nothing to be sorry about," Edo said.

"Yes, there is!" Asuka persisted. She took a deep breath. Here it goes. "I slept with Ryo. After you saw me kissing him. I slept with him."

"And you screamed my name when you came," Edo added, amused.

Asuka stared back at Edo in horror. "How... how did you-"

"Fubuki told me," Edo said, "he has your... Edo diary, or so he calls it. He showed it to me, and told me what you were going through."

Asuka's cheeks turned red. "He... has my diary?" I should have known. Edo nodded. Asuka grumbled. "That little worm," she said, "he's been reading my diary! AGAIN! Oh, I'm gonna kill him..."

Edo chuckled. "Don't be too hard on him," he said, "I read it, too. Every page. Front and back. I know how you really feel about me, Asuka."

Asuka looked back at Edo, feeling the familiar guilt all over again. "Edo," she said, "I'm sorry I slept with Ryo."

"Kaiser's just lucky he got another taste of you," Edo said, "but I know you weren't really with him, were you?"

Asuka smiled back at him. "No, I wasn't. I thought of you, Edo. That night, I thought of you, even when I was with him. I was always with you," her eyes watered again. "I... I..." her voice began to tremble. Edo gently wiped her tears away.

"I love you, Edo!" she shouted, her body shaking. "I love you!"

"Do you really?" Edo asked, his voice serious and stern.

"Yes!" Asuka cried, "I do!"

He charged his lips at hers. She took him desperately, longingly. She moaned for him. Edo kissed her harder, like a hungry lion.

Asuka pulled away. "Wait, what happened with Stephanie?"

"Who's Stephanie?" Edo teased.

Asuka pouted. "Edo, I'm serious."

Edo sighed. "That was nothing. We started dating about a week ago. We hit it off well at first, but then she started acting like we're married or something," he explained.

"How did you meet her anyway?" Asuka asked.

Edo didn't answer. Asuka tilted her head in wonder. "Edo?"

"I met her at a bar," Edo admitted, "after I saw you kiss him."

Asuka furrowed her eyebrows. "What happened?"

"I tried to drink my pain away," Edo said, "And she took care of me."

Asuka placed her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes. "Took care of you?"

"Yeah," Edo confirmed.

"You mean, she slept with you."

Edo's cheeks turned red. "Well, I'm not too sure. That night was a big blur to me. But then I met her again last week, and we decided to try things out."

Asuka's face looked crestfallen. Edo gave her a reassuring smile. "Don't worry," he said, caressing her face, "She's not you," he kissed her lips, "And you are my destiny."

Asuka smiled. Edo kissed her again. She closed her eyes and pulled him closer. She slowly placed her right hand on the boy's pocket. She pulled away again. "What's this?" she asked, pulling out a small thin box. She arched an eyebrow. "Is this what I think it is?"

"Yeah." Edo said.

Asuka giggled. "Why is there a condom in your pocket? Do you think we're gonna… you know… do something?"

Edo raised his hands up in surrender. "Hey, don't ask me. Your brother gave it to me."

Asuka's eyes widened. "Oniisan? He… He gave you that?"

Edo nodded.

Asuka felt all the more embarrassed. "He thinks we're gonna... we're gonna..."

"-have sex," Edo said, "And there's a lube in my other pocket, just in case the condom doesn't have enough on it."

Asuka laughed. "Wow. My brother really had you well equipped, didn't he?"

"Yeah," Edo said with a chuckle.

Asuka looked at the condom. Banana flavor. She looked at Edo. She smiled playfully.

"You know…" Asuka began, "I don't mind being on Santa's naughty list tonight."

Edo's grin was as sly as a fox. "Well… I guess one smudge on my clean record couldn't hurt, right?"

Asuka held his hand. Together, they left the party.

December 25th, 12am.

Edo and Asuka lay together on a motel bed, naked and tangled in each other's arms. Clothes had been tossed all over the room. Everything was a complete and utter mess.

Asuka sighed, content at what she now had. Her head rested on Edo's chest. Edo caressed her skin, gently and softly.

"I love you Asuka Tenjoin," he cooed.

Asuka smiled. She was finally in his arms at long last. This was where she belonged. "And you are my everything, Edo Phoenix."

She turned her head up to face him, and gave her destiny and fate a long, sweet kiss.