Chapter 11: Strawberry Kisses

"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Matt happy birthday to you!"

Matt grinned from ear to ear, looking at the wrapped gifts and the cake with 6 lit candles. "Make a wish and blow out the candles, Matt," Alice said as he leaned up to the cake. He thought about it for a minute before blowing all the candles out.

"What did you wish for, Matt?" Mello asked as Watari began cutting the cake. "I'm not saying, Mello. If I did, it wouldn't come true," Matt said.

"Did you wish that Ali would stay with us forever?" Mello asked as Matt nodded. Near sat on the couch next to Alice while L sat across from her, apparently deep in thought. Alice looked over at L; since that evening she came back, L has been, in a way, avoiding eye contact with her. Maybe it had something with the fact that they nearly kissed.

"Here's your slice of cake, Ali," Matt said, holding up a saucer with a medium-sized piece on it. Alice smiled and took it. "Thank you, Matt. It looks yummy." Mello held up a slice for L, but he refused it.

"What's wrong, L?" Mello asked, "It's not carrot cake…" L looked down at Mello then stood up.

"I'm just not hungry, Mello. I'll be in my office," he said leaving.

"That's a first…" Watari said, worried as Alice sighed. Matt sat in front of Alice.

"Ali, what's up with L? Do you know?"

"I don't know, Matt," she said before smiling, "Maybe he's thinking about what to give me for my birthday."

"Huh? Your birthday is coming up?"

"It's on Valentine's Day, Matt. In two weeks, I'll be 15."

"Wow, Ali! You'll be old!" Alice stopped for a moment as Near looked over at Matt.

"She's younger than L, Matt. He's the old one," Near said as Mello glared at Near.

"Don't talk bad about L, Near," the blonde said, eating a chunk from his slice of cake as Near sighed.

Later than evening, after the younger three had gone off to bed, Alice walked up to L's office and knocked. "Come in," she heard L say from behind the door. She opened the door and stepped in. L was sitting at his desk, facing away from the door, looking over piles of papers, "What is it, Alice?" She walked up to him.

"Why have you been avoiding eye contact with me, L?" He stopped shuffling the papers as Alice walked up behind him.

"Is it because of what almost happened that you won't look at me now? Are you that afraid of falling in love?"

"…Who ever said I was afraid of falling in love, Alice?" he asked quietly, "Besides, I have my reasons."

"What are they, L? Give me one good reason why you won't look at me." L didn't say anything as Alice sighed. "You don't have to say anything, L," she said, walking towards the door, "I understand." Once she was out of the room, L sighed. He looked down at the papers again; each page had an image of Alice on it. He couldn't explain why he felt like he did whenever she was nearby… maybe he was in love.

After much thought, roughly two weeks worth, L walked to Watari's office and knocked on the door. "Hmm? Come in," Watari said as L walked in, "Oh, L. What is it?" The teen sat down in front of his desk and sighed, "Watari, I don't know what's wrong with me… I can't seem to concentrate on anything."

"Really? Why is that?"

"All I can think about is Alice. Even ever she's nearby, my heart begins to race… do you think I'm sick?" Watari chuckled a little as L looked at him. "It seems like you're in love, L," the older man said, "And with Alice, no less." The teen sat there in shock for a moment.

"Oh, don't forget that today is Alice's birthday," Watari said, snapping L out of his stupor, "I hope you have something nice for her. She seems upset with you." L had completely forgotten that Alice hadn't spoken to him since Matt's birthday. He stood up and left Watari's office, looking for Alice.

"Blow out your candles, Ali!" Mello said as she blew out the 15 candles on her two layer cake.

"Thank you guys for the wonderful cake," she said, cutting it as L walked up behind her.

"Happy birthday, Alice," he said, softly as she looked up at him. He leaned over and whispered in her ear, "I have a very special gift for you. Come by my office later on today." She nodded as L walked away, somehow getting a big slice of cake.

Later that evening, Alice headed to L's office. She knocked on the door and walked in. "Hey, L?" she asked, closing the door behind her, "What did you get me for my birthday?" L looked at her for a moment before walking over to her. He stopped an inch away from her and stared into her eyes. Alice stared back, feeling her cheeks beginning to blush; she saw emotions behind L's eyes: love, confusion… and desire. The teen placed his hands on Alice's shoulders and pulled her into a kiss. Alice's eyes widened in shock for a moment before slowly closing and she began to kiss him back. So, she does love me back… he thought for a moment before allowing himself to enjoy the sensation the kiss brought. It wasn't long before the need to breathe separated them. As they stood in each other's arms, Alice laid her head on L's chest and L wrapped his arms around her.

"Alice… I love you…" he whispered, putting a hand on the back of her head.

"And I love you, L," she answered, smiling. He smelled like strawberries and she enjoyed it. L pulled away for a moment, earning a look from Alice. The dark-haired teen smiled at her before kissing her again, wrapping his arms around her to keep her close.