Disclaimer: Neon Genesis Evangelion belongs to Shinji Ikari. He was forced to take over the franchise, much like being forced to pilot Unit 01. It was easy to get his permission to take 100 percent of all profits. He is the biggest wimp in the universe if he doesn't have a giant robot to hide behind.

Okay, seriously, Evangelion doesn't belong to me. I have no money from them. They cankeep it all!

Author's Note: Yes, I know, I'm beginning to suck at updates. I've not managed to update while at university which is quite shambolic, really. Still, I'll update as much as possible while on this break of mine between semesters!

"You said WHAT to her?!" Toji cried over the phone.

This is my predicament and it is one of my own doing. I still don't quite understand why or how I managed to get myself into it but here I am, in a huge mess. "You heard right," I sighed over the phone.

"Okay, did you mean what you said?" Toji asked next.

"Um, maybe? I don't know," I replied sheepishly.

"What do you mean you don't know what you mean?! You have to know what you mean! You don't just say things like that for shits and giggles! You either mean it or you don't! Come on, man up!" Toji said. I could hear his mother in the background chastising him for swearing. I would have found that funny had my entire world not just flipped upside down with a slight tilt to the left. "Sorry mum," I heard Toji say.

"Well, let's just say I'm not too sure what to do," I pointed out.

"If I was in your situation then I wouldn't know what to do either," Toji agreed. "Didn't you ask her to organise your birthday party this Saturday as well?"

"Holy crap, yes," I muttered, adding a long and heavy sigh. "You know, nothing good is coming of this."

"Probably not. You don't have the balls to speak to her either. Maybe you should speak to a girl about this," Toji suggested. "Do you have Hikari's number? You could speak to her about it."

"I was thinking about speaking to Rei about it," I said.

"Uh, no offence, but I don't think Rei would provide the best advice when it comes to something like this."

"I don't know, she sometimes hands out a gem every now and then. I'll tell you what; I'll speak to the both of them."

"Sounds like a plan, Stan."

I called Hikari first to get her advice. To be honest, what I first heard wasn't so reassuring. "Shinji, that's so sweet!" she cried.

"It…is?" I asked.

"Sure, it's not every day a guy admits he likes a girl like that!" Hikari replied.

"Um, okay. Well, the circumstances were a little odd, let's say. I kind of yelled it out of nowhere then ran away afterwards," I said without thinking how much of a little dork I just sounded like having explained this.

"Oh. Well, that changes things a bit," Hikari said.

"Just a bit," I said.

"Did you mean what you said?" was her next question. Again with that questions. It wasn't helpful and it just made me think that I was in an even deeper mess. "I don't know," I replied honestly.

"How can you not know?! That's a pretty serious admission you made there!" Hikari cried. "You're toying with a girl's heart with stuff like that!"

"Don't think this isn't hard on me as well," I said quietly. "My brain's in 70 different places in once and I can't think straight for more than a second."

"Well, my best advice is just to speak to Asuka. It's not like you said anything bad to her. She just might think you're in love with her," Hikari said.

"That isn't the worst thing I guess. Oh well, thanks for everything Hikari."

"Don't mention it. And Shinji, seriously, speak to Asuka, okay?"

After placing the phone back in its cradle, I took a deep breath and tried to think things through. Had the circumstances been a little different, I don't know, maybe a quiet table for two, lit only by a candle, maybe that admission of mine would have gone down a little bit better. I'd have to omit the part about having dinner but that would pretty much have suited that situation. Still, it was far too late to be thinking about the 'what if' so I picked the phone up again and phoned Rei this time.

"Hello?" was the answer once the ringing had stopped.

"Hello there, is Rei there?" I said.

"Who's speaking?" asked who was presumably Rei's mother.

"Shinji Ikari, one of Rei's friends from school," I replied.

"Hello there! I'll just get her for you." I waited a short moment before I heard Rei's voice down on the other end. "Hello?"

"Hey Rei, it's Shinji."

"Hello Shinji. How are you?"

"I'm in a bit of a pickle."

"A pickle?"

"Yeah, involving something I said and Asuka."

"You said something about a pickle to Asuka?"

"No!" I cried, not remembering Rei's naivety towards figures of speech and expressions. "I'm in a bit of a pickle means I'm in a situation of some concern, or something like that."

"I see."

"Anyway, I was at the mall with Asuka in the food court and we bump into the new guy, Kaworu. He was with a few of his new lady friends and he smooth talks Asuka. This kind of annoys me when Asuka tells me that he knows how to speak to girls and that I should emulate him somehow. I then say to her and these are my exact words, 'Asuka, I think you're absolutely gorgeous and I would love it if we went to have dinner before seeing a movie on the Friday before my birthday. How does that sound?' I then proceeded to run away."

"My, that is a bit of a pickle," Rei said, sounding genuinely concerned in a Rei kind of way.

"I was wondering whether you have any words of wisdom for this situation so I kind try and uh, get myself out of this mess."

"It's not a situation that I am familiar with but what I would do is take a walk on my own, preferably somewhere quiet to think things through by myself. Then confront whatever needs to be confronted after thinking long and hard about it."

"You know, that's the best advice I've had today."


"Yeah, really. Thanks Rei."

After finishing that conversation I headed outside and went for a walk through the streets of Tokyo-3 suburbia, albeit the upper class variety. It was very quiet considering that evening was slowing casting its shadow over the neighbourhood. It was kind of cathartic in a way and I'm glad Rei suggested taking a walk. I eventually made it to the park and sat down on a bench which made for some good thinking time for myself. So here I was in this mess, not knowing what to do. The only real option it seemed was to speak to Asuka directly about it. There was no way around it and I had to do it sooner rather than later.

"Oh, hello Shinji."

I glanced to my right to see the person I least wanted to see at this moment in time. Kaworu Nagisa, possibly the source of all my woes and if not the source, then the person who had driven me to them. "Hey Kaworu," I said, trying to make it clear that I wanted to be left alone at the moment.

"Your mind must be in a mess," Kaworu said as he took a seat next to me, exactly the thing I didn't want him to do. "Those things you said, they would have been incredibly touching, had you meant them."

"Well, I don't know whether I meant them or not and now I'm in this situation," I said.

"The way to a girl's heart is always uncertain," Kaworu noted.

"Looks like you have it all figured out," I muttered.

"Maybe, maybe not," Kaworu said. "But I guess I acted inappropriately with Asuka."

"You're a man for the ladies. It's to be expected," I said.

Kaworu laughed and said, "Yeah, I guess you could say that. Still, there's more to life than girls. There's music."

"You're a music fan?"

"Musician. I play the violin."

"Oh? I play cello."

"Ah, a fellow musician," Kaworu said with a smile. "Have you ever thought about playing for the Tokyo-3 Youth Symphony Orchestra?"

"Tokyo-3 has a youth symphony orchestra?" I asked.

"I'll take that as a no," Kaworu said with a chuckle. "I'm applying for an audition tomorrow. You should come too."

"I guess…I could," I said. "I don't know if I'd be good enough."

"You know, something just tells me that you'd be good enough," Kaworu said. "Are you the kind of cello player who likes just playing the continuo parts of a Bach cantata?"

"Hell no. Do you have any idea how boring continuo playing is?"

"There you go. You enjoy expressing yourself on the cello, rather than being just part of the accompaniment. You'd get in with no hassle at all," Kaworu said with a smile.

You know, I didn't figure Kaworu as a guy who could use his sweet talking skills in any situation. Then again, he may have even been sincere about it. "I guess I could give it a shot," I said. Was I falling into a trap? Was I being lulled into a false sense of security? "Well, I'm going practise my recital at lunchtime. Maybe you'll join me?"

"Maybe I will," I said.

"There. Anyway, we went off topic for a moment. You're wondering what to do about Asuka, aren't you?" Kaworu asked.

"Just a bit," I muttered. "You saw everything, right? I never thought I'd managed to cause such a debacle."

"All is not lost. Maybe she's just wondering why you ran away," Kaworu said.

"Maybe because I made a bloody fool of myself? Come on," I said.

"Not really. All you did was compliment her and ask her out to dinner and a movie," Kaworu noted. "Not much wrong with that, I think."

"Hey…you're right…" I said. "I didn't really say anything wrong. It was just the situation and the circumstances in which I said it but then again, it isn't anything wrong, right?"

"Nothing wrong from what I see. Running away perhaps but maybe you promised to do something for your mother. Walk the dog, perhaps?" Kaworu suggested.

"I don't have a dog, but if worst comes to worst, I'll just tell her the truth," I said.

"Sometimes the truth is the best option," Kaworu agreed.

I felt there was something more to Kaworu now rather than just a one dimensional womaniser. He seemed to be able to think things through and offer real insight. He also seemed to enjoy the same kind of music I enjoyed, being a fellow string player and the suggestion of playing in Tokyo-3's very own youth symphony orchestra was quite an excitement for me, having never had much orchestra experience outside of the Academy.

"I guess I should go speak to her then," I said.

"By phone, instant messaging or dare I say it, text message?" Kaworu inquired with a smile.

I chuckled quietly before saying, "Nah, I might do it the old fashioned way and visit her at her house. I've never been to her house either so it might be a little adventure."

"Old fashioned way, huh? Good luck to you sir," Kaworu said.

"By the way, how did you end up working your magic on three girls at once?" I asked.

"Actually, I was on my own, exploring the mall. I bumped into them. Turns out they were from the music and drama club, asking me if I wanted to join the school's orchestra signed me up for an audition for the Tokyo-3 Youth Symphony Orchestra," Kaworu replied. "So really, there was no womanising at work. And it's usually girls who do most of the work in school clubs anyway."

"Oh, I see," I said, having gauged Kaworu very, very wrongly. "I guess I should apologise for thinking that you were a sleazy nut-job."

"It's okay. I gave off the wrong impression speaking to Asuka like that anyway. If I had known she meant that much to you, then I would have certainly have been more amicable," Kaworu said.

"Uh…meant that much to me? I guess so…we've not been friends for very long," I murmured.

"The best relationships are sometimes formed in the space of seconds," Kaworu noted. "Anyway, it's getting dark. Maybe you should hurry on."

"I guess I should. I'm almost 17 so my parents won't mind me coming home a little bit later than usual."

"Fair enough I guess. Anyway, I shall see you later, Shinji," Kaworu said.

"Sure thing," I said, getting up to leave. "Oh, and Kaworu."



With those words, I headed towards the train station while calling home to tell them I would be home a little bit later. "Hello?" was the answer on the other end. It was my father, so I was expecting a quick snappy phone call.

"Uh, hi dad. Listen, I'm going to Asuka's house so I won't be home until later," I said.

"Have you done your homework?" my father inquired.

That caught me completely off-guard. Usually he just grunted in agreement and hung up. "Uh, no," I replied.

"I've been speaking to Dr Akagi, Mr Hyuga, Mr Aoba and Miss Ibuki and they all say you've been handing in your homework late on repeated occasions recently. I must say, it's quite disappointing."

I couldn't believe it. My father was actually expressing disappointment in me. I was actually happy that he was giving an opinion on something I had done. "Well, uh, I know I've been a bit slack about work recently but it's because my birthday's coming up. I'll rectify it as soon as it's passed. I'll tell you what, as soon as I get back from Asuka's, I'll do my maths, English, Japanese literature, history, physics, biology, chemistry and music homework," I said.

"You mean every bit of homework you were planning to give in late?" my father asked me.

"Um, yeah. But still, I really have to speak to Asuka so I'll be back later, okay?" I said.

"Woman troubles?" my dad asked with a sudden change of tone.

"Something like that. Since when were you interested?" I replied.

"I don't know. There's nothing good on TV."

I laughed and said, "I see. Speaking to your son instead for some entertainment."

"Well, if you're off to see a girl at her house, remember to be nice to her parents. Pay your compliments and smile. Then you'll pass off as good husband material to the parents," my dad said.

"Dad!" I cried. "I'm only turning 17 this weekend. Let's not talk about marriage!"

"That's true. I would be a bit annoyed if you got married at this age. Could you at least wait until you've finished university?"

"I've not even thought about university!" I cried.

"Well, you should. It's not too long until entrance exams for you. Where do you want to apply?"

By this time I had paid for my ticket and gotten on the train. This is surely the longest conversation I have ever had with my father, ever. "I don't know. Maybe Kyoto?"

"How about somewhere close to home, like Tokyo University?"

"Do you know how hard it is to get into Toudai, dad?" I cried.

"Well, your mother and I managed it. I'm sure our genes are in you, son," my dad said.

"It'll take more than genes to get me through the entrance exams," I pointed out. "Anyway, I'd rather not think about serious stuff with my birthday coming up and all," I said.

"Right, fair enough. I should probably go. Your mother is yelling something at me."

"Sure. And dad. Thanks for talking. Maybe we should do it more often."

"If the TV breaks I'll consider it."

I laughed and said, "Bye dad." I hung up and waited for the train to get me to Asuka's place. She lived on the outskirts of the city so it would be about twenty minutes on the train. Still, I had my iPod and the conversation with my father left me in good spirits which was odd. I wondered whether he was capable of acting like a real father since I was very little but turns out he can. Shame it took nearly 17 years for me to discover that.

Soon, I got off the train and walked through the very suburban environment Asuka lived in. The houses here were all huge and put the top floor penthouse we lived in to shame. They all had huge gardens, walls, gates and some had swimming pools from what I could discern. I guess there was a reason why Asuka went to the most expensive and prestigious school in Tokyo-3 if she lived in a house like the ones I was seeing here. I walked down to number 8 which was the biggest of all the ones on this street. Their driveway was shielded by a huge, imposing iron fence. I even had to call on the intercom to get anywhere near their front door. I took a deep breath and pressed on the button, hoping for some reason that it wouldn't be Asuka who answered.

"Hello?" was the reply, thankfully from a male voice.

"Hi there. I'm Shinji Ikari, one of Asuka's friends from school. Do you mind if I come in to speak to her?" I said as politely as I could.

"Ah, sure thing. Come on in, I'll open the gate. Watch the dogs; they get frisky with new visitors."

"Dogs…?" I thought out loud as the gate opened in front of me. I walked in cautiously, on the look out for these dogs I was warned of but after a while I saw nothing. Confident there was no danger, I walked on. As I was about the reach the front door, out of nowhere, three German Shepherds appeared from around the corner, barking like crazy. "Holy crap," I muttered as I was literally tackled to the ground by the three huge dogs. They then proceeded to lick my face crazily. I guess by frisky, overly excited at someone new was implied. "Hey! Get off him!" I heard the same man from the intercom yell. After the dogs were forcibly removed from me, I took a look at the man and immediately took him to be Asuka's father from his European appearance. Come to think of it, his Japanese had an accent as well.

"Sorry about the dogs. They get far too excited when we have new people around," said Asuka's father as he extended a hand my way. I took it and was helped to me feet, although my face was still caked with dog saliva. "Come on in, we'll get you cleaned up."

I followed him into the house and was greeted to a large open lobby with a staircase up to the second level. "Welcome to our residence, Shinji. My name is Dieter Langley and as you've guessed, I'm Asuka's father. You're probably looking for a bathroom. Straight on to the left and it's the first door you meet."

"Thank you, Mr Langley," I said, remembering what my dad said and bowing slightly.

"Cut it with the Mr Langley and the bowing. Call me Dieter. Any friend of any of my family is my friend, Shinji," Asuka's father said with a smile.

I got myself cleaned up and emerged fresh faced. "Now, Asuka is currently on the phone to her friend Hikari at the moment and has been for a while now. You know what girls are like," Dieter chuckled.

"Tell me about it," I said in agreement.

"Is this Asuka's friend?" asked who was presumably Asuka's mother, currently emerging from the kitchen.

"Yes dear. His name is Shinji Ikari," Dieter said.

"Pleased to meet you Shinji. I'm Kyoko," she said, extended her hand. Asuka's mother was definitely more Japanese but she bore a resemblance to Asuka in her appearance being sort of European. "Pleased to meet you too," I said with a smile and a bow, trying to make a good first impression. To be honest, I hadn't actually been expecting to meet her parents like this. I thought it would be a quick hello and goodbye job, not a full on introduction.

"Say, Shinji, are you doing anything later this evening?" Dieter asked.

"Um, besides homework, no," I replied.

"Well how about you join us for dinner?" Kyoko said with a smile.

"Dinner? I don't know…" I said, suddenly feeling unsure about this situation.

"Oh come on! It's the least we could do for letting our dogs attack you like that!" Dieter said with a laugh. "I'm sure Asuka would love that."

"I'm sure she would," I said through gritted teeth. Asuka's parents were incredibly nice people and her father was the complete opposite of mine. I almost thought they were too nice. I guess having a lot of money and a family does make you pretty happy in some cases.

"Dad! Mum! I'm done on the phone!" I heard Asuka cry from upstairs.

"Okay Asuka! By the way, your friend Shinji is here!" Dieter yelled back.

"Really? Okay, I'll be down in a second," Asuka said. I gulped after hearing that. I was kind of expecting her to be a bit less full on. Maybe a little more apprehensive like I had been? Then again, I guess Asuka never seems to have fear for anything. I did think I had done well though, mustering enough courage to speak directly to her. She soon emerged dressed quite casually in a loose t-shirt and some shorts. I guess it was summer and people were making quite an effort to stay cool. "Hey Shinji," Asuka said.

"Um, hi Asuka. I was meaning to speak to you today about uh, that incident in the mall," I said, knowing that her parents were right there.

"Oh, right. That," Asuka said. She then turned to her parents and kind of moved her head as if to tell them to go. "Oh right, you kids want to speak in private. Okay, then. Just to let you know Shinji's staying for dinner," Dieter said.

"Well, I haven't really decided yet," I said with a nervous laugh.

"We'll let you ponder it, Shinji," Kyoko said before Asuka's parents left.

So then it was just Asuka and I, on our own. Wow, I really hadn't thought this through at all. "So, first time at my place, huh?" Asuka asked.

"Yeah, it's really nice," I said, not knowing what else to say.

"You don't have a garden right? You should come and see ours!" Asuka said, leading me out. If this wasn't avoiding the topic at hand, I don't know what was. I followed her out and as expected, the back garden was both large and incredibly pleasant. There was even a hot tub which would have been a nice party piece. "It's great," I said.

"Yup. Kind of reminds me of the house in Germany," Asuka said.

"You have a house in Germany as well?" I asked.

"It's more like a holiday home I guess," Asuka replied. "About what you said in the mall."

"Yeah, about that…"

"Will 7 o'clock do for dinner? If we want to see a movie, then we'd have to eat then to catch the latest showings," Asuka said.

"I know what I said was…wait…did you say…dinner at 7?" I asked with a sense of trepidation.

"It would be the most logical choice. I mean, if we go for three courses then it could be more than 2 hours in there, especially the way we babble on," Asuka answered.

"Well, okay," I said. This was a crisis there didn't actually need to be adverted which was a huge relief. It was evident on my face as well. "And Shinji, don't worry about it. Running off in the mall…I guess you were nervous right?" Asuka asked.

"Just a bit. I thought I messed up somehow," I said. "Funny story, I bumped into Kaworu on the way here. Turns out he's a real cool guy."

"Oh really?"

"And those girls were from the school's music and drama club asking him to join the school orchestra," I added.

"You get worked up so easily. You really are an idiot," Asuka said with a laughed.

"Hey, this idiot is taking you out for dinner," I said.

"That's true," Asuka said. "Any, after my parents give you dinner how about we get the hot tub going?"

"Uh…I kind of promised to be home in time to do homework," I said feebly.

"Wait one second," Asuka said before running off.

I stood there in the garden, admiring the hedges for about five minutes until Asuka returned. "We're scrapping dinner," she said.

"Oh, that's a shame," I noted, feeling slightly disappointed as well.

"Instead, we're having a barbeque and your parents agreed to come along having been invited by mine," Asuka said with a smile.

"You what?! Oh my god Asuka, you never cease to amaze me! How the hell did you manage that?" I cried, absolutely stunned by what she had just pulled off, namely getting me away from doing homework by inviting by parents.

"Don't thank me. Thank my parents. When it comes to hospitality, they seem to be able to do anything. I learned most of my party planning from my parents," Asuka said with a smile. "Anyway, I'm going to change into something a bit less casual. You can come inside you know. We're not forcing you to stay outside."

"Sure thing," I said, elated by the current turn of events. I don't know how Asuka's very upbeat parents would respond to my father's very stern appearance but I guess he can loosen up when he choose and having my mother there would help as well.

I went back inside the house to find Asuka's parents running in and out of the kitchen preparing for the impromptu barbeque. I wondered how they would feel if I told them Asuka was doing this to get me out of homework and stay here longer. I smiled to myself at the prospect and offered my services to assist the couple in any way. I had to take large amounts of food and beverages outside but I didn't mind. Helping in any way would give a good impression to them I guess. "Good to see you're making yourself useful!" Asuka chuckled from behind me. I placed the sauces on the table outside and turned to face Asuka who had dressed herself very nicely. This was the first time she would be meeting my parents as well so she got herself into a smart shirt and jumper combination as well as a skirt that went down to her knees. "Nice to see you're looking nice," I said to her.

"You think? I went for simple and functional," Asuka said, looking down at her clothes.

"It's fine. My parents don't really give too much to appearances. You've seen how I dress sometimes," I said.

"Yeah, horrifically," Asuka noted.

"Okay, I wasn't expecting that," I said with an unimpressed look.

"Your buttons are easy to push as always," Asuka chuckled. "How long will your parents be?"

"They are coming from the centre of the city. Give them at least another ten minutes," I said.

"Good. That gives us some time alone," Asuka said.

"What?" I asked before I was forcefully dragged by the arm by Asuka. She pulled me deeper into the yard towards what appeared to be three kennels. "Have you met our three dogs?" Asuka asked.

"Yes. They attacked me with a serious licking when I first arrived," I muttered.

"Haha! That must mean they definitely like you!" Asuka chuckled. She then whistled and out came the three dogs again. "Here boys, come to mummy!" Asuka said, petting the dogs. "Aren't they beautiful?"

"They sure are majestic dogs," I agreed, liking the view of them not on top of me.

"This is Beethoven, this is Bach and this is Mozart," Asuka said. "My dad loves his German composers, you see."

"So do I," I laughed. "Mind if I pet them too?"

"Sure, go for it," Asuka said. "I love these dogs. They're like little, hyperactive brothers to me."

"They sure are hyperactive, that's for sure," I agreed. "German Shepherds as well."

"My dad does enjoy showing his heritage, even if he is part American as well," Asuka chuckled. "Born and bred in Germany though."

"That gives you quite a mixed background," I noted.

"I'm a mongrel of sorts but it doesn't seem to deter you," Asuka said.

"Nah. I don't even know why I speak to you," I said sarcastically.

"Idiot!" Asuka cried who at that point literally tackled me to the ground.

I opened my eyes after hitting the deck to see Asuka on top of me. "Don't diss me again Ikari!" she said before tapping my nose with her finger and getting up off of me. I was quite surprised by her reaction but then again this was the unpredictable Asuka I was dealing with here. I got to my feet and smiled, happy that things weren't half as bad as I thought they were. At that moment, my parents had arrived, bringing an expensive bottle of wine as a gift, ironically one of the bottles that we had gotten Kaji to replace after our experiments with alcohol and my parents were none the wiser which was a relief.

The barbeque was going really well with my parents really getting on with Asuka's, even my father which was a pleasant surprise. It is impossible to not get on with my mother so she went down like a bomb with Asuka's parents as well. The hours went by and we had many a conversation about school, work, recent events and the 'Fuyutsuki takedown'. I even got into a conversation about classical music with Asuka's father. By about ten o'clock, the adults had worked their way through a fair amount of alcohol which meant only one thing. "Hey Gendo, do you mind if Shinji tries some of this beer?" Dieter asked.

"Sure, go for it. He's old enough to try," my dad said.

"Honey, are you sure?" my mother asked.

"He's nearly 17. Let the boy have some beer," my dad insisted.

"Shinji, this is called Kellarbier. It's a personal favourite of mine from Germany," Dieter said, handing me a big glass of it. "I have this stuff imported in." I took a sip and found the taste odd at first but then I began to enjoy it a bit. "It's good," I said, drinking a bit more.

"The only thing that comes close to me is the beer in the UK. Not lager but the real ales. I would let you try some if I had any," Dieter said. "Your father quite enjoys Kellarbier too."

"It is to my taste," my dad said, raising his glass.

By that point, Asuka had gotten her hands on some wine and by 11 o'clock that night, trying beer had turned into a few full glasses which my parents made no complaint about and Asuka had consumed most of a bottle of wine which her parents seemed fine about as well. I guess when they're here to watch over us, they don't mind us drinking at all. Still, not good to make a habit of this. "It's getting late," my dad noted. "But there's no way I'm driving back after drinking this much."

"You're more than welcome to stay the night. I can have Shinji driven to school in the morning," Dieter said.

"Thank you very much Dieter, you're a lifesaver," my mother said. "We'll invite you around to our home soon, we promise."

"Don't feel obliged; it was lovely having you around," Kyoko said with a smile. "Anyway, shall we head back inside?"

"Yes, I think we shall," my father said.

"Mum, mum! I'm going to get the hot tub fired up," Asuka said.

"Sure thing honey. Don't stay up too late, you have school tomorrow," said Kyoko.

Asuka literally ran across to the hot tub and lifted the cover off of it before getting it going. "I'm going to get changed into a swimsuit!" Asuka said. "Be right back!"

"Wait! I don't have any swimwear!" I said.

"Oh? Well, I'll steal some of my dad's for you!" Asuka said.

"Asuka, that isn't a good idea!" I yelled but by then she was gone. She returned quickly, having not changed with a set of swimming shorts in her hands. "He doesn't mind you using them. Don't worry, these are new," Asuka said before running off again. I made my way to the ground floor bathroom toilet to change and waited outside for Asuka by the hot tub. The summer nights were really warm and it still seemed like the middle of the day despite the clear night sky above me. I was wondering how this day got so good so quickly. Maybe Asuka was more understanding than I thought. I don't know. Maybe I had just been lucky.

"Well Mr Ikari, what do you think?!" Asuka asked. I looked her way and found her in that black bikini she bought today. "Wow," was all I managed to say.

"That's nice of you Shinji!" Asuka said. "Now into the hot tub we go!" She grabbed my arms and literally made us jump into it which wasn't the wisest thing to do as I banged by shin of one of the sides. "Ouch! That hurt!" I muttered.

"Oh come on! Man up Shinji! I've jumped into this hundreds of times and never once gotten hurt!" Asuka said.

"Well, I'm not you," I pointed out.

"That's true. Nobody comes close to me!" Asuka said with a laugh.

"Humility runs deep in your personality," I said sarcastically.

"Shut up, you!" Asuka said, splashing water in my face.

"Ah, stop it! Can't you see I'm in pain?!" I cried, attempting feebly to splash with my left hand while my right clutched my throbbing shin.

"Idiot! Like a care!" Asuka said, continuing to splash water at me.

After a continued assault, I waved my hands in defeat before sitting back in the seat of the hot tub, simply relaxing in the bubbling heat. Surprisingly, Asuka scooted over and rested her head on my chest. "Hey Shinji," she said, looking up towards me.

"Yeah?" I asked, getting pretty nervous with Asuka in such close proximity to me.

"When you said I was gorgeous…did you…mean it?" Asuka asked.

That was a very good question. I had said on the phone earlier today that I wasn't sure whether I meant it or not but now I really had to answer this question. My heartbeat quickened and with Asuka where she was I'm sure she heard it. Considering that she had taken me up on dinner and the movie, I guess my request was sincere which meant the compliment was as well. "Yes Asuka. I meant it. I really did. You're gorgeous," I said, trying to work some of that Kaworu sweet talking.

Asuka didn't reply with words but instead kissed me which was unexpected. At this point my heartbeat stopped completely but I didn't care. This girl who I had only really known for about a month was here, kissing me in the blissful summer night in a hot tub. I'm sure we've done that before but this time neither of us was stupidly drunk and all sentiments were real. Sure, we had had a bit to drink but that really didn't have any bearing over what was happening now.

After a minute, I'm sure this was classed as making out as we continued the embrace and I loved every single second of it. Soon our lips parted and Asuka looked up to me and smiled. "You're an idiot Shinji, but I like you," she said. It was an odd admission of affection but I'd accept it happily if it came from Asuka. "I'm an idiot, but I like you too," I said with a smile.

"You know, I was hoping this would happen sooner," Asuka said.

That was a surprise. "Really?" I asked.

"Remember the day Fuyutsuki got arrested? I was speaking to you about something I wanted to tell you but Misato phoned and interrupted the conversation," Asuka said.

"Yeah, I remember," I said.

"I was about to say to you that I liked you," Asuka said. "And that we should go out for dinner and a movie."

"I can't believe it," I said.

"That's right. I liked you even before now you idiot. You happy?" Asuka asked.

"How could I not be?" I laughed.

And as we kissed again, I wondered how odd a day I just had. It went from catastrophically bad to absolutely perfect. You know, I'd happily have every day of my life to be like this if it ended this way.

Author's Note: Yes, Shinji and Asuka do get together. I was planning to do it a lot later but I guess it felt right to do it here. This is a personal best for me, holding it off until chapeter 12! I usually only get to about number 5 or 6 until it happens! Anyway, I shall be working furiously to get an update out within the week. Now THAT is a tall order. Until the next time!