Author's note: This chapter contains some fluff and flashbacks. Also, I re-wrote this whole chapter last night, so it may contain tome errors.

Chapter 3: Amanda

That evening, Kimiko passed Amanda's room and heared the faint sound of music... she stopped to listen... It was faint, and she couldn't quite hear... The music cut off, and the doorway flap was thrown open.

"Yes? What is it, Kimiko?" Amanda asked.

"Um- I- Uh..." Kimiko began embarrassedly. Kimiko noticed that Amanda's eyes were a red and swollen, as if she had been crying. "Well, I was just passing by."

"It's alright, I'm sorry if my music was too loud," she apologized. "Do you want to come in?"

Amanda led Kimiko into the room, which was pretty much bare, save the mat that served as a bed on the floor and a few things scattered around.

A small, beautiful music box caught Kimiko's eye. "Ooh, how pretty!" she said, picking it up carefully.

Amanda's eyes widened as she noticed what Kimiko held. "Oh, thank you."

"Where did you get it?" she asked, folding her legs beneath her and studying it.

"Oh..." her face went pink. "A boy."

Kimiko smiled at her, glad to have found a connection between them. Girl-talk was one thing she'd missed since she'd joined the temple. "Really? He must really like you!"

Amanda sat down opposite her, blushing. "I thought he did, but... I lost touch with him a long time ago."

"Oh," said Kimiko apologetically.

"I bumped into him recently, though. He didn't recognize me."

"Really? He sounds like a jerk to me," Kimiko said, taking a stand for Amanda.

"Oh, but he isn't- wasn't! He was so sweet, and funny, and romantic!"

Kimiko noticed how Amanda glowed when she talked about him. She had it bad. "Tell me about him," she said, smiling and setting down the music box.

"Well, we met while my mom and I were on vacation. We were in Florida..." she was swept back into her memories. "I was alone, because mom was with her boyfriend, and I was reading a book... and then, he came running by."

Kimiko was smiling serenely. He sounded like a hunk...

"He tripped and fell right in front of me."

Or not.

"What?" Kimiko exclaimed.

Amanda giggled, blushing. "Hahaha, he tripped over a kid's sandcastle and fell face-first into the sand. That's how we met."

Kimiko thought he sounded like a dorky clutz, but didn't say so.

"He was embarrassed..."

The pale, red-haired boy got up on his knees, spitting out sand and wiping himself off embarassedly. Amanda had her feet pulled under her and was looking at him worriedly.

"Are you alright?"

He looked up at her, his eyes full of sand. "Owowowowowoww! I can't seeeee!"

"Oh my gosh! Here, hold my hand. I'll take you to the restrooms."

Once he emmerged from the mens' restroom, she asked him if he was alright. She noticed that he had rinsed out his eyes, and was amazed to find that they were a deep scarlet.

He was really embarrassed, still. "Yeah... um, thanks for the help." He started to walk away, leaving her watching after him, when he turned around suddenly and asked, "Hey, do you want to uh, get a soda or something?"

Amanda paused in her story, smiling and completely lost in the past.

Kimiko broke the silence when she asked, "So did you say yes?"

"Yeah," replied Amanda, snapping our of her reverie. "He treated me and said it was a thank-you. Then, we got to talking, and we walked along the shore and looked for seashells. The next day, we met up again and we played volleyball..."

"Hey," he called out, throwing a volleyball up in his hand and catching it. He wore a big smile. "Want to play some one-on-one?"

She giggled. He lit up.

"Sure," she said, "but I'm not very good."

"That's okay," he assured. "I'll go easy on you."

Amanda giggled, remembering how she'd beat him. "He lost."

Kimiko laughed. "He sounds kind of braggy."

"Well, he was, yeah," Amanda explained, "but it was cute."

"What happened after that?" Kimiko asked, now wrapped up in Amanda's story.

"Well, we kept meeting up for the next few days, and we had alot of fun. Then, it was my last day there, and I had to go home." Her eyes became sad. "He knew it was my last day, so that night, we told me to met him on the beach. I did, and he told me to close my eyes. He took my hands and led me through the sand..."

She felt the sand between her toes as he gently pulled her along. His hands were soft and cool, and her heart pounded.

"Okay," he said.

She opened her eyes to find him speaking into a cell phone.

"Now!" he said, then looked out over the dark water expectantly.

Her eyes went wide as a spiral of light seemed to come out of the water itself. She watched it swirl into the air, and then explode into a fireball of colors and light. Fireworks!

He watched her face light up, and smiled in triumph, closing the phone.

She watched in wonder, allowing the boy to pull her down to sit on a soft sheet that had been laid on the sand.

She gasped at a particularly magnificent display of shapes in the sky, and blushed as a large red heart formed in the sparkling mass. Shyly, she laid her head on his shoulder.

He wrapped his arm around her and laid his hand on her hip. They sat like that until the show was over...

'How romantic,' thought Kimiko, smiling.

"He walked me home, hand in hand," she went on, smiling serenely.

"Did he kiss you?" Kimiko asked shamelessly, dying to know.

Amanda went red, then nodded.

Kimiko squeeled in glee.

"It was my first kiss..." Amanda admitted, smiling embarassedly.

"Knock, knock!" a voice interrupted from the doorway. Raimundo opened the flap and stepped inside, followed by Omi and Clay.

"What is above us, my friends?!" Omi cried excitedly.

"That's 'what's up'." Amanda informs him, smiling, face red with embarrassement. Had they heard anything...?

The boys looked around, and Raimundo's eyes rested on the music box that set beside Kimiko, who said aggrivatedly, "Do you guys mind?!"

He plucked it off the ground, then tossed it in the air one-handed, opening his mouth to ask what it was, and then he was flat on his back staring up at an angry Amanda with the thing in her right hand and her left hand balled in a fist.

"If you break this, I break you, Raimundo." Amanda said in a deadly whisper.

"What in tarnation...?" Clay asked blinking, his blue eyes wide under his hat.

The others were just as dumbstruck. Amanda blinked, looked around, and realized that everyone was now staring at her. Her face paled and her eyes widened as she looked down and suddenly realized what she had done.

"Raimundo! Are you alright?!" she cried urgently. The others looked on in amazement as she reached her hand down to help him up. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to- I mean- I'm sorry!" She was near tears as he clutched her hand confusedly, rubbing the back of his bumped head as she helped him to his feet.

"What was that all about?" he asked.

"I don't... I thought you were going to break this..." she said, ashamedly, carefully wrapping the thing in two hands. "What is it?" he asked, wondering why it was so important.

"None of your business, Rai," Kimiko cut in, saving Amanda.

"So, um, what did you guys need?" Amanda asked, changing the subject abruptly, her face going pink.

"Oh... right," Clay said shaking his head to clear it.

"New friend Amanda! We have come to 'hang in' with you, and-"

"Hang out," Kimiko interrupted. The boys all sat.

"Correct. As I was saying, we have come to-"

"Ask you a few questions," Raimundo interrupted, frowning.

"Um, okay... Why?" she asked, sitting down upon the floor once again, feeling as though in front of a crowd as the others all watched her.

"Let's just say we haven't had the best of luck with new students," Raimundo answered.

"And besides," Clay added, "we'll be workin' with each other fer a while."

"Alright. What did you want to ask?"

Raimundo opened his mouth- "I'll start," Kimiko said. "Not to be rude or anything, but what's up with your mom?" "Oh... well... she's not my real mom," Amanda answered.

"That explains the lack of family resemblance," Raimundo joked.

"What do you mean by this?" Omi asked.

"My parents died a long time ago," Amanda answered. "She's my foster mother. When I was orphaned, I became her responsibility. We share the same last name because she adopted me."

"I am an orphan, too! Did you ever know your parents? What was your original last name?" Omi asked excitedly.

"My mother's name was Song. I don't remember her, or my father. My last name- I'm not sure." She looked down. "Anything else?"

"How did you find out about this place?" Raimundo asked.

"A letter."

"From who? Master Fung?"

"No. It didn't have a name on it."

"Weird," said Kimiko.

"Hey guys, " came another voice from the doorway. It was Dojo. "Could you keep it down? How's a dragon supposed to get his beauty rest with you guys around?"

"Sorry, Dojo!" Amanda said apologetically. "It's my fault. I thought we should get to know each other better. Sorry for keeping you guys up, too," she said, standing.

"Well, you're new, so I'll let it slide this time," he said in a fake tough-guy act, smiling.

"Thanks, Dojo," she said smiling as he turned tail and headed off down the hall. "You guys better get going," she said quietly.

They all stood.

"Thanks for taking the rap, Amanda!"

"Yeah, thanks," added Clay, tipping his hat.

"No problem," she said, winking, "and thank you, Kimiko, for earlier!"


Author's Recap: More is revealed about Amanda's past, and what's up with that myseterious letter that led her to the temple in the first place? Will Raimundo reveal what he saw in her house? And who's this mystery boy Amanda tells Kimiko about? Muahahahaha, you'll have to wait 'till later to find out!