Summary: It's TK and Kari's senior year in high school and they take a surprise Thanksgiving trip to America where things get super complicated. It doesn't look good for TK and Kari's relationship when Kari decides to move back to America and have nothing to do with TK. Can their relationship survive the test of time or will Kari's stubbornness keep them apart forever?
Rated M for bad language and sexual content in future chapters.
THE FINAL STORY IN THE TK AND KARI TRILOGY!
(takes place after "Listen To Your Heart" and "You Save Me")
Hard to Love You
'Are You Happy Now'
(don't own Michelle Branch either)
"Kari you look beautiful!"
Kari smiled and whispered 'thank you,' and took one last good look around. Kari stood at the back of the most beautiful church she ever seen. She was wearing the most beautiful white dress ever designed. Every pew was filled, there had to be almost 500 people about to witness her happy day. Her heart pounded faster as she heard those famous notes every bride wants to hear. Kevin, her dad and her brother Tai appeared out of no where to escort her down the isle to the man that would soon become her husband.
Kari took one last deep breath and started walking down the long isle. She saw many friends and family standing, crying and some taking pictures as she walked by. Kari tried to keep her composure and her focus on the man she was about to marry. However, her eyes were starting to tear up and soon she couldn't tell who was standing at the alter waiting for her. Halfway down the isle, the pianist played a horrible wrong note and another and another and another and another...
Kari woke up from her dream to hear her alarm clock beeping. She sighed when she realized she never made it down the isle, again. This was not the first time Kari had this same dream. For the past few months, Kari had this dream at least once or twice a week. It always started and ended the same way. No matter how far she made it down the isle, she never saw the man she was about to marry. He was always there but he was only as a blurred figure in her dream.
She got up and out of bed and got ready for another day of school. Kari was now a senior at Odiaba High School. The holidays were around the corner and soon she would be graduating. Kari wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life after high school. Part of her wanted to move back to America and be a Nascar pit reporter like she had always dreamed of when she was younger. But the other part of her wanted to stay in Japan with her long time boyfriend, TK, and pursue a career in teaching. However, she was sure about one thing, she wanted to get married and have a family. The sooner, the happier she would be.
TK and Kari were still one of the most popular students at Odiaba High School. TK was the star of the basketball team and had several college offers to play basketball after high school. Kari was the captain of the cheerleading squad. Together, they were the stereotypical perfect high school couple.
TK was one of the tallest boys on the team and in the senior class. TK was also undecided about his future. He always dreamed of playing college basketball and hoped to make it to Japan's professional basketball league but that suddenly changed. Recently, TK realized his passion for writing but he wasn't sure if he wanted to give up basketball. He spent his spare time writing rough manuscripts of the adventures of the Digidestin.
Ken and Yolie graduated at the top of their class and were now freshman in college. Sometimes, they came back to Odiaba High School to visit their younger friends. Ken was majoring in criminal justice so he could one day be a detective. Yolie was only taking generals in college. All she wanted to be was a house wife and have a family. Yolie didn't know it but she wouldn't have to wait long. Ken already bought an engagement ring and was about to purpose.
Jake and Davis remained very good friends with TK and Kari. They still played basketball and started every game along side TK. Cody was now a sophomore in high school. He learned to trust Kari again and now they some what, kinda, sorta got along.
The group still walked to school together everyday. Most days, it was the only time Kari got to see TK. He never had much time to hang out anymore since he started working two jobs everyday after school. The only time Kari got to spend with TK was at school. He never told Kari why he worked two jobs, which always kinda made her worry. Kari knew TK would never cheat on her but there wasn't a day that went by when the thought crossed her mind.
"So are you excited for the game tonight TK?" Kari asked as she walked to school with the gang.
"Yeah, it should be a tough game," answered TK. He was tired after another late night at work.
"I heard the college scouts are gonna be there tonight to watch you TK," said David. Jake immediately elbowed him in the side.
"He wasn't suppose to know that idiot!" Jake whispered to him.
Kari giggled and patted TK on the back. She knew TK would play awesome tonight, just like he played every night. As soon as they got to school, they parted to their classes. Kari never saw TK much during school hours. TK loaded his class schedule with reading, writing and literature classes while Kari took mostly duel-credit classes, preparing herself for college.
As soon as school ended, TK rushed out of his seventh period class. He told Kari he had to work a couple hours before the basketball game tonight but secretly, he had some other place to be. Before he knew it, TK was running late for team stretching and warm ups.
Yolie decided to skip her afternoon classes and go home for a couple of hours. When she heard there was a basketball game at Odiaba High School, she was excited to go see her friends again. Yolie was leaving parent's apartment when she ran into TK in her old apartment lobby. She was shocked to see TK so close to game time.
"TK, shouldn't you be at the game?" Yolie asked him and looked at her phone again. The game started in 40 minutes.
"Yeah, I know! I still have to get my jersey and shit!" TK hurriedly replied. Yolie noticed him clutching something tightly in his hand. Her curiosity got the best of her.
"What's in your hand?" Yolie asked curiously.
"Nothing," he quickly answered as he quickly walked passed her.
"I can clearly see something. What is it?" Yolie asked.
"It's a box," said TK as he kept walking towards the elevator. Yolie followed him like a lost puppy dog. TK repeatedly pushed the up arrow, hoping the elevator would open immediately.
"What's in the box?" Yolie asked, clearly she was not going to leave without answers.
"Nothing!" TK answered aggravatedly. His frustration was clearly heard in his voice.
"Oh come on TK. There has to be something in there!" Yolie replied, her curiosity was exploding at the seams.
"No there isn't," TK said defensively, waiting for the elevator doors to open and help him escape from Yolie's unending questions.
"Just tell me!" Yolie begged him, looking him straight in the eye.
"Ugh... Ok, if you must know, it's an engagement ring for Kari!" TK yelled angrily. Suddenly the elevator dinged and the doors opened. He stepped inside and quickly pushed the fourth floor button. "There are you happy now? Now will you stop asking me questions so I can go get my stuff for my game?"
"Oh my goodness! You're gonna purpose to her?" Yolie squealed in excitement. She shoved her hand between the door, stopping the elevator from closing. Yolie felt bad for keeping TK late but she just had to know.
"No, I'm going to purpose to my other girlfriend!" TK sarcastically replied, he didn't have time for Yolie's questions.
"You're cheating on Kari?" Yolied asked shocked. She couldn't believe TK would even think about it.
"NO!" TK answered angrily, "yes I'm purposing to Kari!"
"Oh my gosh! When?" Yolie asked excitedly.
"Ugh... I'm not sure. Maybe sometime around graduation or this summer. I don't know but you can't tell her anything or I will seriously kill you!" TK threatened as he pushed her away. "Ok, I seriously have to go Yolie."
"Well that would explain why he worked two jobs" Yolie thought to herself as she watched the elevator doors close. She turned and started walking back to her old high school.
TK escaped before she couldn't ask anymore questions. He ran into his apartment and grabbed his things. TK ran all the back to the school and quickly change into his uniform. He made it back just in time to meet in the pre-game huddle. Odiaba was playing last year's championship team. It was going to be a very close game.
"Odiaba's down by one point and there is only a few seconds left on the clock! Takeru Takaishi has the ball. He dribbles left, he dribbles right picking off each defender! Only three seconds left on the clock, Takaishi shoots..." the announcer said as he stopped and waited to see if the ball would go in the hoop.
"He scores!" Another announcer exclaimed. "Odiaba wins!"
The students rushed the floor and celebrated with their victorious team. Kari ran to TK and gave him a big kiss on the lips. She was so proud of him. She was sure the college scouts would be impressed and offer him another college scholarship.
"I am so proud of you TK! I knew you would make that shot!" Kari told him.
"Thanks Kari," replied TK and gave her kiss. A tall man in a red polo and black pants walked up to TK. Kari realized this had to be the college scout Davis was referring to this morning.
"I should go, I'll call you later hun," said Kari and gave him a peck on the cheek.
Kari left as the college scout started talking to TK about his college plans. She went to go congratulate Davis and Jake. Kari didn't understand why college scouts didn't give them basketball scholarships. They were usually the teams top scorers behind TK yet they always got lost in TK's shadow. She felt bad for them because she knew they worked just as hard as TK.
"Good job guys! You did great tonight!" Kari said to the tired boys.
"Thanks Kari," they both replied.
"So what are you gonna do tonight?" Jake asked curiously, "I know of a great celebration party."
"I don't know. I think I'm gonna go home. It's been a long week." Kari answered, "so I'll see you guys later."
Kari gave the sweaty boys a hug and started walking home. As she walked home she wondered how college would effect her relationship with TK. She was still undecided which college she wanted to go to let alone what she wanted to major in. The whole college thing gave her a headache.
With Thanksgiving coming up in two weeks, she began to think about her plans for turkey day. TK and Kari always spent the day before Thanksgiving together. Each year, they alternated spending the day at each other's houses. This year Kari was going to spend Thanksgiving with TK and his family. She was excited for all the food they were going to devour, Nancy was an amazing cook. As Kari walked into her apartment, she saw her parents sitting on the couch watching TV.
"Kari! We're so glad you're home!" Karen said when Kari walked in the door.
"Did we win?" Kevin asked, glancing away from the newspaper.
"Yeah, we won." Kari said happily as she looked over at her mom. "Why, what's up?"
"We have good news!" Karen replied as she paused the tv.
"Grandma's gonna be ok?" Kari asked excitedly. Recently her grandmother became very ill. The doctors gave her a few months to live and it was only a matter of time before she passed away.
"Unfortunately no, but something came in the mail today!" Kevin answered and nodded to the stack of mail on the kitchen table.
Kari walked over to the table where the mail laid scattered on the table. Immediately she noticed an envelope addressed from America. Her parents had already opened it but she picked it up and saw a letter from her old boss, Rick Hendrick. Inside were two round trip tickets to America and two tickets to the final Nascar race of the season in Homestead, Florida.
"Are you guys going to Florida for the Homestead race?" Kari asked jealous she wouldn't be able to go.
"We would like to but since grandma is sick, we are going to spend Thanksgiving here in Japan with her," explained Karen. "But we don't want the tickets to go to waste so if you would want to go...you have our permission to skip this last Thanksgiving with grandma."
Kari was torn. She wanted to go back to America, see all her friends again and go to the races. But she also wanted to stay in Odiaba with her family and her grandma.
"I don't know what to do," Kari replied sadly.
If Kari wanted to go to America, she would only have a few days to decide. Her plane would be leaving Wednesday morning with or without her. She would spend her weekend in Florida, fly back to Charlotte to spend Thanksgiving with Rick Hendrick and several of the Nascar drivers, and then fly back to Japan before school started again the Monday after Thanksgiving. She would be gone about ten days.
"It's up to you Kari. We respect your decision if you want to go. We won't force to stay here." Kevin said encouragingly.
"You don't think grandma would be upset do you?" Kari asked, tempted to go to America.
"I don't know Kari," answered Karen.
"I kinda wanna go," Kari replied, ashamed she wanted to skip out on her grandmother's last Thanksgiving.
"We kinda figured you would," said Karen.
"Can TK come with me?" Kari asked curiously as she looked down at the two tickets in her hands.
Kevin and Karen looked at each other before either of them answered. They both knew TK and Kari were very responsible young adults but they didn't want to leave them alone without adult supervision.
"We'll see," Karen answered concerned.
A few seconds later Kari heard her phone ring. She reached into her purse to see who was calling her. When she saw it was TK calling she walked into her room and closed the door. Kari hated it when her parents ease dropped on their conversations.
"Hey TK!" Kari greeted him, "random question. Do you want to go to America with me?"