Chapter One- Surprise?
"Koki!" I called, seeing my friend down the hall.
"Tanpopo?" He turned around. "What's up?"
"It's Tsuki. She's in trouble!"
"But, I'm...I can't..." Koki stepped back for me to see her standing there. Erika. Koki's fiancee.
"Oh. Hello Erika." I greeted her warmly, but she gave me an evil look, and suddenly latched on to Koki's arm.
"Tanpopo, Koki's busy. Too busy with grown-up things. He's not interested in playing your childish little games."
'Childish? How could she stand there and say that to me? Our friend is in trouble this is NOT a game!' I thought to myself. I couldn't say something like that to her. She's very important to Koki so I mustn't do or say anything to make him hate me.
"R-right." I stuttered a bit before speaking clearly again. "Well, I'll go fix it myself." I bowed, then went to help Tsukiko.
"That was rude Erika." Koki told his fiancee.
"Well, I'm not letting that brat have you all to herself! I mean, we're engaged, you should be with me." Erika replied smiling in spite of herself.
- - - - - - -
"Tsuki, are you okay?!" I yelled from outside. I was at her house now, banging on the door as hard as I could.
Suddenly the door opened.
"SURPRISE!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TANPOPO!" Tsuki, Aoi, Arisa, and Yoji were right there in front of me. No one was hurt and everyone was smiling. There were 3 big banners hanging up, confetti was covering everything, and in the back left corner on a small round table were presents-at least 10 of them- stacked beside a two-layer cake.
"Wait...no one's hurt?" I asked softly.
"No you idiot. We're trying to surprise you with a party. Geez girl, did you forget your own birthday?" Tsuki asked. I could tell that she was angry but restrained the urge to hit me.
"No. I didn't forget, and thank you everyone. I'm sorry for being so slow. Heh heh."
"Will you please, shut up and come enjoy your party?" Arisa laughed, pulling me into a hug. "Happy Birthday Tanpopo."
"I am very glad that all of you are here, but you didn't need to do this. In fact this is kinda why I didn't remind anyone about it." I confessed. "I didn't want any of this to be a burden. But you all did it anyway."
"Tanpopo, celebrating someone's birthday isn't a burden at all. Especially if it's someone we all care about." Said Yoji, as he came up to me putting a firm hand on my shoulder.
"Thank you Yoji." I smiled at him.
Then, kissing my cheek he told me happy birthday. I felt my face getting hot, I was speechless. "I-I am s-s-o h-happy you c-could c-come." I gulped trying to contain myself. I knew that everyone was watching.
"You mentioned that." He smiled again, chuckling. "Although I am truly sorry that you-know-who couldn't come." Yoji apologized, as I realized I knew he was talking about Koki.
"Oh. Haha. It's okay. He's with Erika huh?"
"Yeah. You know how she is. And unfortunately so do I. There's nothing he can say or do to change her mind."
He was right. Yoji knew Erika better than any of us. He grew up with her, but he never thought she'd fall for his younger brother. I let out a small sigh, but I wasn't going to let this ruin such a great party.
"Yo. Tanpopo! Lets eat some of that yummy-looking cake Arisa made for you!" Aoi was pointing at the cake, licking his lips.
"And what the hell is that supposed to mean? 'Yummy-looking' I bet it's the best cake you've ever put in that disgusting pie hole of yours!" Arisa shot back furiously.
We all walked over to the table to join Aoi. I cut it into equal pieces. Enough for everyone at the party, and I even cut enough for Koki and Erika. I put their slices on a paper plate and covered it with green saran wrap.
"Green?" Yoji asked me, looking at the covered cake.
"Yeah! Because it reminds me of plants and stuff! So I thought Koki would like it."
"Well, here. For Koki and Erika!" I handed Yoji the plate. He wouldn't take it.
"Maybe you should give it to him?"
"Um." I thought for a minute before deciding. "Wont you do it for me Yoji? PLEASE?!" I pleaded.
"Why don't we go now and drop it off?"
"Drop it off?"
"They wont be home. I have to go pick them up." Yoji stated.
"Okay! I guess that'll work."
Yoji and I left the party to go drop off the cake. It wasn't that far of a drive, but being in the car with Yoji somehow made me a little nervous.
We arrived at the house a few minutes later.
Yoji sighed, "Tanpopo, just go put it on the doorstep. It's fine. Then we'll go back to the party and when Koki calls me to come pick him up I'll leave, go get him, and go home. Then he'll find the cake. The end."
He was very sure of his self but I wasn't afraid of actually leaving Koki and Erika the cake. I was afraid of something else.
"What if the icing melts?" I started to stall.
"Well, what if a raccoon eats it?!"
"Tanpopo." Yoji had a demanding tone to his voice now, but he tried to hide it.
"Well, you know them raccoons love food, and if one comes by he's sure to smell the chocolate, and the sweet butter cream icing! No one could possibly say 'no' to chocolate cake!!" I was babbling on while Yoji just sat there staring at me like he was amazed to hear me talk like that.
"Haha!" he started laughing. "So what are you really worried about?" he asked, serious now. He caught me in my act of stalling.
"Okay. Erika hates me as it is, I don't want her getting even more angry with me. And I don't want her to get the wrong idea."
"He looked at me, a little confused. "But you and Koki are just friends right? Why would she get mad at you for being generous?"
"Oh. Uh...you are absolutely right!" I was defeated. I got out of the car unable to explain myself and walked up to the door. I left the cake right where Yoji said to leave it, then I got back in the car.
I looked back at the house and saw Koki open the door, taking the cake. His face was pale. 'That jerk really forgot about her birthday' I thought to myself. 'I lied to Tanpopo about Koki not being home. Luckily he didn't notice we were in the driveway before she got back in the car.
I glanced over at her out of the corner of my eye. She was blushing, fiddling with her skirt nervously. I couldn't help but smile. I knew what was going on, but apparently she didn't know that I figured it out. "Tanpopo, do you like Koki?"
"Um.. Y-yes! He's my friend!" the shade of red that colored her face turned darker.
I kept to myself the rest of the way.