That Summer Heat: Chapter 14
There was an impossibly long stretch of silence afterwards. Kari was fighting the all-consuming urge to get up and leave the table. She blinked a few times, even reaching up to rub her eyes as well, to clear her vision.
Nope, her eyes were in fact NOT failing her. Yamato stood there, right before her.
In all the times she had seen him dressed (and also in various states of undress, as well), she had never seen him this cleaned up. A snug slate grey button up encased his upper half, tucked into a pair of deep navy blue slacks. He even had a blue and silver striped tie, folded neatly around his neck.
Despite the formal attire, his hair was still left wild and unbound. He looked the same and so different, all at once.
And presently, he was staring at her in a way that made her want to cry.
It varied, from a moment of stunned shock to that of wounded betrayal. The usual bright sapphire depths had deepened considerably, to a hazy grey color.
"You two know each other?" It was Nancy who broke the silence, casting a highly confused stare between the two.
Kari watched as Yamato's expression suddenly dead-panned, hardened and void of any emotion. He coughed a little before turning to pull out his chair, plopping down rather unceremoniously.
"I met her at the camp, mom." T.K. offered, seemingly oblivious to the high tension between the two.
"They've probably seen each other around."
"She's in my music activity, actually." Yamato finally spoke, voice deeper like a grumble and flat, with no hint of feeling at all.
Hiroaki perked up at that, also unaware, and turned a playful grin to their female companion.
"I'd hope my other son has been treating you well?"
The seventeen-year-old hesitated to reply, glancing up at Yamato who refused to look back at her. He was, in fact, looking at everything in the vicinity BUT her. She took note of the rest of the table's expectant faces, before forcing a weak smile.
"Yes, yes of course," She murmured so softly it was barely audible. She cleared her throat a little and forced her weakened smile to a much happier one, though it did not seem genuine.
"You've both seemed to raise such gentleman."
Nancy smiled with the pride only a mother could have, before waving down a waiter and they all began to place down their orders. They had gone through the appetizers, though Yamato was unusually uninterested in the whole ordeal. Usually the endless pit of all foods, he only poked and prodded the salad and soup courses.
T.K. took note of it but decided he'd ask him about it later, not wanting to ruin the mood of the meal with such personal discussion. They got through the general getting to know you stuff, where you're from and what it was like here or there.
But now, as they waited for their entrees to come out, they had seemingly run out of things to talk about.
"So, what else do you do in the camp?" Nancy inquired over a cup of water, sipping and fiddling with the glass as she was wont to do.
"Well aside from music, I do take some swimming lessons. I always enjoyed swimming, even when I was really little." Was Hikari's quiet reply, delicately twirling a spoonful of her miso soup.
"She's a real good swimmer," T.K. offered with a smile, having finished his soup a while ago.
"She even tried to teach me, but you know I just can't swim for some reason."
"Oh really?" Yamato finally spoke up, for the first time lifting his gaze towards the rest of the people around him. He ignored his mother's scowling expression at his obvious un-cordial behavior.
"Yeah," T.K. shrugged as he settled back into his seat, absently smoothing out the wrinkles from his shirt and tie.
"We went swimming in the camp lake. Well, Kari went swimming and I kind of just stood there."
The eldest brother shifted his questioning stare towards the female in question, who peered back at him rather guiltily. She wasn't exactly sure why, she hadn't done anything wrong…had she?
She had to get out of here somehow, go out and get some fresh air. Things were just too outright awkward for things of this sort. Seriously. She felt like she didn't need to feel so guilty because T.K. was JUST a friend.
Right? Sure he had kissed her but it had been on the cheek and things like that weren't grounds for infidelity.
"I-I'm terribly sorry, I'm just going to excuse myself for a moment. I just have to use the restroom." Hikari stammered and feigned a smile at the concerned looks she received. T.K. made a move to stand from his seat, but she declined his offer.
He did, however, turn and watched as she disappeared behind the hallways of the restaurant that lead to the bathroom. He turned his seat with an excited grin, glancing expectantly between his parents.
"Well, what did you think of her?"
"She just seems so sweet and lovely, albeit a bit quiet." Nancy answered earnestly enough, nodding to her own agreement of her words.
"Yeah," Hiroaki followed soon after.
"She's a very pretty girl."
The youngest blonde beamed proudly at that, elated by the satisfaction his parents had. He directed his attentions to his older brother, whose opinion was vital to him above all else.
"Well, how about you 'Mato? Do you like her?"
T.K. watched as his brother seemed to shift uncomfortably in his seat, which in turn caused him to become incredibly confused. Yamato Ishida was never this squeamish and uncertain.
His brother always knew the answer.
The question remained unanswered as Hikari re-entered the dining room, looking considerably unsettled. When she finally reached the table and sat down, she looked sick to her stomach.
"Are you okay, Kari?" It was T.K., leaning close enough to her that no one else at the table could hear.
The brunette in question heard his concerned inquiry, really, but she was far more pre-occupied with the other blonde across from her. He still was making a good show of ignoring her.
She really wanted to pull him aside and explain everything…even though everything was really just nothing. Admittedly, it may not have been the most honest situation but it certainly wasn't an outright lie.
The girl wrenched up from her inner turmoil when she felt a hand slide over hers, giving it a re-assuring squeeze. Her eyes fluttered up to match a pair of deep cerulean blue ones, every inch etched with worry.
Then, she glanced around the table to find his parents matched the same concern. She forced on a bright smile, silently thanking herself that no one else could see their hand holding under the table.
"Sorry I took so long," She murmured, reaching up with both hands (and efficiently, breaking free from the hand holding) to shove a few tendrils away from her face.
"The line to the bathroom was kind of ridiculous; I almost thought I needed a reservation to get in there."
That caused the table (well, all save for one individual) to laugh, muttering remarks of agreement. Hikari continued to smile, wide and seemingly happy.
The dinner had been nothing less of delicious. If there was one good thing about this night, it was the food.
After the meal had finished they had all parted ways, though not without Nancy insisting she see Kari again. T.K. had intended on walking Kari back to the camp, but apparently his mother was going to meet up with some near-by family and they also wanted to see T.K.
"Oh that'll be okay, Yamato's going back to the camp so you can drive her." Hiroaki declared, sounding absolutely nonchalant about the whole thing. But his gaze was stern, if not deadly, assuring to his eldest son that there was no other option.
The young girl wasn't going to be walking home alone and it would just be a poor reflection on his part.
And now, she was sitting in the passenger's side of the corvette, idly waiting for Yamato to return. He had mumbled something about a bathroom stop before leaving to drive back.
Though, she didn't really believe it. She thought he was just stalling the whole ordeal of having to even see her. Hell, maybe he snuck out the bathroom window and left her there.
She shook her head at that, realizing it'd be a cold day in Hell before he left his old baby.
The sound of the car door swinging open caught her aware, watching as Yamato slipped into the driver's side. He still ignored her, reaching over to start the ignition…but stopped when he found his keys no longer there.
He blinked, before reaching up and feeling about his person for the keys to no avail. Glancing around the vehicle and console, he was annoyed as it was nowhere to be seen.
"I have them." Kari spoke up and he finally looked her way, focusing on the set of keys she dangled before him. He made a move to grab them but she jerked her hand back, burying the keys into her bag.
"Give me the keys." He muttered voice flat and void of any emotion.
"No, not until you listen to me!" Kari heaved as she carefully hid her bag behind her, before turning in her seat to face him fully. She was now perched on her knees.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you about tonight, but I didn't know T.K. was your brother! But I don't see what is so wrong with hanging out with a friend, especially for a birthday dinner. It's not like we're going out on some kind of romantic date!"
The blonde remained indifferent to her words, heaving a tired sigh before reaching his arm out, hand opened expectantly.
"I want to go home. Give me my keys."
Her explanation seemed to fall onto deaf ears and she felt her eyes begin to grow warm and watery at that. God, she was such a cry baby sometimes! She fought the urge stoutly, sniffling the wetness in her nose.
"Yama please, you have to know nothing happe-" She hesitated, eyes teary before continuing. "Listen, we hung out like twice and last time, he kissed me on the cheek BUT I didn't know really, he kind of just did it. But nothing else happened and we're just friends, I like you! Yama-"
He suddenly came at her and she gasped as he was suddenly on top of her, his hands reaching around her being wildly. He then snatched the purse she had wedged between her person and the car door.
He yanked the little bag open and shoved an angry fist through its contents, before extracting jingling keys.
He tossed the tiny purse in his back seat, the sound of the item plopping on the seat strangely satisfying to him. The tires screeched and burned into the paved way, as he peeled out onto the roads like a bat out of Hell.
It was a silent ride back, to say the least. Not even the usually gentle hum of the radio played, the radio turned off throughout the whole ordeal. Sometime in between, Kari had begun to openly cry, reaching up to cover her face.
When they finally arrived back at the camp, the poor girl was still sobbing into the palms of her hands. He had turned off the car already and hesitated to open the door, shifting his gaze to look at her through his peripherals.
His chest splintered in two, trying rather ardently to fight the urge to just scoop her up and hold her as she cried. She had lied to him…with his brother of all people.
'Well maybe if you had taken some time to talk to Takeru you would've known…'
Yamato scowled at that little voice chiming in the back of his mind, stoutly ignoring it. He wasn't wrong here, to be mad. She had even said they kissed! Albeit on the cheek, but a kiss is still a kiss.
And failing to tell someone something is still a lie.
Kari suddenly jerked up and swung the car door open, bursting out of the vehicle and practically sprinting back to her cabin. Yamato remained in the driver's seat, staring after her and terribly confused.
"Kari, maybe you should go to the infirmary!"
The next day, Hikari remained coiled up in her blanket and out in out refused to leave bed. Even with the ever persistent attempts from Miyako, the girl stood dead set on not leaving her bed whatsoever.
The other girls tried to ask what was wrong, asked exactly what happened last night for her to feel so down and out. However, the brunette stayed strangely silent on the matter and just buried herself deeper into her bed.
All the other girls had given up and gone to their activities like usual, all save for Miyako. The lilac-haired female had missed breakfast, music activity and by the looks of it was going to miss her little meeting with Iori she had promised. She finally heaved a sigh, lifting up off the mattress.
"Kari," She hesitated, staring down at the mound of blankets with sad eyes.
"I'll be back later when you're ready to talk about it, okay?"
She lingered for a moment, awaiting some kind of response, but only shook her head when didn't receive one.
Beneath the blankets, Kari listened to the soft patter of feet walking away and the old door creaking shut in a loud clamor. The brunette grunted in frustration, kicking the blankets off of her and satisfied as they plopped onto the ground.
"Well, you royally messed this one up, didn't you?" She muttered to no one in particular, glaring endlessly at the wooden ceiling before her. She blinked away the tears forming in the corners of her eyes.
'You were wrong.' A voice echoed in her mind, sounding disappointed and disapproving.
'You were having too much fun with someone who wasn't your boyfriend and you didn't think to tell him about it. So, you were wrong.'
Kari rolled over onto her side, drawing her knees up to her chest as she let out a warbling sigh. Her eyes still hurt from crying last night and she was in no mood to cry again.
She abruptly jerked up from her position at the sound of the cabin door creaking open. Her puffy, red eyes widened to see the source of all her turmoil and agony for the past few weeks just standing in the doorway.
He looked back at her with unaffected eyes, entering the cabin and tossing something or another onto her bed. It was her purse that she forgot last night, after bursting out of his car in tears and running all the way back home.
Yamato had never seen her like this before. He had never seen Kari so…miserable. And despite his efforts, it hurt like all hell to know it was his fault and that even after night had passed, she was still crying.
Not that he fared any better. He couldn't bring himself to get up and leave the car last night, so he just sat there. The whole night. He had been unreasonable, outright mean even.
She had pleaded for a moment to trust her and he had thrown it back in her face, chalking her up to someone no better than the other girls who had used and abused him.
The blonde heaved a heavy sigh, head shaking. He glanced at Kari with careful eyes, watching as she fiddled with the zipper of her purse, eyes downcast.
"Kari." Yamato began and efficiently caught her aware, her gaze lifting up daringly. His voice sounded ever soothing, almost forgiving.
"I'm sorry I made you cry, okay? I never meant to. I was just very angry and I suppose….I suppose I could've handled it better."
It seems that all it took because the spritely young female leapt up from her bed and launched herself at him, locking her arms around his neck. Yamato felt the urge to smile a little, laugh even but he fought it steadfast.
"Yama please," It was barely a whisper and it made his insides hurt…this was going to make things harder.
"You have to know that-"
"Kari let me stop you," He intervened, pulling back and causing the girl in his arms to step back a little. He did miss how nice she felt in his arms, how pleasant she smelled…
"You have got to understand something…Takeru is my brother. And he likes you too much for it just to be a passing thing. He's my kid brother, ya'know? And if you make him happy…am I really going to be the one to take that away?"
It's funny how quickly emotions can go, from elated to positively broken the next. The seventeen-year-old began shaking her head as she began to feel her eyes water. This wasn't happening and no, it wasn't supposed to be like this, she wasn't…
Yamato licked his lips a little, his throat gone bone dry as he was completely lost as to what to do. He had this whole speech in his mind about how he would bow out and she should give Takeru a chance but god she was going to cry again. He clenched his teeth, shifting his gaze so he wouldn't see the pain in her crimson eyes.
"So, I figured…I figured you go get to know him and I'll just…I'll just bow out and…"
"But I don't want him!" Kari half whined, half cried and stomped her foot rather hard for good measure. She reached up and wiped the tears away angrily with the back of her hand, glaring up at the blonde in question.
"Maybe if I didn't know you, I'd like T.K. but I know you, Yama. I know you."
The silence that followed was deafening as the two could do more than just stand there and stare at each other. It was never supposed to be this hard. And maybe if Hikari had talked to Yamato first. Or maybe if Yamato had taken time to talk to Takeru.
Yamato made a move to walk away, he was going to leave and maybe clear his mind a little. But Kari was quick to catch him, perching up on her tippy toes and covering his lips with her own.
The Counselor could do little more than have her latch her arms around his neck and kiss him. He really wanted to shove her off and walk out but damn him if he didn't miss this.
The kiss was needy, demanding to show him exactly why he needed to stay. Here. With her. Now. And he wasn't doing much to get rid of her otherwise, his own hands settling at the curve of her hips.
God, she felt so good Christ, why did she feel so good?
He groaned a little as he finally buckled and began to kiss her back, drawing his arm around her and bringing her closer. She belonged to him as much as he to her.
And that's why they stood no chance, really. The door creaking open and a startled gasp.
So can we talk about how late this update was? I suppose the Mid-semester rut got the best of me. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure how I wanted this chapter to go. I was half torn between having some wonderful brother fighting but like, it was have been too contrived I thought. I don't know actually what I'm talking about, I'm rambling.
Happy belated Easter! For those who partake in it. :3 I hope you all are faring well!
InnerVerO: Goal achieved! :3 Always love to kill readers with chapters man.
PorcelainDollxx: Ah my dear French teacher, I do have an affinity for cliff-hangers I think…makes sure to keep the reader interested enough to come back xp I always imagined Tai to just be unreasonably unreasonable with Kari…in every aspect of her life. It's kind of cute, really. I'm also usually a TKxKari fan but eh…I think I just got sick of seeing SO MANY of them, albeit well written just…yeah. Let's cross our fingers to me not screwing this up
Lorac XY: Can I just say that I love you and I would love to give you cookies? The YaKari writer comment made me swoon and die like 10 different times. Hell, there are sometimes when I read my own story and go 'bleh'
xxBroken21xx: Yeah, I actually didn't expect myself to turn this story into what it is now lol. I'm kind of winging it. Hope you liked the update :3
doragon no mizu: You are so sweet! I honestly never thought I'd ever catch anyone from when I first updated this eons ago. It's so comforting to know that you're there! I know my updating, was well, shitty. And I'm happy to hear you think I've improved a bit, I'd like to think so also. :3 Thanks my loyal reader!
Koumi-Loc: I actually did try giving your name a whirl on the search engine, but nothing showed up strangely?
Well, thanks to all my super nice and rad readers! You guys really do inspire me to egg on and I hope you can deal with my lame updating schedule!