A/N: Sorry I took a really long time to update again~ I was kind of busy lately~ Also, hopefully this chapter is not that disappointing. I really suck at writing about people with crushes, people hiding their feelings, or people about to confess. Basically I suck at writing the progress before and during confession time. *sigh* Anyways, hopefully this chapter is still enjoyable.
Ryoma stirred in his sleep, and slowly opened his eyes when a loud thunder woke him up. It was raining heavily that night, and after a few minutes changing his sleeping position, Ryoma found himself unable to fall back asleep. He sat up and frowned. "Lucky Karupin," he muttered under his breath at the sight of his beloved cat sleeping peacefully at the foot of his bed.
Ryoma reached for his alarm clock and groaned when he saw the time. Another thunder was heard and Ryoma sighed. Then, he was startled when something furry nuzzled itself against him. A soft smile was plastered on his face when he saw that it was Karupin. "It woke you up too, huh?"
"Meow," Karupin mewled, as if he understood what his master said.
Feeling bored of doing nothing, and wasn't able to continue sleeping, Ryoma got off his bed. Karupin followed his master's action, and they headed towards the door. "Let's get a drink," said Ryoma, as they stepped out of the room.
When Ryoma and Karupin passed Rika's room, the door was slightly opened and they could hear noises from inside. Ryoma was about to shrug it off and continued walking downstairs, but Karupin when ahead into Rika's room.
"Karupin," Ryoma hissed. He had no choice but to follow Karupin.
On her bed, Rika was thrashing violently, muttering something at the same time. Karupin wagged his tail, and looked at Ryoma with innocent eyes. "Meow," he mewled, and looked back at Rika's direction.
"Che," Ryoma muttered, and was about to go to Rika's side, when the older teen fell off her bed. "Ow," Ryoma heard her say.
Rika rubbed her aching forehead, thanks to the fall, and sat up straight, as she regains her bearing. She heard a soft mewl, and smiled when she saw the Himalayan cat. "Karupin," she said, petting the cat's head. Then, she was startled to see Ryoma there as well. "R-Ryoma?"
"Che, who else would I be?"
"What are you doing here?" Rika asked.
"Karupin," he answered, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Ryoma went forward, and sat on the floor next to Rika. By now, Karupin was sprawled on his back, while Rika rubbed his belly. "Nightmare?"
"Worried?" Rika smirked.
"Che," Ryoma muttered.
Rika continued to caress Karupin's belly. "I tend to have nightmares on rainy days," Rika told him. After a moment, she looked at Ryoma, "Did I wake you up?"
"No. The storm did," Ryoma answered, pulling his knees to his chest.
"Ah, that's good," she mumbled. "Ryoma, is something bothering you?"
"No," he frowned. He didn't think anyone would notice. It was not like he acted differently, or anything.
"You couldn't fool me, Ryo," Rika exclaimed, while placing Karupin onto her lap. "I noticed you were avoiding a certain buchou yesterday," she smirked. "Care to tell me what happened?"
"I didn't avoid him," Ryoma mumbled. "Besides, if there is anyone with secrets, it would be you. You never did tell me why you were expelled or what monkey king wanted when he came over yesterday."
"Touché," she said. Rika leaned against her bed, while caressing Karupin's fur. "You used to tell me everything when we were younger."
Ryoma's cheeks flushed pink when he recalled his past memories. He hid his face between his knees. "Yesterday, buchou told me I look cute," he mumbled. "And I didn't hate it."
"I bet your heart beats fast too," Rika added with a knowing smile.
"I knew you'd tease me. You're just like oyaji," the younger teen muttered.
"Bloody hell, Ryoma! Take that back!" Rika exclaimed, in her British English.
Ryoma couldn't help but exploded in laughter. "You swore." Before he knew it, his teenage aunt started tickling him.
"Take it back, Ryo," she uttered, her fingers busy tickling the Ryoma at his ticklish spot.
"Alright, I take it back," he replied, whilst panting for his breath.
Rika leaned back against her bed once more, and smiled. It was nice being with Ryoma like this. It was just like the old days.
"Hey, nee-chan, does this mean I like buchou?" Ryoma asked. Rika couldn't help but smiled more at the innocent eyes staring at her.
"I don't know, Ryo," she answered earnestly.
"Che," Ryoma smirked. "And here I thought you could give me some good advices."
Rika laughed, "You brat." After awhile, she looked down at her lap and chuckled. "Karupin fell asleep. He is so cute!"
A soft smile appeared on Ryoma's face, and pride sparkled in his eyes. "Yes, he is." Then, he looked out the window, "Looks like it's no longer raining."
After gently taking Karupin from Rika's lap, Ryoma stood up. "I better get some sleep. It's late."
"Yeah. Goodnight, Ryo," said Rika.
"Uisu," Ryoma replied. "Goodnight, nee-chan." Before he closed the door to Rika's room, he paused and said, "Whatever reasons for your expulsion, you'll tell me when you're ready, okay?" He left before Rika could give him an answer.
Just like Ryoma, Tezuka was also having a hard time. All though his poker face mask was still intact, but inside, he was chiding himself for his slip of tongue. Because of his mistake, he ended up making Ryoma avoid him, although the boy was trying to be discreet about it.
Through stern eyes, Tezuka looked around the tennis court. Ryoma was nowhere to be seen. Momo was not there too, so he concluded that they were both late. More precisely, they were 2 hours late. He was about to walk off to where Inui was standing to talk about the training menu, when both missing regulars raced into the courts.
"Buchou, sorry we were late! There was an old lady crossing the road an–"
Tezuka could feel his vein twitched. "Momoshiro, Echizen, 30 laps."
"But..." Momo tried to explain himself.
Before Momoshiro could say anything more, Ryoma started running. The sophomore sighed, and said, "Hai, buchou," before following his best friend's lead.
Tezuka resist the urge to massage his forehead. That Momoshiro could certainly whip out a story. He stood next to Inui, who was holding a book, while watching the Golden pair playing a practice match with Kaidou-Kawamura pair.
"Ah, Tezuka," Inui greeted without looking away from the match.
"What's the score?" asked the brunette.
"2 games to 1," answered Inui. "I see that Momoshiro and Echizen has arrived," stated the data player when he saw the two mentioned running around the courts.
Tezuka's eyes followed the running duo. "Aa." At one point, Ryoma's eyes met his. Immediately, the first-year looked ahead, while pulling down his cap. 'I should apologize,' Tezuka thought.
"Tezuka-kun," a voice snapped Tezuka out of his thought.
The older Echizen was there when Tezuka turned around. "Yes?" asked Tezuka.
"Ryuuzaki-sensei wanted to see you in her office," answered Rika. "She wanted Oishi-kun there too."
Tezuka nodded. "Inui, relay the message to Oishi when his match is over."
"Hai," Inui replied, while scribbling something on his book when Kaidou hit his boomerang snake.
Tezuka and Rika walked together to Ryuuzaki-sensei's room in silence. Tezuka wondered why their club manager is going to their sensei's office too, but it was probably one of Ryuuzaki-sensei's orders.
"Ah, Tezuka, Rika-chan, you're finally here," exclaimed Ryuuzaki-sensei. "Ara, where's Oishi?"
"Aa," Tezuka replied, as him and Rika took a seat in front of Ryuuzaki-sensei. "Oishi will come as soon as his practice match is over."
Ryuuzaki-sensei nodded. "Nevermind. Now, I wanted to discuss about our summer training. When I told Rika-chan my plans, she offered her villa in Karuizawa."
Rika nodded. "It's at the foot of the mountain, so it's suitable for training. And the villa has some tennis courts too."
Tezuka gave Rika a slight bow. "Thank you, Echizen-san. That is very generous of you."
"Not at all. It's the least I could do for the team," Rika replied politely.
The trio began discussing about the training camp; such as daily duties, activities, and rooming. Tezuka and Ryuuzaki-sensei insisted that they cook the meals themselves since it wouldn't be good to depend entirely on Rika's goodwill. And since it was two against one, Rika had to agree.
They were almost done with the discussion when Oishi entered the room. "I apologize for being late. The practice match just ended." He stood next to Tezuka and asked, "What did I miss?"
"So far, we have made arrangements for transportation, accommodation, daily routines and such," Ryuuzaki-sensei stated.
"I know we agreed to let the volunteers cook, but I insist on preparing the ingredients we will need. The villa is well stocked with food anyways," Rika cut in.
Both Ryuuzaki-sensei and Tezuka nodded while Oishi looked confused. "Villa?" Tezuka then quickly filled the vice president in. "Ah," said Oishi. He looked at Rika, "Thank you so much for your generosity, Rika-san."
"Ah, don't mention it," Rika replied, blushing slightly. Ryuuzaki-sensei, on the other hand, looked amused.
"Anyways, since Inui is our temporary trainer, we will need to discuss the training menu with him." Ryuuzaki-sensei pulled open her top drawer, and placed a few pieces of papers on her table. "That being said, we will discuss the menu during the next practice. Oishi, I want you to help distribute this forms to the Regulars. And Tezuka, you could dismiss them after that. It's getting late."
Tezuka stood up. "Hai, sensei." Tezuka and Oishi both bowed at Ryuuzaki-sensei before leaving her office.
"So, Rika-chan, what shall I do for you?" Ryuuzaki-sensei asked, when Rika didn't make any move to follow Tezuka and Oishi out.
"I need a favor," the Rika said, and the sensei gave her a look that said 'continue'. "I want you to keep the information about the villa a secret from the regulars until we arrive there."
Ryuuzaki-sensei looked baffled. "Why?"
"I didn't want to be bombarded about my family background and such," Rika shrugged. Ryuuzaki-sensei nodded, agreeing to Rika's request.
"Darn it, nee-chan," Ryoma grumbled. "She should have told me earlier if she needed to be somewhere else, instead of making me wait for her." The other members had already gone off, including Momoshiro. On his way out the school gate, he bumped into Tezuka. "B-Buchou," Ryoma stuttered.
"Echizen," Tezuka said, nodding in acknowledgement.
"Sorry for bumping into you," Ryoma quickly apologized, while pulling down his cap slightly. "Excuse me." He quickly made a move, and winced when Tezuka called out.
"Wait," the brunette said. Although his face didn't betray him, but Ryoma recognized the hint of emotion in his voice. Ryoma turned around, and in a few long strides, Tezuka was right in front of him.
Ryoma fidgeted. For some reason, he felt shy being so near to the captain. "Uh, is there something wrong?" He knew he was acting weirdly, and he wanted to kick himself for that. "If this was about coming late to practice—"
"Echizen," Tezuka cut him off, "it's not about practice."
"It's about the day before yesterday," Tezuka said calmly. He could swear that he saw Ryoma's eyes widened slightly; a silent 'Oh' was said. Although his face was unchanging as ever, but Tezuka felt like taking Ryoma in his embrace right then and there. The younger teen looked cute when he looked embarrassed.
Tezuka cleared his throat, which brought Ryoma's attention back to Tezuka, instead of his own feet. "I wanted to apologize for the other day," the brunette said. "It was bold of me to say that, and I am sorry if I made you uncomfortable."
Ryoma stared at Tezuka incredulously. "I wasn't embarrassed."
"Then why were you trying to avoid me?"
Crap. He was caught. For once, Ryoma didn't know what to say. "Che," he muttered. "Is that all, buchou?"
Tezuka nodded. "Aa."
"I'll see you tomorrow then, I guess," Ryoma mumbled, and continued walking out the gate. When Tezuka was out of sight, he inwardly cursed himself for being so pathetic in front of Tezuka, and cursed his young aunt for leaving him in that situation. He was glad that his cheeks didn't flush pink, or that will add on to his embarrassment. 'I wonder if that means I like buchou,' Ryoma thought.
While Ryoma was busy debating with himself, he didn't realize that Tezuka was running after him. That was until the older teen called out his name.
"Buchou," Ryoma's eyes widened in surprise. "Why are you following me?"
"Can I have your email address?"
Ryoma was taken aback. He wasn't expecting that. "Uh, sure." Ryoma felt like kicking himself. He sounded so stupid. Nonetheless, he couldn't help but feel happy when they exchanged email addresses.
"I guess this is goodbye then," Ryoma said, and Tezuka gave a curt nod.
"Aa," he said. "Walk home safely." Ryoma gave a nod as a reply, before turning around and continued walking home. This time, with a soft smile plastered on his face.
The next two weeks, Ryoma and Tezuka began spending more time with one another albeit discreetly. If they had morning practice, then they would meet up in the evening at the old court near the train station to play against one another. Sometimes, Tezuka even managed to coax Ryoma into going for morning jogs with him, when they didn't have morning practice. They also began exchanging emails frequently. Even Rika had noticed how Ryoma was always glued to his iPhone, or his computer when the boy was home. Although she had her suspicions about Ryoma's change of behavior, she didn't bring the matter up to her nephew.
On the fourth week of summer vacation, they had the whole week free from tennis practices, before the regulars training camp in the coming week. On a Sunday, Ryoma had asked to meet Tezuka in town. There was a new branch of tennis store that opened at their shopping district, and Ryoma wanted to check it out, and probably buy some new tapes. Naturally, Tezuka agreed, as this gave him an excuse to spend more time with the younger teen.
"Echizen," Tezuka called out when he saw Ryoma between the crowds of people across the street. As soon as the traffic light turned green for people walking, Ryoma quickly went to Tezuka.
"Sorry I'm late," Ryoma panted, catching his breath.
Tezuka fought the urge to smile. Ryoma looked like a child today. He had foregone his cap, and his hair was disheveled, probably from running, since the younger teen was out of breath. Tezuka didn't know when his feelings for his young pillar grew, all he knew was when he realized it, it was too late. He was already in love with him.
"Not at all," Tezuka shook his head slightly. "I just got here myself."
Ryoma smirked. "You suck at lying, buchou."
Tezuka's lips curved upwards slightly. Over the few weeks, Ryoma has managed to distinguish his emotions behind his expressionless face, as well as when he was lying. "Aa."
"So, how long did you wait for me, buchou?"
"About almost an hour," Tezuka answered, while looking at his wristwatch. Tezuka could see a flicker of guilt in Ryoma's eyes, and instantly wished he kept his mouth shut instead.
"I'm really sorry about making you wait that long, buchou," Ryoma said. Tezuka was the type of guy that arrives on time for meetings. Ryoma felt like hitting his oyaji with tennis balls right then and there for making him arrive late.
Tezuka reached out for Ryoma's hand, and squeezed it lightly for reassurance. "Really, it's okay."
Ryoma could feel his heart fluttering when Tezuka grabbed his hand. Tezuka's hand was bigger than his, and warmer, and Ryoma couldn't help but smile. Then, when he finally realized Tezuka was holding his hand, he quickly pulled his hand away. "It- it's getting late, buchou. Let's go." Without waiting for Tezuka's reply, Ryoma immediately walked towards the new tennis store so that the brunette wouldn't be able to see the soft blush that colored his face.
Tezuka, on the other hand, took this as a negative sign and chided himself inwardly for being too bold. Feeling slightly discouraged, Tezuka followed Ryoma to the tennis store.
"You're awfully quiet today, buchou," Ryoma said, after taking a sip of his soda. He tilted his head slightly, looking at Tezuka. After going to the new tennis store, they stopped by at the bookstore to pick up some books Tezuka had ordered. Before they realized it, it was already 6 p.m. So, they decided to have dinner and went to the family diner that Ryoma and Momoshiro always went to after evening practice.
"Iie," Tezuka denied, before taking another bite of his burger. He cleared his throat when Ryoma was still looking at him.
"Hmm~ you just seem quieter than you used to be," exclaimed Ryoma before returning to his food.
'Should I tell him?' Tezuka thought, while finishing the last bit of his burger. He tried looking at Ryoma discreetly, before quickly looking back at his food. 'Or would he be burdened by my confession?'
"Thank you for the food," Ryoma muttered after finishing his two burgers and large fries. "Shall we go, buchou?" he asked when he noticed that the brunette was done with his food too.
"Yeah," Tezuka agreed. Once they were outside the diner, Tezuka looked at his wristwatch, "It's getting late," he said. "The training camp is tomorrow."
Ryoma nodded. "Yeah, I guess we should return home then."
Because Tezuka's house was just a few blocks away from Ryoma's, they opted to walk home together. Besides, the chances of being caught by people they know are nil anyways. They were already close to Tezuka's house when the brunette finally worked up his courage to confess.
"So, this is your stop, buchou," Ryoma stopped walking and nodded at the route to Tezuka's house.
Ignoring what Ryoma has said, the brunette, with a stern voice, said, "Echizen."
Ryoma's eyes widened slightly in surprise. 'Did I do something wrong,' he wondered.
Tezuka exhaled and ran a hand through his hair. "Echizen," he repeated, softly this time.
"Would you go out with me?"
Ryoma raised his eyebrows at Tezuka. "Didn't I just went out with you earlier?"
Tezuka sighed. Why must the younger boy be so dense sometimes. "No, I meant, go out with me as a boyfriend. Tezuka saw Ryoma's mouth formed an 'O' shape. "I like you, Echizen, so will you go out with me?"
When Ryoma didn't answer, Tezuka felt like a train has hit him. Firstly because his feelings was probably one sided, and secondly for burdening the boy unnecessarily. He was about to apologize again, when Ryoma spoke up.
Tezuka looked at Ryoma and blinked. This wasn't what he expected. "What?"
"I said okay," Ryoma shrugged. "I'll go out with you." Tezuka was about to question more, but when he saw the smile Ryoma gave him and when Ryoma squeezed his hand lightly for reassurance, all his doubts disappeared.
After boarding the bus, Rika immediately took a window seat on the right at the middle row. She took out her cell phone and logged into her account. No mails. She sighed as she placed it in her pocket again.
"Alright, is everyone accounted for?" Ryuuzaki-sensei asked after everyone has boarded the bus. After a chorus of 'yes' was heard, Ryuuzaki-sensei gave a satisfied smile. "Good, I don't want anyone to be left behind."
"Momo! That's my favorite shrimp flavored potato chips! You're not supposed to eat that yet! Ah! Ochibi! Not you too!"
Ryuuzaki-sensei could feel her vein popped. "Kikumaru! Momoshiro! Ryoma! Pay attention!" she yelled.
"Hai/ Yes/ Uisu," was heard from the trio respectively.
Ryuuzaki-sensei cleared her throat. "Anyways, this will be a long bus ride. I don't want any of you to walk around too much when the bus is moving, and don't make too much noise. Do I make myself clear?" After a murmur of answers was heard, Ryuuzaki-sensei went to the driver's seat and started driving. Sakuno was sitting behind her, along with the freshmen trio. They had agreed to volunteer when Rika asked them. Unfortunately, Tomoko had to stay behind because her younger brother caught the chicken pox.
Eiji, who was seated next to Oishi at the second last row, was still bickering softly with Momo, who was seated next to Ryoma in front of the Golden pair. Ryoma sighed. He had wanted to seat next to Tezuka, but after boarding the bus, Momoshiro has given him a headlock, and he was forced to sit with the second year. Ryoma turned to look at Tezuka, who was sitting behind Rika. He was smiling inside when Tezuka chose that moment to look on his left, and their eyes locked.
However, Ryoma's heart dropped when he saw the slight disapproval in Tezuka's eyes. He knew it was probably about the commotion earlier. Tezuka, realizing his boyfriend's worries, gave him a reassuring smile. It was only a slight curve upwards of his lips, so people who didn't know Tezuka, or people who are not observant enough wouldn't notice.
Nevertheless, Ryoma was not one of those two. He saw it, and knew it meant 'it's okay', so he gave the brunette a smile of his own. Tezuka then returned to the book he was reading, and began listening to his iPod.
Rika, on the other hand, was lost in her own world, looking outside the bus window with her headphone on. She had checked her inbox again, but there were still no mails. She couldn't help but worry about what Atobe might do. The last time she saw him a few weeks ago, their conversation didn't end that well.
"Keigo, what are you doing here at this time?" Rika asked, smiling at his best friend. It was nearly 9 p.m., and Atobe was seated on the stairs outside the Echizens residence. Ryoma had already gone inside earlier, so Rika took a sit next to Atobe.
"Well, you left out details about your boyfriend," Atobe looked at the golden-eyed girl with a frown. He intentionally spoke in English in case someone overheard. Besides, even if any of the Echizens' heard, it would still take time to understand since apparently British English and American English is two different things.
Rika pursed her lips. She purposely left out details about that guy because she didn't want Atobe to find out. Who the hell told him anyways? "I didn't tell you because there was nothing to tell."
"Nothing to tell?" Atobe's brows furrowed. "Bloody hell, Rika, that prat was the one who informed the reporters and paparazzi about the time you were gallivanting around London, and not just the time when the accident happened. He probably even made some of it up."
"Bugger off, Keigo. They will stop when they get tired of me."
Atobe clenched his fists. "You mean when they've finally ruin your good name?" he rephrased. "Wake up, Rika! They won't stop until someone takes legal actions. It will give them pleasure to bring down the name of a noble blood."
Atobe stood up. "I'm going to England tomorrow to sort this out."
"Keigo, you don't have to."
"Clearly I do, since you're not interested," the taller teen replied. "Since your personal lawyer couldn't take any actions without your consent, I'm going to deal with this in your stead."
Rika gave Atobe a tired look. "Keigo, don't."
"Goodnight, Rika," and after a nod, Atobe left. Rika, stayed seated, buried her face in her hands and groaned.
'How did this get so jumbled up?'
Rika was brought back to the present when she felt someone taking a seat next to her. She turned away from the window and was met with Fuji's smiling face. Rika immediately took off her headphone.
"I'm sorry, did I disturb you, Rika-san?" Fuji asked.
"Nah, it's okay," the older Echizen said. "Is there something I could help you out with?"
Fuji placed a chocolate bar, a packet of potato chips and a bottle of orange juice with pulp in front of Rika. "We're distributing snacks and drinks. Echizen said these are your favorite."
Rika grinned. "Yes, they are! Thanks," she said, as she unwrapped her chocolate bar and took a bite.
"Well then, I better return to my seat."
Fuji was about to stand up when Rika stopped him. "Why don't you sit here instead? There's still an hour journey ahead of us, it would be boring to sit alone. Unless you don't want to be bothered that is."
Fuji chuckled. "I'll accept your offer and sit here then," the tensai said. Rika grinned. "So, Rika-san, do you know where our destination is, aside from the vague 'training camp in Karuizawa'?"
"Why do you think I would know?" Rika asked innocently. Fuji gave her a raised eyebrow and Rika couldn't help but chuckle. "Even if I know, what makes you think I would tell you? It wouldn't be fair to the others now, would it?" she smirked.
"Nicely played, Rika-san," the brunette tensai applauded and Rika gave him a big grin. After that, they began talking about some random things, and Rika laughed at some of the things Fuji said.
"Gosh, you seriously have brother-complex issues, don't you?" Rika said, trying to stop herself from laughing again.
"My Yuuta is too cute, anyone would think the same way as I do if they have him as a brother." Rika smiled at how much Fuji loves his brother. That had made her miss her own family. Sensing the drop in Rika's mood, Fuji asked, "Do you have any siblings, Rika-san?"
Rika looked at Fuji. "What?"
The brunette gave her a thoughtful look. "You've been in Seigaku for almost two months, and the only things we know about you are; 1) You are Echizen's aunt and cousin to Samurai Nanjirou; 2) You are a figure skater; and 3) You're as wealthy as Atobe, apparently."
"Hmm~ that's not true for the third statement," Rika said. "Keigo's family is wealthier than mine, I'm afraid." Then, there was a glint in Rika's eyes. "But I bet, if anyone, Inui-kun would know quite a few about me by now."
"True," Fuji nodded, "but that guy does not share his datas to anyone."
"Okay, let's do it this way," Rika propped her elbow on the arm of her seat, and placed her head on her hand. "We'll play 20 questions and I'll answer anything. But if you ask about the venue, then I wouldn't entertain the question."
"Sounds good to me," Fuji's smile grew wider, and for a second, Rika regretted suggesting that game.
Forty minutes through the game, Fuji and Rika had both discovered each other's favorite drinks, food, pastries, color, subject, holiday spot, and the list goes on. Fuji never touched about Rika's ice skating days, because she seemed touchy about it the last time Ryuuzaki-sensei mentioned about it.
"Question eighteen, how did you and Atobe became best friends?"
"Hmm," Rika thought about it for a while. "I think it was when we were six. Keigo and his parents went to the party hosted by my parents. We kind of hated each others guts the first time we met," Rika laughed. "But then, in the middle of the party, we sneaked out to the woods behind the mansion, and we were lost for two hours. Keigo got us back, although we had scratches everywhere. But," she smiled, "after that experience, we somehow became close to each other."
"That's interesting," Fuji, said, his eyes were opened throughout the time. Fortunately, Rika was too busy reminiscing to notice the hint of jealousy in Fuji's eyes.
"Okay, my turn. Question nineteen, why didn't you go to Rokakku with your childhood friend?"
Fuji shrugged. "It's easier, I guess. It's closer to home."
"Baby," Rika coughed.
"I beg your pardon?" Fuji gave her an amused look.
"Admit it, you just didn't want to live in a dorm," she laughed.
Fuji gave a mock hurt look. "I'm offended, Rika-san."
Rika laughed again. "Sorry, sorry." Fuji then joined in as well.
"Well then," Fuji finally said. "My turn, question nineteen. Hmm~ what else should I ask?" The brunette looked at Rika with opened eyes. "Why did you transfer here? From what you've said, it sounded like you really love England, a lot."
The smile on Rika's face immediately disappeared as soon as the question escaped Fuji's mouth. Noticing this, Fuji's own smile turned into a frown. "I'm sorry, maybe I shouldn't have ask that."
"No, it's okay," Rika, replied after a short pause. "I transferred here because–"
"Oh wow, look at that!"
"It's so big, nyaaa~"
Murmurs of awes and excitement were head from the other passengers, well, except for Ryoma, Tezuka and Ryuuzaki-sensei that is.
"Hmm~ this place really is beautiful," Fuji exclaimed. Ryuuzaki-sensei had just drove the bus passed the brick gate covered with red and white climbing flowers, and the villa came into view.
"This- this is place is huge. This place is really huge," Momo gaped.
Ryuuzaki-sensei drove to the left, passed the water fountain and into the car. After that, everyone was instructed to get their bags, and queue up outside the bus. Once everyone has exited, and Ryuuzaki-sensei locked up the vehicle, Rika led them to the entrance. It was a huge French villa, three-storey high, and made out of bricks with climbing flowers covering the walls. It looked like the villas straight from Europe.
Rika went to the stairs at the entrance of the villa and smile widely at the rest of the tennis team. "As your host for this training camp, I welcome you to my family's villa, Cher Ami." Another round of gasps could be heard when the revelation was made.
"This villa belongs to Rika-chan?" Eiji repeated, looking back and forth from Ryuuzaki-sensei to Rika with wide eyes.
"Yes," Ryuuzaki-sensei nodded. "And so, let us thank her for her generosity, shall we?" And with that, everyone of them gave Rika a slight bow and a chorus of 'Thank you very much'. Rika blushed, and ran a hand through her hair, "Really, you didn't have to."
At that moment, the entrance door opened, and out came an old Japanese couple, which were probably in their early sixties.
"Ah, Rika-ojou, you've arrived," the old man said.
"Mou, I told you to stop calling me ojou," Rika pouted.
The old woman just laughed at that. "It really is nice to see you again, Rika-chan. You've grown so much since we last saw you."
"Of course, it's been four years since I last came here," Rika went to hug the woman. "I miss you, obaa-chan." Then, she pulled back, and went to hug the man, "I missed you too, ojii-chan."
Meanwhile, back at the regulars, Inui was scribbling the newfound data into his notebook, while Eiji whispered to Ryoma, "Rika-ojou?"
"She's the princess of her family," Ryoma answered. Eiji nodded in return, although he was still confused.
"Everyone," Rika said, as she and the old couple walked in front of them. "These are the Yamazaki couple, Yamazaki Yoji, and Yamazaki Ito. They are the caretakers of this villa ever since my father made this villa, and they live in the cottage behind this villa," Rika introduced them. "Baa-chan, jii-chan, you remember Ryoma, and Ryuuzaki-sensei. These are the Seigaku tennis team regulars," Rika said, and after that, the regulars began introducing themselves one by one.
"We're glad to have you here this summer," Yoji said. "It's been awhile since we entertained anyone here."
Tezuka nodded. "We are extremely grateful to be able to use this villa as our camp this summer."
Ito smiled. "All of you must be tired," she said. "Let's get your rooms sorted, shall we?"
A murmur of agreement was heard, and everyone went inside the villa, led by the Yamazaki couple.
A/N: So, what do you think? I've realized in the past chapters I've paid too much attention on Rika, when the main characters were supposed to be Ryoma and Tezuka... so yeah~ Still not much TezuRyo I guess, but we'll get there gradually...ahaha *shot* Anyways, please read and review~ :D