It wasn't the phone call that startled him, even if Tai nearly fell out of his chair when he heard the ringing. No, it was the caller. Sora. He hadn't expected to hear from her again for a while. Despite Izzy's great words of wisdom, he had still thought that she was angry with him, especially since she hadn't spoken to him in going on three weeks now. Jeez, it was surprising that it had been that long since The Incident had happened and that he hadn't fallen apart yet. 'Yet' being the operative word.
Her words had been simple, just: "Hey, Tai. Listen, can we get together to talk for a little bit?" So of course he had agreed. It was his first time to talk to her in weeks. Besides, the sound of her voice made it seem more like a command than an offer. He had to go.
They met at a little coffee shop and bookstore combination, and they both grabbed a couple cappuccinos before wandering through all the books. They were silent for a while, but it wasn't uncomfortable. It only got uncomfortable for Tai when Sora began to speak, especially when the word 'Matt' just so happened to pop up. But he tried to hide it from her. He doubted very much that he succeeded in doing so.
"Look, Tai," she said with a sigh as she shoved a book back onto the shelf, "I know that whatever this is has been bothering you for the past couple weeks, and I should've been here to talk to you sooner. I know Matt hasn't exactly been a good friend for you lately. And that's partially my fault, apparently. I mean, I didn't mean to make him stop talking to you or anything, but he said—when I finally got him to talk to me about what happened—that he had been avoiding you because of me. I'm sorry about that.
"The truth is, I still haven't gotten it all out of him, and I doubt he'll spill the beans to me. Whatever happened between the two of you is for the two of you to figure it out, I know, so don't worry about me getting involved. I'm not going to pry. But you two are my best friends, and I want you to be happy."
She paused for a moment, obviously having more to say but a little bit scared to say it. "And that's not everything, Tai," she admitted a moment later. "Actually, the really important thing to say is that I… I broke up with Matt. This whole thing where he's not telling me stuff—not that I mean to pry, like I've said earlier—but it's just annoying that he doesn't feel that he can trust me. And, if he can't trust me, than we're not going to have a stable relationship. Besides, I've honestly not really been feeling the same toward him lately. He's been acting so different since you two had that argument or whatever it was, and he's been thinking a lot lately, and he actually agreed with me when I told him that we should break up. So it was mutual."
She sighed again. "He tried to convince me not to tell you about it. I guess he's a little worried about your reaction or something because of your fight and that you… well, your feelings for me. But I couldn't not tell you."
"Actually," Tai interrupted, sending her a small apologetic smile for it, "I've kind of gotten over that, Sora. I don't really like you like that anymore."
His words made her smile, for which he was very grateful. In fact, they even spurred her on, convinced her to continue explaining everything to him. "I won't lie and say that I'm not glad to hear that, Tai," she said, grinning now before she forced it away to focus properly. "But what I really wanted to tell you is that I'm sorry."
"Sorry?" he asked. "For what?"
She laughed somewhat scathingly at his surprise. "Because, silly, I've been a horrible friend to you. I didn't know what to do about you and Matt, so I stuck with him because he was my boyfriend and avoided you. That was so wrong of me. You're my best friend, Tai, and that comes before some stupid relationship that won't even last. Sure, Matt and I are still friends, but there's a little bit of tension between us for now. It'll go away with time, but this—this thing with you deserves more attention than that, and so do you. I'll never let you think I don't care about you anymore—and, if I even begin to do so, slap me or something because I'd definitely deserve it."
And he couldn't help but grin at her. "Thank you, Sora," he said rather happily. He was feeling much better than he had for weeks, than he had since he had spoken to Izzy about what was going on. Because both Sora and Izzy could be just as comforting and kind in two entirely different ways, but they both helped. Part of why he loved them so much.
"Hey, no problem," she said, waving it away. She didn't need to be thanked for doing her job as a friend and giving him the loved she knew he needed. And, then, a devious smile overtook her face. "Just promise me one thing—one thing, and I won't ever bother you about it again."
Tai looked her over warily yet curiously. "All right," he finally ceded, "what?"
"When you and Matt get married, I get to be the Maid of Honor," she said and finally cracked, no longer able to hold in all her laughter.
But Tai wasn't laughing with her. In fact, he was a very appropriate red color, rather like a sun-baked tomato, that was, despite itself, quite flattering. Instead of laughing, he glared dramatically at her and snarled, "What are you talking about?!"
She was startled and scared by his reaction. "I was kidding, jeez," she defended, "but that doesn't mean I can't tell what your fight is about. You like him, duh, and now he's trying to figure out how he feels in return. He's really worried, you know, that's why he's avoiding you. He doesn't want to put any more pressure on your friendship until he knows what he wants."
"If he didn't tell you what was going on, how do you know that?" he snapped, somewhat good-naturedly.
"I am the Bearer of the Crest of Love, thank you very much," she said. "I do have the ability to figure it out on my own. Not to mention the fact that, after I generally discovered what was going on, I talked to Izzy. Yeah, he cleared up all the missing details. Like that steamy kiss you had in Matt's apartment."
Tai rolled his eyes. "It wasn't 'steamy' in the least," he replied. "It was just a normal kiss, no floweriness."
"Whatever," Sora said, waving his words away with her hand. "All I'm saying is, you two are gonna get married and fuck like rabbits, and, when you do, I want to be there with you all the way—the marriage thing, not the fucking-like-rabbits thing."
He laughed at that, and, soon, she was laughing with him. It had been a long time since they had laughed like that, companionable laughter, nothing fake about it. It felt nice, and it made Tai feel warm all over. He had dearly missed that feeling.
They spent the rest of their time in the bookstore reading dustcovers, making fun of romance novels, and just catching up, which was when Tai realized how very much he had missed her and that his missing her had lasted a lot longer than he had thought it had, that it went as far back as Christmas when she had let him know that she had a crush on Matt.