Author's note: Well here is another story for you! The beginning is kind of slow, so don't get discouraged. Anyways I hope you like this new fic!
Declaimer: I DO NOT OWN FINAL FANTASY, IF I DID CLOUD AND TIFA WOULD BE MARRIED BY NOW!
Rays of heat waves flows off the sun and lingers in the city of Edge. During summer time the heat becomes unbearable. The sky is leaden with small patches of clouds that roam over the city, creating strange figures. The wind is dull, nothing but warm breezes pass through the people. Little Marlene sits on a chair that is out on the porch with her knees gripping closely to her small chest. Arms wrapping around her tiny legs watching the several people walking by the bar, most are barely wearing anything cause of the cruel heat. Beads of sweat form on her temples and as always she roughly wipes the sweat away with her forearm. The bar business picks up a lot during the summer time, but it still morning and the bar doesn't open until one pm.
Sighing heavily cause of the boredom that is bestow upon her, Denzel remains in bed, most likely rolling around and kicking off the sheets. Marlene remains in her blue pajamas with yellow rubber ducks. The warmth had awoken her up form her slumber, the sweat on her sheets were driving her mad and so she sits here with nothing to do. The screen door is close with the front door wide open and she can hear Tifa cleaning the dishes that leave a small clinging sounds. Cloud had left this morning for the days work although he'll probably only work half the day considering he most likely melting in his own sweat.
'I hope Denzel wakes up soon.' Marlene thinks to herself as she lays her head back to rest upon the chair. Her small body starts to create sweat underneath her pajamas which is uncomfortable for Marlene. Wishing that Tifa can take them to the pool today but there has to be work done. Lifting her head up, when hearing Tifa's voice, "Marlene sweetie, why don't you come in." Tifa coos with a soft voice, waiting for Marlene to reenter into the bar so she can keep a closer eye on her.
Hopping off the chair and sulking to the screen door. Pouting as she walks into the bar and approaches the counter. "There's nothing to do!" Marlene exclaims as she takes a seat in a stool as she watches Tifa turn towards her. A small smile elopes on Tifa lips as she wipes her wet hands in a dish rag and walks up to Marlene. Once her hands dry for the hot sopping, she crosses her arms over her chest. Wearing a white top with short sleeves and denim shorts. The shirt is cuts from the belly showing a small portion of her stomach, her shorts are hugging her hips. Her usual sport shoes are covering her small feet and having white socks reaching to her ankles. The simple white shirt has a circle neckline, soft fabric with fitted short sleeves that don't go pass her arm muscles.
"Why don't you play with Denzel?" Suggesting, leaning her forearms of the other side of the counter staring at Marlene. Marlene places her cheek into the palm of her hand and has an expression of boredom upon her face which Tifa can't help but smile at her face expressions.
"Because he still asleep." Wailing in annoying tone as Tifa gives her a sympathetic grin and tilts her head to an angle. Feeling the sweat coursing through her pants and melting onto the stool, bring more uncomforting sensation upon Marlene. "Can't you turn on the air conditioner?" Asking mechanically, almost praying for some cool air to brush against her skin and wondering why is Tifa let the bar rot in this heat. The vans on the ceiling aren't doing much for cooling, just mixing the warm in the room. Eyes glances up at the top of the wall where the air conditioner is implanted into the wall, they machinery is lifeless. The white conditioner is white and shape as a square, a small portion of the conditioner is sticking out of the wall with a few buttons on it.
Tifa smile fell as she stands up straight. "Sorry, sweetie that air conditioner is broken." Announcing in a softer tone, playing with the rag this is twisting through her fingers. "We'll have to wait until Cloud returns." Turing around to finish up the dirty dishes in the sink. Placing her dry hands into the warm water that sends heat wave through her body which Tifa really dislikes. Having her full attention on the dishes and then she hears the refrigerator door opening releasing cold stream from confinement. Quickly turn her attention to Marlene who has her head sticking into the refrigerator. "Marlene!" Tifa says urgently as she quickly pulls Marlene's head out of the cold air and closing the door. The last bit of cold air touch Tifa's legs as it diminishes. "Honey you can't keep you head in there all day." Saying, while slightly giggle in her sentence as it's very tempting to reopen the refrigerator.
"But, is so hot!" Marlene exclaims, voice is forcefully and has a hint of annoyance lingering within her tone while stomping her feet. Keeping her arms straight with her fists clenching. Marlene performs a pouting expression on her face hoping that will allow her to stick her head back onto the refrigerator.
Letting out a small laugh and keeps her smile upon her face. Tifa places her hands on the child's shoulders before speaking, "Why don't you wake up Denzel and I'll have breakfast ready?" Suggesting while ushering Marlene up the stair. Marlene relentlessly stomps up the stair, grumbling under her breath. Tifa watches Marlene disappear around the corner and can't help feel amuse by her sulking. Releasing a sigh while her smile fell from her face. 'Maybe I should call Cloud; it is starting to get really hot in here and it still morning.' Tifa thought to herself as she disappears around the counter in search for her cell phone. While looking around the counter tops she remembers the discussion with Cloud from last night.
"Do you even notice me?" Asked in a soft tone trying to keep her emotions in tack. Tifa sat on her bed with him standing a few feet away from her and had his back towards her. Bare feet rested against the cold wood as it sends chills down her back and had her shoulder slouching forward. Eyes analyzed every feature on his back and loved how he looked. Even though he is good looking, it isn't his features that drew her to him. It's the Cloud within, his characteristics his personality even if he's hard to deal with. It's a challenge that is worth taking.
Her question lingered in his mind as his eyes stared off into the distances. "What do you want from me?" Inquired in a dull tone while keeping his face away from hers. Couldn't bare to see the hurt in her eyes that are now forming tears. Feeling love and giving it are two different things, he's not even sure if he can give it to her. So much has happened and now his heart and very spirit is broken beyond repairs at least that what he thought. Envying every man in the world that can provide such offering to any woman. Wishing he could be like them and truly give her an endowment. There is no doubt in his heart that he loved her but can perform such presentation.
An aching feeling grew hungrily in her heart and yanked it all directions. Her eyes drifted to the floor stared at the wood even though she not observing it. "You." answered breathlessly while keeping her eyes off of him and feeling slight embarrassed by her confession. A soft pink grew on her ivory cheeks as she bit you lower lip to keep it from trembling. "You said you wanted to start a new life, why not start with us? Are you that scared?" Tifa asked while her body shaking uncontrollably and can't believe she's finally confessing to him. Quickly drew her face to stare at his back side before she said, "Are we still losing to a memory?" Silence filled the room as Cloud pondered on her question. Tifa sat up correctly and turned her head towards a different direction. "There I said it."
End of flash back
Snapping out of her memory as, her eyes are viewing the phone that rests on the back counter. Reaching it with her soft fingers and, beginnings to dial Cloud's number. Shuffling and muffling sounds are echoing in the bar from upstairs. No doubt the kids have already began to play some strange game that Marlene created. The phone rings several times against her small ear, her heart pounds against her chest as nerves are taking a strong grip on her. Knowing soon she'll here his voice that sounds like a rare melody.
"Hello?" Cloud mumbles into the phone with a little static interrupting their soon to be conversation.
Standing on a stool and arms reaching for the air conditioner with a red drill in his right hand. Placing his right foot on the counter near the sink to give him some more control and balance. Cloud is preparing to take out the air-conditioner from the wall to start the repairing process. Placing the drill tip into the nails that hold the air-condition in the wall and start to drill them out. Placing each free nail into his pocket so they don't get lost and don't have to buy new ones. Money is tight as it is, even though business in the bar is good but the food cost is high, draining the majority of their money. The heat has been taking it toll on Cloud, especially in the bar; his bare hands have sweat forming in the palms making it hard to stop the air conditioner from falling from his hands.
"Be careful up there." Tifa says in a concern tone that is also demanding as she walks into the car from the staircase. Approaching the stool and places her hands on her hips as she examines Cloud situation. Cloud momentarily glances down to catch a glimpse of Tifa and realizes she is looking up at him. Noticing Tifa's outfit from above and her white T-shirt having a clear view. Quickly withdrawing his eyes from her to continue his work while, slightly blushing. Feeling nervous with her around him, they haven't spoken much since he returned home.
Once all of the screws are out of the air conditioner, he begins to lightly yank it out. Creaking sounds are heard in the bar as he slowly removes it from its resting place. The air-conditioner becomes heavier as he draws it out and force to reposition his hands. Tifa watching carefully while rising up her the balls of her feet to get a better view of his work. Fully removing the air conditioner from its resting place as Cloud holds it slantways in his hands and slowly detaching his right foot from the counter and placing it next to his left foot. Exhaling through his mouth as he is prepares to move down the ladder with Tifa's hands gripping it.
"Give me that back!" Marlene screeches from the top of the staircase while hearing loud thumps coming down the stairs. "Denzel! Give me it!"
Tifa cranks her head to the side and sees Denzel coming around from the staircase with Marlene hot on his tail. Denzel is carrying one of Marlene's dolls in his arms and having an evil smile on his lips. Turning his head back to see if Marlene is behind him as, he begins to run sideways. Grinning at Marlene as she becomes even more enrage. Gritting her teeth and stretching out her arms to preparing to strangle Denzel. Without being aware, Denzel runs towards Tifa. Tifa turns in place to face Denzel before saying, "Denzel, watch it!" Tifa scolds while trying to prevent him from running into her, but miserably fails. The pressure from his speed pushes Tifa to loose her balance and to fall backwards against the ladder.
"Hey!" Cloud gasps as the shake from the ladder forces his to loosen up his grip upon the air conditioner. The machinery slides through his sweaty palms while the edges of the air conditioner clouts Cloud in the forehead. A sharp pain develops on his temple and he looses his balance and concentration. The ladder tilts onto two legs and Cloud's weight forces the ladder to loose complete balance. Collapsing to the ground with the sound of the ladder drop rings through out the bar along with a crashing sound of the air conditioner shattering into pieces. An instant striking pain raids on Cloud's back side from the hard fall. Hitting his head against the hard wood, knocking him out complete...
"Cloud?...Cloud?" A voice breaks into the barrier of silence. Eyes are shut tightly; a sound of a beeping sound from a monitor carries on. A wave of dizziness invades Cloud's mind as he struggles to open his unsleeping eyes. Starting to feel his muscle move on his command while a hand holds his. Soft skin brushes against his rough hands while a thumb caress the back of his hand. Another soft hand carefully touches his temples, smelling a strawberry scent from the bare skin. Remembering that Tifa use to bathe in strawberry bath wash. "Cloud?" The small soft voice speaks louder into his ear. Cracking open his eye to find everything blurring and bright. The small crack remains the same while his blue eyes glance to the right and sees a blur figure with brown hair. "Cloud?"
Opening his eyes wider and his vision becomes sober from the haziness. Blinking his eyes several times and focuses his eyes on a woman before him. She is sitting in a chair next to the bed with her knees cramp against the bed to be closer to him. She is wearing a black shirt that is tight around her chest and is loose over her stomach, having elbow-length sleeves and a thin turtle neck. Dark blue jeans are fitted loosely and wearing simple black shoes. Her ebony hair drapes down her shoulders and piles in her lap. Realizing they are in a hospital and him in a bed makes him think the accident he had must have been worst than he thought. "Tifa?" Cloud barely whispers through his inactive voice as he tries to move his body.
"Shh...Its ok." Tifa whispers in a kind voice that soothes Cloud to relaxation. "I'm here." Stroking her thumb on his temple, his tense muscle releases its stiffness. A soft smile grows on her lips as she tilts her head to angle. Eyes are peering into his showing her kind and soft spirit that reviles itself through her irises. The softness of her face relaxes Cloud not a muscle is moving in his body and he maintains eye contact with her. The staring starts to make him feel uncomfortable and he glances his eyes way leaving Tifa feeling disappointed. Then he looks back at her and his eyes narrow in on her stomach. It is sticking far out and being shape of a ball. Slightly furrowing his eyebrows and wondering how she gains so much weight.
Tifa notices his questioning expression, "Cloud?" Breaking Cloud intense gaze upon her round stomach and catching his eyes.
"Ummm, why...umm how?" Cloud tries to ask but he knows how sensitive women are about the weight. Deciding to drop the subject before he runs into something he knows he's not going to like.
A knock is heard on the door frame as Tifa turns her body around. Finding Cloud's doctor wearing a blue shirt, black pants and a lab coat over his shirt. He is in his late fifties with many wrinkles developing upon his dark skin. White curly hair is cut short upon his head and has a thick beard. An oval shape head with dark brown deep-set eyes and a hook nose. Lips are full and have shaggy cheeks. The doctor makes his way into the room head towards the foot of the hospital bed. "Hello Mr. Strife, I can see you are awake. Its good to have you back son." The doctor says in a cheery way as he grabs Cloud's paperwork and begins to write on it.
"How much longer will he have to stay here Doctor Appleton?" Tifa asks curiously, being very anxious to take him home.
"Well, considering the accident with his head and his ability to heal quickly, I say about two or three days." Doctor Appleton says while continuing to write on the papers and then removes his eyes from the papers. Giving Tifa a warm smile before saying, "Just to be sure, don't worry Mrs. Strife, he'll be fine we just want to keep him under observation for another day or so."
With that news, a smile grows on Tifa lips. "Mrs. Strife?" Cloud asks curiously, becoming very confused. When did they get married? They were just arguing the other day. Cloud's eyes glance at both individuals with a confuse look.
Tifa huffs in amusement, "Yes Cloud, we've been married nearly three years now." Tifa confesses while Cloud's widen and stares at Tifa. Pure confusion takes over Cloud especially when he sees Tifa's hand rubbing her stomach.
"She's pregnant?...Were Married?"
To be continued...
Well, what do you think? And be honest...
Oh, just so you know little bit of the flashback is from the delete scene from AC; I just changed it a little bit.