In the cafeteria, I saw Rikku with Payne and that Roxas guy sitting at a table. I approached them slowly, hoping that the remote look on my face had left.
"Hey guys," I managed to say cheerfully taking a seat next to Rikku.
"You're just on time," Rikku perked.
"Oh?" I questioned, folding my arms over each other. From the corner of my eye, I could see Roxas looking at me intently. I ignored his rude stare.
"We were planning on getting some ice cream," she informed me. "You want to come with us?"
"Um," I said thinking for a moment, "All right."
What the heck. It sounded like fun and I wanted to see Tokyo also. And maybe ice cream would get my mind off things.
The four of us headed out of the cafeteria and outside into the crisp evening. It was a little chilly, but it was nothing I couldn't handle. I just wanted to get away from here for a moment.
We stood at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to come. Rikku chattered with Payne who seemed not to pay the least attention. I didn't mind since I didn't want to talk too much anyhow.
"So, Sleeping Beauty," Roxas said from beside me.
I turned to look at him. "What?"
"Had a good sleep?" he asked genuinely.
How to answer this question? "Um, yeah something like that," I muttered under my breath as I looked at my old shoes.
"I apologize for waking you up," he began again.
"It's all right," I muttered under my breath.
The bus came and I was eager to get on. Rikku and Payne got on before me as a crowd of people rushed in front of me. When I got on the bus, I realized that I had left my purse in my room and I had no money on me. I fumbled through my pockets nevertheless.
"Here," Roxas said behind me, giving me spare change.
"Thanks," I said quietly, as I paid.
Rikku and Payne were sitting next to each other and there weren't many seats left. I took a seat a few rows down to my right. Roxas was close to follow.
I took the window seat and looked at the trees and the sky. Roxas said nothing for a moment, until the bus finally got moving.
"Have you seen the city?" he asked me, trying to make conversation.
I shook my head, still keeping my eyes on the darkening sky.
"You'll love the ice cream place we're going to. They have really good ice cream," he continued on.
"Oh," was all I said.
He kept quiet the rest of the ride finally getting the hint that I was not in the mood for talking. We got off when we reached the bus stop. Roxas and I had gotten off before Payne and Rikku so we waited for them.
From the bus stop, we walked to the ice cream place. I glanced around at the different ice cream flavors.
"Get the sea salt flavor," Roxas advised me. "It's really good."
Sea salt? Doesn't sound too sweet to me.
"If I had money," I told him. I was going to ask Rikku if I could borrow some, but Roxas was quick to offer.
"Don't worry about that," he said, "I will get it for you."
"Are you sure?" I asked, hoping not to seem like a money smooching person.
"Of course, it's no problem at all." With that, he got me the sea salt flavored ice cream although I was in the mood for strawberry.
He gave me the ice cream cone and I took it, thanking him. "I'll pay you back," I told him.
"It's ok," he informed me, "You don't have to."
The four of us walked through the busy streets as we licked our ice cream. The sea salt flavor didn't taste so bad, I actually liked it a lot.
"It's good isn't it?" he asked, as if he read my mind.
I nodded. "Yeah, it is. I didn't think so at first, but I like it."
"I'm glad," he said, flashing me a smile.
The city was so gorgeous, especially the lights and the very posh stores. We went into a few of them after finishing our ice cream. Some of the clothes I saw were really pretty, but I knew I could not afford them.
After a few hours of window shopping, we decided to head back. We waited for the bus at the bus stop. I wrapped my hands over my arms to keep warm because it got a little chilly. I should have brought a light sweater or something like that.
I looked around me for the last time before the bus came. Too bad we couldn't stay longer. Maybe next time I will remember to bring money with me.
My eyes passed over a girl and my gazed stopped right there. She looked at me keenly as I returned her gaze. She stood still by a lamppost on the street beside me. The more I looked at her, the more she seemed to look familiar. I studied her carefully.
Her crystal blue eyes and pale skin, along with that platinum hair placed on her right shoulder.
Could it be…?
"Kairi, get on the bus!" Rikku cried from the bus window as people were boarding on. "Hurry!"
I couldn't leave yet. I spotted Roxas teetering on the step of the bus and on the sidewalk as he watched me with an eerie look.
"Be right back," I said quickly, turning away from him with a confused look plastered on his face.
I focused on the girl who was now running away from me. Oh no! I couldn't let her out of my sight. And the fact that she was running made me more curious to find out who she was. I picked up my pace then broke into a run.
She ran quickly and skillfully through the throng of people as I struggled to avoid colliding with others.
"Wait!" I cried out trying to get her attention. I was certain that she was running away from me.
"Kairi!" Roxas' voice bellowed behind me. "Where the hell are you going?"
I didn't want to waste time looking back, in fear of losing the sight of the girl. I needed to talk to her.
"HEY!" I yelled aloud, hoping maybe she will stop, though I knew there wasn't a good chance of that happening.
She got ahead of me as I began panting for air. I couldn't stop, not yet. I forced myself to run faster, ignoring the pain surging in my legs that pleaded me to stop the chase.
I got excited as I got closer to her. Maybe there was a chance. But to my dismay, she turned a corner. I had to run faster so that I could still keep an eye on her. When I turned the corner, I could still see her. Good.
"I NEED TO TALK TO YOU!" I cried once more, just in case it would make her understand.
She turned down another corner but this time, she went down a dark alley. I was about to follow her, when someone grabbed hold of my shoulder and pulled my arm to a sudden stop.
I was panting heavily, with sweat dripping down from my forehead. I twirled around to see Roxas panting as well.
"What did you do that for!" I exclaimed, gasping for air. "I was…so…close…" My panting interrupted my sentence.
He still held onto my arm so that I could not flee. "Are you…crazy?" he said bewildered, also trying to get his breath again.
"Let me go!" I cried, trying to pry my wrist out from his grasp. "I need to talk to her!" I continued to struggle to get free.
"Who?" he asked puzzled as he gripped me harder, afraid to let me go in fear of me running again.
I didn't answer him right away because I was looking into the alley that I was about to run into. As each second passed, I knew that she must have already gone farther. It was probably too late to catch up with her now.
"Damn, she's probably gone…," I muttered under my breath.
He finally let go of me, trusting that I would not take off again.
"We missed the bus," he stated hardly.
"Yeah, so?" I said, "You didn't have to follow me!"
"Good thing I did!" he exclaimed, flinging his arms to the side. "You almost went in…there," he said, pointing his finger at the ally.
He shook his head, "Something bad could have happened to you!"
My heart sank. "That girl went in there! What if something happened to her? We have to go in there then!"
"What girl?" he asked for another time. A bewildered look took over his eyes.
"Roxas, what if she is in trouble?" I almost ran into the alley, but Roxas got a hold of me again,
He sighed heavily. "We are going home," he grit through his teeth, dragging me along with him.
"Gosh, why are you so mad?" I asked when we were back into mainstream.
"Do you know what time it is? It's almost midnight. We should have been back by now. But you had to run off like that!"
He still held onto my arm.
"Whatever. You don't understand," I fought back, trying to wriggle my arm from him.
"No, I don't," he said coldly.
"Then why did you follow me if you are so hung up on how late it is!" I cried, finally managing to get my arm free from him.
Both of us stopped walking. He gave me a hard gaze. "How would you have gotten home?"
"Do you have money?"
"A cell phone?"
"And it's getting cold!" he stated, clearly for me to realize that I was wearing short sleeves.
"And it's getting late," he continued.
"There are guys out here looking for girls who-"
"Ok," I interrupted him, "I get your point."
It was silent between us as we returned to the bus stop. I took a seat on the wooden bench and Roxas took a seat beside me. He called someone on his cell phone.
"I told them not to worry us and that we'd be back soon," he informed me, putting his phone back in his pocket.
"All right," I said quietly, listening and watching a leaf scuttle down the road as the breeze picked up.
I sighed as I kicked the sidewalk, thinking about the girl who I saw in my nightmare. The girl who seemed to be the one who I saw when I looked at my reflection in the water.
Something in my heart told me that she was important because I didn't understand why else she would have ran away from me. Not only that, but why was she here? Was she watching me? Did she know something?
Or was I truly crazy? Was I making a big thing out of nothing?
I turned to Roxas who looked out in a daze. He's probably still mad at me for running off. Well, he didn't have to follow me. No one forced him to, so he shouldn't be mad…
But still…he had a point.
"I'm sorry," I apologized to him. "I probably should not have run off like that."
"Yeah," he sighed, not looking at me. "It's fine…"
Though I knew that it wasn't really fine. He seemed more tense and worried. I could see his lips set into a permanent line as his hands were balled into fists.
"We'll get back, don't worry," I tried to assure him, trying to ease the both of us.
"Yeah," he said again, looking at his watch. His brow furrowed just a little. "It's been half an hour."
"The bus should have been here about fifteen minutes ago," he told me. "And I don't think that this is the same bus stop that we were supposed to go to."
"What do you mean?" I asked, not sure what he meant.
"I mean," he began, giving me a look. "After you ran off, we kinda got lost…"
"But we are at a bus stop?" I inquired. "So it shouldn't matter, right?"
"Yes, and no."
"We are the only ones here waiting for the bus because it seems like we are in some shabby part of the city. So we will get home, but I hope nothing happens to us while we wait." He looked around him carefully, before looking at me.
"You worry too much," I said, trying to hide my fear. "The bus will come soon."
"Brave are you," he mentioned in a subtle sarcastic tone, shoving his hands into his pockets.
The air got chillier, and I wished I had worn something warmer.
"Perhaps," I retorted.
He rolled his eyes. "Or maybe it's just being stupid."
"Whatever," I snorted, leaning back into the bench. "Then why don't we just try to find out way back to the other bus stop?"
"And risk getting more lost? I don't even know which way to go…"
Maybe he was right. I looked around at the darkened shops that looked old with age and some even vandalized. They seemed depressed and rundown. The only light was the lamppost flickering above us.
"Do you hear that?" I asked timidly when I saw a mass of shadows and a clatter of voices. It seemed to be a gang of some sort.
"Hear what?" Roxas whispered, leaning in closer to me.
I strained my ears to listen again, but I didn't see or hear anything.
"Never mind, it's gone now," I whispered again.
I was beginning to worry now…
"I hope your imaginary friend is all right," Roxas said after a few moments of silence.
I grunted. "She wasn't imaginary!"
"Yeah, ok," he replied, unconvinced.
I nudged his arm slightly. "Seriously, why don't you believe me? You think I'm making this up?"
After looking at the angry look in my eyes, he said, "No, no, it's not that. It's just that, because of her, we are sitting in this mess."
I backed down a little. "I know. I said I'm sorry. I just really wanted to talk to her, but she ran away from me. So I chased her."
"Hmm," he mused.
"What hmm?" I asked confused.
He said nothing and I didn't say anything either. A few moments later he took out his cell phone and dialed a number. His voice was quiet so I wasn't able to pick up on some of the words he said. When he was done with the call, he said, "I don't know when the bus is coming, so I called my friend. He'll pick us up."
"Oh, sounds good," I said as I tried to keep my teeth from clattering. At least someone was coming to pick us up.
Though, it seemed like ages had gone by and the night seemed to grow darker. An eerie silence filled the night as we waited. I didn't like where we were and a small part of me wished that I had not acted on impulse and ran after the girl.
"You scared?" he asked, breaking my thoughts.
"No," I lied as I looked hard down at the dim pavement. But inside, I was really edgy and uncomfortable. And really cold because the cotton shirt I wore was not enough.
"Yeah." Wish he'd stop talking.
It seemed as though he was about to say something but a sharp ray of light cut through the dark. I to my left to see a car approach us.
"He's here," Roxas said eagerly, getting up.
Roxas sat in the passengers seat while I sat in the back. It was as dark in the car as it was outside, but it was warm and the leather seats were really comfortable.
"This is Kairi," Roxas said to his friend as we drove off. He glanced back at me real quick before looking back at his friend.
"Hey Kairi," the driver said, though I couldn't get a good look at him. He sounded a bit tired.
"Axel," he informed me of our driver's name as I put on my seat belt.
"Sorry you had to get stuck with him," Axel said half-jokingly as he made a turn. I leaned back into my seat and looked out the window not saying anything.
"It's not my fault!" Roxas was quick to answer. "She ran off somewhere and well, here we are."
"Yeah…" I sighed, wishing he'd drop it already.
The rest of the ride was silent. I gave a quick glance at Roxas who was leaning against the window with his chin resting upon his hand. I couldn't see Axel's face too well since I sat in the back of the car behind the driver's side.
When we reached the parking lot, I got out quickly, muttering a thanks to Axel as I tried to head back to the school.
"Kairi," Roxas called behind me.
"What?" I grumbled, looking back.
"Never mind…" he said, closing the door.
Then I noticed Axel locking the car after he shut his door also. I felt like I should have thanked him properly, but as I was trying to make up my mind, he was heading the opposite way. Roxas went with him, giving me a quick wave.
Maybe I should quickly catch up with him, I thought to myself.
But it seemed too late for Axel and Roxas disappeared into the dark.
I shoved my hands into my pocket as I turned around also. No worries, maybe I can see him again…I hope.
"You're back," Paine said in a monotone, uninterested tone as she looked at me from where she sat on her bed, laptop laid upon her lap.
What? No 'Are you ok?' or 'What happened?'
"Glad to hear your sincere concern," I mumbled half annoyed with her careless attitude. I fumbled to my bed and plopped my face upon the pillow. I sighed heavily into it.
"Had a good time?" she asked slyly.
"No, not really," I said, my words muffled into the pillow.
I tried hard to sleep, but I couldn't. My eyes stared at the bed above me which Rikku quietly slept upon. Paine, on the other hand, snored a little. At first I was a bit annoyed by the irritating sound, but I got accustomed to it. Besides, even if I told her, I didn't want to get risked getting hit or something…scary as she is.
It must have been around 2:30ish in the morning. I glanced at the clock to confirm this, then sighed. What to do…
Maybe if I kept myself busy, I would get tired. As quietly as I could, I moved the covered to the side and sat upright. Hmm, but what could I possibly do at this hour? As my eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room, I noticed a pile of Paine's clothes gathered in a corner.
That gave me an idea, I could do my laundry. Crazy, I know, to do laundry at this hour, but I was anxious to do something. I turned the small lamp on the nightstand and hoped not to disturb my roommates. When neither of them stirred, I cautiously proceeded to gather my clothes in a laundry bag. I shut the light off and checked if I had my key before I left the room.
The hallways seemed so barren and quiet, but that's what you should expect at this time of night anyhow. I took my time walking to the laundry room that was used by everyone that was located in the basement level.
I didn't expect anyone to be present in the laundry room, but to my surprise there was a man sitting on the bench as a few of the machines were running. He seemed to be reading the newspaper with his eyes intently reading.
I was about to turn around and go back to my room because I didn't feel too comfortable being in a room alone with this stranger but I took a good look at him. Oh! It was Axel. I should have recognized him sooner with that mess of red hair.
This could be the perfect time to thank him since I didn't really do so earlier. He seemed to be dressed in black pants and a loosely buttoned long sleeved shirt. I didn't see that he wore glasses earlier, but they were perched above his sleek nose as he intently read the newspaper. I felt a bit silly, being dressed in a white shirt and pajama pants along with my slippers.
Nevertheless, I walked in the cool room, wondering how to start conversation. He didn't bother to look up as I came in, standing in front of one of the many machines that were lined upon each other. I opened one of the washers and began putting my clothes in. I fumbled with the buttons before actually turning the darn thing on. My back was still facing him as I fiddled with the empty laundry bag.
I wondered how long the wash would take…
Turning around, I found him still reading the newspaper. Maybe I should say something first?
"Um," I began, trying to figure out what to say, "Thank you for picking us up."
Axel looked up at me, seeming to notice me for the first time.
"Oh," he said, looking at me closely, as if trying to remember who I was, "It's no problem."
"So, what are you reading?" I asked stupidly.
"Newspaper," he answered, "But only because I left the book I was reading in my room. I just saw this lying around."
"And what brings you here at this hour?" he asked, closing his newspaper.
"Oh," I gave a nervous laugh, "I couldn't sleep…so I thought I might as well just do something useful. And you?"
I was as curious as he was to know what he was here also at this time.
"Well," he said, taking his time answering, "I hate it when it gets crowded during day time. I like it when its empty."
"It's a bit too early, isn't it?"
"Yes, but, I come here sometimes even when I don't do laundry at around this time." He gave me a warm smile.
"Really?" I was surprised to hear this. "But…why?" I didn't see anything so special about a laundry room.
"I have insomnia sometimes. So, I like reading books or writing to kill time., I would read in my room, but Roxas hates it-"
I interrupted him. "Roxas?"
"He's my roommate," he explained calmly.
"He hates it when I do that so late because it bothers him, so I come here."
"What about the library?" I think it was opened all the time, even at this time.
"It's too quiet. I like it here because I can just turn on one of the machines, and its fine. I like a bit of noise in the background," he told me.
Wow, I never heard of something like that before. "You come here often?"
"Depends," he said. Then he let out a small sigh. "A bit…strange isn't it?"
I seated myself besides him on the bench, but left enough space between us so I didn't give him any wrong messages.
"No, no," I said, "I think that's…interesting." It seemed odd, but I was a bit charmed by this.
He gave a small laugh. "But books aren't just good for reading."
"Oh?" I asked, a bit confused by this statement.
"I mean," he said, smiling shyly, "They're great to prop windows open when they don't hold up too well. I even use them as doorstoppers, flattening out papers, or using them as a hard surface to write something."
I chuckled because it seemed a little absurd. "Oh, I see."
Even though I just met him today, I felt like he was a pleasant person to be around. I felt like I wanted to get to know him better.
"How come I haven't seen you around?" I asked, not recalling ever seeing him on campus.
"I think I am in one of your classes," he informed me, crossing his leg. "Chemistry."
"Hmm," I pondered over this for a moment. "I don't remember seeing you?"
"That's because I sit in the back, and sometimes, I don't show up," he confessed.
"I don't know, I guess I get bored sometimes." he gave me a quick glance.
One of the machines stopped running. I assumed it was the one Axel started since the washer I loaded my clothes in was still on. He got up and walked to the dryer that his clothes were in. His back was to me as he took the clothes out and put them in a bag. He seemed to be in a hurry as he shoved the clothes into the bag.
I craned my neck a little to see around him, not that I was trying to be nosy, but it seemed a bit strange. In his hasty pace, he dropped one of the garments onto the floor without noticing at first. I glanced at the piece of clothing, which appeared to be a dress of some sort.
I looked away when he realized his error and grabbed the dress quickly. Was he embarrassed of washing women's clothing? I didn't know, but I did wonder whose clothes he was washing. Did he…have a girlfriend?
Before I could contemplate further, he turned around, looking calmly at me but with the bag clenched in his hand tightly. He smiled as I tried to look normal.
"Would you like me to stay for a bit longer?" he asked politely, noticing that I was still waiting for my clothes to be done in the washer.
"You don't have to," I told him, not wanting to keep him from getting back to wherever.
"I don't mind, since it's so late," he came a bit closer to me.
Yes, please stay.
"No, really, it's ok," I placed a strand of my hair behind my ear.
I couldn't bring myself to ask him to stay. I kept telling him that he could go.
He glanced at his watch. "Alright," he said, "I will see you later."
My heart sank, but quickly shook the feeling because I knew I was being ridiculous. I just met him, so I don't know why I am acting so silly…wanting him to stay longer. I told myself it is because I wanted to just talk to someone.
He walked past me, but before leaving, he turned around. "Kairi," he asked, getting my attention as I looked at him. "Maybe we can have lunch tomorrow."
"Oh, ok," I said slowly, trying to mask the excitement in my voice. "When?"
"Around 11:30, or whenever you want," he said, placing a hand on the side of the door.
"That sounds fine," I told him.
He smiled and waved goodbye to me as he left.
I couldn't help but wear a big smile. But, wait, we didn't settle a place to meet…
Oh, no matter. I'm sure we can find each other. A faint ring sounded indicating that my clothes were done in the washer and ready to be placed in the dryer. I got up and busied myself as I thought about having lunch with him.
I waited impatiently in an empty dorm room that I was able to stay in for the time being. I sat with one lamp on as I wrapped my arms around my arms. The doorknob turned as Axel entered into the room with my clothes. About time.
"What took you so long?" I asked from the bed I sat at as I glared at him.
"Nothing," he said, giving me a stupid smile as he tossed the bag to the side of the bed.
"You know," he started as he sat on the empty bed across from me, "I'm glad we argued and you made me do your laundry at this time."
We had argued about him washing my clothes, in which he finally gave in. "Why?" I asked suspiciously. "Did you do something to my clothes?" I was going to hurt him if he did.
"Calm down," he began, "Your clothes are fine."
"Well?" I asked, impatiently.
"I meet her," he smiled even wider.
"Oh…and, what happened?" I was curious to know what he did…
"Not much, we just talked a little."
"Like?" I opened the bag and began to sort them out and fold them, laying them all on the bed as he talked.
"It turns out that I like to read in the laundry room every time I can't sleep."
"Pfft," I made the sound with my lips. "What kind of stupid lie is that?"
I knew that after taking away Kairi's memory of everything that happened would mean that she wouldn't be able to remember Axel, which allowed him to "change" himself, as he says. More like become another person, a fake. His idea was to seem to be the studious type to impress Kairi, or to at least get to know him more.
Such a stupid thing to do. I don't understand why he couldn't have lied and pretended to be kind and all that in the beginning.
"I think she digs it," he said happily.
I rolled my eyes. That's so stupid. "I don't know how long you can keep this façade going on."
"And wearing glasses doesn't make you look smarter also," I muttered because I thought wearing glasses was a dumb accessory for him to wear as well.
I smelled the smoke that came from his cigarette that he just lit. He got up from the bed, as he headed towards the door.
"See you later," he bade as he shut the door behind him.
It was a good that he wasn't in a bad mood because I had feared that he would have somehow figured out that I was the reason why Kairi was separated from her friends, and why he had to pick her and Roxas up. If he knew that I had accidentally transferred some of my memories to Kairi, he would do something horrible to me. Especially since the memories that she has would give away his true nature.
I almost shuddered at the thought of him finding out, but I don't think I would have to worry about it. As long as I don't let Kairi see me, then she might not try to make connections. Or I hope.
But it still irked me that Roxas and Kairi were alone together after I managed to escape from her…
I shook the thought from my head and kept myself occupied with folding the rest of my clothes.
It's OK, I told myself, I'm sure Roxas will be mine soon…
AFter long time update
hope u like? and that i didnt kill the fic
well thanks so much for reading ~~