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How dare Cloud mock her, she couldn't believe it. Her mind was replaying the kiss and his one word. As she cleaned up the kitchen she kept passing her tongue over her lips, seeing if she could still taste him on her. She had an idea of what his response to her meant. If someone you loved kissed you, wouldn't you think they had feelings for you to?
After cleaning the kitchen, she slowly walked up the steps of the dark wooden stairs. Her heart began to race, even being in the same house as the man made her heart's pace quicken. What was wrong with her? She had been living with Cloud for years and for her to be nerve struck by the blonde was a rare thing.
She was actually looking forward to Cloud stepping out a bit so she could run her bar in peace and get some thinking action going on in her brain. She flinched a bit when she realized that the very next day, in just a couple of hours, they would be heading together to Rocket Town. That meant a long ride, together, with Cloud, to and back.
She groaned. She had always wanted Cloud to at least touch her inappropriately once or to give her a huge bear hug for a whole day, but now, it was break time. She needed time to think about the events that occurred that same night. Cloud hadn't said anything back to her, no agreement or disagreement to her confession of love.
Did he not love her back?
The thought of that made Tifa's eyes water. She stood in front of his room and wiped her tears away. Why was Cloud always confusing? She remembered that even when they were children, Cloud wasn't exactly a weirdo but he was confusing, he hadn't changed much when it came to that. As quickly as she place a hand on his door, she pulled it back. Not now, she needed sleep if she was going to wake up extra early.
She opened the kid's door a bit and saw that Denzel was slightly snoring and Marlene looked like a cocoon, wrapped in her sheets. Tifa smiled and gently closed the door. She proceeded to her room, she needed sleep, right now.
As Cloud stirred in his bed, he smelled the delicious aroma of something sweet and coffee. Waking up everyday to this? What had he been missing out on? He immediately stood up and walked to his bathroom, glancing at his digital clock on his office desk. It read 5:45am.
"Tifa's ludicrous..." Cloud mumbled under his breath. He was used to waking up at early hours for his deliveries, however, Tifa didn't always have to push herself as hard, she chose to, and this made him smile. She was always so giving and he liked that. She was always willing to give to him and that that pleased him, he knew he needed all the help he could get.
Just thinking about Tifa could make him smile. When he thought about it, Tifa, Barrett, Cid, Yuffie, Vincent, everyone, did their part to make him who he was today. He always had a thought that Tifa had feelings for him, he just wasn't ready to sit down and pay close attention, he would always preoccupy himself with other things.
Cloud bathed and got dressed. Since he wasn't going to work for a while, he chose to wear something simple and comfortable. He slipped on some black slacks and a gray polo with regular boots. He didn't know he had these clothes in the closet, Tifa must have bought him these while he was gone. What would he do with out her?
He walked to the kids room and opened their door, they were still heavily asleep. Cloud chuckled a bit, what he would do to sleep as good as them. He shut the door and walked downstairs to see Tifa pouring some coffee in his mug. Her back was facing him and she hadn't seem to noticed he was behind her.
He reach over, placed his hand on her back and traced it up to her right shoulder. He laughed a bit when she jumped. "Did I startle you?" He asked.
"No, you tickled me. That's why I giggled." Tifa smiled at him. This made him laugh since she was being sarcastic. Tifa was expecting an explanation about last night but instead she was greeted by cold hands on her warm back.
"Why are you up so early?" He said as he received the mug with strong coffee. Tifa turned around and pulled a tray of hot donuts from it. Cloud's heart almost stopped, he loved sweets.
"Well, I had to cook something for Cid and Shera..." Tifa pointed to the aluminum containers that were at the end of the bar counter, they were filled with whatever Tifa cooked for the two, "I'll wake the kids up in a bit..." She announced as Cloud happily stuffed his mouth with doughnuts.
"Okay, who's going to pick them up from school?" He took a sip from his hot coffee.
Tifa walked around the bar counter and into the actual bar. She pulled the curtain open and took a look outside. "I actually called Barrett earlier this morning... he was already heading to work. He said he could pick them up from here late at night and that they could sleep over and he'll take them to school the next day..."
Cloud almost laughed. "Tifa, tomorrow is Saturday"
Tifa slapped her head and groaned in annoyance. "Fine, he can have them for the weekend... but we need someone to pick them up from school and take them here."
"Don't call Yuffie" Cloud hurriedly took a sip of his coffee, not looking at the woman.
"Cloud, she's not that bad. Besides, who else?" She argued, walking back from the door.
Cloud looked at Tifa. Tifa looked at Cloud.
"That is..?" Cloud began to ask as he turned around and raised his perfectly shaped eyebrow.
"I don't know..." Tifa walked back and looked through the same window she did a moment ago. Cloud bugged her once more, asking who it was as he saw her opening the door.
Cloud laughed. "You know, normal people knock twice." This earned him a look from Tifa.
"Yes, but now, am I to be considered normal?" He responded as he walked in and headed to a bar stool.
"Vincent, why are you here?" Tifa asked as she began to pour him a hot mug of coffee. She turned around and noticed that the two men had nodded to each other, a way of saying 'good morning' she guessed.
Vincent accepted the mug and began drinking. Cloud was about to say something smart when he realized he had already eaten his last doughnut, and this shut him up. "Barrett asked if I could take the children to school and after, bring them back here." Typical Vincent, straight to the point.
"Oh, I'm so sorry to bother you.." Tifa buried her face in her hand, hiding a blush of embarrassment.
"It is fine." Vincent looked up to her and nodded. "Truth be told, I was around this area. It would do no harm if I were to comply with a favor from a friend." He took another sip.
Tifa smiled. "Thank you so much Vincent." She walked over to the fridge and opened the door. "Would you like some breakfast?" She kindly offered. Vincent tucked a lock of hair from his face to the back of his ear and nodded, giving her a 'thank you'.
Cloud stood up and walked over to the staircase. "I'll wake up the kids since it's a little past 6" Cloud said, taking his mug of hot coffee with him. Tifa nodded to him and began preparing breakfast for her two children and Vincent.
"What the hell?" Cloud asked as Tifa place the key to her truck in his hand. The two were arguing about whether go on his motorcycle or in her truck. Cloud was frustrated and Tifa was irritated. After Tifa was done cooking, the children came downstairs clean and dressed. They happily ate chatting with Vincent, who was also eating his breakfast. After they were done, Vincent walked them to school, which left Cloud and Tifa alone. Tifa bathed and got dressed in a nice pair of navy blue denim jeans and a black poplin shirt with comfortable dark ballerina shoes.
"I have two aluminum containers with food in them, Cloud. It would only make sense to go in my truck." Tifa knew they weren't getting anywhere, he wouldn't budge. She snatched the keys out of his hands and stomped her way to the garage.
"You put them there in the first place." Cloud yelled as a response to her vigorous snatch of her key. He went after her and once they were in the garage, he pointed to his bike.
"No Cloud!" She unlocked the truck and opened the back door. It was either Cloud's magnificent motorcycle or her new light blue truck of the year and unfortunately for Cloud, she chose her truck.
"Your truck is....slow" Cloud tried to insult. This made Tifa turn around and glare.
"What?" Tifa wasn't much of a car person, however she chose a good, durable, fast truck. She wasn't dumb when it came to that. She knew her tuck and she loved it.
"You heard me" It was true, her truck wasn't as fast as his bike but they were safer in her truck. Tifa walked to the kitchen and picked up her containers of delicious food. Cloud opened the garage and turned on his bike. Tifa walked her happy way to the car and carefully placed the food in the floor of the back seats, she didn't want it to slip out of the seat and onto the floor so she secured it on the floor.
She walked back in her home and packed a few water bottles. After locking up the house, she proceeded to enter her truck. Cloud was still on his bike, wasting gas for all Tifa could see.
She backed her truck out and waited for Cloud. Cloud sighed and turned his bike off. He walked to her car, opened the door and sat in the passenger seat. Tifa smiled at him. "I knew you'd come to your senses." And they were off.
After hours of driving, they finally arrived. It was the afternoon already and Rocket Town was looking even better than the last time they were here a few months back, Cid and Barrett were doing a great job with the help of Reeve. Tifa carefully maneuvered her way to the front of Cid and Shera's house. She parked the car in front of their white picket fence and picked up the containers of food from the back of the car. Cloud was the one to lock the car and knock on the door.
"I know the sound of that damn engine anywhere!" Cid greeted at the door. Both Tifa and Cloud smiled. It had been a while. Cid ushered them to the comfortable couch and there they were greeted by Shera. Shera offered to make them food but Tifa refused to trouble them.
"I actually made this for you." Tifa stood up from her seat and handed Cid the two containers. Shera and Cid both thanked her and they all proceeded to the kitchen, except for Cloud. He decided to watch some television, maybe some news. Cloud could hear Shera's squeals of happiness from the kitchen and laughed a little.
"Thank you, Tifa!" Shera hugged the woman. As they we hugging, Cid threw in a thanks of his own. He patted Tifa's back and smiled. She had made them some of her delicious cheesy chicken broccoli Alfredo, Shera's favorite. Once Shera opened the other container, it was Cid's turn to actually wrap his arms around her; Tifa had made some classic chicken teriyaki stir fry, his favorite.
"You're very welcome" Tifa hugged back.
"Let's all eat, I bet you two are hungry from the long ride here." Shera began pulling some plates out.
"Hey kid! Come here and get yourself some food!" Cid yelled. Sure enough, Cloud had turned off the television and walked into the kitchen. After reheating the food, they all sat in the table and began to eat. "You over did yourself there, Tifa" Cid managed to say while stuffing his face.
"Yes, thank you so much, Tifa!" Shera gave the girl a smile. "We would have had the place looking great if we knew you two were coming." Shera looked around in disappoint.
"Shera, we're like family, it's not problem. It was actually Cloud's idea of coming today..." Tifa threw Cloud a glance, he was eating his food calmly.
"Hm?" Cloud's dead give away that he was not paying full attention to anything that was going on.
After eating, the men took their leave and proceeded to head outside to the backyard. The two women stayed in the kitchen cleaning. Tifa noticed that Cloud hadn't really said a word to her the entire time they were there, and that was worrying her. Shera noticed Tifa's discomfort.
"Tifa? Is anything the matter?" She carefully asked as she placed the dirty dishes in the washing machine.
"Oh? N-no...I'm fine." Tifa cleaned the table up and advanced to help the other woman. Shera wasn't convinced but didn't press on because Tifa looked like she was going to continue. "Shera? How is it living with Cid? You know, how is it living with him finally being married?" Tifa asked as they finished up.
"Well, he's certainly no prince charming..." Shera began as they headed to the small patio Cid made for them a while back. They sat together in a nice sofa that was facing the men talking and building some contraption in the far back of the yard. "He's not so easy to read but the good thing Cid has is....he opens up to me. Whenever there is something wrong, he lets me know with his strings of curses." Shera laughed as Tifa smiled, yes, that was Cid. "Why? Have you and Cloud...?"
"Uh...Well, not really...." Tifa quickly responded. She explained what had happened the last few days to Shera and began to furrow her eyebrows. Shera placed her hand on Tifa's shoulder and gave her a squeeze. "I'm not sure how to act with him anymore...and I promised myself that he wouldn't go unpunished." Tifa looked over at Cloud, he was now leaning against the bigger white fence with Cid in front of him, smoking.
"Give him time...Maybe he's thinking about this just like you are." Tifa looked at Shera and smiled, the woman had a point.
"You're right..." Tifa agreed. She looked over at Cloud again and found him looking right at her. He wasn't so far away to she could see his Mako blue eyes starting right at her. Little did Cloud know, Tifa had just decided how to punish him.
After a couple of hours, Cloud returned inside the house with Cid. They were both dirty with grease stains, grass, and not to mention their 'man smell'. "What did you do?!" Tifa asked as if Cloud were a small child.
"We fucking worked like men!" Cid announced happily, apparently Cloud had helped him finish building some project of his.
"We're heading home now..." Cloud wiped his face on his very nice shirt. Tifa frowned, how could he just do that? Yuck.
"Aw, are you sure? We have an extra room, you two are welcomed to stay if you'd like." Shera stood next to Cid, smiling.
Cloud looked at Tifa and wished he hadn't. There was something about her eyes that just made him give in. "We wouldn't want to bother....." He stopped. "Fine, we'll stay." Cloud sighed as Cid laughed at him.
Tifa and Shera winked at each other. Tifa followed Shera in the guest room and sat on the bed. "So far so good!" Shera whispered. Shera had totally agreed to help Tifa with Cloud's punishment
"Shera, there's only one bed?" Tifa looked worried, she knew Cloud would be sleeping on the couch if he had to.
"Yes, but, this room has it's own bathroom, just like ours." Referring to Cid's and her room, Tifa knew what she was getting at.
"Great! Now all we have to do is go shopping." Tifa quickly hugged her friend and exited the room. Cloud approached his close female friend and whispered into her ear.
"Tifa, I have no extra clothes here and neither do you!" Tifa could smell his sweat and the grass from outside on him.
"Don't worry, Shera and I are stepping out a bit to get us some clothing for the night." She rubbed his arm and gave him a small smile.
"We'll be back!" Shera announced as she gave Cid a kiss and took the other girl's hand. Once the door was shut and locked, Cid gave Cloud a surprised look.
"What?" Cloud asked.
"Shit, you didn't see that?!" Cid hit the blonde's arm. Cloud frowned and hit him back. He wasn't really in the mood for games, he was craving a shower and some sleep.
"What the hell Cid?" He asked.
"Nothing." Cid said as he headed to his room to shower. "Don't think about sittin' your ass on my couch all dirty. Get yourself a chair from outside!" Cloud was now irritated as he turned his attention to getting a wooden chair from outside.
There it is! What do you guys think his punishment is? Hmmm?
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