Disclaimer: Don't own the characters.
She looked good today, she always looked good. But now she's the same ol' Tifa she use to be. I'll never forget when she wasn't. That's when I barely started hangin' around here. She looked worn out, un- happy and barely looked anyone in the eye. It was hell tryin' to get her to come outta her shell.
"Hey Reno." She smiled shyly.
"Hey yourself." I smiled back.
I went on some lousy assignment in Junon for a couple of weeks and when I came back she was different. I guess she had figured stuff out or more likely got rid of stuff. Damn that blond bimbo….
Her bar was the best place to regroup after a day on the job. I had been visiting for probably a few months almost everyday, sometimes more than once, and I really got to see who she was, hardworking, gracious, able to put up with my teasing which she always blushed at, and not to mention pretty.
"How's work?" She asked while gathering some empty glasses from the counter.
"Oh, you know, the usual. Pickin' on Elena, tryin' to steal Rude's sunglasses kinda day." Ain't that the truth. Ever since the end of Shinra there ain't been shit to do. It seemed like we were the town's security guards instead of the Turks.
She gave a laugh, a real laugh, not a giggle or a chuckle. "How about a drink? The usual?"
One day her little ninja friend was there sitting at the counter. "Hey chicken, what's up?" I said while taking my usual seat.
"Chicken? That's a good one rooster ass." She quipped. I just smiled as she continued staring me down.
"Leave the chicken alone." Tifa laughed as she emerged from the kitchen.
"Hey, I thought you were on my side?" Ninja girl whined.
"I'm kidding Yuffie." She continued to giggle which made me smile even wider, and probably made me look like a dumbass.
"Been busy lately?" I pulled out a cig and lighter.
"Not really, I've just been stocking tons of stuff and arranging and handling paperwork. Didn't get much sleep last night, I guess I was too wired." She gave a hard sigh, "I must look terrible."
"Nah, you always look good." I wink. Her face seemed to flush a little as her eyes diverted to something on the floor. "Thanks." She said sheepishly. I could see ninja girl eyeing me through my peripheral, so I turned and gave her a wink for good measure and she just rolled her eyes in disgust.
What was wrong with hanging out at a local bar with ice cold drinks and a pretty bartender? I sure as hell didn't know either, but Elena always gave me holy hell for it.
"You like her don't you?" She prodded me one morning in the break room.
"Lena, me and Rude have sworn to keep our friendship strictly platonic." I swear I saw Rude's eyes pop outta their sockets behind those shades. I couldn't help laughing out loud.
"Stop ignoring the subject." She gave me pointed look.
"Alright, alright. Since you're just dying to know, no I do not." At least I didn't think I did. I started analyzing the situation in my mind as I plopped onto the sofa. "Happy now?"
"No. You're lying." Her eyes narrowed.
"What makes ya think so?" I yawned. Her face contorted into some kind of thinking position. The wheels were turning and I swear I knew what was coming next.
"Well, since you don't have a problem about it, how about you take us to her bar that you're always talking about?" She said sweetly.
"Fine with me." I responded like I could care less.
"Ok then. Tomorrow, after work." And then she waltzed outta the room.
"You coming too?" I ask Rude who seemed way too interested in his magazine.
"Sure." Was all he said. I swear I could see a faint smile on his face. And then for no reason, doubt was starting to swell inside of me about this whole thing.
"How's it goin'?" The counter was unusually empty so I took the advantage and sat right in the middle.
"Hey, same as usual." She had her hair tied up in one of those little clip things that girls usually wore, and a few of her bangs danced around her eyes. They seemed to sparkle whenever she talked. Either that or it was the lighting.
"Do they not like you anymore?" She motioned to where Elena and Rude were sitting in a booth trying not to look suspicious. I think Tifa was smart enough to know that something was up. Turks of a feather….
"Nah, they're just being anti-social." ….stick together. She gave a dismissive frown then turned to stack glasses into the cooler. I could feel the holes being burned into me from Elena and it made me mad. But it gave me an idea. So she wants to know if I like her? Alright, I'll give her something to talk about.
Since the bar was slow there was plenty of time to talk and tease, have some drinks and talk some more. Being a Turk means you can read people, how they feel, if they're lying, what they're thinking and so on. And she was giving clear signals the whole time.
"I'll be right back." She said as she quickly ran off to the kitchen, probably to make sure her cooks weren't burning the place down. And here comes Rude.
"Well, are you satisfied?" I pushed my empty glass towards him, "Got enough evidence?"
"Plenty." He deadpanned.
"Well then?" I felt like having another drink to celebrate. Weren't there more waitresses around here?
"You like her." He said in such a assuring tone of voice.
"What?" Not him too.
"Actions speak louder than words." He said cryptically, "Your body movement and posture gave it all away." Dammit!So that's what this was about! They lured me here to use my own knowledge against me. And I took the bait. Rude had a little smile forming on his face, and I felt tempted to smack it off with my magrod.
"Hey Rude," Tifa came out from the kitchen, "Nice of you to join us. Can I get you a drink?"
"Beer." Oh no, they might have succeeded, but I wasn't about to go out like this, like a little kid who just got teased for liking a girl.
"Well, I guess we better get going." I stood up and reached into my pocket for a tip. "Oh and Tifa, can I ask you something?" I said tossing the tip onto the counter as I leaned forward.
"Sure." She leaned forward in a friendly gesture to say that she was all ears, but as she waited for my question I closed the distance and locked her lips with mine.
I heard Rude choke on his beer and Elena gasp from the booth. Yeah, ok so I liked her. And judging by that kiss, I could tell she felt the same way.