A/N: Hey guys! Thanks for the reviews!! Sorry for the late update! So many things got in the way! I hope this makes up for it! Please review! By the way, the title of this chapter is in no way based on/stolen from the book Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty...I haven't even read it. Speaking of which, I haven't had time to read lately! You have no idea how sad that makes me... :(
Oh yeah, Seto's in this chapter :D
Disclaimer: I don't own YuGiOh. What a shame.
Chapter 3: Sloppy Firsts
Steam escaped into the hallway as Ana opened the door of the bathroom. She hopped into the cool hallway in a tank top and shorts, savoring the feeling of the cool air on her skin. Bending over she wrapped as much of her short black hair as she could in a towel and straightened up, looking for Lilah.
Silence greeted her. Ana sighed. She must have gone to work early to avoid me. The whole situation with Lilah didn't bother her that much; they had gotten into arguments before and they'd all been resolved by the next evening.
Ana walked into the small kitchen and checked the calendar. It was Lilah's turn to buy groceries for the week. I'll buy them instead, to make up, Ana thought.
She leaned forward against the counter, staring intently at the calendar. Something was nagging her. I feel as though I have something else to do today, but it's not on the calendar. So...what is it? Ana drummed her fingers on the counter top. The nagging feeling was getting stronger. What is it? No parties today, no class…OH GOD!
She ran haphazardly into the living room, stumbling over various discarded items. She slid to a halt in front of the clock and breathed a sigh of relief.
It's only 11 o'clock. That gives me enough time to go shopping and pick up the Kaiba kid. Ana sighed. She still couldn't believe how she wound up in this mess. Oh well. As long as I don't see Kaiba, I think I can manage.
She walked back to the kitchen and poured herself a bowl of cereal before walking to her bedroom. Once there, she went over to the dresser and grabbed a bottle of medicine. She shook the bottle until one pill tumbled into her palm. She looked at herself in the mirror. Here's hoping I don't do anything stupid today.
Seto's fingers darted nimbly across his keyboard and his eyes flitted across the computer screen. He was right. He did have to make corrections to the report his "employees" were supposed to create. Seto vaguely wondered whether he should renounce his title as CEO and just become the professional proof-reader of KaibaCorp. It seemed as though he did nothing but make corrections these days.
Frowning, he squinted to make out the words he was typing through the intense glare from the windows, but to no avail. Rolling his eyes in annoyance, Seto rose from his desk chair and walked to the windows to close the blinds. He grabbed the cords, ready to yank the blinds shut and shut out the offensive rays, but decided to linger and take in the view. It was rare for Seto Kaiba to take a break (what were those, anyway?) and it was even rarer for him to stare out the window, watching the city above which he towered. His eyes trailed over Domino, stopping for brief intervals at familiar landmarks—Domino High School, the KaibaDome, and even the park.
At this, he frowned. An unpleasant memory tugged annoyingly at his consciousness. It was only yesterday, but Seto had tried everything in his power to forget the events at the park. The girl. The phone. The interrogation he faced in the limo. Seto's mind drifted to the conversation—no, cross examination—he had with Mokuba.
Mokuba angrily clambered into the limo after his brother. No one said a word as Moore smoothly maneuvered the limo out of the parking space and began ten minute drive back to KaibaCorp. Mokuba leaned against the door with his arms folded and a relentless expression on his face. Seto saw his brother's face out of the corner of his eye. He didn't feel like answering any questions, so he kept his face blank and stared straight ahead. They had played this game several times before—one of them would be angry at the other for something and the other pretended not to notice, stopping only when one of them broke the silence.
Seto turned his head ever-so-slowly towards his brother, innocence gracing his features. "Yes?"
Mokuba rolled his eyes. "Why did you do it?"
"What are you talking about?" Seto asked, facing front again.
"Seto, you hired a random girl—no, thief—from the park to be my babysitter!" Mokuba shouted.
Seto rolled his eyes. "Caretaker, Mokuba. You know as well as I that you're far too old for a babysitter. Besides, I don't need to explain myself to you."
Seto said nothing and continued staring straight ahead. He folded his arms across his chest, indicating that the conversation between his brother and himself was over. They were close to KaibaCorp now and he couldn't wait to get his hands on the idiots who botched up his reports.
"Fine. Caretaker." Mokuba said after a minute. He didn't care if his brother was done with the conversation. He wasn't. "But why a thief? That's the stupidest thing ever. You could find plenty of other good people! How do you know she won't try to nick something from our house this time?"
Seto frowned at being interrupted from a perfectly good daydream about what he was going to do to those imbeciles. He sighed. "If I thought you would be in any danger, I wouldn't have done it. Now enough with the twenty questions!"
Mokuba sighed resignedly and fell back against the seat. The conversation was really over this time. He turned his head to the window and watched the scenery change from trees and blue sky to the slate-grey concrete walls of KaibaCorp's executive parking area. He knew his brother would never put him in danger intentionally, but hiring a thief is crazy! He watched as Seto exited the vehicle lithely and marched toward the front door. Mokuba sighed again as he clambered out of the limo. He trudged toward the front door, wishing he knew why his brother did half the things he did.
Seto snapped out of his reverie and shook his head. There was no use in thinking about yesterday. What's done is done. He pulled on the cords and the blinds swung across its track and blocked out the sun's intense rays. Seto sat down at his desk again and stared at the computer screen. He saw line graphs indicating KaibaCorp's growth, several numbers, and lots of words. Nothing was making sense to him at this point; his concentration was broken. He ran a hand through his hair, turning his blue eyes to the desk calendar. The report was due to his accounting office at three today and with his concentration broken—Seto frowned. Crap! I told that girl to pick up Mokuba at three fifteen!
He picked up the phone and dialed his house, tapping his fingers impatiently against the desk as he waited.
A cool voice with a British accent answered the phone, "Kaiba Residence, how may I help you?"
"Wilson, it's me. Mokuba is going to have a visitor today…actually, for several days. Keep an eye on her, got it?"
"Ah…very well then, Mr. Kaiba." Wilson said a bit flustered.
"Good." Seto hung up the phone and rubbed his temples. This is going to be a long day.
The afternoon sun shone brightly over Domino. A gentle wind buffeted the trees with promises of spring right around the corner. Everything was relatively calm; the people strolled about lazily as if it was summer, simply enjoying the break from cold weather.
Ana burst out of the supermarket with her arms full of merchandise and pelted down the sidewalk at top speed toward her apartment building. What she had planned to be a morning of relaxing grocery shopping turned out to be a sprint through the bread aisle, a hurdle jump over the patrons in the cereal, vegetable, and junk food aisles and a home plate slide into one of the open cash register lanes.
Ana bounded down the sidewalk trying not to drop anything while dodging the walking pedestrians. How did it get to be 2:45 so soon? I have to be at KaibaCorp at three fifteen and I don't even know where it is!
When she finally made it inside her apartment, she all but threw the groceries onto the counter before collapsing against the counter, breathless. I…managed…not to drop…anything…OH GOD WHAT AM I DOING?! She jumped up and ran into her room, tugging her now sweaty clothes off and prying the closet door open and opting for the first pair of jeans and a T-shirt she could lay her hands on. Ana then sped out of the apartment, grabbing her keys and handbag before slamming the front door behind her.
She made it out to the side walk before she realized that she forgot the directions. Ugh, what am I going to do now? She groaned inwardly and looked up at the sky, wondering why she was having so much bad luck in one day. That's when she saw it. KaibaCorp tower! I can't believe I've never noticed it! It was the tallest building in Domino and dominated the city skyline.
"Kinda like its owner." She mumbled to herself. She set off towards the tall building. I don't need directions anymore…I mean it can't be that hard to find the tallest building in Domino City!
She thought wrong.
Twenty minutes later, Ana still hadn't found KaibaCorp. She had asked several people for help but they all laughed her off, taking her query as a joke. After all, who didn't know where KaibaCorp was? In a moment of desperation, Ana managed to snag a middle aged woman who didn't look very happy about the interruption but politely pointed Ana in the right direction.
"Thank you!" Ana said, bowing politely.
It turned out that she wasn't very far; it was just a few buildings down the street she was already on. Ana glanced at the street sign as she crossed the street and read "KaibaCorp Drive." No wonder they all laughed at me! I was on the right street the whole time! Feeling sheepish Ana slowed to a walk and arrived at 575 KaibaCorp Drive with three minutes to spare.
"Wow," was all she could say when she tried to look up at the building. It stretched for miles and miles into the sky, a boundless tower of glass. Ana grinned apologetically at the people who gave her a funny look for standing in the middle of the path and finally entered the logo emblazoned glass doors. A refreshingly cool breeze greeted her upon walking in.
The lobby was furnished with a modern flair. The walls were white and the floor was carpeted in blue. The waiting area was furnished with a sleek black couch and a chunky glass table. The letters "KC" engraved into the wall directly above the couch gave the area a finishing touch.
Ana was not impressed.
Maybe this place is supposed to scream innovation and technology, but there is nothing here that amazes me. This looks like any other office. I wish I could—
" Are you lost?" a smooth female voice asked.
Ana turned towards the voice and saw the most flamboyant-looking woman she had ever seen. The woman looked about twenty five, had porcelain white skin tinged pink with rouge on her cheeks, very short curly blonde hair and was wearing a tight olive green dress with a metallic sheen.
"Uh…not really. I'm here to pick up—"she paused. Uh oh. I don't know his name! "Seto Kaiba's little brother." She said lamely. "He's about this high…give or take." She added, gesturing.
The receptionist rolled her eyes and looked at her overly polished nails. "That's not very convincing. For all I know, you could be a kidnapper or a child molester."
"A what!?" Ana strode over to the receptionist's desk angrily. "Listen…" she said reading the woman's name tag before speaking again, "…Samantha, I ran here from across town because Kaiba told me to babysit his kid brother today and for all of eternity. So, if you don't mind, I'd like you to tell Mr. Kaiba that I'm here to pick up his younger brother." She added menacingly.
Samantha frowned but reached over to the phone, taking her time dialing Seto's office. "Mr. Kaiba? There's a girl here who says she's here to babysit your brother."
Ana watched impatiently as Samantha spoke for about five more seconds before jerking the phone away from her with an annoyed expression. She hung up, mumbling what sounded like "ungrateful bastard" under her breath. She looked up at Ana with a bored expression.
"He said Mokuba will be down in a minute. Why don't you go and take a seat in the waiting area? Do you want a lollipop while you wait?"
"Excuse me?" Ana asked. She thought she heard the silly receptionist ask her if she wanted a lollipop.
Samantha shrugged. "What? Don't kids like lollipops anymore? Here," she held one out, "take it, but don't stick it on anything."
Ana wanted to tell her where she could stick thatlollipop, but restrained herself. It's no use trying to make enemies with people I'll never see again…wait a sec… Ana groaned when she realized that she'd have to deal with Samantha every day she had to pick up Mokuba. She slid down the front of the desk, extremely bothered with the thought. Ugh…kill me now!
Thunder rumbled inside Seto Kaiba's office as the CEO tried to get his brother to comply with his orders. Seto was already behind schedule and that never happened, so he was not in the mood for arguing.
"Mokuba, for god's sake, just GO already!" he shouted from his desk.
"No! You can't make me!" Mokuba retorted, sticking out his tongue. He sat tensely in the chair in front of Seto's desk and gripped the armrests as if he were sinking.
"Mokuba,you sound like a two-year-old. Now, get over it before one of the body guards has to carry you downstairs."
They glared at each other for a minute. Then, the younger Kaiba rolled his eyes and stood. The thought of being carried kicking and screaming through a corporate office full of adults did not appeal to him.
"Fine, but if I'm dead when you come home, I hope you feel guilty." He said bitterly, hoping to elicit some sort of reaction from his brother.
Seto only smirked victoriously. "Feel free to haunt my nightmares."
Samantha chattered derisively to the girl who slumped against her desk. It wasn't often that she had visitors that stayed around long enough to talk. Ana wanted to do anything but talk; she was just about ready to strangle the eccentric woman.
"…and seriously, do something with that hair of yours! It looks dead enough to weave into a rug or something!" Samantha said while looking at herself in the reflection of the glass countertop.
Ana opened her mouth to make some snide comment about how the receptionist's outfit looked like it came from a rug when the glass elevator doors slid open smoothly and an unhappy Mokuba stepped out.
Well, he looks absolutely thrilled to see me . Ana wiped her hands on her jeans. She was a bit nervous.
The younger Kaiba trudged slowly over to where Ana stood as if walking to his doom with his arms crossed and violet eyes ablaze with resentment. Ana ignored the chills that ran down her spine and tried to be friendly.
"Hi, I'm Ana. We met yesterday at the park." She said holding out her hand.
Mokuba looked at her hand like it was something unbearably disgusting.
Shaking off the blatant rejection and beating herself up over they way she chose to introduce herself, Ana tried again. "Uh…I'm your caretaker-"
She laughed nervously "Um, right. I'll be that for...a while." She added, trying to make light of the situation.
Mokuba said nothing and began to walk to the exit.
"Hey wait! Where are you going?" Ana asked running after him.
Mokuba turned, his eyes staring dully. "My brother has a limo ready to take us to the house."
"Oh." Of course. "Let's go." Ana followed him. She wasn't used to kids calling all the shots. But at least I don't have to think about taking him somewhere to keep him occupied.
The black stretch limo was parked in the front. A middle aged man in a crisp black suit and cap stepped out of the driver's seat and opened the door for Ana and Mokuba. Smiling her thanks and earning a wink from the chauffer, Ana slid into the backseat next to her young charge. A limo and a chauffer? Just how rich are they? She cursed herself for not knowing more about Kaiba's socio-economic standing.
The drive to the Kaibas' home was silent and tense. Ana occasionally stole glances at Mokuba, trying to catch his eye and…and what? Make a funny face? The kid hates me! She sighed and slumped in her seat, holding onto her bag for comfort.
She closed her eyes. She was incredibly nervous about taking care no—babysitting Mokuba. After all, she had tried to snag his brother's phone just the day before. The thought of the elder Kaiba raised a wave of dislike. Ugh. I still can't believe I'm in this mess! How did he manage to manipulate me into babysitting his brother? Yet, although she was angry with the fact that Kaiba tricked her into watching his brother (for no fee), she was grateful that he hadn't gone to the police and turned her in like he probably should have.
The limo began to slow down. Ana opened her eyes and was shocked to see the biggest mansion she had ever laid eyes upon. I really need to do some research on Seto Kaiba now. After parking in the driveway (which was more like a small street, Ana noticed), the chauffer came around and opened the door for the passengers, who clambered out of the back of the vehicle.
Ana stood there for a second, staring at the sheer size of the house openmouthed.
She looked over at Mokuba. "Sorry…"
He rolled his eyes. "This way."
Ana followed the raven-haired boy into his house, marveling at how the inside seemed just as magnificent as the outside. "You have a great house!" she couldn't help but gush once they had stepped into the foyer. Her voice echoed throughout the room.
Mokuba turned and gave her the same dull stare from before. "Are you going to try and steal this too?"
Ana gaped at him. "Wh…what? Steal your house?" Did he just—did he really? Then, much to her own surprise, she began laughing. Mokuba looked at her with curiosity and reservation. "Steal your house? You're silly," she laughed, "it's too big!" Thank God my meds are working…
The corners of Mokuba's mouth twitched and he instantly slapped a hand over it. He turned and gestured, "I do my homework in the study. It's this way."
Mokuba's little hiding game did not go unnoticed. So he's easily amused. Cute. She smiled, trying to think of other ways she could get little Kaiba to come out of his shell. She began following Mokuba, but felt as if she was being…watched. She turned around and found herself face to face with a person who looked as though he could be the butler. Geez.
"Um…I'm sorry." She mumbled, taking her leave again.
"Mister Kaiba has sent you instructions." The butler said regally, holding out a sheet of paper. She stopped in her tracks and turned. Instructions, huh? She walked to the tall man and took the note from his hand. It was written in plain font on powder blue KaibaCorp letterhead. She began to read:
Mokuba is to do his homework until it's finished and you are to assist him with whatever he needs. If he completes it, entertain him with whatever is available at the house. I'll be there by then.
Seto Kaiba, CEO KaibaCorp
P.S. Do yourself a favor and don't steal anything.
Her face grew hot as she read the last line and she felt the eyes of the butler boring into her head, full of suspicion. She turned around and found several maids standing on the grand staircase staring at her with narrowed eyes while folding some white linen sheets. I'm under surveillance? SURVEILLANCE?! What am I, a criminal? Ana normally would have laughed, if not for the circumstances.
She cleared her throat. "Thank you, sir. I'll do my best to keep my hands to myself." She said before turning on heel and walking to Mokuba, who waited for her by the study's door. She entered and found a spacious room lit with fluorescent lights. Light blue curtains draped over huge glass windows which spanned across three of the off-white walls of the study. On the left side of the room was a computer that seemed to be decked out with the latest technology. In the middle of the room was a long black table surrounded by several cushy black swivel chairs. Mokuba settled into the chair that faced the doorway and watched as Ana sunk into the chair in front of him, clearly awestruck.
"I wish I had a room like this."
Mokuba said nothing and began to take books and papers out of the desk drawers.
"If you need any help, ask me." Ana said to him, "I'm not a genius or anything, but I'll try to help you if you need it."
Mokuba nodded shortly before starting his work. Ana watched him for a while, but became bored after ten minutes. She sighed, looking around the beautifully furnished room. Finding nothing interesting, she watched the young Kaiba once more. He's adorable! His stunning violet eyes and long lashes and even longer raven tresses were gorgeous and gave the boy a mysterious and exotic look.
Suddenly struck by inspiration, Ana reached into her bag and pulled out the sketchbook she always carried with her. I have to draw him! He's perfect! She began sketching the lines and curves, occasionally glancing up to look at her subject. Ana lost herself in sketching Mokuba. She was so into drawing that she didn't hear Mokuba clear his throat.
He tried again. "Um…Is that me?" he asked softly.
Ana looked up and found Mokuba standing next to her, gaping at his portrait. She too looked at her drawing. It was just a rough sketch, but was coming out better than she expected. "Yeah, do you like it?" she asked excitedly.
Mokuba nodded eagerly. "Yeah! Are you an artist?" The boy's eyes had lit up with an excited glow that was absent before.
Ana shrugged. "Sort of. It's just something I do for fun when I have time." She smiled and took this opportunity to get to know the boy a little better. "So what do you do for fun?"
"Play videogames and read and stuff." He replied, shrugging his shoulders. Ana was disappointed. He's closed himself off again.
"That's pretty cool," she said helpfully An awkward silence fell around them.
"Have you finished your homework?"
He nodded. "Yeah, but I couldn't figure out a math problem."
Relieved that she could do something besides question him awkwardly, she stood and walked around the table to where Mokuba's notebook lay.
Fifteen minutes of staring at the math problem gave her a headache. Ana grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, Mokuba, math wasn't one of my best subjects."
Mokuba shrugged. "I'll ask Seto when he comes home." It was funny watching the stranger trying to figure out the math problem. She made all sorts of funny faces and gestures, and it was hard trying not to laugh at her. She was kind of funny and pretty nice. Mokuba shook his head. I am not warming up to the enemy! Still…it was hard not to like her just a little bit.
"Sooo, what do you do when you finish your homework?" Ana asked cheerily.
"Play a video game, I guess." Mokuba replied. "You can play if you want." he added a little shyly. "Let's go." He began to walk to the door.
Ana stood and began to follow him when she heard the front door slam. Mokuba suddenly stopped and turned to her with a jubilant smile. "Seto's home!" He pelted out of the room, Ana following him, amused. She watched as Mokuba greeted Seto with a huge hug across the middle. Seto merely patted the boy on the head, but the affection was still evident in his small smile.
Cold blue eyes locked onto amber and the warm feeling was gone.
"You." He stated coldly. "I see you came after all."
Ana crossed her arms. "Yeah, well you made the offer so tempting, so it was hard to say no. Or," she put a finger to her chin in mock-thought. "Was it the blackmail? I can't seem to remember."
"Hn." His eyes flicked over her once before looking at Mokuba. "She didn't try to steal anything, did she, Mokuba?"
"Nope! I watched her like a hawk!" Mokuba said, grinning up at his brother.
Ana did one of those anime falls. That little-! "Hey!" she cried out, a little bit hurt.
Mokuba grinned mockingly.
"Whatever happened to trusting people?" she wondered out loud.
Seto smirked. "Well, given the circumstances of our first encounter, trust seems to be out of the question. Did you forget what happened yesterday? Let me remind you—"
"Ugh! You infuriating bastard!" she shouted stamping a foot.
No one moved.
Seto's smirk was gone and his face became expressionless. His eyes had a steely glint.
"Miss Taylor," he began in a quiet but dangerous voice, "I do not want to hear you shout profanities around my brother while you are in my household, understand? And although you may not be an official employee of mine, do remember that I hold the key to your cell in prison. Yes, prison." He added upon seeing her expression cloud over. "It would be best not to forget that."
Ana was shocked but decided to send Mister Kaiba a venomous glare. She was embarrassed at how quickly he had backed her into a corner. Oh I cannot wait to get back at this jerk!
"If you're done," Seto said, holding open the door.
Growling under her breath she picked up her bag and walked to the door with long, angry strides. Giving Seto one last glare, she stepped over the threshold. She had an idea.
"Mr. Kaiba," she began in a quiet voice. Seto glared at her. "I just want you to know that I AM GOING TO WIPE THAT STUPID SMIRK RIGHT OFF YOUR FACE! JUST WATCH ME YOU POMPOUS MUTHAFUCKING JACKASS!"
Seto promptly slammed the door in her face.
Ana stumbled back a little and stared at the door, a little surprised at herself. She had never been that rude to someone before. Then she laughed...and laughed. She had loved the stony expression on Kaiba's face! What a mix of confusion and hate! I could practically see the smoke coming out of his ears. What I would give to be able to draw that! She ran from the Kaiba household before he could stick his security team on her, looking for a bus and laughing all the while.
Laughing? LAUGHING?! Did she think that was supposed to be funny?! Seto put a hand over his face. This girl was going to be a lot of trouble.
Mokuba cleared his throat. "Um. I think you made her mad."
Seto straightened up. "She's a lunatic."
"Still, you didn't have to be that mean." Mokuba said crossly.
Seto stared at his brother incredulously. "And here I thought you hated her. Why do you care?"
The boy shrugged and tried to change the subject. "Anyway, she's a really good artist. She drew a cool picture of me!"
Seto scoffed and began taking off his coat. A maid appeared to take the coat from the young CEO. "Did she steal the paper she was drawing on?"
"…no, but it was really good! You should have seen it!"
Seto said nothing and picked up his briefcase and began ascending the grand staircase. "Don't get too attached to this girl—"
"Whatever. She's psychotic and something tells me that she may not be your care—"
"Babysitter." Seto glared at his brother. "…for much longer." He continued up the flight of stairs. Not if I can help it.
A/N: Mehehehe. Review please!