Author's Note: To be honest, I had to sort through a lot of ideas for this latest contest, and although I will be posting the others at some other time, this will be my official entry. I don't want to spoil anything, but the theme for this contest was Opposites.

Without further ado, I hope you all enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Harvest Moon or any of the characters involved with this story. Writing fanfiction is just a fun hobby is all. :)

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No Way, No How

I sat at the kitchen table, impatiently tapping my finger on the polished white surface. If I had to sit there, alone, for another minute, my fist would find its way right through it, and then I might have the urge to smash a certain someone's face in as well. Even as my blood pressure rose to dangerous levels, I was still doing my best to remain calm and in control. I glared out onto the beautiful stretch of sand that lay just beyond the window pane, but while I continued to struggle to keep my composure, I couldn't help reflecting on the treasured moments I'd spent there with my special someone. At the very least, my temper was slightly subdued by the warm, reassuring memories.

Making sandcastles, swimming contests, splash fights... watching the sunset... together. Not just poor, lil' ol' me... like I was right then.

Here I was sitting all by my lonesome, and dinner, which I'd taken a great deal of time preparing, was getting cold. The fact that there was a meal remaining uneaten across from me nearly drove me up the wall with annoyance and aggravation, but I refused to clear it away just yet. I might've been perturbed with the fact that the one who should've been home making supper wasn't. However, that was no reason to let perfectly good food go to waste. I was absolutely sure it was made from only the highest quality produce, too, because I had gotten them straight from Claire's farm down the way. She had the best crops around, and her farm was, above all, local. Although I couldn't say for certain, I'd been told that also improved the cooking itself.

Well, all except for the eggs which were my specialty, of course.

Surely there would be no peace in our humble abode tonight, or at least that's what I had already decided. I had no doubt he wouldn't be bothered by the situation, and I knew he'd try and help me 'forget' there had been any wrong-doing on his part. That's how our arguments always seemed to unfold themselves anyway. No matter how much effort I put into trying to be firm with him, he was more than capable of pushing all my concerns aside to satisfy his own needs while I was helplessly unable to refuse him. The worst part was... he knew it, too.

Could anyone deny that man's charms, though?

"Oh, honey, I'm home!" his voice rang out as he made his way through the door. He didn't even flinch when my eyes flickered up to meet his chocolate brown orbs that were filled with almost childish affection and endearing promises to stay true no matter the circumstances. I had to wonder how many had been fooled by his false bravado and infectious good cheer, including myself. Strange how I was so willing to let myself fall to the wayside with little more than a kiss... if I could even call it that given it had been an accident.

He'd meant to kiss another until I intervened, and even though neither one of us would've realized it without that 'mistake,' our relationship together had become something wonderful. Well... at first it seemed to. Now I had to reconsider whether or not I should've nailed him when I had the justification. One thing was certain, though; I definitely wanted to right now.

Rather unceremoniously, he plopped himself down onto the seat across from me, and although I hadn't even said a single word, he took a spoonful of his luke-warm mashed potatoes. He didn't seem to notice the way in which I scowled disapprovingly at him for his rude behavior, but I continued to glare despite him ignoring me all together. However, I couldn't keep myself from grumbling irritably under my breath while he made himself right at home. I suppose it was no surprise since this was his home, yet I wasn't really in the mood for thinking clearly at the moment.

Didn't he realize how much effort I'd put into making him dinner? How could he just... waltz in like nothing was out of the ordinary even though I was obviously distressed by his absence without so much as a call to tell me where he was or could've been? Was he honestly heartless enough not to be concerned for his dear one's well-being, or did he truly think I wouldn't worry? I suppose there was a better question for it.

Like, why wouldn't I worry?

Although he'd never proven himself to be anything but loyal, I still couldn't allow myself to trust him completely. After all, what woman wouldn't want to be on his arm? Surely he could find another companion far more presentable than I, and certainly she would be foolish enough to actually believe he loved her and her alone which was more than I could ever hope to do.

"Is something wrong?" he asked, and he held another mouthful poised in mid-air to wait for my reply. I frowned disapprovingly as a bit of his spoonful missed the plate and fell onto the tablecloth. It was new, too... I'd picked it out myself from a catalogue, and I had went so far as to ask Zack to special order it for me because I knew it would be just the right thing for our cozy, little nook. The border was perfect for the both of us since it had a darling, nautical motif with sailboats rising and falling on the gently rolling waves, and in the very center was a naval star like the tattoo on his back. I doubted he would even notice that detail, though... He wasn't one to appreciate a considerate thought since he simply thought he was obligated to special treatment.

"Well, Kai," I began, the animosity coursing through my voice, "I can't really say for sure, but I think that maybe you have something to do with it."

"I can't say I'm surprised," he replied, echoing my first statement with a chuckle. He toyed with his bandanna while I fought back the urge to rip it off of his shaggy, brown locks. Honestly... he looked just like those unsightly characters that came into town for the festivals we held every year, and that alone could explain why he was thought of so poorly by our neighbors. The once vibrant purple hue had long since faded, and the fabric was worn impossibly thin over time which made me wonder why he continued to wear it without fail. I had told him not to wear the dingy thing in the house, especially at the dinner table, but as always, he never listened to a word I said.

"You're so irresponsible..." I muttered, crossing my arms over my chest defensively and looking away in disgust. However, when I tried to resume glaring at him, I inwardly gulped to see he was... smiling. Of all the things he could've done, he had to smile... at me. I quickly turned away from him once more, but he took my chin gently in his hand to guide me right back to facing him. Under the warmth of his gaze, I felt my resolve begin to waver, and I was nearly powerless to stop it until I realized it wasn't a smile but an over-confident smirk.

Through gritted teeth, I hissed, "Where the hell were you?" I could feel the tears beginning to well in my eyes, but just as I was about to wipe them away, he gently brushed aside the droplets that had shamefully begun to slide down my cheeks. He seemed to be as unfazed as ever despite my angry outburst, and that only frustrated me further. All I could do was set my jaw in rigid determination or else risk the chance of breaking down in front of him. I had to remain firm...

"That's a secret," he teased playfully, taking my hand in his and intwining our fingers. I tried to pull away, yet he jerked me back towards him which nearly sent me toppling over the table and into his lap. Knowing him, I'm sure he would've just laughed, but I for one was grateful to have narrowly avoided disaster. Still, I couldn't dwell on the thought of possible stains for long before our lips met in a rather clumsy kiss.

However, I wasn't going to have any of his irresistible charms. Not today...

Slapping him hard across the face, I shrieked, "You've been seeing someone else... haven't you?!" At first, he didn't reply, his eyes wide with shock, but soon enough his reassured smile returned as his shook his head slowly in what appeared to be defeat. I stood up abruptly, and I did my best not to let him see my cry because I didn't want him to comfort me... especially now that I knew he'd been unfaithful. I should've known... I... I knew I couldn't trust him. "Who was it, Kai?" I asked in barely even a whisper, and my voice grew as I cried out once more, "Who were you going to see?!"

"Karen," he replied effortlessly, like it was the simplest thing in the world. I suppose it should've been since she certainly was beautiful. Even so, I felt my jaw become slack while I opened my mouth in both shock and horror, and deep inside of me, I felt my heart fall into my stomach as I swallowed hard, trying to come to terms with what I was hearing. She would never... I thought hopelessly, burying my face in my hands, and I chocked back a betrayed sob.

"You're lying!" I spat, clutching at my chest where my heart should've been if it hadn't been so ruthlessly shattered upon the wooden floor. "She wouldn't be with someone like you!" She wouldn't hurt me like that after all these years of knowing one another which was something he knew as well as I did. She wasn't the kind of girl that would take someone else's man, no matter how charming he thought he was, either. It had to be a lie, so if he hadn't been with her, then... who?

"I'm not lying," he assured me with a chuckle. I glanced up at him, my eyes wide with disbelief, and as I narrowed them dangerously at him, he suddenly didn't find his comment so funny anymore. He took three long strides around the table, and soon enough he was looming over me. When the phrase 'tall, dark, and handsome' was first uttered, I had no doubt they were referring to a man like him, but I also didn't doubt that the man who'd been described was just as two-faced as the one right behind me. However, despite my animosity towards him, he still felt obliged to drape himself over my shoulders in an affectionate manner.

"Don't touch me, Kai!" I demanded angrily, trying to fight my way out of his strong, secure arms. I quickly realized that I wouldn't be able to manage to free myself with brute force, yet I did seriously began to consider biting him in a final effort to escape his affectionate embrace. Although it may have been a childish decision on my part, I wasn't about to let myself be soothed by pretty words whispered in my ear.

"You silly thing... I asked her to order something for me," he explained just as I was about to sink my teeth into his tan, tender flesh. I paused for a moment before I slipped out of his grasp, and I cautiously turned to face him with uncertainty. Despite my defiant behavior, he seemed to be completely at ease with the present situation, and he remained surprisingly quiet while he waited for me to offer a reply. However, I couldn't do anything but stare dumbly at him in confusion.

"Wh-what?" I mumbled weakly, slipping a stray lock of hair behind my ear. Under his warm, unwavering gaze, I felt as though I might melt into the floor, and I held onto the tablecloth for support. Not that it would hold me any better than my own legs at the moment...

"I know I used to miss it every year," Kai went on, reaching into a satchel he had slung over his shoulder, "so I decided that this year... I'd get you a birthday present." I blinked in surprise when I realized that he was holding a small box with a couple holes punched in the top, and I raised an eyebrow curiously at him. He merely smiled before offering it to me without another single word. I continued to eye him doubtfully, but he showed no signs of deception towards me.

That left only one thing left to do.

Peeling back the lid cautiously, I almost squealed to see what lay within the gift box. At first, all I had noticed were the remnants of what appeared to be an egg shell, but when I glanced down, looking back at me... was a pair of beautiful, black eyes nestled in a ball of bright yellow fluff. If it wasn't for the orange bill and matching webbed feet, I might have mistaken it for a baby chick. "It's a duckling..." I gasped in complete awe of the darling, little thing.

"Nice observation," my husband teased as he ruffled my hair. Then he glanced down to where the tiny creature sat with its mouth open and hungry, and I saw his smile broadened. "It's a good thing I didn't open the box first," he laughed, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. "Otherwise I'd have to play mommy." He thought on something for a moment and added, "I'm not even sure what a duck eats to be honest... but I'm sure you've got it figured out, huh?"

"Of course," I agreed with a soft smile of my own while I gazed lovingly down at the duckling. "How'd you know to buy one that hadn't hatched yet?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. It just didn't seem to be something that someone like Kai would know anything about, but it seemed that a bundle of downy feathers wasn't the only thing he had to surprise me with that day.

"Well, I figured that you'd make the better mother duck than me," he laughed, shaking his head before he heaved a heavy sigh. "Besides, I knew that you wanted kids of your own, but-"

He stopped abruptly as I began to cry, but I managed a weak smile to reassure him I was alright before I wrapped my free arm tightly around his neck. "T-thank you," I murmured weakly, planting a gentle kiss on his cheek which made his face warm slightly. His body relaxed then, and soon enough I felt him wrap his arms tenderly about my narrow waist in a comforting embrace.

Then he whispered in my ear, "You're very welcome, dear, and by the way... Rick, I really like that new tablecloth, too."

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Author's Final Note: Squee! Was anyone surprised by who the narrator happened to be? When I first started writing this story, I had already decided this would be a Kai/Rick one-shot, but I actually considered having it be Popuri for a while there...

However, Rick just seems like he'd be one of those impatient, insecure 'wives,' especially if he's paired with Kai. ;)

Just curious, though, how many opposites are there in this? I wrote as many as I could in there without making the characters come across as OOC of have them be too obvious, but I'm not sure if anyone caught on to them.