Thirty One Days

Chapter 10: Famous Last Words

-x-

Destiny was never up to me, it's not my fault
You're love's like salt…
The aftertaste is gonna break my heart
Feels like it's over before it starts

-x-

The screaming woke up my mom, or so she claims (because we all know she was never actually sleeping, more watching my every move out of the window) but neither of us care. It's Sora. Sora Takeonouchi. My best friend. And she's here. She's real, she's here and she has absolutely no idea how bad I need her right now but she came anyway.

We're spinning and jumping and holding each other like we haven't seen each other in years and all my mom can do is smile, probably because that's the best thing to do when you see crazy people. Smile and back away slowly.

"I can't believe you're here!" But it came out as an incoherent burst of screams and squeals.

She understands because she answers in the same way. "I know! I missed you!"

We babble unintelligibly all the way up to my room and I briefly realize I know exactly what Yolie meant when she said me and Sora had our own language. Because right now, this definitely wasn't English.

But the second we get into my room, Sora's face goes from fun to serious. She closes the door and sits across from me on the bed. "I'm not going to comment about the room, yet." She tells me. "Instead, I need to know what happened out there, because you came in here like a kid who realized there was no Santa Claus."

That's Sora for you, no beating around the bush. "Sor…it was horrible." I wail immediately, because there's no lying to Sora, she'll see right through my bull shit.

"What happened?" She asks, concerned and curious.

I shake my head, "We were having an amazing time, Sor. Sometime right out of a movie or some shit. Because it was amazing." I emphasize. "He was telling me all these things—

"Like what?"

"Like how he's never really cared about anyone the way he's starting to care about me. And how he's really getting feelings for me, this isn't a game to him." I feel tears pricking at my eyes. "And…I just, we were kissing and I couldn't believe how perfect everything was and then…" My voice gives out, tears flowing unabashedly now.

"Oh no, honey." She leans over, gently pulling my head to her chest. "What happened, sweetie?" She asks softly, sliding a hand over my hair soothingly.

"Z-Zoe, h-happened." I hiccup. "She said all these vile things about me, not that they weren't true—

"Mimi, of course it wasn't true." She interrupts sternly.

I sigh. "No, it was. She said how I was playing both of them and how I'm such horrid wench and he just stared at me. Sora, he didn't even believe her, his own sister, he was willing to believe me over her." And that's probably what hurts the most, because all this time I was doubting his intentions towards me, protecting my heart so fiercely and he's the one who ends up getting hurt."

I'm pretty sure I'll go my whole life without forgetting the look on his face.

"He asked me one time to tell him the truth and when I said it, I knew it was all wrong. He needed me to say that I didn't have feelings for Tai but, but—" I break off prematurely.

She waits patiently for me to finish.

Finally, I suck in a deep breath. "But…I couldn't lie to him, Sor." I whisper miserably.

"It may not seem like it right now, but you did the right thing, Meems." She says tenderly.

She put a pillow on her lap. "Come here." I place my head in her lap, letting her softly pat my hair. "It's going to be okay, Mimi. You didn't do anything wrong." She reassured me, over and over again.

And while I know she's just trying to help, I can't take what she says seriously. She doesn't really know what I'm going through. And for the first time in my whole life, I have to get through something alone. Because even Sora can't make me feel better.

But for right now, just having her around is enough. Because if there's one person in the whole world I need right now, it's my best friend. It sucks, like majorly blows, because I have genuine feelings for Matt.

With Tai, we have an amazing time and he's got this great heart and he isn't afraid to show it to me. And getting to know him has been so fun, the more I find out about him the more I like him.

But with Matt…it was some kind of instant connection. I've never felt that with anyone else. And as incredibly unrealistic as this sounds, the second we locked eyes, I knew. I just did, there was something there. Something indescribable, intangible but all the same undeniable.

I screwed all that up now.

I know what he did was try to make my "decision" easier, but in all honesty, that doesn't make this hurt any less. And nothing is easier. I can't turn my feelings on and off, if I could, I wouldn't have a problem in the first place.

-x-

July 12th 2007

The day went by faster than I could have imagined it would. Between waking up at twelve (noon!) and then shopping the whole day, I didn't realize it was almost time for Davis' party until Kari came bounding through my front door. We were supposed to get ready together.

"So sorry, K!" I apologize, as she comes in my room.

She shakes her head. "No worries, M." She winks.

"Hey, so this is Sora." I nod to the redhead laying on my bed.

She waves from her position on her stomach. "I've heard a lot about you, Kar." She smiles.

"You too." Kari smiles back, walking over to her. "It's nice to officially meet you." She extends a hand.

Sora shakes her head, pulling the girl in for a hug instead. Kari looks a little taken aback, but eventually hugs her back. I smile, because I can already tell that Sora and Kari are going to be just fine.

Hot outfit, by the way." I say to Kari.

"Thanks."

"And you say you don't have anything for Davis. Pfft." I tease.

Kari blushes lightly. "Just a friend, Meems." She rolls her eyes.

"What ever you say, Kar." I sing-song.

Sora had since jumped off my bed, now crouching in the corner by her suitcase. Between the two of us, my room got a lot smaller, not that that's saying a lot since it was miniscule to begin with, but I digress…

"Umm how formal is this shindig?" She calls from her place on the floor.

I shrug a shoulder, continuing to curl my hair.

"Not formal at all." Kari answers.

She surfaces from the corner with two articles of clothing in hand. "So a band-tee and a mini skirt should do?" She raises an eyebrow, holding the two up for Kari to see.

"Perf." She grins. "Also, really great band." She nods to the shirt.

I take a quick glance at it, the words Dashboard Confessional scrawled across it. I shake my head. "Gag."

"Thanks, I saw them in concert." Sora says, ignoring me. "Amazing live." She adds.

"I bet, they're awesome." Kari agrees. "I saw The Cure live, a summer ago—

"Shut-up! I'm jealous!" Sora exclaims excitedly. "Tell me you've got pictures, oh my God, or video!"

I give them both unimpressed looks. "Really? Guys…it's music. Calm down." I roll my eyes.

Once again, I'm ignored because they continue like this.

"Disintegration is one of my all time favorite albums."

"It's a great album, super under-rated."

"So under-rated."

And it only ends when Sora leaves to go to the bathroom to change. "So, M. What's up?" Kari asks softly.

I glance at her through the mirror. "Nothing's up." I answer.

She shakes her head. "Did something happen with Matt?" She wonders.

I sigh, unplugging the curler. "Basically…Zoe told him the truth." I answer, ashamed.

Kari raises her eyebrows, waiting for me to elaborate.

I take a spot next to her on the bed. "That I'm seeing both him and Tai…" I finally say.

Kari gives me a sympathetic look. "Oh Mimi." She puts her arms around me. "Don't feel so bad, baby. You weren't committed one way or the other." She says reassuringly.

And I know it's true, but that doesn't change much.

I rub a hand over my face. "Yeah, I guess." I say half-heartedly, pulling out of her embrace.

I grab a pair of ripped jeans from on top of my suitcase. "It just sucks he had to find out from his sister and not me." I say, pulling them on.

"It would've been different if he heard it from you." She agrees, as she's putting on her make-up.

I throw off my shirt. "Exactly." Comes my muffled reply.

"Well, what do you think?" I ask Kari, once I put on a tank-top and a transparent black shirt.

She looks at me approvingly. "My brother won't be able to keep his eyes off you." She says encouragingly.

I laugh, "Good, coz last party…" I don't continue, Kari was there, she knows what happened as well as I do.

She gives me a sympathetic glance. "Hey, it's gonna be different this time." She nods. "Promise."

Sora comes back in, clad in a her jeans skirt, "Hate your long legs, bitch." I say affectionately.

"Hate your awesome boobs, slut." She replies with out missing a beat.

I laugh, because for a second things are just the way they've always been. And that fleeting feeling is exactly what I need sometimes, no matter how brief.

-x-

It's eight fifty-seven, making us almost late, considering Davis is supposed to arrive promptly at nine. Good thing Tai lives next door, considering we have about ninety seconds to spare.

Kari enters first, the house is dark and we are faced with a barrage of "Surprise" and "Happy Birthday's, followed by a resounding chorus of "aww."

"Yeah, sorry, it's just us." Kari announces playfully. "Go back into hiding, the birthday boy will be here soon."

We also find a suitable corner to hide behind, and then wait.

Finally, they arrive.

"Surprise!"

The look on his face is priceless.

I follow behind Kari to get in line to hug the birthday boy, pulling Sora close behind me. I fling myself at Tai first. "We pulled it off." I whisper in his ear, because keeping this secret was probably one of the hardest things I ever did.

Mostly because I totally suck at keeping secrets.

"You remember Sora?" I let go of him, to reveal the gorgeous redhead behind me.

"Of course." Tai nods, holding is arms open for her.

Sora cautiously steps into them, "You've grown." She mentions.

He chuckles. "Courtesy of puberty." He says, unabashed.

I see my best friend blush a little. "Yeah, she isn't taller than you anymore. Bet that's gotta feel good." I tease.

"It's my birthday, and Tai still gets all the girls. Typical." I hear Davis complain from behind me.

I turn around (leaving Sora and Tai to talk amongst themselves), grabbing him for a bear hug. "Happy birthday, handsome." I say affectionately. "How are you liking the party?"

"Really awesome, babe." He winks.

I roll my eyes. "All thanks to this one." I jab my thumb at Kari, who's already said her hello's to Davis.

His eyes soften when he looks at her. "You did all this for me, short-stuff?" He gestures at the balloons and streamers, as well as the party itself.

Kari looks away, a shy smile on her face.

He leans in, places a chaste kiss on her forehead. "You didn't have to go to the trouble." He mentions softly.

She tucks her hair behind her ear. "It's your birthday, of course I did."

Now can I just take a time-out to say, a.) this entire display is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen and b.) I totally called it, I swear if the two of them aren't a couple by the time I leave I will renounce any clairvoyance I claim to have when it comes to future relationships.

I grab Sora's wrist, effectively pulling her away from Tai for a moment. "Hey, Dave. This is my best friend Sora. She's here for a while." I thrust her into his arms.

"You my birthday present, Red?" He asks flirtatiously.

Sora rolls her eyes, "Hardly. Happy Birthday, anyway." She pats his cheek, before squirming out of his hold.

Davis places a hand over his wounded heart, "Easy come, easy go." He says dramatically. "And I really thought we had something."

I laugh, "How much has he already had to drink?" I whisper to Tai.

Tai shakes his head. "I don't think you wanna know."

-x-

I think I was only alone at the drinks table for an all of five seconds when I felt someone sidle up beside me. "Nice to see you again."

The voice is vaguely familiar.

When I turn to face him, I realize it's Ken, Barbie's ex-boyfriend last time I checked. But who knows with the two of them, they're too on-again off-again for anyone to keep track off. And aside from that mistake at his party, I've managed to steer clear of the raven-haired boy.

Until now, that is.

"Hey." I say, giving him a small wave.

"You look good."

"Thanks."

It's an unimpressive conversation at best, normally I try to spice things up, but I want no beef. Especially not tonight, not when me and Kari slaved over this party.

"What are you doing here anyway?" I blurt out, I didn't mean to be so blunt but I couldn't help it.

There's definitely a lag between my brain and mouth.

He raises his eyebrows.

"You and Davis are friends?" I elaborate.

I'm mostly just confused because Kari made the guest list in front of me, I don't recall seeing his name on the list. I just assumed she wasn't inviting him because she wasn't inviting any of the Ishidas.

He nods, "We did a soccer league together, a few summers back." He explains.

"Thought you played football?" I kink an eyebrow.

He chuckles. "A person can only be good at one thing?" He asks genuinely.

I take a sip of my drink. "Nope, didn't say that. Just didn't know you were." I answer.

"Well, isn't that marvelous thing about questions, you get answers to things you didn't otherwise know."

"That was awfully pretentious, and a little condescending." I mention.

"It's how I get all the girls." Ken jokes, his dark blue eyes twinkling.

I laugh, maybe this guy had some redeeming qualities after-all. "Consider me yours, then." I play along.

"Well, if that's the case, then I think I've just made quite a few enemies."

I look at him, a little confused.

"You seem to be the most talked about these days." He grins. "It seems you're the object of many affections."

My eyes subconsciously travel towards Tai, who is now watching this exchange rather intently from across the room.

"Probably because I'm leaving in a month." Less than that now, a voice reminds me. "It's easy to commit to something with an expiration date." I murmur.

He opens his mouth to say something, but I cut him off. "It was real nice talking to you, but I should really get back." I excuse hastily, grabbing a drink for me and a drink for Sora.

I scan the crowd for a familiar redhead, when I finally spot her she's dancing with Kari, they look like they're having a good time. Almost as if they've known each other forever.

I smile, because there's nothing I'd love more than for Sora and Kari to hit it off, and it looks like they have.

I also see a familiar brunette brooding (something that is so not him and usually reserved for a blonde who must not be named) on a couch alone. Of course, I join him.

"You know, I heard the guy who lives here is really hot." I nudge him.

He grins. "Yeah? Well, you know not to believe everything you hear, right?" He takes the extra cup from my hand.

I giggle. "Well, know where I can find him? I'd love to be the judge of that myself." I continue.

"Sadly, I don't. But if you do come across him, send him my way, will you?"

I cuddle into his open arm. "Well, you'll do until then." I say, laying my head on his chest.

He puts his arm around me, his fingers trailing over my upper arm. "You know you look beautiful tonight, don't you?" He murmurs into my hair.

I feel little butterflies whiz around my stomach at his words, still the smallest compliments from him get me excited. "Thank you, so do you." I say softly.

"Beautiful, huh? Just what I was going for."

I laugh into his shirt. "How do you like Sora?" I ask.

"She's really cool. Knows a lot about sports. I like her."

"Not to much, right?" I ask sternly.

I feel him chuckle. "Definitely not nearly as much as I like you." He assures.

I reach up, kissing his cheek. "Well, I definitely like her more than you. But you understand that, don't you?" I wrinkle my nose up at him playfully.

He shakes his head. "I'm heart-broken. Really, I am." He says dryly. "But I can't blame you, she is pretty hot."

I lightly smack his chest. "You so can't say that about my best friend!" I squeal.

"Still, you're hotter." He says into my ear, leaving a few kisses along it.

I shiver beneath his lips, his kisses now reaching my neck. "Now…if the three of us could just work something out…" He smirks against my skin. "Me, you, Sora—

I dig my elbow into his stomach. "Keep dreaming."

A few seconds of silence go by, letting us revel in this moment. It's rare to find such moments of peace and quiet, especially surrounded by so many people.

"What'd Ken want?" He asks softly.

I shrug a shoulder. "Nothing really, just making small talk." I assure him, rubbing a hand over his leg. "Why, you jealous?" I ask playfully.

He rolls his eyes, a trait I must have rubbed off on him. "Nope. Takes more than that for me to get jealous." He pulls me a little closer, his hand squeezing my hip, his lips brushing my ear again. "Besides, we both know you're already mine." He whispers.

I let out a soft laugh. "Is that so?" I kink an eyebrow.

"Sure is." He says with all the confidence in the world. "You're going to fall for my charms sooner or later, Meems. Why not save us both the trouble."

His words were light and fun but I knew there was certain sense of seriousness in them. He wanted confirmation, that the feelings he had for me were the same feelings I had for him. And on some level, that was the truth. I like Tai, I've never hid that fact from anyone (yeah, yeah, except Matt but we don't have to bring that up right now), but being exclusively his? I'm not to sure on that one.

Does he forget that I'm leaving soon?

Besides, as much as I've tried to forget him, I can't get Matt out of my head. Not for long enough anyway. A few seconds here, some minutes there, but like I said, it's never really long enough.

I just rub my cheek against his chest, loving the way he smells.

A few minutes go by and I realize there's still a party going on around us. Tai has a way of doing that for me, taking me away from everything. Making me forget everything and everyone else. Making everything…fun and light.

"Where's your head at, Mimi?" He asks into my hair, for once his tone isn't relaxed or carefree, it's a little concerned.

I find his hand, thread my fingers between his. "Nothing really. I'm just…I'm trying to remember this moment." I bring our hands up into my line of vision. His hands bigger than mine, tanner too…but they look right.

It feels…right.

"How do you mean?" He asks, a little confused.

I sit up a little, so I can look up at his face. "Well, for me, this is one of those perfect moments, ya know? Where everything seems like it's in it's right place for now and I'm so happy." I explain softly. "And I just…I want to remember all of it because I feel like nothing is ever going to feel this good again." It may not make sense to him, it doesn't even really make sense to me. But I explain it as best I can.

Maybe he gets it, at least I think he does, he doesn't say much but he looks like he understands what I mean. "Well, I hope we have another perfect moment. Just you and me though." He murmurs, pressing a kiss into my forehead.

See this is one of the things I like best about Tai. He's all goofy and immature most of the time, but he knows when to turn it off.

"We will." I smile.

He's staring at me real intently now, nothing creepy, just looking at my face. And after a few seconds, it starts freaking me out. "What?" I ask, all self-conscious.

A grin breaks out over his face. "Nothing, you just…I love it when you smile, Mimi." He says, eyes all big and lit up.

My heart melts.

And anything to make you smile
It is my better side of you to admire
But it should never take so long
To be over then…back to another one

-x-

As great as tonight had been, I went home feeling…incomplete, somehow. And it's the same way I've felt all day. Like I've lost something, but I don't know what I'm looking for. Or that strange feeling of De Ja Vu, where you can't figure out what you're trying to figure out.

If that makes any sense at all.

Anyway, back in my room, I expressed these feelings to Sora and she came up with the conclusion that I need "closure." And by that I guess she means…okay, you know what. Just eavesdrop into our convo instead, so much easier.

"You and Tai looked so cozy on the couch."

"Yeah, it was nice. I feel like I don't spend time with him like that, you know? Just sort of…being together."

"Me and Kari were like awwing and cooing in the corner, just creeping on the two of you."

I roll my eyes. "You guys would be." I giggle softly. "He's a really great guy, Tai."

"So? What's the problem?"

I stare at her. "There, there is no problem!" I stutter, trying much to hard to be convincing.

And obviously failing because she gives me a look that just screams "bull shit" in the way only Sora can. "C'mon, really Meems? You're gonna try that on me?"

I shake my head. "I wish I could say what the hell is wrong, because nothing should be wrong. But as great as it felt being with Tai, I just couldn't…" I don't finish it, part of me hopes I shouldn't have to.

Saying it out loud is so much harder than thinking it to myself.

But, Sora is my best friend for a reason. Well, many reasons, but mainly because she gets me. Totally and completely gets me. And this is one of the times I silently thank god for our best friend telepathy.

She just nods, uttering just a single word. "Matt?"

I look at her, once again, no words are necessary.

"Sweetie." She pulls me in for a hug.

I lay my head on her shoulder, letting her hold me. "He just seemed so broken…" I whisper. "He really hated me, the look in his eyes, Sor."

"He was falling for you."

I shrug a shoulder. "I'm not sure about all that." Mostly because I really hope he wasn't, because then I ruined things completely. At least if he doesn't have feelings for me, me and him could move on from this.

But then his blue eyes flash in my mind, reminding me that I'm only deluding myself if I believe his feelings aren't real.

We had something, we probably still do. And in the rare moments where I allow myself to be completely and candidly honest, I know that our story just can't be over yet. Not when it hasn't even started.

There's something about Matt Ishida that leaves me in a constant state of confusion. And captivation. And deep seeded curiosity.

And I've tried everything to stop thinking about him, but it's inevitable. Because of the way we left things, I've got a million "could have, would have, should have's" whizzing around in my brain.

I keep replaying the moment in my mind and every time, I do it differently. I don't freeze up, or stutter like an idiot, leaving him hurt and confused. I tell him how much I do care about him and how much I'm starting to like him, just after these last few days with him.

"Hey, Mimi." Sora shakes me outta my thoughts.

"Hmm?"

"What are you gonna do?"

What could I do?

"Nothing."

Sora looks at me, a little disappointed. "That's not like you." She clicks her tongue. "I've known you since we were six, you've always gone after the things you want—

"But I don't want Ma—" An unimpressed glare from Sora's direction cuts me off mid-denial.

"Fine, but…what can I even do about it? He clearly hates me."

"First of all, you're Mimi freaking Tachikawa, no one can hate you. It would be like hating puppies or like a unicorn or something, you're just too charming." She puts a hand on my shoulder. "Second of all, you can talk to him. Give yourself the chance to straighten things out."

"What if he just hangs up on me?"

"Then make him come see you, I'll even help. Just…get five minutes with him. Judging by your long face, I'm sure he's worth at least that much."

I pull a hand through my hair. "Let's say he forgives me, right? Then I'm right back where I started." And as much as I miss Matt, I kind of liked being with Tai guilt-free for once.

"Is that such a bad thing?"

I'm not sure at this point.

"It's not bad. But it isn't exactly fair."

"Neither is life, Meems. But we all deal with it." Sora said firmly. "But listen, if you're going to be honest with Matt, then be really honest with him. Tell him everything. It's the only way he can really know if he wants to forgive you or not." She advises.

I just nod.

"And I'm not saying that you have to do this or anything, but just to avoid another "Matt" situation, maybe you should tell Tai while you're at it." She says, a little timidly because I know she's not exactly looking forward to my reaction.

"I can't." I deadpan.

"You can if you want. But only if you want to. I'm just saying you should so he doesn't find out from someone else. This is a small town, people talk, it's bound to get around to him if it hasn't already."

I know she's right and I know it would be "better" if he heard it from me, I should be learning from my mistakes not repeating them, but I just can't do it. I feel bad enough about Matt as it is, I can't look Tai in the eyes and break his trust (and probably his heart), I just can't. I think I might just like him too much to do it.

"Well, I know one thing."

"What's that, Sor?"

"You need to talk to Matt."

I sigh. "I don't know, it could end up really bad. He might just hate me even more than he does now." I complain.

"Yeah maybe, but it could help things. Maybe he'll see things from your perspective." She suggests.

I give her an unconvinced look.

"Listen, all I'm saying is it could be the best thing for you."

"Yeah or it could be the worse thing for me." I say ruefully.

Sora laughs. "One or the other." She winks.

-x-

I wait until I'm almost positive Sora is asleep. I mean laying next to me all snoring, asleep. I surely hope the next boy she shares a bed with has a good pair of ear plugs.

Très embarrassing.

Anyway, I never realized how much of a coward I can be sometimes, considering it took up about ten minutes to work up the nerve to call this guy. I mean, it hasn't taken me so long to dial a boy since the seventh grade, when me and Sora would call the boys we had a crush on and then hang up after their mothers would answer.

But after all that contemplating and debating, when I finally get it over with, it goes straight to voicemail.

How anticlimactic.

Momentary panic at the beep, because doing this with out Sora had been a huge mistake. I have no idea what to say. And in case you haven't noticed, I have the tendency to ramble.

But here it goes, off the cuff and straight from the heart…well, sort of.

"Hey…it's me. Um, Mimi." Smooth start…not!

"Anyway, I know you don't exactly want to hear from me but I was hoping we could meet or something…or maybe you could just call me back? I dunno, I just…I wanted to talk, Matt. So um yeah…just call back? Please?"

As I hung up my phone, Sora's words echo over and over in my head.

It could be the best thing for you!

Why do I have a feeling it won't be?

Turn out the light, say goodnight
No thinking for a little while
Not gonna try to figure out everything at once
It's hard to keep track of you falling through the sky

-x-

A/N: Hmm. Two years too late? Well, sorry if it is, but nothing we can do about lost time. Anyway, we tried to scramble this chapter together as best we could, a lot of requests from a lot of people for this story's update. Especially lately.

Most of this chapter was written by MimixIshida (Chris), save the beginning and some of the Michi dialogue. So credit goes to her!

But Liya(populette) helped! And beta'd. Don't let her take credit away from herself! This is still a joint project!

Anyway, hopefully we still have fans and you guys are still interested in this story. We don't expect much, we know a lot of you guys were waiting a while for this and might have forgotten in the past two years. We do apologize for how long it's taken, but it's up now and we'll try to be regular with it.

We promise you a finished story, and we will deliver…regardless of how long it takes.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed that.

The Soundtrack:

Famous Last Words: My Chemical Romance
Aftertaste: Ben Lee
No One's Gonna Love You: Band of Horses
Fake Empire: National