Ch. 3: Happy Ending?

Happiness and sadness run parallel to each other. When one takes a rest, the other one tends to take up the slack. ~Hazelmarie Elliott ("Mattie")


Heat.

Yuna felt it everywhere, especially around her hand. Peeling her eyes open, she shifted her gaze to the man who knelt down against the couch beside her. He appeared to be lost in thought, his gaze transfixed on their joined hands.

"D-daddy?" Yuna spoke, her voice raspy. How long have I been out?

"Yes, it's me." Her father rubbed his hand across her forehead affectionately, checking her temperature. It had decreased drastically since this morning, he noted with a relieved smile. "How are you feeling?"

Not as bad as she was earlier. Baralai had done a splendid job on taking care of her. Speaking of which…

Yuna stiffly tilted her head left from right like a lonely puppy, sadly discovering he was nowhere in sight. "Where… w-where is Baralai?" She coughed quietly. "Is he s-still here…?"

"Oh," Braska began with a knowing smile, "He stayed by your side until your mother and I arrived back home. He wanted to stay longer, but couldn't because he needed to finish his homework for school." Disappointment creased her face, and she lay back down on the couch with a huff. Yuna had hoped to wake up before he left; at least, to be able to spend more time with him.

Attempting to brighten up her spirits, Braska said, "Did you try the soup he made? I have a feeling you'll like it." Her stomach rumbled in hunger, pretty much answering for her. "Stay put. I'll come with a bowl--."

"N-no, I-I'll…" she paused, clearing her painfully dry throat, "I should g-get up. Work out my limbs a little..."

Admiring her determination not to be helpless all day, Braska stood and offered a hand, which she gratefully took. They gradually made their way to the kitchen arm-in-arm, washing and rinsing their hands at the sink, before Braska guided Yuna to her seat. Yuna quietly made herself comfortable, patiently watching her father move to prepare a bowl for her, tapping her fingers rhythmically on the table's wooden surface.

She could only imagine how it must've looked when Baralai made himself comfortable, moving around in her kitchen. If she hadn't been sleeping most of the day… Have I been a nuisance to him? Mom and Dad must have persuaded him to come or else he wouldn't have come in the first place. A sweaty hand clenched the thick hem of her shirt. She shouldn't forget the fact that they're in the middle of a break-up, but her lovesick heart refused to acknowledge it.

Something soft touched her forehead, tearing her away from her thoughts, and Yuna curiously looked up and allowed a fond smile to appear on her face. "Hi, mom," said Yuna as her mother tenderly stroked her fever-soaked auburn hair, tucking some of it affectionately behind her ear, before pecking her forehead.

"How are you feeling, sweetheart? Much better?" The optimistic tone in her voice charmed Yuna into replying with new found vigor.

"Much better."

The middle-aged blonde-haired woman grinned wide, and grudgingly detached herself from Yuna to approach the sink, eyeing the pile of dirty dishes with distaste, knowing it was her turn tonight.

Braska placed a bowl of chicken soup on the table and sat down next to her, carefully lifting a spoonful of broth and meat to his lips. He blew softly to cool it down before directing it to her lips. Yuna speechlessly swallowed, savoring the taste. They remained comfortably quiet the whole time, and repeated the process for the next twelve minutes. The clinking of plates and utensils along with running water resounded in the background.

I can feed myself, she thought, because her pride warranted to, but couldn't help admit she loved to be spoiled.

"I'm stuffed," Yuna chirped, patting her stomach happily.

"You must've been pretty hungry," Braska remarked, impressed that she had eaten almost the entire thing.

Yuna blushed, self-conscious. If only Baralai stayed long enough for me to thank him for the soup. It's as if the fog shrouding her mind had finally been lifted. I can call him instead. What was I thinking? Eager by the prospect, Yuna hurried to finish eating before hobbling on her feet to put the dirty dishes away in the sink. Making sure to give each parent a kiss on the cheek, the sickly girl climbed the stairs to her room. Closing the door behind her, Yuna welcomed the cozy silence and privacy of her bedroom and sat down on the edge of the bed, detaching a home phone from its resting place on her nightstand. Nervously she dialed Baralai's cell and counted the rings. Much to her relief, he answered.

"Hello?"

Yuna smiled, and spoke softly, "Hi, Baralai."

"Yuna." She could feel the warm smile in his voice. "Good evening. You sound better."

"Thank you for, um, taking care of me," she said bashfully, fiddling with the cord of the phone, tightly twisting it in her finger. "It made me happy."

He gave a brief hum in response. The faint, slow tapping of a pencil resounded in the background. He must still be doing his homework. "Are you well enough to go to school tomorrow?"

"Maybe." Yuna shrugged, unraveling the cord once she began to lose feeling in her finger. Nervous, she shifted hold on the phone to her other hand and thoughtfully twirled a piece of her hair. "I hope so. I want to see you…"

"Me, too." Her heart skipped a beat.

"Baralai?"

"Yes?"

She clenched the phone in her hands tightly, biting the inside of her cheek, stalling. "Why did you come today?" she whispered, somewhat dreading his response. "I thought… you were still mad at me… about, you know…"

"I'm not mad at you." She released a breath that she wasn't aware of holding. Because Baralai's anger, if given enough time and a reason, always evolved into grudges, which he would never let go. Yuna had feared this would be the same case for her, but if he wasn't angry at her, then who…? "Gippal is the one at fault. He's the one I should be planning to kill."

"Baralai," Yuna chided, laughing, "You shouldn't joke about things like that, even if he does deserve it."

The boy smirked on the other end of the line, expertly spinning the pencil in his fingers, amused of her response. "I think I'm starting to rub off on you."

Mirth danced in her heterochromic blue-green eyes. "Well, that's what happens when you introduce me to Halo 3." The two laughed merrily for a few moments, before companionable silence fell between them. Yuna missed this. The long talks on the phone, the flirting, the sharing of feelings… everything…

Scrapping up the courage, Yuna cleared her throat and asked, "If there's no reason for you to be angry, can we…" She left the poignant question hang in the air, expecting Baralai to confirm it.

"Sure," he remarked nonchalantly, "I think we've suffered enough. Don't you?"

This was Yuna's first step back into a relationship with him on shaky ground, and vice versa. Who knew when something like this would happen again. The two mentally vowed not to repeat the same stupid mistake again, unless it came back in a different shape or form. Then, that's something to worry about.

"The chicken soup you made was delicious. Thank you for cooking it."

"You liked it?"

"Of course. I like anything you make. I can tell you put a lot of effort into it."

"Maybe I should cook for you more often."

"Okay," she said softly with a giddy smile, nibbling her lips indecisively. Should I say it, or should I not…? "Then, after I finish eating your food…" she giggled coyly, "I'll eat you next." If Yuna could laugh evilly, she would have done so right then and there.

"Yuna!"

She could hear the furious blush in his tone, and couldn't help laughing despite her embarrassment for making such a suggestive comment. Payback. And just like that, the couple tentatively picked up from where they last left off.


(A/N): Ah, so sorry I couldn't finish sooner! I was kinda experiencing writer's block in the ending... Well, I had planned to finish the story here, but if you like I can lengthen the story. But I most likely won't unless you guys want to read more. If it does happen, I am thinking on changing the title and summary, before you wonder 'where is it? It was here just a second ago.'

Thanks for reading, and being patient for this update. :)