Summary: A few of the mothers from his hometown think it's time for him to settle down, but Michael can't stand the girl they chose for him; Mariasha! What happens when he gets into a fight with Mariasha and ends up lost in a snow storm? Who will come to his rescue?
Disclaimer: I don't own the Anime Beyblade or any character associated. I do own Mariasha "Maria" Evans. She is an original character and all likeness to people living or dead is purely coincidental. This character is not on based one anyone else's character design, again if any likeness, it's purely coincidental. There are also minor Ocs in this story as well, eg; Michael's mother and great aunt.
Warnings: Kai is a girl in this story. The use and introduction of a female Original Character. Any fans of OCs and OC pairings should leave now. Anti-OC pairings and blatant bashing of my own character. I created her; I can do what I want with her. And I plan to.
Gripe for the Day: I have such a major pet peeve for the love triangle cliché where the Sue is in the middle and two friends are fighting each other over her. That just screams Sue to me in every way possible. I especially hate it when best friends fight over her and she bounces back and forth between the two, causing the two friends to insult and beat each other up. I would never, ever come between two friends; but then again I like to consider other people's feelings into matters. Nothing like these egotistical Sues that plague this site.
AN: Hello again. Sorry about the lateness of this chapter. Was kinda stuck on it for a while. I hope it doesn't suck too bad ^^ Added some nice fluff just for you, anyway.
Thanking; DarkBombayAngel, G-Wing Gurl, MintCa, CleverPhoenix, Tony, WhiteFrost, Rapunzelle, angelvan105, van, kaitouahiru, Emma, marishka91, Blaze Queenie, Nameless Little Girl, Amelie, Elemental Gypsy, Maria101, XxBrokenxBeyondxRepairxX and mimic shalle for reviewing. Much appreciation directed to all of you ^^
Comments and suggestions are always welcomed. Don't be afraid to let me know what you think.
The dinner after the obnoxiously diva like exit of Mariasha, the whole atmosphere of the dining room shifted immediately into a more relaxed state of frame. Michael was no longer fidgeting in his seat while not-so subtly glaring daggers at his neighbour. Instead was focusing a significantly large proportion of his attention at Kai, who was still marginally jittery from Mariasha's interrogation.
However, things quickly smoothed out and became less tense when Kai and Michael began to inform his family about what alterations they've done so far to the ranch and what they were thinking about doing next.
Kai was slowly starting to open up to them, even sharing a joke or two with Michael, who had been trying to get her to crack a smile after such a distressing start to the meal.
It was actually quite sweet watching silently as Kai and Michael interact. It really showed how much the two of them cared for each other. It also heightened the fact that there was something going on between the two of them...and it wasn't friendly.
Working in the kitchen alongside her as she washed up, letting the two teens talk quietly to each other alone, Marly felt a bit of tension coming from the elderly woman and she knows that Mariasha's earlier debacle still infuriated her.
"You see what Mariasha is capable of now?" Nana all but hissed, her usually placid expression, hard in anger at their young neighbour.
Marly, too, felt nothing but a sense of resentment for Mariasha and nodded her head sharply. "I had no idea she could be so vindictive."
"Kai did nothing to provoke her," Nana carried on to say, still deeply agitatedby the whole thing. "She didn't even speak with her at all tonight."
Some of her anger soon gave way to sympathy as she thought about the other young woman, a motherly instinct arising at how distressed Kai was during the first half of the dinner. She could see that was trembling, getting to the point that Michael had to wrap an arm around her shoulders and grasp her hand in his.
Yes, she saw that subtle hint of affection, which told her that Michael knew Kai was going to be upset long before the outwardly signs appeared. To her, it was a small hint of evidence at how much the two of them mean to each other.
Michael was correct in saying that Mariasha had no right to ask Kai about her past, especially in such a patronizing and accusing way.
"I hope the dear is alright," she murmured. "I might ask Michael to stay with her for the night. The poor thing has been through a lot, hasn't she?"
Marly paused in her washing up, her eye holding a faraway look that held a sense of sadness within their depths. She was no doubt thinking about what Kai said about those markings on her face and about how her grandfather gave them to her.
And especially about the confession that she was abused by her own grandfather. How could someone's own flesh and blood do something so heinous?
Then again, what kind of family member would turn their back on their own son, trying to set him up for marriage to a girl he detests with all that he is?
"I can't believe her own..." Marly trailed off, not particularly wanting to finish that sentence in case Kai overheard and she upset her again, especially after how hard Michael worked on getting her to smile again.
She really does have a lovely smile.
"I know," Nana said, as if she was able to read her mind somehow and the two of them lapsed into silence.
"Hey." Came Michael's voice and a moment later, he himself walked into the kitchen, his jacket along with that of Kai's hanging over his arm. "I'm taking Kai home now, ok?"
"Is the dear alright?" Nana asked as she placed down her tea towel and paddled over to him, Marly right behind her to see the two of them off for the night.
"She's still brooding about what happen at dinner," Michael explained with a small sigh before his expression turned slightly bitter and he cast his eyes in the direction of their neighbour's house. "And so am I."
Marly found herself too shifting her gaze through the kitchen window to their Mariasha's house, a tight frown forming on her lips. She might have to have a chat with dear sweet Mariasha tomorrow.
"You should stay with her for the night, make sure she's alright," Marly then said as she averted her gaze back to her son, a sense of parental pride swelling in her chest at how handsome and caring her son had become.
She still can't forgive herself for siding with Mariasha all these years.
"Yeah, I was planning to do that anyway," Michael said as the three of them walked to the entrance of the house to find Kai there waiting with her arms wrapped loosely over her stomach.
She gave them a small smile, one holding a small sense of embarrassment from her previously stressed state and she gave Nana a hug and an affectionate kiss on the cheek before turning her attention on Michael's mother.
"Thank you for a lovely meal," she said politely, despite at having be able to relax slightly in the other woman's presence, she still felt a little bit awkward around her. Maybe it was because her first real meeting with Michael's mother resulted in her getting the twenty questions from Mariasha and her trying to answer them as calmly as she could.
She tried so hard to keep her temper in check, but in reality she wanted so bad to punch Mariasha in the mouth for even bringing up her grandfather. That was the first time in a long time that she had confided to anyone that Voltaire was physically abusive.
"You're welcome," Marly said gently, almost motherly to her. "The next one will be better."
The tension in Kai's shoulders slowly began to leave. "I'm sure it will."
The car ride back to Orchid Ranch was a silent one, yet it wasn't uncomfortable or awkward, the two of them merely taking a moment to mull over the evening's events.
Michael tried his best not to think about Mariasha, as she was not worth the effort, but his thoughts constantly drifted back to her and every time it did, his anger for the purple-haired female grew and grew.
Who the hell did she think she was demanding answers from Kai tonight about her past?! Did she think herself so superior that she would actually get the information she wanted by acting like a total bitch? Kai did not have to answer to her at all; what she chose to wear or do had nothing to do with Mariasha.
It just...infuriated Michael so bad! Mariasha had always, always tried to push herself into other people's lives, demanding to know everyone about them. She once said that her insatiable need to know everything was quirky, but to Michael; it was obnoxious. She could never take the word no and leave it.
Of course not, that would be too considerate for Mariasha to even comprehend.
The only good thing that came out from tonight was the fact that his own mother kicked Mariasha out of the house. His mother was finally starting to see how utterly arrogant and fake Mariasha really is.
"I'm really, really sorry about tonight," Michael said as he pulled up at the front of Kai's house and turned the engine off, the two of them sitting in his car for a moment. "I didn't think she would do anything in front of Ma and nana like that."
"It's alright," Kai said as she lifted her hand and curled her hair behind her ear. "I actually expected her to try something like that. She was trying to get a reaction out of me just so she could prove how terrible I am."
"But it backfired," Michael added as the corner of his mouth threatened to turn into a smirk.
That need soon disappeared, though, when Kai removed herself from his car and he followed suit. He walked with her to the front door, the cold winter air circling them both. He stepped back for a moment to study Kai as she fished out her house keys from her bag, her hands still slightly trembling from the intense emotions she felt not hours before.
Guilt and sympathy made their way into his chest and he slipped in behind her, taking the keys for her surprisingly unresponsive grip. She seemed to sigh and touch her forehead, shaking her head just a little, probably inwardly berating herself for acting so weak at this given moment.
"Are you alright?" Michael asked as he carefully turned her around to face him, trying to look into her eyes to see the truth while concern shimmered in his own. He had his hands on her shoulders in a gentle grip, not holding her tightly in place, but strong enough to let her know subtly that he didn't want to let go.
"Yeah," Kai replied sincerely as she once against folded her arms loosely over her stomach, not at all uncomfortable that Michael was standing so close to her. In fact, the heat from his body was comforting and she was hit with this foreign feeling of wanting to rest her head on his chest and lean against him.
She'd never experience anything like that before, yet it wasn't that frightening. A little unnerving, but not scary; if that made any sense?
"I'm just glad I didn't jump up and punch her," Kai said with a light shrug, the annoyance in her posture slowly starting to lift; Michael's natural carefree attitude doing that to her.
"Nothing too dramatic happened. At least I didn't run out there crying, huh?"
Michael can't help but smile to himself at the thought of Kai punching Mariasha out. Yeah, he would have paid to see that happen.
"It would be understandable if you did," he said as a sense of guilt appeared in his chest again. "I can't help but feel this is all my fault."
"Don't," Kai replied quickly and sternly, her eyes narrowing a little. "You've done nothing wrong. This is all Mariasha's doing, you know that."
That still didn't help ease the thought that he had caused Kai so much emotional discomfort. She had enough to put up with in life; she really didn't deserve any more of this crap. "But, if you weren't my friend, she probably wouldn't be targeting you like she is," he pointed out.
"It still doesn't make it your fault," Kai retorted sharply again, taking a step forward so they were mere inches apart, she gazing up at him and he looking down at her as she was a head shorter. "She's being harassing you for too long. It has to stop and if I'm the one to do it, so be it."
Michael found himself gazing intently into Kai's eyes, the bright red rubies looking up at him with a sense of determination and defiance within their depths. He became lost within her gaze and let his hands slip down her arms from her shoulders to rest on her elbows, his fingers curling around their lithe arms.
"Thank you," he whispered sincerely. "For putting up with Mariasha for me."
"You're welcome," Kai whispered softly in return, seemingly unable to take her eyes away from his.
Then, without much thought of the consequence, Michael leaned forward and pressed his lips against Kai's, tugging on her arms to pull her closer to hm. It was that moment that all time seemed to stand still, his lips pressed against hers in a gentle kiss.
Experimentally, he pressed a little closer, moving his lips slowly against Kai's in a rhythmic way, his hands leaving her elbows to rest on the small of her back, his arms wrapping around her slender frame. This causes Kai to press her body closer against his, responding almost shyly to the kiss. Her hands rested on his sides for a moment before slipping up his back to grasp with tight fists the material of his jacket.
Michael tried to pull back to see the reaction in Kai's face from the sudden kiss, but as he did, Kai pushed forward in an attempt to keep their lips together. He gave a small smile and tilted his head to the side ever so slightly, nipping his tongue out to run along Kai's bottom lip.
A jolt of pleasure raced down Kai's spine as she gave a gasp of surprise, opening her mouth shyly to allow him the opportunity to deepen their kiss further.
Ever the opportunist, Michael refused to let such an opportunity to pass and removed a hand from Kai's waist to rest on the crook of her neck, tilting her head back just a little so he could curl his tongue around hers, succeeding in deepening the kiss. He had no idea that Kai could taste as exotically as she looked.
How long the two stayed in this embrace was lost to both of them, not that they cared. Over the weeks that they've spent together, they had grown very close, friendship subtly turning into affection. It wasn't until tonight at the dinner and the kiss they are sharing now did they realize how fondly they thought of one another.
Never having felt this strongly for anyone before for Kai and Michael swearing off getting involved with anyone because of Mariasha, they had missed the telltale signs that they weren't just friends.
Slowly, they pull apart, their eyes half lidded from the passionate kiss as they gaze upon each other. A sense of awkward silence fell over them, neither one sure of what they should say or do after something that was so consuming for them both.
However, the winter wind picked up, causing them both to shiver from the cold.
"Do you want to, ah, stay the night?" Kai found herself asking as a dark dusting of red dusted her features.
"Sure," Michael said with a smile. "I'd like that."