Chapter Six—When You Think the Party's Over
The scene was eerily familiar. Ash stood in his room, staring at the mirror suspiciously, as Brock and Tracey hovered around him. But this time, instead of going to a slumber party, he was going on his first date—at least, according to Brock. But this was the guy who also counted every trip to the police station with Officer Jenny a date. Considering they seemed to have a brush with the law in every town they visited, Brock should be engaged by now. Besides, Ash had just managed to flub his first kiss yesterday—he wasn't sure if he was ready for the dating scene yet.
"It's not a date," he protested again, and fiddled with the noose around his neck. "Do I have to wear a tie? These things are worse than bras!"
"Let's see. Angie is having a party. She invited Misty, and told her to bring a date. Misty's bringing you. Therefore, that qualifies as a date," Brock said, reminding him of the reason Angie had stopped by yesterday and become an accomplice to his humiliation. Ash, a bit spooked at the thought of having to date already, tried to ask her why she was having a party only two days after the last one, but Brock had happily mumbled something about a party girl and clamped Ash's mouth shut. Brock was currently causing just as many problems as he batted Ash's hands away from the tie and readjusted it. "And yes, the tie stays."
"But Brock..." Ash whined.
"No buts," Brock said, and forced Ash to face the mirror to evaluate his appearance. "It makes you look dashing, like you own a bunch of stock or something."
Still dubious about the tie, Ash studied his reflection thoughtfully. "Well, I do have those Tauros..."
Brock groaned and slapped Ash's arm. "Not that kind of stock," he said, rolling his eyes as Ash rubbed his sore arm crossly. "Never mind. Anyway, just a touch of this aftershave..."
"Perfume?" The pain was suddenly secondary as Ash freaked. "I'm not wearing perfume!"
"It's not perfume," Brock scolded. "Perfume is for girls. Aftershave is for men."
"How can I be a man if I'm not even old enough to shave?" Ash asked.
"Just shut up and wear it," Brock said, punching Ash for his protests and pinning him against the wall so that Tracey could apply the aftershave. Ash made a face, accidentally got a little in his mouth, and started gagging. "Now," Brock said as he checked his watch, ignoring the choking sounds his friend was making, "isn't it time you went down to meet Misty?"
"I guess..." Ash finally got free of Brock's vise grip and wiped his mouth in disgust. Figures. Brock couldn't be happy with mortally embarrassing him. He had to try and poison him, too. "Brock? I thought you and Tracey were coming too. How come you're not ready yet?"
The strange, almost pained look Tracey gave at this sparked Ash's curiosity. "Maybe I'll just sit this one out..." Tracey began.
"Not if you want all your art supplies to stay in one piece," Brock growled, and Ash suppressed a grin. At least he wasn't the only one suffering at Brock's hands. Angie had invited Brock as her date on one condition; he had to bring a date for her friend as well. Tracey didn't want to be a blind date, but he had no choice after Brock took one of the watcher's notebooks hostage and threatened to show Professor Oak a particular picture of his granddaughter May that Tracey had drawn. Ash didn't understand the big deal, but as Tracey had gone pale and stammered quick acceptance, it appeared to be an effective blackmailing tactic.
"We'll be coming—both of us," Brock said pointedly, and turned to Ash. "But we're not coming with you."
"Do you want two chaperones at your date?" Brock asked, raising his eyebrows. Ash scratched his head, still clueless.
"There will be more at the party..." he said.
"Yes, but you're walking there alone," Brock said with a grin. "Now go on, don't keep Misty waiting." Ash yelped and scowled as the older trainer tried to swat his backside.
"All right, all right," he grumbled, backing away so he was out of reach. "Keep your hands to yourself!" He walked out of the room, brushing the seat of his pants off by instinct. Sheesh.
Misty had disappeared two hours earlier, using his mom's bedroom and bath to get ready. Ash had no clue what took her so long, but he wasn't complaining; she'd turned weird since yesterday. He knew she liked him, but did that mean she had to walk around humming, pick flowers to put in her hair, and watch goofy romantic movies all the time? Tracey had even caught her doodling hearts in one of his open notebooks last night. Once he'd run her off (at the risk of a mallet—at times Ash thought the watcher was braver than he was) she'd started playing with her hair in front of the mirror, and Ash had thought he'd do her a favor; he brought one of his mom's roses to put in her hair so she didn't have to get it herself. For some reason she practically swooned and he had feared being kissed, though the dopey look she gave him instead was almost as bad...maybe she was just going through a phase. Yeah, that was it...just a phase...
She was standing in the living room, waiting for him. "Wow, Ash, you take longer than me to get ready," she said. The smile that accompanied this statement was cheerful, not malicious, though the comment slipped right over Ash's head as he stared at her in shock. She didn't...she wouldn't...she had.
"I can't believe you did that," he groaned, burying his face in his hands so that Misty couldn't see either the pink flush or the grin that was growing on his face in spite of himself.
"What, don't you think I look nice?" she asked innocently, twirling around so he could get a good look at her dress. At her pink dress. At the pink dress that he had borrowed and used as a disguise not two days ago...Misty obviously planned for the blush to remain on his face the entire night.
"It looks better on you than on me," Ash said, recovering, though his voice was still higher than he intended. He cleared his throat, hoping to get rid of the squeakiness. "A lot better, that is...I mean, yes. You look nice," he finally managed to tell her. Though it was actually her hair that distracted him...she wore it down, and it brushed the tip of her shoulders with a hint of curl. She should wear it like that more often...
She was still giggling, pleased with herself for tricking him. "You look nice too," she told him. Considering all he had gone through already that night, the words felt like a consolation prize.
"Brock made me wear the tie," Ash grumbled.
"Well, it looks good," she reassured him.
The silence that followed was more than a little awkward. Ash fidgeted, unsure of what to say or do, and wondered what in the world they would talk about the rest of the evening if it had already taken them a grand total of two minutes to run out of conversational topics. He finally glanced at the clock and offered, "Uh, should we go?"
"Okay." Misty picked up a light sweater off the sofa and stood patiently, waiting for him to join her. She looked disgruntled when he walked right past her on his way to the door.
"What?" he asked, pausing with his hand on the doorknob as he realized she wasn't following him.
"Aren't you going to hold my hand?" she asked expectantly.
Erk. Ash scratched his head nervously. "Do I have to?"
Misty hmphed and put her sweater on. "Never mind," she said, stomping over to the door. She knocked his hand away and opened the door herself. Oops...he shouldn't have said that.
"I mean, we can if you want to..." he amended.
"No, let's just go," she said curtly and slammed the door behind her, leaving him on the other side. He sighed. This was going to be a long evening.
"This is weird," Ash objected, shifting from foot to foot as they stood on the front doorstep and he rang the doorbell. Misty giggled. In addition to Ash's cajoling on the way there, her disposition had lightened considerably when they arrived and she saw his discomfort. Minus the fact that she had a tendency to try to stare into his eyes as they talked, their relationship was almost close to normal at the moment. Ash was even starting to remember why he liked her—both as a friend and as a girl.
"I don't think it's weird," she said.
"That's because you didn't have to crash a slumber party in a dress the last time you were here," he complained, and she giggled again and bumped him lightly against the hip.
"Yes, and whose fault is that?" she teased. He thought 'Brock' but didn't get to answer before Angie opened the door. It was just as well—he wasn't the only one planning revenge against Brock, and he preferred not to hear another tirade on immature pokémon trainers. She'd probably get carried away and include him in it as well.
"Hiiiiiiiii!" Angie yelled exuberantly. "Yippees, you're here! Hey Ash, you look better in a tie than a bra," she pointed out.
Ash blushed furiously. "Yeah, yeah," he muttered. Either would be useful to strangle Brock with, though. Speaking of which, despite his caution, he felt obligated to mention something to Angie. "I tried to get Brock to come with us, but he said he had to finish getting ready."
To his surprise, Misty seemed amused at this comment instead of annoyed. Ash eyed the two girls suspiciously as they exchanged a smirk. "He's helping out with the...entertainment," Angie said, and neither girl could restrain a giggle. Ash wondered how much he should be worried—girl conspiracies were frightening. He was just lucky he was on their good side right now for liking Misty. Angie noticed his look and finished, "But don't worry, he'll be here. Everyone's down in the den. Come on, I've got someone for you to meet."
Ash lagged slightly behind the girls as Angie led them down the hall; he needed the space to steel himself to go downstairs. As bad as it was to have his first date in a public arena—making him have it in front of girls who had seen him in a bra? Now that was cruel and unusual. He had a bad feeling he would be constantly reminded of his misadventure all night, and the first guest he met as he stepped inside the den did nothing but confirm that.
"Hey, Ashy-boy, no dress tonight?"
"Gary!" Ash jumped back and groaned. His cross-dressing exploits had already reached Gary's ears—he should have known. This was the guy who still harassed Ash because his mother cluelessly gave him a Barbie doll when he was three years old. Even worse was the fact that for a period of two or three weeks after that, he had innocently used the doll as a teddy bear during naptime. His mom even had the picture to prove it—err, he probably needed to burn that one, too. "What are you doing here?" he asked, though it was on the brink of a complaint.
"He's with me," Natty said, stepping over to Gary's side and draping herself over his shoulder; seeing as she was about four inches taller than him, it wasn't hard. Ash thought that fact was funny, but if he mentioned it, Gary would just claim Ash was jealous because Gary's date was prettier, which would entail Misty kicking Gary in the shin—at least he hoped it would only be the shin. And then she would kick Ash just to make sure he didn't agree with Gary—so Ash decided to keep his mouth shut.
"Hi, Ash," Natty greeted him. "I gotta admit, you did look cute in pink." She winked.
"Uh..." was all that Ash managed to say. He could spar with Gary, but this was the girl who had worn a bra on her head. She wasn't scared of anything. Natty laughed at his embarrassment, and Misty elbowed him playfully in the side. Ash smiled; it was nice to have her by his side—both literally and figuratively—for a change.
"Well, once again it was nice talking to the little people, Ashy-boy," Gary smirked as Ash threw him a withering look. Gary ignored this and turned to his date. "Come on, Nat, time to dance," he said, and tried to pull her away, but Natty held her ground. "Natty, let's dance," he tried again.
"Gary, you're supposed to ask a lady if she wants to dance, not command it," she said primly, fluffing her hair in cool indifference to her date.
"But you're not a lady."
"Gary Oak!" Natty sputtered. "You can dance with a mirror for all I care!" She turned on her heel and stomped away, her skirt flouncing behind her. Ash couldn't help but gape.
"They sound like you and me, Mist," he said. Gary sighed, and Ash had the sneaking suspicion that this wasn't the first time that had happened that night.
"It's the red hair," Gary said patronizingly. "Makes them feisty." As if Ash didn't know that already. Gary turned to Misty next, and Ash didn't like the gleam in his eye. He winked at her before leaving to reclaim his date. "Good thing I like feisty, eh?"
Okay, what was that? Misty blushed bashfully as Ash glared at Gary's retreating back. Gary had not just flirted with Ash's date—had he? Though he was swaggering as he walked away. Maybe he had...that Gary! Ash felt a slow burn coming. It was bad enough for Gary to make fun of his pokémon training, but enough was enough. Gary had better not even think of trying to steal Ash's girlfri—
Wait a minute, what was he thinking? Ash shook himself out of his trance, anger replaced by shock. He did not just say Misty was his girlfriend; dating was bad enough. That is, he knew he liked her, but if she was as bossy as she was when she was just a friend, what would it be like if they were a couple? "Ack!"
"What's wrong?" Misty asked.
"Oh, did I say that out loud?" Ash asked nervously. Not a girlfriend, girl who's a friend, he reminded himself. And they weren't dating, it was just one date...yeah, sure, and by the way, he was giving up pokémon training tomorrow and taking up professional water ballet instead. He signed in resignation. Oh well. If he had to have a girlfriend, at least she was his best friend, too.
"I was just...uh...hungry. Yeah, that's it," he said, covering.
And she bought it, giving him a look. "You're always hungry."
"Make that thirsty, then," he amended.
She rolled her eyes, but had to smile. "Cute, Ash," she conceded. "Actually, I am too. Will you bring me a drink?"
It was starting already. Even if they did like each other, she'd better not think he was her slave. He'd better put a stop to this right now. "Why can't you get it?" Ash asked.
Misty's mood shift from affectionate to annoyed was quite obvious. "Fine!" she huffed, and stomped off towards the refreshment table. Oops. He shouldn't have said that—again. Okay, so he'd just have to get used to servitude.
He ran to catch up with his date, hoping Gary didn't notice that he had just made the same mistake as Gary had. Was this a common thing with dating? Guy messes up, guy apologizes. Girl messes up, guy still apologizes. He shook his head and caught up to Misty, who, seeing as she was speaking with one of her friends, was cordial to him.
"Hey, Ash," Misty said, "You remember Latonya."
Ash blinked. "I thought your name was Zildy," he said, and Latonya laughed.
"Are you kidding? I have enough trouble with Latonya. Besides, my mother would kill me," she said, and Ash furrowed his brow, puzzled. More girl-logic—he shouldn't even bother trying to understand. Latonya/Zildy didn't appear to notice his bemusement as she caught the eye of someone across the room. "Gotta go catch my date now," she told him. "Hey Gianni! Let's dance!" She sped off, pausing right before she disappeared into the crowd to toss over her shoulder, "By the way Ash, like your haircut!"
Ash let his head sag as Misty giggled. "Is anyone going to let me forget that?" he groaned.
"In a word? No," Misty teased. "Come on, the others have the right idea. Let's dance."
Dancing? Ash gulped. Half the time he had trouble walking. He'd found more invisible holes than Team Rocket could ever build; i.e., he was a klutz. Seeing as he was living proof that someone could be born with two left feet, he didn't particularly care to try his luck on the dance floor.
"Um...do you really want to?" he asked. Misty's face gained an angry flush. Oops, he really shouldn't have said that. Even if he resolved to keep his mouth shut the rest of the night, he had already crossed the line.
"Ash Ketchum!" she shouted, and he cringed as a couple people turned to look at them, "I thought you l liked me, but you are the most insensitive, unromantic..."
Shriek. Ash jumped back at the shrill sound of a maladjusted microphone, thanking it for interrupting Misty's tirade. But his shoulders slumped as even as they both turned to look at the source. It was only his first date, and he'd already broken up with his first girlfriend before she had even agreed to be his girlfriend. That had to be a record. He wondered what it would take to make it up to her this time; the bathroom door had already been fixed. Maybe the basement was available...
"May I have your attention," Angie said, grinning into a karaoke machine microphone. "I am pleased to announce tonight's entertainment."
Entertainment? That sounded familiar...Ash's eyes widened as everything connected in his mind. Oh, no...
"Ladies and gentleman, give it up for...the Old Spice Girls!"
"The what?" was all Ash had time to stammer before his voice was drowned out by screams at the sight of the emerging performers. His mouth dropped open, and he stared at the stage dumbly as the opening strains of a country song began blaring out the speakers.
Ash didn't know if Misty enjoyed the performance or his reaction more. She didn't bother trying to hold in her laughter, despite the dirty looks she was receiving from the stage, and temporarily dismissed her grudge against Ash as she turned to him and smirked, "So, is this good enough for you?"
Ash's mouth opened and closed again, and he stood blinking at the stage. "This...is...disturbing," he finally managed as he watched Brock and Tracey take the microphone and break out into a karaoke version of Man, I Feel Like a Woman—
—wearing blonde wigs, pink dresses, and underwear outside their clothes. Girl underwear. And Ash had thought he had been traumatized by having to wear a bra. He was wrong. Seeing Brock wear a bra was ten times worse. And he only had to take one look at Brock's lace thong before he turned away, blushing.
"When did this happen?" he asked, carefully shielding his eyes from the scandal taking place on stage.
"When Angie found out that Brock was teasing me," Misty said smugly. "We thought we'd let the punishment fit the crime. She made it a condition of their date—no dress, no kiss."
"I thought she liked Brock," Ash said. If this was what girls did to the people they liked, maybe it was a good thing that Misty had already dumped him.
"She does. But she can't make it easy for him," Misty said. "Besides, girls have to stick together on things like this."
Aha. Now that explained a lot..
Ash alternated between gaping at his line-dancing, cross-dressing friends and looking away in horror as the song finished. Though he couldn't miss the big flourish when Brock yanked off his 'outerwear' underwear and tossed it out into the audience—seeing as the underwear landed on Ash's head. Ash squealed, shaking his head frantically in a desperate attempt to get it off. He backed into someone in the process and when he had finally tossed the underwear off, some girl tripped over it and fell on her backside, taking three other people down with her, but hey—the important thing was that he had gotten away from it. He'd gotten over believing girls had cooties when he was eight—well, every once in a while he still had his doubts, but forget it. Girl's underwear was forever tainted.
Misty nearly died of laughter at the expression on his face, and Angie approached them, giggling just as uncontrollably. A petite dark haired girl with a quizzical yet pleasant smile followed her.
"Are we even?" Angie spit out between giggles.
"Even," Misty said, and they highfived. Misty brushed tears from her eyes only to start laughing again as they saw Brock and Tracey fighting their way through the crowd. Brock had a wide grin as he waved to the laughing crowd; he looked like he was enjoying the attention. Good grief, he was as crazy as a girl. At least Tracey had the sense to look significantly less happy at the turn of events.
"How...cute," was the first thing Misty said, pinching Brock's cheeks as he arrived. The other trainer ducked away, grinning good-naturedly. "Isn't he, Ash?"
Hmm....well, it wasn't his revenge, but who cared. He'd be happy to milk it for all it was worth. "Adorable," he agreed. "Someone should take a picture. Got a camera in your purse, Tracey?"
"Shut up," Tracey mumbled, and Ash smirked. Ah, yes, revenge was sweet. Never mind—Misty was quite handy to have a girlfriend. He'd just have to stay on her good side...oh yeah. He grimaced slightly as he realized that he currently wasn't. He'd have to fix that.
"So, everyone meet Kimiko!" Angie said, and waved at the girl beside her, who smiled hesitantly. "She's the reason for the party—she's a foreign exchange student at our school. We thought we'd help introduce her to some people. Say hi, Kimiko."
Kimiko obviously didn't understand much of the conversation around her but got Angie's intent. "Hajimemashite. Kimiko desu. Dozo yoroshiku," she greeted them. Ash stared at her blankly while Brock elbowed Tracey in the side, indicating him to claim his 'date.' Tracey looked less than thrilled again; not only did he have a blind date, but he couldn't even communicate with her. He gave a half-hearted attempt at answering.
"Sí," he said, forcing a smile to his face and nodding. Kimiko looked confused while the others exchanged nervous grins.
"If these are your role models, Ash, I'm starting to understand your dating problems," Misty mumbled. At least he had an excuse now. Brock stepped squarely on Misty's foot, prompting her to offer less antagonistic advice. "Ouch! I mean, why don't we play a game? To get to know each other."
"Great idea!" Angie clapped her hands, and without bothering to reclaim the microphone, yelled so loudly that Ash felt deafened. "Hey, everybody! Let's play Spin the Bottle!"
Eek. He didn't want to know Kimiko that well. Ash blanched and Misty grabbed his wrist.
"Come on," she hissed, yanking him through the den so quickly that he didn't even have time to turn around; he walked backwards, watching the commotion Angie's statement had caused. So he both heard and saw Brock whoop and grab Angie around the shoulders so that he could start the game early. Ash could be wrong, but it didn't appear that Angie was trying very hard to fend Brock off.
"Where are we going?" he asked, managing to wrench his arm away from Misty so that he could turn around and actually face forward as they escaped undetected up the stairs.
"Away," she said. "If you can't even kiss me in the bathroom, there's no way you can handle a public setting."
She had a point—though somehow Ash didn't think that statement deserved a thank you. Besides, he had a feeling jealous tendencies may have been a factor as well. He'd be kissing earthworms six feet under before she let him kiss another girl. He just followed her through the hallway and asked another "Where are we going?" when she took a sudden detour through the kitchen.
"Outside," she said. "I need some fresh air."
"What's wrong with this air?" he asked, and she threw him a look. He held his hands up in an I surrender gesture. "Kidding, that was a joke," he said.
"It was a bad one." He shrugged helplessly and allowed himself to be led out to the back yard.
It was darker out than when they first arrived, so Ash was glad for the light from the porch lamp—hopefully it would keep him from spraining another ankle. He walked with Misty to a wooden porch swing hung in a back yard gazebo, and Ash held the seat steady for Misty before he sat down next to her. He relaxed as he leaned back. Angie's party had been...uh, interesting...but he was glad it was just Misty and him again. The stars were beginning to come out, and he peered over the lattice railing to look at them. He liked to be out under the open sky on their journeys. In fact, he and Misty sometimes played a game to see how many stars they could count. Whoever got the most, won. Misty must have been thinking of the same thing.
"The stars are pretty tonight," Misty said, and nudged him in the side. "I wonder how many there are?"
Ash pretended to think for a moment. "I don't know. How many do you think there are?"
"Twenty three million," she sighed, kicking her legs back and forth impatiently. Ash had trouble keeping the smile from his face. She hadn't even tried to guess.
"Then I say twenty three million and one," he answered, and she smiled. They fell silent again, but this time it was more comfortable. More like how they usually acted, though Ash felt he was more honest with her now. He wasn't sure why; it wasn't as if he'd ever lied to her before. Well, besides the whole Ashley thing...which didn't really count, sort of...well, maybe not...oh, he might as well make amends. But he'd ease into it.
"Actually," he said, hesitating, as he wasn't sure if this was a good memory for her or not, "The stars almost look like Ledian dust. Don't you think?"
Moonlight was strange stuff...the moon was shining on her face as she answered, and for some reason it made him acutely aware of how pretty she was. He had to look away before his face turned red.
"You're right. It does," she said. She cocked her head to one side and smiled—something was making her act shy around him as well. Maybe she thought he was pretty too...err, he'd already ditched the dress. He meant cute. He had to blush at himself as Misty continued speaking. "And that reminds me of when we were sitting on your back step, and I thought you were Ashley."
That's what he was afraid of. And then she giggled, and Ash was relieved that she could laugh at it now. He was safe; at least she felt good about that night. But his insecurities hadn't stopped after the slumber party...if anything, they had grown bigger. His contentment with the moment faded. After a few seconds he pulled his legs up to his chest and sighed.
"I wish I were still Ashley," he said abruptly. Misty looked at him, surprised, but as his next words were as much an apology as an explanation, he didn't have the courage to look her in the eyes. "Ashley didn't make you mad or accidentally insult you. Ashley knew the right things to say and do. You liked Ashley."
She understood—she didn't laugh at him, but looked at him sympathetically. In a way he wished she had teased him, because it would have been easier to react. But he had to admit that he liked it when she reached out to squeeze his knee and said, "Oh, Ash. You're right. I did like Ashley. But I liked Ash first." She shrugged self-consciously when he looked up at her. "You've got to remember, I'm new at this stuff too."
Ash smiled and hugged his legs. He thought that meant he was forgiven. And even though Misty would rather kiss a bug pokémon before she said the words "I'm sorry," if he wasn't mistaken, she had just apologized herself. He lowered his feet back down...he could live with that.
Although...that reminded him of something. There was a way to make sure of both...and amazingly he had thought of it before Misty did. Now there was an unpleasant thought...dressing like a girl had better not have made him start thinking like one. But still, his first idea didn't scare him quite as much as it had the day before. Either he had had time to get used to the idea...or this time, he really wanted it. In any case...
"How do I know you're not just saying that to make me feel better?" He cleared his throat and tried to look innocent, but the words hadn't come out quite as casually as he'd meant them. Actually, they sounded suspiciously nervous.
But her eyes were twinkling. "I'll prove it."
He didn't have to be told to close his eyes—though it did take him a second to remember to breathe. How do people live through these things? He couldn't withhold his curiosity or his worry. He clutched his hands into fists so they wouldn't shake and betray his anxiety, and wondered if it was as hard for Misty to initiate a kiss as it had been for him....
The soft pressure came unexpected to him. He almost pulled away, startled, before he remembered—oh yeah, he was supposed to kiss her back. So he leaned forward and could hear, could actually hear Misty catch her breath at this...this was incredible, he'd never been so close to someone before. Her lips were soft, though they trembled slightly, and he could sense her apprehension. So he slowly uncurled a fist, and then reached out to place his hand on top of hers. He squeezed it to comfort her, like she had for him, and he felt her relax and intertwine her fingers with his. And then they broke apart.
Wow. That was nice. That was very nice, in fact. And...
...And he had no idea what he was supposed to say next. Figures. He should have known it wasn't the first kiss he would have to survive—but the awkward silence after it.
"Well?" Misty asked after a moment. Sure, make him speak first. No fair—it was easier to kiss than talk about it. If he felt like provoking Misty, now would be a good time to say, it was okay. She'd break his jaw for that, and then he wouldn't have to worry about the answer any more.
Except for one itty-bitty, teeny-tiny problem. It wasn't just "okay," and he was in this odd happy mood for some reason. And he was finding it hard to think. But if he had to, maybe he would think that he had finally realized that liking a girl didn't mean they stopped being friends—they were just even better friends. And that kissing was one of those things that you didn't realize how good it was until you tried it—especially since Misty was wearing strawberry kiwi lip glass, and it tasted much better on her than on him. And that he was still holding Misty's hand, and he didn't want to let go...and that he could have missed out on everything, if it hadn't been for...
...Another wow. How weird was that. He smiled broadly at his revelation.
"I love Brock. I could kiss him," he suddenly declared.
Misty's short laugh voiced her surprise. "What?" she asked, astonishment and amusement mingled together on her face. Ash didn't exactly answer that. But he did wink and answer her first question instead.
"But," he said, "I'd rather kiss you."
And so he did.
A/n: Yippee, I'm done! And there was a kissing scene, are you happy now? ^_~ Gotta couple of notes on the chapter...there was some Harry Potter homage in here, if anyone noticed. (I adjusted a catch phrase from the movie. ^^) Also, what Kimiko said was the Japanese for "How do you do, I'm Kimiko. Pleased to meet you." To which Tracey answered "Yes" in Spanish. lol
Credit needs to go to Shandy, Erina-chan, and Kaz-ohki, who unwittingly initiated this story. I do not know why, but I got the idea when I was on Shandy's message board reading Erina-chan's post about Kaz-ohki's story. Yes, that is as random as it seems, but thanks anyway. ^_^ Also, thank you to Latonya and Ilex, who let me borrow both "Old Spice" and "Spice Girls" for the name of Brock and Tracey's "boy band." And if anyone cares to know what Angie/Brock is—I call it Angelshipping, because I refuse to call Angie a cottonwoolhead. ^_~
Thanks so much to everyone who has read and reviewed during this story, in particular everyone who has reviewed almost all (if not all) the chapters. Your response was huge and really encouraged me—and of course I'm glad you enjoyed the story! I will be writing another AAMRN soon, but I had a question for you—do you prefer comedies or dramas? I've got an idea for each, and both will get written eventually, but I don't know which one to start with. Please let me know, and I'll take that into consideration. In the meantime, Spruceton Spook is writing two—count 'em, two!—AAMLs. So keep an eye out for "Sleep Tight" and tell her Llyxius sent ya. ^_~ Have a good day!
Disclaimer: I don't own pokémon. Not a single pikachu or clefairy or butterfree...oh, you mean the trademark. No, I don't own that either.