CHAPTER 7- TEMPER
Wasn't it only a few days ago I swore to myself I'd try to win her back?
But when I read the obvious hurt in her eyes, when I heard the crack on her voice as I realized what I was doing to her, I couldn't bring myself to watch her that way anymore.
She wanted me to leave? Well, I damn well was. I was going to go chasing after someone who apparently didn't want me around. Heck, I was the Natsume Hyuuga. Fans were all over me.
But I didn't want any of them. Not the screaming bunch who'd faint merely ten meters away from me.
Probably shouldn't have said that- It wasn't like short notice was going to change anything. But then she wanted me to leave her alone, in her exact words, and so I apologized-- Probably shouldn't have said that either. It seemed to have triggered something in her, and I've already seen enough of her puffy eyes and red nose. Crying definitely didn't suit her... although I've probably gotten used to it at this point.
It didn't matter if she thought kissing me was a mistake. Or that she didn't like seeing my face. Yet what was I doing, burning the first thing that annoyed me into a crisp? I heard someone clearing their throat behind me and tried to calm my flaming palms.
"What?" I barked, with perhaps, unnecessary harshness. Had it only been, what- only a couple of hours ago? The stupid, clumsy idiot was making me miss her.
"I know you may not realize this, but that's your- er- fifth one. I don't think this is a good idea," Ruka told me from behind. "I know you might be tired from all that organizing-"
"Or maybe I just felt like burning things lately." I gave a glare for him to leave me alone. "Go find a new hobby."
"Uh-huh. And then stick you with a tag that says 'highly flammable'?"
"I doubt that'd work. He'd probably just burn the tag," Koko muttered next to him.
"She doesn't want to see me," I said without thought. Huh. So the idiot makes me say stupid things too.
"Wait, so she actually said she doesn't want to see you?" Koko asked.
"I believe it's called rejection. Hotaru does that to me every time. Sometimes I don't even know what the woman wants," Ruka said with a sigh. Right after, his phone rang and he answered it, his eyes widening briefly before he spoke. "Look, I don't think this is a good time to.... But he's already... Well, if you think so, but... But he's- Fine.... Ok, ok. Bye."
He shut his phone and turned to us. "Anyone hungry?"
Red seats, clean and fancy tables- we were brought to one of the common hang-outs of dating couples. The only question was why.
"What the hell are we here for?"
"Uh, oh, there's a- uh, I wanted to order food."
Koko took a thin piece of paper out to me with their 'Specials'.
"How coincidental," I muttered under my breath.
She was sitting next to Tsubasa Andou with a smile that could only mean one thing. And that didn't mean I had to like it.
Before he landed four steps over the place, Ruka let out a deep sigh. "We can go back if you-"
"The idiot's free to date whoever she wants."
"Oh, we believe you," he uttered dryly, and tried to pull Natsume away from the door. In a flash, the strip of paper burnt.
"You're right. I should grill something else."
"Natsume, this is suicide. You shouldn't be wasting your Alice like this." There was a worried edge to his voice, but he needn't have worried. I shrugged, feigning nonchalance and turned around like thousands of times before.
"This is nothing."
The gentle pitter-patter of the rain on the window seemed like the only sound I could hear for hours, drowning out the sounds of celebration and the constant chatter. I didn't know how long I sat there, just staring at the dim sky from the glass window, getting blurry by the minute from the raindrops streaming down like thick blotches of uneven tears.
"Mikan, I don't understand you," Sumire said in the most reasonable voice she could manage. "You're moping because you told him to leave? Nice, you definitely didn't blow it."
I scowled. "I don't know if that's supposed to make me feel any better."
She shook her head in mild amusement. "I hate to tell you this, but I told you so."
Of course she did. And when did I listen?
"I can't believe this whole time he did it all thinking of me." And I blew it.
I stood up and kicked the can nearby, aggravated. Why did he listen to what I said? Why should he stop now? He's been doing a good job of entering my life again. Entering my heart.
It was still his fault. He took my heart and smashed it into pieces, in a situation where he didn't give me the opportunity to choose. Why did he always have to decide things on his own? Did I not get a choice in it, too?
Can't let me go, huh? Well, he just did. Again. It was then that I realized that I was feeling more angry than anything. Funny how I kept feeling that way lately.
"I have an idea," Hotaru murmured, putting down a book she was reading.
"Don't you always?" I muttered silently, shifting my gaze back to the window.
"I already called Ruka. You're coming with us."
"Coming? Where? Please don't tell me this is another partnership."
"It's just a little experiment."
I didn't understand Hotaru's apparent need to drag me into this place, but I took it as a favor, and so I went on with her 'plans', as usual. Asking her didn't seem to work very well. Which was why it took me aback when I saw a familiar figure, already seated.
"Tsubasa-senpai!" I said in surprise and threw myself in his arms. "Hotaru, what's going on?"
She looked around once, and then stared back at us, calm.
"He wanted some advice on event preparations. Not another partnership, don't worry."
He frowned. "I know I did ask for some advice, but-"
A clearing of throat was heard from the doorway, and we all turned our heads.
"Yes?" Hotaru asked beside me. It was Ruka who entered, face pale.
"Uh, emergency? We need a fire extinguisher."
Anger flared inside me.
All the pent-up accusations and pleas for him to stay bubbled inside. Like why he always did things on his own. Why he believed he had to protect me. Why can't he stay.
There he was, standing at the end of the street, palms brightly lit. At that instant, all the words burning on my tongue disappeared.
"Polka, " he said in acknowledgement of my presence. Just what did he think he was doing, using his Alice recklessly?
"Why are you here?" I asked, going straight to the point.
"How about you? On a date?"
"Date?! I was helping him!" I snapped.
"In this place? Well, you looked cosy in back there." His eyes were distant, impenetrable. I could argue forever and ever with Natsume and it wouldn't resolve anything. Instead, I took a deep breath.
"So? Why do you even care?"
"Itching for me to leave you alone? I'll be gone soon, then."
"Fine! And for the record, I didn't want you to leave. It just... accidentally came out," I finished somewhat lamely. He froze, before he turned back at me.
"What did you say?"
"I didn't... It doesn't matter. You're probably all ready and everyth-"
"Tell me," he drew closer, a distinct frown upon his face. I shook my head.
"What for? ...Always doing things, deciding things on your own. You're leaving again."
Because, I knew, despite everything, I wanted him to stay. When he said he'd leave, it was like a fresh wave of pain, tearing me at both ends, mercilessly violent and cruel in manner.
"Women," he muttered finally.
"Excuse me?" I exclaimed, offended.
"You know what, Polka? You make no sense," he said, starting to pace. "You told me to leave. You told me to stop pestering you because I make you hurt."
"That was before! I didn't know why you left. I thought you got bored. Liked someone else," I said, finding myself using my hands in the process.
The corners of his lips curved into a tight smile.
"Were you jealous?"
"No!" I turned around and walked back.
"Where do you think you're going?" he asked, my path blocked with fire.
"Back. See you never again."
I nullified his fire with ease and walked through like it had been nothing more than the brush of wind.
"How's the fire?" Ruka asked as soon as I went inside.
"More like, how's the firefighter?" Koko chuckled at his own reply.
"Annoyed, so I'll be going then. Sorry, Hotaru, I... have to go..."
She gave a quick nod, and that was all I needed before I left the doors, hearing them swing shut.
2 days later
I was being followed.
It was probably the footsteps that gave it all away. I pulled my bag closer, getting ready, anticipating any aggressive movement. Ten more steps. Ten steps before I'd turn to hit it across the face of the mysterious stranger who was following me.
Five more. I sucked in a deep breath, getting ready to scream in case I wouldn't be able to handle it and would need help. Then-
I swung my bag back without hesitation and WHAM!
"Natsume, I know I probably damaged your pretty face, but I can't afford this."
"I said you owed me dinner, not that you'd pay for it."
I frowned. "You mean-"
"Yes. Go back and order."
But my mind was reeling. I wasn't so sure about anything anymore. It made it harder to let go. I wanted to scream at him and at the same time, throw myself into his arms.
"Why... Why are you doing this?"
"Don't you like farewell dinners?"
"No, I don't."
He paused for a fraction of a second before he said, "I've decided-"
"That you're leaving and never coming back, because really-"
"Mikan, I'm staying."
"You'd just be doing it agai... Did you... did you just say..." Tears clouded my vision. "Natsume, this isn't funny."
Wasn't it only a few days ago he said he was leaving? I couldn't understand how the feeling of relief and happiness flooded through me on an instant.
"I thought you'd be happy. I didn't realize you'd be crying so much," he said with a frown.
"You're ... not leaving?"
"Depends. Maybe you'd like to repeat the part that you wanted me to stay...?"
I picked up the menu, and grinned. Paying for me, was he?
"I want a lamb rack, Grilled haloumi lasagne, Veal scallopine, Sweet bread empanada, Bruschetta, Baked vanilla custard, sandwiched with hazelnut praline wafers, toffee and caramel sauces."
I've had a finish/not finish argument with this story. In the end, I decided to just end it. Thanks for the reviews everyone. It was fun writing this fic. =]