Author's Note: This story was never meant to span more than one chapter but it seems, it just keeps growing as I do. I can make no promises to how long this story will span, as of now it will remain as being complete and for all I know, this is the last chapter. Also, reviews are love and I would really appreciate, if you do read this far, that you would please leave a review and let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: No matter how I fantasize, the Final Fantasy 8 world will never belong to me, so there will never be a movie or a better romance story line. Sorry guys ;)
"Fake it, if your out of direction
Fake it, if you don't belong, yeah
Fake it, if you feel like infection
Whoa, you're such a fuckin' hypocrite"
-Fake It Lyrics, By Seether-
700 Hours, Balamb Garden
Quistis slowly stretched her arms above her head, enjoying the burning sensation in her muscles and the feel of the soft cool sheets sliding across her bare body.
Next she flexed her toes, curling them under and then spreading them wide. She let out a soft contented moan before curling back onto her side. Her fingertips brushed against soft, warm skin and she slowly opened her eyes, looking through her lashes at the figure laying next to her.
He was the wrong man. She sighed before scooting closer to his warmth, her forehead bumping against his arm.
He was the right man in so many ways. He had never once hurt her, no matter how hard she pushed him or how mad and frustrated she would make him. He did everything under the sun for her, treated her as if she was a queen, if not better.
He was still the wrong man.
How could someone so right be so wrong?
She raised her hand slowly and cautiously not wanting to arouse him from his sleep and touched her index finger softly to his parted lips, feeling the hot puffs of air before moving up and tapping his nose.
He was everything she had wanted before, and absolutely nothing like what she wanted now.
She reached up and ran her fingers through his dark brown hair, so smooth and soft with added length, so unlike the blond, cropped coarse hair she was longing for.
She sat up, propping herself with her elbow, to better examine his facial features. He had no scars to mar his beauty, just a few freckles splattered here and there over his cheeks and forehead.
She really missed the scars.
Quistis sighed and shifted again before laying her head on his shoulder. She placed her hand tenderly on his chest and ran her palm over the smooth skin to the spot above his heart. She felt his steady beat, solid, slow and strong, but thought of a more erratic beat in a different place at a different time.
She felt a rumble vibrate through his chest and lifted her head up, her blue eyes meeting topaz brown. She smiled warmly up at him trying to war away the thoughts of a vibrant green that used to burn her every time they made eye contact.
Nida smiled as he placed his hand over her own that still lay resting on his chest.
"Good morning Beautiful."
His voice was smooth, just as he was. Not whiskey rough. Her smile widened.
"Good morning, ready to start the day?"
Nida chuckled, the rumble not as deep or sensuous, and lifted her hand off of him before placing a chaste kiss on her forehead.
"I call the shower first this morning."
Quistis sighed in defeat before playfully pushing him as he made his way to get up out of the bed. She tried her hardest to not cringe at the memories of all the shared showers that had happened years ago.
She watched him as he crossed the room, rubbing his chest in a lazy manner before stepping into their bathroom. She listened as the water was turned on and his out of tune singing began. She slowly closed her eyes trying her hardest to not think about how much she had loved hearing another deeper voice coming from that room.
She opened her eyes and sat up in her bed stretching her arms high above her head and arching her back. She reached down to retrieve his discarded shirt off the floor from the day before. Tugging the t-shirt over her head she sighed as she smoothed the fabric down, the shirt barely reached the top of her thighs.
His shirts had been so much bigger and more comfortable.
Glancing at her night table, she quickly checked the bright digital clock. The red letters showed it to be only 7:15. Just another day, like every day.
She started to turn her head but her eyes caught on the picture frame situated slightly at an angle next to their alarm clock. A smile spread over her face at the image.
Keirdan, the most important person in her life, smiled up at her from the worn metal frame. His blond hair sticking up at odd angles, his cheeks rosy and blue eyes vibrant and bright against the dull background.
Her three year old son, the most precious being in her life. She reached for the frame and slowly caressed the rosy cheeks over the glass with her finger, her smile sincere for the first time that morning.
The gruff voice rang clearly in her mind, playing from her too vivid memories, and her smile broke a little, her eyes hurriedly glancing away to keep from crying, before once again turning back to the picture.
He looked so much like his father. So much that sometimes it hurt her to even look at him.
As if summoned by her thoughts she heard a soft lilting voice say. "momma?". Quistis looked up and raised her arms to embrace the adorable 3 year old boy standing by her open door. He immediately broke out into a heartrendingly familiar smile before running into her arms and rubbing his face on her chest in an affectionate way.
She ran her fingers through his coarse choppy hair and smiled. This was what she had been missing.
Keirdan raised his head up, his thick lashes framing his wide blue eyes as they met hers, and raised his chubby little finger to his mother's cheek.
"Yoo wook sad mommy."
Quistis shook her head before smiling tenderly at the little boy that held all that was left of her heart in his tiny palms.
"Mommy's not sad, only tired. Did my baby sleep good last night?"
Keirdan smiled and nodded his head.
"Mommy, I had a deam."
Quistis smiled at her son's adorable speech and pulled him onto her lap, his head falling against her shoulder and his arms wrapping around her neck.
"What did you dream about honey?"
She asked while rubbing his back soothingly between his shoulder blades.
Keirdan pulled back from her and lifted his hand from her shoulder.
"There were ttrreee of us" he said using his fingers to show her three chubby fingers.
"There's always three of us, mommy, Keirdan and Nida."
Quistis replied affectionately running her fingers over his soft cheek.
Keirdan frowned at her and shook his head.
Quistis pulled back from him puzzled and pushed his blond hair out of his eyes.
"Then who, baby?"
Keirdan shook his head again eyes wide.
"Was it a man or a woman?"
"A man, a BIG man", Keirdan replied throwing his arms open wide in her lap and causing her to dodge his frantic waving as he tried to demonstrate how big, big really was.
Quistis giggled before lightly tickling her son.
"Was it Uncle Squall?"
Keirdan shook his head and giggled, "Nooooooo."
Quistis smiled before kissing his forehead and continuing to run her fingertips gently over his ribs.
"Ummmm Uncle Irvine?"
Keirdan laughed hard this time as her fingers brushed an extra sensitive spot. "N-n-nNnnnoooooo mommy!"
"Well you said he was BIG so it couldn't be Uncle Zell."
She responded in a teasing voice. Keirdan pushed her hand back, his tiny face turning serious, Quistis frowned at the sudden tension that filled her son.
"Not Uncwa Sell, but he had da same hair. But more wike mines."
Quistis raised an eyebrow as she racked her mind trying to think of who her son knew that was blond and a male. Keirdan excited with the progress bounced up and down in her lap.
"He was BIG mommy, almost wike da knights you wead to me abooout!"
Quistis smiled at her son, ah, that's right the knight in his favorite book was blond.
"Did Sir Cloud come and rescue us?"
Keirdan frowned at his mom and poked her.
"Not Cwoud mommy, diffant man. Dis one bigger, and swonger. And he woves me, he told me so."
Quistis hugged her son close, "Of course he does baby, everyone loves Keirdan."
"He woves yoo too mommy. More dan Nida."
Quistis quickly pulled back from him and assessed his smiling face.
"No one loves mommy more than you and Nida", she said quietly her mind suddenly taking a treacherous turn back to a phone call and the rough voice that had said, "I understand no contact Quistis, but dammit, I still love you" before the click that had signaled the end of the call and the shattering of her heart.
"Dis man does."
Keirdan said confidently, snatching her away from the memories she had tried to bury deep within herself.
The bathroom door swung open and Nida stepped into the room followed by the steam from his shower. He was completely dressed and ready to go. He tugged the bottom of his uniform into place and stretched before smiling slyly at Quistis while rubbing the back of his neck.
"Um I hope I didn't use all of the hot water Quis, it was a lot more relaxing than I realized."
Quistis shook her head and continued to stare mutely at her son who was now looking up at Nida questioningly.
Nida noticing the child in her lap smiled and said, "Ah ha! There's my most favorite person in the world", before picking Keirdan up out of her lap and swinging him around in a circle.
"Let's go get you dressed little man so momma can get up and ready."
Keirdan giggled and nodded.
"Huwwy up mommy! I want paaancaaakes!"
Quistis smiled and nodded at her son in agreement before walking into the foggy bathroom and starting her cold shower.
No one loved her more than Nida, right?
1300 hours, Techniques and Strategy Class 101
Quistis rushed into her classroom, worrying about getting ready in time before her students started to mosey into the room. She had been daydreaming during lunch and not realized how much time had slipped away much to the bemusement of her friends.
"Quisty was Nida that good last night?" Rinoa had teased poking her friend in her side and dragging her away from her thoughts of a certain blond, green eyed knight.
Quistis blushed and shook her head ashamed at the direction her thoughts had really been. Next to her Selphie giggled while bouncing her newborn baby girl in her lap, "Ooooh Rinny I think you hit the mark! Look at Quistis blush! I haven't seen her do that in years!"
Quistis looked taken back by that statement. Had it really been years? Rinoa noticing her friends sudden distress patted her hand affectionately, "Not really years Quisty," she said in a soft voice, "it's just that you've been so stressed lately with work and Keirdan you just haven't had the time to in awhile."
Quistis shifted in her seat nervously before nodding in agreement and clearing her throat. Another instructor passing by her chair tapped her on the shoulder and pointed at his watch, "C'mon Quis, time to go face the next great generation and beat some knowledge into their noggins. We're already running a little behind darlin."
Quistis smiled up at Irvine as Selphie beamed up at her husband before frowning. "I wish you would beat their heads instead of try and flirt their skirts off."
Irvine coughed into his hand and shook his head in denial at his wife's remark. "Aw honey, there ain't no one else in this whole wide world for me but you."
Rinoa giggled as Selphie handed her their baby Rosette, while narrowing her eyes at Irvine. "You better not be looking up those girls' skirts that sit in your front row while you're sitting all nonchalant at your desk."
Irvine started to rub the back of his neck sheepishly, "Now Selphie..." luckily he was interrupted by the soft ding over the intercom alerting everyone that they needed to start back to class. He quickly grasped Quistis' arm and pulled her out of her chair, "C'mon darlin, we can't be late."
Quistis laughed in amusement as Selphie jumped out of her chair yelling at their retreating backs, "I've got my eyes on you Irvine Kinneas! You better watch it Mister!"
Quistis shook her head in reminiscent of the odd couple as she straitened her notes and placed the sharpened pencils and capped pens in a neat line by size order.
"So fuckin' perfect Trepe everything just fuckin' perfectly in order. I'm gonna help you loosen up some, let's go make a sloppy mess together in those fuckin' white pristine sheets of yours" the rough voice whispered in her mind causing her to shiver and her hand to shake and scatter the writing utensils.
She watched fascinated as one of the pencils rolled to the end of her desk before falling to the floor, clattering against the linoleum. A sloppy mess?
Why was he on her mind so much today?
"Miss Trepe! Let me get that for you!" Quistis jumped at the voice of one of her students as he scrambled to pick up the pencil from the floor and place it gently back on her desk. She smiled in gratitude at him as he blushed before mumbling and turning towards his desk.
Glancing around her class she noticed a few others slip in and quietly take their seats. She nodded at each of them as she sat down at her desk once again straitening her pencils and pens.
A knock at her door caused her to jerk and the pencils went rolling again. She was most definitely a sloppy mess today.
"Instructor Trepe, I'm here to be your sub today, you've been requested to meet with Commander Leonheart in his office immediately."
Quistis sighed as she stood up from her desk and smoothed her hands down her jacket before fixing her glasses on her nose. She smiled at the young sub and informed her of the class plan and then turned to give her students a stern speech on how to behave for the sub before exiting her classroom.
As she made her way down the hallway to the elevator she wondered why Squall needed to see her. All of her students had passed the last Seed field exam. She had been working hard on keeping her students top notch since re-requiring her license. She wanted to prove her worth especially since the promotion was only given to her in pity for her loss. There really wasn't any need for him to see her.
She stopped in front of the elevator and pressed the up button and waited for the doors to slide open. As the ding sounded and the doors slid apart, anxiety gripped her and she clenched her fist tight. Had something happened to Keirdan?
He had just recently started the special day care reserved for the members of Garden who had family and had planned for their children to be raised as future Seed. As sweet and as smart as Keirdan was, he was also known for being one of the more aggressive amongst the children.
She rushed into the elevator and pressed the button for the top level. She stepped back and began to wring and twist her hands. Dear Hyne, don't let this concern my son.
Her stomach was in knots when she finally reached the door to Squall's office, her palms damp with sweat. Nervously she brushed her hands down her skirt and reached for the knob. Pushing open the door she stepped into the bleak office and spotted Squall sitting at his desk, elbows propped on the desk and his head in his hands. She swallowed hard and approached him cautiously.
"Sir, I heard you requested to speak to me."
Squall raised his head from his hands and nodded towards the chair in front of her.
"Take a seat Quistis, and please remember that I am still your friend", he chided her. Quistis raised an eyebrow warily at him as she sat remembering one of the last times she had been in here. The experience had not been so happy or memorable.
She watched him as he shuffled a few files on his desk before finding what he was looking for. He pulled the folder out from under the stack of files and drummed his fingers against it, his features hard and his jaw clenched as he glared down at the file almost as if he was offended by it's existence.
She cleared her throat and shifted nervously in her seat, placing her hands on top of her lap. Squall glanced up at her and sighed before finally pushing the folder across the desk towards her.
"This is more your concern than it is Garden's, so I feel like I should show you this before I make any decisions."
Quistis' eyes widened and she glanced down at the seemingly harmless folder in front of her. As she raised her hand to reach for it, Squall pushed away from his desk and stood up agitated and walked to the only window in his office.
She placed her hand on the folder and slid it off his desk and into her lap. What was in this folder to cause Squall to act in such an odd way? She hadn't seen him like this since she had been here with him, crying her eyes out and begging for a different sentence.
Slowly, she opened the folder her heart racing as she glanced back up at Squall. He had his head bent down and his eyes tightly closed. Taking a deep breath she looked back down. There was a plain sheet of paper, completely blank except for one name, Seifer Almasy.
"What is this Squall?"
Squall flinched at the way her voice sounded, hoarse and forced. "Just... just keep looking Quistis."
Quistis lifted her hand only to notice how bad her fingers were shaking. She took another deep breath and turned the page only to see his face. She gasped as her eyes devoured every detail of him she could see. The photographer had been at a distance but she could still see his full lips, strong nose and his slightly longer blond hair. She could faintly see the end of his scar. Her eyes started to sting and she made a quick swipe to make sure no tears had fallen. It had been so long.
Again she asked, "what is this about Squall?" Her voice nothing but a whisper. He still heard her and his heart clenched for his friend. She had enough heartbreak and he felt terrible about dropping yet another bomb on her fragile heart.
"He was seen yesterday, here in Balamb."
Quistis, her eyes still fixated on his blurred image raised her hand to her throat feeling how her pulse was jumping. "Why?" She whispered.
"That has yet to be confirmed. Quistis, there's more. Keep looking."
She picked up the picture and held it in her hand for a minute before turning it over and laying it face down on Squall's desk. The next picture left her gasping for air, her chest feeling as if it was caving in on itself.
It was Seifer, in full gorgeous detail, bright green eyes staring into her own, trademark smirk firmly in place. His scar, while slightly diminished and not as red, still etched clearly across his face. He hadn't changed much in the past two and a half years. His hair was slightly longer, his clothes more civilian than a Seed's uniform or battle gear. And in his hand... was another person's hand.
Quistis let out a small cry, feeling light headed and dizzy. He was here, so very close to her, but he was with someone else.
The girl was pretty. Petite and fragile in a way Quistis had never been. Her hair was dark and her eyes an even darker shade of blue. Her smile was open and wide her emotions clear in her eyes. This girl was very noticeably happy with him and most definitely in love. Her face radiated with the glow Quistis had felt oh so long ago.
She quickly closed the file and slid back into her seat, slumping the same way her students always did.
She had moved on, of course he must have done so as well.
Taking off her glasses she rubbed her forehead closing her eyes to try and keep the tears at bay. It was not supposed to hurt this bad. Sighing she pushed the folder back onto Squall's desk and as far away from her person as she could.
"Why did I need to see this file, Squall? I am forbidden to make contact."
Squall turned from the window, his eyes when they met hers were overflowing with sympathy. She frowned at him. She really did not want any kind of emotion from him.
He shifted uneasily before clearing his throat and placing his hands on his hips. "We're not sure of his motive Quistis. He was forbidden to return to Balamb, to do so must mean either he's conspiring or trying to gather information."
Quistis eyed Squall warily, crossing her arms over her chest. "What does any of this have to do with me?"
Squall sighed before sitting back down in his chair. "I need you to find out to what purpose he has come here."
Quistis jumped out of her seat, her blue eyes flashing angrily at him before slamming her hand down onto his desk.
"Hell no! You forbade me to ever make contact with the father of my child, kept him from me in every possible way and now, now that he's here with some other woman you want me to go down there and spy on him to figure out his motives! Are you really that insane Squall? I refuse, go find some one else to play games for you."
Squall sat back in his chair and placed his hand on his stomach. "Who do you know Quistis, that would actually be on Seifer's side about any of this? If he shows up here at Garden he will be arrested again and tried for treason. I don't think you would want that to happen. No one else will care enough to keep him from harm, most of the people I know would be more than glad to expose him and have him arrested. As of right now, you are his only hope."
Quistis frowned at him before placing her hands on his desk and leaning down, "Why do you care? You were the one who sent him away in the first place, what do you care if he's arrested?"
Squall raised an eyebrow at her before running his hand through his hair and breaking eye contact with her.
"You may have everyone else fooled Quistis, but I'm not."
Quistis regarded him with disdain and utter disbelief, what in Hyne's name was he talking about.
Squall sighed before rubbing his hand over his face and pinching his nose.
"You're not happy Quis, you don't love Nida and every time you look at your son there's this longing in your eyes. Every one of your smiles in the past few years, when not directed towards Keirdan, have been fake as hell. I'm trying to give you the chance to put your past behind you. To make amends, and also to figure out what the hell Almasy is doing back here. He has to be insane to come back, something must have happened and I need you to find out why and what. I honestly feel that you're the only one that has enough hold over him to figure out his motives, and care enough that he gets his final warning."
Quistis stepped back from his desk, her hands shaking and tears welling in her eyes, threatening to spill over at any given moment. Squall had seen past her facade, emotionless, heartless Squall had seen through her fake laughs and smiles. And now he wanted her to confront the man she had been longing for these long, lonely years.
There was only one thing she could do or say. And she knew he had known that the moment she stepped through his door.
"Commander Leonheart, when should I commence the mission."
1800 hours, Balamb
Quistis stepped out of her car clutching her purse tight. She glanced nervously around the outside of the hotel taking note of any suspicious shadows or out of place people. All she could see was the old doorman watching her equally as suspicious and the skinny little bell hop boy bouncing in place on his feet anxiously.
She sighed before pressing the button on her key chain to lock her car and glanced down at her chosen ensemble.
Needless to say, Nida had not been pleased. Honestly she quite liked the tight skinny jeans and loose black spaghetti strapped shirt that was tied around her bust with a red ribbon that fell down in soft loose waves and ended in an elegant shark bite design
She had let her hair down, hoping that it would shield her face, and also make her less noticeable or at the very least not as easy to identify. It had grown longer in the past few years, now ending in soft waves down to her waist. He used to love her hair, running his fingers through it's length and playing with the ends. "Look Quis, your hair turns pure gold when the light hits it this way", he had said once before brushing the lock across his lips.
Keirdan loved her hair as well. Always tangling his chubby little fingers in it. She frowned as she remembered her son's parting words as she had dropped him off with Rinoa to watch for the night. "Yoo wook booteeful mommy, he's going to dink so too."
She had bent down to be eye level with her baby her eyes searching his bright blue eyes in question before asking, "Who Keirdan?" He had smiled so lovingly at her before hugging her and whispering in her ear, "da man fwom my deam mommy" before pulling away and laughing as he turned to chase Rinoa and Squall's youngest daughter.
Quistis had been mystified and baffled at her son's remark. How could he remember his dream so vividly? And who was this man? Surely not his father, he had not seen him since he was 6 months old. Was it some weird coincidence that Keirdan had this dream on the same day Seifer returned? Was Hyne playing some kind of cruel joke with her?
Feeling eyes burning into her back she turned to see the old man regarding her with a frown marring his face, deepening the wrinkles that lined his eyes and mouth. She smiled awkwardly at him, how odd she must look just standing by her car lost in thought outside of a 2 story hotel.
She quickly pulled her hair down around her face and straightened her shoulders before making her way to the revolving doors. Had it really only been 3 and a half years ago she had made a similar trip to a hotel to meet him? Only this time she was here to do recon, not for pleasure. Plus he was here with another woman.
Just thinking about it caused her heart to jump into her throat, she swallowed it back down as she made her way to the front desk, quietly requesting a room with a single bed for the night. The girl behind the desk eyed her up and down questioningly, before asking for her card. Quistis quickly handed it to her and averted her gaze quietly praying the girl did not recognize her. She was glad she had decided at the last minute to trade her wire rimmed glasses for contacts as that probably would have tipped her off immediately.
The girl handed back her card and went to retrieve the key card for Quistis' requested room. Quistis nervously scanned the room to make sure Seifer had not made his way to the main foyer while she had her back turned. Seeing no sign of the knight, she turned back to the desk in time to see the girl watching her curiously and holding out her card. Quistis took it with a smile winking at the girl.
"I'm here to secretly see my boyfriend."
The girl's eyes widened and a smile lit her face loosing all of the previous curiosity, she anxiously leaned across the desk, "Do you see him?"
Quistis smiled and leaned closer to the girl as she shook her head, "No, but maybe you have? He's about 6'4 with green eyes, blond hair and a scar from here," Quistis put her finger above her right eye and moved down to her left cheek, "to here."
The girl leaned back a small frown appearing on her face as she slowly nodded. "Yes he's here, he came with another woman yesterday. I saw him walk through here awhile ago alone, he headed over there to the bar." The girl gestured to a high arch doorway that led to a dimly lit room.
Quistis forced a smile and thanked the girl, before turning in the direction the girl had pointed. She tried to calm her racing heart and had to concentrate on every step she took that led her to where he was waiting, probably taking a shot of whiskey with no concern about her walking into the room.
As soon as she stepped into the room she was hit with the smell of cigarettes. She coughed quietly, caught unaware by the cloying smell as she hadn't been around much smoke in over two years. Quickly ducking her head to cover her cough and to keep from being noticed, she made her way to the back corner of the room pressing against the wall.
Sitting down at a small table and placing her purse on the floor next to her, she quickly analyzed the room. There was a couple sitting close together at a private booth and three men sitting at the bar with their backs to her.
The one closest to her had his head down on his arms and snoring loudly a shot of whiskey still clenched in his fist. The second was cursing at the bartender, calling for another beer.
She swallowed hard before turning her attention to the third man. His back was straight one hand idle in his lap the other, elbow propped on the bar a cigarette lit in his hand the smoke billowing over his blond head, somehow so mysterious in the dimly lit room.
Her breath caught and she almost felt like she was hyperventilating, after so long, he was right there sitting less than ten feet from her and she couldn't even reach for him. Tears began to burn her eyes and she was almost positive it was not from the smoke.
"What would you like to drink ma'am?"
Quistis gasped as she placed her hand over her heart before looking up at the server. She had been so enthralled with studying his back she had never noticed the bartender walk over to her.
"J-just a margarita, please. Lime with lots of salt."
The bartender nodded sharply before heading back to the bar to make her requested drink. Quistis looked down silently berating herself for not paying closer attention to her surroundings, she was here for a mission, not to gawk.
She looked up just in time to see the server make his way to her table and gently set down her drink, she reached for her purse to pay but he stopped her with a shake of his head.
"Don't worry about it ma'am, the gent over there already covered it for you."
Quistis' eyes narrowed before she quickly scanned the bar, the first guy was still passed out, the second still slurring curse words and Seifer, was gone?
Damn, shit, fuck. Had she blown her cover already?
"There is no fucking way you could walk into any damn room and I wouldn't feel your presence, Trepe."
The rough voice washed over her causing her heart to thump hard in her chest, she turned to see him leaning against the wall arms crossed as his fiery green eyes stayed trained on her.
"Seifer," she whispered placing her hand back onto the table. He kicked himself off the wall and made his way to the seat across from her. He grabbed an ashtray from a different table and plopped it down before sitting, he flicked his cigarette into the tray and leaned back into his chair.
She watched him her eyes half mast trying to reign in all of the feelings that were threatening to overwhelm her. She cleared her throat and moved her eyes to her drink, she picked it up and took a small sip before placing the drink back down her fingertips rubbing back and forth on the stem of the glass nervously.
"What are you doing here Quistis? Its not like you to come to hazy dark bars and order a drink."
She glanced back up at him, his face was emotionless his eyes steady on her. "I heard you were here, Squall sent me to find out why."
Seifer regarded her with a raised eyebrow, "Puberty boy sent you" he pointed carelessly at her, "for me", he pointed back at himself, "after saying we could have no contact with each other?"
Quistis smiled uneasily, "That's exactly what I said when he told me, but it's not like I could say no."
Seifer tilted his head to the side and watched her for a minute before leaning his elbows onto the table, "Why is that Trepe, I heard you've been busy with Nida. I'm surprised you even had the time to do this little mission."
Tears filled her eyes and she quickly looked away from him before hoarsely replying, "It's not like that Seifer, nothing like that."
He sat back and smirked as he crossed his arms over his chest, "Oh yeah? What's it like then? He just your fucking cute little sex toy or some shit."
Quistis glared at him, "it's not like that either, don't you dare act all high and mighty, I saw the pretty brunette you came here with."
Seifer laughed uncrossing his arms and picking up his abandoned cigarette, he dug in his pocket and brought out his lighter relighting his cigarette and taking a big puff.
Quistis frowned at him, "I thought you quit, ya know, after prison."
Seifer raised an eyebrow and shook his head, "I needed something to do after I left."
Quistis quickly looked away from him and grabbed her drink again, this time taking a larger gulp.
"Why are you back?"
She asked quietly still not looking at him, her gaze fixed on the slurring drunk who was now attempting to dance to the barely audible music.
She heard him sigh, "straight to business, right Quistis? I'm here for personal reasons that has absolutely nothing to do with Garden or your pretty little head."
She looked back at him. Seifer's eyes had yet to leave her face. He watched her with no emotion and it reminded her of how he had started to make her feel before he left, as if he was getting bored with her as if he just didn't care anymore.
She hadn't wanted to believe it, but maybe her initial feelings were right, maybe he had stopped loving her a long time ago and him being banished just brought around the inevitable.
She had one thing she knew he cared about at least. She leaned forward her arms clasped in front of her on the table.
"Keirdan is doing great, he's the spitting image of you. Much of his personality mirrors yours as well. He even had a dream about you last night."
She watched him carefully looking for any sign of apprehension or love or really and kind of emotion. His jaw clenched but other than that he stayed stoic under her gaze.
"I bet he's smart like you. How does he get along with your boyfriend?"
Quistis shook her head, "he knows Nida is not his father, but they do love each other."
Seifer closed his eyes but quickly re-opened them again, if she didn't know him as well as she did she would've never seen the flash of pain that had flared in his green eyes for that split second.
"Seifer" she whispered softly her hand reaching out for him uncontrollably feeling the need to comfort him, he pulled back from her causing the hurt to flare to life inside of her. She was sure her eyes showed a lot more than his did.
"What about you Quistis, do you love him?"
This is what it all boiled down to, she could fake to her friends, fake in front of her son, fake everything she felt for Nida, but could she do it in front of him?
Could she make him believe she loved another man that she never had?
Before she could answer him arms slid around his shoulders and hands brushed down his chest. "Hello baby", a honey filled voice whispered seductively into his ear just loud enough for her to hear.
She shifted in her chair uncomfortably and quickly drained what was left of her margarita.
"Angela, I think you should meet Quistis. She's one of my old... companions."
Quistis' eyes flared with hurt and pain as he passed her off so effortlessly as nothing more than a friend, no not even that, but a mere acquaintance. She cut her eyes from him to the pretty brunette and smiled another fake smile, while offering the girl her hand in greeting.
Angela took her hand and smiled at her before turning her attention back to Seifer, "I just came down to see what was taking you so long, but now that I see, I guess I'll return to our room."
Quistis quickly stood up nearly knocking her chair over in her haste to leave, "No, that's fine, you stay. I just remembered I need to make a quick phone call to check on my son."
She excused herself taking one last glance at Seifer before rushing out of the room, nearly tripping over herself as she made her way to the elevators. She pressed the up button repeatedly, choking back tears not stopping until she heard the soft ding. Not even waiting for the elevator doors to completely open she pushed her way in and pressed the close door button. Once the doors closed and the elevator started to whir and move she fell against the wall raggedly, beating her hand over her heart.
Did Seifer feel the same way about Angela he had her? Did he hold her close at night and whisper he loves her into her ear? Did he act like an over protective asshole anytime a man approaches her? Did he franticly push her against walls to make love to her the same way he had done with her?
As if in a daze Quistis stared at the mauve painted walls in the elevator and then at the mirror that spanned the back, showing her the reflection of the most broken woman she had ever seen.
The elevator dinged again and the doors opened, Quistis turned and walked stiffly out and down the hall to the room she had rented. She stopped in front of the door and reached for her purse and key card, only to realize she didn't have it. Shit.
She leaned against the door, pressing her forehead against the hard wood and began to cry. She balled her hands and began to pound on the door, tears sliding down her face and falling to her feet silently.
Why did this have to happen to her?
What had she done to deserve this?
She began to slide down the door the tears falling faster as her knees weakened from her pain.
Hyne damn. There was no way she was going to get back up from this. Every fake smile she had made in the past two years, every lie she had said, was all for nothing now.
She closed her eyes and cried silently, her fist clenching her hair tightly, her mind reeling, her world shifting beneath her feet until she felt nothing but air.
Confused, she suddenly realized that in the midst of her tears someone had wrapped their arms under her knees and behind her back.
Embarrassed that she had been so lost in her pain she hadn't even noticed someone walk up much less touch her, she looked up to thank the person pitying her only to gasp in surprise.
His green eyes met hers and he nodded his head back towards the elevators. "You left your bag at the bar and the desk girl was only too glad to tell me which room was yours."
Quistis scrubbed her eyes and brushed her tears away, "I'm sorry, I lied and told her I was here to secretly have a rendezvous with you."
Seifer smirked before slowly letting her down and reaching into her purse that was still slung over his lower arm. He pulled out her card key and swiped it through the slot. The door opened and he picked her up again to her amazement and carried her effortlessly into her room.
He kicked the door shut behind him and carried her across the room and to her bed, carefully setting her down before searching her room cautiously.
She watched him wide eyed and confused as he finally turned his searing gaze back to hers.
"Doesn't look like Puberty Boy bugged your room."
Quistis shook her head, "He couldn't have, the mission wasn't planned and was made in too much of a hurry to organize details."
Seifer nodded his head in agreement before walking to double check the corners just in case. Quistis kicked off her sandals and pulled her feet onto the bed and tucked them under her as she watched him search the room thoroughly. She was so confused as to what exactly was happening that she was having a hard time forming a coherent thought.
Seifer apparently satisfied with his search turned back to her and crossed the room to stand in front of her bed, arms crossed.
"You don't love him do you."
Quistis looked away from him and shook her head.
"Look at me Quistis, and tell me you don't love him."
Quistis sighed before turning her eyes to him, emotion filling her blue eyes with tears again.
"I have never, and never will, love Nida."
Seifer let out a breath she hadn't realized he was holding in and let his arms drop to his sides.
"Fuck, Quistis, why are you with him then?"
Quistis shook her head and looked away from him again.
"At first everyone treated me as if I was made of glass, they would pat my hands and say poor dear. Then the pity turned into judgment. Why was I still waiting for the man that tried to kill me and betray the Garden? I started getting pressured into dating and questions on whether or not I was still sane. Nida, well he was safe. There is no way I could ever fall in love with him but he was comfortable enough to be with."
Seifer looked away from her, she could see his jaw clenching and releasing, his teeth grinding together as he worked through everything she had just told him.
"So he was a convenience."
Quistis nodded her head silently in affirmation, the guilt bubbling inside of her for what she had done to Nida. Not that she didn't think a part of him knew she still loved Seifer. The one time he had asked her about it she had been truthful with him and told him she thought she would never be over Seifer.
After that he had never asked again and she had never volunteered.
Seifer sat down on the bed in front of her and reached for her hand. She tried to stop the shiver and shock that went through her at his touch but found herself unable to. She stared down as his large hand enveloped over hers.
"Angela is not my girlfriend", he said hoarsely. Quistis looked up at him in shock her mouth forming an "o".
"I've been planning this since I left. I knew Puberty Boy would see me being here as a threat to his campaign and I knew he would send you cause he's smart enough to know that no one but you could ever force me to do anything."
Quistis eyes widened, and her jaw dropped farther, "But, but Angela?"
He looked away from her guiltily, "I snuck into Garden a month ago and saw you with Nida, I wanted to make sure that you weren't in love with him."
Quistis was dumbfounded, he had been to Garden? He had seen her and Nida and Keirdan?
"I paid Angela to pretend to be my girlfriend to see if you loved him as much as you looked like you did. If you had been in love with him, I would've probably gone crazy. But seeing you cry outside of your door and the way you acted downstairs. You don't love him Quistis. No fucking way."
Quistis shook her head.
"Come away with me Trepe. I have a house now, on the beach. It's big enough for me, you and Keirdan. Hell I even have a dog. Her name is Bitch, kinda inappropriate, I guess you can rename her for me."
He smiled cautiously at her. Quistis opened and closed her mouth repeatedly, a thousand different thoughts flying around in her head.
"Come with me Quistis, let's get married like we always dreamed about."
That's it for now folks! This ended up being a lot longer than I had imagined. Leave me a review please ^_^