Well, everyone... I'm back! I'm not even going to bother with excuses because frankly, it only takes a few hours to churn out a chapter, so this really should have been here months and months ago. However, I will have you know that the sudden update is thanks to my new job, where I have hours of downtime and no internet connectivity to distract me. Just Mahjong and Spider Solitaire... And I want to do a shout-out thank you and apology to all those who yelled at me for not finishing this sooner. Especially since I just reread the last chapter, and I left you on a completely unfair cliffhanger for ages! So, without any further ado, enjoy!
Btw, I don't own Kaichou wa Maid-sama.
"Usui? Would you please answer me?"
Misaki suddenly felt even more awkward than before. She could deal with Usui being his usual perverted self, but he was never angry with her. It wasn't something she was used to. And now, while following Duena and Rupert, who had thought to bring a map, Usui refused to talk with her. They had been walking for over half an hour in silence. Now that he had suddenly answered, Misaki realized that she had nothing to say. Luckily, Duena chose that moment to break into their non-existent conversation.
"Guess what! We're almost back to the main trail. After that, we only have about another half hour to walk! Isn't that exciting?" Duena said cheerfully.
"Really? That's good," said Misaki, relieved.
As Duena skipped to catch up with Rupert, who was studiously analyzing the map, Misaki looked up at Usui. "Isn't this great? We'll be out of here soon!"
"Yes, Prez. This is great."Usui still refused to look at her, and his voice was a careful monotone. It was like they were mere acquaintances who had been thrown together during an outing.
Feeling thoroughly shunned, Misaki hurried up to walk with Duena who was animatedly talking to Rupert about something she had seen earlier that day.
"Bye, Misaki! I don't know if I'll see you later, but if I do, you have to tell me all about yourself and Japan, okay? Right? Oh, I'm going to miss you so much!" Duena crushed Misaki in a hug and chattered on. "I'm going to visit Japan eventually so you have to be sure to remember me when we randomly see each other on the street in Japan, okay? This has been super fun! Say good-bye, Rupert! Don't just stand there!" Duena admonished her partner who had been standing awkwardly behind them.
Rupert bowed formally and then shook Misaki's hand and then Usui's. "It has been a pleasure meeting you both."
Duena giggled. "He's always like that," she said conspiratorially to Misaki.
With another hug, Duena and Rupert both climbed into their car and the driver set off.
Suddenly much more aware of the tension between Usui and herself with the cheerful buffer gone, Misaki gulped. "So, uh, what are we going to do now, Usui?"
"We're going to get food," Usui clarified. "We haven't eaten anything in almost two days, we've been wandering around for hours, we have only had stream water to drink, and you're on the brink of collapsing. We need to get some food."
"What do you mean I'm on the brink of collapsing? I feel fine," Misaki insisted.
"Look at your hands."
Misaki looked down and sure enough, her hands were visibly shaking. "Wh-what does that mean?" she whispered. "Am I going to be okay?" She looked up, searching for Usui's eyes.
He avoided her gaze. "You'll be fine. You just need food and rest," he said succinctly. "Let's go. The car is finally here."
"What, no limo this time?" Misaki attempted to joke.
The side of Usui's lip twitched. "I could always call for a limo, Prez. I just thought that you didn't like them."
"I don't like them," Misaki said. "I guess I'm just used to them now." She leaned forward to open the door and started swaying dangerously.
"Prez, are you all right?"
"I'm fine. I just..." Misaki's words trailed off as her legs gave way underneath her. Usui caught her and bundled her into the car. He checked her pulse and watched her breathing. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. She had simply fallen asleep.
"Is everything all right, Usui-sama?" the driver asked.
"Yes," Usui said. "Just take us to the hotel. She needs to be in a real bed and get a good meal."
"If you don't mind me saying, Usui-sama, you could use the same thing. You both look exhausted, not to mention filthy." The driver carefully examined the couple through his mirror. "A nice, hot bath will do wonders for you both."
"...don't want... both."
Usui glanced at the girl in his arms. "What did you say, Misa-chan?"
"Don't want bath... with pervert," she mumbled.
Usui chuckled. "I don't think he meant that we'd take a bath together, Prez."
Usui gently placed Misaki down on the bed and shook her awake. "Ayuzawa. Food is being delivered to the room. You need to wake up now."
Misaki blearily looked around. "Where are we now?"
"What, no shock this time?" Usui said as he plopped into what looked like an extremely comfortable plushy chair.
"I'm too used to waking up where I didn't fall asleep now," Misaki said dryly. "I'm assuming we're in a hotel?"
"Usui-sama?" A voice called from outside the door of the room. "Usui-sama, we have brought you your meal."
"Come in," Usui replied.
As the door opened, Misaki was hit by wafts of the smell of warm, delicious food. Three carts were pushed into the room all loaded with silver trays covered by silver rounded lids to keep the food warm. The waiters all bowed as they left the room, and quietly shut the door behind them.
After a moment's slight hesitation at the spectacle she had just seen, Misaki all but leaped off the bed to attack the food. At least, she would have attacked the food if a hand had not grabbed her wrist, effectively stopping her from stabbing into a hunk of meat.
"Misa-chan," Usui admonished, "you can't just start gorging yourself. You haven't eaten in over a day. If you eat too quickly, you'll end up with a stomach-ache if not something much more life-threatening."
"Then why did you order all of this food?"
"I didn't know what Prez would like, so I just ordered everything off the menu."
"You ordered everything of the menu?" Misaki echoed in disbelief. "You mean everything from this super fancy hotel's room service menu?"
"Mm," Usui affirmed as he slowly chewed a muffin.
" You are... are..." Misaki sank onto the bed. "absolutely insane. Do you know how much that is going to cost? Why in the world would you do that?"
"Because I want my cute little maid to eat something that she likes," Usui said.
Misaki shook her head and grabbed an apple. "Impossible..." she muttered.
Usui just smiled as he took another bite of his muffin.
"Usui, what are we going to do with the rest of the food? We haven't even reached the second shelf of the first cart!"
"Maybe Misa-chan should eat more."
"I can't any more! Why did you order all of this? Now it's all going to go to waste!"
Usui studied her carefully over the top of his fourth muffin. "If Misa-chan ate all of it, it wouldn't go to waste."
"You think I don't know that?" Misaki snapped irritably. "But there's no way that two people could eat all of this. It would take at least five people per cart!"
"So fifteen people?"
Misaki glared at Usui. "Yes. Ha. Ha. You can do math in your head. Very good."
"Am I detecting a slight hint of sarcasm?" Usui smirked.
" Not in the slightest," Misaki answered.
"So Prez is praising me instead of insulting me? This is an interesting change."
Misaki sighed. "Usui, you're missing the point. We have all of this extra food and it's not like we can just throw it away. What are we supposed to do with it?"
"And what exactly is doing nothing going to achieve?" Misaki balked at the idea.
Usui slowly unwrapped his sixth muffin from the paper around its base. "The people here are used to guests who order far too much food than they could possibly eat. Rich people. The staff has their own method of disposing the food so it isn't wasted. Of course, they don't tell the people who come here that. Just the people who actually want to know. Most people don't care enough to ask. They just expect the food to be cleared away when they come back to their room." He took a bite into the muffin. "Yum... poppy-seed."
"So all this food is going to end up somewhere useful? It won't be wasted?" Misaki clarified.
Misaki rolled her eyes. "Was that a yes, a no, or just another muffin comment?"
"Muffin," Usui smiled. "But yes, that's correct."
"Oh, well... good."
"Here. Muffin. Try it." Usui held out his half-eaten muffin. "It's good."
Misaki looked carefully at the muffin before nibbling into it. Her eyes widened and she took a larger bite. "It is good!"
Usui smirked at her.
Suddenly Misaki felt very suspicious. She examined the muffin carefully. Nothing seemed wrong with it, but she hadn't had a poppy-seed muffin before. Glaring at Usui, she said, "What did you do to it?"
"I didn't do anything, Misa-chan. You did."
"What did I do?"
Usui leaned forward and tapped her lightly on the nose. "Indirect kiss," he whispered.
Standing up while the color flooded to Misaki's face, he said, "You should take a nap. I promise you won't wake up somewhere different this time."
"Where will you be going?"
"I'm going to verify a few things. Don't worry about it. Go sleep." He then left the room, shutting the door behind him with a snap.
"Verify what?" Misaki wondered aloud. Shrugging off the thought, she turned to the oversized bed, realizing that she was actually very tired. She threw back the blankets and was just about to crawl into it when Usui popped his head back into the room.
"Prez, don't try to leave the room. I have the only key," he held the room card up for her to see, "and you won't be able to get back in. Also, people will come in to get the trays. Don't worry about them. Just sleep." And then Usui popped back out, shutting the door quietly this time.
Shaking her head, Misaki yanked the sheets over her and closed her eyes. Baka Usui, she thought. Where would I possibly go? I don't even know where I am now. I've been either asleep or blindfolded every time we've gone somewhere. We could be in a different country for all I know. Rolling over, Misaki took a deep breath a let sleep claim her yet again.
"It's disgraceful, isn't it?"
"I know. I mean, I know these people are rich, but seriously? Why the hell would someone order the entire buffet for two people? Does he honestly have that much money to spend?"
"He's probably another one of those super rich preppy guys. You know, the ones who have Dads who made all the money and now they're blowing it all just because they can?"
"Yeah, I bet you're right. Either that, or his family is some kind of royalty or something."
"Exactly. I mean, Mary saw them come into the lobby right? She—could you grab that plate?-said that the guy was handsome. As in model super celebrity awesome hot handsome, but he carried in the girl."
"Yeah, I know, right!"
"Do you think he drugged her or something?"
"I don't know. It's almost exciting, isn't it? Except for the fact that she could have been kidnapped or something."
"Yeah, 'cause that guy would totally kidnap some girl like her. I mean, she's not bad looking, but she isn't going to be on America's Next Top Model."
"If he's as hot as Mary said, I don't think I'd mind being kidnapped by him..."
Misaki heard the door to the room close and she waited a few more minutes before carefully opening her eyes. Not seeing anyone in the room, she sat up and looked around the room for the first time. Although smaller than she had expected with Usui's usual flamboyance with expensive things, it was still very luxurious. With the small loveseat in one corner of the room and the two plush leather chairs in the other, there had barely been enough room for all three carts. The peach tones of the room were pleasant, if not somewhat impersonal. Quickly tiring of looking around the room, and completely ignoring the television set, Misaki headed out to the double-door windows and walked out onto the balcony. Two plastic chairs were there and Misaki sat in one as she surveyed the view overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. If the bridge is still here, at least I know that's I'm still in California, she thought.
"Did you have a nice nap?"
Startled, Misaki almost leaped out of her chair. Burning with embarrassment, she said shortly, "Yes. It was very nice."
Usui settled down in the chair next to hers. "That's good."
When he didn't say anything more, Misaki grew incredibly uncomfortable with the silence. "So what did you go verify?" she finally asked.
"Ah, our flight back is tomorrow morning. Because of the time difference, we'll have to go to bed earlier than usual."
"Oh, I see."
They lapsed back into silence.
Glancing at Usui's impassive face as he looked at the swirling waters below them, Misaki ventured a question that had been eating away at her since they had left the hiking trails. "Usui, are you... mad at me?"
Although Usui's face did not change, the temperature around them suddenly got much chillier. "No."
Glancing at Misaki's troubled face, Usui relented. "Not mad. More... upset."
"'And you just kept insisting that he wasn't your boyfriend. Not even you're best friend. Oh no, he's just a friend. And you know, you never even really called him that. Just a something, something alien.'" He quoted Duena word for word. Switching back to Japanese, he asked quietly, "Is that really all I am, Ayuzawa? Not even your friend?"
"I didn't—I mean, it wasn't—I just... I'm sorry," Misaki finally managed. "I can't really say anything to fix that, can I?"
"I'm sure you'll think of something," Usui said, half-smiling at her. "C'mon. Food and then bed."
"Already?" Misaki asked in surprise.
"Was Misa-chan not listening? Early bedtime, early flight." He rose and held out his hand to help her up.
Shyly, Misaki took it. "Thanks." However, when Usui kissed her hand in reply, she whipped her hand back and smacked him on the arm, stalking back inside.
Rubbing his arm, Usui followed her, chuckling.
After dinner, Misaki took her bag of clothes that they had bought at Goodwill who knows how many hours before into the bathroom with her and proceeded to change into her new/old pajamas. Unlocking the door, she walked out of the bathroom to see Usui with his chest bare with just pajama bottoms on. Turning bright red, Misaki walked right back into the bathroom without a word and locked the door. Sitting on the tub-side, she tried to cool her burning face with a wet washcloth.
After a few more minutes, she unlocked the door and carefully peeked out. The curtains were closed and the lights were off making the room completely dark. Only the bright light of the bathroom showed that Usui was already under the covers of the bed. Slipping into the room and turning off the bathroom light, Misaki walked over to the loveseat and curled up on it.
"Prez? What are you doing over there?"
"Attempting to sleep. What else?"
"But there's a bed."
"And you're in it."
When Misaki didn't hear him respond, she assumed that he had accepted her reasoning and had fallen asleep. What she did not expect was to be scooped up and carried over to the bed.
"What—what are you doing?"
"Ayuzawa is going to sleep in the bed," Usui said as he unceremoniously dumped her there.
"I was fine where I was, really," Misaki protested as she tried to climb back out of the bed. "You can sleep here. You haven't gotten enough sleep either. It's fine."
"Ayuzawa is going to sleep in the bed," Usui repeated firmly. He pulled the blankets back so she could crawl under them. When she refused, Usui climbed into bed with her and held onto her as he pulled the covers over them both.
The second Misaki was in his arms, she started babbling while struggling to break his grip on her. "What—this—perverted—you can't—for heaven's sake!"
Instead of answering, Usui shifted his arms so they were both gently but snugly wrapped around her waist, positioning her back against his front.
After more futile squirming, Misaki finally said in defeat, "If I promise to stay in the bed, will you get out?"
"No?" Misaki, obviously anticipating a positive answer, was shocked. "What do you mean, 'no?'"
"Ayuzawa made a good argument."
Internally cursing herself, Misaki tried a different tactic. "Usui, we can't be in the same bed. It's not..." Blushing, Misaki broke off.
"We're just going to sleep, right?"
"Then what's the problem?"
"We shouldn't..." Misaki couldn't finish her thought.
Usui leaned over and kissed her cheek. "Go to sleep, Ayuzawa. I won't do anything. I promise. Although she couldn't see him, Misaki could feel the sincerity in his voice.
"All right," she agreed quietly. She closed her eyes and slowly drifted off to sleep, listening to Usui's heart beating like a lullaby.
Misaki blearily opened her eyes. Seeing that the curtains were still drawn and Usui was asleep beside her, she closed her eyes again to go back to sleep. Suddenly here eyes snapped back open as she became very conscious of her proximity to Usui. Not only was she facing him, she was completely curled up in his embrace, her head tucked underneath his chin, and her hands on his chest. Besides that, Usui's leg was between her legs and his arms were securely wrapped around her, eliminating any chance she would have had to be in a less compromising position. And just to make it all worse, Misaki was incredibly comfortable.
Experimenting a little, she pushed a little away from him. Instead of him slackening his hold on her like she expected, Usui pulled her closer, keeping her firmly pressed against his chest. He sighed contentedly.
Figuring that any other movement would be wasted, Misaki allowed herself to fall back asleep.
When Misaki woke up again, the bed felt strangely empty. Sitting up, she saw that the curtains had been opened wide so the very beginnings of the sunrise were lighting the city. Momentarily confused on why the bed seemed so big, she heard the shower running. Climbing out of bed, she started gathering up her few belongings that were lying out.
After everything was packed up again, she flopped back onto the bed and waited for Usui to come out of the bathroom. It was only after a few seconds that she realized that the shower was no longer running. Looking over to the bathroom door, she saw that Usui was leaning against the door-frame, wearing nothing but a towel around his hips, watching her.
Slapping a hand over her eyes and turning around, she said angrily, "You could've just told me that the shower was free!"
"And where's the fun in that?" Usui whispered into her ear.
Jumping, Misaki turned to glare at him. Remembering too late that he still didn't have anything on but a towel, Misaki ignored Usui's smirk and her own red face, grabbed her bag, and all but ran into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
Expecting the be enveloped in steam, Misaki was surprised to find the bathroom slightly chilly. When she turned on the shower, the water confirmed her suspicions. Opening the door a crack, she called out, "Usui, why would you take a cold shower? This water is freezing!"
"I like cold showers."
"You like them? Why?"
"They have interesting experienced attached to them."
"Experiences? What, like getting goosebumps?"
"Yes. Exactly like that."
Usui's voice was so flat that Misaki couldn't tell if he was being serious or not. Shrugging it off, she closed the door and checked the temperature of the water again. Being satisfactory, Misaki took her shower and put Usui's random cleaning habits out of her mind as she washed off the grime of their earlier escapades.
Yay! Chapter completed. Now, I'm not going to tell you to look for the next chapter anytime soon at all. I have no idea when I will put in the attempt again. It's really just getting the chapter going than it is finishing it. As soon as I've started and I don't get interrupted, then there's usually no problem. I actually started this chapter about two weeks ago, but got called away for some reason or another. I think I just got hungry...
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this, and reviewing is always nice and appreciated, whether you're a new reader or someone who's aggravated beyond belief that I'm only updating NOW. But hey, at least I DID continue, right?