Chapter 17

Get a Clue, Take a Hint, Just Do Something!

Ever since Alex had cried, Charlie had been slightly shaken up. Even though she wasn't with the seniors, she could tell from the fact that all three were silent walking with her and Riley in the hall, even Hunny, that things were going to be awkward, at least for today.

When she walked into her own class, however, a distinct drop of her stomach took place, along with a slight grinding of teeth. Three girls giggled mindlessly, Tamaki in the center, practically sparkling. "T-Tamaki…" one girl asked shyly, venturing, "W-will you… save a dance for me at the Masquerade Ball?"

"Of course, my princess," he cooed, cupping her chin with his hand and gently forcing her to look in his violet eyes. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

Charlie's glare immediately sent an icy chill down the fangirls' spines, causing all three to shriek and run to their seats, hiding their faces in books. Tamaki looked as clueless as ever, until he saw Charlie. He let out a small yelp, jumping back a little, and stuttered, "W-what's wrong, Charlotte?"

"Oh, nothing," she spat, her tone filled with malice, her eyes burning with anger. "Everything's just peachy." She took her seat grumpily, not even bothering to spare Tamaki another glance.

Idiot he was; completely oblivious, Tamaki was not. Cautiously, he followed after her, standing in front of her desk and asking, "What's bothering you, Charlotte?"

"Nothing."

"Please tell me," he pleaded, using his puppy-dog eyes.

"Just go and attend to your audience," Charlie hissed, using her shut-the-hell-up-before-I-beat-you-to-a-pulp eyes. They worked far better than Tamaki's, and he whimpered, finally giving up and pouting, deciding to take a seat farther away from her to give her some space. He was pensive, and Charlie couldn't help but look over and let a glimmer of hope ignite that maybe, just maybe, he was getting the message.

Instantly, a small group of girls crowded around him, asking what was wrong. He snapped out of his daze and pouted, telling them that something was wrong with Charlie. All of the devoted fangirls swiveled their heads to lock eyes with her and glare daggers into her, as if this was suddenly all her fault that their precious prince was now saddened. Once they had felt she got the message, they turned back to Tamaki, comforting him and surrounding him so that Charlie could no longer see a single blonde hair.

She gaped, staring at the crowd. She turned back to her notebook, gripping her pencil tightly and pressing the lead down as hard as she could on the paper, the pencil snapping. Muttering irritably to herself, she reached into her bag to grab a new one, thinking about just how much attention Tamaki paid to those other girls. He was in love with her, wasn't he? That's what she had always thought…

Charlie blinked back both angry and sad tears, cursing herself for being so selfish. "You know, Tamaki won't get the message if you don't spell it out for him. He's an idiot, after all." She jumped, her head turning towards the source of the voice, which was the desk next to her on the other side, containing the Shadow King.

"K-Kyouya," she gasped, recovering from her mini-heart attack, "I didn't see you there…"

"I've been here this whole time."

"Right," she replied dumbly. Of course he had seen everything; he was Kyouya. She turned back to her paper, trying to ignore all the girls' giggling from most likely one of Tamaki's compliments.

Kyouya watched her for a minute, admiring how calm and pretty she looked when she focused. He told her, "You know, it's just his nature."

"Eh?"

"Tamaki; it's in his blood to compliment them. He can't help it."

Charlie looked over to the blonde, who was now finally seen as the girls took their seats for class. She bit her lip, opening up slightly, and admitting, "I know that, it's just…"

"Just what?" Kyouya prodded, studying her.

She let out a small sigh, turning to him and explaining, "It's just that, he always made me feel special, you know? One of the reasons I guess I really love him is that…I never really got too much attention growing up because I was never the one arguing with the others, and…he gave me that. But now…"

"Now he's doing the same with other girls," Kyouya nodded, turning to the front of the classroom.

Charlie watched him for a minute, turning back to her paper. How in the world did he understand? Then again, why was she opening up to him of all people? Now that she thought about it, she had actually felt rather comfortable around Kyouya; he was someone you could depend on, something steady. While on the surface he seemed cold, underneath he was actually rather understanding, and probably cared about the club the most.

"Um, Kyouya?"

"Yes?"

"…Would you think less of me if I admitted I was jealous?"

He looked slightly taken aback, but smiled a little, explaining, "I could see you were jealous from the minute you spotted Tamaki with his fans."

"Oh. Right."

A few minutes of silence took place between them as the teacher began the lesson for today. However, once she began to write on the board, Kyouya whispered, causing Charlie to blush lightly, "And considering that you've already proved to be so strong, no, I don't think I could ever think less of you for something as small as envy."

She looked over to him, seeing him taking notes nonchalantly, as if he had never said a word. She smiled, whispering, "Thank you."

"For what?"

"…For saying everything I needed to hear."

"I was simply stating the truth. No need for thanks."

Charlie smiled, knowing full well that Kyouya just didn't want to admit he had showed kindness. "Whatever you say, Kyouya."


"Okay, that's it!" Riley yelled above her classmates in the hall, all of them making their way to the cafeteria for lunch. She jumped in front of Hikaru, Kaoru, and Haruhi, causing them to come to an abrupt halt. She pointed to Haruhi and Hikaru, who were walking next to each other, and declared, "You both need dates. The dance is now four days away, counting today. I'm not even giving you an option anymore, you two have to ask each other!"

The group stared blankly at her, Kaoru coming up to her side. "She's right," he purred, siding with Riley, "Unless you two actually have someone else in mind, which I doubt, you have no choice but to go together."

"You mean, like… a date?" Hikaru asked cautiously, looking over to Haruhi. He was blushing a bright crimson, and even the non-easily flustered Haruhi had a light pink gracing her cheeks.

"No," Riley muttered sarcastically, "Like strangers." Then, with more than a little frustration in her voice, she snapped, "Of course I mean a date!"

Haruhi blinked owlishly, mumbling, "No need to yell."

"Fine then," Riley snapped, "If you don't want me to yell about the fact that you two are in looove then you'll ask each other to the dance. Right. Now."

"No."

Kaoru sniggered, "You know you shouldn't test her like that…"

"HEY EVERYBODY!" Riley yelled, almost everyone in the hall stopping to stare at her.

Haruhi and Hikaru's eyes widened, and they immediately shushed her, Kaoru telling the students, "Never mind." Baffled, the other teens continued on their way, Hikaru and Haruhi now looking at each other.

"So, if I ask Haruhi," Hikaru began slowly, cautiously, "Then you won't embarrass me anymore."

"Not this week," Riley compromised.

Hikaru eyed her warily, finally letting out a sigh. He turned to Haruhi, suddenly growing extremely uncomfortable under the gaze of her chocolate orbs. "U-Um, Haruhi?" he asked, looking at the ground and rubbing his arm, "Do you want to go to the dance with me, er, something…?"

Haruhi glanced over towards Riley, who was giving her a glare that said 'say-yes-before-I-yell', and Kaoru, who was almost laughing a little at Riley's face, but also smiling at the two. She turned back to Hikaru, lightly blushing, and giving him a nod. "Yes."

"Finally!" Riley huffed dramatically, "I mean, come on! Was it really so hard?"

"But remember, you can't embarrass me or Hikaru," Haruhi told her, avoiding eye contact with Hikaru, who was more than happy to oblige. I mean, this was a date… a date date…

Kaoru grinned from ear to ear, causing Haruhi and Hikaru's stomach to drop. "Yeah, but I didn't." He turned to Riley, who grinned back at him, and before Hikaru or Haruhi could try to pounce on him and make him shut up, he was yelling to the packed hallway of students, "HEY EVERYBODY! HIKARU AND HARUHI ARE IN LOVE!"

"KAORU!" the two growled, Riley and Kaoru laughing their heads off as they sprinted towards the cafeteria, Hikaru right at their heels with Haruhi lagging a little behind.

"Next time, we'll use a megaphone. And we'll have to call the entire school to the auditorium."

"I like the way you think, Riley. And we should have the two on stage with us."

"Oh, the things you can do when to people are just realizing they're in love…"

"Beautiful, isn't it? Now we better hurry up, Hikaru's about to rip our heads off."

"Correction: He's going to rip my head off. You're twins, so you're off limits."

"How about we just run?"

"I like that plan."


To say that afternoon classes with the senior trio were awkward was an understatement. Alex and Mori avoided eye contact, and Hunny could tell that this was not the time to speak, so he remained fairly quiet, too.

Finally, as the three were packing up for the end of the day, Alex asked, still not locking eyes with Mori, "So, uh…What's your girlfriend's name?"

"Jin Yamazaki. Class 3B."

Alex nodded, asking quietly, "How long have you two been together?"

This time, Hunny, sensing Mori's discomfort, answered for him, explaining, "Jin and Mori have been seeing each other in secret for over a year. They were going to tell everyone else, but then the engagement popped up."

"Oh, I see. She seems very sweet, and I'll have to meet her sometime."

Another few minutes of silence followed, until the group were in the hall, making their way to the Host Club. "Ne, Alex?"

"Yes, Mitskuni?"

"…Are you mad at Mori or me?"

She blinked. Well, grant it the fact that she had begun to have some sort of feelings for Mori, or at least she thought she did, made it painful, Shane popped up into her mind. "No, I'm not. But why would I be mad at you, Hunny?"

"Oh, because I knew."

Alex gave him a small smile, asserting, "I'm not mad at either of you. You two go ahead, I have to make a call. I'll catch up with you later."

Hunny beamed, chirping, "Okay! See you soon, Alex!" He turned to Mori, who gave her a small nod, and asked, "Takashi, how are you feeling?"

"…I'm not sure. Awkward."

Hunny nodded, continuing on his merry way. "Well, if you need to talk about something, be sure to not bottle it all up!"

Mori looked back down the hall to try and spot Alex again, but she had already disappeared. Deep down, he knew that things were far more complicated than just awkward. He had to admit that he was beginning to develop a bit of a crush on her, but being with Jin was just…natural. He followed after Hunny, silently trying to oppress all his thoughts. If anything, the easiest thing to do was to appear as calm and stoic as always.


Doing a double take to make sure that she was all alone in the classroom, Alex flipped out her phone, pressing it to her ear and counted how many times it rang.

On the third, a familiar velvety voice greeted warmly, "Hey Alex."

She seemed to lighten, and she could begin to feel her worries slowly lift off her shoulders. "Shane," she replied, "I just needed to talk to you again."

"What's bothering you?"

Alex sighed. He knew her so well. But how in the world could she tell him her troubles with Mori when it would obviously make him feel betrayed? Besides, she still hadn't sorted out the whole mess herself. "Well, you know how I'm engaged to Takashi Morinozuka…?

"Yeah…"

"He has a girlfriend."

There was a small pause, and then a chuckle coming form the other end of the line. "Well, unless I'm mistaken, Alex, you have me as a boyfriend."

"Right, well…it just kind of shocked me, you know?"

After a pause that gave Alex's heart a jump-start, leaving her wondering if Shane could hear it too, he replied easily and casually, "Yeah, I guess that might be a bit of a shock to tell someone, and I would know."

"Oh?" Alex inquired, raising a brow, "And just how do you know?"

She could practically see him sweating on the other end as he stuttered and rambled, "O-oh, just, um…happened t-to a friend, er, something…"

"Shane, you don't even believe yourself."

He let out a breath. "Okay, okay… I might have let it slip to my friends and family last night…"

"You did what now?"

"Alex, calm down. I've wanted to tell them ever since we started going out. They still think we hate each other and all that, and… I just couldn't let them keep thinking that when I love you."

She froze, listening to those three magic words. Before she moved to Japan and met Mori, she could have easily said them back with all her heart. Now, it felt like…almost like she was cheating on him. "O-okay. What did they do?"

Shane seemed to relax, explaining, "Well, at first they laughed, thinking that I was joking. And then when they realized I was dead serious, they kind of…just stared. I think they're still getting over the whole shock of it."

Alex listened. The secret was out on his side of the world. If she truly loved him, then wouldn't she want her half to know about it, too?

"Listen, I have to get going. But do you have a date to the Masquerade Ball?"

"No, why?"

"Just wondering. I'll talk to you later."

"Bye."

She couldn't move. What was she supposed to do? Just drop the 'hey-I-had-a-boyfriend-this-whole-time-back-in-America' bomb? An image of Jin hugging Mori popped into her head, making her heart ache.

Well if Mori could do it, then she could, too. She made her way out of the classroom, swiftly making her way to the music room with purpose. She was going to do it. She had to.

Opening the doors, she saw that the hosts and hostesses were still getting ready. Perfect, she had plenty of time. "Excuse me," she cleared her throat, making her presence known, "I have something I need to tell you all." Alex had barely spoken since the whole Jin incident, and seeing her actually want to kept the other club members silent.

Making her way to the center of the room, she looked around at all the familiar faces. How would their opinions of her change when she told them? When she locked eyes with Mori, hers narrowed, and she thought bitterly that it would be more honorable to tell them than to just do what Takashi had.

"Riley, Charlie? Do you remember Shane Oswald?"

Both of the sisters blinked, and looked at each other. Riley replied cautiously, "You mean, the surfer boy who went to our school that you hated with a fiery passion?"

"Yes, him."

"What about him?" Charlie prodded, the rest of the club just as intrigued.

Alex took a deep breath, closing her eyes. No more shutting them out. No more hiding. "He's my boyfriend."

And for what seemed to be the first time in her life, Alex couldn't just tell her mind "that was that".


Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, whatever.

DUN DUN DUUUUUN -shot-

That ending bugs me, for some reason, but it's the best I could think of. -.-

We're drawing to an end, my readers. Three or four chapters left, and then an epilogue. I be excited. :D

I don't want to say much and give anything away, but it feels like I haven't said enough about the chapter, so uh...stay in school and don't do drugs?

Oh, and in case you're wondering why it's just called "Chapter 17" on the drop down menu thingy, (not than any of you care) it's because the entire title wouldn't fit. Curse you, word limits! D:

Read and enjoy!