Author's Comments: Dun-duh-dah! Here it is: the last chapter.
Nah, I'm actually more happy than sad that I can finally bring this turmoil to a conclusion that I hope you will enjoy. It's been a long time coming. Thank you so much for reading!
Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts. I own Imani.
My spoon dove into the tub of banana split ice cream while I kept my eyes glued to the TV screen. I made a mistake.
Yes, the kiss, but I wasn't supposed to be thinking about that. What I meant was my choice of movie for the night. Both my parents and Roxas' parents went out to dinner somewhere and I didn't know where Roxas could possibly be. He could've gone stag to the formal for all I knew.
I knew for sure he wouldn't be spending the night with me (my dress was hanging in my closet with the tag still attached) so I bought a tub (or two) of my favorite ice cream and popped in the absolute worst choice of movie I've ever made: The Little Mermaid.
I groaned around my spoon as I saw Ariel sing to the unconscious Prince Eric after the storm wrecked his ship. That stupid mermaid's smiling face was calling to me when I glanced at the cover of the DVD. I couldn't say no and even now I couldn't find the will to stop the movie and put in a different one.
A flickering light and a rumbling noise tore my attention away from the movie. I glanced down at my phone as it flashed and alerted me that Kairi was calling. Again.
With a sigh I grabbed the phone from the coffee table only to hide it under one of the cushions. She could wait. Ariel was singing about being part of Prince Eric's world.
I scooped another bite of ice cream into my mouth, rolling the cold sweetness around on my tongue. My phone vibrated under the cushion and through the couch seat. Look at me! it seemed to beckon. Look at me!
When I realized my eyes strayed from the screen to the coffee table (undoubtedly on its way to the concealing cushion), I shook my head and darted my eyes back to Ariel. She was about to lose her voice—missing this part was like missing the entire movie.
I shifted away from my phone when I felt the vibrations shoot through my leg again. Ignore it, I told myself sternly, shoving more ice cream into my mouth. Ignore it. Ignore it…Igno—no, ignore it. Ignore—
I slammed the tub of ice cream onto the coffee table and my hand snuck under the cushion for the irritating phone as Ariel started combing her hair with a fork in front of Prince Eric. While I berated myself silently for giving in, I flipped the phone open and scanned over the messages Kairi left. To my surprise, most of them were picture messages.
Against my will my lips curled into a small smile as I saw Kairi smile, glare, and pout at me in different pictures (with and without Sora). She really did choose to wear pink…and Sora didn't seem to mind matching her. Her captions ranged from "Miss you!" to "Why won't you pick up?" to "You're so missing out!"
I glanced up at the TV—Prince Eric was showing Ariel around town—before browsing through more of the messages she sent. According to Kairi, Axel and Imani didn't go together, but they were both still there to hang out with Riku (who came with a short-haired girl named Xion) while she and Sora and Hayner and Olette danced. The four of them snapped pictures with her phone and added messages like "It's not too late to join the fun!" (with a picture of Axel trying to light the corner of his napkin on fire while Imani berated him) and "There doesn't have to be a third-wheel" (with a picture of Roxas).
I studied the picture. He glared at the camera and his teeth were bared slightly as if he was in the middle of growling Axel's name. The top buttons of his olive collared shirt were undone and his hair looked more styled than usual.
My stomach churned and my heart thumped painfully. He always looked handsome without making any effort, but this…
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.
I dropped my phone and whipped my head to the front door. Who…?
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK—
"C-Coming!" I jumped to my feet, raced to the door, peered through the spyhole…and saw blond spikes.
Instantly my heart kicked into gear harder than ever, hammering against my ribcage as my sweaty hands grasped the doorknob and twisted. On the other side stood a disheveled Roxas, his hands gripping his knees as he huffed and puffed to catch his breath. My jaw dropped. "R-Ro…"
He lifted his head slightly and his blue eyes locked with mine. "H…Hey…" he muttered breathlessly.
"Hey," I barely whispered back. "W…What are you doing here?"
Without glancing away and without any awkwardness like five days ago, he slowly straightened up. For some reason the volume from the TV blasted Sebastian's song in my ears. In the back of my mind I pictured the painting I did for my final project last week and the look Roxas gave me right before I dropped my paintbrush. I suddenly realized with a start how sharp and unfocused and intense and dazed his eyes appeared and how they seemed to grow bigger and bigger until I thought I was drowning in them—
"Kiss the girl."
Warm hands cupped my face and he closed the distance and he didn't just kiss me. He kissed me. My heart soared and my skin exploded under his touch. He melded his lips with so much force I couldn't keep down a slight moan from erupting in my throat. I felt my knees buckle beneath me and my legs turn to mush.
He kissed and kissed and kissed again until finally pulling away so we could catch our breaths. "Tell me they're right," his voice rumbled between pants as he rested his forehead against mine.
My bruised lips slowly formed my question. "W…What?"
"Tell me Imani and Axel are right." I dared to think hope was what tinged his sweet voice. "Do you really love me as much as I love you?"
Heat flushed my cheeks and my eyes fluttered open to gaze at his in shock. "You love me?"
In awe I watched as red spread across his cheekbones and the bridge of his nose. He said urgently, "I was avoiding you and I pushed you away five days ago because I didn't know and I'm really sorry for all that but…am I the one? Is that why you couldn't promise to tell me at the tattoo parlor when we went with Axel?"
His fingers curled into my hair and I could feel them trembling. In the entire fifteen years we'd been friends, I'd never see him so vulnerable before. I'd never seen him on the verge of utter heartbreak…of brokenness.
"Please say yes," he begged, closing his blue eyes tightly as if praying for the impossible. "Please say yes."
To think his heartbreak and brokenness and vulnerability was because of me…
Joy surged throughout my body like electricity. I felt like kissing him a thousand times—and now I could. I could kiss him because I love him and he would kiss me because he loves me. We weren't benefriends anymore.
Laughter bubbled from my chest as I snaked my arms around his neck and pulled him in for a kiss. I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you.
Even after I pulled away I was laughing—and so was he. He picked me up, stepped further into the house, and kicked the door shut, all the while filling the room with his melodious laughter. "Thank God," he cried, smiling down at me. "How long have you…?"
I didn't bother trying to hide the blush. "Since before we started kissing. What about you?"
He shrugged. "I…don't really know. I think I realized it for sure that afternoon you painted our shoes. I looked at you and I just…" A sigh escaped his lips as he put me down. "I just knew."
My face felt like it was on the verge of tearing from the huge smile I had on. I took hold of his hand and led him to the couch. "Come join me. I can't eat all this ice cream by myself."
I laughed and let go of him to pick up my phone and the ice cream tub. "I don't have to share if I don't want to."
"I didn't say I wouldn't eat any," he protested, snatching the spoon and digging up a heaping mound of ice cream. He moaned in delight when the ice cream hit his tongue. "This is way better than that soft serve machine at the formal."
"Here's to the first successful Melodious Nocturne gig and to many more in the future!" Sora cried over the din of the bar, raising his glass of coke with a proud smile on his face.
We all shouted "cheers" and clinked glasses with each other as Sora sat back in his seat. "This was a successful gig, right?" Demyx asked our end of the table. "You guys thought we did great, right?"
Imani rolled her eyes. "You always do great." She gently nudged Demyx's shoulder before getting up and squeezing out between chairs. "I'm gonna go say hi to Tifa really quick," she called over her shoulder. "Be right back."
Demyx, Roxas, Axel, and I watched her scurry off to the counter. I glanced at Roxas and smiled. "She was the one who told you?"
He nodded, sipping his strawberry lemonade. "Axel actually did, but Imani backed him up."
"What'd they say?"
"It was weird. One moment they were arguing about the candles, the next I hear Axel say, 'Namine's in love with Roxas.'"
As I blushed, Axel jumped in, "You should've seen how out of it he was. I had to bring him back somehow. Soon enough he was firing questions at me one after the other."
"And he wouldn't answer any of the questions," Roxas added with a glare at the redhead.
"I told him to talk to you about it and Imani did too," he shrugged and waved a hand at us, "and the rest is history, obviously."
"Aw, that's cute," Demyx cooed, throwing a few fries into his mouth.
My smile widened even as I ducked my head out of embarrassment.
"By the way, Axel, Imani's in love with you."
Roxas sputtered into his drink as I whipped my head up and clapped a hand to my mouth, darting my eyes between the cheery Demyx and the wide-eyed Axel. "First you suggest staging a mugging and now you're revealing her feelings about Axel to him?" Roxas hissed. "What kind of a best friend are you?"
"What? I'm doing the same thing Axel and Imani did with you!" Demyx held his hands up defensively. "I'm doing them a favor!"
"She's in love with me?" Axel mumbled dazedly, his jaw hanging and his eyes blinking rapidly.
Demyx nodded fervently. "Yeah she's always liked you but she only realized it a little while ago and she's in freaking love with you but she thinks you might not even think of her as a friend."
He clamped his mouth shut and his green eyes darted to Imani as she returned to our table. "Looks like I'm gonna have to spell things out for her," he muttered, a sharp smirk cutting into his face.
I glanced at Roxas while lowering my hand to my lap. Here we go.
His eyebrows flicked upwards quickly and smirked. Here we go.
Axel scooted back on his chair noisily, blocking Imani's path to her seat next to Demyx. Immediately Imani's easygoing smile sank into a frown and she sighed exasperatedly at the devious look in his eyes. "Ex-cuse me," she drawled.
"What's the rush?" he asked lazily, arching an eyebrow at her. "Aren't you tired? You've been running through my mind all day."
Roxas snorted quietly. Demyx nearly burst out laughing. I fought down the smile threatening to burst onto my face.
Imani's jaw dropped and she reeled back. "W-What?"
He stretched his arms above his head and slapped his dark jean-clad thighs as his hands descended. I caught Imani's eyes flicking to his pale midriff—and possibly his tattoo—as Axel reached into his pocket for his cell phone. "Can I take a picture of you so I can show Santa exactly what I want for Christmas?" he asked, flipping his phone open and positioning it in front of Imani.
I had to squint but I could see the blush tinting her cheeks even in the dim lighting of the bar. She couldn't seem to find the words to snap at Roxas to stop snickering. She could only gape at Axel.
Axel frowned, lowering his phone and leaning across Imani's empty chair to meet Demyx halfway. "Coach, I gotta change my strategy."
"Yer not bein' straightforward enough, son," Demyx muttered gruffly, his usually smooth-as-honey voice now raspy and seasoned. He waved his hand wildly as he instructed, "Ya gotta give it to her straight. Give it to her straight."
"Give it to her straight," Axel repeated with mock-seriousness, nodding his head as he straightened in his own chair and breathed in deeply.
"Oh brother," Roxas sighed, settling into his seat and snaking an arm to rest across my shoulders.
One moment Imani stood shell-shocked next to Axel, the next she sat in his lap with her lips connected to his in an overly-steamy kiss. Kairi shrieked above all the catcalls and exclamations from Riku, Sora, and Demyx. I gasped and clapped both hands to my smiling mouth as Roxas threw his head back and laughed. Even Leon and Cloud and Xaldin smirked.
When Axel broke away from Imani, he locked eyes with her and his lips moved: "I L-O-V-E Y-O-U. Got it memorized?"
Kairi and I squealed. Imani blinked bleary-eyed at him…and turned as red as a tomato.
Axel smirked at her, planted another kiss on her parted lips, and glanced at Roxas. "So, Roxy, whaddya think? Was that a ten in your book?"
"Nine point nine for calling me 'Roxy.'"
Sora nearly knocked over his chair as he jumped to his feet and lifted his coke glass once again. "Here's to a super awesome summer! Cheers!"
Everyone lifted and clinked glasses. When Roxas and I clinked our drinks, I caught his bluer-than-blue eyes looking at me. "We're not spending more than three days without each other this summer," he declared quietly.
I leaned forward for a kiss. Actions spoke louder than words, after all.
Author's Afterthought: I DID IT! I PUT IT IN! "I L-O-V-E Y-O-U." I think Roxas should've given Axel ten; he's stingy for being called "Roxy."
Upon suggestion of a few reviewers, I had Riku go to the formal with Xion. I was going to make him go stag, but then some of you were like "Xion!" so she went. They went as friends, by the way. (I was originally going to include Xion as a possible love-interest to Roxas, but I felt bad about that idea since Namine was going through enough stress without her.) Maybe I'll write something about Riku and Xion next...
Thank you SO much for supporting this story! I went back and made a list of all the people who've reviewed and I broke yet another personal record! This story has accumulated the most views, the most reviews, and the most reviewers for any story I've written to date. Thank you so much to those who left reviews (Random KH Fan Girl, Sovereign Beta, ventus87, Namine Memory Angel, The Silence Will Set Me Free, maxeyn, xxxChaoticHarmonyxxx, midnight-heart, LoveLife45, Loves Ironic Tragedy, supernatural94, authorgal282, JesusisLove, starshine47, startscribbling12, xxxPLURxxx, Fruity-Fruit-Cups, frozen-popsicles, UnVeRsEd, BlackButterfly9, WatchMeSmile, SunkenLove, Zemyx-AkuRoku, Miheart Sundae, Sato Tadashi, sleepfastdreamhard, jenyflo5483, Nah-Mih-Nay, WingedGirl4life, ladyknight75822, TwixTheKitty, HideYourFeathers, Procrastination Fairy, Namixas-Forever, MarMima, SorasKey, iVanillelay, Angie-ange, Invader Mizzy, Don't Call Me Short, Jennehfur, Homely, random, poohbearlover95, patzie24, Muffin-pyon, Vook, and Dirtberry)! Thank you to those who've read through the entire story and have supported me silently. It's because of you readers that I do my best to write a story that lets you escape and smile (and cry, if that's what you're looking for). I couldn't have written this without your encouragement and support.
So...Random KH Fan Girl mentioned wanting to read other Roxas/Namine fanfics I've written...but I don't have any! This was my first one! I guess now I have motivation to try writing another one...Any suggestions? I'd love it if you could give me writing prompts of what you'd like to read from me—pairing, plot idea, random scene idea, etc. I can't seem to drown myself in my Ranma 1/2-Rapunzel idea like I usually do with any Kingdom Hearts idea I get.
I can't say this enough: thank you. I hope to hear more from all of you about future stories I write! All my love goes out to you for every minute of your free (or not-so-free) time you've spent to read my story. I really, really appreciate it!
Hah. New record broken: longest Author's Afterthought written.
Please review! Thank you for reading!