Finally, today was the day Cloud would come home. Aerith had been so excited to finally get Cloud back to herself but no matter what she did, she couldn't help but get a little depressed when she thought of how foolish she was when she assumed Cloud would propose. She was happy yet uneasy with Cloud's home-coming but she was grateful they could have a night together. Yuffie had come over as quick as possible when she heard that Cloud was coming home that very same night. Yuffie, being Aerith's best friend, wanted to make sure that after six long weeks of being separated that their first night together was as romantic and magical as possible.

"So, are you gonna do anything special?" the amethyst eyed ninja asked as she plopped on to Aerith's bed, watching her try on a few dresses.

Aerith sighed and held one black cocktail gown against her body; "He's taking me to that restaurant you told me about, that counts right?"

"No, I mean. Is he gonna make it special in some way?" Yuffie questioned slowly, prying at her friend to see if she would give her any clues.

"No idea what else he could do," Aerith mumbled, half paying attention to her friend's question.

"Oh, don't play coy with me! You don't think he wants to pop the big question to you!"

Aerith gritted her teeth when she heard those words. "Of course not, Yuffie. We haven't been together long—"

"So what, Aer! You said that he had to ask you a big question. What the hell else could it be?"

Aerith inhaled deeply and ignored what her friend was saying; "How about this dress?" Yuffie rolled her eyes. "No black. You need sexy red on the night Cloud will propose to you."

"Yuffie! He is not proposing!"

"What makes you say that?" Yuffie stammered as she rose to her feet.

"Because—" Aerith started to twiddle her fingers, "Rinoa said he wouldn't."

"Rinoa? You mean Cloud's ex?"

"Mmm, hmm." Aerith nodded, averting her gaze childishly.

"Ugh! Aerith! I cannot believe you let her words get to you! If she knew anything about Cloud she would be the one still with him, not you!"

"Yeah, but—"

"No buts, woman!"

Aerith felt herself crack. "No, Yuffie! I'm not the marrying type of woman, okay! I'm not mature enough. I'm too…" she trailed off as she slumped onto the bed, tears brimming the lids of her emerald eyes as she mumbled; "…cute."

She sniffled as she finally accepted that she would never be able to do any of what her friends had told her to do. "I'm just like Zack said… too immature. Why would Cloud ever want to marry someone like me when he can have so many other women more mature and sexy than me?" Aerith felt her throat clogging as she continued to quietly sob to herself.

Seeing her friend so distraught, Yuffie grabbed Aerith's shoulders firmly. "Listen, Aerith. Cloud loves you, THAT's why he would marry you. He knows who you are. You're still an adult, but it's that purity in you that balances him out, ye know? And he loves that! He absolutely loves that about you."

Seeing her friend still shedding tears, Yuffie drew a breath and stood straight, her hands on her hips, "How do you think it'd make Cloud feel to know you think of him this way, huh? He'd be heartbroken to know you've been feeling this way and you haven't told him about it."

Aerith wiped her now running eyes and peered up at her friend, "I guess… I never thought about it like that."

"Damn right you haven't! Aerith, you should just ask Cloud how he feels when he gets back. That way you'll finally know."

"Ask him what? If he thinks I'm sexy? If our sex is good enough for him? If I should change to someone else in order to keep him satisfied?"

"I guess so, otherwise you're gonna continue to think he's some pig-headed guy that is just with you for sex."

"I know Cloud's not like that Yuffie. Really, I do…. But Yuffie, what if I don't like his answer? What if he really is bored with me? What then? What do I do?"

"Nothing. I guess you pick up and move on. If he loves you, he'll say the right answer. If not—then his loss."

Aerith's shoulders slumped at her friend's advice. She was a little displeased to hear it but at the same time happy she had said it. Because, in all honesty, that was how she's been feeling the entire time she's been trying to be this person she clearly wasn't. Walking around trying to keep up with an act that was already five scenes ahead of her was exhausting and starting to drive her crazy. She missed her old-comfortable self. She missed her dresses, her cute ribbons and hair clips. She missed not having to put on so much makeup. She just wanted to be her old self again. She was more confident then than she is now.

Feeling some bravery, Aerith rose to her feet. "You're right, Yuffie!"

xxx

Cloud had told Aerith over the phone to meet him at the restaurant that night. Aerith had been waiting a little while now but knew Cloud was probably just running late due to traffic or something of the like. She had felt a little sick as she waited and decided to order some ginger ale to sip on as she waited.

She thought about how she could ask Cloud about what he thinks of her sex-wise when she suddenly heard a deep voice behind her. "Senorita," Aerith recognized that accent. And by the smell of the overpowering and stomach-churning cologne that was clouding around her, her suspicions were right. Her mind went into panic mode, why couldn't this jerk take a hint?

"He's not talking to me, he's not talking to me." Aerith clenched her eyes as she tried to ignore the man speaking to her.

"Here alone I see?" he was standing directly in front of her now, peering at her as she sipped on her drink. Suddenly a woman appeared near Antonio. Aerith recognized the petite woman…Anabelle.

"Ah-ha, what a surprise thees ees. Miss Gainsbordoh, what are you doing here? Whining and dining yourself?" the dance couple shared a few laughs together, mocking Aerith as if she weren't there. Aerith smiled and despite her annoyance rising she stayed polite. "No, I'm waiting for my boyfriend."

Anabelle's smile faded as she smugly looked at Aerith. "I see. And where might he be?"

"He'll be here in a moment." Aerith took another drink off of her glass and felt her stomach growing uneasy but smiled weakly to try and not let it ruin her night with Cloud.

"Well, when he arrives maybe we can see just how well you've improved with your dance skills."

"No thank you. My boyfriend doesn't like to dance." Aerith said, not making eye contact as she sipped her drink.

"What a shame. I'm sure we would all just love to see you on the dance floor." Anabelle sighed weakly. Aerith knew that was a loaded sentence. As much as she would love to just put her in her place on the dance floor, Aerith knew she wouldn't stand a chance. Her smile faded to a weak saddened line. She wasn't looking forward to sharing a romantic dinner in the exact same place as them. "I know, when they sit down I'll just leave, that's what I'll do." Aerith nodded to herself, readying herself for her planned escape.

Suddenly, Aerith felt a hand brush across her bare back, stopping at her shoulder as she felt a mouth slowly place a kiss at the curve of her neck then on the apple of her cheek. She knew who it was the moment she felt the kiss. A sweet smile caressed her face as she felt his warm breath murmur low enough so only she could hear; "God, I missed doing that." Cloud's voice husky with a hint of yearning and lust.

Aerith turned her head just enough to where she could see the handsome face she loved so much. Her eyes slightly glazed over as she met his soft blue gaze. He placed another long-awaited kiss atop her lips, the taste of her mouth lingering on his for a few moments in the chaste and quick embrace. Cloud didn't seem to notice the two awe-struck on-lookers now staring at their passionate embrace, their eyes wide with jealousy.

Once the kiss ended, Aerith found it hard to not smile as Cloud straightened himself to finally acknowledge the two people standing near their table. Cloud was a little shocked to see that it was the same man he punched the lights out of, but at the same time, he should have expected to see him here at a restaurant like this. He sighed and slipped his hands into his pockets; "I think you were just leaving." Cloud's voice was stern yet calm, his cool exterior still intact.

Aerith smiled confidently at Cloud's show of protectiveness and watched as Antonio stood tall and held firmly onto his woman as he upturned his nose towards Cloud and walked away without saying a word.

"Thought they would never leave." Aerith sighed.

Cloud smirked and leaned down to pick Aerith's hand up in his own, gently placing a kiss on it. "I was prepared to punch him again if it came to it." Cloud joked as he gently tugged on Aerith's hand until he pulled her to her feet, hoping to get a good look at her.

She was wearing a red flowing dress that had a low, scoop neckline, red spaghetti straps hung loosely to the creamy skin of her shoulders. The dress' fabric hugged the curve of her hips, showing her form, but also somehow very flowing. The back of the dress was draped like loose fabric so that her back was completely exposed. There was a slit up the right side of the dress, exposing the skin of her leg all the way past her knee stopping at the start of her thigh. Her hair was pulled back into a loose white-crystal butterfly clip, wadding her hair into a low bunch of curls as loose strands dangled freely over her neck and shoulders. Her lips were dolled up in a classic red, her cheeks a soft coral pink. A set of white pearls hung across her neck-line, small matching clip on pearl and diamond earrings dangled off of her ears. The sweet smell of Casablanca lilies and dogwood blossoms gently breezed off of her petite form elegantly.

Cloud's jaw dropped at the sight of her. She looked so beautiful. He smiled affectionately, realizing she could easily put the most beautiful women to shame from how breathtaking she was tonight. "You look amazing."

Aerith blushed and let her hand rest at the bend of her neck as she girlishly averted her gaze briefly before locking her jade gaze on him and playfully toying with the collar of his shirt. "You look really handsome yourself, bodyguard."

Cloud was wearing a white button-up dress shirt that was a little undone at the top, the sleeves were pushed up to his elbows, exposing his toned forearms. Aerith smiled at his image, a bit undone but so well put together (he always hated wearing the dress jackets). He wore a pair of charcoal suit pants and black dress shoes.

He ran his hand through his spikey blonde hair, scratching the back of his head; "Sorry I arrived late. I had to find something." Cloud pulled out Aerith's chair and gestured for her to sit back down. Once she was back in her chair she watched as Cloud took his own seat opposite of hers. They gazed at each other for a moment, before harmoniously starting to speak at the same time.

"Cloud—"

"Aerith I've been—"

They stopped and laughed a bit at their sudden burst of words at the same time.

"Sorry, you first." Cloud said through a weak smile.

Although he gave her the go to say something first... her mind was overwhelmed with things to say. Aerith had so much to talk to him about. So much to ask him. Tonight, she was going to ask him if he wishes for her to be more like his exes or not. She knew she couldn't say all of that in public, but she felt like the words were vomit—and like vomit, those words were forcing themselves out of her body whether she liked it or not. She swallowed and fought the urge to ask him about everything she had been worrying about that very moment but instead, she knew for the time being, she just wanted to tell him how much she missed him these past weeks... how much she would have preferred for him to be there when she was crushed by Tifa and Rinoa's words.

"I've just missed you." Aerith felt her eyes glazing over a bit and quickly blinked away the tears trying to breach her eyes, hoping to not let Cloud see how hurt she's been over her friends' words. Cloud frowned at the pained expression in her eyes and reached over for her hand, clasping it tightly, hoping to assure he wasn't going anywhere tonight.

"Aerith, is somethin' bothering you?"

Aerith shook her head side to side, her brunette bangs brushing over her jade eyes, as if to assure him she was fine.

"Are you sure? If that guy is bothering you, just say so and I'll—"

"No, it's nothing. I just want to have a romantic dinner with my boyfriend." Aerith tried to force a weak smile across her face as she hoped he would believe her façade of happiness.

After a few moments of trying to get the answer from her soft gaze Cloud spoke... "All-alright." Cloud stammered. Suddenly, a waiter arrived at their table to take their order. Cloud ordered a plate of Rigatoni Campagnolo with roasted garlic bread on the side. The waiter turned to take Aerith's order. She felt pretty hungry lately and tonight she couldn't help but order a well thought out meal. She glanced at the menu and decided to have the lasagna primavera. "And can I also get some of the grilled chicken breast with orange sauce and fried cherry tomatoes? It looks so delicious."

Hearing the food she ordered, Cloud jumped in to add that he would like some of the chicken as well.

The waiter nodded and flipped his book closed; "Anything else?"

"Uh, no... that's all." Cloud stammered. He couldn't help but look at Aerith in awe, noticing her choice in her meal but shrugged it off.

"Shall I refill your glass, Ma'am?" the waiter hummed as he inched the champagne bottle closer to her cup.

"Oh, no, thank you, I'm having club soda." Aerith smiled weakly and took a sip, hoping to calm her upset stomach.

"And you sir?"

Cloud had to pull himself away from looking at Aerith. "Is she sick?" he questioned to himself.

"Uh-yeah, thanks." Cloud stammered again. After the waiter poured Cloud's glass full he turned and left.

After a small wait, the waiter arrived with their food. The two lovers ate and chatted in between their meal together. The talk consisted of anything and everything. She was telling him all about what she had been doing these last few weeks and Cloud smiled at her reenactment of certain things she had experienced or saw. He loved hearing about everything she did even the tiniest of things.

He noticed she would hesitate on a few things here and there when she started to talk about Yuffie and Tifa but decided to not question her on it. She asked him all about his delivery trip, wanting to know every detail of what it looked like this time of year. Cloud told her of his sightings and when she told him how much she would love to see Icicle Inn, he promised to take her this winter. About 45 minutes passed by when their meal had finally reached its end. Aerith was expecting Cloud to ask whatever he was planning on sometime during the meal… but nothing. "Well, we still have dessert" she thought optimistically. She sighed and took a sip of her club soda when suddenly she felt like her stomach twisted into a bunch of knots, her head throbbing with pain.

Alarmed by the way she was holding her head Cloud spoke quickly; "Aerith—are you okay?" She smiled weakly and tried her best to push away the feeling, "Mmm, hmm. Why do you ask?"

"I don't know, it might be the way you're…" he paused slightly to gain momentum in his next words hoping she would sense what he was getting at; "holding her head in pain." Cloud's dry tone earned a good hard glare from Aerith, but his next words were softer, winning a sweeter glance from her than before. "Listen… If you are feeling sick we can just leave."

Aerith smiled weakly, "I'm fine, Cloud. Really, I am. Beside we haven't had desert yet" Aerith let a small giggle escape her as she tried to reassure Cloud that she was just fine.

Although finding her laugh cute Cloud just couldn't buy what she was trying to convince him of. "It's not that Antonio guy is it? 'Cause I was serious when I said I'll kick his ass for messing with you. Say the word and his ass is grass—"

She cut him off short and said; "I know, Cloud. I know. It's got nothing to do with them."

"Okay…" Cloud's eyes darted across her face as if trying to get to what she was really thinking about. Suddenly, Aerith felt her stomach fill with what felt like bubbles. She placed her hand on her heart and tried to swallow away the sickening feeling but as much as she tried to shake away the nausea it didn't seem to work. "Maybe I ate too much?"

Cloud noticed her face drop to a pale tone.

"I.. I think I need to go to the ladies' room." Aerith stammered. Cloud stood out of his chair as she rose to her feet, his hand bracing her up as she stood. "Aerith, what's wrong?" his voice was laced with concerned as his hold on her strengthened gently.

"I'll be fine. I just need to go to the bathroom for a moment." Before Cloud could protest she left the table and rushed to the ladies' room. Cloud scratched the back of his head nervously as he watched her figure head towards the bathroom. His mind filled with thoughts of what could be bothering her.

Aerith pushed open the women's bathroom door and felt her head spinning as the bubbly feeling in her stomach started to gush up her throat. Just as she reached the bathroom stall she knelt to the toilet, vomiting. She coughed up the last remaining built up liquids in her stomach and pulled herself away, folding her hair out of her eyes. She felt more light-headed for a brief moment before it gradually faded to something less strong. She rose to her feet and wobbled to the bathroom sink, splashing some water into her mouth to rinse out the bitter stale taste of throw-up.

Her face was a little pale and her lipstick was washed away from the water she had gulped down.

"Great… now I smell like puke." Aerith scoffed to herself as she drank down more water, gargling so she could get rid of the smell and taste. Once done, she opened up her small red purse and popped a mint into her mouth before reapplying her red lipstick. She left the bathroom immediately and sat down at their table so quickly Cloud didn't have time to even help her back into her chair, all he was able to do was stand briefly before watching her take her seat.

"Are you all right?" Cloud questioned again, concern flooding his steel blue eyes.

"I feel much better now."

Aerith smelled a plate of sweets below her and spotted a plate of Lemon Ricotta & Mascarpone Cheesecake with small dices of fresh strawberries atop the creamy desert. She felt instincts take over at the mere sight of the delicious meal. "This looks SO yummy!" She took a spoonful and bit into the sweet treat. Cloud watched in awe at her improved attitude.

"Well, I'm happy you feel better now." Cloud laughed weakly, happy to see her better.

"Me too." Aerith beamed. A few moments after the two started to eat their desert they heard a slow tango song start to play in the restaurant. A few couples walked onto the dance floor and started to do weaker steps of the tango. Aerith turned her head and watched the romantic steps of the love birds all though the dance area. Cloud caught notice of her gazing at the scene and knew right away what she was yearning for. He stood, pushing the chair back behind him before he walked in front of her, out-stretching his hand towards her. Aerith looked at his hand then at his face, a look of shock in her jade gaze.

"Cloud, what are you—"

"I'm asking you to dance." Cloud let a soft smile form on his lips as he peered down at her bewildered stare. Aerith's dark lashes fanned against her green eyes as she tried to rack her brain for a reason as to why he would propose to do such a thing, let alone in public. "Cloud—they're all doing the tango. I don't know how to—"

"But I do." Cloud said cockily. "Alright… I know some steps. My mom taught me some when I was younger. She said 'every gentleman should know how to dance'." Aerith felt her heart flutter beneath her chest at his request, and before she even realized it, she let her hand fall into his, allowing him to lead her on to the dance floor. She was a little nervous as he lead the way. She wasn't sure what to expect. He spun her gently around in his arms, winning a few giggles from her as she fell into his embrace. They locked eyes as Cloud placed his hand over the small of her back, his other hand holding her hand in his own. Aerith put her free hand over his shoulder, readying herself for their first step.

Cloud let a weak smile form on his face as he tried to act humble; "I said I know a few moves, don't be expecting something amazing?" a small chuckle left him as he peered into her jade gaze.

Aerith giggled and nodded her head; "Just start the dance, Mr. Strife." Cloud smiled at her flirty choice in words; "Whatever you say, Mrs. Strife." For some reason, Cloud saw Aerith's eyes widen for a moment, her mouth falling agape.

"What?" he asked, his brow lifted from confusion.

"You called me Mrs. Strife?" Aerith said in a hushed voice.

Cloud's confident gaze faded to a thoughtful look; "I did?"

"Yes." Aerith's jade gaze was still wide eyed as she peered at him for an answer.

"Are you sure?" Cloud mumbled in one long, nervous breath.

"Mmm, hmm." Aerith nodded, amazed at what she heard.

There was a long pause between the two before Cloud opened his mouth to speak; "I—" Cloud tried to look for anything to say but he was speechless. How could he slip up like that? What got into him? To his luck, he heard the song pick up and decided to change the subject quickly; "We should—uh, start."

Before Aerith could say a word she felt Cloud begin the first steps of their dance. Lucky for her, Yuffie and Tifa had taken her to learn a few moves and she was pretty good at it, almost a natural. She moved with Cloud's body, letting him lead as he moved backwards. Their feet moved left and right a few times before Cloud swung her out of his arms, their hands still holding onto each other tightly as their arms straightened. The rhythm of their bodies surprisingly matched that of the music. Aerith was a little surprised at the way Cloud was so talented. She wasn't expecting that at all. He didn't know complex moves, but he knew enough to take part in the dance… And my! How it drove Aerith crazy! She couldn't help but think of how sexy he was. She found herself blushing immensely at the intimate dance they were doing in front of everyone but Cloud—he looked so calm and relaxed. She wondered… was she the only one nervous? She asked herself why? Usually it was him nervous to do things like this. Then it dawned on her. She wasn't nervous from dancing in public, no, she was nervous because how she was feeling from it. The moment was so romantic. The way his hands were roaming across her body and the closeness of their bodies was already getting the best of her.

Suddenly Cloud felt someone bump into him. He turned around to see who it was and gritted his teeth at the sight. Antonio.

"Not very good at this dancing thing, are you?" Cloud said dryly, he knew very well that he wasn't as good at the dance as Antonio but he enjoyed playing up the man's mistake.

Antonio's face flustered red at Cloud's cocky comment. The man's height allowed him to tower over Cloud, but the blonde didn't seem fazed at all. "Please, little man, my dance skills surpass yours so greatly it is laughable that you're even on the dance floor when my glorious presence is. You should save yourself the embarrassment and take your cute brunette and just leave."

Aerith rolled her eyes at the choice of wording Antonio used. ''Cute… Oh, please." She growled to herself.

"Whatever you say." Cloud laughed, scoffing at the man's show of anger. Cloud turned back to Aerith to continue their dance when the man suddenly offered a bet.

"Fine, since you're so confident, how about a dance off?"

Right as Cloud opened his mouth to say "Not interested" Aerith interrupted him; "Deal, pretty boy!"

Cloud whipped his head back to look at her. "Why did she say that?"

Antonio walked away and quickly took Anabelle on the dance floor, readying himself for their dance off.

"We're gonna get our asses handed to us, Aerith." Cloud whispered. "Why the hell ya do that? I was just bullshitting earlier. I can't dance good at all." Cloud's eyes were ride with shock and disappointment that he was about to let her down. To his surprise she just smiled sweetly and gazed at him lovingly; "I know. But it doesn't matter. Besides, you're cuter than him, so we'll look better."

Her answer gave Cloud a sense of relief. He smiled at her comment and took a deep breath. "Here we go…"

Suddenly, the band's music started to play. Cloud could see out of the corner of his eye that Antonio was staring at him and Aerith, but the man's intimidating act failed. Cloud couldn't help but keep his eyes on the beautiful brunette he was hand in hand with. He knew full well he was about to have his ass handed to him in some dance battle but he didn't mind making a fool of himself as long as she would smile and have fun.

The sound of the slow drums and sweet violins drifting through the air seemed as though it was trying to intimidate him as he started his dance. He drew in a deep breath and adjusted his hands; one on the small of her back and the other holding her hand firmly. Cloud swallowed, feeling nervous as he hesitantly stepped his foot back, Aerith moving forward with him, trying hard to ignore any ounce of nerves that were working against him. Looking at her that very moment, Cloud noticed the look of confidence twinkling in Aerith's greenest of green eyes. He was so happy that he was lucky enough to have a mother that taught him to dance… even if he wasn't the best there was, he was still going to try. He delved deep into his childhood, dusting off the rustic remembrance of his brief dance instructions... but also relied on what he saw in films.

Cloud slowly brought her form closer to his, her hips pressed tightly up against his pelvis, his hand keeping a firm hold on the scoop of her lower back as if to not let her go. The contact of their bodies alarmed Aerith and Cloud caught notice of her eyes widen for a brief moment.

Aerith couldn't help but blush at the closeness of their lower bodies. She had never been held by him in such a way… at least not in public. She swallowed nervously as she locked eyes with Cloud's cocky blue gaze. He looked so confident and so collected, as if he had no second thoughts about what he was about to do. Aerith couldn't help but bicker to herself about how he was ready to do such a bold thing as this—while she was more nervous than ever before! Had they been alone Aerith would have been just fine with attempting such a thing, but… they weren't. She and Cloud were in the middle of a dance floor in a popular restaurant with dozens of guests as onlookers and judges for their performance.

She barely had time to think as she felt Cloud step forward just as the first beat began in the song. Surprisingly, Aerith managed to follow his lead perfectly. Her free hand was wrapped up around the top of his shoulder blades, allowing her to predict his next move through the tensing and relaxing muscles of his toned back. As he stepped another step forward she felt the muscles flex in his right shoulder, her body was relaxed now, enabling herself to let him lead her steps as he turned their bodies in a slow yet swift half turn. The turn wasn't as intricate as more experienced dancers but somehow it seemed just as sufficient, and from the growing set of eyes that were boring at them on the dance center, it seemed they were doing something right.

Aerith was amazed and a little shocked. He seemed like a natural.

They were facing each other, one of his hands at her shoulder blade while the other was resting on the back of her hips, pulling her close as he led her hips against his pelvis, keeping up with the music on perfect timing.

Aerith suddenly became very aware of the extreme closeness of their bodies and felt her breath catch when she felt that one of his legs were slightly tucked between her own legs. The center between her legs practically leaning on the top of his thigh for support caused the red fabric of her dress to part and expose her leg, luckily for Aerith no one could see just how close they both really were, leaving a bit of intimacy between them. She could feel his rough fingers gently resting on the soft skin of her lower back and the combination of it and their movements threw her over an edge of hidden ecstasy. She could feel her skin heat up more and more the longer he held her like that and she almost found herself forgetting that they were just dancing. She finally knew why they called it sex standing up.

Cloud noticed the light shade of blush developing on the apples of her cheeks and smirked weakly as he moved a few steps forward, letting their feet move a few times to the music before working in a sharp twirl of her body as he spun her back into his arms, her back up against his torso.

She felt the cool fabric of his white dress-shirt brushing against the skin of her exposed back. His stronger, bigger hands took her delicate and softer hand in his own and slid them down her form with his own, stopping at the curve of her hips as he rested his mouth in the bend of her neck, his warm breath tickling across her skin.

Their hands were entangled with each other as their hips slowly rocked back and forth sensually to the slow beat of the drums, slipping into a world of their own as they felt the soul-binding notes of the music echo through their bodies. Aerith felt her skin set ablaze with desire at the feel of his hot breath along her neck. She had so many raw emotions rushing to her senses that she didn't know which one to go over first. She felt his mouth lightly brush across the bend of her neck from time to time and she felt as though she could melt into a puddle. For some reason, Aerith was more prone to arousal now than she usually ever was. She found herself reeling at the slightest thing he did, her body growing hot with each passing moment.

Just as she grew comfortable with the feel of his hands on her hips she felt him take her hand firmly in his own before swiftly twirling her out of his embrace, their arms straightening as he spun her in front of him. Her red dress flapped in the breeze of his action, her bare leg exposed for a few moments before he pulled her body back towards his own. Just as their torsos touched, Aerith wrapped her arms around Cloud's neck, pulling herself closer to him as their bodies swayed to the rhythm.

Like a flower bending in the cool summer breeze, their bodies bended with ease. Their embrace was tight and close, hugging each other the way the ocean hugs the shores. He held her the way he never held anyone else… his soft touch something only she knew of. A thrill only he could spark in her. Without even thinking of it, Aerith swiftly lifted her knee to Cloud's side, bending her leg around him, Cloud held onto the creamy skin of her outer thigh just as he started a chain of backward steps. Then, their hands somehow found each other again and Aerith felt her next moves come instantly. Her hips shifted left and right as she stood on the tip of her toes allowing her movements to come swift and quick. In an instant he pulled her body closer again, their feet doing a few more twisting moves, their bodies never being more than an inch apart.

His hungry hands roamed up the crease of her slender back before he did one small turn, dipping her as the song came to a lingering end, the violins echoing through the dance hall.

Aerith had to catch her breath as she felt Cloud's hand travel up her exposed leg that was still perched around his waist. The very touch of his hand gliding up her leg set her dreams on fire. The sweet flames of intimacy and anticipation licked at her skin from the mere touch of his hand. She found herself clutching onto his back, holding herself close to him, not wanting to break the closeness of their bodies.

The longer he held her, the more she found it hard to breath. They had only sat like this for a few moments but it felt like an eternity. Somehow, their faces were only a breath's distance apart, their mouths brushing against each other but not quite touching yet. Aerith felt as though Cloud was penetrating her very soul with his strong fiery gaze and in that very moment she wanted him to take her completely. Just as he started to lower his lips to hers a woman's cough interrupted his them.

The two lovers looked left and caught notice to the groups of eyes that were now watching them intently, waiting for their next move… including Antonio and Anabelle. Aerith felt her face flush as Cloud gently pulled their bodies to a standing position, their arms falling to their sides loosely. Cloud coughed nervously, mentally kicking himself for losing track of how intimate he had let the dance become. He almost forgot completely that they were in a public place.

"Let's get outta here, huh?" he said in a soft yet dry voice.

Aerith swallowed and nodded, biting her bottom lip gently before turning to head towards their table. A weak smirk spread on Cloud's usual stoic face as he watched Aerith walk in front of him. He couldn't deny how sexy she was in that red gown. The way it hugged the curves of her derrière intrigued Cloud, to say the least. He let his eyes soak up her image, taking in the way her hips moved as she walked… The view of her sparked a passionate yearning deep in him. The feel of her tight, warm embrace against his own invaded his every thought. Could anyone blame him for the plans he was already making for the rest of the night? Just as Cloud was about to follower her he heard Antonio speak abruptly.

"There's no denying that WE won."

Cloud stopped in his tracks and sighed as he shot a look over his shoulder back at the man; "Yeah, whatever. You won." He did not want to have some petty fight with someone like him… especially now as he felt his appetite for intimacy awakened by the sight of the gorgeous brunette woman in front of him, his eyes ogling at her every curve.

Aerith picked up her small purse and headed to the counter to pay for their meal, Cloud walking by her side. As they passed a few sets of tables a light cheery male voice gasped to another man; "You can cut the sexual tension with a knife!" The men started to fan themselves as they continued to watch Cloud and Aerith leave.

As they drove home, Cloud was a little angry with himself for forgetting to ask her his very important question. Glancing over at Aerith, he saw she was idly watching her lap, fiddling with her fingers. The look in her eyes seemed to be one of deep thought. Cloud wanted to ask her what was on her mind but wasn't sure how to start the conversation.

Cloud turned his gaze back to the road and decided it'd be better to talk about it back at their house. Aerith, on the other hand, despite the fiery frenzy Cloud had put her in at the restaurant, was now worrying about how to approach him once at home. She trampled through her brain trying to practice how she would say it.


Hello! Thanks for reading the third to last chapter of my story! I'm so happy to have had readers for so long, so thank you! About the chapter... it was my first time of dabbing my hand at writing a dance scene... and I think it's harder than writing more intimate scenes if you get what I mean LoL. I wanted to show a different view of intimacy between them which is why there's so much detail. Hopefully I did I decent job.

The next chapter will be up next Thursday.