CHAPTER FIFTY-EIGHT

"Why don't we make things more interesting, Kai?"

"How do you suggest we achieve that?"

"If you win, I'll help you get Hilary,"

"And if you win?"

"Then your M3 is mine,"

What a joke.

After witnessing and being involved in a few of her conspiracies, he wrote this off as another one of her ploys to have him to herself for a bit before giving him away to Hilary. Kai broke the setup of balls on the pool table to initiate the game, essentially conforming to the preposterous deal. A striped ball fell through one of the pockets, marking off his type for the game. Then, he backed away, a hand gestured towards the table, "Ladies first,"

"Ah, so you can be a gentleman," Her turn was accepted as she came closer, "Hilary will be pleased," And just as Kai had predicted, she had missed one of the pockets by a mile, marking the end of her turn and the beginning of his. He had picked his moves strategically like he did with most things in life and claimed quick victory when a striped ball disappeared into one of the nooks.

Then another.

And another.

Suddenly, before he could stand up straight, he flinched as a chunk of his ass cheek was roughly grabbed followed by a playful squeeze, "Nice shot, hun," Her hand was slapped away as he rose to his full height only for her to smirk, "Nice ass, too," She commented as she folded both arms and balanced them over the cue waiting for his next turn. It was a miss and the blonde pushed out her bottom lip while taking over the pool table. A full perimeter was conducted before she settled towards a side and aimed her cue stick at the white cue ball which was aimed for a solid red ball. It fell though and she chuckled lightly when Kai raised a quizzical brow. She aimed for another target, a blue one this time, and as the shot went through, the phoenix had caught on.

"You intentionally missed the first round to deduce my skill level,"

"I love that I never have to explain myself to you, Kai," The corners of her lip tugged upward as she did another circle around the table and picked a more convenient spot this time. It happened to be right in front of him. She bent over suggestively, her behind grazing his crotch, making him taking a step back instantly and concluding what had now been made obvious.

"So you know how to play, then,"

"My ex, Brady, had an older brother that played in pool tournaments so naturally he knew a few things. We went out for three months and I learned the basics from him," The cheer captain looked over her shoulder, giving him a sultry once over, her bottom lip pinned under her teeth before she continued with her tale, "Then I dated his brother Brody," Another shot, "And he taught me more than you can ever imagine, so prepare to lose, sweetheart," She smirked, seizing a fourth turn.

"Hn," Kai was apathetic, "You engaged in trickery,"

"The only thing I engaged in was preparation, but you made an ass out of you and me when you engaged in assumption," The cheerleader leaned over green surface of the table, the stick pointing towards a yellow ball. It was a difficult one, her luck heavily tested as the cue ball made contact with it. It rolled and rolled and rolled and then...just as she held her breath, it stopped just inches from a pocket, bringing to a cease her winning streak, "Damn," She managed to mutter before letting out a startled gasp as her ponytail was yanked from behind.

"What's the matter?" Her long locks had wrapped around his hand once, her back backed against his chest, "Don't enjoy getting your hair pulled?"

Her turquoises shifted back to make eye contact with his beautiful lavender ones, "So it's true then: shy on the streets, freaky in the sheets,"

"Good thing we are on the streets then. Now move," He lightly pulled at the ponytail to navigate her away from the pool table, "It's my turn,"

"Sure," She chuckled, "But you might as well just give me your keys now,"

"The game isn't over yet,"

"It kind of is," She spoke truth, for another ten minutes later she held her palm out in victory, "Keys, please,"

A man of his word, the keys to his M3 were handed over without further ado. Then, it was time to tackle the next matter at hand. Kai looked across the diner where Tyson and Hilary continued their game of pool, the two unaware of his presence. His gaze went unchanged even as he felt the cheerleader prop her elbow up on his shoulder.

"Don't worry, hun," She reassured as she watched the world champ with the brunette with a smirk, "Hilary's all yours',"

As her arm slipped off him, he knew it was time. He followed her towards the opposite end of the restaurant, the blonde fully disregarding Hilary and greeting Tyson solely. In the meantime, the phoenix acknowledged the brunette's small wave. The gesture was cut short however, her smile quickly fading at the sudden sight of the cheerleader and the hat-clad blader in an intense make out.

Kai raised an amused brow; he had never known Tyson to be the PDA type, but there he was, utterly shameless and putting on a movie-esque performance with the equally Oscar-worthy acting Dylan. Even so, something was off. He had seen them do this plenty of times before, typically in dimly lit environments of a club or bar or something, but now that it was taking place in a well lighted area and out in the open, they didn't look quite as great together as he thought they would.

He couldn't understand why. Tala's sister was hot as a motherfucker and he knew Tyson Granger was a good looking man himself. They both dressed well, they were talkative, they were what you would call 'fun' people, and he could see them having many things in common. In theory, it was supposed to work.

Yet it didn't.

He couldn't really place what it was. Perhaps he was much too used to seeing Hilary next to Tyson. Oh well. She stood no chance against Dylan's man-stealing capabilites, the blonde having worked fast and efficiently to break them apart.

"Shouldn't you be at school?" Enquired the dragon.

"And miss being with you?" The American winked, "So how about a game? Two against two. Me and Tyson against you guys,"

"I prefer to play with Tyson,"

"A little too late, hun," She grinned, her hand caressing Tyson's chest, the action causing Hilary to fume, "I already picked him,"

The dragon rolled his eyes, "It's just a game, Hil-arious. Besides, Kai's pretty good at pool,"

Dylan nodded, "He is. In fact, if by some miracle you and Kai lose then Tyson has to take me out tonight,"

"Fine," Hilary crossed her arms challengingly, "And what if we win?" Surely, then Tyson would take her out, right?

"Then you have to take Kai out,"

"W-what?"

"And the bill will be on you," The cheerleader added, "Do we have a deal?"

"Of course we do," Tyson butt in, ignoring Hilary's shrieking 'this doesn't even make sense!', "It's settled then. Us against you two,"

So it began. Dylan had proved to be an enjoyable challenge during their solo game where the M3 had been on the table, but Kai trusted her to deliberately play poorly during this round given the stakes. She did not disappoint, brilliantly executing herself as an All American dumb blonde throughout the game, performing worse than Hilary. Tyson played fairly, like he usually did, but the cheerleader's calculated 'mistakes' had made it impossible for him to keep up with Kai.

"Told you he was good," The blonde eyed Hilary, "Guess now you have to take him out,"

The brunette sighed, glancing over at the ex Bladebreaker captain, "I'll plan something out and call you,"

Where Kai ran after Hilary for the last two years, it took Dylan two minutes to set up a date for them. It appeared she truly did get everything she wanted, by whatever means. It was probably one of the reasons her parents had exiled her from California. Still, the punishment of being sent to Russia didn't seem to deter her behaviour.

"Say Kai," Tyson began after putting away the cue sticks and clearing off the table, "Mind giving me and Hilary a ride back to the hotel?"

"The choice is not mine to make," His statement had become more clear when Tyson and Hilary stood by the silver vehicle, their brows raised quizzically as the blonde occupied the driver's side.

Hilary knew Kai better than that, "You're letting her drive your car?"

Kai only 'hn-ed' and proceeded to take up the passenger seat for the first time in his life in his very own car. Well, her car now. She looked ecstatic to be in the driver's seat, her hands gliding across the wheel. The excitement was candid, the phoenix never having seen her truly jovial over something else. Her appreciation for cars was akin to the redhead, the both having been raised by a grease money father.

The M3 was brought to life with the turn of the key, and in predicting her next move by using Tala as a reference, he quickly braced himself holding onto the handle above the window as she floored it sending the car forward and Hilary and Tyson backward into their seats. The two tried to compose themselves, the horrification on their face painfully obvious as the scenery from the windows whipped past them at a scary speed.

The world champ eyed the brunette next to him, who had her teeth gritted and her delicate hands wrapped around the front strap of her seatbelt. He turned his head to the front where he noticed their entry onto the freeway, "Slow down!" Tyson yelled, his voice meek compared to the roar of the engine.

"Please stop! Please stop! Oh my God, stop!" Hilary screeched before her red eyes widened as they neared an 18 wheeler up ahead. There was no way they could slow down in time. They would crash! This was the end! She let out a bloodcurdling scream, only for it to be cut short as her body swivelled to the side from the sudden change in motion. The Beamer swiftly moved to the furthest left lane, skipping an entire two lanes in the middle smoothly.

"Kai!" The world champ furrowed his eyebrows, "This is fucking crazy! Tell her to slow the fuck down! Hilary's really scared!"

"This is an M3," But the phoenix seemed apathetic, "And we're in Russia," ...where traffic rules and the concept of defensive driving ceased to exist.

Tyson's subsequent protests and Hilary's high pitched screams continued until they reached the hotel. They scurried out of the vehicle, the brunette traumatized and the navy haired blader attempting to comfort her while huffing and puffing and cursing.

Dylan gave their retreating backs a pathetic look as she pulled out of the hotel entrance, "What a bunch of pussies,"

"She gave me a migraine," Kai rubbed his temple before looking down at his lap where the blonde's purse was suddenly situated.

"There's a Tylenol in the coin slot of my wallet," She notified, urging him to pursue the item. He dug through, finding the ridiculously expensive Burberry wallet that her daddy had spoiled her with. He opened it up, his orbs falling on the countless plastic cards. One stood out in particular. His fingers pinched and pulled the California issued driver's licence. Most of the information offered, he already knew of. There was one detail, however, that was new to him.

A slate brow rose, "Dylan Talia West-Ivanov," Her full legal name was read aloud.

"Ew, what the fuck," She looked over at him briefly in distaste, "Put that back,"

Kai appeared amused at the newfound discovery, repeatedly eyeing the card and then at her, "You don't look like a 'Talia'," He was much too accustomed to 'Dylan'.

"It's my middle name. I hate it,"

"It sounds similar to - "

"Don't," She interrupted before he could comment on how her hideous middle name was an obvious play on her brother's name, "My parents are really gay like that,"

"I see, Talia,"

"Shut up!"

He smirked, "Okay, Talia,"

She let out a noise of frustration, her eyes rolling in the process, "They thought it would be cute for us to have matching initials,"

"You have two last names,"

"West is my mom's maiden name and she wanted us to have it, but I go by 'Dylan Ivanov' and the orangutan goes by 'Tala Ivanov' because it's just easier," Then, out of the blue, she chuckled.

"What?"

"You've never said my name until today,"

"Hn," Kai crossed his arms and closed his eyes, implying the desire for a silent ride home. Luckily, it was granted. Amethyst orbs opened as they entered their residing neighbourhood, the blonde pulling into the driveway and into the garage. But, before she could pull the keys out of the ignition, he had done the honours.

"Um hello?" She started as he pocketed the keys for himself, "This is my car now,"

"I don't think so,"

"We had a deal,"

"Yes, and I have followed through with my side of the agreement. The precise condition that you set was 'your M3 is mine', but 'mine' could mean anything: mine for a week, mine for an hour, mine for a day, and so on and so forth. I concluded that this vehicle was under your ownership for this trip only,"

Well shit.

"You failed to set a limit to your condition, which is unfortunate considering that is what you are currently learning in calculus. Nevertheless, thank you for the company today," Kai prepared to exit his car triumphantly along with a side of sarcastic compliments, "It was most lovely."

Kai: 1.

Dylan: Nada.

x x x

The redhead left the White Tiger suite with a feeling of excitement, guilt, confusion, and his reunited hoodie.

Maybe he shouldn't have come here in the first place. He knew why Mariah had called him over. But he couldn't help it. He had never meant for them to lock lips.

Maybe, subconsciously, he had hoped they would, but he had really not meant for it to happen.

Maybe Mariah was right when she had suggested they cut off contact with each other for the sake of Julia.

Shit. Julia. He frowned. It wasn't too late to get his shit together and start being a little more loyal towards the Latina. After all, he wasn't officially in a relationship with her so technically speaking he was still single and there was no wrong doing on his part, right?

Right?

No matter how Tala attempted to stack the variables, there was no justification.

Then, more thoughts consumed his mind as he waited for the elevator at the end of the corridors. If he was still single and he had enjoyed those few minutes with Mariah and she had enjoyed it too then...maybe...perhaps...they could...

He shook his head. How could he even consider Mariah? Again? One little insignificant seconds-long kiss with her didn't make him regain any kind of affection for her again. It was just a small lapse in judgement. Besides, things were going rather well with Julia and there was nothing inherently wrong with her and while Raul was annoying in his own way, he wasn't a meddling asshole like Lee.

The elevator arrived, but as the doors parted to reveal Mariah standing on the other side, his breathing halted momentarily. She appeared equally alarmed, unknowing of what move to make. He was both the last person she wanted to see, as well as the first.

The doors threatened to close, but when he reflexively stuck his arm in the middle to prevent it from doing so, Tala finally mentally admitted to the trouble he had put himself into.

He did not want to stop seeing her.

As the elevator doors tried to shut again, he quickly stepped inside earning a wide eyed look from the White Tiger. He didn't care, his hands placed on the sides of her arms proving such, "We have to talk, Mariah,"

He found himself insanely attracted to her. He found it pointless to deny the fact to his very own self. No one else had to know, but he knew. Her hair, her skin, her voice, her Oriental eyes, and he had always been a sucker for her ass. It was a disaster.

"I -" But Mariah was at a loss of words, "A-about what?"

"Stop pretending!" He shoved her against the perimeter of the lift, "You know what we need to talk about!"

"I'm sorry, Tala! It was a mistake and it was stupid and I didn't mean to complicate things between you and Jul -"

"Forget Julia! Lee's our only problem! Why can't you see that!"

But their time was up. The elevator dinged as it opened up at the lobby only to expose the other devil Julia. The duo had stepped away from each other before the Latina could notice, her face lighting up at the sight of Tala, Mariah subtly grimacing at the sight of her.

"Julia," The Blitzkrieg Boy was quick to acknowledge while withdrawing from the elevator.

"Were you here to surprise me?" Julia grinned before looking over at Mariah, "He's so sweet," And then it happened. She leaned towards the redhead, the latter having no time to react as he received a quick and customary smooch from the blonde-brunette beyblader. It was usually how they greeted each other, it was the norm, but today it felt weird.

How awkward it was to kiss Julia while he could still taste Mariah on his lips.

"I have to go," The White Tiger informed with a forced smiled, her eyes becoming glassy, "Catch you guys later,"

Mariah's watery eyes were a painful spectacle for Tala, for he knew as soon as she had turned around, the tears had fallen and she cried over him.

An overwhelmingly shitty feeling washed over him, but there was nothing he could do about it while Julia stood right next to him.


HI! I am sorry about keeping everyone waiting for so long. Life has been a little busy and there have been a lot of changes (good ones, don't worry). I will update next time about what I'm up to! It is 3 AM! I have to go to bed! Also, this chapter was a little rushed so I apologize. I just wanted to get this updated so I can start on the next chapter! But yes, there was character development in this chapter. Well, more like relationship development. Let me know if you guys caught on!

Xoxo to...

Tryptamine – Where have you been! Well, I guess I should ask myself that as well :P I love your reviews. I actually read them more than once haha.

Yup! But Kai got Dylan back :P Smart man! He is always so sneaky. Dylan should have known better haha.

Zeratheliger

Senie

Ahrden – You were right! She did wipe the floor with Kai! But in the end, like usual, Kai had the upper hand.

Mistress of the Arts – Congratulations on coming out! How did you do it and did it take a long time? Did you run into any trouble?

Clare

Arione – Wow! You have come up with so much! I guess it helped to reread the story haha! But wow you really analyzed all of it and I have to say it was really good analysis! Damn! I am so fucking impressed! And I loved your review! It was so good to read! Thank you so much!

Minij Akane

KSMH