Kaori and Elise had both walked up to the hotel together, making small talk about the flight to Snowdream tomorrow and talking about Elise's family in Canada and how Kaori might visit hers in Snowdream. Elise was the one that usually talked the most, but Kaori didn't mind. She enjoyed hearing about Elise's life, how full of life and attitude she was. She hoped to be a bit like her when she got older, mature and confident.
"So I'll see you downstairs then?" Elise inquired, referring to the pool downstairs as they walked into the hotel doors. Kaori smiled at her, giving her a nod as she walked over to the elevator.
"See you then!" Kaori said and waved her off as Elise went up to the man now at the desk while Kaori ventured upstairs.
Kaori glanced at her phone, showing her it was about 10AM. She sent a text to all the snowboarders in her phone saying to meet around 10:30 downstairs for fun. They had to be out of their hotel room by one, so she figured everyone would swim around a bit until maybe noon, then shower and pack for the flight to Japan.
The elevators arrived to the fifth floor, and without an upward glance, Kaori got out of the elevator and walked down the hallway to her hotel room. She hummed cheerfully to herself, getting the key card out of her pocket to slip into the door before she heard footsteps behind her. She whipped around, some of her hair hitting her face as her eyes went into focus of the figure.
"So when you guys going down?" Psymon asked, casually leaning against his hotel room door and smirking a bit.
Kaori lost the thoughts in her head and what few words she had in her mouth. It's not as if Kaori could say he couldn't go, because if anything, that would only make him more determined to. Should she lie about what time everyone planned to meet? Psymon would probably hurt her for that one. Kaori gulped.
"… 10:30?" Kaori squeaked out, unsure if she made the right decision or not. She supposed she did. Psymon wasn't acting hostile or anything towards her, at least right now. They both just stood there… casually. But awkwardly so as well. It was very strange. And just when Kaori thought she should say something else to end the weird silence, Psymon gave a nod and opened his door, going into his hotel room and leaving Kaori to stand there in the deserted hallway. She heard his door click close. Her heart was still hammering a little out of nervousness, and her palms were starting to get clammy. She hated how just Psymon's physical self in her presence could shake her up.
"What just…" Kaori had a quizzical look on her face, finishing the rest of her sentence in her head. 'What just happened? Is Psymon really hanging out with us then…? Ugh…'
She sighed, deciding to deal with it when everyone would meet downstairs. She almost preferred Psymon just to be flat out mean to her, because she knew how to handle that. And it's not that he's exactly being niceto her or anything, but anything not mean coming from Psymon to her… She didn't know how to deal with it. And Psymon probably knew that, which she deducted that it's why he was doing it in the first place.
Shaking her mind from the recent events and her thoughts of it, she got on her knees in front of her suitcase and unzipped it, revealing girly contents consisting of clothes, books, etc. Kaori dug around in the corner of her purse, fishing for her bikini. She yanked out the bottoms, which were plain black and cheeky. She threw them on the bed, her arm diving back into the corner for the matching top, which was black as well and halter-styled, with flatly studded gems on them. Kaori liked that it was slightly flashy and a bit more grownup from her plain hot pink one piece bathing suit she used to wear all the time. But she only wore this new black bikini once before, which was only in the private of her own home in her own Jacuzzi. She had been texting Zoe at the time actually, now that she remembered as she slipped off her cardigan and took off her boots. Over last summer, her and Zoe texted a good bit, mostly swapping photos of trendy clothes or sharing music. Zoe and Kaori had a surprisingly amount in common, now that she thought of it... She was just a bit more… hardcore? Boyish? A punkier version of herself? Something like that. Almost like Ying to her Yang. Kaori took the rest of her clothes off and tossed them into her suitcase, beginning to slip on her bikini bottoms and top. She tied both pairs of the strings in the back, adjusting herself slightly before bending over and digging into her suitcase again. Kaori had sent a photo of the new bikini she bought to Zoe who said it "reminded her of a toned-down sexy Lady GaGa." Kaori assumed this was a good thing, but just for another opinion of good measure, she had sent the bikini to Elise too who said it was "sexy" on her. Which was different. Kaori didn't get called sexy very often. It was more like cute, or pretty... Something more of an innocent nature. She pulled out a matching black Caftan dress, which was swishy but clung nicely in all the right places on her body.
Kaori glanced at her phone again. 10:15.
She grabbed some pins and a hair tie, rushing into the bathroom and twisting her hair up in a messy, cute bun on the top of her head, leaving her bangs to hang. After running some cherry red chap stick over her lips and dashing back into her bedroom, she zipped up her suitcase with all her belongings inside, slipped on some sandals, and walked out the door with her panda bag and hotel key in her hand.
Dragging her suitcase behind her, she walked down the hallway and to the elevator, her heart starting to pound slightly and praying for the elevator to hurry up in case Psymon came out. Or what if he already came out? What if she saw him down before she arrived at the pool? Kaori kept running scenarios in her head, stepping inside the elevator as it politely opened for her, pressing the 'L' button for lobby to drop off her luggage. It wasn't so much that she was scared of himself at this current point in time, but it was that she was scared of what to say, as far as real conversation goes. Is the tournament a too casual thing to talk about? Or should she just come right out and ask Psymon what's up with him being sort of nice to her lately? Her thoughts were interrupted with the sound of the elevator coming to a slight stop, opening the doors to reveal a slightly busier lobby. Kaori stepped out, seeing Brodi, Marisol, and Mac all doing the same with their luggage. Mac was the first to catch her eye and waved, gesturing for her to come over with his hand.
"Yo, Kaori! Come here!" Mac smiled near the counter just after giving his luggage to one of the bellhops. Kaori widely smiled, rolling her luggage along with her over to Mac with a rapid heart beat of seeing Brodi.
"Makku!" Kaori laughed before politely smiling at the bellhop who took her luggage and giving a slight nod. She then noticed Mac wasn't wearing his swimming trunks, or had anything in his hand. "You are not swimming?" Kaori asked, pointing to his empty hands.
Mac shrugged. "Forgot my trunks! Didn't think we'd be swimming, to be honest ya know. We usually have to leave early morning whenever we're up here, so I didn't bother." Mac saw Kaori's smile slightly falter before adding, "but hey, I'm still coming! I'll just chill and stick my feet in the Jacuzzi or something." This made Kaori lighten up a little, noticing he at least had a pair of jeans that hit right below his knee. Kaori handed her hotel key to the lady at the desk.
"Great!" Kaori grinned, turning her attention to Brodi and hardly Marisol. Kaori noticed Marisol was not in her suit and also had nothing in her hands, showing she might not be swimming as well, which gave Kaori a slight leap of glee in her heart. She also noticed Brodi in a Hawaiian, muscle-clinging shirt and swimming trunks, smiling more as she felt her cheeks burn a little bit. "You coming, you guys?" Kaori said, purposely making sure to include Marisol to be polite.
Marisol nodded, much to Kaori's displeasure. "Yeah, I'll just be sittin' with Mac or something, I can't believe I forgot my suit! I always kept a spare with me in my case, but I denno what happen' to it…" Marisol shrugged, smiling still herself. Kaori glanced over at Brodi, even though judging by his appearance, she knew his answer.
Brodi grinned. "We were just on our way down there. You are too, I assume?" Brodi asked, motioning to Kaori in her suit and dress as Kaori tried to remember how to breathe.
"Hai!" Kaori pipped, glancing down at herself for a second then meeting Brodi's stare back up with only her eyes, the apples of her cheeks cutely widening more. "So we go?" Kaori offered, turning her shoulder towards the elevator to go downstairs. Brodi and the others agreed, walking over to the elevator and going downstairs.
Kaori pushed the door open leading to the pool with her group behind her, chatting to themselves about mostly the tournament and Snowdream coming up. Kaori hated how her mind blanked out when she tried to talk to Brodi. She felt like she was herself around him, but ten times shyer, making it harder to communicate, which was already a challenge in itself for her. She knew once everyone was having a good time and talking about whatever popped into their heads, she would loosen up. She always did, eventually.
Surprisingly, Marisol and Mac were the ones that began to talk, mostly about their time at Garibaldi, and how Marisol would be on her way home after everyone left for Snowdream.
"Since I lost," Marisol started out, making sure not to sound bitter about how Kaori was the girl to beat her, "I'll be leaving on my own after you guys. Plane leaves around two."
Kaori noticed Marisol had a bit of a drear in her voice, but Kaori expected it. As she began opening the doors that led to the pool, she knows she would have been the same, and if not, worse. She probably wouldn't even be down here at the pool if she were Marisol, being the first one out of the tournament. Being last in a regular race was a downer, much less, a national tournament like this one. She began to feel even guilty, and mad all over again at Psymon for shoving her into the finish line. She even felt like she didn't deserve to even be here, the more she thought about it…
"Alriiiight, we're here!" Marisol cheered, slipping off her shoes near some chairs as everyone did the same, Kaori taking off her dress and Brodi slipping his shirt off over his head.
Kaori officially felt her guilt starting to swiftly ruin her mood. She should be the one going home. It was her fault she unclasped her board and broke her wrist, even if she didn't do it on purpose. It was still her fault, why she got behind. Marisol should be staying, competing…
"Kaori? You okay, hon?" Brodi asked, placing a hand on her shoulder which felt like a shake back into the real world into reality, and not in her head. Kaori falsely smiled and nodded, giving him a thumbs up but not saying anything. Her stomach felt like it was just not in one, but several, clumped up knots. Brodi patted her shoulder gently and nodded back, raising his hand up to her head and ruffling her hair slightly. Kaori felt her stomach lurch more, but she kept a smiling face until he left. She watched him walk away as she brought her hands up to her bare stomach, clutching it slightly. Nerves of all kind were bothering her, everything from doing to the butterflies to a case of major guilt.
She walked over to the Jacuzzi where Marisol and Mac had stuck their feet in already, chatting amongst themselves and laughing in between. Brodi was preparing to do some dives into the pool on the diving board. She watched him as she stuck her feet in the warm, bubbling water, admiring his perfection in his smooth movement. Kaori subconsciously noticed Mac and Marisol stopped talking and had now begun to watch Brodi as well, waiting for his dive. His face was concentrated and stern as he walked across the board. Getting a feel for it, he jumped slightly up and down a few times, closed his eyes, and on the third small jumped, he leaped into the air and flipped once in midair, landing perfectly straight into the water with his hands and head first, creating a small, perfect splash. Kaori and Marisol cheered, the two and Mac applauding as he rose to the surface with a grin.
"So goooood!" Kaori laughed, making Brodi modestly shrug his shoulders and smile at her.
"Thank-you," he said, beginning to swim to the edge of the pool and beginning to pull himself out when suddenly, the door busted open, with several people in the doorway.
Kaori gasped at the loud noise and looked over to see JP, Luther, and Psymon all trudging in. All of them had their swimming trunks on, and to her distaste, even Luther. Looking past them, she could see Moby and Zoe following behind, along with Elise, Eddie, and even Seeiah coming along down the staircase, all in some form of swimwear. Kaori waved at mostly Elise and Eddie from the Jacuzzi, calling them over.
"You came!" Kaori shouted. "Come sit with us, over here!" She scooted closer to where Marisol and Mac were dangling their feet as Brodi came over, slowly stepping into the Jacuzzi and sitting next to Kaori. She looked up at him and smiled. "You did so good, Boo-dodi!" Kaori laughed, giving him a thumbs up as the other two next to her chimed in with agreement with her. Kaori loved that Brodi was being a little bit of a showoff and trying to impress the group, because she was part of it. In a way, he was trying to impress her. The single thought made Kaori's heart aflutter.
"Hey, guys!" Psymon waved, putting up a ridiculously cheerfully fake smile and bouncily jogged over to the Jacuzzi. "Great to see my favorite snowboard buddies all together! I missed every single one of you!" Psymon psychotically laughed, Luther and JP standing behind him. Kaori noticed JP was staring at Marisol and her slightly revealing top, rolling her eyes. She felt bad for thinking it, but sometimes she thought he acted like a pig around Marisol and Elise, shamelessly flirting and texting them inappropriate things. Psymon swung himself into the Jacuzzi next to Brodi, splashing him and Kaori as he looped an arm around Brodi's shoulder and smirking. "So tell me, dearest Broderick," Psymon began as JP and Luther sat down in the water next to Psymon, "Think I'll kick your ass in Snowdream? I'll still get to trip you dude, I won't let that go." Psymon grinned, referring to how he took Kaori to her room for Brodi since he had an interview and she had an injured ankle. His eyes shifted to Kaori, leaning over Brodi to get in closer of range of her before Brodi could reply back. "How's your ankle, midget? You gonna need Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome to carry you to the airport?" Psymon stuck his tongue out as Kaori blushed, smacking Psymon's shoulder.
"Psymohn!" Kaori squeaked, pouting her lips. She hated when he did that, putting her feelings on the spot for Brodi. It was embarrassing. She hoped Brodi just thought he was purely messing around and being a jerk because they were friends. Just as Kaori was about to say more, Marisol interfered.
"You know I think you're cool and all Kaori, really!" Marisol started, making Kaori's attention turn to her. "But Psymon!" Marisol said, putting her hands on her hips as she faced him. "That was not cool what you did, dude! I'm happy for Kaori and all," Marisol said, turning to Kaori again, and she nodded to indicate she understood. And she did. If she were Marisol, she would be furious. "You threwher over the finish line. It shouldn't have counted!" Marisol said, flipping her hair over the back of her shoulders. Kaori bit her lip then looked over to see Elise and all the others walking over, a wave of slight relief washing over her. Maybe the others coming would distract them from this topic.
"The stupid girl was in my freaking way!" Psymon defended himself. "Didn't wanna be in JP's situation." Psymon motioned towards him, reminding that he was the one that lost and going home. Kaori was starting to feel more awkward and awkward by the second. She waved at Elise, sitting next to Mac and Marisol except in the Jacuzzi, and Eddie sitting down by her side. Elise had a plain, sexy red one-piece bathing suit, and Eddie had some Hawaiian, 70's mix print on his trunks. Moby, with red and black tribal patterned trunks, and Zoe, with a silver and black bikini with skulls on it, sat down next to them too. Seeiah had squeezed her way between Mac and Marisol with a shiny gold bikini, ready to defend Mariol's side of the argument.
"She right, ya know!" Seeiah cut in, pointing at Psymon. "Kaori, girl, ya know I like you! You cool! But Psymon, what you did wasn't fair to Marisol on the slopes!" Seeiah said, crossing her arms. Kaori felt glad they made a point to show that they meant to offense to Kaori and it wasn't her fault. It helped. But she still felt bad about the whole situation. Just as when Kaori went to say something again, Brodi walked through the Jacuzzi over to Marisol, whispering something into her ear for a few moments. She sighed, but then smiled afterwards. "Yeah, you right," Kaori heard Marisol say as Brodi smiled in return. Kaori wasn't sure what Brodi said, but Kaori saw Marisol whispering to Seeiah, probably repeating what Brodi had said to her. She still wasn't sure what he said, but she was glad; they both seemed like they were going to drop it. But Kaori's chest tightened as she realized Brodi had shifted his way in between Seeiah and Marisol, talking amongst the two about the race from what she heard, and stayed there instead of coming back to his original spot next to her. Brodi's shifting in between them caused everyone on the right of the circle to scoot down slightly, making Psymon eventually be shoulder to shoulder with her. Kaori pretended not to notice as she thought about possibly swimming up next to Elise or Eddie for escape.
"Well, well, well," Psymon looked down at Kaori. "My favorite Japanese pipsqueak. And how are we doing today?" Psymon asked, Kaori's chest nervously tightening as she refused to look him in the eye. She shrugged, trying to show him that she was casual, but didn't want to start a full-on conversation. But looking around, she noticed the group was engaged in conversation in pairs or three or so people, talking to their friends. Kaori noticed no one was really paying attention to her and Psymon except Eddie, who gave an encouraging smile. Sighing and looking back up at Psymon, she faked a smile. "I am good. How is Psymohn?" Kaori turned towards him, really not feeling up to going through a battle of sarcastic remarks, but also not wanting to be rude and cause a scene. "And what is peepu-skeek?" Kaori curiously asked, still running the word through her head. She knew if she asked it, he might retort with some sort of comment about how stupid she was. She hated being called stupid. Being raised in an academically successful family, she was proud of how smart she was. She took pride in it. Just because her English was broken, didn't mean she was dumb. Psymon can't even speak broken Japanese.
"Yeah, same," Psymon simply stated, beginning to tug at her hair that was tied up in a messy bun, but she swatted him away as if she was used to this, because she was used to him doing things like that in the slight, real conversations they had. Kaori waited for him to go on as she tried to tuck the hairs he pulled out back in place. "It's like, uh… Like… midget. Yeah…" Psymon said, pulling the section of hair she just tucked back in her hair tie out again. His face was casual, making Kaori smile a little. Seeing him mess with her and be chill about it was just so funny to Kaori. It's just how their relationship was. She liked this side more of it, rather than the side with the name-calling, teasing, mocking, and whatever else that spat at each other on and off the slopes. Kaori looked up at him and grinned.
"I will make you a deal, Psymohn!"
Psymon raised his pierced brow at her, taking his hands away from her hair. "Oh, yeah? What's that, Miss Godzirra?"
Kaori rolled her eyes at the comment, but she kept talking. "You may mess up my hair," she pointed at it so clarify, "and I will not stop you. And you can call me names on the plane down to Snowdream when we fly," she continued, his head bobbing side to side, seeming to like the way that sounded, "and I will not call you names back. But you must tell me something in return of?" Kaori ended with a high note, biting her lip again. She wanted to know why Psymon was acting different for the past few days. Maybe not nice… But he had to notice he wasn't being his usual Psymon self.
Psymon narrowed his eyes and crossed his tattooed arms. Kaori noticed they must be really strong, judging by his muscles, and how you can tell how big they were with his contrasting chain tattoos all over his body. "Sounds pretty awesome so far. Alright, what do I gotta tell you?" Psymon laid back against the wall of the Jacuzzi, stretching his arms out so that one was slightly behind Kaori and one slightly behind Luther, who didn't notice since he was talking to JP who was talking to Elise who was talking to Eddie. Kaori smiled at glancing a notice at this, but kept her focus on Psymon.
"Well…" Kaori looked down, nervously laughing to herself. At least if he would be the first one to make a scene or tease her about asking, he would look like the bad guy. Kaori had a hunch Eddie or Brodi or someone must have noticed too, so she'd have backup if she needed. She hoped. She kept her eyes down towards the water, staring at her own knees as she asked, "Why have you been… acting different lately?" Kaori wanted to add 'around me?' but thought it was better to keep the question broad, since she might get more of an answer out of him. After a few moments of him not saying anything, but Kaori could still tell he was looking at her, she went on. "You have been… almost…" Kaori kept her head down, but her eyes met up with his. Her heart betrayed her and started to hammer, but was comforted by the fact she got this far without her going into a nervous, scared fit. "… Nice?" Kaori furrowed her brows nervously upwards, cringing her face a little as if accusing Psymon of being nice could make him explode. Psymon's face was patient with her nervous rambling to get the question out, but soon enough, he went back to messing with Kaori's hair and pulling the strands all out of place, making it look messy. Kaori instinctively went up to stop him, but made sure to keep her hands down, as she was hoping they would both hold up their ends of her deal. Eddie looked at her quizzically, which made Elise turn too, and they both just nervously laughed. Kaori caught both of their eyes and mouthed "it's okay," giving a slight thumbs up to let him know he was picking on her, but she didn't mind. Eddie nodded, and the two went back into conversation. Psymon had pulled out at least half of her head out of her hair-tie, and Kaori started to be aware that she must look ridiculous.
"Well…" Psymon tried to find the right words, debating on what to say as he was almost done pulling out all of her hair out of place. "It's because…" Psymon looked at her, pulling the last of her hairs out and slipping her hair-tie over and onto his wrist. As he took a deep breath in as if he were about to go on, Psymon suddenly scooped Kaori into his arms and stood up in the Jacuzzi. Kaori screamed and could tell everyone had stopped talking and they were staring at him, but Psymon obviously he didn't care. He laughed and stepped out of the Jacuzzi with a kicking and protesting Kaori in his arms, and began walking up to the pool. Kaori flailed in a panic and started to shout.
"Psymohn! PSYMOHN! NO! IT WILL BE COLD! PLEASE PSYMOHN, DO NOT THROW ME IN!" Kaori was at least going to make this as difficult as possible for him, kicking her legs everywhere and reaching past his neck towards the others with a stretch of her hand. "HELP ME! HELP ME! MAKKU? ELISE!" But this made Psymon only quicken his pace towards the pool. Kaori could hear one or two people getting out of the Jacuzzi, hopefully to her rescue and not JP and/or Luther to help aide Psymon. He was steps away from the pool, and then one step, and then the very edge. He laughed more and held her out in front of him, right above the deep water. If he dropped her, she would plummet into what felt like ice cold water. She saw the people getting out of the Jacuzzi had been Elise and Eddie, who were laughing. This made Kaori smile out of the corner of her mouth, because it all must have been very amusing, but she still did not want to be dropped in that cold water. "Eliiiise! Eddie!" Kaori desperately reached and clung to Psymon's neck at the same time, thinking if he threw her in, he was at least going down with her.
"Aye, Psymon! C'mon man, that water's gonna be like ice after sittin' in there!" Eddie laughed, standing right next to Psymon. He tried to reach for Kaori, but Psymon simply held her out further away from them both, making Kaori hold into Psymon's biceps for what felt like her life.
"Ah, ah, ah!" Psymon smirked, jiggling Kaori. You try to reach for her, and I will drop her. Kur-SPLAT!" he said in her face, making Kaori whine more.
"Eliiiiseeee!" Kaori moaned, attempting again to reach for her. "Make him put me down!" Kaori pleaded, smiling a little as she spoke, making a pouting face at her. Elise was laughing as well, looking at Psymon.
"Oh, Psymon, come on! You'll make her freeze! Just put her down!" Elise reasonably tried to help Kaori out. Kaori looked at Psymon to see his reaction who rolled his eyes, showing he gave up.
"Oh, alright. You guys are no fun," Psymon sadly said and tried to make a pouting face like Kaori. After, he pulled Kaori back closer to him and breathed in her ear, the warmness compared to the cold air she was now in giving her goose bumps. "Sorry you never got your answer, midget…" Psymon whispered even quieter, his lips fully pressing against her ear. "But you know, you look kinda cute with all your hair down…" Psymon chuckled and pulled away slightly to see Kaori's face reddening with confusion and flattery, unsure of what to say. He held her out again, and Kaori's eyes widened.
"NO! PSYMOHN! IIE! IIE! PREASE! ONEGAI! PSYMOHN!" Kaori's kicks went back into hypermode, but Psymon had no problem controlling her.
"Don't worry Elise, I'll put her down right NOW!" Psymon began laughing once again as he dropped Kaori into the pool that created a satisfying splash.
Holy crap! Bet you guys didn't think you'd see the day I updated this! If I did this a few weeks later, it would have been almost a year! Crazy! Not sure why I got back into it, I haven't even played SSX Tricky since then. Just kinda saw it, worked on it for a few days, and here I am! I hope you same reviewers get to see this; I know you really wanted me to update, and I'm sorry it took so long! I hope I can keep going. Keep me strong & review! Thank-you guys for everything!