Chapter 13

Monday, Valentine's Day, Mikan's home, around 4pm

When Mikan got home from school, she found a package waiting on her doorstep. It was a square box wrapped in crimson red foil with a black ribbon on it. The card attached had her name on it.

She instantly recognized the handwriting.

It was Natsume's

Another fake Valentine's Day present.

She snatched up the box and brought it inside, shaking it against her ear. It didn't make a sound, but she wasn't the least bit curious about what was inside. Why should she care? The gift didn't mean anything. Just like the rose petals hadn't meant anything. It was all for show.

After hanging up her coat, Mikan tossed the box on the couch in the living room and headed into the kitchen. There she found her cat sitting in front of the sliding glass doors. Outside, on the other side of the glass, was a black cat.

"Even you have valentine!" Mikan told her cat.

After grabbing a handful of Oreos from the kitchen, Mikan went upstairs to her bedroom. She hadn't found a dress the day she went shopping, so she needed to search through her closet. It didn't matter what she wore, thought. Natsume wasn't going to notice.

Flipping through her hangers, Mikan pulled out a tangerine satin silk dress with spaghetti straps. She'd only worn it once, to her cousin's wedding in last May. When she bought the dress, her mom said that the color went perfect with her hair and skin tone and she's been right. She'd gotten tons of complication at the wedding.

Now that she knew what she was going to wear, she had to decide on how to do her hair. Up or down? If she wore it up, like she had at the wedding, she'd look more sophisticated. If she wore it down, she'd look hotter.

Definitely down.

She was putting the finishing touches on her makeup when the doorbell rang. That had to be Natsume. Since her parents were staying in the city after work to celebrate Valentine's Day, she had to answer the door. She wasn't used to walking in high heels so she went down the stairs slowly, holding on to the banister so she wouldn't fall.

When she opened the front door, Natsume stepped inside.

"You don't have to do that," she said as she closed the door behind him.

"Do what?"

"Pretend like you're interested. No one's watching."

"I wasn't pretending."

Mikan walked past Natsume to get her coat out of the hall closet. "Whatever."

Natsume grabbed Mikan's wrist and made her faced him. "Are you mad at me?"

Mikan casually snatched her hand away from Natsume. She didn't want him touching her because she liked it when he touched her. After tonight, there would be no more touching. She had to start getting used to it. "Why would I be mad?"

"You tell me," Natsume said. "This isn't about Kristy, is it?"

Mikan laughed. "Kristy? I haven't thought about her at all," she lied

Natsume walked past her and block her from walking any further. Hehe studied her from head to toe. "You look really pretty, but something's missing."

"Missing?"

"You didn't open up the gift I left for you."

Mikan had forgotten all about it. She dropped her coat on a chair and went into the kitchen to retrieve Natsume's gift. When she returned to the front hall, she found her cat meowing and rubbing herself against Natsume's legs. Traitor!

"She likes me." Natsume said, petting her cat on the head.

"All the girls like you," Mikan said as she tore away the wrapping paper on the box. When she lifted back the lid of the box, she gasped. She couldn't believe what she was seeing. Nestled against a bed a bed of black velvet was a necklace with a heart-shaped pendant.

The same necklace she saw Natsume buying at the Bring the Bling.

But he had bought it for Kristy Jenkins, hadn't her? She'd seen Kristy wearing this necklace in the photo Luna had shown her. What was going on?

"Aren't you going to say anything?" Natsume asked, stepping closer. "Do you like it?"

"Did you get a discount on these?" Mikan asked. "Buy two and get twenty-five percent off?"

"Discounted?" Natsume asked. "What are you talking about?"

Mikan angrily waved the box in Natsume's face. "I saw you buying his necklace in the Bring the Bling store. This is the same necklace Kristy Jenkins was wearing in the party."

"How do you know what?"

"Luna took great pleasure showing me picture of the two of you and I saw it on Kristy's neck."

"I didn't buy that necklace for Kristy, I bought it for you."

"Really?" Mikan skeptically asked.

"I did," Natsume insisted, his own temper starting to flare. "Why are you being so suspicious?"

"You're the one who's called the Heartbreaker, not me."

"When I ran into Kristy that day, she was wearing the necklace," Natsume explained. "I thought it was pretty, so I asked her where she bought it."

Mikan hadn't expected to hear that. If he hadn't bought the necklace for necklace, then that meant…

"You bought the necklace for me?" she squeaked, all her anger draining away. "Only me?"

"Isn't its oblivious Polka?" Natsume took the necklace out of the box and stepped behind Mikan, fastening it around her neck. "You never know when you're going to need to buy a present for someone special."

"Someone special?" she asked in disbelief

"I don't how you did it but you sure made me fall deep down." Natsume hugged her tight and whispered into her ear. "I can't remember the last time I had so much time with someone. I don't want it to end after tonight."

Mikan wanted to pinch herself. Was she dreaming? This couldn't be real, could it? Natsume was telling her the words she'd been longing to hear.

"You don't?" she pulled away, and stared into his crimson eyes.

"I don't." Natsume' eyes soften. "Why don't you think we try this for real?"

Before Mikan could answer, Natsume move his face closer to her and gave her a kiss. It was long, slow, deep kiss that was just wonderful as the last one he'd given her. It was the perfect Valentine's Day kiss.

"So, will you keep going out with me?" Natsume asked when the kiss ended. "Will you be my girlfriend for real?"

"Yes," Mikan laughed, giving Natsume a hug. "Yes, yes, yes! But only one thing."

"What?"

"Stop calling me Polka!"

Valentine's Dance

"Where's Luna?" Miyuki asked Natalie as they stood on the dance floor of the auditorium and waited for Principal Satoshi to announce which couple had been voted Most Romanic and thus, wining the competition. "I haven't seen her all night. This is the moment she's waiting for."

"Don't know and don't care," Natalie said as she held Tom's hand.

Chizuko Miyagi, who was standing behind Miyuki and Natalie, struck her head between them.

"Didn't you hear?"

"Hear what? Natalie asked

"You mean you don't know?" Chizuko gasped, a look of glee washing over her face as she got ready to drop her bombshell. "Luna's got chicken pox!"

"No wonder she was scratching herself like crazy this afternoon during lunch." Miyuki said.

"Well serves her right for being evil." Natalie said

"She's home in bed covered with pink calamine lotion," Chizuko said. "I went to see her on my way to the dance. She was not happy."

Miyuki giggled, clasping a hand over her mouth. Then she started to laugh.

"What's so funny?" Chizuko asked.

"Luna said she wanted to wear pink for Valentine's Day," Miyuki chuckled. "And now she is!"

-Watery1997-

"And the winners for Most Romantic Couple are…"

"Think we're going to win?" Natsume asked Mikan as they waited to hear which couple's name would be announced.

"I don't know. And it really doesn't matter to me."

"Why's that?"

Mikan snuggled closer to Natsume. "Because I got exactly what I wanted for Valentine's Day."

-Watery1997-

"Maybe we'll be competing as Most Romantic next year," Dexter whispered to Miyuki as they watched Principal Satoshi open the sealed envelope in his hand.

"And the winners are Celia Armstrong and Freddy Keenan!" he announced. Applause broke out as Celia and Freddy walked to the front of the auditorium.

"You think we'll still be together a year from now?" Miyuki asked Dexter as everyone stepped off to the sides so Celia and Freddy could have the dance floor all to themselves.

A romantic song began as they started dancing.

"Are you ready to break up with me already?" Dexter joked

"Of course not! I just don't need someone else telling me if my boyfriend is romantic," Miyuki said, thinking of the bouquet of pink roses and box of chocolates Dexter had given her when he'd come to pick her up that night. "My opinion is the only one that matters."

"So, how am I doing so far?" Dexter asked, leading Miyuki onto the dance floor as other couples began joining Celia and Freddy.

"I want you to be mine," Miyuki said as she stepped into his arms and gave him a kiss. "All mine."

-Watery1997-

When there was break between songs, Mikan raced over to Hotaru's side. She'd texted her earlier to tell her and Natsume were dating for real, but Hotaru hadn't said anything about the latest developments in her own love life. "Who is this hunk you're with? Have you been holding out on me? I want details and I want them now! You didn't tell me you were coming to the dance and you didn't tell me you'd be bringing a date!"

Hotaru pulled him over and introduce him to Mikan. "That's Ruka. He works at the pizzeria with Natsume."

"Where did you meet him?"

"Last night, I ordered a pizza, and he was the one who delivered. He offered to be my date for this dance and I accept. It won't hurt."

The music started again. "Got to go." Hotaru said as she pulled Ruka towards the dance floor. "Talk to you later."

As Mikan watched Hotaru and Ruka start dancing to a slow song, Natsume came by her side.

"Feeling like another dance?"

Mikan couldn't get enough of being with Natsume. She wanted to dance with him all night. She took him by the hand and walked back out onto the dance floor.

"I wish his night would never end!" she exclaimed as she wrapped her arms around Natsume's neck and leaned into him.

"Having a good time?"

"The best!"

"Can I ask you a question, Mikan?"

She looked at Natsume in surprise. "I think that's the first time you've called me by my name. Usually, I'm Polka."

"That's only when I'm trying to push your buttons. I know it drives you crazy."

"And now?"

"I'm being serious."

"I kind of like it when you call me Polka," Mikan confessed. "Even if I act like I don't. It makes me feel special." She gazed up at Natsume. "So what did you want to ask me?"

"Be mine?"

"Only if you promise to be mine"

"All mine." And then he sealed it with a kiss.