Hey guys!

So it's certainly been a while, hasn't it? Sorry about the slow updates guys- if you follow my Twitter (Inspire_Sarah : PLEASE FOLLOW ME FOR UPDATES AND SNEAK PEEKS!), you would know that I've had my major exams a few weeks ago, I had an (almost) end of year party yesterday night (in fact, my head still kind of hurts) and I'm actually going overseas for 2 weeks tonight...which also means, no updates for the next 2 weeks...boo ):

I know some of you guys are disappointed and I really appreciate how much love and care you dedicate to my stories. Your support really does mean the world to me. So I want to say a really special thanks to those who reviewed the last chapter, including: badgirlplayin, Angel-of-Energy, Sunshiningdays581, Black Thoroughbred Filly, KarmaHope, RandomRandoms14, Mizmal BTR Fan, minimaddi, NOOOO-ITS-ASYMMETRICAL, ThePinkWriter and romancefanficnerd!

Happy reading guys! I'll be back with more shortly- and that's a promise! And while I'm gone, please spam me with your reviews and alerts and favourites! You have no idea how much I smile when I see your feedback on my stories! (:

WARNING: This chapter is very short compared to the others because the next chapter will be quite long, for sakes in regard to continuity.

DISCLAIMER: As always, I do not own the Troop.


Chapter 19: It's Not Over

If I thought my little confession to Jake would've made him finally mine, I would've been incredibly and irrevocably delusional.

Although a few seconds had only passed, an eerie silence filled through the room. I could hear the faint chirping of crows and the scent of freshly cut grass wafted up my nostrils. The dull pitter-patter of the fridge in the corner of the deserted kitchen raided through my ear drums as the slams of car doors and slight whispers coming from those outside invaded my internal world to leave me wordless and breathless.

I mean, what was Jake supposed to say to my confession? Of course, I expected him to say he loved me too, or at least say he liked me...but that didn't seem to happen did it? His brown orbs overwhelmed my senses as I struggled to stay on my feet. My suddenly clammy palms gripped onto the cool marble bench behind me, before Jake leaned close and my heart stopped as his warmth breath tickled against my flushed right ear.

"Hayley..." he murmured huskily; my insides melting into chocolate, "I...we...Leanne, Hayley. I can't do this to Leanne,"

My body visibly stiffened as he brought his girlfriend's name into our conversation. I totally had forgotten about Leanne and him, as I was always hinted that since he didn't return back to Lakewood with her, they had broken up or decided to take a break, although now, it seemed I had been mistaken. A sharp, unfamiliar tingle spread its way through my chest and I felt like I was choking; like I was dying. My eyes started to sting with hot, fresh tears but no- I would not cry. I should've known the consequences of my confession and that Jake's heart still belonged to Leanne; but most of all, I should've known that no matter what the circumstances and what the situation was- Jake and I could never be together.


I cut him off before he made me yearn for him any more with that extremely smooth-like-honey voice of his. "No, Jake, I understand. I get it. We're just friends. No, we're just Troop teammates- that's all we'll ever be, right?" I spat spitefully as his face slackened.

"No Hayley, of course we'll friends-"

"Jake, stop deluding yourself!" I screamed; interrupting him once again. I pushed him slightly and turned around so I could back him up into the bench to show who really had the authority here. "We're not friends! Friends don't avoid each other. Friends don't share a bed together. And friends, most definitely, do not kiss each other. What are we then, Jake? Tell me, what the hell do you really want us to be?"

The gold flecks in his eyes suddenly became more evident, as my glassy orbs stared at him with not anger- but frustration. Ever since this trip to Japan, I had been so confused on what grounds Jake and I stood on. When we kissed- I thought we were more. But then, he'd prove me wrong, and there came back uncertainty. Doubt didn't stand well with me, which was probably why I had just blown up in Jake's face.

"I...I don't know," Jake eventually muttered out. He didn't sound angry about my childish outbursts, but instead, he seemed strangely calm, even when he was confused himself.

"Well then," I waved off as I rolled my eyes at him, "Tell me when you do know,"

Jake didn't even bother to chase after me as I stormed out of the kitchen; my face hot and my temper for him even hotter. If even he was unsure of what we exactly were, then there really was no reason for me to be 'over-reacting'. I walked out of the main door of Yuki and Keiko's house, only to crash into my favourite Japanese boy.

"Hey Hayley, I was just about to call you and Jake out!" Akira chuckled, until his face fell as he looked at me. "Hey, what is wrong?"

"Akira, can we talk about it later? I really am not in the mood to talk," I sighed; brushing past him and taking my seat at the back of the car.

Akira's mouth formed into a thin line as his dark eyes stared at me gloomily before he turned on his heel and proceeded back into the house. I ran a tired hand through my unruly hair, and closed my eyes for a split second, until the engine rumbled and Yuki poked at me with a cold, bony finger.

"Are you going to tell me why everyone is so upset all of a sudden? Jake did not even finish even one bowl of udon, Akira is ignoring Keiko and you just slept in the car for twenty minutes," Yuki pointed out blankly.

Oh, so I didn't close my eyes for a split second...

"It's nothing, Yuki; just the usual," I laughed shakily, "Just problems between Jake and I again- it really is not a big deal,"

"Not a big deal?" Yuki shrieked. I gulped; scared that now she would be pissed at me too, "We are all suffering because of you and Jake. Can you just get off your high horse and confess you have feelings for him to him so you guys can officially get together?"

"You don't think I've tried, Yuki?" I hissed back. I was clearly appalled with the tone Yuki had shouted all her accusations in. "I told him everything, ok? I told him I loved him. I told him I needed him more than anything in this world. But...he has Leanne and I truly am happy for him- I really am. True love is a beautiful thing but I just wish..."

My voice broke and Yuki shuffled closer to me and wrapped her pink-jumper-clad arms around my shivering form. "I just wish it was me," I cried; tears finally spilling from my exhausted slits, "I just wish I had been his true love,"

Fifteen minutes later, Yuki had somehow convinced me to come inside the house again to wash my tear-stained face- most likely, a good idea, considering I had an eight or so hour flight ahead of me, and the last thing I wanted after a broken heart and a long plane trip was to have a dry face from my dried tears. Felix had finished taking a shower and so he smelt fragrant as he came down the stairs, which weirdly enough, turned Yuki from a cute and innocent girl into a flirt machine. Felix didn't seem to mind though, as he ceased more opportunities to capture her mouth with his. I didn't mind this at first, until Yuki informed Felix of what I had done. At first, he seemed content that I had finally admitted such a thing, but then, he scowled and I was left to wonder what this all meant.

Keiko took ten of the fifteen minutes convincing Akira to send us to the airport. After my obnoxious behaviour to choose to not tell him anything, even when he had always been there for me, he turned cold and moody- back to the old Akira that I had first met back in Lakewood. Reluctantly, he held Keiko's hand as they descended the stairs and hopped into another car to follow ours to the airport.

This, of course, made it extremely awkward for Jake and me. We were both sitting at the back of the car, behind Yuki and Felix, with our carry-on bags in between us. Although we were less than a metre away from each other, it felt like more- like we were being separated by something greater than the Grand Canyon: our own feelings.

Soon enough, we were at the Tokyo International Airport. Everyone remained quiet and did not exchange any meaningful words or gestures for the next two hours. There would be an odd 'please' or 'thankyou'- but other than that, no one said a word. I liked to think that this was everyone's odd way of saying how much we appreciated working with each other, despite our differences in techniques of monster-fighting and culture from the very beginning, and how much we'd really miss each other after the Lakewood Troop and Yuki, finally left for our hometown again. But, the nagging voice in my mind only further convinced me that it was my fault for the awkward atmosphere that had somehow developed over the past two hours.

There was a long queue for checking-in to our flights, so Keiko, as a friendly action to, maybe, break the tension between us, asked Akira to get us some food. Jake's stomach grumbled and everyone except me uttered an entertained giggle. Yuki shot daggers at me when I remained stoic, and, not being able to deal with her, I turned my head and watched the second hand of the clock tick away.

"Ok, I am sick of not knowing what is going on," Keiko growled as she folded her arms over her chest. "Tell me what's up with the grumpy behaviour,"

"Grumpy behaviour?" Yuki squealed viciously, "You are the one who has the grumpy behaviour towards me! Ever since I got accepted into the art school of my dreams, you have been upset at my achievements because you are usually the one who gets anything and everything. You speak nicely towards me because everyone wants that, but Keiko, tell me- do you want to be happy for me? That I am finally chasing my dreams and my passion, yet you still have to find one?"

Keiko's face went lax and everyone stood there in awe. Yuki had exploded into a million questions and exposed her true feelings- something she had never done with her sister in the spotlight. I had certainly not expected that, and neither had Jake or Felix. Felix attempted to calm her down as he placed his hand on her shaking shoulder, but, instead of embracing his touch, she shrugged it off. Her strong gaze never left Keiko's suddenly shy one.

"Akira and I do not need this from you- especially you, Yuki," Keiko snapped; gritting her teeth. "We came here in terms of honour and integrity to see you off at the airport and this is how you repay me?"

"Keiko!" Yuki screamed with frustration. My eyes glanced to Jake for a second and weirdly enough, he had just so happened to turn his head and meet mine as well. My heart skipped a beat and I quickly looked away before I got lost in his chocolate-coloured orbs. "This is not about you! This is about the lack of respect you give to me and how it breaks your spirit to see me leave this place! Why will you not speak to me about this?"

"Because," Keiko breathed. "There is nothing to speak about. I feel like a burden to our family that you are off seeking your dream; our father is a big businessman travelling the world and our mother has a fantastic career and can still take care of our family. I may be smart and intelligent, but I have no dream. I have no ambitions. I am enjoying life right now- even when I know I should be worried about the future. Is it not scary to see your younger twin sister actually have the courage to follow her dreams? I think it truly is,"

None of us could speak- or even think properly after Keiko had spoken her mind on what she really was feeling after Yuki told her the news that she could no longer stay in Tokyo with her, as she needed to attend some prestigious school to follow her artistic career.

"Keiko," Yuki said softly as she hugged her sister tightly, "I love you, Keiko. You are my favourite and only sister and even though you have not found your calling yet- I know you will. You are destined too,"

Akira soon came back with meals for everyone, and as we munched on French Fries and cheese burgers, there was a new, fresh air between the six of us. Keiko and Yuki were closer than ever before, while Jake and Akira seemed to be bonding even more now. It was almost time to board when I realised I had yet to apologise to Akira for not being a good friend and telling him what was on my mind.

I tapped Akira's shoulder and his dark eyes whipped around and stared at me with a bored expression. The intensity of his eyes had somehow grown over the past few hours, and he seemed deep in thought, as I began to open my mouth. Jake was standing next to Akira, but he was at an angle to Akira, and Felix, Yuki and Keiko were making jokes at his expense. I couldn't help but smile at that.

"I'm sorry, Akira," I sighed, "I should've told you everything from the beginning since I was upset. It was about Jake, as always, and I'm sorry for not telling you earlier,"

"No, Hayley, it is my fault that I did not respect your decision to tell me later. I have been known for my impatience, so please do excuse me for that," Akira explained, before swinging an arm around my shoulders.

"I know I've said this before, Akira, but I'm going to miss you so much," I pouted as I lay my head on his strong chest.

"I am going to miss you too, Hayley. It will be very different with just Keiko and I. Of course we can have more alone time, but it will certainly not be the same," he sighed. Akira leaned down and his forehead touched mine, so I could smell his musky scent. I felt a cold gush of wind prickle its way up my naked arms and I closed my eyes involuntarily.

"Akira...what are you-"

And suddenly, there was a scream; a gasp; a cackle; before a pair of thin lips silenced me.

CLIFFHANGERS ARE...horrible, don't you think? :P
Sorry for ending it there guys, I'm going to be late for my flight if I don't leave and update now!
Updates in 3 weeks- be sure to mark your calendar!

Sorry again for the short chapter- you'll have to review to see what happens next! I promise it'll be a long one! (:

Get excited and hope to hear from you soon!