Hey there everyone! Here's a one-shot to tide you all over until I upload that next chapter of Family Vacation up! Hope you all like it!
And this is especially dedicated to Luna~! Hope you're feeling better!
It started with a phone call. One simple phone call changed his entire life. Sure, maybe that's a bit cliqué, but it was the truth, nevertheless. And he had to admit, he's sure as hell glad me made that call. Of course, he could say the same for the other party involved as well.
Around noon that day, Cloud called back home, not exactly in the best of moods. Three deliveries had just been canceled. And sure, while that meant he could go back home earlier, that also meant less money coming in. Money wasn't everything, he knew that, but it was pretty darn important when there were bills that needed to be paid.
So, he called home to let Tifa know that he would be there early – way earlier than he expected – and to save him a plate for dinner. Of course, it wasn't like she already did that anyway, always leaving him one in the microwave when he got back home late that night.
Her voice was... probably the most beautiful sound he could ever hope for. And just that one word lifted his spirits, even if for a moment.
"I wasn't expecting to hear from you for another few hours."
He sighed. "Three jobs got canceled. So, I'll be home in the next few hours. Probably around six." He bit his lip, trying to think of anything else to say. He looked around him for a minute, watching the children playing on the beach. It looked pretty serene, something he wanted more of in his life. "Uhm... the ferry from Costa won't leave for the next hour. It'll be another to get to Junon."
She giggled. What was she giggling about? "Cloud, why do you sound so nervous? It's fine, don't worry."
"I'm not nervous. Just a little... I'm just not in a good mood right now. Sorry."
"About your deliveries? Oh that's fine. I made enough tips this week to make it up, so it's okay Cloud. Don't worry about it so much." He heard a few things clamoring in the background, before she said, "How about this? I'll cook us a very nice dinner. One of your favorites! And I'll wear that dress you and the kids got me for my birthday. How does that sound?"
He blinked, straightening up and scratching the back of his head. Cloud was standing next to Fenrir, tapping his fingers on the handle. "Why are we dressing up to have dinner at... home? And, where are the kids?" It just occurred to him that he heard absolutely nothing in the background, besides a few things being moved around.
"Yuffie came to get them about an hour ago. They're spending the entire week with her in Wutai." There was water now, so he assumed she was washing dishes. "Why are we dressing up? Because! It would be fun! We never go out anywhere, and I can cook just as good as anyone else."
Better, Cloud thought with a smile. He scratched the back of his head again, listening to Tifa talk about her day, before telling her in full detail about his own. He had to admit, he really enjoyed speaking with her. By the time he hung up, his spirits had been lifted, almost totally. There was, he had to admit, a small smile on his face as he loaded onto the ferry to get to Junon, and he went it got off, he was going to speed as fast as he could back home.
When he got home, it was dark, nearly six o'clock in the evening. Wow. A hour and a half less time to get here than usual. That's something. And my prediction about getting here was right on time. He chuckled very lightly to himself, setting the kick-stand down after rolling into the garage. Stretching, he looked around, listening for a moment before making his way toward the steps that led to the back room of the bar. For some reason, he found always found himself watching for anything that could be potentially dangerous. He almost hated that quality about himself, always being extremely protective of his family. He just couldn't help it.
Opening the door, he walked in and immediately thought he had... died and gone to heaven. Another cliqué, but it was true! It smelled absolutely wonderful in that house! He couldn't help but close his eyes for a moment, just inhaling and reveling in the scents that he knew could only be from Tifa's cooking. How could I ever get on in life without that woman? That was a question that actually could be answered literally.
Before he knew it, nimble fingers blocked his vision. Instead of getting tense, Cloud relaxed a little more.
"Hey there," a woman giggled behind him.
"Hey," he replied, turning around and wrapping his arms around her. This really wasn't unusual. He always gave her a large bear hug when he walked in the door, if she was up. Tifa replied with the same gesture, snuggling her nose into his chest. He felt her inhaling, taking in everything that was him, and he did the same, his nose in her hair. It smelled like strawberries, like she'd just washed it. Damn she smells good. He hugged her tighter, before letting her go, and holding her out. I thought I felt something... silky. Other than her skin.
"You look... wonderful." He almost couldn't find a word for how she looked. She was wearing a purple silk and cotton dress that was one-shouldered. Tifa laughed, and he turned her hand slightly to signal for her to turn around. She did so, twirling, and he saw the other side of the dress was laced across her back, down right to her lower back. He bit his lip. Okay so... I wasn't expecting her to look like that in this dress. Cloud felt himself getting... excited, and one side of his mouth hitched up in a smile. "Okay, I've got to take a shower now, and get dressed. You're making me look bad."
She outright laughed at him. "Stop it! Go, hurry. Dinner's almost done." She reached up, giving him a small peck on the cheek, before walking past him into the kitchen. He watched her walk away for a moment, before shaking his head and making his way up the stairs.
After showering, Cloud made his way to his room, one bigger towel wrapped around his waist, another smaller one in his hands, running through his hair. He shook his spiky locks for a moment, before quickly rubbing the towel through his hair once more. That's much better. Being out on the road never necessarily got... old, but being away from home did sometimes. And being away from my own room, and my own shower, in my own house. He approached his bed, a button-up shirt and black pants waiting for him. The pants had suspenders attached to them. Contrary to popular belief, there were still a lot of people in Edge who wore suspenders for their dress pants. Not to mention he'd heard they look nice on him.
A knock at the door made him turn away from the clothes he'd laid out right before getting in the shower. "Yeah?" he asked, and it opened, before Tifa's head peeped in through the crack. She had a smile on her face, before it quickly went away, as well as her head (although she couldn't disappear fast enough for Cloud to not notice how beet red she got).
"Why didn't you say you weren't dressed?"
"Tifa, I didn't think it was a big deal. It's not like I'm completely naked; I have a towel."
"That's not the point!" she whined, refusing to go any further than the door. "I just wanted to tell you that dinner was ready!" He didn't even get a chance to respond before the door was closed, and he heard her clicking back down the hallway.
Cloud shook his head. That woman, I swear sometimes... She amazed him, and in more ways than just one. So, he decided that he wanted to get dressed as quickly as possible so that he could enjoy as much of this evening as he could. As much time with her as I can. Because, in their lives, he tried to live every second he possibly could with her; through everything, Cloud has learned to treasure her more than he thought he ever could.
Tifa opened up a cabinet below the counter, fingering through her wines before she decided on a red one that she thought would be just right for this occasion. She placed in on the counter, before grabbing the edge, her thoughts clouded slightly as the sight she'd just witnessed crossed her mental vision again. How was that not a big deal to him! I walked in on him! She'd be thoroughly pissed off with Cloud if he had just walked in on her without knocking, towel or no. Then again, women had more to cover up than men did. And I have more than most women... She sighed, looking down at herself. She knew she was... well-endowed, and she knew that they weren't that big. It's just that they were over-exaggerated, all the time. She hated it when guys stared at her, ogling her and licking their lips, aroused by their thoughts of their fantasies. It's disgusting. And the sad part was, she'd never do it, with any of them. Except one...
It amazed her sometimes when she caught Cloud staring at her, whether she was walking away, or paying attention to something else, she could see him some of the time, his eyes dropping to wander over the length of her frame. Thinking about it made her shiver, but not from thinking he was a creep. When he did it, she almost... liked it, but only from him. It was a bit strange to her, but she couldn't figure it out. And she felt like he did like her, but she hoped it was for more reasons than just her assets.
She shook her head, trying her best not to think about him in that way, for every time she did, she felt herself getting hotter than usual. Tifa took a breath, before pouring two glasses of wine and setting them on a booth she had put tablecloth on, before going back for their plates and utensils and other things. When the table was set, she stepped back to look at it, and, feeling quite satisfied, smiled to herself. She stayed still for a moment, listening to the soft song playing in the background, thinking that would help set a nice mood.
Heavy footsteps came next, down the stairs, before the man behind them emerged at the bottom of the stairs. Tifa smiled, while trying her best not to seem schoolgirl-ish. Oh God, look at him... He had on a crisp white button-up shirt, with black slacks with matching suspenders. He was... dressed up, but looked a bit casual as well. Tifa found him... ravishing, and maybe that was partly because she didn't see him in clothes like that too often. He looked a little uncomfortable, but she assumed that was because he wasn't used to it either.
He walked over to her, a smile on his face. "How do I... look?" He gulped, his eyes not really on her face, but on another corner of the room entirely.
She put a hand on his cheek, making him face her. "You look fantastic Cloud." Her eyes traveled from his eyes to his feet, and back again. Tifa found herself at a loss for words for a second, before gaining her thoughts back. "And I mean really... fantastic."
One side of his mouth curled slightly upward, as he bent down to kiss the top of her head lightly. "Thanks. Have I told you the same yet?"
Tifa giggled."Yes. Yes, you have." She looked up at him, gesturing toward the booth. "Sit down! Let's have dinner hm?"
He looked at the food, sliding into his seat, and he felt a little better than before. "You weren't kidding when you said my favorite. But can I ask you something?" He watched as she eyed him questioningly, tilting her head slightly to one side. "How is meatloaf a really... dressy... kind of dinner?"
Tifa threw her head back and laughed. "Cloud!" He chuckled with her, but for the most part, he found himself just listening to her, reveling in the sounds of her laughter. "That's not the point! I didn't want to make some stuffy, supposedly elegant dinner. I wanted to make something we could both enjoy." She bit her lip, then added, "And something we're going to feel like having for leftovers tomorrow, and the day after if we have any left."
"That's true... I tend to eat a lot of your food, and I could only imagine why." She giggled at him, before cutting into her meatloaf and taking a bite.
As they ate, they talked and laughed and reminisced for a while, about everything they could possibly think of. And when the food was gone and they didn't want to eat anymore, they found themselves talking still, until they realized how late it had gotten.
Around eleven, Tifa's eyes wandered to the clock on the wall, and she gasped. "Holy wow! I didn't know it had been that long!"
Cloud turned around, looking at the same thing, before shrugging and settling back into his seat. "It didn't seem that long did it?"
"No... it didn't." Tifa traced an invisible pattern on the tablecloth, looking down at it, and not at him. He stayed there, watching her, wondering if he had done something wrong. "Cloud... can I ask you a question?"
His eyes never strayed from her face, his attention devoted only to her. "Of course. What is it Teef?"
She stopped her fingers, but still didn't look up. "I've been thinking about something..."
"Uhm... well, remember how you... you promised me you would be there for me whenever I needed you?"
"I could never forget that Tifa."
She looked up at him. There was something in his voice, some sadness that she knew was probably always there whenever he thought about leaving her in Nibelheim the day after making that promise. "Well... I wanted to uhm...," her eyes wandered again from him, "I just wanted to thank you, for always being there for me. For everything you've ever done for me, I wanted to say thank you for that." Her gaze snapped onto his, and there was something there... something she hadn't really noticed until now. And it was that that locked her eyes with his. "Because... because this dinner was to cheer you up, and to do something nice, but it was also to thank you for everything you've ever done for me. For just... for just being there, all the time, for being... for being the greatest friend I could have ever asked for."
Cloud didn't know what to say to her. He wanted to say something like, "You're welcome," but that would almost sound like he didn't care, that answer was so mechanical. But he couldn't think of anything past that to say, so he sat there, staring at her, his thoughts jumbled. Tifa sighed, looking away from him, before sliding out of the booth. Cloud blinked, hurrying out and grabbing her hand. Tifa stopped, staring up at him, her eyes sparkling. She must think I've completely ignored her... Cloud smiled, his thumbs sliding across her cheeks right under her eyes.
He remembered the song playing, and pulled her into the middle of the room. Tifa blinked at him, not exactly understanding what he was doing. He placed one hand on the small of her back, keeping the fingers of the other laced with her own. Tifa gulped, biting her lip as a smile came to her face. She wanted to ask, but decided to just let him lead. To the song, they danced for... for however long it had been, she didn't keep track. Tifa didn't want to him. They swayed and glided across the floor, and the whole time her gaze never strayed from his own, and neither did his. She just wanted that moment to never end, for it to continue on and on until time ended itself. She was... on a cloud when he began dancing with her, and when it ended, she almost wanted to keep going. Too bad she felt as if her legs were going to give way.
Cloud held her in his arms, his forehead resting on top of her own. She stared into that deep blue abyss, as he did into her wine-colored orbs, getting lost without even noticing it.
"You don't need to thank me for anything. I did everything I could for you because I wanted to, because you deserve so much." He saw a single tear roll down her face. His lips found her cheek, kissing down to her chin. He could faintly feel her lips against his as he spoke to her. "Tifa...?"
She gulped, hesitant to speak, for fear of her voice breaking. "Yes Cloud?"
"I do everything I can for you because... because of the love I have for you. The love that I've always had for you, the love that will never, ever die."
Her eyes closed, several more tears rushing past their gates. Her head came down onto his chest as she pressed her body against his even more than before. She didn't know what to say, and it occurred to her that this night seemed to be full of speechless thoughts. "Cloud..." she whispered, and she felt his nose in her hair again, nuzzling her in comfort. There was a lump in her throat that prevented her from saying anything more, anything other than his name, but she felt as if he understood what she wanted to say. It felt as if this barrier, a very thin one, had been broken between him and her, and she could grasp everything he felt and thought, and vice versa.
"I know, Tifa. I know."
She smiled into his shirt, nodding, refusing to deny anything else to him again. It had taken too long for this to come, but now that it was finally here, she couldn't complain.
All because of one phone call. All because of a dance.
Yaaay! It's done! And now, back to multi-shots~
Please review~! That would be the best thing in the world!
Thanks for reading!