A/N: This is my second fanfic, but the first for one of my all-time favorite mangas, Ai Yori Aoshi. The premise of this story is what if Tina Foster didn't run away on her journey around the world and told Kaoru how she felt. By the way, I still prefer the canon AoiXKaoru pairing, but I thought that this would be interesting.

Disclaimer: Ai Yori Aoshi is the creation of Fumizuki Kou. I do not own it; I'm just playing with it. LOL!

Taking a Chance: An Ai Yori Aoshi story

Chapter 1

"Well," a young woman said to herself, "this is why I came back to Japan. I wanted to make memories, right? C'mon Tina, let's do this!" With that Tina Foster, an American raised in Hakata, raced off across the Meiritsu University campus, after her favorite target. She had met Hanabishi Kaoru early in their first year. He was reasonably handsome, but that is not why the blue-eyed blonde was attracted to him. It was the loneliness in his brown eyes that matched her own.

Tina's family moved from Texas to Hakata when she was just five. They lived there until her father's job transferred him back to the States her sophomore year in high school. She had a really difficult time making friends in both places, but it was worse when she went back to Texas for high school. She had spent too much time in Japan to understand her American classmates. What separated her from them was her Japanese worldview and ironically enough, her work ethic. Compared to her classmates in Hakata, she was considered a bit lazy. However, she was a straight-A student in Texas. Ultimately, she missed Japan and convinced her parents to allow her to attend college there.

Tina had first noticed Kaoru in Intro to Stats. He didn't join in discussions with other students much. He was one of the top students in class, but he wasn't arrogant about it. There was an air about him that fascinated her, so she began to initiate conversations with him about class work. Eventually, they became friends, and Tina started dragging him to the Meiritsu photo club that she had joined. After a few months, her feelings for Kaoru evolved from not being able to leave him alone to what she now recognized as love. Frankly, it scared the hell out of her. She had never been in love before so she had no idea how to proceed. She wanted to be closer to Kaoru, but she was afraid that he didn't feel the same, and if that was the case, then she wouldn't be able to be by his side any more. That was the worst.

As she approached the club room, her cell phone rang. She heard an American voice on the other end. It was a man who started in halting Japanese, "Hello, is this Tina Foster? I am Mick Rivers. I own a magazine that your father's company does business with. The reason for my call is that your father mentioned that you were a really talented photographer, and I need a freelancer to do a few shoots for me. The job would take you around the world, and you would be gone for about a year. It would pay fifty thousand dollars U.S. What do you say?" He took a breath, finally.

Tina was flabbergasted. She didn't what to say. She thought a moment and said, "I just started University. I'm not sure that I could just drop my classes and leave."

Mick chuckled, "If that's what you are worried about, I can talk to a friend of mine on the Meiritsu board and have him leave an open spot for you when you returned."

"Please," Tina began, "can I think about it for a week? I have to talk to my parents. I'm not sure that they would want me interrupting my education. I do want to be a professional photographer, and if you are for real, then this is a chance for me to begin that career. Can you call me back one week from today, please? Thank you."

Tina heard silence on the other side while Mick was thinking about it. Finally, he answered, "Absolutely. I will call you in a week. Take care, goodbye," Mick said hanging up before Tina could respond.

Tina closed her phone and slumped to the ground. 'What am I going to do?' she thought. 'If I go, I may never tell Kaoru my feelings, and he might fall in love with another girl. If I don't then I will miss the career chance of a lifetime. I am so lost.'

As she was sitting there, lost in thought, Kaoru approached and at down next to her, asking, "A penny for your thoughts, Tina?

Snapping out of her reverie, Tina laughed, "Oh, it's just you, Kaoru. I'm just thinking about Suzuki-senpai's suggestion for our photo club retreat. Can you believe that he actually thinks that anyone would want to go to a train museum for more than an hour?"

Kaoru smiled and replied, "It's better than Satou-senpai wanting to spend the retreat in Akihabara taking pictures of cosplay idols."

Tina smiled warmly for a moment, thinking 'I can't leave him. My career can wait. He's worth it.' As if this was what she was considering, she suggested, "Why don't we go to the ocean. Suzuki-senpai can take all the pictures he wants of the trains going there and Satou-senpai can take pictures of the girls in bikinis. It's a win-win!"

"That's a good idea, Tina," Kaoru said with more enthusiasm than she had seen in the time that she had known him.

Her heart melted again and she was sure that she couldn't leave him. Tina Foster was not going to run any more; she was ready to take a chance. Grabbing Kaoru's hand, she laughed, "Let's go tell them!"

A/N: I am going to continue this after I finish my Kimi no Iru Machi story. I just wanted to see what everyone thinks. Can I really let Tina get Kaoru or does Aoi ultimately get him anyway? Review and tell me…To be continued.