PART 1. Arrival
"We're here." Ichigo grinned as he parked on the sandy road in front of the wooden house, and two other cars behind followed his movement.
"Hooray!" Orihime shouted happily in the backseat, waking Rukia up. She seemed a bit disoriented with the surroundings. Her eyes focused on Ichigo, who had just opened his seat belt and was getting out of the car.
"Is this it…?" Rukia rubbed her eyes and stretched arms, while the rest was already picking their luggage from the trunk. She dragged herself out of the vehicle, still a little dizzy from the nap, when she noticed almost unrealistic beauty of the place where they were supposed to spend next week. The ground was really soft, she felt the grains of sand getting into her flip flops. She opened her mouth a little and stared at the coniferous forestjust a few meters from her. The scent was unbelievable, the freshness of the trees mixed with salt and breeze from the ocean made her take deeper breaths. A small thrill of excitement ran down her spine.
"Rukia! Look over there! There's ocean out there! Come on!" Before Rukia realized what was happening, Orihime was already pulling Rukia's hand and running towards the water with breathtaking speed. She only observed her flowing ginger hair and citrus yellow dress, trying to match her steps.
"Guys, come with us! Hurry up, the sun is going down!" the redhead screamed back, still not slowing down, but the rest willingly left towards the water, leaving the bags next to the cars and chatting cheerfully about the wonderful accommodation.
Orihime and Rukia reached the coast, threw away their shoes and soaked their feet into the warm water.
"Whoa, it's so warm! Come on!" Orihime gasped and dragged Rukia further, not bothering about wetting the hem of her dress- the water was already reaching upper part of their tighs, yet Inoue was still going further.
"Orihime, stop right here, I don't want to be totally soaked just at the beginning!" Rukia laughed at how typical for her the action was and swirling her palms on the surface of the water. "It's so clear, I can see the bottom, I can't believe it."
Orihime's eyes went down and widened. "Absolutely amazing… I can see the seashells! Look!" She pointed and Rukia bent a little to see better.
"Hey you two! Haven't you forgotten your bikinis?" Renji shouted from behind, rolling his long jeans up to his knees.
"We're not swimming, jackass! Just making a research." Rukia shouted back and took a step further, wetting completely her jeans shorts, but leaving enough space not to wet her white, silk blouse, which she has bought only few weeks ago for, particularly for this journey.
"And? Did you find out something more that it can wet your pants?" He retorted back with a smirk.
"Guys, guys, let's relax, we're on holiday!" Matsumoto adjusted her straw hat as she entered the water.
"Whatever." Rukia mumbled, watching Inoue trying to catch some water plants and seashells.
"I have never been on the seaside before, how about you, Rukia?"
"Neither was I. It's wonderful." She said with a smile and looking dreamily at the colorful show that begun in front of her. The water miles away was slowly becoming orange… what reminded her of Ichigo. She hasn't seen him anywhere around, but there will be more time for them later. So she only scowled and continued staring at the sky and ocean.
When the orange turned into red and babbling behind her grew louder, as Matsumoto started to prattle with Renji, Hisagi and Toshiro at once, when Inoue lost interest in the plants and informed she was going to find Ishida, Rukia still stood in the water, as she was hypnotized.
From deep thought roused her a strong grip from behind around her waist. She smiled.
"Finally. I started to think you decided to go back home." She leaned her head back on her boyfriend's muscled chest and couldn't help but to think how happy she was to have such fantastic friends and a man she loved with all her heart.
"I just couldn't drag your suitcase out of the car." He leaned to her neck and placed a short kiss there. "Who would believe that such a small person needs so many things? For all my trouble, you have to be punished." After that he quickly lifted her up and threw to the water a few meters above, not to wet himself too much.
As she wynurzyć się, she clenched her fists with anger seeing his triumphant smirk.
"What were you thinking, dumbass? You just ruined my favorite shirt!" she pushed him hard on the chest.
"You are going to pay for this!" She was going to get him into the water too, pulling his hands, kicking his ankles underwater, but it was like fighting with the concrete statue. He didn't even move, amused gaze appearing on his face.
"You're too weak, midget. You are not even going to wet anything above my knees." He reached out and messed her hair, what only worsened Rukia's mood.
"Is that so?" she strained through gritted teeth and let go of his hands immediately.
"What is it? It's not like you to already give up… HEY!" He laughed as she splashed the water at him with all her force at him. She was working with her hands and legs, just to make him completely soaked, just as was she.
"Go get him, Rukia!" She heard Renji and Matsumoto cheering her up, while the rest laughed loudly.
"You little brat!" Ichigo brushed away wet orange strands, which were glued to his eyes, narrowing pole of vision.
"Told you you're going to pay for this." she threw her fringe to the back of her head with the fingers and smile of satisfaction lit her face.
He smirked again and Rukia really didn't like that spark in his eyes.
"What do you…" she started.
"So… Now when we're both wet…" he closed her in his arms, throwing them into the deeper place of the ocean.
After their heads had gone underwater, he searched for her lips and brushed it a few times with his playfully, tightening the grip on her before they broke the surface of the water and took a few deep breaths.
"You're crazy." Rukia mumbled, feeling how her anger slowly drifted away with the waves. That was until she realized they were somewhere, she couldn't reach the bottom with her toes. He held her firmly, but he definitely deserved to learn his lesson.
"Ichigo, go back immediately!" she shouted. "I can't touch the bottom!" and she threw her hands on his neck, terror written all over her face.
"Don't tell me you can't swim." He gasped with disbelief. Rukia nodded silently and clung to him even harder, wrapping her legs around his waist. He sighed at the action and soon after that he bent to whisper to her ear "I can, no worries."
"I know you can, fool, but the point is I can't, and it will be me who will drown after you drop me here."
"Hey you two lovebirds, we're going to the cottage, don't take too long out there! We're still going to throw a little party, so you know, don't get too worked out!" Renji sneered against them and waved as he turned around running to Inoue who was wrapped in Ishida's arm. Toshiro walked with Momo by his side along the coast, but it also seemed they were heading their accommodation.
"I'm gonna kick your ass for that later, you jerk!" Ichigo shouted back. "And I'll help him!" Rukia added, but Renji only waved his arm, not even bothering to turn his head around.
Ichigo started to walk back and furrowed his brows. "You really believe I would do that?"
"Kick his ass? You will, if not…"
"Not that, drop you here."
"Well, you already threw me into the water, how would I know you won't do that again?" she asked, trying to hold herself from showing any amused expression. Ichigo moved forward, hugging her again and placing another kiss on her neck.
"Because I would never let anything happen to you." She hugged him back, placing her head comfortably on his shoulder and waited until they completely got out of the water.
"OK, you can put me down. I think it's shallow here." She said, not making a move to free herself. It was nice hanging on him. Maybe a little too nice, she felt like she could go back to sleep right now.
"There's no way I'm gonna do that." He stated with determination, wrinkling his forehead. Rukia lifted her head from his shoulder, raising one eyebrow.
"And why is that, carrot top?"
"Stop calling me that, midget." he emphasized the last word. "Back to your question, you're whole soaked wet."
"And that disturbs me from walking?" she asked rolling her eyes. "Where did you get that stupid…"
"What I want to say is that your top is soaked wet and as much as I can tell, you might look a bit…revealed at the moment." He finished laughing at her. Rukia immediately jumped away from him. That is, as far as she could, not getting out of his grasp.
"Not that I minded, anyway." He said dryly, getting out completely out of the water and sending quick glance at her now exposed chest.
"Ichigo!" he grinned as he noticed embarrassment on her face. There was no good solution in this situation, so she only sighed and came back to her previous position. At least she didn't feel his eyes drilling into her skin.
As he walked down the beach, still with Rukia glued to his chest, she felt his palms caressing her tights, which only minute ago lied peacefully on her waist. His touch and slightly colder air caused her shivers.
"Are you cold?" he asked simply, not stopping touching her legs.
"I'll pick a blanket from my car to make you warmer…"
"You don't have to…"
"…and to cover yourself up."
"Right." Her head dropped down to hide a small blush.
It was slowly getting darker and there was still many things to do, like unpacking, changing their clothes or making some food. So Ichigo wrapped Rukia up in the checked blanket and brought her to his side, carrying a rucksack in the other hand, while Rukia slided her suitcase on the wheels behind her with grace. They walked together to the wooden cottage only a few steps from the cars.
They climbed creaking stairs and opened the door, where people were walking up and down and someone was arguing in the kitchen.
"What's up?" Ichigo asked Momo who was red on her cheeks, glancing at Matsumoto from the corner of the eye. They both froze at the sound of his voice.
"Nothing! Good luck, Momo!" with that Matsumoto escaped from the room, leaving speechless and obviously confused Momo in the middle of the kitchen. She started to fidget and uncomfortable silence fell between the three people.
"So, which one is my room?" Rukia asked, pulling her suitcase closer.
"Actually…" Hinamori rubbed her hair and looked really embarrassed. "There is only one left."
"What do you mean…? There was supposed to be accommodation for 9 people."
"I'm sorry Rukia, I have no idea how it happened, but there is only one room left. A room for...umm… couple." Her face was engine red right now. "And as you two came as the last… you have to share it." The last words were so quiet, Rukia had to make a step forward to hear her. "But it has its own bathroom! You won't have to use the common one! That's so cool right?" She exclaimed with affected enthusiasm.
"Momo… was it what you and Rangiku were arguing about? Which one of you will tell us the news?" Ichigo spoke with bored expression.
"Yes." She said simply turning away her face.
"Christ." Ichigo said combing his hair with the fingers.
"Momo, there has to be something. Maybe there is another room in the basement?" Rukia said without hope.
"There is no basement here, Rukia." Her sight was so apologetic, Rukia almost felt sorry for her. But hey, she was the one to be sorry about, right?
"Ichigo, do something. We can't be in one room!" she turned to him, putting her hands on the hips.
"Why not? Sounds fun, don't you think?" he grinned against her, took the suitcase out of her hand and spoke to really embarrassed Momo "That's OK, it happens. We're going to make it somehow. Which one is it?"
She lifted her head, a bit cheered up and pointed the ceiling. "The one on the second floor. It's really beautiful, I'm sure you're gonna like it!"
"ICHIGO!" Rukia yelled and ran after him.
"Be downstairs within 30 minutes, we're going to make something to eat!" Momo shouted from behind.
"We can't share the same room, Ichigo!" Rukia said as she caught him at the top of the stairs.
"Why not? It's just a common room, I'm not gonna eat you." He smiled, grabbed their luggage and pushed the door.
"Whoa, this is what I call luxury." He whistled with appreciation, taking a quick glance inside.
The room was beautiful, nobody could deny it. The walls were painted in the icy shade of blue, the carpet in the same color lied on the light parquet and the furniture reminded her of the sand on the beach. It all matched perfectly to each other, small details like pillows or artificial flowers were in the lavender tone, what made the space more domestic.
Big wardrobe was in the corner in front of the door; on its right side there was huge balcony window, with a view of the ocean. A little bit closer to Rukia, who walked breathless around the room, was tiny table, just for two people with chairs in amazing shape. It seemed like they were hand-sculptured. Behind the table was a door, which leaded to spacious bathroom with big bathtube, loads of oils, sponges and things Rukia saw first time in her life. It was really rich.
After her small exploration, Rukia took a deep breath and walked back to the room, where Ichigo was already unpacking his things to the wardrobe.
"Seriously, I'm surprised nobody took this room for themselves. I swear, even if we didn't have to I would take it without hestitation." He grinned. "Just look at that, we've even got the balcony, and if I'm not wrong there is a barbecue out there… let me see…" He opened the glass door without any effort and checked out the items outside.
"Yeah, there is one! I knew it. We could take it down, but I'm not sure if it's not too heavy… we'll see." Ichigo went back and placed the curtains back on their place.
"Ichigo…" Rukia started carefully. Did he really not see the problem in this room?
"Hmm…?" He came back to stuffing the furniture with his things.
"There is only one bed here." She ended, waiting for his reaction with arms folded on her chest.
"So?" Ichigo didn't stop unpacking, what was really annoying. It was a serious matter to discuss, and he still acted like… like Ichigo. Rukia sighed.
"You can't sleep with me, Ichigo." She said in don't-argue-with-me tone.
"Why not? Just look at it. It's huge, I won't even touch you." He dropped a shirt on the floor and dived under the rack so Rukia lost sight of his soaked orange hair for a second. "That is, unless you ask me to." He added with playful grin on his lips and Rukia immediately felt like throwing something to his goofy face.
"Pervert." She snorted and walked for her own luggage. She stood next to him and opened second wing of the wardrobe. "Whatever you say, you're not sleeping with me in the same bed. As far as I know there is some sofa in the living room on the ground floor, you could act like a real gentleman and use it."
"Gentlemen are idiots. I won't be sleeping on the extremely uncomfortable sofa, which is probably too short for me, if there is such a bed in here."
"You're saying no?" She threw her blouse into the wardrobe with so much force it fell with a muffled clap, her eyes narrowed.
"I'm saying no." He said turning to her and crossing his arms on his chest like an offended five year old.
"You're saying you're going to sleep with me, even if I don't want to?"
"Fine. I'm going down then. Enjoy your awesome bed while your girlfriend is going to suffer a great pain from hard and uncomfortable sofa, where her fragile bones will probably become permanently damaged, but do you care? Of course you don't…" she finished with dramatic sigh.
Ichigo however, seemed not to care about her performance. Why was he immune to her pleading looks? Maybe because they were insincere.
But they worked on everybody else.
"If you want to sleep on sofa, without any covers, instead of this- he walked towards the bed presenting it like in the tv advertisement- huge, brilliant, one of its kind BED, you have to be completely insane." He finished with his usual expression. "Not to mention that as a bonus, you get your superhot boyfriend to warm you up if you kick your blanket down." Rukia could not hold her laugh anymore at the last sentence.
"You're such a jerk." She said between the chuckles, looking at his grinning, handsome face.
"And you're loving it." He came closer, placed his hands on her hips and brought her closer to place one kiss on her lips. Without any more encouragement, she threw her arms around his neck and tiptoed to make it more comfortable for him, as they always did. Their embrace went tighter and tighter while they were kissing each other lazily, still wearing wet and cold clothes.
"So… what do you choose? Sofa or the bed?" he asked about a minute later, when they broke the connection. However he still touched her lips with his own gently, while he was speaking.
"Hmmm…" Rukia's mind was completely focused on his mouth, she had already forgotten what this whole conversation was about. "Sofa?"
"I see a question mark at the end, that's better. But I guess I still need to work on you." He bent down and kissed her differently, this time Rukia felt flames on her back, where his arms wandered, and on her lips, where he was moving his with passion. He broke the kiss again, lifting his chin up, yet Rukia being in a fever lifted her face trying to catch him again. Too bad she was so short. With his eyes half closed asked.
"The bed or the sofa?"
"Umm… the bed?" She asked bringing his neck down to her again.
"You're still uncertain." She could see and feel, that he lost the track of the conversation as well. He just captured her again and this time their tongues met halfway immediately, starting neverending battle. Rukia felt his hands trying to pull up the bottom of her shirt, but it was difficult, when it was almost glued to her, so he gave up, only letting his hands run freely around her body. She felt him on her back, on her neck, on her belly, sometimes on her breasts and backside. She knew he wanted to meet that last parts more, but he didn't only because of her. She hadn't had any boyfriend before, so she told him at the beginning she wanted to take it slowly. And he always did as she wished. But right now, she didn't want to take it slowly, she wanted him to do what he wanted.
So she pressed herself harder to his chest and grabbed one of his palms, placing it directly on her right breast. She didn't realize until that moment, that she was wearing really facile silk blouse, which was completely wet, so she shuddered at the touch, feeling a waterfall of shivers all over her. If he was surprised, he didn't show it at all, caressing her chest, now with both his hands.
And was that so nice.
She allowed herself to slip her own fingers underneath his shirt- what was not that easy- sliding his back gently with her nails. She felt his goosebumps and smiled into the kiss, which was still a battle for dominance.
"RUKIA! ICHIGO!" They heard Matsumoto's voice from downstairs and immediately jumped back from each other, panting like they have just run a mile.
"STOP MAKING OUT AND COME DOWN, WE'RE WAITING ONLY FOR YOU TWO!" Renji added. At that comment they both felt a flash of heat, because he guessed right.
"WE'RE CHANGING CLOTHES, ONE MORE MINUTE!" Rukia shouted back, before she realized what she had said. There was a wild laughter two floors lower. It seemed like everybody heard her.
"STOP LAUGHING YOU PERVERTED BASTARDS! WHEN I GO DOWN YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO SIT ON YOUR ASSES, AFTER I GET YOU!" she shouted down to her friends, who only laughed harder in response, giving her a few more comments about changing together with Ichigo. She shut the door to the room forcefully.
"I'm going to change in the bathroom, you do it here and call me when you're ready. These freaks are never enough." She said picking some clothes from the wardrobe .
"Yeah, I still owe Renji for the previous one." He sent her evil smile and she did the same in response before closing the door to the bathroom. This is going to be a long and entertaining night.
"Look who we got here! We thought you decided to stay together in your lovely room for a lovely time. We're so honoured you made it in here!" Renji welcomed Ichigo and Rukia in the biggest room in the cottage, where everybody gathered.
"Renji, it's enough already, give it up." Hisagi put his elbow into his red haired friend's ribs.
"Auch! You were the one who laughed the most a couple of minutes ago!" Renji yelled with indignation.
"That's because it was funny a couple of minutes ago, and now it's not." Hisagi replied with resignation.
"Thank you Hisagi." Rukia sat down next to him, and soon Ichigo followed her example, crossing his long legs on the flat pillow right beside low table.
"Anytime." He smiled to her as she took a piece of paper which was lying in the middle of the wooden item.
"What's this? Isn't our fridge full? We brought everything you've got here, who did that shitty list? We don't need anything of these…" she rustled the paper.
"It's not the list of what we need to buy, it's a list of what we already have, and now we're thinking what to do with it, since none of us can actually cook." Matsumoto took it away from her and read out loud.
"Cheddar, pasta, tomatoes, cucumbers… one, two, three… four! Kinds of meat, ketchup, jam, donuts? Who the hell took donuts?" she looked around.
"I did." Orihime admitted, blushing slightly. "I thought they would be perfect with scrambled eggs on onion."
There was a deep silence around. Everybody did their best not to imagine the smell of that meal or, what was worse, the taste.
"Oh. OK, so we have donuts, tomorrow we can have a dessert with them, they will be still good to eat." Rukia spoke, taking attention from Inoue. "Tonight, I suggest us doing a campfire on the beach, we should do something special our first night here, what do you think?" She grinned and became already excited about the idea.
"Excellent! Boys should look for some wood and good place to start with. We're going to prepare the food, right?" Momo asked jumping up from the sofa, where she sat next to Toshiro.
"Who unpacked the wine? We need a wine, but I have no idea where it is!" Orihime screamed covering her mouth with her palm.
"I have wine in my car, Orihime, it's heavy so let me help you with that. Come on." Ishida took the hand from her mouth, closing it between his fingers. Not a moment later they were already gone.
"I don't feel like eating sausage in the evening." Renji whined while everybody was moving to get everything what's needed.
"Shut up." Toshiro patted his head hardly from behind. "You're whining all the time, do something useful and bring some blankets." With that he opened the front door to search for wood.
"Blankets. Who the hell gave you permission to tell me what to do, you dwarf?" Renji mumbled quietly, so that the grey-haired friend wouldn't hear him.
"Stop whining jackass!" Ichigo punched his stomach with his fist.
"Auch! What am I? A training bag or what? Why is everyone hitting me?"
"Maybe because you just won't shut up?" with that Ichigo kicked him lightly to his side as he stood up from the pillow.
"Yeah, and maybe you just deserved it?" Rukia punched his nose, not as strongly as she wished to, but enough to make him hurt.
"I told you I'm gonna kick your ass. Be grateful that only your nose is hurt." She showed him tongue and ran to the kitchen before he could response.
"Uh." Renji still sat in the living room, rubbing his face and stomach. "At least some privacy."
"Haven't you forgotten somebody?" Matsumoto placed both her hands on his eyes and then started to play with his bandana.
"I could never understand why are you wearing this. You look so much better with hair down." She jerked the elastic band from his hair, causing Renji to scream with pain.
"Whoops. I think I broke it." She giggled. "Now when you have your hair down, you only need to take it off, and… voila!" Rolling the bandana on her pointer finger, she whistled.
"Renji. I can honestly say you look hot." She placed a few strands of his crimson hair in the appropriate places.
"I'm glad Gin is not hearing this, because I would be massacred so much I wouldn't recognize my own body. By the way, why didn't he come?" Renji combed his hair with fingers, finally leaving his spot near the table.
"He got too much work. But he promised to take me to Spain when he's done." She smiled, being a little absent. Renji deduced she was thinking about her fiancée. He didn't like the guy. He was always smiling, none other expression appeared on his face. It would be good, if it wasn't the kind of sadistic smile. What Matsumoto loved in that Gin, he had no idea, but the fact was, she was engaged at the age of 21, so she must be sure it was the one. Who would suspect Matsumoto to get married first of all? The most flirty, the most tempting and eye-catching girl from the school. He still remembered when he saw her first time at the canteen during lunch break. She was transferred student, 3 years older, but that wasn't any obstruction from hitting on her, nor for him, nor for any other guy, who suddenly thought Orihime Inoue and Rukia Kuchiki were not the only ones worth effort.
Good old times.
"Sounds good. Say hello from me when you see him again." Renji smiled as he went to his room to collect blankets.
"Thanks, I will!" She yelled back, going straight to the kitchen. After a couple of second he heard her energetic voice "Hurry up, I'm hungry! Give me something to do!"
"Rukia did you take ketchup?" Momo asked from behind huge basket filled with sausages.
"Yeah, it's in my pocket, I wouldn't be able to take it along in that." She pointed with her chin the basket with paper plates, plastic cups, cutlery, bread and two orange juices.
"Right. Where are they? I can't see the fire anywhere…" Momo blinked her eyes a few times.
"I can't see it either, but I can hear a lot of noise from behind that bush." Rukia went upward to sneak between the oceanic plants with all the stuff. Soon Momo followed her.
"Finally! Where did you go that far? We couldn't find you at all!" Rukia threw everything on the blanket next to Ishida, who stuffed sausages, bread or any other treat on metal skewers. Wait, metal?
"Just look around! It's a place for a campfire! We don't need to make our own or worry that we burn down something we don't want… In addition, there is all equipment needed in there!" Ichigo pointed enthusiastically small building made of old boards, which was hardly visible among small trees.
"It's really perfect." Momo exhaled happily. "Where should I put it?"
"There is a stone ring for a fire out there, a few benches and two tables. But there are already a couple of bottles of wine there so not much more can be placed on the top… Put it next to Ishida, he'll take care of it."
"I'll help him, it will be faster." Rukia offered, also taking one metal skewer, stuffing it with food.
"I'm almost done, there are only those sausages left, so it would be better if you took those which are ready and take them on that second table."
"Yes sir!" Rukia and Momo saluted to Ishida, took the food and giggling all the way, placed everything where needed.
"Oh Ichigo! Did you take your guitar?" Rukia shouted to her boyfriend who tried to start a fire.
"Yeah, it's in the trunk!" He shouted back through the rumour young people made in the night. "Could you get it?"
"Sure! Just give me the keys!" She walked towards him, erasing the fat of the sausages from her fingers with the rubber.
"Here you are. Wait! Ask Hisagi if he brought his own!"
"Hisagi has a guitar too?"
"Sure he has, he's awesome."
"I didn't know. Well, it doesn't matter, I'll just go ask him." With that she ran towards Hisagi, who offered he'd bring Ichigo's and his own guitar at once.
Rukia felt her heart was so happy it almost escaped her chest.
The smell of the fire, the ocean, sand and conifers together made her crazy, she closed her eyes every now and then, trying to remember the scent the best she could, so that even after they leave, she will always be able to close the eyelids and feel it along with the breeze and her friends chatting cheerfully in the background. Everything was going amazing.
She opened her eyes and noticed orange hair among orange flames, what was kind of ridiculous. He fitted the scenery too perfectly. Laughing, Rukia embraced kneeling Ichigo from behind, giving him bear hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"Hey, what was that for?" he rubbed her forearms resting around his neck.
"For taking me here." She kissed him once again.
"I'm glad you like it. It was a good idea from the beginning. But now let me go, I have to make this fire bigger, so that we could make our food, everyone's hungry."
"Sure." She moved a step back, already missing his touch. "But I'm not really sure if you should do it." He turned his head towards her, not stopping throwing dry branches to the fire.
"Why not?" there was a question between his furrowed brow. Suddenly she wondered, if she tried to smooth it with her fingers with force, would it be gone? Or is it as permanent as a mole, for example? That was really interesting issue, she will check it later.
"Because even if your head had caught up on fire, nobody would even notice!" She started to laugh on her own joke, watching his reaction.
"I'm glad you're so worried about me, but as my girlfriend, " he spoke with resentful manner "you definitely should stop mocking my hair color and show me some respect! But, considering your posture, which is smaller than average, I can assume you brain is also below average, so… I don't think I can blame you, midget."
"Bastard!" Rukia stabbed his buttock with skewer and ran away.
"You've seriously overdone it!" He threw all the wood he was holding into the fire and started to chase after Rukia, who squealed like a little girl, running around the tables.
"These two will never grow up, I swear it." Toshiro said to Momo, who placed the utensils on the clean boards, watching with amusement the scene on front of them.
"At least they are not bored with each other." She smiled happily and followed Ichigo and Rukia with her gaze. Still smiling she turned towards Toshiro, who sat stiffly on the bench, a bit paler than a minute before.
"Shiro? Are you ok?" She bent down and touched his forehead, but he shook off her hand.
"Sorry… what is it?" Momo's eyes were filled with worry. Toshiro didn't like that expression.
"Are you bored with me?" He asked simply, just to have it over him as quickly as possible.
"Me…? No! Never, what are you saying?" Momo's eyed widened. "I'm so sorry Shiro! I didn't mean it that way! I'm never bored with you! I only tried to say that Ichigo and Rukia are perfect for each other, both have similar attitudes, but kind of complement each other… I'm so sorry, I really didn't want to say it…" Hitsugaya placed one finger on her lip.
"It's enough, I'm sorry." Just for seeing her so embarrassed, confused and hurt at the same time made him want go and walk with his bare feet on the fire Ichigo has just made.
"You don't have to apologize, Shiro! I'm the one who said…"
"Let's just don't apologize each other, OK?" He tilted his head to the side and placed one soft kiss on Momo's lips. She seemed shocked. He had never kissed her before. They hung together from childhood, but recently he felt she's not just a friend for him. He felt he would be in a great pain if something happened to her or if she decided to date someone else.
Was it love? He didn't know. He just wanted to kiss her, so he did.
Now it was up to Momo.
"Ok. Let's." She said with a smile he liked the most. For others, it seemed a bit goofy, maybe even dumb, but he could see all her kind hearted personality in that one smile. And she was giving him one right now because he kissed her. Great heavens.
Ichigo has finally captured Rukia, or Rukia just let Ichigo capture her, whatever, and she was now sitting on his back, while he playfully tried to shake her off to the bushes. Their laughs were probably audible within ten miles, but who cared? They were young and could do anything they liked.
Momo finished unpacking the plates and cups, so she sat next to Toshiro, placing shyly her head on his arm. Without even thinking, he encircled her shoulders with his and they sat together like that for a long time. Both comfortable with the silence, feeling that there was nobody in that wide world, who would fit them better than the person next to them.
"Hey, dunderheads, stop fooling around and come eat something with us!" Ishida interrupted Ichigo's and Rukia's loud burst of laugh, as they both ended up in the bush, Ichigo was trying to push Rukia into. Still laughing, they stood up slowly to shake off the dust from their clothing.
"Look what you've done shorty, this sweatshirt was washed yesterday. Now all the hoodie is dirty." Ichigo spoke, grabbing one skewer with sausage and putting it into the flames.
"Shut up, idiot, I was defending myself! And you hate hoodies, so what's the big deal? Look at my trousers, you completely ruined them. Not to mention my favorite silk blouse, which I was wearing when you threw me to the water. If you keep destroying my clothes, I will have nothing to wear within next 3 days." Rukia replied taking two skewers- one with sausage, one with bread.
"Pshh, it's not like you need clothes." Ichigo smirked towards her.
"You get more perverted every minute, seriously." She huffed.
"I meant we're on the seaside, there is going to be hundred degrees tomorrow, so bikini is the only thing you need." His smirk went wider. "Who's pervert now?"
Rukia's teeth grinded together, her blood boiled. He was the only one person who could turn the conversation with her upside down with one statement. She only gripped the skewers harder and did not reply. Smart-ass.
Everyone encircled the bonfire, holding metal spits with meat, bread or marshmallows. The air became cold, so extra sweaters and jackets were necessary. However, when they were standing near the fire, it was pleasantly cordial. The wine was still closed, waiting for them to prepare the meal. There were also a few salads, made with vegetables, so that it suited everyone's tastes. Or everyone's except Orihime's.
She was standing between Ishida and Renji, a bit disappointed that food was so simple, unoriginal. She would know what to do to give the salads or the meat appropriate, unusual taste. But they seemed to do everything to prevent her from doing the food. She decided to give it up, after all she was in the minority. Eating their food won't do her any harm for a couple of days and after she comes back, she'll make herself a huge rewarding feast. Maybe she could invite Uruuyu?
They were dating some time, but she would have never thought that he was such amazing person. He had a lot of fascinating interests, like archery or sewing, and even though they were friends for ages, she felt she still didn't know him at all. He was so full of surprises and absolutely unique. Being with him gave meaning to her name- she felt like a princess everytime they did something together. It didn't have to be anything spectacular or exciting, she was happy sitting with him on the bench in front of her house or talking in the school canteen. Uruuyu Ishida was very special for her. Even now, standing next to him, she felt so relaxed that she didn't even notice that her sausage is almost completely burned down.
"Orihime, I think your sausage has just burnt." His soft voice echoed in her right ear. "You can take mine if you want, I'll make myself another." She felt really embarrassed as always when she went daydreaming or said something silly.
"No! I just lost myself in thoughts, I'll do one more! I'll be back in a minute!" She swiveled and ran happily towards prepared food.
"You know, I have a feeling she won't be able to do the sausage by herself." Hisagi whispered to Ishida.
"I know, that's why I'm making another one for her. I bet that even though she manages to grill it properly, it will fall into the ashes in the end." Ishida placed his glasses higher on his nose smiling lightly. "But let her have some fun, there is enough food for all of us, even if a few sausages will go to waste."
Hisagi chuckled silently, trying not to look at Orhime, who tripped while going back to the bonfire.
"Be careful, Orihime!" Renji grabbed her elbow, before she fell down.
"Oh, thank you Renji." Her face was red, while she giggled nervously. "I'm so clumsy."
"Don't worry, it happens" He came back to talking with Rukia who was standing beside.
"Yeah, so I'm back! This sausage will be perfect, you'll see!" She didn't notice the understanding looks between Hisagi and Ishida.
About an hour later, when each stomach was filled, Ichigo and Hisagi started to tune their guitars. There was light atmosphere around, the fire was still burning, warming up their backs, because the chairs were moved closer to the fire. They brought back many of the hilarious memories from the times, when they were all going to Karakura High School. Now Matsumoto, Hisagi and Ishida started college and it was not the same without them at the corridors. The time spent on this holiday was probably the longest they will see each other; after that they will all go back to daily routine and follow individual paths.
"OK, OK, guys, silence! We're ready!" Ichigo announced, calming down the conversations. "We're taking first orders! First come, first served!" three people at once shouted.
"Stand by me!"
"Twist and shout!"
"Walking on sunshine!"
"'Stand by me' was first!" Ichigo laughed and nodded to Hisagi. They started to play the first characteristic sounds, and everyone caught it immediately, helping with clapping their hands. Then Ichigo with Hisagi started first lines.
When the night has come, and the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we will see
No, I won't be afraid, oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
When they reached to the chorus, everyone joined at once, smiling from ear to ear.
So darlin', darlin' stand by me
Oh stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me, stand by me.
They repeated the chorus more times than it was necessary, only because nobody knew the lyrics for the next verse.
"That's enough of this one, when we come home I'm going to check what's next, it's not possible it ended after only one verse!" Hisagi smiled widely, and he was joined by the others.
"Wait! Open the wine first!" Renji screamed and there came another laughter.
"Renji, you alcoholic!"
"Oh, shut your mouth, you all want it as much as me!" He grinned. Toshiro and Ishida raised from their seats, to help him with bottles, while Ichigo and Hisagi were already starting to adjust their sounds to "Twist and shout". However they played faster than it was in original. The rest was moving with the music, waiting for someone to enter first lines. Hisagi, as the most talented in singing, started with his rebellious voice that sent thrills.
Well, shake it up, baby, now,
Twist and shout.
Cmon cmon, cmon, cmon, baby, now,
Come on and work it on out.
Hearing his wonderful hoarseness, that matched the song fantastically, they decided only to sing only the lines that echoed him. The result was stunning, when Hisagi really felt the music in the following part, he made loud scream just like he was a real rockstar. His friends gave him huge applause for that, but he seemed a little embarrassed, because of stealing the whole attention.
"Hisagi, you absolutely rock! I didn't even know you played!" Rukia exclaimed taking a sip of her wine from plastic cup.
"That's nothing, I played when I was younger, now I'm a bit rusty." He smiled.
"Yeah, your voice is totally rusty, but in good meaning of this word! You should sing more often, you're gorgeous!" Rukia was really delighted by his talent.
"Thanks." Hisagi mumbled, sliding his fingers along the strings.
"Watch out what you're saying, Rukia, someone can get jelaus!" Matsumoto chirped, pointing her thumb at Ichigo.
There was a loud "Woooooo" performed by Momo, Matsumoto and Renji.
The pair however didn't seem embarrassed at all, only gazed at each other, Rukia placed her palm on Ichigo's knee and grinned.
"Yeah, Ichigo, you should sing something to beat Hisagi!" Momo suggested.
"Yeah, go Ichigo, take your Rukia back!" A lot of voices encouraged him.
"How about 'Mr. Brightside'? The song from the school performance? I remember it was pretty badass in your vocals, Kurosaki." Ishida gave the idea.
Hit and sunk.
Ichigo's grin widened as he glanced at Rukia, who seemed to be amused and super-happy at once.
They kissed for the first time after that performance.
"Done." Still with confident smile on his lips, he concentrated on his guitar. Hisagi didn't join him, because he knew it was Ichigo's best solo. After all, he didn't even know the chords.
He played and sang, his voice carrying the words fastly, his eyes fixed on Rukia all the time. Her eyes shone beautifully in the light of the bonfire, her smile reached the limits of width and his only wish was to see her that happy for eternity.
I'm coming out of my cage
And I've been doing just fine
Gotta gotta gotta be down
Because I want it all
It started out with a kiss
How did it end up like this
It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss
Now I'm falling asleep
And she's calling a cab
While he's having a smoke
And she's taking a drag
Now they're going to bed
And my stomach is sick
And it's all in my head
But she's touching his—chest
Now, he takes off her dress
Now, let me go
I just can't look its killing me
And taking control
Jealousy, turning saints into the sea
Swimming through sick lullabies
Choking on your alibis
But it's just the price I pay
Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
'Cause I'm Mr Brightside
When he ended, he received applause as huge as Hisagi.
"We've got pretty good singers along!" Orihime clapped with her hands.
"I think you got your girlfriend back." Toshiro stated with grin, and Renji showed his two thumbs up.
"Rukia, now show us which one you choose!" Matsumoto was wobbling a little and splashed some wine on the sand. "O-oooh… I think I need to have a break, but … KISS!"
"KISS, KISS, KISS, KISS!" Everyone were screaming and stamping their feet to make more dramatic effect. Orihime and Momo giggled, Rukia was almost crying from laughing, but appeased herself.
"Hmmm… which one? I really have no idea who to choose." She spoke roguishly, standing up from her seat, stopping behind playing boys' chairs, putting both hands on the backs.
"No offence, Hisagi, but I think everybody knows orange is my favorite colour." She grinned and sat on Ichigo's knees, removing the guitar from his hands. Then she pressed her lips to his and put free hand on his cheek, caressing it softly.
Ichigo was aware that seven pairs of eyes were fixed on them, but who would care, if a girl like this sat on your knees and kissed you?
He dropped the guitar from her hands and brought her closer, what caused another bunch of comments, but he didn't hear them. Rukia's mouth tasted with fresh wine, and that was all his senses registered.
She moved away from him, smiling and looking around. "OK, let's go back to songs, it has gotten a bit too private." The sound of appreciation came from all around the bonfire and Rukia went back to her seat next to Ichigo, still beaming. Nevertheless, she managed to whisper to his ear, when nobody was looking:
"Thank you, my Mr. Brightside." Ichigo only squeezed her hand in response, which laid on his shoulder and couldn't wait to kiss the life out of her, when they will be alone again.
"What was next?" He asked and was immediately flooded with tons of suggestions.
It has gotten late, the bonfire started to lose its shine but the group was still sitting together, joking around and reminding themselves the most memorable songs that were connected with the time they spent together. It seemed there was no end for conversations about past, present and the future, both in serious and facetious tone. Although years of friendship revealed each personality pretty well, there were still things to learn about each other. Ishida told them that he started training archery in the college, Renji was creating his own group for kids training karate, Momo has just finished a cooking course and Toshiro won Japan's championship in chess last month.
Rukia was so glad all her friends led a happy life, the way they wanted, in addition being successful in the things they loved. At present, she was leaning lightly against Ichigo's shoulder and the thing that brought her attention was Momo and Toshiro in similar position. She screamed "BRAVO" in her mind. The two were always inseparable; it was just a matter of time before they became a couple. She also observed Ishida and Orihime. The girl seemed very absorbed by the way Ishida doubled up the napkins and tried to repeat his motions, but nothing turned out as good as his. They were getting along perfectly; sometimes Ishida held her hand and she blushed sweetly. Rukia was so happy for them.
She wondered what happened to Renji and his girlfriend. They broke up only a few weeks ago and she was really sorry to hear that. Still, he didn't look depressed at all. He was goofy and loud as always. Matsumoto has gone a bit silent, but Rukia supposed she had drunk too much wine. And Hisagi, well he was just Hisagi, always standing next to everybody, sharing his smile with them.
She cuddled up into Ichigo's hooded sweatshirt and huge yawn escaped her mouth.
"You slept all the way here and you're still sleepy?" He hugged her.
"I didn't sleep the previous night. I couldn't decide what to take." She said enjoying his heat.
"So you decided to take everything, am I right?" he cackled.
"Something like that." She opened one eye. "How do you know?"
"I had to carry your suitcase all the way here, so I might have an idea how much you put into it." He smiled into her hair. "Wanna go upstairs?"
"No, I don't want to ruin the evening. Everyone seems to have fun." She replied sleepily.
"To be honest, I think all girls have enough. Look at Matsumoto or Momo. Orihime doesn't look good either." He said with sneer. As he expected, Rukia opened her eyes at once.
"It's not true! We're in similar shape as you!" she protested, and he just adored the sparkles that ran out of her eyes. Irritated Rukia was so much fun.
"Look, Hisagi is sleeping!" She pointed at their friend who pillowed his head on the guitar. "You're even worse than us!" there was satisfaction in her voice.
"Doesn't matter, shorty. " Ichigo whispered to her ear and stood up, depriving her from giving appropriate response.
"I think it's time to go to sleep." He moved his hand towards Hisagi and the rest only chuckled, but a lot weaker than they would only a couple of hours ago. "We're really tired from the journey. Tomorrow is a new day; we have to have a lot of strength to go to the beach right? We could even organize a volleyball tournament, so let's have a good rest." He started to pick up the plates and other stuff from the table. It was good most of the things were disposable, there wasn't any washing to do at least.
Within next ten minutes everything was cleaned up, and everybody – along with Hisagi – headed cottage, dreaming of comfortable beds.
"I'm going first to the bathroom. It won't take long." Rukia said as they entered their room. She grabbed pajamas from the wardrobe and was gone in the next second.
Ichigo heard small rumor on the staircase, but it was quite peaceful. After all, theirs was the only one room at the attic. He sat on that huge bed and waited until Rukia was ready. It was hard not to fall asleep, even if he would never admit that. He was dead tired after driving all the way here. His eyes were closing on their own.
Ichigo prepared the bed to sleep and it hit him, how weird it was to share a room -and a bed- with Rukia. They were together only couple of months, but he couldn't imagine life without her anymore. Even though he was only 18, he could easily tell she was definitely the only woman that could make him happy. Sleeping in the same bed was what married couples did and he had no difficulties in imagining him and Rukia in the future in the same situation, only in their own house. That's why he had no problems in this whole situation. If it was any other girl he used to hang out, it would be really embarrassing, but with Rukia? It only seemed natural.
"I'm done. Hurry up, I think I'm not going to last much longer, I'm dead tired and I still don't think that sleeping in one bed is a good idea…" he kissed her pink cheek as he was passing her.
"I thought we fixed it earlier, should I persuade you again?" his nose wandered from her cheek to her neck and she shuddered in her funny short-sleeved pajamas with two Chappy Rabbits on the back.
He just loved the way she reacted to his touch; every time it was different, yet always one thing happened- her eyelids went down. He learned to know that she closed her eyes only when she felt something really pleasurable. It was good to know that she enjoyed his kisses as much as he did.
"N-n-no." She gasped. "I think I'll just wait for you until you take a shower and then we'll discuss which part is yours and which is mine." She pointed the bed, where purple sheets were already inviting them to have a rest.
"Now you're talking." Ichigo grinned and closed the door to bathroom behind him.
He took a quick shower and brushed his teeth regardlessly, his only goal was to go to sleep.
"OK, I'm ready you want right or…? Rukia?" he asked seeing her small form spread all across the bed on her belly. It seemed she was reading something.
When he came closer, he noticed a manga, but Rukia wasn't reading. She was already sleeping.
"Oi, midget, couldn't you lie yourself in some decent position?" He mumbled quietly and sighed heavily. He knew there was no choice. So he placed one hand under her legs, another one under her belly and lifted her delicately, so that she wouldn't wake up. He placed her without any effort on the right edge of the bed and lied himself on the opposite end, turning off the lights.
The sheets however, were not that long to be spread from one edge to another. He was aware, that somebody, him or her, would end up without any cover sooner or later, so he only cursed silently. He was in no mood to think about the 'proper' solution.
"Screw it all." With that he turned around in the bed, pulled Rukia's body closer towards him and closed his eyes, hoping she will not wake up, to start another argue, he was much too tired.
"Ichigo?" She spoke dizzily, without opening her eyes.
"Nothing." With that last statement she turned around to face him and embraced his waist with her arms, putting her head on his chest instead of a pillow.
He encircled her back and turned a little bit to the side to make himself comfortable.
Now he could fall into the state of unconsciousness without any worries, they were both warm and she was by his side. That was all he needed to make him happy.
~ I know I submitted this before, but this time I want to make it longer, it will probably reach three chapters.
I hoped you enjoyed this story, any kind of feedback is highly appreciated, especially reviews are a honey on my heart :) Constructive criticism is welcomed as well :)
Next chapter will be submitted within a few days.
One more thing: If you have a minute, please take part in my poll on the front page, it would really mean a lot.
That's all I guess, take care everyone!