Disclaimer - I don't own it.

Longest chapter in the story. Guess it's good it's the last one. Sorry it took so long to get this updated. I kept reading and rereading this stupid chapter to make sure everything turns out the way I pictured it. I'm still not thrilled with it but I'm over it at this point. Enjoy!

Chapter Fifteen

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time." -Abraham Lincoln

"Better late than never.

Here is it. My last and final entry in the "Ramblings of a Disgruntle Teenage Boy" drama fest. We've been meeting for almost three months now and I figured I might as well go out with a bang and finally give you my side of the story; considering it's kind of why I started this stupid thing in the first place. This is the side no one knows except the people involved. Now that you've talked to me and know more about my life I think you'll understand it better. Here we go...

It all started the week Yamato and Sora broke up, which was sometime back at the end of February. Well, being the best friend of both Yamato and Sora, I somehow got pulled into the middle of their breakup. Both of them were coming to me for advice and a shoulder to cry on. After hearing both sides, I realized that Yamato was the one that was broken up with and that Sora had done the dumping. I originally thought it was Yamato that broke up with her but that wasn't the case. But that's beside the point...

So, they broke up and within a couple of days Sora started to get really clingy with me. She was calling me all the time and wanted to spend every waking moment with me and never once mentioned Yamato through any of it. If I tried to get her to talk about it she would just change the subject. She didn't even seem like she cared that she'd broken his heart. It seemed strange, but who was I to judge? I was just the supportive best friend through it.

I remember everything like it happened yesterday. It was a Saturday night and I was hanging out with Sora at her apartment while her parents were out at dinner. We were watching some really lame chick flick that she'd picked out and to this day I still could not tell you what happened in that movie.

So, we're sitting there on the couch and things seemed pretty chill, when all of a sudden Sora just kind of attacked me. I don't know why or how it happened but the fact is that it did. She had me pinned against the couch and had her hands were clutching my face. Now, at first it freaked me out. I was making out with my best friend and I didn't exactly know how to feel about it. I'd tried to imagine what it would feel like for so long that once it finally happened it just felt... wrong; like what we were doing was something dirty and it shouldn't be happening. But eventually, I gave into it and it began to feel right.

You want to know the worst part? Not once during the whole thing did I think of how Yamato would feel if he found out. Sadly, I let my bad judgment get the better of me and didn't see any reason to try and stop what was happening.

So, yeah. That's kind of the back story. We didn't sleep together or anything, but we did have a pretty heated make-out session. The next day, for some reason beyond my knowledge, she decided to go and tell Yamato about it, and then he decided to take matters into his own hands and approach me the next Monday at school.

Now, in my defense, I eventually did stop the kiss. I came to my senses at some point and realized how wrong the whole situation was. Sora was using me in a moment of vulnerability and in the process I ended up betraying Yamato. (I'm the victim in this, remember?)

I remember standing at my locker with Hikari and Takeru. It was nearing the end of the day and I was trying to get my things together to bring home for homework. The next thing I knew, I heard Yamato shouting something and then my body being slammed up against the lockers.

"How dare you, you piece of shit!" He said and pushed me against the lockers again.

"Whoa, what are you doing, Yamato?" Takeru said jumping between him and me.

"You think you can get take advantage of my girl and there be no consequences after?" Yamato shouted, this time pushing Takeru out of the way and throwing a punch.

"Yamato, it's not what you think!" I said in defense as I avoided the punch. Yamato was never a very good fighter. His aim is always off. It's like he doesn't even try. He just goes all primal. But again, beside the point.

"Fuck you, Tai! (Excuse the language) You know I love her and you betrayed me!"

At this point he charged me and then all hell broke loose. We were on the ground rolling around punching the shit out of each other. Hikari and Takeru were shouting and trying to break us up and people were gathering quickly to see the fight.

In all honesty, I should have just let Yamato beat the ever living crap out of me and be done with it. Hell, I know I deserved it. The only problem is that when someone comes at me physically, I can't stop myself from fighting back. It's a defense mechanism.

Everything from that point is a blur. I was like a pissed off bull seeing red and nothing was going to stop me.

I manged to get the advantage on Yamato and just started hitting him left and right. I think Hikari started crying at one point and Takeru was trying to pull me off of his brother. I pushed Takeru and he fell backwards. Hikari rushed to his side in horror.

Yamato's face was bleeding and starting to swell but I couldn't make myself stop hitting him. Something overcame me and I turned into a monster. I turned into someone I never want to know again.

"Stop it! You're killing him!" I remember hearing, but I'm not entirely sure who said it.

Within minutes administrators had us pulled apart. Someone was shouting for anyone to call an ambulance and I was hauled away. Next thing I know, I'm sitting in a room waiting for my parents, and the police, to show up. My rage had ceased and I knew in that moment I'd messed up.

Yamato ended up in the hospital with a concussion and a couple of bruised ribs. I beat him pretty badly. It still kills me to this day that he didn't press charges. I turned into an animal and should have suffered greater consequences for it.

So there you have it. That's my side of the story. This whole thing started because of a girl. A girl that tore everything apart for reasons I still don't understand.

In the end, I do regret everything. If I could take it all back I would. Everyone tells me that everything happens for a reason but I'm not always sure that's the case. I never wanted something like that to happen. Everything is so screwed up now and nothing is like it used to be. Yamato and I are friends again, sure, but we'll never be friends like we used to be. Sora and I will never have a normal relationship again either. We're trying but it's just not the same; especially now that Mimi's in the picture.

I now know that the true reason she broke up with Yamato in the first place is because she wanted to pursue something with me because she was getting bored. When I denied her of that (after stopping the kiss that she started), she got mad and turned everything around to make it look like it was my fault. She ended up telling Yamato that I'm the one that took advantage of her and that she didn't want the kiss in the first place. Which was a lie. It's also the reason that he confronted me in school that day. He knows now that everything she told him was a lie and has apologized profusely about it, even though I'm the one that should be apologizing.

All of our relationships are broken. Yamato and Sora are not together any more. This time, he broke up with her after seeing the true side of everything (well, that and he was kind of seeing someone on the side but that's a whole different story that no one even knows about). She's manipulative and deceitful. He wants nothing to do with her any more. I don't think she even cares regardless. I think the only reason she went back to him in the first place is because she doesn't like to be alone. She quit trying to keep that relationship alive a long time ago. The moment she started looking for attention elsewhere should have been an eye opener for everyone. I'm glad Yamato finally realized that. He deserves better. Hell, we both do.

You're probably asking yourself: what happens now? Well, I'm not entirely sure. I still love Sora. She has done so many things to hurt so many people but I can't make myself stop caring for her. I wish I could bring myself to hate her but I can't and I know I never will. She will always be my friend at the end of the day. She's the one person in this world that knows everything about me. I'm hoping things will settle down and go back to normal but I don't think it will. Once something is broken, it never gets put back together the same way.

I'm not sure what that love for Sora means any more though. I don't want to be with her. I don't think I ever really did. I think I just wanted something I knew I could never have. It's kind of one of those "I love you but I'm not in love with you" situations. Truth be told, I'm glad she's moving now. I think distance will make things better.

Speaking of distance, Yamato got offered a recording contract. He's been in this band "The Teenage Wolves" ever since he was fourteen years old. (They are just "The Wolves" now though). They're pretty good and they have gotten a lot of gigs over the years. Well, now that we're about to graduate, someone has shown interest and wants to sign them. The only problem is that it's a company in the United States. Some company called Atlantic Records out in California. I hear they're pretty big.

Yamato and the band have been waiting for an opportunity like this to come along for a really long time. The guy who wants to sign them is planning to fly them out to California next week to make a demo CD. They're going to record a couple of songs and then see where it goes from there. Everyone is pretty excited. It goes without saying that they're taking this opportunity with open arms. I'm happy for him.

If Sora hadn't decided to move or if they'd never broken up, I think things would have turned out differently. He would have declined the recording contract and would be stuck here doing God know's what. I guess that things do tend to happen for a reason.

I give it six months, by the way. Six months before Sora and Yamato find a way back into each others lives. If they're both going to be living in the same area, I think it'll happen. It shouldn't, but I have a feeling it will. They'll probably end up getting married, have a couple of kids, end up in crazy careers... We can only guess what the future has in store for all of us. So until then... this is Tai; checking out. Peace."

Dr. Anderson finished reading the paper, looked up at me, and then removed her glasses like she normally did when she was about to give me a lecture. I told her exactly what happened. What more did she want?

"What?" I finally asked after she said nothing.

She just shook her head, as if she had nothing more to say.

"You're not exactly lecturing me like you usually do."

"I don't lecture," she said, "I give advice. It's kind of what I'm paid for."

I rolled my eyes, "Yeah, sure. So, what do you think?"

"Well, it's nothing more than I didn't already assume based on everything you've told me. I decided shortly after you opened up about Sora that she was the central reason behind everything that happened."

"Are you going to advise me on where to go from here?"

"I think that you don't need to hear me say anything. You've got everything figured out."

"Like hell I do! Everyone's still mad at me! Mimi, Yamato, and my sister are about the only people talking to me right now. How is that figuring everything out?"

"Welcome to growing up, Mr. Yagami. You've said it yourself: life isn't easy. It's actually really hard. Nobody has a perfect life. You will probably spend your whole life trying to figure it out. So you want my advice? Stop trying. Stop trying to make everyone happy and stop trying to fix things. Sometimes you just have to let things be."

"That's the worst advice I've ever heard."

She shrugged, "I'm sorry you feel that way."

"I don't want things to end this way with my friends. Sora is leaving in a week and I don't know when or if I'll see her again. Yamato is leaving too. So is Koushiro. Everyone is leaving. If I don't try to fix things, we all may never speak to each other again."

"You've all been friends for majority of your lives. I know you're in a weird transition of your life where everything is confusing and complicated and you fight for stupid reasons. In the end though, it will either find a way to work itself out or you won't be friends any more. If it came down to that you'd eventually learn to realize that it's probably for the best. Not everyone stays friends forever. I know that's not what you want to hear but that's life. Friends come and go. As do lovers. There's no way to change that. Usually if they don't stay in your life it's for a reason. You may never know why but it's just the way things are."

I slumped back in my chair and folded my arms, "I hate the way things are."

She just stared at me as if silently agreeing. The after school bell rang indicating that our hour session had come to an end.

"Well," she said while gathering her things, "I can honestly say that it has been a pleasure talking with you and advising you over these past three months. I did enjoy our sessions together. I will say that you are one student I will never forget. You've grown up a lot since we first met and I think that despite what's gone on in your life recently, you'll be just fine. Are there any final things you want to talk about before we go?"

"Is it possible to be in love with one person and just love someone else?" I asked.

"There are many different types of love. I don't think there are any true definitions to the word out there. Everyone feels love differently. You love your family unconditionally. It's also a love that never goes away, regardless of how much you drive each other crazy. You love your friends but in more of a caring, wishing them the best kind of way. You can also say you love someone but not be in love with them. I think the phrase "I love you" is thrown around too loosely nowadays. If you truly love someone, and I mean you're in love with them, you know it. You don't question it; you don't doubt it. You just know. True love is something most people search for their entire lives. Does that make any sense?"

"Actually, yeah. Thanks."

"But don't say anything out loud if you or the other person is not ready. Rejection is the worst kind of heartbreak and it's hard to come back from that."

I nodded, acknowledging what she said and then stood to leave.

"Have a wonderful rest of the school year, Mr. Yagami. Perhaps we'll cross paths again one day," Dr. Anderson said once I'd reach the door.

I wasn't planning to say anything, but I ended up blurting it out anyways, "I really enjoyed talking to you. I may not have shown it every time, but you helped me through a lot. Thank you."

She smiled. It was genuine, and pure, and also kind of heartbreaking at the same time. She knew everything about me. I know this is just her job but I feel like she actually went out of her way to help me. Truth be told, she really did have a big impact on my life. I hope she never forgets me.

Mom picked me up after my session ended and we went straight to the doctor. I wanted to actually be able to walk at graduation without the help of crutches so the doctor agreed to switch my cast to a walking boot. Why they didn't just freaking do that from the beginning I'll never understand.

Needless to say, having the cast removed and the boot put on was a painful process. My leg still has a while before it would be completely healed so all of the adjusting hurt. I tried not to show I was in pain and in turn ended up walking out of the office successfully. On the upside, they gave me more painkillers. Stronger ones.

"Are there any family plans tonight that I should be aware of?" I asked once we were in the car.

"Not that I'm aware of," Mom replied.

"Mind if I go out?"

"I don't mind. Just warn me ahead of time if you plan on staying out the whole night."


"What are you planning to do?"

"I don't know yet. Just something that gets me out of the house. Probably go hang out with Yamato or something."

"You're going to have to talk to your father eventually."

"Or I could just avoid him and pretend like he's not a complete asshole."

"Excuse me! Watch your language, young man. He is your father. Show some respect in how you talk about him. And yes, we are all aware that your father was being a little less than friendly toward your girlfriend but that doesn't mean-"

"A little less than friendly? Mom, he was a jerk. Mimi has had her heart set on this internship for a long time and seeing the look on her face when he said that broke my heart. She doesn't deserve to hear that. Her own father gives her enough grief she doesn't need it from him too."

"I know. Believe me. We had a very long talk about it. He feels like a jerk."

"Well, he should."

"I agree."

We fell silent for a minute. I was glad when she finally broke our uncomfortable silence with a change of subject.

"You and Yamato are getting along well, then?"

"Yeah, we're good. He's kind of moody here lately but for once it's not because of me."

"I'm glad to hear that. Now, can I ask about what's going on with Sora?"

"Who said anything was going on with Sora?"

She turned and gave me an 'oh please' look, "I may be old, but I'm not stupid. I know you two haven't had the best relationship lately but I thought you'd resolved it. She was here all the time after your accident and then once you came back from your trip with Mimi, I haven't seen or heard from her at all."

I sighed, "Sora and I aren't exactly on the same page right now."

"I know it's not my place to say anything. It's just that you two have been friends for so long. I'd hate to see that come to an end over something petty."

"Yeah. Me too."

"I trust you'll figure it all out and everything will be okay in the end."

"I sure hope so."

She didn't say anything after that, just watched the road as she drove. It was nice having some alone time with my mom. We didn't get that very often. It wouldn't last very long though because we were almost home and as soon as we walked in the door I would make an excuse to leave.

"Hey, mom?" I said as she parked the car.

"Yes, Tai?"

"It was nice talking to you."

She smiled, "You too, sweetie."

We went upstairs and I quickly grabbed a couple of things before heading back out the door. Truth be told, I had no plans. Yamato wasn't answering his phone so that was a bust. I just wanted to leave the house as quickly as I could before my dad came home like my mom assumed earlier. We really had it out last night. I accused him of being an insensitive drunk and he told me that Mimi and I wouldn't last and that I was living in a fantasy world. There was a lot of shouting and throwing things until both of us went into our rooms and slammed the door.

It was kind of pathetic, really. Two adults throwing temper tantrums. But he knew he was in the wrong and didn't want to admit it. That's what pissed me off the most.

Oh well. Things would eventually calm down and we'd go back to whatever it was before but until then I just wanted distance. I walked -slowly, mind you- through the parking lot and onto the side walk outside the apartment complex. I didn't know what I'd do so I just went toward the park.


I checked the mirror by the front door one last time before heading out for the afternoon. I had my hair flat ironed today, much different from its usual wavy mess of curls that I was so naturally blessed with. I prayed it wasn't humid today or my hair would be right back to the messy waves.

I'd also chosen a pair of skinny jeans, some killer heels, and a cute blouse. It's not like I was trying to draw attention from anyone or anything. I mean, I did have a boyfriend, minus the label. I was just stuck in my ways is all. I dressed to impress. You wouldn't see this girl leaving the house in sweat pants and a baggy t-shirt.

I decided it was too late now to do anything else with how I looked and grabbed my purse to leave. Locking the door behind me, I quickly made my way toward my car. I had a lunch date and I was late. What else was new? I was always late.

I received a text message from Tai while I was buckling my seat belt. He mentioned us getting together but I already had prior engagements I had to attend to. I quickly wrote him back saying I was out and that we could get together later. It was Friday night. My favorite night of the week. Why? Because Tai didn't have school the next day. He could stay with me the whole night and not have to worry about curfew. Just having him spend the night made everything worth it. That and that alone was the sole reason I loved the weekends.

The last time Tai and I were together things got kind of weird with his father. His dad thinks I'm a joke, but I'm used to it by now. My own father already threatened to cut me off financially if I went through with this internship. I told him, rather loudly if I remember correctly, that I didn't need his money. I'd make my own way in this world and didn't care if he cut me off. It was probably a bad call at the time, considering I don't exactly have my own money, but I want to be independent at the same time. I have some money saved up in an account my parents aren't aware of. I did a modeling gig a couple times and that made me some cash but not enough to live off of for long. I'd be in Italy in three months though and then I could get a part time job doing something out there. I didn't need his money. I didn't need anyone.

My dad was all talk. He'd never cut me off... I hope. I'm his only child, after all.

I pulled up to the small cafe just outside Tokyo near the medical center. I'd never been there before but it came highly recommended so I trusted that was good enough.

I parked my car and got out, walking toward the front door. I glanced inside. It was a little place. Small, cozy, private. There were tables that seated between two and four people at a time and the whole place had a really casual, jazzy feel to it. Cute was the first word that came to mind. I wondered how the food was, even though I wasn't that hungry.

Tai always got on to me about never eating enough. I ate. I did. Just not a lot here lately. I was so stressed out with everything that food was kind of the last thing on my mind. Yes, I'd noticed a change in my body recently. My hip bones were more prominent than normal, but at the same time my stomach never looked better. Call me shallow, but I do enjoy looking the way I do. I like being skinny. If that's a crime, then sue me. The biggest issue I was facing was my jeans not fitting. I could go buy new clothes, in a smaller size, but that's what belts are made for.

Okay. So I'm shallow. But at least I admit it.

I pulled the door open to the cafe and a small bell rang above my head, announcing my arrival. The place was packed for it being the middle of the day. I scanned the floor, looking for the person that was expecting me but couldn't spot him.

"Mimi," a soft voice called from behind me.

I turned and there he was. A smile crept onto my face. I couldn't have stopped that grin if I tried. My, how he'd changed since I last saw him. Before I knew it, I'd wrapped my arms around his neck and smothered him in a suffocating hug. He laughed, and wrapped his arms around me too.

"I missed you, too," he whispered.

I pulled back and put my hands on both sides of his face, "Jyou."

He laughed and smiled, "You're squishing my face."

"Oh!" I said a little embarrassed and let go, "Sorry!"

"I got us a table by the window," he said, putting his hand on the small of my back and leading me toward the empty table.

I sat down at the table and admired my old friend. I hadn't seen him in probably close to two years. He looked so different. His hair was longer, for starters. It hung almost to his shoulders in a sexy, almost rebellious kind of way for him. He still wore thick glasses but had managed to change the frame so he didn't look so... Harry Potter any more. Now he looked like a professor, which wasn't surprising considering he taught part time at the University. He was only two years older than me, but had accomplished so much since graduating high school at sixteen. He was a genius, that one.

"You look great," I said.

"So do you," he replied, "What have you been up to?"

I shrugged, "Not a whole lot. I just moved back to Japan a couple months ago. It's been kind of uneventful. Well, if you don't count drama with my parents and boys that is."

He just shook his head and laughed, "Parent drama and boys. You haven't changed at all have you?"

"What can I say? I like trouble and I like boys."

"Speaking of boys... rumor has it you've been seeing a close friend of ours. Is that true?"

"Rumor has it? Good to know I've been the center of the gossip mill."

"Not really. It was mentioned in passing once or twice. I never know what to believe any more."

"Well, the rumors are true. Tai and I are seeing each other."

"It's kind of random so I have to ask: how?"

"It's a really long story. We were both going through some things and ended up finding each other through it. He's really special. Hes helped me through a lot."

"It sounds like you really care about him."

I found myself nodding, "I do. I really do. It hasn't been the easiest road for us, but we're working through it."

"I think if two people care enough about each other, nothing else should matter. I haven't personally seen you two interact but I always knew there was chemistry there. How is everyone else responding to the change? I know how difficult it was when Sora and Yamato started dating. I'm so out of the loop right now I just have no idea what's going on in everyone's personal lives."

"I'm just as far out as you are. Sora doesn't talk to me any more because she's secretly in love with Tai but won't say it out loud. Miyako and Hikari are about the only ones that still keep in contact. Yamato is just doing his own thing, but we were never close to begin with. Koushiro... well, that's complicated. I guess he kind of likes me and now that I'm dating Tai it's weird for him. Weird for both of us, I guess. Tai usually tells me what's going on. I don't hear it from them personally. We used to be such a close group. I don't know what happened."

"We grew up. Just because we don't talk to each other everyday or see each other regularly it doesn't mean we're not all still friends. We're at a point in our lives where we're all trying to figure out who we are and what we want to do. Some of us will fall apart but I think that in the end, it'll all work out okay and we'll all be just fine."

"Jyou, you're the one person that understands exactly what I'm going through. You just get it. You're so busy with school and teaching and don't have a lot of free time. That's just the problem. Free time. There isn't much of it these days. I think it's a lot of the reason our relationships are suffering."

"I wish we had more time, but some things kind of take priority at different times in your life. Unfortunately for people like Sora and Yamato, they're more focused on their dating lives than anything else right now. People like me, I'm more focused on my career. You'll all hit that point eventually."

"I couldn't agree more."

"If you want my honest opinion, I think you're going to turn out just fine. Whatever you choose to do with your life will be the right choice, even if others don't agree with it. You have to do what's best for you and no one else."

I left my lunch date with Jyou a couple of hours later. We got so caught up in talking to each other that time just escaped us. I didn't even realize it was after five until Tai texted me again. Jyou panicked, saying he had to get back to the hospital, and we parted ways. We agreed to meet again soon, or at least once more before I left for Italy.

I really did cherish my friendship with Jyou. Of all of my old friends, he's the one that understands me the most. He knows what I like and what I don't, my pet peeves, and can read how I'm feeling like a book. I didn't realize until that moment how much I'd missed him. We hardly see each other, but still keep in touch through social media and phone calls. I guess it's better than nothing, even if I do prefer in-person.

I got in my car and dialed Tai. He was at the park, probably looking like a loner. He wasn't exactly thriving in the friend department here lately. I kind of blame myself for that.

I decided to go pick him up so we could go back to my place and just enjoy each others company. We could rent a movie and get a pizza or something. I wasn't really in the mood for going out. Just cuddling with him on the couch in the privacy of my home was enough.

Mimi and I arrived back at her apartment around six. I'd spend majority of the afternoon just hanging out at the park. It was boring and lonely but it was always better than being at home. At least there was an intense soccer game happening to help pass the time.

Mimi was quiet in the car, giving off a weird vibe. I wanted to ask her what was wrong but I didn't want to pry. She didn't seem upset... just off, I guess. I decided it was best not to say anything.

When we walked into the apartment, Mimi placed her purse on the small table by the door and then wrapped her arms around my neck, catching me off guard. I stumbled and bumped into the wall, but she never let go of me. She pulled away and just looked into my eyes. My heart started racing. That was the saddest look I've ever received. I didn't know what to think so I just blurted something out.

"If this is the part where you tell me you met someone else, just let me jump off the balcony and kill myself first," I said, getting nervous that she was about to say something I didn't want to hear.

"Don't be silly," she whispered.

She lifted her hand and played with the hair in my face, never unwrapping her other arm from my neck. It was something she had always enjoyed doing, playing with my hair. When she leaned in and kissed me, my whole body tensed up. It was a gentle, warm kiss and it completely threw me off. Usually she attacked me and that was the end of it. I wasn't used to this but it was a nice change of pace.

She deepened the kiss, pulling my hair into her fingers. My hands began roaming up and down her back. At one point, I grabbed the back of her neck and pulled her hair playfully. I think she enjoyed it because I soon felt her unbuttoning my pants.

"I don't have any," I moaned when she broke the kiss and started nibbling my neck, all while feeling around at her own pleasure.

"I don't care," she whispered back, her mouth finding mine again once she'd gotten my button undone and my zipper down.


"I'm on the pill. It's fine."

I wasn't exactly sure what I'd done to make Mimi want me so much in that moment, but I wasn't complaining. We hadn't been physical since that one night in New York and I missed the intimacy between us. It wasn't just about sex with Mimi. Being physical with her made me feel more connected to her. It was a private thing we shared. Just me and her.

Once she'd managed to pull my pants to my ankles, she lifted up her arms for me to remove her shirt. I laughed and did as she wanted. She then took off my shirt and we kissed again.

"Make love to me," she whispered.

I grabbed her thighs and lifted her up off the floor. She wrapped her arms around my neck for balance and her legs around my waist as I moved us from the entry of the house toward the couch.

"Bed," she said and I changed direction toward the bedroom.

I'm not exactly sure what brought on the mood between us, but when Mimi and I made love that night it felt like the it was for the first time. It was so passionate and different. It was like we were discovering each other all over again. It made me feel like we connected on a completely different level.

When it was over, we laid in her bed, wrapped up in each other under the thin sheets. I had one arm behind my head and the other wrapped around Mimi. She was playing with my hair again. I looked down at her and she smiled. I kissed her forehead and then laid back and closed my eyes. I didn't want this moment to end.

"That was..." she said, but couldn't think up the words, "Wow."

"I feel the same."

"Come to Italy with me," she said, completely throwing me off guard and kind of ruining the moment, if I'm being honest.

I shifted so I could look at her, "What?"

"Take a semester off and come live in Italy with me."


"I don't want to lose you." She buried her face in my neck.

"You're not going to lose me. We'll see each other on holidays. A year isn't that long."

"I know. But now that it's getting closer reality is hitting. I don't know if I can be away from you for that long. Maybe I shouldn't take the internship."

"What? No! Mimi, you have to take the internship. It's what you've always wanted. No. I won't be responsible for you turning it down. You have to take it. You'll take it or... or I'll break up with you. So there."

"You won't break up with me. You love me."

"I do not. You're crazy."

"Oh whatever. Stop lying to yourself. You know you love me."

"I do not!"

"You totally do. I want to hear you say it."


"Tell me you love me."

"I am not going to tell you I love you."

"I knew it!"

"What? No! That didn't count!"

"Taiii loves me, Taiii loves me," she taunted.

"I'll show you love."

I rolled over and started tickling her. She laughed hysterically, all while trying to make me stop. She squealed and even started crying from laughing so hard. I did stop, but only because she was making me laugh and I lost concentration. She took this to her advantage because she obtained control and straddled me. She pinned my arms above my head so I couldn't tickle her any more and I have to admit, she's a lot stronger than she looks.

I looked up into her beautiful hazel eyes, which were fluttering with specks of blue today. Her hair was surrounding my face and tickling my ears. All jokes vanished from her eyes and she wore a very serious look.

"Tell me you love me," she said again, this time more demanding than playful.

I didn't know what to say. She wasn't playing around. She actually wants me to confess my love to her. But why? I didn't know if we were at that point yet. Our relationship was so up and down. I didn't want to ruin anything or her to run off if I said it out loud.

"It's easy," she whispered, after I didn't say anything.


"I love you."


"I do, Tai. I really do."


"Say something, Tai."

"Mimi, you don't love me."

"But I do. I really do."

Before I could say anything else she laid her head down in the crook of my neck. She was naked, I was naked, and she was straddling me. More or less, it was kind of an awkward position we were in. Not exactly one I'd have pictured myself having a serious conversation in.

"I know you feel the same," she said.

But did I?

I thought I was in love with Sora but then after everything that happened I realized I wasn't. What I feel for Mimi is completely different. If it's love I'm not sure. I thought I knew what love was with Sora but I think it was just lust. More of wanting something I knew I couldn't have. But Mimi... she makes me feel... alive. With her, I'm carefree and happy and grounded. She brings out the best in me which I've never had before. The thought of us not being together makes me sick. The thought of her being with someone else makes me angry. Is that what love means?

"I love you, too, Mimi."

I could feel her smile into my shoulder. We said nothing else and ended up falling asleep in each others arms.

I woke up later to the sound of my phone ringing. Mimi shifted too and her eyes fluttered open as well. She sat up as I hunted for the annoying ringing phone.

"What? Who?" She asked dazed.

"My phone. Where is it?" I asked, shuffling through the sheets to find it but it wasn't there. I then remembered it was in my pants pocket which just so happened to be located somewhere between the bedroom and the kitchen. I then told myself I needed to turn the ring volume down if I could hear it all the way across the condo.

"Ignore it," Mimi said, cuddling back in the sheets.

"What time is it?" I asked, realizing it was dark out.

"What does it matter?"

"I have to check in with my mom. It's probably her calling."


She rolled out of bed and grabbed her panties off the floor, quickly putting them on. I couldn't help but stare at the way the lace hugged her body.

"You like what you see?" She asked seductively after catching me staring.

She playfully started dancing around the room half naked just in time for my phone to start ringing again. I rolled my eyes and got out of the bed to go find the damn thing. She rolled her eyes as well, not please.

I was correct in assuming the phone was in my pants pocket. It wasn't my mom like I thought though. Instead, it was Yamato. He was blowing up my phone so I quickly answered.

"Hello?" I asked.

"I messed up, man," he said, sounding frantic.

"What happened?"

"I am such an idiot!" He shouted and then I heard what sounded like him punching the dashboard of a car.

"Yama. What. Happened?"

"Where are you? Can I come over?"

"I'm at Mimi's. Tell me what's going on."

There was a struggle, and some grunting and arguing, and then I heard Takeru shouting in the background and then he was the one talking to me.

"Tai, hey," Takeru said.

"Takeru, what is going on?"

He groaned, "My idiot of a brother decided to get drunk and then take some pills that one of his buddies said would make him feel better. He then proceeded to show up at Sora's house, cause a scene, and have one of their neighbors call the cops. Sora didn't press charges but he was one step away from getting himself arrested for being underage and drunk in public. They called me and now I have to find somewhere for him to chill out so my dad doesn't have to kill him and my mom doesn't cry herself to sleep."

"Well, I'm at Mimi's and I don't know if-"

"Tell them to come here," Mimi said.

"You sure?" I asked, covering the phone speaker so Takeru wouldn't hear, "Yamato's pretty messed up."

"Yes. I'd rather he come here than screw things up with his parents."

"Come to Mimi's," I told Tk, "I'll text you the address."

"Thanks, Tai. I'm driving illegally by the way so here's hoping I don't get pulled over on the way or you'll have two people to bail out of jail."

Seeing as Sora's apartment isn't very far from Mimi's condo, the boys arrived within twenty minutes. Tk and I had to physically carry Yamato to the elevator and then down the hall to her room. He was so messed up he couldn't even stand or see straight. It worried me. A lot. He'd done stupid stuff before, but nothing like this.

"What kind of pills did he take?" Mimi asked quickly.

"I don't even know," Tk said rushing Yamato into the bathroom just as he began convulsively throwing up, "I keep asking him questions and he doesn't say anything. Just stares at me or comments on how soft the leather is in the car..."

"Yamato, what kind of pills did your friend give you?"

"Ec... ecstasy..." he managed between puking phases.

"That was so stupid, Yamato," Mimi lectured and then stomped out of the bathroom and grabbed the phone.

"He's burning up, Tai," Takeru said, feeling the sweat running down his brothers neck.

Mimi returned moments later, "Poison control said we need to keep his temperature down. If his body temperature gets too high he will have brain damage."

"Help me get him in the shower," Takeru said, hoisting up the, now unconscious, Yamato.

I picked up Yamato's legs and Takeru grabbed him from under his arms. Together, we managed to get him in the bathtub. He was practically dead weight though so it was no easy feat. I turned on the cold water and let the shower rain down on him. He flinched, but just shut his eyes and laid there.

"Is he going to be okay?" Takeru asked.

I'd never seen Takeru so panicked before. He was really worried about his brother. Yamato, you freaking idiot.

"He'll be fine," Mimi said, "It looks like he threw up most of what was in his system. Once he cools down we can move him into the spare bedroom."

"He'll be okay," I said to Takeru, who just nodded, hoping I was right, "We'll just let him sit in here until he wakes up."

I followed Mimi out of the bathroom and into the living room. She looked stressed.

"When the hell did Yamato start doing drugs?" She asked in a hushed but angry tone.

"I didn't even know he was," I replied.

"He is such a freaking idiot! How could he do this? Did you see Takeru's face in there? He's traumatized! What a selfish, selfish thing to do!"

"He's fighting a lot of demons right now."

"So that makes it okay to experiment with ecstasy? And why the hell would he go to Sora's of all places? Seeing her just upsets him more. I thought you said he was sleeping with someone else. Why does he keep going back to her if he has someone else?"

I look behind me and make sure Takeru wasn't within earshot of that comment, "Would you keep it down? Hikari told me that in confidence you're not supposed to know that. He goes to her because he refuses to admit to himself that he's still in love with her."

"Well I can see now why she doesn't feel the same. He's a fucking idiot with addictive tendencies."

"Hey," I said, walking closer to her and putting my hands on the sides of her face, "Calm down. It's going to be okay."

She sighed and shook her head, "I just wanted a quiet night alone with you. That's obviously not going to happen. I guess since Takeru is staying I'll order pizza."

"Thank you for being understanding. You're being a good friend to them."

I kissed her on the forehead and she walked away to order the food. Takeru emerged from the bathroom, a look of relief washed over him.

"He's awake and complaining about freezing to death," he said. "Let's get him into the bed."

I helped Takeru get Yamato out of the tub and into some dry clothes, which happened to be a shirt I had lying around and a pair of sweat pants. He'd cooled down enough and managed to keep a bottle of water down so we let him crawl into bed. He was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. I pulled the small trash can out of the bathroom and stuck it next to the bed, just in case.

We went into the living room just as the pizza arrived. I didn't know about Takeru, but I was starving. I didn't even wait for the pizza box to make it to the table before grabbing a slice and shoving it in my mouth. I found a plate and walked over to the couch. Mimi and Takeru soon joined me. We all sighed, almost simultaneously, and then laughed. What a stressful night this had turned into.

"Do you guys mind if I crash here tonight? My mom thinks I'm staying at my dad's and my dad thinks I'm out with Yamato for the night so I can't exactly show up at either place," Takeru explained.

"It's fine, Takeru. There's more than enough room for you to stay here," Mimi said.

"Thank you."

"Anytime, sweetie."

Mimi and I cuddled together on the couch after we'd all agreed on a movie. It was getting late. I checked in with my mom and told her I'd be staying out the night. I mentioned I was with Yamato and Takeru, which technically wasn't a lie, but left out the part about being at Mimi's. I don't think she would have cared regardless but I left it out just to be safe.

Not long after the movie started, there was a knock at the front door that caught us all by surprise. We all exchanged glances and the knock came again, this time louder.

"I'll get it," Takeru said, so Mimi and I wouldn't have to get out of our cuddling position.

We both watched him open the door and heard who it was before ever seeing a face.

"Where is he?" Sora shouted, pushing Takeru aside and letting herself in.

"Sora, come on. He just fell asleep," Takeru pleaded.

"I don't care. I need to talk to him," she said, stomping into the kitchen and rummaging around. She found one of the pots under the stove and filled it with water from the sink. She then stomped down the hallway and started shouting his name.

"Has she lost her mind?" Mimi asked, getting up from the couch and following Sora.

"Yamato... Oh, Yamato... Where the hell are you?" Sora was shouting as she opened every door in the hallway until she finally found him, "There you are!"

"No, Sora, stop!" Mimi shouted.

Takeru and I went running down the hallway to see what was happening. We arrived just in time to watch Sora throw the water in the pot on Yamato and soak him and the entire bed. Yamato jolted out of his sleep and sat up quickly, having no clue what was going on. Mimi had her hands over her mouth in complete shock over what just happened.

"Oh, good! You're awake. Now, I'm going to kill you!" Sora shouted, holding the pot above her head and charging toward him.

"Stop, no!" Takeru shouted, grabbing her around the waist and stopping her. He got the pot out of her hand so she couldn't throw it at him next.

"Let me go! I'm going to kill him!" Sora continued shouting and struggling to get free of Takeru's grip. She wasn't getting anywhere with it though. Takeru had a good nine or so inches on her and at least fifty pounds. Her chances of breaking free were pretty slim.

"She's lost her freaking mind," Mimi said.

"Why did you throw water on me?" Yamato asked, looking completely confused.

"How dare you show up at my house and embarrass me like that!" Sora shouted, still trying to break free of Takeru's grip, "It was completely humiliating having the cops show up at my home because you decided to act like a jackass!"

"I know. I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. Can we talk?" Yamato asked, "In private."

"I have nothing to say to you. I want to hit you over the head and knock some sense into you!"

"If you would calm down this would go a lot faster."

Sora glared at him and took in a long, deep breath, "Okay. I'm calm."

"Let her go, Takeru," Yamato said.

Tk slowly loosened the grip around Sora's waist. She managed to stay calm for about five seconds but before anyone could stop her again, she jumped on the bed and started strangling him.

"Stop! Stop! Stop!" Yamato pleaded every time she slammed his head into the pillow.

"I need a drink," Mimi said, exiting the room and shaking her head in disbelief.

Takeru wrestled Sora off the bed and got her to stand still. She straightened out her shirt and took a deep breath again.

"I get that you're mad, okay? I get it," Takeru began, "But if you're going to come here and do nothing but try and strangle him then I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

"I'm not leaving before I talk to him."

"I'll let you go if you promise not to attack him again."

"I won't attack him again."

"If you do, I will personally pick you up and throw you out the door. Got it?"

"I got it, Takeru."

Takeru slowly let her go again and much to all of our relief, she didn't try to attack him again.

"Some privacy, guys?" Yamato said, but Takeru gave him a wary look, "It's fine."

Takeru and I left the room and he shut the door behind us. We found Mimi in the kitchen, pouring herself a drink from the liquor cabinet. She was stressed. Anyone could sense that. This was not the night she anticipated.

"Is Psycho staying the night as well?" She asked.

"I don't know," I replied.


She chugged back the drink, made a horrified face, and poured herself another. We were all stunned when yet another knock came from the front door.

"Who the hell is here now?" Mimi shouted, slamming her glass down on the counter.

She stomped through the kitchen and toward the front door. She threw it opened with force and groaned. "Apparently a party was planned that I wasn't aware of. Come on in."

In the door walked my baby sister and Koushiro. To say I was a little stunned would have been an understatement.

Hikari didn't say anything, just ran to Takeru and wrapped her arms around his neck. He consoled her even though I'm pretty sure the whole reason she was here was to comfort him.

"He's okay," Takeru said, "Sora's in there talking to him right now."

"Sora's here?" Hikari asked, surprised.

"Everyone's here! It's a party, hey!" Mimi said sarcastically, going back into the kitchen.

"They're talking it out," Takeru continued.

"Oh, to be a fly on the wall in that room," Hikari said.

Koushiro and I stood next to each other uncomfortably. It was the first time we'd come in contact since the whole thing with Mimi became public. He looked about as thrilled to be here as I felt. I had a feeling the only reason he was here is because Hikari called him for a ride.

When there was a knock at the door again, Mimi all but had a conniption fit. She was not in the mood to entertain and all these people just kept randomly showing up at her door. I get they were here to see if Yamato was alright but still. At least warn a person before showing up.

"If anyone else shows up after this person I'm moving," Mimi said, answering the door once again.

This time, in walked Jyou. Mimi didn't scream or yell or do anything drastic. Instead, she just relaxed and wrapped her arms around his neck. He hugged her back and a hint of jealousy washed over me. With everything else going on that was the last thing I should be feeling.

"How's he doing?" Jyou asked once they were both inside.

"He's better," Mimi said, "He's in there talking to Sora."

"Sora's here?"

"Everyone's here, if you haven't noticed," I said, making my presence known. So much for not making this a pissing contest.

"Oh, hey, Tai," Jyou said, finally noticing me. "Hikari. Takeru. Koushiro! How are you all?"

"Oh, you know, just unexpectedly brought together by a mutual friends stupidity," I said, receiving a couple of nervous laughs.

"Well, regardless of the reason, it's nice to see everyone," Jyou said with a smile.

I had to admit I felt the same. I think we all did. As awkward as I felt standing next to Koushiro, who was slowly inching away from me toward the door, I was kind of glad we were all together for once. When that happened last I didn't even know. It wouldn't happen again for a while either.

"Everyone sit. Enjoy yourselves. There's pizza on the table if anyone is hungry," Mimi said. She moved away from Jyou and approached me, taking my hand and leading me into the kitchen. I noticed Koushiro's eyes on us the entire time. I had to say something to him. I didn't want him hating me or feeling awkward around Mimi and I. If Mimi and I were going to try and make things work in the long run, he was just going to have to accept it.

"I think I'm going to head out," Koushiro announced.

"But you just got here," Mimi whined.

"I know but I have to be up early. I don't want to impose as it appears you have enough company."

"You're not imposing. Stay, Kou. Seriously. How often is it that we're all together?"

Kou looked torn. Mimi was turning on the charm without even realizing it. She had the ability to talk her way into or out of anything.

"Kou, please stay," I said.

"Yeah, if you leave now you might miss Sora beating my brother over the head with a pot," Tk said and the three of us -Takeru, Mimi, and me- laughed at the inside joke.

Koushiro ended up giving in, "Alright, alright. I wouldn't want to miss that."

And just like that, it was like everything was okay again. Jyou joined Hikari and Tk on the couch and Mimi grabbed her drink and joined them as well. Koushiro slowly approached me in the kitchen. We stared at each other for a moment before he nodded as if saying that everything would be alright between us.

"I'm sorry I've been so weird toward you lately," Koushiro said.

"I'm just glad you're talking to me again. It sucks not having one of my best friends around. And I should be the one apologizing to you. I'm the one that keeps screwing everything up," I said, lightly punching him on the shoulder and both of us laughing. "No hard feelings?"

"None. I was kidding myself thinking that someone like Mimi would ever fall for me anyway."

"Don't say that. Just because it didn't work out with her doesn't mean there's not someone just as equally beautiful and amazing out there for you."

"I don't have time for a girlfriend right now regardless. I need to focus on school. I mean, if I'm going to be president by the time I'm forty I really need to get into gear."

We both just laughed. I caught Mimi glancing my way. She smiled and winked, happy that Koushiro and I were finally talking to each other again. I smiled back, happy with myself for the first time in a while. She turned her attention back toward the others and I turned back toward Kou.

"I hope that one day I find someone that looks at me like Mimi looks at you," Koushiro said.

"She is pretty wonderful," I replied, still staring at the back of her head.

"Tai, Kou, come join us. Oh, and bring the whiskey!" Mimi said.

I just shook my head and grabbed the bottle then followed Koushiro into the living room. I sat down and wrapped an arm around Mimi. Jyou made room for Koushiro to sit next to him. Pretty soon everyone was talking and laughing and it felt just like old times. You know, before we all got our own lives and branched out from each other.

I realized something in that moment. It didn't matter what happened in our lives, we would always all be friends. Things could get hectic and downright insane and we'd all still come together in some way. This particular instance just so happened to be someone nearly over dosing on drugs, but hey, at least we were all together. We would just pick up where we left off and it would be like no time had passed in between. We would be okay.

Sora and Yamato emerged from the bedroom some time later. I honestly forgot they were here. They were in there for a long time. I think we all forgot because when they finally made an appearance, we all kind of just stared.

Jyou stood and rushed over to Yamato, "How are you feeling? Are you burning up? How many fingers am I holding up? Do you need to go to the hospital?"

Yamato looked completely overwhelmed with all the questions, "I'm fine, really. I think the drugs are finally leaving my system."

"Just drink a lot of water. Stay hydrated, please."

"When did everyone get here?" Sora asked, changing the subject.

"Shortly after you," Mimi replied.

"We were all worried," Hikari stated.

"I know. I'm sorry. What I did was stupid and childish. It won't happen again, I promise," Yamato apologized.

"Well, it's nice to hear that. I'm hoping you'll stick to that promise. I'm also glad to see that Sora didn't murder you. I was starting to get worried," Tk said.

The two looked at each other and smiled. I would've loved hearing their conversation. They actually appeared to have worked things out. That was good... right?

"Yamato and I have something to announce," Sora began.

"If you say you're pregnant I will kill myself," Tk said, making us all laugh.

"No. Nothing like that," she continued, "Yamato and I have decided to be civil. We have agreed to talk about our problems versus him showing up at my house acting like an idiot and me trying to rip his head off. From now on, if we have a problem, we will talk about it like adults."

"So does that mean you two are getting back together?" Hikari said, asking the question we all wanted to know the answer to.

"No," Yamato answered, "But we are going to try and be friends. No more screaming and yelling and hating each other. It's not good for us considering our history and we know it's putting all of you in awkward positions. So from this day forward, we will be civil."

We all sighed in relief.

"Good," Tk said, "Because the drama between you two is starting to get really old." Hikari gave him a look to which he responded: "What? Like you weren't thinking the same thing."

We all stayed awake that night talking for hours. I had no idea about all the crazy things going on in my friends lives. For instance, Koushiro was accepted into a study abroad program for the summer. He was leaving the week after we graduated and wouldn't be back until September where he would begin classes at Tokyo. Jyou was busy working and studying, that was nothing new. Sora, who was actually talking to me now, was stressed out with moving and couldn't express how much she would miss everyone. It felt so good talking to all my friends again. I thought for the first time in a long time that things might actually be okay from here on out.

The rest of the weekend and the last week of school went by without incident. I passed all my finals, not that it really mattered at this point seeing as I already got into the college I wanted. Oh, Dad and I came to an understanding. I yelled at him some, he yelled at me some, then we eventually shook it off and the pissing contest was over. Overall, I was relieved. He even went so far as to contact Mimi and apologize to her.

Then came graduation. It was, well, boring, to say the least. It began at eight in the morning. We didn't finish until noon. My graduating class had almost six hundred people so it took forever. All the smart kids gave their speeches, the principle and teachers gave speeches, and then they handed out awards and finally came diplomas. Each time one of my friends walked across the stage I think I cheered louder than anyone in the room. They did the same for me once I crossed that stage. The principle nodded to me and then I saw Dr. Anderson. She nodded and smiled, clapping loudly. Call me self-centered, but I knew she liked me the most out of all her troubled students. I'm a charmer.

I found my family and Mimi once everything was done. Hikari instantly began snapping pictures. She broke out the big camera and wasn't planning to miss a single moment. Needless to say, I was seeing flashing dots everywhere.

"I'm so proud of you," Mimi whispered, embracing me in a hug.

"Thank you, babe," I replied.

"This is so perfect! Turn toward me, you two!" Hikari said and we did as she wanted.

I wrapped an arm around Mimi's shoulders and Hikari went insane. We all took turns taking pictures. Mom wanted a ton and so did my sister. Dad got a couple but was over it shortly. Koushiro, Yamato, Takeru, and Sora all found their way to us in time and then came more pictures. By the end of it, I was exhausted.

"Are you so excited to finally be done?" Mimi asked once we left graduation.

"Of course I'm excited! Here's to doing absolutely nothing for the next three months!" I replied.

"So what are the plans for today?"

"Dinner with my parents at six. Then a guy from school is having a huge party. I wasn't going to go but they're expecting me to make an appearance."

"Make an appearance?"

"Last blow out of the school year. Of course I have to be there."

"I guess that means I have to go also?"

"Only if you want to."

"Of course. I want to be where ever you are."

I smirked, "I thought you'd say that."

We spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach behind Mimi's condo. Have I ever mentioned how good Mimi looks in a bikini? Well, she looks really good in a bikini. Others noticed as well. She had a way of turning heads, even if she didn't mean to.

"This is so perfect," Mimi said in ecstasy as she soaked in the sun on the towel next to me.

"I'll say so," I replied behind a pair of Ray-Ban's as the sun baked us with the blinding rays.

She rolled over on her side and stared at me with a smile.

"What?" I wondered.

"Nothing," she replied, "It's just nice knowing you're all mine for the next three months."

I'm not sure why, but that comment kind of scared me. I foresee many trips to the mall and nail/hair salon in my future.

"We should probably get ready for dinner," I said.

"Is it that time already?"

"We're pushing five."

She sighed, "Alright."

She stood up and began putting her clothes back on, which was kind of a disappointment. Was it so wrong to like the way my girlfriend looks? I don't think so.

Dinner that night wasn't like a repeat of our last family get together. Dad drank, but didn't make any snide comments toward Mimi. That could've been because Yamato's family was dining with us as well. My dad was more focused on talking to Yamato's dad about the radio/TV station. He was fascinated about that business for some reason. Mom and Yamato's mom were talking and Mimi, Takeru, Yamato, Hikari, and I were all seated near each other talking.

"Who all is going to the party tonight?" Hikari wondered.

"Everyone," Yamato replied, "Well, anyone that matters at least."

"It sounds like a popularity contest. Only the beautiful people allowed."

"No. It's not like that at all. Anyone who wants to be there can go."

"Must be nice to have everyone love you."

"What are you talking about, Hikari? You're a cheerleader. You're right up there at the top of the popularity rankings," I commented.

"That is not the reason people like me. I'm a genuinely nice person. People appreciate that," she defended.

"Yeah. I'm sure that's what it is," Takeru said.

"Coming from you, that's just funny."

"Okay, children," Mimi butted in just before a fight broke out, "It's a high school party. Not a popularity contest. Who gives a crap?"

"She makes a good point," Yamato said.

"It's just another excuse for underage teenagers to binge drink and smoke pot," Hikari said.

"And that's exactly why we're going!" I said and Yamato and I did a high-five.

Mimi just rolled her eyes and smiled, "You two are something else."

"No worries, baby. You'll have a good time too."

"Yeah, yeah."

Dinner ended around eight thirty. We parted ways with our parents and headed toward the graduation party. Takeru agreed to be our DD, even though he wasn't legally licensed to drive. We figured in the instance he did get pulled over, the cop would take some sympathy on him for driving around a bunch of drunken idiots. It was a good samaritan deed, really.

"What is taking so long?" I shouted into the hallway.

We were sitting in Mimi's living room. She had us make a detour so she could change. Apparently jeans and a shirt weren't good enough for Mimi's party going standards. Yama and I were dressed casually. As was Takeru. Hikari wore a summer dress but it was still pretty casual. Mimi would once again be turning some heads tonight. It made me wonder how many people I'd be getting in fights with.

"Girls take so damn long to get ready," Yamato stated.

"No crap," I agreed.

Mimi emerged five minutes later. Like I assumed, she looked like she was getting ready for a red carpet event. Pink, form-fitting dress; short, by all standards of the word. Pink pumps and she'd managed to straighten her hair. The makeup stayed at a minimal, though she didn't need much regardless. I caught Yamato and Takeru staring.

"Damn, girl. You clean up nicely," Yamato said.

"Hey now," I warned.

"Just complementing a good looking girl. No harm in that."

"I'm ready when you guys are," Mimi said, completely ignoring both of us.

We left the condo and arrived at the party thirty minutes later. Mimi held my hand the entire car ride. It made me feel good knowing that no matter what others said or how many people stared, she still wanted everyone to know that I was hers.

"Let's not make this a repeat of the last party we were all at, please," Hikari begged.

"I promise not to be sucked into peer pressure by Tai and do a ton of keg stands," Yamato vowed.

"Me? You're the one that does peer pressure," I defended.

"I am persuaded very easily."


"We're leaving now," Mimi said, annoyed, getting out of the car.

Yamato and I just stared at each other. He shrugged, "She's your girlfriend. What did you do to piss her off?"

"I just don't think she knows how to handle both of us at the same time."

"God forbid we ever had a threesome."

"Never say that again."

"Your loss. Let's go in there and show these people how to really party."

"Hell yeah!"

We did a fist bump and got out of the car and followed the others into the house.

The party was... well, lame. A party is a party. They're pretty much all the same. It's underage binge drinking, stupid people doing stupid things, someone gets naked, unprotected sex, drugs floating around... You know. That kind of thing. All parties are the same. We have a good time and then the cops show up and the party is over until the next one.

When things started to spin -multiple beers, a couple kegs stands, and some shots later- I wandered off to a quiet place by myself. Mimi was catching up with our friends and I didn't want to disturb them. She was actually having a good time and I didn't want to put a damper on that. She'd probably come looking for me eventually.

I found a quiet study down the hallway with a computer desk and a couch. That couch was all I needed. As soon as I sat down and put my head back, I fell asleep.

My snooze was dreamless. I was awoken by Mimi sometime later. She looked beautiful.

"There you are!" She said, shutting the door behind her, "We were all wondering where you disappeared to."

"I guess I fell asleep," I said with an over exaggerated yawn.

"I'm just glad I found you."

She kicked off her heels and walked over to me. I thought she'd just grab my hand and pull me up so we could go back to the party but things didn't exactly play out that way. Instead, she pushed me back into the couch, hitched up her dress, and straddled me. It took me by surprise but at the same time, who was I to complain?

"You're so pretty," she mumbled and began kissing my neck.

"Pretty?" I repeated, "Not sure how to feel about that."

She begins to dig her fingers into my scalp and even though it kind of hurts, I love it. She moves from my neck and kisses my lips. The hormones begin flying and so do our clothes.

She manages to get my shirt pulled over my head and I pull the top of her dress down. Things start getting more intense when suddenly the door to the room busts open.

We both pull away from each other and turn to see Yamato and Sora standing in the doorway. Both have red solo cups in their hands and stunned expressions. Yamato then just grins stupidly.

"Looks like this room is occupied... we'll find another," he says and ushers Sora out of the room just as quickly as they entered.

I'm not sure what bothered me more in that moment. The fact that they'd just walked in on Mimi and me about to go to town, or the fact that the two of them were trying to find a room to be alone in. Regardless, it killed the moment for me. So much for them being "just friends".

"I guess we should get back to the party," Mimi suggests, sensing my change in mood.

"Yeah, I guess."

She stands up and pulls her dress back up over her chest. She then puts on her shoes and hands me my shirt. I follow her suit and put my shirt back on. She stares at me for a minute then walks to me and just hugs me. Her head is against my chest and she's just standing there.

"I love you," she says softly, "Just remember that."

It still feels odd to me that Mimi and I are casually throwing around the L word now. Not because I don't feel the same, just because I'm not used to it yet. It's all so new to me.

"Hey," I said pulling her out of my grip and looking in her eyes, "You okay?"

She just nods but I know she's not. Maybe it was the expression on my face when I saw Sora. I felt terrible now though. I don't want her to feel like everything with Sora is going to be a competition because it's not. Mimi will win, hands down, if it came down to it.

"Do you wanna leave?" I asked, "I can get Takeru to take us back to your place."

"No. This is your last high school party. I want you to have a good time."

"I won't have a good time if you're not."

"I am having a good time."

"Are you sure?"

"Of course. As long as I know that you'll be waking up in my bed tomorrow, that's all I need."

With those parting words, she turns and walks out of the room leaving me standing there like a fool. I know she's upset. I have to fix this.

I dash out of the room and catch up to her in the living room where half the party is hanging out. No one's paying attention to us. I see Sora and Yamato standing nearby leaving me to assume they didn't find a vacant room to mess around in.

I grabbed Mimi's hand and spun her so she was facing me. I pulled her face to mine and kissed her right there in front of everyone. I wanted everyone to know that Mimi was mine and I wasn't trying to hide it.

"I love you," I told her once we pulled apart.

The smile on her face was all the confirmation I needed to know that she would be okay. She reached up and put a hand to my cheek. She walked away and joined Hikari and Takeru on the back porch. I was planning to join her but was quickly approached by Sora.

"Can we talk?" She asked.

I could sense that she was not happy, but what else was new?

"Sure," I replied.

She grabbed onto my hand and led me away from the party; back into the room Mimi and I just came out of. She all but slammed the door behind us and then turned to face me.

"So what, you and Mimi are in love now?" She asks, "Didn't you two just start dating?"

"I don't think it's any of your business how Mimi and I express ourselves," I reply.

"That's funny considering I thought you two were just screwing around."

"There's a lot more to it than that."

This is not what she wants to hear. Sora has made it very clear that if she can't have me, she doesn't want anyone else to either. The fact that Mimi is now part of my life in a permanent way infuriates her.

"Well," she says, "good for you. I'm sure you'll both be very happy together."

She turns to leave but I grab onto her wrist and stop her. She doesn't even have the decency to turn back and face me.

"Why can't you ever be happy for me? Why the hell are you so damn spiteful toward anything that doesn't center around you? That's all you ever think about lately, Sora. You. It's always all about you. You haven't considered anyone else's feelings except your own for a long time now. What happened to you? Is this how it's going to be from now on? If you're miserable then you have to bring everyone else down with you? Did you honestly think that if you left Yamato to be with me that it would solve anything? Wrong. You're so damn miserable with yourself that you can't even attempt happiness any more. Stop pretending like I'm the answer to all your fucked up problems. I'm officially done with you, Sora. You broke Yamato's heart... and mine. Get it through your head: I do not want you. Not any more..."

I let go of her wrist and plan to storm out of the room but she stops me. We stand there in silence staring at each other. She starts crying. I know she didn't want to hear those cruel things but I'm tired of sugar-coating everything when it comes to her. She needs to come down off her high horse and return to reality because honestly, I'm tired of it. She's so up and down I don't know what to think any more.

"You're right," she says so lightly I almost think I'm hearing things, until she continues, "I'm selfish and inconsiderate of other people's feelings. I should be happy that you're happy with Mimi. Instead, I'm bitter. I can't bring myself to be happy for either of you. I'm messed up. I've ruined people's lives and I can't ever change that. I came to this party to say goodbye to you. The last thing I expected was to see Mimi hanging all over you. This isn't how I wanted things to happen. I don't want to leave with us hating each other."

"I don't hate you, Sora."

"I know. I just wish... I wish that..."

What happens next I can't even begin to fathom. I reach out and take her by the waist and pull her to me. Our lips meet in a passionate, hungry kiss. We both know it's only going to hurt more in the end but neither of us is pulling away.

I take everything in. The feel of her body against mine, the taste of her lips, the way her hair smells. I want to remember her just like this: vulnerable, scared, stubborn... yet, so passionate and loving. It's everything that makes Sora who she is. The ups and the downs, the good times and the bad. It's all her. No one ever said life would be easy and in all honesty, people do change. We all grow up and we all see the world differently but in the end, you can always find a way back to your true self.

The kiss lasts a little longer than it should but it finally does end.

She lowers her head and just holds me. She whispers the words I've been secretly wanting to hear for a long time now.

"I love you. And I'm sorry. Goodbye, Taichi."

It wasn't until that moment that I finally realized that I am truly over her. The kiss meant nothing to me. It was a goodbye kiss. The last one we would ever share.

It's bitter-sweet, really. I've been waiting to hear those words from Sora for a long time. Now that they've finally been said out loud, I can move on with my life even if I didn't say I loved her back; because I don't. I don't know when our paths will cross again but I'm sure it will be sooner rather than later. After all, goodbye doesn't necessarily mean forever. Sora will always be my best friend. No petty fights or distance or length of time will ever change that. What we have is special. Most people go their entire lives never having a relationship like ours. Nothing is ever going to change that.

It's Sunday. The day after the party. I told Mimi what happened between Sora and I. She's not mad. In all honesty, she was surprised it hadn't happened sooner. She said that it was what I needed to finally get over her. She was right.

I'm leaning on the railing of Mimi's patio watching the sun attempt to break through the dark clouds. The waves in the water are increasing in size and the wind has picked up considerably. There's a storm coming.

I feel an arm slide through mine and turn to see Mimi standing by my side with a warm smile on her face.

"You're up early," she said.

"I couldn't sleep," I reply with a shrug.

I wrap an arm around her shoulders and pull her close to me. I stand there holding her as the last three months play through my head. So much has happened it almost makes my head hurt. There are so many memories -some good, some bad- but they're all one's I'll never forget.

I've changed a lot in these past three months. I've grown up, that's for sure. I've learned that I can't change things but I can prevent how certain things turn out. I've also gained patience to accept those things that I can't change. Things happen and you just have to accept it. Life is constantly in motion and you can either keep moving with it or stay miserable at a stand-still. As Dr. Anderson said, "You grow and you learn." She's one hundred percent correct.

"What do you say we go get breakfast?" Mimi suggests.

"Sure. I'll be in shortly."

She nods and walks inside, shutting the door behind her just as the rain begins to fall. I find myself smiling for no apparent reason. I'm not exactly sure what the future has in store for Mimi and me. Right now, we're just enjoying each others company. We're two lonely people that just so happened to find comfort in each other. We don't plan to make any serious commitments at the moment. We just want to have fun. She is leaving at the end of summer after all. Not to mention, I'm going to be college-bound.

Just as I'm about to turn to go inside, I see an airplane high up in the sky. It makes me wonder if Sora is on that plane. I'm surprised the weather didn't delay the flights. It is getting pretty nasty out.

"You ready?" Mimi asks, popping her head through the sliding door.


It's kind of ironic, don't you think? That it would storm the day Sora leaves. I feel like wherever she is right now there's a smile on her face. She loves thunderstorms just as much as I do. That's one thing that will never change between us. I know one day we will be close again. All of the drama and heartbreak will come to an end and things will go back to normal. Everything will fall into place when it's meant to be.

After all, what's a few raindrops between friends?


Thank you to everyone who has kept up with me during this story. I appreciate all the feedback from everyone (even if I didn't always respond to you). Just know that I'm grateful. Thank you!

On a side note, I have an epilogue chapter in the works. Not making any promises on it actually getting finished though. Just throwing it out there. Thanks again!