I am alive.

Now that that's out of the way, I'm really sorry for not updating sooner. I always do this. So don't ever listen to me when I say "Oh, I'm probably going to update later this week. blah blah me is stupid". I'm probably lying, or telling the truth but not realizing what the crap I'm saying.

Um, this chapter is longer than my normal, standard chapter length so I guess I should apologize for that...or not? It's not that long, but it's longer. And I don't know what else to say lol.

Besides the usual: apologies for any spelling and/or grammatical errors. No beta. Half asleep. I suck.

Enjoy


Chapter 9

Senior Year

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"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

My eyes dart over the book I'm reading, scanning the library until they fall on the blond skater. He idly browses through the row of books in front of him, as if he's actually interested in reading them. I nearly snort into the beloved tale of Romeo and Juliet. Can you sense the sarcasm?

It's been a week. A week of having Kairi fucking Lockhart as a tutor in that dreadful hell hole of a class. A week of constant unwanted feelings. And a week of relief that came in the form of Roxas fucking Lockhart.

It truly is an inexplicable feeling to describe Roxas as my savior. It seems cliché, and makes me seem like a fucking girl. It also seems too good to be true.

Roxas Lockhart.

That's the only chink in his armor. There has to be something wrong with him. There has to be some inevitable flaw in his mannerism, his looks, anything!

Finally noticing my stare, Roxas looks over at me from the bookshelf. His bright blue eyes twinkle as he beams at me. I almost expect a wagging tail to poke out of his pants. It's ridiculous. There has to be something. Well besides being annoying. I don't really count that one; I'm an impatient person. I digress. The point is no one can be this cheerful and so happy all of the time, or at least no one can be like that without wanting something.

What could Roxas Lockhart possibly want from me?

That last name. Perhaps he sees it as an imperfection as well. Who's to say that they even like each other?

The blond boy tilts his head to the side, regarding me with a hint of confusion.

I shake my head, and look away with a flushed face. Because it's stupid to be caught staring, especially staring at someone as idiotic as that…idiot.

Regardless of the indecision concerning my trust of the blond boy, I can't really deny the feeling. The reassured feeling that seems to fall over me every time he's around. The relief would have been ultimate. It would have been complete and almost perfect, had it not been for the name. It makes me feel like he's constantly plotting and that he's going to screw me over the same way his potential relative did.

How exactly can I trust a savior when the name brings such painful feelings?

I stare down at my book, sifting through the rest of Juliet's monologue, trying to pretend to ignore the footsteps I hear coming towards me.

"Hey," Roxas greets, leaning against the bookshelf smoothly. My eyes lift up to meet his. They're still twinkling. It's unnerving.

"Hello." I offer. Friendly enough. He grins happily at the returned greeting. I frown, and glance back down at the book.

"So what's up with the staring?" He asks. Well someone certainly gets to the point. I can feel the embarrassment before it's apparent on my face. My eyes dart back to his face in a frenzy.

"What?" I sputter out, nearly dropping my book. His grin thins into a playful smirk. He crosses his arms over his chest and regards me fully.

"You've been staring at me like you were making some kind of science observation for the past half hour."

I gape at him, feeling a ridiculous wave of déjà vu at his words. His smirk turns impish, and there's a light blush spread across his cheeks.

"I wasn't." I deny, glaring down at my book. I reread the same line over again, suddenly finding it incredibly difficult to concentrate under his gaze.

"It's okay, you know," he mutters softly. "I don't mind."

"I wasn't looking." I say with finality, pushing myself away from the bookshelf. The incessant pounding of his feet against the carpet irritates me as I make my way to the other side of the library. From the front desk, the librarian is watching us, eyes peering over her crescent glasses. She clears her throat, and quickly tries to look busy. I roll my eyes and try to pick up my pace. I hear his footsteps match my pace. Soon enough I give up, trying to outwalk him, sharply turning around to face him.

"Don't you have homework or something to do?" I question petulantly.

"I do have homework," he admits truthfully, scratching the back of his blond head. "Doesn't mean I'm going to do it. I thought we could use this time to, you know, get to know each other?"

I give him a flat look.

"So, um, since we're like friends and all, I think we should exchange numbers..." He stammers out. Cue in another flat look. "…Or not."

I blink, silently watching him as I lean against the nearest bookshelf. His smile is innocently embarrassed, almost to the point where I feel embarrassed for him. Despite this, there is that underlying sincerity in his expression. Something familiar, something I used to associate with myself before the whole Kairi debacle happened. It captivates me.

Maybe it's because deep down I know I need someone – a friend. Or maybe I pray that I can at least get half of the girl I used to be through him.

Where did you come from?

The blush slowly fades away and he holds my gaze unabashedly.

"Why are you trying so hard?" I ask finally. "You could've left a long time ago."

"I'm not the type of person who walks out on those who need them." He responds firmly, giving me a knowing look. A shiver of fear creeps through me at his words, the way he looks at me. As if he knows something I don't. Or worse, knows about Kairi.

My eyes narrow defensively.

"I don't need you."

"I didn't mean it like that," he mumbles offhandedly. He hesitates, pursing his lips, thinking for the right words. All that goes through my mind in that instant is how glad I am he doesn't have that stupid constipated face Sora usually has when he starts thinking. It doesn't take long for him to stare back at me with the determination back in his eyes. "It's just when I look at you, I get like this urge to help you, you know?"

I open my mouth to snarl out a snarky remark, but he holds up his hand for me to stop.

"Not that you need my help or anything. You're pretty independent and stuff." He states in a rush, flushing a little. "It's just that you seem…sad. And I get sad, kind of, and it makes me want to make you happy."

I want my first reaction to be annoyance. I want to be so irrationally irritated with the idiotic statement he just fed me, but it seems impossible. Not when he's staring at me vulnerably with the pout marring his face, making him look like little boy. It's the honesty that kills me the most. How can someone say something and look that sincere?

A dull warmth sprouts in the pit of my stomach, as I reach into my bag, pull out my phone and hand it to him. He stares at it, puzzled.

"Well, put your number in it then." I snap. He fumbles with the phone, punching in his number. I can't help the very small smile from forming on my face. His lips pull into a very large grin.

What are you doing, Naminé?

Being spontaneous, I shoot back.

"So what's the deal with you and Kairi?" Roxas asks suddenly, handing my phone back. I can feel my face fall before I even realize it. Again, with that question. That question he's been probing around all week now. A question that was once a touchy subject, now is annoying as hell. I give him look that roughly translates to as such. He flinches slightly, but other than that his expression remains unrelenting. It's gotten harder to avoid the subject, to look away from his sincere eyes, to deny his question. His eyes slide away uncomfortably.

"You have her listed under your contacts," he finally admits, tilting his head to look at me in a sideways glance.

"I didn't say you can look through my phone." I say in a cold voice. He visibly shivers.

"I know, I'm sorry. It was just there and…" He trails off lamely, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his jeans. "Naminé, I keep hearing rumors, and from what I saw in the auditorium…"

Again, another statement I've heard consistently throughout this week.

So fucking what? I want to say. Believe what you want, it doesn't make any of it true. My lips remain closed.

His blue eyes narrow, scrutinizing every inch of my expression. Nervously, I finally avert my eyes, focusing on the books meticulously placed on the shelf before me. With a shaky breath, I squeeze my book back into the shelf as a distraction.

Just drop it, Roxas. Please.

"Why do you keep doing this?" I demand, flipping the irrational anger switch suddenly. I turn and glare at him. He takes a hesitant step back, realizing that I'm at my boiling point. It's going to be one of those days. One of those bitch days. I think he realizes it too because he bows his head regretfully. But then –

"I want to hear it from you." He responds gently.

"What have you heard?" I question, my tone lowering considerably. I suppose he takes that as an invitation, because he's looking at me again – eagerly.

"That you're gay and you used to stalk Kairi all the time, until she put a restraining order on you." He states at a super speed motion. His face flushes when I look away uncomfortably. "So you are gay then?"

Despite the awkwardness, a twinge of annoyance billows in my chest. Annoyance with the stupid girls that even started that rumor. Annoyance that Roxas even asked me. What business does he have knowing about my life?

Oh, well, I guess that's what friends do.

Friends.

The word flows through my mind distastefully. Maybe I was right in having my doubts about Roxas Lockhart.

"I'm not gay." I mutter, suddenly not in the mood to talk. His blue eyes focus on me for a minute, before he sighs out loud. He sounds relieved. "Those rumors aren't true."

My gaze turns sour at his brightened expression. I turn back to the bookshelf, pretending to search for a title. As soon as they land on fucking Peter Pan, I nearly lose it. I grit my teeth and glare at the spine of the book.

"You really have no idea how glad I am to hear that." He says with that (annoying as hell) smile that eats up his whole face.

"Does that make me seem more normal?" I sneer, whipping around to shift my glare on him. Roxas's smile falls. His expression softens, and it bothers me how guilty I suddenly start to feel.

"No," he whispers. The atmosphere has dropped into a pool of seriousness. "It makes you a possibility."

The humor vanishes from his face completely. His blue eyes flicker like a candle – something in the depth freaks me out. Uneasiness sweeps over me. I take a step back, bumping into the bookshelf behind me. Roxas remains in the same spot, staring at me with that same almost thoughtful, completely indescribably expression. The feeling of the shelves surrounding us makes me feel claustrophobic. I want him as far as fucking possible away from me.

Get away!

No change the subject, change the subject! Change it! Change it!

"How is it that you know Kairi?" I blurt out His eyes widen in what I believe is shock. He coughs uncomfortably, as if to snap out of the fucking freaky spell he was under. A light flush spreads across his normally white cheeks. His expression quickly turns sheepish as he looks away.

"Uhh, it's a little hard to explain." He mumbles, frowning. The seriousness fades away as quickly as it comes. In the place of panic comes a strong sense of curiosity burning through me. I cross my arms over my chest and shoot him an unimpressed stare. His frown deepens.

Roxas scratches the back of his head nervously. "Well, um, Kairi and I are cousins."

My face twists in confusion.

How the fuck is that hard to explain?

"Uh, yeah, I don't know. It's not really in my place to explain I guess." He shuts off completely, and by god does that make the curiosity burn even more. His eyes remain stubbornly averted from my expectant gaze. After a minute of this I let out a sigh of annoyance and finality, much to his obvious relief.

I continue my mission of browsing through the bookshelf, ignoring him as he swallows thickly, disregarding the way he stumbles over his words, pretending I don't notice the discomfort that suddenly seems to envelope him.

"Um, I know this seems kind of soon," he starts awkwardly. I glance at him and notice his pale cheeks redden by the second. "I hardly know you and you hardly know me, but I think that just makes it an even better opportunity. I really like what we're doing now – this friendship stuff. I don't wanna mess that up or anything."

He coughs uncomfortably, rubbing his crimson cheek. He laughs nervously as if to ease the tension, but I can feel it even thicker than ever. I carefully cross my arm over the other as a precaution. He stammers under his breath that sounds an awful lot like scolding before –

"Will you go on a date with me?"

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Date. A date? Really?

I scowl, gripping the book in my hands tightly. My fingernails scrape against the paperback cover before

I realize what I'm doing. I sigh in frustration, stuffing the book back inside my bag.

A date.

What do I look like? A lovesick desperado? Do I have a fucking huge neon sign saying Date Me plastered on my forehead? What kind of moron would want – I mean who does he think he is? Asking me on a date?

I thought I clearly had the 'don't fuck with me' vibe going on. Is he that stupid?

I huff, biting my lip and hug my bag against my chest. The boiling hot anger that fills me doesn't stop the cold weather I'm suddenly starting to feel.

Payment for not bringing a fucking jacket. My scowl deepens, as I dig into my bag for my phone. Another ten minutes and my brother will be here – that is if he's not driving his monster at cruise speed.

My eyes scan the surrounding area, silently pleased that no one is in sight. Probably because school ended an hour ago and I'm the lame loser sulking over what an idiot said in the hours prior to dismissal.

I shiver quietly, watching the empty street. My eyes zero in on the flyers for the next football game. It's supposed to be something big. Whatever. I was never really into football , just the cheer –

I stop at that thought, shaking my head in annoyance. Point is: I'm not even planning on going to that stupid game. No, no, no, no way in h –

"Hi." Sora Highwind pops out of nowhere, interrupting my thoughts. He waves a hand, the other holding the strap of his gym bag securely. He grins, plopping down next to me. I feel like I've just stepped into a Twilight Zone episode, you know, the ones that ends up with the guy getting murdered. Sora can be the guy.

His hair is wet, probably from after practice showers. He flattens his hair with his comb, which just kind of springs back up. Sora the same as ever, same bad haircut and all. I don't even give him a glance. "Most people say hi or hello back."

"What do you want?" I snap.

"Ouch, man."

I shoot him a loathsome look, and he scoots away a reasonable distance. Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? Reasonable would be on the other side of the fucking building.

"I just wanna talk." He cracks his knuckles anxiously. The sound of each crack digging into my skull. I spin in my seat automatically.

"Just tell me what you want and then leave, okay Sora?"

His face falls, and he turns away at my hostility. I almost feel bad….hahahahaha, no that doesn't even sound honest in my head. His feet shift against the cement, fingers twiddling with each other, before he turns back to me. His blue eyes are blank with honesty albeit stupid honesty. They flicker from my face down to my body. Yep, should've known, once a creeper always a –

"You look cold." He blurts out. Before I can get so much as a word out he's unzipping his hoodie and shoving it into my arms. "Take my sweater."

Really bitch?

"I'm not cold." I lie, pushing the jacket back into his arms. He shrugs his shoulders in acceptance and takes it back. It doesn't annoy me how ungentlemanlike he is, instead I'm slightly relieved.

"I don't believe any of those rumors." Sora randomly says after a few seconds. He breathes out a light chuckle. "Neither does Kairi."

I resist the urge to roll my eyes.

"Did she set this up?" I drawl out. Sora blinks innocently. It reminds me of the time I once found Sora Highwind half charming.

"No. She doesn't know I wanted to talk to you, so don't tell her." He warns. God, what an idiot. As if I even talk to her.

He frowns, furrowing his chocolate eyebrows.

"It's just totally different now." He says sadly. "I guess I miss you and our talks."

Correction: my patience with his long idiotic rants.

"And Kairi's moody all of the time again, and all of her friends are totally mean to me. Nobody gets me. It just sucks, you know? You were always so nice, and like, our friendship was the best right?"

"Sora," I pause, searching for the right words. "We were never really friends."

He looks crestfallen at my words, and I don't know why I still get guilty. Knowing what a pervert, pig, jerk Sora Highwind is, the fact that I can even still feel guilty after everything irritates the fuck out of me.

"And even if we were, I know for a fact you will always choose your popularity over our friendship." I mutter out tiredly.

Just go away. I don't want to talk to you anymore. Leave the freak alone.

"But, like, maybe if you did something like join the cheerleading squad again-"

"No."

He doesn't speak at first, probably just soaking in my vehement response.

"It's our fault, isn't it? You're like fucked up now." He says. I shoot him an offended look. He doesn't seem bothered by it. That's Sora 'the tactless asshole' Highwind for you. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" I ask flatly.

"Not stopping the rumors when I could have."

He looks sincere enough which strikes me as odd. An uneasy chill creeps through my veins. I'm just waiting for the redheaded cheerleader to pop out of the bushes and yell syke.

My mouth opens to respond, but my voice is drowned out by the familiar rumbling engine and screech of tires. Cloud pulls up by the curb near us. I rise from my seat, putting the strap of my bag over my shoulder.

"My ride's here." I state, staring back at the brunet. Sora peers around me, eyes focusing on Cloud. Curiosity flickers through his dim expression.

"That's your brother right?"

I nod, before making a move towards the car. Sora, however, stops me pulling me back with a hand that has suddenly appeared on my shoulder. I whirl around angrily, insult on the tip of my tongue but the apprehensive look in his eyes makes me hesitate.

"Do you think you can give me a ride home?"

.

.

"Weeee-eeeeeh are never ever, ever getting back together!" Sora sings loudly in the back seat. "Not that I know the lyrics or anything 'cause that's like stupid. I don't listen to this shit." He assures Cloud and I firmly, reaching between the console to switch the station.

I sink into the passenger seat, burying my face in my hand to hide my mortification. Not that I should have any reason to be mortified… oh wait! My ex's current boyfriend is singing a fucking Taylor Swift song in my brother's fucking car. Cloud's steely gaze occasionally drifts from me, to the rearview mirror and back again. I can see it in his expression. What the fuck, Naminé?

I flush angrily, shrugging my shoulders. The brunet leans back in his seat, smiling stupidly as the song booms in the car.

"Ain't nothin' more important than the mula! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise God!" Sora bursts out, jumping in his seat. "Oh! There! My house is there!" He yells over the music, making Cloud brake suddenly.

The brunet gathers his things, jostling the car as he springs out the side door. He straps his gym bag over his shoulder, walking over to my window.

"Drive." I mutter, as I see Sora tap on the glass.

"Naminé!" I hear his muffled voice and anxious expression. With an annoyed sigh, I roll the window down (with that stupid prehistoric window lever). The blast of the cold air hits my face and I recoil – good thinking too, since the brunet leans in through the window.

"Thanks for the ride, bro!" Sora addresses my brother. Cloud simply grunts in response. The brunet's eyes flicker back to me. "Oh, and um, you think we can keep this between us? Like not mention it to anyone-"

"Won't tell a soul." I deadpan, before rolling up my window. I can see him grin appreciatively before jogging around the car and up the walkway to his fucking two story house. My eyes rake over the house and I notice that Mrs. Highwind put her turkey doormat out. I remember the first time I visiting the HIghwind's house. I threw up on her turkey doormat after a drunken rendezvous at the first of many Sora Highwind parties I attended.

I blink out of my trance when I hear the gears of the car shift. Cloud drives away the next second.

The remainder of the drive is completed in silence, leaving me to ponder Sora's motives. Was he really just a moron looking for a friend? Or was Kairi scheming something?

Cloud pulled up into the driveway. He turned the keys in the ignition, putting the monster to rest. My hand reached for the door handle when I heard Cloud scoff.

"Pathetic."

I pull my hand away and turn in my seat. His cold blue eyes are glaring straight ahead. His hands are tightly clamped around the steering wheel, knuckles white. He clenches and unclenches his jaw which suddenly leaves me uneasy.

"Huh?" I stammer out. His lips curl, until he's baring his teeth.

"Pathetic." He repeats.

"Who?"

He shakes his head a fraction of an inch, throwing his door open and jumping out of the car.

"You."

.

.

I fall against the couch, half laying half sitting, staring at the TV. Cloud takes a seat on the other side of the couch, as we both wait for dinner to be ready. Some infomercial about life insurance for old people flickers on the screen. My eyes watch the screen but my head is swimming with the ridiculous conversations that plagued me today.

Roxas Lockhart drifts into my subconscious, as does the question. A date. Psh okay. Yeah, like I'm going to on a date with a potential enemy. He's pushing his boundaries way too fucking much. And I'll tell him the next time I see his stupid blond head.

Speaking of enemies, for the life of me I still can't understand Sora Highwind's fucking motive in approaching me for the first time in months. Now he decides to be all friendly and charismatic?

It seems suspicious. Both seem suspicious. And both seem to derive from the same source. Kairi fucking Lockhart. I swear sometimes this stress will never leave me.

Sora just wants a friend.

Yeah, and I'm the most secure person in the entire world.

Maybe Roxas can fix that.

Um, yeah maybe, um, maybe shut the fuck up!

Great, now I'm arguing with my subconscious. I groan, burying deeper into the sofa as I glare at the TV screen.

I peer over at Cloud, who's staring intensely down at his phone. You know, just completely disregarding his baby sister's internal conflict. As if (finally) hearing my thoughts, his eyes lift up to meet mine. The same steely gaze graces his expression. He clenches his jaw and turns away.

I've seen that reaction too many times to count. It roughly translates to: 'You're stupid', 'you've done something stupid', or 'I can't believe I'm related to your stupidity'.

I want to say something intelligent. I want to say something to defend myself, to demand why he was being so critical as of late but the sound of the doorbell ringing stops me. Actually, it's just an excuse not to do any of the aforementioned things. I'm too much of coward when it comes to my brother.

"Naminé, could you get the door?" My mother yells over the sizzling in the kitchen. I sigh, rising from my position on the couch and head for the front door.

Kairi Lockhart, clad in pea coat and scarf, stands shivering on my doorstep. The first instinct is to slam the door as fast and as hard as I can before she makes any kind of move, but then –

"Sweetie, who's at the door?" My mother's voice rings from the kitchen. Still, neither Kairi or I make a move. I watch the redhead as she shivers on the spot, with a narrowed glare.

"Is this a bad time?" She questions nervously, eyes darting around me.

Every time is a bad time.

Her eyebrows furrow together, teeth clattering. As if that's going to make me want to invite her in. I hate the small part of me that still wants to.

"Can I come-"

"Why are you here?" I interrupt before she finishes her question. Kairi's voice quiets. Her fucking hopeful expression melts. She breathes out a small quivering sigh. I can see her breath form a cloud from the cold temperature. And then I kind of start to feel bad.

"I told myself I wanted to help you with school, but", she hesitates, averting her eyes. Her face suddenly looks pink, and I'm not sure if it's because of the cold or something else. Regardless, it makes my stomach lurch uncomfortably. "I think my intention was just to see you."

The initial reaction – butterflies – only lasts about a good five seconds before the anger kicks in.

I open my mouth to retort, but before I can, I feel a hand on my shoulder.

"Oh, Kairi, come in, come in, you must be freezing." My mother, my own flesh and blood, pulls me aside to invite my enemy inside our home. I don't even try to hide the nasty glare I shoot her.

Traitor, I think angrily, as my mother hugs the redhead.

"It's been such a long time. What brings you here?"

Kairi hesitates again, before smiling politely.

"Naminé asked me for help in math."

My mom looks shocked.

"She did?" Her eyes flicker from me to Kairi suspiciously. Then a smirk forms on her face. "Well that's very generous of you Kairi. Why don't you stay for dinner as a repayment?"

"I don't think that's a-" I start.

"-Sure, if that's okay." Kairi cuts me off completely.

"Of course it's okay, Kairi."

.

.

It's probably one of the most interesting dinners we've had in a very long time. And I don't mean this in a good way. My mother looks like she's having doubts of whether to be chipper or angry. Cloud looks just about ready to drive his fork down the redhead's throat. My oblivious father, on the other hand, has never looked fucking happier. It's probably because we haven't' had a guest for dinner since – well – Kairi.

"How's school?" My father questions excitedly.

Shut up, shut up, shut up!

"It's going well." Kairi answers attentively. "I've been thinking of starting a club, but it's just a little idea."

My father leans forward, interest piqued.

"Oh really? What kind of club?"

The cheerleader's eyes flicker towards me for a second, before focusing back on my father. She smiles politely.

"I'm not sure yet."

"Oh, well, that's too bad. You probably should get to thinking if you want that club established before graduation."

I roll my eyes.

"Actually, um, I still have another year to go." She corrects awkwardly. My father looks confused briefly and then proceeds to smile goofily.

"Right, right. I keep forgetting." He laughs it off good naturedly. All the while, I find myself sinking further into my seat, trying desperately to ignore the chitter chatter between the two.

.

.

After dinner, the both of us find ourselves in my room, which is one of the stupidest places to be at right now… especially with her.

"I'm sorry for intruding like this. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."

Kairi looks around my room as subtly as she can, but I know in her head she's comparing the differences. She had been quite acquainted with it in the past

Her eyes flicker towards the bed, studying the sheets; I still had the same sheets.

"Should we do it in here then?"

"What?" I sputter out, feeling my face boil. Her face flushes, when she realizes her accidental insinuation.

"Math. I mean should we do that here?" She corrects quickly, fidgeting with the scarf around her neck. It's distracting.

"Huh?" I question stupidly.

Stop being an idiot, Naminé!

I give my head a good shake, turning my confused expression into a cold glare.

"You're not here to do math. You said so yourself. So why don't you just say what you want to say and get out." I demand callously. The cheerleader's eyes study me incredulously. Her mouth opens and then closes, seeming at a loss for words, before she turns around.

She remains with her back faced to me for what seems like a long while. It doesn't hit me at first that she's facing my open closet door, staring at a shitload of photos with her face crossed out.

It's so fucking irritating how guilty I begin to feel.

"Sorr…" I stop myself, shaking my head. Really, what do I have to be sorry about?

"You've done a lot of redecorating." She states simply. Then she turns around, and I can see her eyes watering. I feel my chest ache horribly at the sight.

"Don't do that." I mutter out weakly.

"I'm sorry," she stammers out the apology.

"Just stop." Breathing starts to get laborious.

I stay quiet, watching the redhead brush her eyes as subtly as she can. She lets out a quivering breath, and straightens.

"I don't know the words to tell you how sorry I am." She says. "If I could take it back, if I you'll let me make it up to you-"

"Don't you get it?" It comes as an outburst. Her straightened posture shrinks as her composure crumbles away. "You're just – you're making this a lot harder than it has to be. You showing up at my doorstep out of the fucking blue as an excuse to see me? When did I ever give you the smallest hint that I want you here? I don't want to have to see you more than I have to."

She visibly recoils as if I had physically walked across the room and slapped her.

"I just wanted to fix things between us-"

"-Don't."

It's quiet for a very long time before I hear her intake a sharp breath. Her blue eyes pour into mine with a force that leaves me slightly breathless. It makes my chest twist, my lungs shrink, and a horrible trickle of dread icing down my body.

"Okay." She utters in a low voice.

I swallow thickly, holding my defensive stance. My hand curls into itself tightly.

"Okay?"

"If you want me to leave you alone," Kairi hesitates. "I'll leave you alone."

The urge to say something shouldn't surprise me but it does. I hate her. I should hate her guts for what she did. For deceiving and abandoning me. For all those summer nights I cried myself to sleep. For making my life a fucking living hell.

At my lack of response, the redhead steps closer. "I really hoped that we could've been at least friends."

It takes a while for me to respond because I suddenly begin to laugh derisively.

"Look at you, you're a cheerleader and I'm a loser." I pause to let out another chuckle and wipe my eyes. "We are never going to be friends."

Her expression washes over with bitterness at the irony of my words. She smiles a humorless, wan smile that doesn't reach her eyes. For some reason it bothers the hell out of me more than her stupid polite smiles.

"Okay," she repeats. Her smile falters, her body trembles, and it looks like she's on the verge of tears again. My stomach flops sickeningly. I don't want to see it. I don't want to see her cry because I'm not entirely sure how I'd react. And I'd absolutely loathe myself if I try comforting her. "But, please know that I am incredibly sorry for what I did."

"Just tell me why." I snap.

"I-I… it's complicated." She murmurs shakily.

"Well then uncomplicate it." I snarl. She averts her teary eyes, staring down at my bed again. Her hand comes up to her arm, holding herself defensively. She's stalling, and it pisses me off to no end. I want to strangle the answer out of her. The answer that had me up all fucking night every night over the summer.

She swallows thickly, so loudly that I can hear it from our distance.

"I was scared." She says in a quiet voice. It's such a simple answer, an unsatisfying answer. I think she can see the anger in my face because she quickly wipes her eyes and stands up straighter. "You don't understand-"

"You were scared?" I cut in heatedly. It's more of a statement than an actual question. It's boiling in the pit of my stomach; a volcano just waiting to erupt. My hands curl into tight fists, and my body stiffens. I could slap her, I really could. It burns in me, encourages me to leave some kind of physical mark on her. Some kind of mark that won't even reflect half of the internal scarring she created in me.

The tears in her eyes build up tenfold, as she stares back at me.

"It's a small town, Naminé. People talk." The redhead shrugs her shoulder dejectedly, defeated, helplessly. It's disgusting. It's not enough – the answer isn't enough. And she knows it too because she's giving me this pleading look. This look that just screams at me.

I blink rapidly, feeling the annoying wetness around the rims of my eyes. My throat is heavy, and it hurts like hell.

"I think you should go now." I breathe out. The tension has long ago dropped into this subzero atmosphere. The room is silent, excluding the occasional whip of the wind against the window and her shaky breathing.

There is a sniffle that sounds final, a last shuddering breath and an assured throat clearing. There is no exchange as she slowly walks passed me. Her eyes meet mine for a brief second. She swallows loudly. I can almost hear the knot in her throat. And then she walks away.

My posture shatters the second she closes the door behind her. I can feel my knees shake as I carefully make my way towards the bed.

My face burns with a mixture of anger and humiliation. My eyes glaze over with the unshed tears I forced back in her presence. The anger flames hotter than anything I have ever felt for her before. The anguish just stings.

It has to stop. I can't take this anymore. It has to stop.

I reach up and wipe my eyes furiously. My hands search the bed until they land on my phone. With a swipe, I unlock it and proceed to scroll through my contacts until my fingers reach that name.

Quickly, I type out a message and…send. A heavy,, shaky sigh escapes my lips once the phone displays the confirmation

My phone vibrates continuously, giving away the fact that it's call not a text. My thumb slides over the call button, and I answer with a tired, "Hello."

"Hi, so that message? Are you talking about what I think you're talking about?"

I breathe deeply through my nose to keep from saying something mean.

"Yes."

I hear a happy chuckle from the other line.

"Cool! So I'll give you the details about the date tomorrow." Roxas exclaims.

"Okay."

My shoulders sag in relief as I hang up the phone. My chest feels heavy, despite lying down against the bed. My hands feel around inside my bag and pull out the book I checked out from the library earlier today, flipping to a dog-eared page.

.

.

Thus, the triangle of love begins. Or does it?

Cyber cookies for people who can guess the songs Sora sings (even if the first one is really obvious).

Quote from Romeo and Juliet (obvi!). Act II Scene 2, if I'm not mistaken. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Reviews are loooooooooooooved! (P.S. Thank you for all the wonderful feedback. You guys are the best!)