DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything, except maybe the plot and OC's. Other than that, nothing, nada, 0. This is for fun, enjoy...


THE BACK ROAD TO BECOMING A BRIDE

By

Meli J Nightly

Chapter 9: Those Lingering Thoughts

Stuck. That was the first word that came to Sunako's mind and then: How the hell did we end up stuck here? She watched the quiet blond next to her discreetly from the corner of her eyes. He looked deep in thought with his head held by his hands which were turned into fists, tilted just slightly towards the horizon. He hadn't changed much physically, she thought, if anything he got even more handsome. With his deep caramel eyes drifting into the wide view of a mixture of mountain and trees, it seemed as if he didn't care that they were stuck.

The funny thing was they had been in that same spot before, in that same Ferris wheel 9 years ago. Whose genius idea was it to come back to this place again? She was reminded of who exactly when she looked below her. Oh, right... Two carts down, a grinning cutesy blond waved back at her assuring her that he was okay. It was Yuki who had dragged them along to this pointless field trip. Oh yeah, she remembered alright... it went something like this...

It was your typical Saturday morning, well, maybe not your typical Saturday morning when you consider 5 old High School friends were back living under the same roof, plus the girlfriend of one of them (Noi). Given their past occurrences, break-ups, make-ups and some moved to far away countries, add to that some screaming fan girls outside the house waiting for their dream guys to come out at any second, needless to say it was anything but normal.

Yet, there is always one in the group who tries to make things different, one that always reminisces on the past and tries to play peacemaker. The one that most if not all in the group couldn't say no to even if they tried...

Yuki always thought he was that person in the group, but for some reason his charms and gifts weren't quite working at that exact moment... "Come on guys, it will be fun!" He pleaded for the thousandth time. Neither of his friends seemed to care. Sunako was busy cleaning and trying her best to avoid Kyohei. While Kyohei was trying to avoid Sunako by acting like he was reading Takenaga's book (upside down), Takenaga and Ranmaru were both zombified by their laptops.

"Nope," and "Not a chance," were the simple responses he received from his unwilling friends.

"Seriously, you guys we should go to the theme park. We used to go every summer when we were in High School!" He tried to make a case but he continued to be ignored.

Until Noi overheard him as she was coming into the living room and added her two cents, "that's a great idea! We should all go for old time's sake."

"We're not in High School anymore," Kyohei said as he rolled his eyes from behind the book.

"First, that doesn't mean we can't enjoy ourselves and second your book is upside down for your information," Noi retaliated and gave him a triumphant look.

Kyohei murmured an 'I knew that' and turned the book around. The two men behind their laptop suppressed their laughter as much as they could but to no avail.

"All work and no play makes you dull boys," with her hands on her hips Noi teased them. "Besides, Yuki's right we're all here finally together again. Let's do something fun. Plus we'll be able to get away from those overly crazed fangirls Kyohei has out there."

"May I remind you, you were once one of them too," he motioned Noi to Takenaga. This earned him a book imprint on his face and a muffled groan.

"I'm busy, I have a lot of work to do," Takenaga informed them flatly.

"Same here," Ranmaru quickly followed his lead.

They thought that would be the end of that. But it was far from it. Noi and Yuki decided to tag team this one and annoy them until they received a unison agreement, "All right, we'll go already!" All except one...

"And where do you think you're going?" Noi asked as her keen eye grasped the dark shadow of a nervous Sunako trying to sneak her way out of the room unnoticed.

"Eeep!" Was the only sound that came out before she was being led out the door along with the rest of the miserables minus two who were absolutely cheerful.

That is how she found herself in quite an irritating predicament. Stuck in the ferris wheel with the person she least wanted to be stuck with... anywhere. Sunako crossed her arms as she grumbled some incomprehensible curses.

"I didn't know you were afraid of heights," Kyohei stated sarcastically after hearing her. It would have been evident to anyone else that he was just trying to strike up conversation, but as always Sunako was quite the dense one... but in all fairness so was Kyohei when the tables were turned.

"I'm not," Sunako grumbled, "You'd think after 4 years of being in a relationship with you would have known that about me."

It was not the answer the surprised blond expected, but it wasn't a bad one either. He hid a smile that was itching to appear with a fake cough. It was the first time she had referred back to their relationship. He was starting to think their 4 years, 2 months, 14 day relationship had been nothing but a figment of his imagination, but finally she confirmed him that it did exist after all. He stared below him and watched as 5 men in blue jumpsuits worked on the broken ferris wheel. Even though he and Sunako weren't really talking, it was nice just being next to her.

The soft wind blew her jet black hair lightly towards her face. He resisted the temptation to remove the hair from her face with his own hands. She looked beautiful, just like she did on their first date; he remembered everything from that day, right down to the clothes she wore to the way she made him feel...

Kyohei passed his right hand through his messy blond hair and thought about all the tips that his friends had given him on where to go on a date. Ranmaru offered his idea, it was to take her on a romantic yacht ride, but due to Kyohei's financial situation that was never going to happen and even though Ranmaru offered up his family's yacht it was definitely something that was not him. Noi told him to take her to a romantic dinner and a walk down a pier, while he liked the idea of the walk, he really wasn't sure about the romantic dinner. He loved food, but the food he loved the most was the one made by Sunako. Takenaga was the one who offered the least help since he had yet to ask Noi on a date himself. In fact the best idea came from the least expected person, Yuki.

"Why don't you just take her to the new amusement Park? They have a really spooky haunted ride that I'm sure she will love," Yuki suggested as he handed him a flyer.

Kyohei read the flyer and with a swift movement head locked Yuki and playfully ruffled his hair. "You're a genius! Thanks, Yuki."

Now all he had to do was ask Sunako. Kyohei had debated on how to ask Sunako to go on a date with him. He paced around in his room but no ideas came to mind. Why on earth was dating so difficult? Who invented dating anyway? They had been spending a lot of time together, but for some reason he felt it wasn't enough, he wanted to do more things with her, fun things. The bedroom door made a creaking sound as someone opened it, he turned to see who it was but he could see no one there. *It's a ghost!* That thought alone made Kyohei a bit pale.

"Dinner is ready," a shy and quiet voice said.

"Dinner?" he questioned to no one in particular. He looked down only to find chibi-size Sunako standing halfway inside the bedroom. His colors crept back and a rosy one in particular that went directly to his cheeks as soon as he saw her. "Oh, Sunako, I thought - uh -" he didn't really want to say what he thought so he deviated.

"Huh?"

"Nothing," he responded with the shake of his head.

Sunako shrugged and told him once more, "Come down for dinner, okay?"

"Sunako, wait," Kyohei stopped her before she left. He was sure of what he wanted to say but as soon as she turned around, no longer chibi size, he choked, "I. Would you- uhm- I want -" *Wow, seriously you dumbass?* He cursed at himself for not being able to say the right words. *Would you like to go on a date with me? Would you like to go on a date with me?* He repeated the same phrase on his mind but it just wouldn't come out.

She blinked twice before asking, "You want what?"

He inhaled and tried once more, "I want - I want … fried shrimp."

Sunako scoffed, "That's it? I made them for you already, give me some credit will ya?" she laughed as she turned to leave. Proud that she knew what he was going to ask for, if only it had actually been that.

Kyohei stepped back and exhaled deeply. "Stupid, stupid, stupid, why couldn't you say it?" he reprimanded himself. Being friends with her had never been difficult, if he wanted to go somewhere with her he wouldn't even ask her, he would just make her go with him whether she cared to or not. With his new-found feelings it had become quite difficult to even ask her the simplest thing. While they still joked around with each other he was more tactful with her. Everything he was feeling at that moment was very new to him.

There was one thing he had going for him though and that was that he felt he knew her very well. That night when Sunako was getting ready for bed and bidding her good nights to her plastic friends, her jaw almost dropped when she saw a simple flyer posted on Hiroshi's forehead. She was going to kill whoever had dared to stick the dreadful paper on her dear Hiroshi's head... after she read it of course. The flyer announced the grand opening of a new theme park. She had enjoyed theme parks when she was a little girl. Only good memories came to mind of the only times she was able to be with her parents and all the joy theme parks brought her. She just didn't know if she would enjoy it as much now. But then, a picture of a scary house with demonic like figures beside it was encircled in red marker. "A haunted house!" Sunako squealed. She could feel the excitement pumping through her veins. Even if it was fake, just the thought of being inside a dark house full of horror figures made her want to camp outside the park until it opened. She could almost feel the drool escaping her orifice at the thought of Hiroshi, Josephine and Akira-kun running together inside the haunted attraction.

Kyohei entered the bedroom unnoticed by the daydreaming Sunako and asked, "So I take it you would want to go?" Without hesitating Sunako nodded. "It's a date a then..."

A jolt like movement jerked him back from his thoughts. He looked once again below him and the men in blue jumpsuits tried to apologize for the scare but their words were inaudible. The handsome blond winced as he felt a slight pain on his left hand. Surprise soon embedded his manly features when he realized what was causing his hand to ache... Sunako's hand was holding on to his for dear life. He really couldn't blame her; the sudden abrupt movement was pretty frightening. Bad luck had it that the Ferris wheel broke down when they were at the main top of the ride. Having been there for 15 minutes going on what seemed like forever made the 90 feet off the ground ride not feel as comforting as it looked.

Sunako felt something other than the steel bar she had been holding onto for all this time. It was something smooth, yet strong and warm and it was wiggling a bit. A crimson color crept to her cheeks as she softly removed her right hand from Kyohei's. "Sorry..." She felt a hint of guilt as she saw the red color that was left on his hand from her grip.

"It's okay," he said, his voice laced with reassurance towards her. He flexed his hand to relieve the numbness from being held too tight.

"Why are they taking so long? We've been up here forever."

Kyohei scowled, he didn't think his company bothered her that much, but then again he couldn't blame her for that either. "It's only been 10 minutes," he informed her as he moved forward, leaning his arms in the handle bars, which made the cart swing back and forth softly.

The hairs on Sunako's neck stood on end, "Don't do that!" She wailed.

"Do what?" Kyohei realized what he caused her to feel and so he decided to have fun with it, "This?" he asked once more as he leaned back and forth, rocking the cart.

Sunako without thinking about it much -only the fear of the stupid ride dismantling and making them freefall into the pool of people walking by- she launched herself at Kyohei.. She buried her face into his chest as her hands gripped onto his grey sweater. If anything he could break her fall or make it less painful to die. "I can't believe I let you idiots drag me along. I'm going to dieee, I just know it!"

The blond let out a hollering laugh that made everyone turn towards the strange couple's cart. "We're not going to die. This is too much fun."

"Speak for yourself," she shoved him as soon as the cart stopped moving, which in turn only made the cart swing back and forth again. The dark haired girl gritted her teeth and did her best sustain her fear and burying herself into Kyohei's arms once more.

"It's okay to be scared, you know?" Kyohei informed her nonchalantly. The girl seemed to be fighting some inner turmoil. But her pride was winning by a longshot.

Sunako crossed her arms and humphed, "I am not scared!" She'd rather be in the corner than to prove him he was right.

"Whatever you say, Nakahara," Kyohei stuck his tongue out at her.

"You're such a child..." she rolled her eyes.

Kyohei laughed as he watched her annoyed expression. As much as he was enjoying himself, he could feel she was actually scared, something rare in Sunako Nakahara. And since she was making it a point to stay as far away as the cart space would let her, the only way he could help her out was to take her mind off their current situation.

"Do you remember when we first came here?" He asked.

Sunako was taken aback by the question. Of course she remembered, it had been their first date after all, even if neither of them had actually called it exactly that -'a date'- officially. She watched him as he looked over at the people below, then suddenly his intense caramel eyes were directed at her. She didn't know why but her heart began to race at a rapid pace and she couldn't help but unconsciously place her left hand on her chest almost as if that simple action would help to calm it down. It was such a strange feeling and it felt almost foreign to her.

He continued when he received no response from her, "You were excited about the new haunted house and I was excited that I was able to take you on our first date. I remember you were wearing a violet sundress that Yuki and Noi made you wear. You hated it, but you looked... so beautiful."

Thump... thump... went her heart once more. Why was he saying things like that? Why now? She was surprised he remembered all the small details, down to the clothes she wore. She could feel her face beginning to flush. Her violet eyes remained locked with his for what seemed minutes but were merely seconds until she broke her gaze from his. She couldn't play this game with him. There was something he was right about... *We're not in High School anymore.*

"I don't remember," she shrugged nonchalantly as she lied. She could see the disappointed look in his face. "It was such a long time after all."

"You're right," he added, his voice strong yet somewhat broken. "It just feels like it was yesterday sometimes, for me at least."

The lie she told left a lingering bad taste in her mouth and in her heart. It was now her turn to change the subject but she didn't even know what to say to him. "So, how's your... girlfriend? " She cursed at herself for not finding anything better to ask him. *Agh! Why did I ask that?*

Just what she expected, Kyohei quirked his eyebrows almost questioning if the question was for real. "Which one?"

And as expected by him, her eyebrows raised in the same manner. "I'm joking," he confessed.

Once again Sunako didn't know why, but she couldn't stop her tongue from asking, "She didn't make a big deal of you coming here?"

"No, she didn't. In fact I don't think she cares much about what I do or will do. As of right now my relationship status is non-existent..." he confessed.

At what point she had stopped breathing, she didn't know. But the way she exhaled was proof that she had been holding her breath for the answer. It wasn't something that she cared to know, but yet she probed the answer out of him. *Why?* Why did she want to know about his girlfriend or lack thereof? But now another questions nudged at her, did he break up with her or did she? And was it because he decided to come to the wedding or before that? He knew there was someone in his life, she knew there had been many more after her. She had forced herself not to care but deep down inside she knew it wasn't easy. "Oh..." was all she managed to say.

"Where is your fiance? Shouldn't he be helping you out with the wedding preparations?" He wanted to ask more questions, like, who was he? When did she fall in love with him? How long had they been dating? Had she moved on soon after they broke up? So many questions that he would like answered but he wasn't about to bomb her right then and there.

"He had to take care of some things he committed to before we became engaged," she answered cryptically.

*Prior commitments?* Now, that intrigued him. What kind of prior commitments could he have that would render him unable to be with Sunako? Yuki had mentioned something about her fiancé last time, he wasn't from Japan. They both stood quiet for a while. He stared at his once again lonesome hand which had begun to cool with the lack of warmth that came from Sunako's hand in his. Another jolt from the ride let him know that the maintenance people were hard at work. He glanced quickly over to where Sunako was. Her demeanor did not hide the fact that she was frightened and the fact that she was avoiding at all costs to grab a hold of him. Without caring much about any complaints that would be coming from her, he gently took her hand in his.

She thought about protesting his actions, but another jerk-like motion provoked her to squeeze his hand instead of moving it away. Sunako looked back at him only to find his gaze distracted once more by the horizon. She decided to do the same. With her hand in his, she distracted her mind from their current situation of being stuck.

x.I.x

A/N: I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. It will be a two part. I figured it would be too long if I fit it into one chapter. I don't want to bore you guys. I was stuck in a rut for a while. Please let me know if you guys are still reading… the last reviews got me out of the writer's block I was in. Love ya guys!

Special thanks to: cdw92, FireStorm1991, D. Pickles, CamaeLyn, you guys are awesome!