Okay, I'm going to stop embarrassing myself. From now on, every time I post a late chapter, just assume that I am very, very, tremendously sorry for the inconvenience. You have my sincerest apologies.

***Read this important shit, dude (you know you want to): Remember how in the last chapter, we learned that Gill had a fiancee and that her name was Molly? Well, I decided I wanted to change that. No, don't worry, Gill still has a fiancee - it's just that it's no longer Molly, see? It's Luna now. I have my reasons - reasons in which I forbid to tell the details of. And in case you're wondering - why, yes, I did change the name from Molly to Luna in the last chapter, so there's no need to go back and look, m-kay?***

Chase: Is that even allowed? I mean... Are you sure you can even do that...? Wait. Gill has a fiancee?

Me: *pushes Chase away* OF COURSE it's allowed! ^-^; It's not like I'm changing anything drastic. Right, Mr. Gilligan?

Gill: *reading book* Yeah, sure... Hold on. Wait. That's not my name. T-T;


Chapter Four

There was no backing down now. Chase had fought all-too-hard to surrender so easily. He nearly chickened out not only once, not only twice, not even only three times, but four times. He'd be damned if he turned around now.

For the past week, Maya had been making him do all the cooking for her. She made him cook her three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And if that wasn't enough, sometimes she would even have him personally feed her himself (literally, with a fork and all.) She certainly had him wrapped around her finger, eating not only his food, but pretty much his entire soul, too. He would come home utterly exhausted, not because of a hard day's work, but simply because of Maya alone. The deal he made with her was undoubtedly taking its toll, that was for sure.

He wasn't entirely sure why he was doing this. Yet, somehow, here he was, standing in front of the mayor's house, holding a bowl of tomato soup out to the all-too-perfect Gill, hoping that as if in some way, just maybe, he'll accept it.

"I-It's for you," Chase meekly said, looking flushed with a head hanging low. He probably looked like a damn imbecile, especially since he had learned the precise hours in which Gill had gotten off of work, and had used this bit of knowledge just to meet with him today. He was actually pretty lucky that Gill worked day-shift and Chase worked, well, relatively close to night-shift. It was unfortunate, however, that he barely even knew Gill well enough to be learning of such business, let alone trying to give gifts to him. Now he probably looked more like a stalker than he did an imbecile, and Chase didn't really know if that was an improvement.

But to his absolute astonishment, though, Gill had surprisingly taken the soup, and, gazing down at it, said, "Did you make this for me?"

Oh, crap. Chase couldn't tell him that he actually made that soup for him. If he did, then it would just seem... Weird. Wouldn't it?

"Uh, n-no. A friend of mine told me to give it to you, so I'm just here to deliver it," Chase lied.

Strangely, Gill seemed to be buying it. "Oh? What's her name? I might know her."

"N-Name? Uhh... H-Her name is..."

Damn it. He couldn't think of a name. He wanted to say any old name, but what if the name sounded too ordinary? Or what if... It sounded too original?

But... As Chase was dwelling on that, Gill had already moved on and decided for him, knocking him out of his train of thought:

"Chase, isn't it?"

"Y-Yeah..." Chase answered absentmindedly. Then he realized what Gill had truly said. With his eyes growing wide, he perked up to him at once. "Huh? Wait. What? Th-That's my name!"

"Oh, really?" Gill asked, not looking the least bit alarmed despite his way of manner. He stared blankly. "What a coincidence. A girl with the same name has a crush on me, so I just figured that maybe it'd be her."

"That's impossible. Chase is a guy's name, so there's no way..."

Then it dawned on him. Gill was actually talking about him, not some girl. Chase was almost positively certain that he couldn't possibly look or sound any more like a fool, but Gill had just proven him wrong, hadn't he? Goddess, he was such an idiot...

Gill, the controlling bastard, just continued to toy around, having his way with amusement, although not even the faintest smile crossed his features. "Oh well. I guess I was wrong. My mistake... Whomever she is, send her my thanks, will you?" He began walking inside, taking heed to close the door.

But Chase stopped the door from closing midway. "W-Wait!" He shouted, barging in without restraint. "H-How did you know my name?" If Chase remembered correctly, he didn't recall having given Gill his name, so there was no way in hell Gill should know about it. Unless... He happened to have asked someone else?

Gill stopped, neglecting to turn to face him. "What are you saying? Do you mean to say that that girl is you?"

"Huh? N-No!" Chase stammered, but that probably didn't sound too assuring, did it? He paused, his eyes drifting away in embarrassment. "Well, not exactly..." He was partway right, wasn't he? Surely, Chase wasn't a girl, but... But his name was, indeed, Chase, after all. There was no mistaking it.

"Not exactly?" Gill questioned.

By now, Chase was red all over. He struggled to deal with it. "L-Listen, just tell me how it tastes, alright? My friend really wants to know, and... And I'm not leaving until you do."

Having finally closed the door, Gill smiled. He set the soup down on a nearby table. "I've heard rumors about you," he said as-a-matter-of-factly. "The people around town say you're a rather cold and distant person. If that's true, then you having a friend seems a bit strange, doesn't it?" He looked over to observe Chase's eyes widening again, studying just how he could catch him further off guard. He dipped a finger into the soup and withdrew it, bringing the sample up to his lips to taste it with his tongue. He considered the flavor for a second. "What's even stranger is that this soup tastes just the same as the one you gave me at the Inn." He directed his gaze to study Chase once more. Needless to say, Chase couldn't get any redder, and that had Gill feeling all the more in control.

Chase became pretty defenseless. "S-So what? Your point?" He started to think that he shouldn't have even came here at all. He knew this would happen. He knew he would come here and feel humiliated all over again. He knew he shouldn't even be dealing with people like that: the kind that makes your heart throb so much, it's unbearable. Gill was simply too much to handle.

Gill came close to him, shortening the distance between the two. It caused Chase to step back further and further until his back hit the wall, trapping him. There was definitely no where to turn to now. Gill had him cornered and now he was gazing at Gill with a panic-stricken look in his eyes. Softly, Gill brushed his lips against his cheek as he trailed his hand down along his stomach, meeting just above his hips. Even more softly, he whispered, "Don't play dumb with me. It's not wise."

Chase gasped, bashfully looking away. "D-Don't..." Damn it, he probably sounded just like a little bitch, but there was no way in hell he was going to let Gill take the best of him.

Gill smiled, taking notice to his building frustration. "Go on. Out with it."

"O-Out with what?" Chase asked, clueless.

"Admit that you like me," Gill ordered.

"What? I-I don't like you!"

Biting his ear gently, Gill proceeded to run his hand down into Chase's pants, stopping right before he could progress much further. He purposely avoided doing what both had in mind, teasing with Chase ever more. He breathed hoarsely into his ear, causing him to flinch. "We could do this all day..."

Chase grasped Gill's shirt tightly, blushing impossibly more. "S-Stop it..."

Gill's smile grew larger. "You're cute."

"N-No I'm not..."

Suddenly and without warning, Gill backed up. He walked back over to the table he was standing next to not too long ago. "So, do you plan on opening your own restaurant?" He asked, changing the subject. "Is that why you're studying culinary arts so attentively?" Skillfully, he acted as though nothing had previously happened, dipping his finger back into the soup casually again, licking the red liquid off his finger. Again.

Chase stiffened, painfully watching him as he did this. Wasn't he just about to...? Wait. Why did he stop? Not that Chase was complaining, he wanted him to stop, he just... He just... Wasn't sure why... "I-I'm not," Chase began to answer, trying to deviate from the pressuring thought that was playing inside his head, "I'm not... Exactly sure what I want just yet."

"I see..."

Okay, maybe that was a lie - maybe Chase 'did' want Gill to do a little bit more, but...-

What sounded like a knock came from the general area of a window. Chase noticed this immediately and remarked, "What was that?" as he brought his eyes to focus on the window. There, he saw a pink-haired girl with an angered face, knocking violently on the glass. "I think somebody's knocking on the window."

Gill sharply drew the curtains over the window. "No there's not." In response to that, Chase grew confused. He didn't know why Gill would try to hide the girl from him. Regardless, if he really was trying to hide something, he sounded pretty composed.

Gill framed his own back to the wall, crossing his arms. A bored-like expression took form on his face. Once again, he changed the subject: "You have a long way to go before you can open up your own restaurant, anyway. Your soup's good, but it's not nearly as good as Yolanda's." And once again, he had manipulated the flow of the conversation, just like that.

Chase, unfortunately, was too blind to notice. "Huh? I-I know that!" He snapped. "If I didn't, don't you think I wouldn't let Yolanda tutor me? I don't need you to tell me that!" He whipped his head to the side, crossing his arms, like Gill. "Besides! That's not what you said at the Inn!" There he went sounding like a kid again...

"What I said at the Inn was only intended to make you feel better about yourself," Gill said, most likely sounding too harsh.

"S-So what?" Braced Chase. "You're saying that you don't care about me, is that it?"

"If I didn't care, I wouldn't have lied about it. If I would have told you the truth, you'd get upset about it - just like you are now."

"That hardly makes any sense! If you're so worried about upsetting me, then why the hell are you doing now?"

"So I can help you."

"Help me how?"

"There's going to be a cooking festival in town in just a short number of days. If you enter it and win, I'll give you another tip."

"Tip?" Chase blushed. "Y-You mean..."

Was this "tip" thing going to be an "all-the-time" thing?

An abrupt voice became heard: "FINALLY!" Both Gill and Chase turned their heads to see Luna at the top of a flight of steps, standing there with her hands on her hips as if she had been waiting there for a while now. It was the same pink-haired girl Chase saw outside the window, only this time... She looked a tad bit different: leaves were found knotted in her curly pigtails and her yellow lollita dress was apparently ruffled. She marched down the steps angrily, stomping on each and every last step with her fists clenched. When she reached Gill, she halted, shouting, "You have NO idea what I had to DO to get in here!"

Gill stared at her dryly. "... Did you climb a tree and crawl through the upstairs window?"

Seemingly surprised, she quieted. She continued to stare at him with the same angry-looking face. "... I might've," she somewhat admitted, turning from him.

Gill reached out to pick a dried-up leaf from her hair. "Sweetie," he soothed, "There are leaves everywhere in your hair."

'Sweetie?' Chase thought.

"I-I don't care!" She flailed her arms wildly, flapping them up and down with balled fists. "I called you over fifty-thousand times earlier! Why didn't you pick up the phone!"

"I must have been asleep. I didn't hear the phone ringing."

"Oh, you didn't, did you?" She eyed Gill suspiciously and then looked over to find Chase. "And who's this?" She sternly put her hands to her hips.

"An admirer."

"A what?" Chase questioned.

"An admirer?" Luna followed, bored-faced. "What does that mean?"

"It means he's a-" Gill began, but was almost instantly interrupted by Chase, exclaiming, "Alright! I'll do it!" Gill lifted his head in question and Luna persisted her boring gaze. "Eh? Do what?" She asked.

All eyes were on Chase as he slowly backed up, slowly and horridly coming to realize just what he had blurted out. Do what? His back hit the wall. The contest? "I-I'll enter the stupid contest, if that's what you want..." He said, red-faced. "Now, if you'll excuse me..." He made his way over to the door, turning the knob to open the door, but only to find that the door wouldn't open. What the... Why the hell not? Oh, goddess. That was it. He was going to be trapped here... Forever.

Luckily, Gill came to his aid. "Need help?" He said. He turned a certain lock on the door. "The door was locked."

Chase reddened for about the twentieth time that day. "I-I know how to open a damn door. I don't need you to patronize me." And with that, he opened the door and walked out. Since when did Gill lock the door, anyway?

Gill gripped his own chin. "Huh. Interesting..."

"What's interesting?" Asked Luna.

"Nothing."

"... Did you say something to him?"

Gill smiled. "I might've."

Luna glared at him. Why did he have to keep secrets from her?

Chase had no idea what Gill's motives were... He didn't know why he wanted him to enter the contest... And Chase honestly was sure why he, himself, was entering it, but maybe it was just to solely prove that he was a better cook than what Gill made him out to be.

Yeah, maybe that was it. It's not like he really wanted a kiss... That was ridiculous. And of course he doesn't truthfully like him; just what the hell was he thinking?

But, somehow... Chase was finding it hard to convince himself. They hardly knew each other, and yet... He was already feeling this way? No, that was impossible.

... Why did he have to keep secrets from him?