MidnightSakuraBlossom: Three chapters in one year, unbelievable. Truly unbelievable for me considering I've been completely caught up in the violent wave currents of life! *Dramatic sigh and then gives herself a pat on the back* But I still managed to write this next chapter, because StormofyoutDestiny had writer's block for the most part...she wrote the beginning paragraph and left the rest for yours truly from there.

StormofyourDestiny: Ahem, well, writer's block is my second WORST ENEMY. I assure you that something much worse than that dreaded obstacle in every writer's way would be...listening to people bash my home country. For God's sake, stupid trolls, I am proud to have been born in Scotland and I can't say I disagree with the lifestyle or our ways! But, I digress, this is irrelevant. *Composes herself, and then puts a sweet smile back on her face* It is true I wrote the first paragraph, the rest was in my friend's capable fingers.

MidnightSakuraBlossom: That's what she said...? :P

StormofyourDestiny: You and your odd humor. 8( My friend, I truly wonder if I will too fall victim to those pathetic attempts at jokes. Now, should you want a real joke, you should hear those about Irish stereotypes-

MidnightSakuraBlossom: *Looks at nonexistent watch on her wrist and then claps a hand over her friend's mouth* Oh, look at the time! Rather than offending the possible Irish readers, let us get to the chapter! (No offense, I'm serious! StormofyourDestiny and her rough humor...haha...) By the way, neither of us own Rune Factory or it's cast of characters!

Forever And Always?

Chapter 03: Blame The Hormones

Orland was only a friend to her. And just because of one meaningless moment out of the blue, there was absolutely not a chance Aria would fall so far. She knew she had a crush on him as a child and even "got married" to him, but they were grown up now and such feelings should have dissolved away. Now as the time...to move onward.

The stupid hormones was what caused the awkwardness to follow that moment whilst sparring earlier! Those freakin' hormones always sneaked up on teenagers and led them into more or less confusing situations that had no escape and could only get worse and worse as it all crumbles in front of the eyes of many. She didn't feel that way about Orland, it was because of the misdirected hormones which went off for them. She was sure that when she encountered him the following day, he would forget all about it and Aria would be no longer embarrassed to death.

A few hours passed and Aria found herself back at the farm house slumped in her chair at the table. Aaron was beside her and their parents where on the opposite. The soft glow of the candles was comforting and the freshly prepared veggie juice and seafood pizza were good, Kyle was a rather great cook even now.

But Aria wasn't very focused on the meal, she was the only one not talking. Her expression was glum and her bites of the pizza were slowed more and more to the point of she put the remains back on her plate and rested her chin on her palm, looking off into space.

"...And then Cammy told me Roy was going to make this new sword which is a new kind that only recently was crafted in a nearby kingdom. He wants to be the first to craft it here and will probably give to me as a slightly-belated birthday present. She always spilling information, but I am so pumped up about this!"

"That's good, Aaron. I hope you'll be more careful with it, however, and won't break it like you did your last..." Dorothy mentioned, leaning back in her seat and smiling with a hint of nostalgia as she recalled the story. Aaron's excitement faltered somewhat, he hated having to remember this event. "When you trudged into the ice caves on a silly dare last Autumn. If Aria, Leonal, and your father hadn't went into the caves to find you...you would have frozen to death while being held hostage by the monsters."

"Mom, do you have to bring that up?" Aaron whined slightly, his cheeks pinked and he looked away. Dorothy just brushed off his embarrassment and then returned to eating.

Nobody seemed to really notice Aria's lack of interjections into the conversation. She usually always had something to say at dinner and nothing could restrain her from doing so. When people brought up that story about the dare Leann gave Aaron when he tried to brag about being tough and manly, she would add fuel to the fire and increase her brother's embarrassment by pointing out how fearful he was of dying or getting eaten after the monsters gained up on him in a corner.

After what happened today, she just felt stripped of the usual energy. She couldn't help but dread the thought of having to set things right with Orland. And what would happen if the incident repeated in another sparring match?

Now she just had a headache trying to process all of this. Aria sighed aloud, not caring at the moment if anyone noticed her depression, and pushed her barely-touched plate away. "I'm finished. I have to go lie down now."

Aria had three pairs of eyes watching her with confusion as she arose and then left them. Her steps were somewhat hurried as she fled to her room to think about that experience with Orland privately and not among the noise.

It wasn't until his sister had left, did Aaron roll his eyes and then sneakily reach for the slice of pizza. Hey, he didn't want to waste some food just because his sister wanted to suddenly turn depressive and lose her interest in eating over probably-stupid things. Like other girls her age tended to do.

Kyle and Dorothy were understandably confused. Their daughter was usually such a glutton especially with seafood pizza. Something was not right, and they felt It would be best to investigate the problem.

The first to make a stand was Dorothy. She took a last sip of her vegetable juice and arose from the table. "I'm going to speak with Aria. She seems to be acting strange."

"Go easy on her, Mom."

"Aaron, just eat your dinner. From the way it looks, it must be serious."

"Yeah...doesn't Aria always come to both you guys when she's in a jam?"

"She always has." Kyle interjected, slightly wistful. He hadn't been confronted with a problem from Aria in weeks and it was bothering him. Hey, he even had to deal with female problems when Dorothy was away for God's sake. He arose as well. "Maybe I can talk to her-"

"No, honey, let me talk to Aria." Dorothy noticed Kyle's wistful look. She smiled apologetically and leaned in to peck his lips before leaving the kitchen.

Dorothy's feet softly padded the floor as she made her way to her daughter's room. The halls were dim lit with candles and had a nice scent from various flowers attached to decorations. She soon stopped at the door and politely rapped her fist against it.

But she got no response.

Dorothy remained patient. She once again rapped the door, this time asking, "Aria, are you in there?"

"Yeah, door's unlocked."

Her pale hand fell on the doorknob and Dorothy opened up the barrier between her and her daughter. Shes stepped inside to see Aria sitting at her wooden desk apparently dumping out recently-mined gems from her rucksack. But there was a look of mild depression on her face as she did so, this clearly was not normal.

"Aria, I came to ask what's wrong." Dorothy spoke up, catching Aria's eye easily. She crossed the room and ran her fingers through her fiery hair. "We noticed you didn't eat much at dinner and you have returned home acting depressed. If there's something wrong, I think we should discuss it."

Aria didn't want to admit there was something wrong. She hated heart to heart talks like that. And even if she didn't mind coming to her mom for other types of advice, she didn't want her to believe her troubles with Orland were from tension leaning on the suspicion of hormones. She had been trying to grow close to the elven boy for years, and finally succeeded.

They were admittedly close, but not intimately. And she certainly did not still see him as a possible love interest. She could not be like Aaron and confess her feelings when everything was so confusing. Maybe growing up really was more trouble than it was worth.

Normally, Aria liked to not show her problems. Thinking of herself as independent. In this case, she couldn't mask her doubt and fear of losing a friend. The confusion was there as well, and she just wanted to be free from it. Maybe her mother could help after all.

Instead of putting up the usual fight against having to get advice, Aria arose from her seat and began to walk the floor aimlessly while her mother watched. "Mom, you would be depressed too if you've been having weird thoughts for your best guy friend. I don't know what to do...I don't want to go too far, I just want us to be like how were when we are kids! Well, maybe not exactly, because I had a crush on him during most of the times, but y-you get the f-freaking point!"

Oh yes, Aria tended to go off on rapid talking when she was totally flustered or confused. Dorothy merely listened patiently, not wanting to rush or interrupt her now when she was finally letting her help with a problem.

Aria's cheeks turned bright red as she walked back and forth frantically, her hands clasped and behind her back. She couldn't look up at her mom's face. She knew she would get some very long explanation about puberty and all that crap. She didn't want to hear it, she didn't want to grow up like this even though she did look very forward to the day she could be considered legal in this area.

It would be great to finally have some recognition that the adults got when they accomplished something. But having to deal with hormones and thinking her friend was alluring was not cool at all.

Dorothy still remained quiet, she understood what was happening. But she waited for Aria to stop pacing and get herself under control. Her daughter finally took a deep breath, calmed herself and looked up at her partially hidden face. By the way, Aria noticed, she really shouldn't hide her face like that anymore. She had such pretty eyes.

"Um...I probably sound ridiculous for saying this...Mom, I've been acting so weird around Orland. It's not right and I feel like our friendship is doomed forever." Aria murmured, it was just loud enough for Dorothy to hear. The soon to be young adult ungracefully plopped onto her nearby bed and held her head in her hands. "I know I felt the table abruptly and I've been acting depressed, I can't help it. You didn't have to follow me, however, I just want to be alone and quietly fall to pieces because of my messed up friendship!"

"Aria, I'm just concerned." Dorothy approached her daughter and sat near her on the bed, affectionately running her fingers through her hair that was now free from it's ponytails. "Listen to me: it's not ideal to lock yourself in your room without facing your problems. If there's something wrong with your friendship with Orland, let it all out."

Understanding, vaguely, Aria nodded. But she collapsed back onto the bed in an attempt to be dramatic. She looked up at the ceiling vacantly as she mentioned, "You broke me down, Mom." Aria's arms crossed behind her head and she offered a quick chuckle at the turn of events, before she returned to her passive stare. "Today...and several times in the past, I've had the strangest moments where my heartbeat quickened upon seeing Orland and I actually enjoyed getting to stare into his eyes. Lately, I notice they're so piercing and blue, I get lost and forget what I'm doing. And whenever I playfully flirt with him, I sometimes get the brief vibe I may have meant it. As far as interacting with him goes, nothing had changed with that...but I'm worried I'll eventually be too nervous to strike up a conversation. I already am nervous I'll do something wrong in front of him and he'll think I'm stupid."

With every word, Dorothy's smile increased. Because she knew what was going on, there was no mistake in her mind now. Nevertheless, she remained silent and decided it would be best to let Aria voice her problems and concerns before saying anything. In the past, her father Gordon hadn't any patience when it came to helping her with her problems because she was shy and couldn't get the words out. Her daughter luckily wasn't as shy as she used to be before meeting Kyle, but that didn't mean she wasn't above occasional moments.

It seems Aria would be confused when it came to blossoming love just as she was. This was either highly interesting or meant more problems and drama for the family and circle of friends.

"Today, we went to the beach to spar. We spar almost every day and it goes great, there's a rush and burn in my muscles and I feel like I get stronger each time. Orland has also shown improvements and can handle himself without my tips. I thought nothing would change today...but something happened totally out of the blue." Aria's tone was fond and nostalgic at first, but gradually turned somber as she went on. She cut it off there, nervous to give more detail and her shy body language showed it.

This was when Dorothy interjected to move the explanation along, "What happened to you and Orland? You didn't...fall into an inappropriate position, right?"

The blush on Aria's cheeks intensified. Mortified by that suggestion, she immediately sat back and waved her hands wildly. "N-no! How could you even suggest that? Ack, that probably will happen next time we spar!"

While Aria collected herself yet again, Dorothy gazed around the room. Just noticing the dark and sturdy walls, wooden floor, and simple furniture style and arrangements. She was glad they lived in a simple structure rather than some flashy setting, and worried that Aria would one day hope to live somewhere crowded and over the top if she ever left Alvarna like she occasionally hinted at.

Finished with the flustered antics she usually went into after breaking, Aria's facial expression turned glum. Basked in the soft candlelight making it visible. Underneath her long bangs that concealed her eyes, Dorothy's eyes softened.

"When I leaped off that boat-thing we use for transportation...I was ready and getting into the battle. I didn't care about anything else but landing a decent blow and knocking him off his feet as I used to do so easily when we were young." Aria shifted around and faced her mother, rubbing the back of her neck timidly, almost hesitant to go on and explain the reasons for her moping around. "Something went wrong, because I unsteadily launched myself and nearly had a rough landing to the ground. But Orland...he dropped everything to catch me. When he held me securely, I...I...uh..."

"Did you like that more than you should have, Aria?"

"Mmm hmm. Yeah, but, it's probably nothing, right? Right?"

Dorothy sighed and looked at the wall, crossing one delicate leg over the other. She didn't think she would ever have to talk to Aria about why she felt weird around boys. Aria, of course, did know what made males and females different and an okay enough knowledge of reproduction and why she bled to death once a month. She, however, refused to believe she would someday start seeing them as sexy and wanting to be with them no matter what the cost.

Though Aria always felt strange around Orland and this was not random and sudden. When she was a little girl, she had occasionally reported how she sometimes thought he was cute and swooned whenever he agreed to look at the cherry blossoms or ask her to dance at a certain festival. Some vibe overcome Dorothy since, she secretly thought that Aria could really have a chance with Orland. But when she told Kyle of her suspicions, he tried to brush it off.

But Dorothy knew why he brushed it off and she wasn't mad. She kind of understood, after all, there had been some drama concerning Kyle, Dorothy, and Orland's parents Jake and Cecilia. But, this was to be thought of at another time.

If they ever did upgrade their relationship...oh, Dorothy shivered to think of what may happen afterward. Would her daughter go so far for love or would she give up and move on? Well, looking at her now, she had no doubt in her mind she could handle herself. And Aria would make the right decision because it was the way she rolled. Aria never did anything without thinking, unless it came to pulling her occasional pranks.

Turning back to her distressed daughter, Dorothy offered a mildly sympathetic smile. "Aria, there's a certain reason why you felt strangely in that moment. I know you hate being told this, however it's the truth." Aria couldn't handle hearing it again, from what Dorothy could see. As she pressed her hands to her face and groaned loudly, Dorothy put an arm around her shoulder and gave a light squeeze. "Yes, it's the teenage hormones rising. It's natural to feel weird around the opposite sex, or same sex should you live that way, and it's nothing to worry about."

"Mom, me and Orland hang out a lot. We're so close, like this," Aria argued, peeling her hands back and then emphasizing her point by wrapping her fingers together to her mother's view. "And any hormones are gonna totally wreck it. How can I hang out with him without worrying about considering attacking him in a kiss or gazing at his abs, face, or butt when it's totally inappropriate at the point in time?"

"You have to go through it with anyone. It seems Orland just happens to be the first target for the hormones to flare at."

"But we're never going to...no...I wouldn't even dream of ever hooking up with Orland!"

If that was true, why did she once have a crush on him and even go as far as to engage in a pretend marriage? Okay, Aria tried to assure herself this meant nothing. They've grown up and things have changed since that point, she obviously matured and forgot about it. But wait, did this mean the hormones were rising around him first because...

Because fate was giving her hints to the fact she would end up with Orland in the future? Could this really happen?

There were a lot of things Aria felt she should reveal to her mother. The fact she did once have a crush on Orland and considering marrying him in the future, her occasional thoughts of what life would be like alongside him through it all, or her feelings she encountered when it was the two of them or he said something that could be considered ambiguous with the meaning. She let the moment pass by, not asking about any of the mentioned. The teenage farm girl just sat there fiddling with her hands and letting her brown-colored eyes lock on the comforter.

Barely nothing any of it, Aria endured a much-loathed personal girl to girl talk. While Dorothy told her about how she shouldn't act so depressed and annoyed by her strange feelings to her friend, she should give in because there was no other choice, and she would someday realize she should settle down with someone, blah blah, Aria lied on her bed with her arms crossed across her torso. She stared up at the ceiling with her head spinning with thoughts.

Maybe the talk was stupid as hell. Maybe she would always lose the battle when it came to her hormones kicking in at the wost times. Maybe she would someday settle down but hopefully it wouldn't be with a close guy friend such as Orland. One thing was apparent to her, some point she greatly clung to: she would live her life while she could. She wouldn't settle down too soon, as she had wide world to explore with her brother in just a few more days. Which...everyone else would find out on their departure date, if a certain perky daughter of a fortune teller wouldn't spill the beans so soon of course.

Dorothy knew the talk probably wasn't ridiculous in the end. Aria needed to understand it wasn't uncommon for her to be attracted to her friend. Hey, they have been through so much and knew a lot of secrets the other harbored. Orland didn't admit it often, but Aria did, the fact that they have created a bond. She experienced this herself, once, with Kyle.

The story is quite complicated, Dorothy wasn't sure if sharing it with her daughter was a good decision right now. The major details was that she always admired Kyle since first meeting, he always was patient with her and helped sooth problems. The two became close, but since they hadn't ever been in love, they weren't sure if this was that strange emotion or a complex friendship. And, of course, as his attention began to shift towards the half-elf maid – now Orland's mother...

Finished with dinner, Kyle and Aaron decided to team up to tackle washing the dishes since Dorothy was still upstairs. They made their way into the kitchen, Kyle's eyes focused on his son in an unusual way as he remembered something he wanted to discuss with him. Aaron didn't suspect a thing, he was casually complaining about having to clean up and not even looking his dad's way while doing so.

Still, Aaron didn't want to get chewed out for not doing his fair share of work. He didn't mind watering and harvesting the crops, feeding and brushing the monsters, or tracking down Yue on her business days, but he simply did not like housework of any kind. That was probably why his bedroom was like a war zone and dust reaching from the kitchen to the main bedroom. He pulled himself together anyway, and swiftly shoved the plates and cups into the small sink.

Kyle was at his side, not really saying anything as he put in his own stack of some dishes used the previous night. He reached for a complex-designed lever to signal the water from the contraption of a plumbing system to douse the plates with water. Finally, shaking his head, he voiced a certain topic he couldn't believe he was finally bringing up.

"Aaron...I overheard something strange last night when I was going to the kitchen for something to drink."

"Okay, I experience the same thing sometimes when I get up in the middle of the night." Aaron replied casually, still not seeing where he was going with that. Kyle rolled his eyes as his slightly-oblivious son continued. "One time I thought it was one of the monsters screeching, it was just branches scrapping the windows though. And once, I heard Aria freaking out because of some pimples on her cheek-"

"Actually, Aaron, I overheard these things from your room." Kyle explained, his tone was sort of quiet and a little hesitant. Mostly because he still wasn't sure his son would get a clear pic of what he was talking about.

However, Aaron paused as if in thought. To remember anything that may have happened to make him bring up these strange things...he soon stared, speechless as he realized.

"No parent wants to hear something like that from their kid's room, but I thought I should mention you're not as modest as you are when awake." Kyle continued, noticing Aaron's expression revert to panic and mortification as the memories of what he had dreamed the previous night resurfaced. This had to have attention, or else... "Aaron, you know it's not uncommon to dream of that stuff, right? I told you this already."

Aaron avoided answering that, countering with a horrified question of his own as he stepped forward and grasped his dad's shoulders. "Did I really make any sounds? And was there anything mentioned about 'Serena, you're gonna make me...'?"

"You know Aria sleeps heavily and I don't think your mom overheard it. I was the only one awake. But I did hear some babble that could be more or less questionable..."

God, did he really say things like that? Well, in that dream, he did experience some suggestive moments with Sera and Serena together. Aaron didn't know what was going on, all he knew was they were willingly scantily clad and kept showing off before all three of them went to the bed together and...well, not much happened after this before Aaron woke up burning up all over and the sheets were soaked.

Aaron almost didn't look at the twins the same way this morning. He did manage though, but he knew that he would never speak of what happened to his parents. They would probably freak out, as Kyle flawlessly explained with the 'no parent wants to hear something like that from their kid's room' comment.

Now he was screwed. Kyle did know what happened, he at least had a good theory. He finally looked in his son's direction, Aaron kept his face low as it lit up red as if set aflame. There was a silence, during which Aaron was praying that maybe he'd die right then and wouldn't have to suffer any more of this. What if his mom or sister entered the room at that time? Or what if Sera and Serena happened to let themselves in and listened to the embarrassing exchange of words?

The dishes were soon forgotten, Kyle began to walk out of the kitchen area and motioned for his son to follow. They passed the living room-dining room combined, and into a very small and narrow hall next to the staircase. The room they entered was a study, Kyle mainly used it to store furniture and to relax from a rough day. But he decided it would be a nice and quiet place to discuss this topic. They wouldn't be disturbed here.

Aaron was hesitant to sit down, he thought if he did so he may have a sword in the back of his head or something. But he finally eased a small amount and reclined on a worn old rocking chair and Kyle was seated on the edge of a pale red couch.

Having gathered the words he believed were fitting to say, Kyle was the first to continue the exchange his son dreaded more than anything.

"Aaron, I've no reason to punish you or anything." Kyle said, trying to lesson the headache forming. As he almost had no idea how to sooth the tension between him and Aaron now, he always had been awkward in these moments. Aaron was surprised, he lifted his head and stared with widening eyes. "You know it's completely normal for that to happen to guys your age. All it means is the hormones are really kicking in and you're obviously attracted to Sera and Serena."

"I wouldn't say I was attracted to the both of them..." Aaron muttered, hoping to save face.

But his dad would have nothing of it. Because he knew it was like to like two girls at once. But that was years ago, and he did end up with the one he found he truly loved. His son was perhaps more...obvious about this situation, but he was young and would someday choose which of the twins he felt more strongly about. He just hoped Ray or Rosalind wouldn't be against him liking the two of them now. But, Ray was a good friend, he was understanding at least.

"Aaron, I've never told you before...but..." Kyle leaned back in the seat, caught up in the wave of nostalgia flashing before his eyes. He wasn't off of the previous subject, and he had once been hesitant to reveal this part of his past, but he thought Aaron could use the mild comfort of the fact it wasn't unusual to like two people and...yeah. "Years ago, when I moved here to Alvarna, I first met Dorothy after settling in. She was so cutely shy, I knew immediately I was sold by her personality and her unique looks. But I barely knew her, and made it a mission to get her to break out of her shell and hook up with me. During my journey to do so, Cecilia also won me over with her charms and caring nature..."

Aaron was hooked by the story at first, seeing as though he never was told of how Kyle and Dorothy ended up together. But when he heard the name Cecilia, he was sold entirely. Cecilia was the half elf maid at the manor, Jake's wife, and Orland's mom!

"...I was sure I cared deeply about them both, but I was a little bit of player and courted them whenever possible. The two both opened up to me after a few seasons, and I felt cornered when they finally discovered I was dating them both without ever saying anything. They weren't pissed off, they didn't get into a catfight, but they did tell me I needed to choose who I really loved."

"So...you chose Mom?"

"To be honest, I couldn't choose right at that moment because I had to think it over myself." Kyle shook his head and then went on, seemingly annoyed with his past self for trying something risky like courting two girls at once against their knowledge. "A season passed before I woke up with realization. I remember it was a chilling Autumn day when I hurried with the farm work, ran down the streets to the manor, and met up with Cecilia. I wanted to tell her..." Aaron leaned forward expectantly, very much into the story. He thought Kyle was trying to keep him in suspense with the senseless pauses he was doing on purpose. "I didn't truly love her, it must have been the hormones and the fact she was such ideal wife material. When I told her, she was composed and understanding – and told me she realized that there was something between her and Jake, she felt like she was meant to be with him. I then got into contact with Dorothy and invited her to the forest..."

"Forest, eh? That's kind of forward. You two didn't...you know, did you?" Aaron interrupted suddenly, rubbing the back of his neck nervously as he asked.

"No, we waited...sort of...don't worry." Kyle said with a hint of amusement. Aaron's cheeks flushed red for an instant as he nodded and glanced to the floor. "Anyway, all I can say is that through a dramatic experience very deep in the forest, I confessed everything. In Winter, we tied the knot as soon as we could because...we sort of celebrated surviving that mentioned experience too passionately and you and Aria happened to be the result."

Aaron got the wrong picture for a moment. He gasped and reeled back into the chair nearby. "Y-you mean you had a shotgun wedding? Isn't that a sin or something?"

"It wasn't really a 'shotgun wedding', we were both wanting to be together. And everyone else in the town knew, even if they did stare at the two of us when in the same presence and a certain fortune teller wouldn't stop inspecting Dorothy's growing stomach at every opportunity." Kyle said with amusement twinkling in his eyes. Aaron calmed, apparently relieved he didn't have to be ashamed of his parents only marrying because he and his sister were already conceived. The amusement gradually stilled, Kyle returned to the story, "In any case, me and your mother had a great wedding and were rewarded with you two. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is...I don't approve of you wanting, emphasis on wanting, two girls. Keep in mind, I'm not angry. I will let it slide that you're finally reaching the point of constant erotic dreams and you don't have to scrub the floors until your fingers combust. And the time will come when Sera and Serena will tell you to choose." Kyle's eyes flickered closed and he smiled. "I know you'll make the right choice, no matter what kind of mayhem stands in the way."

Alone, the story was nice to hear. Aaron never had been told of this, and he briefly wondered if Kyle was skirting some details because there were a few things he was curious about. But, perhaps luck was on his side as he wouldn't be punished for... and he got to hear a great story at that!

A few moments later, Kyle told Aaron to not blab to Dorothy he shared this story. He asked why, but didn't get a response. So he decided it was best to obey, he didn't want to cause any arguments between a usually-healthy relationship like theirs. Even if their marriage could seem like a shotgun type in some point of view. Aaron just tried to not focus on that. God knows what Gordon said when they told him his oldest daughter got pregnant by him and they were to get married soon with him performing the ceremony. There probably was conflicted emotions. But not quite as much as it would be if he had chosen Mana and faced Douglas...

There was still a silence left behind. Now that Aaron was told of the consequences between chasing two girls, there was something else he needed to hear. He already knew the basics of reproduction and why exactly he would sometimes be faced with unfortunate arousal. But Kyle wanted to explain a few things about keeping this all under control so the hormones would not win.

Long story short, Aaron left the room afterward as red as the strawberries they always grew for Cammy's benefit, but he was still amazed at the same time by the story of how he and Aria came to be from the problems of Kyle's love life. He promised not to tell Dorothy he was informed of the events, but did that mean he couldn't tell his sister?

On the other side of town, Orland was in his room. The lights were dim and he was sitting cross-legged in an old creaky chair trying to finish up the secret work for Aria's birthday gift. His eyebrows connected with concentration and his hands were almost twitching uneasily briefly when he assumed a mistake was made.

It seemed strange to him, he wasn't quite as focused on Aaron's gift. The two knew of each other decently, but couldn't say they were friends of anything like that. He did, however, find Aria special and worked with determination on hers. He wasn't sure why, to be honest.

When he returned home, he skipped dinner just to finish the work early. Cecilia had even poked her head in and asked him what he was doing. And when she noticed the project, could merely smile and casually prompt him to admit he was unusually focused on Aria's birthday gift. He didn't mind that...he ignored it like he tended to do when not giving a damn.

However, eyes widened and heat pooled into his cheeks when his knowing mother asked if he was going to be courting her anytime soon and the gift would be used as a confession. Actually giving a damn this time, he glared coldly in her direction and she laughed and left him alone to work. Whether she was just being playful or brutally curious was up to anyone's interpretation. He merely was far too flustered at that point to think into it.

His thoughts that once didn't involve her whatsoever soon put Aria in the light. Orland stopped for a brief moment to lean back tiredly, thoughtfully, letting his mind reel backward to when they sparred previously. When that out of the blue incident occurred. He didn't know why he thought anything of it, it meant nothing but Aria being a clumsy fighter.

Still...he actually liked holding her so closely. She was warm and made his senses go crazy. No, he couldn't possibly be falling for her, he told himself weakly. Like he had been told by his parents that he was around that age to start seeing the opposite gender in a totally different way, and maybe the hormones were just trying fulfill those shallow ways and make him believe he wanted his – pretty much – only friend badly.

It was ridiculous. Stupid hormones wouldn't be able to battle if he contained no such feelings for Aria. So all Orland had to do was remain on guard and forcefully destroy any possible romantic ties to her. And the challenge...was accepted...weakly. But still accepted.

To Be Continued In Chapter 4

MidnightSakuraBlossom: I am soooo sorry that took so long to publish, let alone write. I, um, got lost on...the...path of life?

StormofyourDestiny: *Stares blankly for a moment and then gasps with realization* Naruto reference! You're worse than that lazy Kakashi with your excuses, my friend. And for that, I will do what I must. *Loads a gun threateningly*

MidnightSakuraBlossom: O_O

StormofyourDestiny: *Laughs cheerfully despite the chill still lingering in the air while she tosses away the gun* Kidding~! I suppose I should work on making dark jokes, huh? Yes, I fail to make them work. 8)

MidnightSakuraBlossom: *Sigh of relief* Okay, ahem, well...we hope you enjoyed the chapter. There is more to come with the story, StormofyourDestiny is going to write it next time around and I'm sure you all can't wait for this. Also, it should be noted that I am going to tweak the summary a little, let's HOPE it attracts more readers. *Crucks knuckles in preperation*

StormofyourDestiny: ...8( I don't know, my friend. You tend to fail at writing summaries (NO OFFENSE INTENDED!). Anyway, please read and review! We shall return some time in the future with the next chapter and hopefully some juicy events to follow along now that certain pieces of information have been given and it seems Aria and Orland are noticing the tension~!