Taking Chances


Aelita paused and listened closely. She heard it again: a tiny knock on her door. She yawned and sat up. Don't people normally sleep at this hour? She thought as she glanced at her clock. 10:56pm. She turned toward the door and staggered over to open it. "Odd?" she asked and rubbed her eyes. He gave her a sheepish grin. "What are you doing here at this time of night?"

"Can I come in? I'd rather not get caught again," he whispered. His eyes darted back and forth, expecting Jim to appear at any moment. The hallway was empty and quiet, but he didn't want to take any chances.

Aelita yawned and nodded, holding the door open for Odd. He immediately went and sat on her unmade bed. Aelita shut the door and turned on the lamp at her desk. Only then did she notice Odd carrying a duffle bag.

"What is all of that?" she asked. "You going somewhere?"

Odd smiled. His eyes darted from the bag to Aelita and back again. "Well...I was hoping that it would be the two of us."

"The two of us?" Aelita raised an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?" She blinked a couple of times, shaking the sleep from her eyes.

Odd looked back and forth around the room, as if he expected someone else to be in there with them. "I got two tickets to the concert of a lifetime!" he whispered excitedly. His eyes lit up as he clasped at the pieces of paper in his hands.

"Odd, what are you talking about? You know we're not supposed to leave the campus. Besides why are you telling me this?"

Odd raised and eyebrow at her. His eyes searching her for a hint of where he went wrong. She looked genuinely clueless. "I want you to come with me of course!" he exclaimed. "I wouldn't go without you."

Aelita's eyes widened in shock. "You don't want to go with Ulrich?"

"Ulrich and I are good buddies and all, but we've been to concerts before. Don't you wanna go?" he asked again, enthusiastically. "The Sonic Definitions are playing and it's only about an hour away. Come on! Please, Aelita!"

Aelita rolled her eyes. "Do you know how late it is?"

"Oh come on Aelita! It's not that late! Besides, it's a special midnight concert! Pleassssssseeee!" He stuck out his lip and gave her puppy-dog eyes. He reached out and grabbed her hand and pressed a ticket into her palm.

I really have to work on the Lyoko project with Jeremie tomorrow. Beside, we're not allowed to go out this late at night. And we have classes in the morning. But I can't help but notice how much he wants me to go. And for some reason I really have a strong desire to go with him. Not to mention I'm curious at what's inside that duffle bag. Wait, why am I blushing? Aelita shook her head and moved her hand to her cheek to try and block the redness. "We have class tomorrow, Odd. Besides, I have this thing with Jeremie..."

Odd cut her off, "We'll be back in time for class! What does sleep matter!" He smiled, trying to encourage her. "Please, Aelita," he whispered. "Can't you work on it another time?"

Aelita looked at Odd. He was begging her to go: literally. His hands were still in her one, as if he could stick the ticket permanently to her hand and force her to use it. She looked away and closed her eyes, thinking of all that she should be doing and would miss if she went: sleeping, working with Jeremie, possibly finding the key to the anti-virus, breakfast, class. "Please, Aelita," she heard him whisper again. She turned back toward him and opened her eyes. She smiled at him and noticed how his eyes twinkled with excitement. How long has it been since I've done anything exciting? Lately, they hadn't been coming closer to the key to the anti-virus. Jeremie had started working on it more and more, but they weren't making progress at all. She had been skipping trips to town and the movies in order to work on it with him for hours, sometimes with both of them not even saying a word. She was practically working on it alone. Maybe this concert would be exciting. It was at least worth a shot.

"And you said we'd be back in time for class?" She asked and smiled sheepishly.

Odd's eyes lit up like fireworks and he jumped off the bed. He took Aelita into his arms and spun her around. "Yes of course, princess! Oh thanks! Come on! We've gotta get moving!"

Don't know much about your life

Don't know much about your world but

Don't wanna be alone tonight

On this planet they call Earth

Odd grabbed his duffle bag and Aelita's hand and headed quickly to the door. "Wait, wait, wait!" She shouted. "I'm not even dressed!"

Odd turned and smirked at her. He put his finger to his lips to signal to be quiet and shook his duffle bag once. Then he opened the door and they were off. They ran quickly out to the main walkway, out the gate, and to the bus stop a couple blocks down from the campus.

"Odd!" Aelita shouted as soon as the stopped running. "I'm in pajamas! I'm going on a bus like this!"

"Don't worry about it! The bus comes in 2 minutes, and we barely made it. We didn't have time for you to change."

"Two minutes!" she asked, dumbfounded. Then an idea struck her. "Wait a minute! You planned all this! You knew you'd have to convince me, and you thought it'd take less time, but just in case you knew what to do and packed that duffle bag just so we could make the 11:15 bus! I'm right aren't I?"

Odd laughed and scratched the back of his head. "Well I never said you weren't brilliant."

Aelita rolled her eyes and rubbed her arms. "Couldn't I have at least grabbed a coat?" She looked down and her eyes locked on her feet. "Or some shoes?"

"Don't worry about it. I've got you covered," he said with a subtle hint of a double meaning and winked. "Besides, concerts get pretty hot. You probably won't need a coat."

Just then, the bus arrived. The boarded and took seats in the very back. A middle-aged couple got off the bus at the next stop, leaving it completely empty, save the driver and an elderly woman who was asleep at the very front. "We take this bus down almost all the way to the end of the line and then we walk a couple blocks and its right there! There's just one problem. If we're gonna make it on time, we've got to change on the bus."

Aelita's eyes widened. "You've got to be kidding me!" She looked at Odd to give her any sort of a sign that he was. She sighed when he didn't do anything. "Fine, open the duffle bag and show me what you have."

He smiled and opened the bag. I brought some stuff that my sister used to wear when she was younger. I think they'll fit you. He pulled out a pair of pink tights and a jean mini skirt along with a darker pink tank top. He even pulled out a pair of black flats. "I also brought a jacket. But I really don't think you'll need it since the show is inside." Odd blushed slightly as he handed the clothes to her. "I'll just turn around and let you change."

Aelita blushed a deep red that ran up into every part of her face. She slid quickly into the clothes. They fit almost perfectly. The shirt's neck was just a bit too low. She sighed and shrugged. It would have to do. When she turned back around Odd smiled and put her pajamas into the bag.

"You look great, Aelita! I knew my sister seamed like your size."

"The shirt's a bit big," she muttered as she blushed and pulled it up so that her bra wouldn't show.

Odd looked at the shirt for a moment, blushing a tad. "Sorry about that, Aelita. I really didn't know. Do you want the jacket?" He fumbled around in the bag for a second.

Aelita reached out and grabbed his arm. "Odd, don't worry about it. I'm fine. Besides, you said it's going to be warm inside. Right?"

Odd looked down at her hand and then back up at her. He nodded once and waited for her to remove her hand, but she didn't. "Well, I should probably prep you about concerts. You've never been to one have you?"

"Not as far as I can remember," Aelita stated, "but then again, I don't know about much except for these last 2 or 3 months I've spent here."

"You've got a lot to learn then. First things first. They get wild sometimes. If the crowd starts to shove, grab hold of me. We don't want to get separated. Two: as much fun as crowd surfing looks, don't try it. You'll just end up being dropped or thrown to the back. And watch out for people who do crowd surf! They might be dropped on you. Three: if you see a closer spot, wiggle your way through the crowd to it, but don't push too much or they can get a bit hostile. Most importantly, just have fun. Sing, dance, enjoy yourself." He placed his hand on top of hers. She smiled and nodded, blushing just slightly, contemplating whether or not to remove her hand from his. She wasn't doing anything wrong, but she had a feeling that Jeremie wouldn't like it if she got too close to Odd. And yet, there was something deep inside her that made her feel like it was the right thing to do. It felt so nice, so she left it there and closed her eyes.

You don't know about my past, and

I don't have a future figured out

And maybe this is goin' too fast

And maybe it's not meant to last

Odd smiled and positioned his hand so that it held hers properly. It wasn't something they did often, but it felt natural and neither one seemed to mind. Odd gazed at Aelita who had practically fallen asleep in her seat. Occasionally she would blink quickly and shake her head, murmuring something along the lines of "I'm awake." He smiled and allowed her to rest her head on his shoulder. As the bus finally reached their stop, he nudged Aelita awake and smiled at her.

"Rise and shine, princess," he laughed as he stood up. "The night awaits!" Aelita rubbed her eyes and giggled slightly. He took her by the hand and led her out of the bus as she yawned.

"Thanks, Odd," she said in the middle of a yawn. Odd's eyes seemed to glow from the streetlamp. She smiled at him and blushed slightly as she realized she was still holding his hand. She quickly dropped it and wrapped her arms around herself. "It's colder than I thought."

"Don't worry about it. As soon as we get there, you'll warm up. I'm sorry to rush you, but we really do need to high tail it if we're ever going to make it on time," Odd stated with a smile. He noticed how Aelita's eyes wandered back towards his hand and how she seemed to stand a tad too close to him even for someone who was cold. "Let's go." He threw the duffle bag over his shoulder and began to walk at a brisk pace. Aelita walked quickly, staying a half step behind him the whole way. She didn't want to get lost or slow him down.

After walking two consecutive blocks, they turned left and headed toward a crowd of people. Odd pulled out the tickets and grinned from ear to ear. "Are you excited, Aelita? I'm really glad you decided to come with me." She nodded, and they merged into the crowd and headed for the door.

As they reached the door, a man marked their hands with Xs with a marker. Odd left his bag to the right of the door and handed a second man their tickets. He looked at Aelita and smiled. Aelita gave him a tiny smile and grabbed Odd's hand. Odd squeezed her hand reassuringly. She looked at him and smiled.

He walked her onto the main floor. "This is awesome! Look at that stage!" Odd stepped forward into the crowd in front of the stage. "This is gonna be great! We'll stay here for now, but once the band starts playing, we'll wiggle our way to the front."

Aelita nodded. She looked down and noticed that she was still holding his hand. She looked back up quickly and saw that Odd wasn't even paying attention to it. His eyes were focused on the stage up front. The lights in the room were dim, but still on. The stage was dark, but there were two men dressed in black fiddling with a speaker. She looked back down at their hands for a second or two. What am I doing here? Holding Odd's hand? She looked to Odd. His smile was bigger than she'd ever seen in before. I am happy, though. She sighed in content. "Odd, this was a really great idea. This is so exciting!"

He grinned from ear to ear. "I'm glad you're so excited! I'm really glad you wanted to come with me. Even if it means that you won't be getting much sleep tonight."

Aelita laughed and smiled. "It's worth it so far."

"Well nothing has even happened yet! Just wait until the band comes out and starts to play! You'll be having so much more fun! The Sonic Definitions are one of my favorites!"

"Have you ever seen them before?"

"Not live! I'm so excited!" He looked up and watched the stage in anticipation.

Aelita smiled and squeezed his hand just a tiny bit and watched the stage, waiting for the band to come out and pump up the crowd.

But what do you say to takin' chances?

What do you say to jumpin' off the edge?

Never knowin' if there's solid ground below

Or a hand to hold or hell to pay

What do you say? What do you say?

The room was pretty full, and the people were very close together, but even so Odd felt Aelita squeeze his hand. He looked over and she was smiling and watching the stage. Her hair looked more pink than usual. He squeezed her hand to get her attention. She looked over and blushed a tiny bit. "Are you alright, princess?"

She looked him in the eyes. His eyes shined a bit as he smiled. "Yeah. I'm really good," she stated. "Why?"

"I just wanted to make sure. You seem a little stressed. Are you worried about something?"

"Not really," she said with a smile. "I think I'm just starting to see things in a new light. I think maybe I've been missing out on fun by working on the computer so much." She turned her eyes back to the stage and blushed a tiny bit again, but it wasn't too noticeable in the crowd. She looked back at him.

Odd beamed at her, noticing a tiny double meaning in her voice. "I'm glad you're enjoying yourself here."

"Well, I wouldn't be having as much fun if you hadn't brought me here. I don't think I'd have as much fun without you." As soon as the words came out of her mouth, she blushed, realizing what she said. She studied his face to see if he realized what she had said.

Odd just stared at her for a little while. Just then, he smirked. "I always knew you'd enjoy a concert," he stated playfully, "especially with me." He held her hand a bit tighter.

Aelita blushed again and turned away just as the lights dimmed and the opening band came on the stage. Odd dropped her hand to clap and cheer on the opening band. Aelita smiled and cheered a bit too. The band immediately greeted the crowd and pumped them up before the guitars started playing.

Halfway through the opening band's first song, Odd turned to Aelita and just began to study her. She swayed back and forth to the music and smiled from ear to ear. She seemed relaxed, but not exactly into the concert. She did look happy though. He smiled and wrapped his arms around her suddenly.

She acted a bit surprised, but then relaxed. She leaned her back against his chest and sighed. "Odd...," her voice trailed off, but he could still hear her.

"What is it?" he asked.

"What are we doing?" she murmured. "What is this?"

Odd stepped back. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I didn't know." He took his arms from around her.

"No, Odd." She turned around to look into his eyes. He noticed that her eyes were sparkling with tears in the corners. "I don't think its bad. I think..," she paused and smiled, "I even like it." She looked down, but he grabbed her chin and raised it up to his face.

"Aelita, we don't have to do anything. We don't have to take this step." Odd took her hand.

Aelita blushed and received his hand with a small squeeze. "I don't know what I want. Let's just see what happens."

Odd smiled and pulled her into a hug. "Let's enjoy the concert, princess." She pulled him in tighter and squeezed him.

I just wanna start again

And maybe you could show me how to try

Maybe you could take me in

Somewhere underneath your skin

Odd whispered into her ear. "We don't have to decide anything now. We've got an entire concert to enjoy. You don't have to think about it now." He pulled out of the hug. "Let's just stay the way you want us to. Right now let's just enjoy the music."

Aelita nodded and turned her attention to the stage, but never let go of his hand. Odd smiled and thought of the future, while he watched her sway to the beat of the music.

Aelita shook her head. It was full of confusing ideas. Odd's hand was pressed to hers tightly. She didn't have to look down to know that he was moving closer to her. What exactly do I want? Her head was swimming with emotions. Odd had always been there. Why did it seem like he was there in a different way now? The lights were flashing and the music was playing loudly. It made it hard for her to concentrate on anything. The ideas in her head flashed as brightly as the lights and disappeared almost as quickly.

"Odd," she whispered. She looked up and noticed him smiling and laughing. One arm was up in the air beating out the tempo to the music. He was always smiling. It was so infectious. It made him look dazzling. The lights brightened his eyes and created a brilliant ambiance. Aelita just smiled and turned her attention back toward the stage.

The guitars overwhelmed the room as the song ended and the crowd cheered. Odd shouted and pumped his fist. Aelita took her hand back from Odd and applauded.

He turned toward her to make sure she was ok before he continued to shout and applaud. Aelita took a deep breath and calmed herself down. Time to enjoy myself. She wrapped her arms around Odd's waist and he glanced over and laughed. He wrapped his arm around her back and cheered as the band began their second song.

What do you say to takin' chances?

What do you say to jumpin' off the edge?

Never knowin' if there's solid ground below

Or a hand to hold or hell to pay

What do you say? What do you say?

Aelita pulled out of the embrace and started cheering on the band along with the crowd. Odd smiled at her and removed his arm from around her back. He gave a cry in excitement as he recognized the song they were playing. It was one of his favorites from their new album. He shouted the lyrics and sang, as best he could, with the band and the fans around him. He jumped in time with the fast rhythm. Aelita took the suggestion and mimicked him, her hair bouncing and arm waving.

The music swelled and the aura of the room became excited. The lights flashed, the sound reverberated around the room, sweat poured down the room like the drinks in the hands raised from the crowd. People swayed and jumped and fist-pumped to the beat. The guitars rang through the stage and out onto the floor.

Aelita shouted in excitement, feeling the crowd move her back and forth while jumping in time with the rest of them. She hadn't felt that way in a long time: thoroughly excited. She shook her head and smiled, allowing herself for that moment to be happy and not care what was happening around her.

As the song died down the crowd cheered more. Odd grabbed Aelita's hand and squeezed it once before applauding and shouting with the rest of them.

The heat poured through the crowd from lights and body heat. The crowd was a sticky mess of bodies in beverages and sweat but no one cared. Everyone danced and jumped and pounded their fists in the air through the band's songs as they played on, the night slowly disappearing with each song.

Hey now, hey, my heart is beatin' down

But I'm always comin' back for more, yeah

There's nothin' like love to pull you up

When you're lyin' down on the floor, babe

So talk to me, talk to me like lovers do

Yeah, walk with me, walk with me like lovers do

Like lovers do

The lead singer shouted out into the crowd to pump everyone up. Everyone echoed him with cheers. "The night is almost spent, but not our spirits! Raise those fists in the air and sing with me our final song of the night!" Everyone screamed wildly as a common guitar melody played. Fists were raised and people began to pound them as they sang along to the first words of the last song.

Aelita cheered along with the crowd and raised her own fist. Even without knowing the words, she was having a wonderful time.

Odd glanced over at her. She was completely out of character. Her smile radiated through the room. No longer was she a fragile girl behind a computer screen, she was a bold girl with a spirit, having fun just like any other person would. She laughed and shook her head in time with the beat.

The lights flashed even brighter as the chorus came. "Jump with me!" the singer shouted, and the crowd did as commanded.

Odd jumped along and pounded his own fist in the air. He screamed to words with the crowd. Aelita glanced over and smiled at him. He returned hers with one of his own. They both jumped as a part of the crowd and pounded their fists to the beat.

As the chorus ended, the crowd stopped jumping, but continued to shout the words to the song. Aelita smiled and began to nod her head to the beat and clap her hands. Odd reached over and grabbed her hand from her. She looked over and smiled at him. The night was so unlike any other night she ever had. It was wild and crazy and fun and exciting and filled wild bright lights, loud music, and sweat. Yet, she was enjoying every minute of it. She was able to be herself. She squeezed Odd's hand once and smiled exceptionally big for her normal smiles.

Just then, Odd turned quickly and planted his lips firmly upon hers. What felt like minutes, but were actually seconds, went by. He pulled away and smiled mischievously, testing Aelita's face to see how she felt about it.

What to you say to takin' chances?

What do you say to jumpin' off the edge?

Never knowin' if there's solid ground below

Or a hand to hold or hell to pay

What do you say? What do you say?

Aelita's eyes widened in shock. She brought her hand up to her lips where his had just been. So much for taking things slow. Then again, that was never Odd's way of doing things. He was always living life fast and unexpectedly. Just like me right now. Her eyes relaxed and a smile came across her face.

"I'm new at this, Odd."

He just smiled and nodded. "What do you say we head home?"

Aelita just nodded, still a bit stunned by what happened.

The final song faded away and the crowd cheered.

"Let's go. We've got a long way to go."

Aelita tilted her head and questioned his words and tested them to see if he meant something more. Odd laughed and took her hand, walking her away from the pressing crowd. Aelita just shook her head and gave a small laugh.

Don't know much about your life

And I don't know much about your world