Author's Note: Hi guys. This is not a new story. I had this story published a long time ago, but it was recently deleted by because it didn't meet their new guidelines. So now I am uploading it again. I am not exactly sure what was wrong with it that caused it's deletion, but I have changed the rating of the story to M just to be safe. I will try my best to upload it as soon as I can, and then hopefully get started on the new chapter which is long overdue.
For those of you who are still bothering to read this story, I want to say Thank you. I really appreciate your patience and kindness.
Disclaimer: I do not own Yugioh.
"Seto. You're still working?" She asked, stepping into his office. She saw him run his hand through hair in frustration and then look up.
"Yes." He replied through seethed teeth. She was taken back at his response. She knew he was tired and sore, but why was he taking his frustrations out on her?
"You need rest." She walked towards him. "Let's go downstairs. I made lunch. Mokuba is already there." She said with a smile, a smile that had once captured his heart.
"No." He said in a cold voice, stopping her dead in her tracks.
"But-." She began, but he interrupted her rather rudely.
"I. Said. NO." He hoped it would get her to leave him alone. But she was stubborn, maybe as stubborn as him. Instead of walking out of his office, she took a step closer to him.
"Seto, what is wrong with you?" She demanded. "You've been like this for two weeks. Even Mokuba has noticed a change in your behavior."
"Leave my brother out of this." He said in a threatening voice.
"I never involved him into this. He expressed his thoughts to me. And I agree with him." A soft expression now rested on her features. "Tell me Seto, what's wrong? Did… Did I do something wrong?" She now stood before him, her hand reaching out to touch him, but he shrank away from her touch.
"Listen." He finally said after an uncomfortable pause. "Go downstairs for a while and I'll be there shortly." A big smile appeared on her rosy features and she moved forward to hug him. He didn't respond.
"Ok. I'll see you downstairs." She said and happily walked out of the room.
"Seto, you came." Mokuba said excitedly. Seto smiled at his brother, and then turned his attention to his girlfriend.
"I'll get you a plate." She said, getting out of her seat, but he reached for her arm, stopping her.
"No need. We are going somewhere." Seto said, the smile disappearing from his face.
"Really? Cool." She said, making no attempt to hide her excitement.
"Can I come too?" Mokuba asked, equally excited.
"No." Was Seto's reply before he walked out the door, leaving two very confused occupants behind.
"Why are we at the Game Shop?" she cast him a confused look, but he ignored her and walked inside, where she was surprised to find everyone present.
"What's going on?" She asked, fear rising in her chest at the looks on her friends faces. Something was wromg.
"I need to tell you something." Seto spoke. He now stood before her, staring at her with a serious expression, much like the rest of her friends.
"What?" She asked in a voice barely above a whisper. Something was very wrong. However, Seto only stared at her. He seemed to be having difficulty speaking, which was highly unusual for him.
"Seto please." She begged. "What's wrong? Tell me."
"He doesn't love you." A voice spoke for him, a female voice. And soon, the female appeared beside Seto as well.
"Serenity?" Tea was visibly confused at that moment. "What is going on here?"
"It's simple hun." Mai spoke. "He has no interest in you. He has found someone else."
"What?" Tea was completely baffled for a moment before anger came. "Who?" She demanded.
"Me." Serenity spoke, and Tea noticed her entwined fingers with Seto.
"What?" Tea was completely confused and lost. What was going on? What did Serenity mean? Was she with Seto? But how was that possible? Seto hated her. And Serenity would never date Seto knowing that he was with Tea already.
"Why are you… what is going on?" She asked, not being able to comprehend the situation.
"Can't you tell?" Serenity said. "Seto and I are together. We have been secretly seeing each other for the past two weeks."
"What? But I don't understand." What was going on? Was this some kind of joke? This didn't make any sense. She couldn't find any reason why Seto would leave her and be with someone he proclaimed to hate. This had to be some kind of joke.
"Listen hun." Mai said. "Male species are very impatient. If you don't give a man what he wants, he will find another source that will give him what he wants." Tea's eyes widened in realization. Was Mai saying what she thought she was saying?
"Seto." Tea turned her attention to Seto again. "Is it because… because I won't sleep with you?" She asked him with fear in her eyes. His eyes remained as expressionless as ever. Anger consumed her at his heartlessness and lack of response.
"You said you understood." She screamed at the top of her lungs. "You said you'd wait. You lied."
"Screaming is not going to do you any good." Mai said causally.
"Is that why you were so grumpy with me for the past 2 weeks?" Her question was directed at Seto, but he only stared at her with an expressionless face. Serenity answered for him.
"Yes. And we have decided that it's time to end this charade."
"We?" Tea nearly yelled. "You mean you all knew about this?" She pointed at all of her friend. Silence was their answer. This only elevated her anger. "I can't believe you people." She fumed. "How could you do this to me?" She waited for an answer, but was disappointed. Their blank stares pierced her heart and tears formed in her eyes.
"Seto, how could you do this to me?" Once again, silence was her answer. "Serenity." She screamed at the young girl. "How could you do this? How could you be such a whore?" She screamed.
"What did you call my sister?" Joey yelled.
"A whore." Tea yelled back. "That's what she is. She is a whore, and a slut, and a-."
"Shut up." Joey screamed, startling Tea. "Just shut up. I'm sick of you bad mouthing my little sister. She didn't do nothing wrong."
"Nothing wrong? Nothing wrong?" Tea said in disbelief. "What would you have called me if my place was switched with Serenity?" She demanded. They all seemed startled for a moment before Mai spoke.
"Listen hun, just let it go. What's done is done."
"How can I let this go?" Tea said, voice choked with emotion. "Would you let go if Joey found someone else?"
"That is highly unlikely because unlike you, I have the looks and the skills to keep a man." Mai said arrogantly. "You should just be glad at the fact that you got to live the high life of being Kaiba's girlfriend even if it was for a couple of weeks." Tears flowed freely from Tea's eyes and she took a step towards Seto.
"Seto, why don't you say something? Talk to me. Tell me this isn't true. Please." She begged, but he only stared at her. She tried to read his eyes, but all emotion, all expression was gone.
"Seto, Seto please-." She tried to speak to him again but was cut harshly by Duke.
"Just give up already." She quickly turned to face him where he sat, twirling a lock of his hair in his hand. " Girls like you think we are in love with you or something just because we smile at you. But you fail to realize that you are just a passing fancy until someone better and worthy comes along. You are like a vermin, a parasite that, after getting a taste of popularity, want to hold on to it forever." Tea's eyes were wide at his comments. Was that what he thought of her? Was that Seto thought of her? Someone who wanted fame? "You disgust me Tea." He spat, staring her right in the eye, and all Tea could do was stand still. Words refused to leave her throat.
"Tea." Yugi spoke for the first time since she had entered. " It's over. Just let it go before you humiliate yourself any further." His words lacked sympathy and his eyes refused to meet hers. Tea took a step back. Even Yugi had turned against her. This was all she could take. She cast one last look at her friends. Their eyes held nothing but contempt for her. On shaking legs, she turned away from them.
"All is fair in love and war." Serenity voice echoed through her ears as she left the Game Shop, dejected, and defeated.
She stood at the airport, eyes watching the massive jet that was her salvation from this hellhole. After three weeks of crying, three weeks of suffering, she had made up her mind. She was going to leave… leave this city, leave this life, and leave everything that reminded her of her time here. Shoulders slumped, she boarded the plane. As the jet took flight, she took one last look at the place she had once called home, a place that once held so much love and so much hope for her. But now, it was nothing more than a piece of land. Suddenly, her eyes caught sight of the massive tower of Kaiba Corp.
'This isn't over.' She thought determinedly, eyes fixed upon the logo. 'I won't forget this and I won't forgive any of you. I'll be back, and I'll make all of you pay.'
With a gasp, Tea woke up, clutching the sheets tightly.
'Just a nightmare.' She thought with a relief and reached for the glass of water besides her bed. She clutched the glass in her hand, and waited. Waited, but nothing came. No heart wrenching pain. No salty tears. No feelings of loneliness. No feelings of betrayal. Nothing at all.
A bitter smile appeared on her lips.
She was ready.
"Are you sure you want to go through with this?" A man in his early forties asked Tea. She sighed and stopped stuffing her suitcase with clothes.
"Yes Stan. I am sure." She said, rolling her eyes at his overly-concerned attitude.
"You do realize that they will be there, and you will see them." He said in a low voice. She knew what or whom exactly he was talking about. She had told him all about her friends and her past life in Domino.
"Don't worry about it Stan." Tea said, sitting beside him on the bed. "I'll be fine."
"I hope so Tea. I really hope so." He said, getting off the bed. "I'll go see if the jet is ready." Tea smiled in return and watched him walk out of her room.
'He worries too much.' She thought with a fond smile on her face. But she didn't mind. It was a relief knowing there was someone in this world that worried for her. Stan was perhaps the only one she could call "family." Stan returned pretty soon, ready to take her bags. She handed him one and kept one in her hand, and they walked out of the beautiful mansion.
"No one knows about this, right?" She asked, glancing at his solemn face as they sat in a car.
"I think the news of your trip leaked out." He said plainly, and she frowned. "I think." He stressed, trying to comfort her.
"Isn't that nice." She said sarcastically and he chuckled. "It's not funny." She whined and he laughed loudly.
"Don't worry. Your bodyguards will be with you. They'll make sure no one mobs you when you arrive." He assured her and she only grumbled.
Soon, the car stopped and Tea stepped out. Stan also appeared beside her.
"Listen Tea." He said in a fatherly tone, and she resisted rolling her eyes, ready for a speech. "I had to pull a lot of strings to get you two months off, so make sure you enjoy yourself." She nodded. "But also, make sure you stay clear of any trouble. And by trouble, I mean scandals." His eyes held warning and once again, she nodded.
"I'll be careful." She said and hugged him. "Thanks Stan. You're the best manager a movie star can ever have… and the best friend too." He smiled and kissed the top of her head.
"Call me when you get there." He said. She nodded and boarded the jet. Her private jet.
Things had changed for Tea Gardner in the last 4 years. She wasn't the same girl that had left Domino with a broken heart and a shattered soul. No. She was Tea Gardner, an award winning Hollywood movie star.
After arriving in New York, Tea had gotten a small job at a café in New York. She didn't have enough savings yet to get admission into Julliard, or pay fees. And now that she was living in New York, the cost of living had increased drastically. She had to work if she expected to pay the rent, let alone afford any other luxuries. She had assumed being in a city like New York would be good for her, but she was wrong. Working two jobs, took 16 hours of her day, and left her barely enough time for sleep, let alone practice her dance. And when the auditions came, her lack of practice showed, costing her her only dream. If there was a part of Tea that was still alive, it died that day, giving rise to a walking zombie.
Stress of two jobs, pain of a lost dream, and haunting memories of the old life eventually took its toll on her and led to depression. She began slacking off at work, often causing small accidents. And one of those accidents caused her the job at the café.
Tea slowly walked towards a table where a couple of boys sat chatting excitedly. Watching them joke around with each other brought so many painful memories back, and she wanted nothing more than to crawl in a corner and get away from them. But duty called. As if in a daze, she placed their orders before them, not even bothering to utter a word. One guy let out a slow whistle as she bent to place his coffee before him, but she ignored him. She had lost her spark and her fighting spirit. She just didn't care anymore.
Upon getting no response, the man grabbed her arm and jerked her back. This action caused her to fall in his lap, but also led to her arm flying across the table in an attempt to steady herself. Hot coffee fell on another guy's shirt, and he stood up, yelling profanities.
"I'm so sorry." She immediately apologized. "I … I didn't mean it. I'm sorry."
"You bitch. This is a $100 shirt, the likes of what you don't have and will never have." He screamed.
"I'm sorry." She lowered her head in shame. Everyone in the café was watching them now.
"Sorry is not going to cut it. Pay up." He demanded. Her face went pale. She didn't have any money at all. She barely had enough to pay her rent. If she paid him, she would surely be kicked out of her apartment.
"Please." She begged, desperately trying not to cry."I didn't mean it. I… I can't… I can't afford to pay you. I'm sorry."
"What's going on here?" The booming voice of her manager came, and soon he appeared as well. "Gentlemen," he addressed the guys, "what is the problem?"
"Your employee ruined my expensive shirt. The coffee also burnt my skin. I need some sort of compensation for this." The guy said, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Sir, I apologize for her behavior. And to make up for this misfortune, I'll do whatever is required." The manager said.
"Fine." The man said arrogantly. "Pay me $100 for this shirt."
"Of course." The manager quickly said, glad that the man wasn't planning to sue them. "Here you go sir." He wrote a check and handed it to the man. "I truly apologize for this incident sir." He added again.
"Whatever." The man said and walked out of the café with his friends. The manager took a deep breath and turned his attention to Tea.
"I've had enough of your sad drama. You're fired." He said plainly and walked away, leaving her to stand there, looking like a fool. Slowly, she grabbed her stuff and walked out as well. Her first job was over. Maybe it will give her more time to sleep. She let out a bitter laugh.
'Yeah. Sleep and perhaps never wake up again.' She thought bitterly. 'I wish I would just die.' Suddenly, a hand grabbed her arm, pulling her towards an alley. Another hand fixed itself on her face, stopping any screams she might have planned. She kicked but the person was too strong. Soon, the person threw her in a corner. She looked up and was horrified to find the same four guys from before.
"You think you can get away that easily after doing what you did to me?" The same man from before said. "No, I'm going to make you pay. We're all going to extract sweet payment from you." With that, he grabbed her by the arm and pushed her against the wall. She opened her mouth to scream, but his tongue swept in, choking her. The other three soon joined in, holing her arms and legs. She struggled but it was of no use. They were greater in number and strength. Their hand touched her everywhere, probing and molesting her body. Tears of defeat clouded her eyes at her helplessness.
'Why is this happening to me?' She asked herself, feeling one man remove her shirt. 'What did I do wrong to get punished like this?' Another man fiddled with the zipper of her pants. Fear filled her every pore. They were planning to rape her all together. She had heard about gang rapes in New York, and also knew that not many victims survived the brutal ordeal.
'Is this going to be my fate? To lie dead in a dark alley?' She wondered. 'At least it might bring me death. If I can just endure this, I'll be awarded with peace at last.' With that thought, her body went limp. She had given up completely. She would allow the men to do what they pleased. There was no point trying to defy it. The men noticed that and smirked.
"So you finally realize the truth of the situation. Smart girl" One man said, smiling at her.
"This is going to be fun." Another said excitedly, pulling his pants down. Tea didn't even bother to look at them or see what they were planning now. She just waited for it to come. She felt the man's shadow on her and closed her eyes, expecting the worst, but all she received was a gust of air and the sound of a grunt followed by a thud. Her eyes snapped open immediately, and she saw the man on the ground, clutching his side in pain. She looked up and saw an older man, standing in a fighting stance.
"You punks think you can play with that girl like you please? Well I'm not going to let you." He challenged them and attacked another man, kicking him square in the face. Tea only watched as he knocked out the men, one by one. Then he walked towards her, and placed his jacket on her to cover her bare form.
"You okay?" He asked her. She only stared at him in shock. Did that just really happen? Did this man really save her virginity and possibly her life? "Are you hurt?"
"Why?" She whispered after a long pause. "Why did you do this?"
"Huh? What?" He appeared confused.
"Why did you save me?" She said loudly, with more force this time. "Why didn't you just let them hurt me and then kill me? Why?"
"You can't be serious." He muttered in surprise. "Are you kidding me? You wanted to die?"
"YES." She screamed in frustration. "I want to die. I want to die and end all this." Sobs shook her body as she spoke. "I want to end all the pain, all the suffering. I want to be at peace. I want to sleep. I just want to sleep." Her body rocked back and forth as she cried.
"Life is a very precious thing." He said softly to her, kneeling beside her. "You shouldn't throw it away so easily. Just think about what it will do to your loved ones." She stopped suddenly, eyes staring into space.
"I don't have any loved ones." She whispered more to herself than to him. Her body began shaking uncontrollably and she howled. "I don't have any one. I am all alone. All alone." The man wrapped his arms comfortingly around her and said.
"You're not alone. Not anymore."
And that was when her life took a fortunate turn for her. The man was Stan Brooks, a Hollywood agent who introduced new talent to the industry. After taking Tea into his care, he helped her find herself. He then convinced her to do a music video, and that's when fate finally decided to smile on her. From music videos to commercials to modeling to movies, doors opened for her one after another. And before she knew it, she was one of the most influential and powerful celebrities in Hollywood, not to mention young and attractive. Girls idolized her whereas men worshiped her. Girls wanted to be her, men wanted her. She had everything, from money to fame.
During her time in New York, she never once mentioned Domino. Her interviews, her profiles, everything began from her arrival in New York and onwards. Sure people knew of her hometown, but nothing more. She had told them she was alone, and never had anyone. She was strong and didn't need anyone. But even though she spoke strong words, inside she was nothing but a scared child. Even with all the money, fame, and fans, she lacked peace of mind. She lacked pure happiness and joy. The memories of past haunted her in the form of nightmares. To escape that, she increased her workload. But even then she could not escape her past.
It was then she realized what she was doing, or more exactly, whom she was becoming like.
'Ignoring your problems won't make them go away.' She had once said that. And now, she had forgotten her own words. The only way to find salvation was to face her fears, and fight the monsters that hunted her. She would have to go back, and not just face the demons of her past, but defeat them.
"Miss Gardner." The voice of the pilot broke her chain of thoughts. "We'll be taking off soon. Please be ready." She nodded her head, a fierce look appearing in her eyes
'I'm ready.' She thought determinedly. 'And I'll make them pay.'
Hope you enjoyed the chapter.
Thanks for reading.