Author's note: Like every other thing this story has also come to its end. This is the last chapter of this story. My heartfelt thanks to all those who have liked "The Feeling Called Love", thank you all for all those reviews. I have always believed in happy endings; life's too realistic for happy endings and I believe the only place we can have it our way is fiction. You're free to be a deadly assassin, a person who can see the future, or a wily thief. You can make animals talk, or be the guardian of dead souls… I believe that a piece of fiction should always end on a positive note; it's not necessary that all the worst of events take a good turn suddenly, but it should leave the readers with a hope that there might be a scope for the things to get right.
Disclaimer: I do not own Black Cat anime or manga; they belong to their respective owners. Though Ellene Kudo and Zine are mine and mine only!
Summary: The Last Chapter.
Chapter 18: Rainbow after the rain
The next morning, Eve set out for school early; her results were going to get out today. Her end-of-terms didn't go too well, especially because of those hindering preoccupation of her mind with stuff that was gradually destroying her on the inside.
When she reached school, Ellene and Zine welcomed her with warm smiles.
"So Vollified, think you'll top this year again?" Zine asked. Eve remained quiet. Ellene cut in, "Stop bothering her like that! Can't you see she's tensed already?" Then she turned to Eve and said, "Don't worry Eve, I'm sure you'll do great." She then dragged Eve away from Zine and the others and whispered, "So? Was there any improvement? Did he talk to you?"
Eve remained quiet and only stared at the ground.
"Why don't you talk to him about it? It'd do you good if you opened your mouth and spoke your heart out. Make him know what's been going on inside your head and also get to know his thoughts… Eve, are you listening?"
Eve only nodded.
The phone rang in the living room. Sven cried, "Train! Take the call, will you? I'm busy in the kitchen!" The phone kept on ringing, Sven cried out for Train once more, then walked towards the living room as he wiped his hands in his apron to take the call.
"Hello?" Sven said, "Oh it's you Kyoko! Yeah Eve's gone to school to get her end-of-term results. Who, Train? Well he's in his room, I think. You want us to get there a day before your engagement? Let's see whether we can get there tomorrow. I'll try to make sure we make it on time. Yeah, don't worry about it. Okay, bye!"
Eve passed her end-of-terms with straight A's. When she came home in the afternoon she found a note left by Sven.
We're leaving for Creed's house tomorrow morning. Kyoko wants us to be there a day before her engagement. Get your things packed and it'd be a great help if you could do the same for the house.
It was a hot afternoon and Eve was sweating alright; she looked around the house, everything seemed to be neat and tidy but she always liked to double-check. She quickly put down her satchel, took off her socks, untied her tie and rolled up the sleeves of her shirt. She tied up her hair into a loose bun and set to work.
She needed to finish packing soon because she also wanted to make something beautiful and creative for Kyoko and Charden in return of all their help, wishing them a happy life ahead.
She quickly made her way to the kitchen, separated the open and used cartons of food stuff and milk from the sealed ones. She quickly, took a large container, poured in some water and froze it to -196 degrees and kept the open food cartons inside, covering the container. Then she took the container and put it in the refrigerator.
It was nearly six in the evening when she finished up with the house. Her own personal packing was also almost done. She stood at the center of the living room, looking around, quite happy with her work. She stretched, letting out a small yawn and her hands reached up to her hair to undo the bun, when she heard the front door click.
Train walked in. Eve's hair cascaded down like a golden waterfall. Train stood there for a moment, staring at her, her appearance was laid back with half her shirt dangling out instead of being properly tucked in. The rolled up sleeves showed that she'd been busy working.
Train quickly looked away when he realized that Eve was also staring at him. He walked over to the couch and lay down, yawning loudly.
Eve only stared at him.
"…It'd do you good if you opened your mouth and spoke your heart out. Make him know what's been going on inside your head and also get to know his thoughts…"
"Where's Sven?" She asked apprehensively.
"Out to pick a gift for Kyoko and Charden." Train said.
"Do you want something? You look tired, are you hungry?" She asked feeling courageous suddenly.
"I'll make something for you if you want?" She sounded unsure.
Still no answer.
"Would some noodles do? Or do you want chilled milk? Today's been a hot day…" her voice sounded more like a plea.
Finally a reply.
"Okay then I'll get you your milk, is that alright? Need anything more?" She asked.
Train turned on his side, to show that he was actually sleeping.
I need to talk, need to keep on talking… Eve kept on saying to herself.
"So Train how was your day? I'm sorry I couldn't go with you two today." She said, eagerly waiting for some kind of response from him.
It's no use… He has nothing left to give… This is the end of it. I should've let him go long back…It seems I'll end where I began, is this the way it's going to be for me? She was about to break down. No, I'll try one last time. I'll fight for one last time; I'll fight until the end.
"What's the matter with you Train?" her voice not pleading this time but demanding an answer.
"What's happened to you? You're no more the Train Heartnet I knew… Tell me Train, why are you acting this way? Did I say something wrong? Did I do something to hurt you? I apologize to you Train; I'm sorry Train if I've hurt you in any way. Please talk to me Train; I won't know what I did if you don't speak? What have you been thinking all this while Train? You can speak to me you know, if something's bothering you…" Eve spoke determinedly.
Train remained as impassive as ever. His heart however was starting a turbulent storm of emotions inside.
"I know this didn't work for you, Train but we can still be friends right? It's okay if you don't feel the same way… I know something's getting in the way, Train. And we cannot fix it unless you speak to me." she paused to stifle the tears that were threatening to break out any moment.
She continued, "We were best friends even before all this happened isn't it?"
Train only tightened his fist as his knuckles turned white. He still lay there quietly.
"…You're talking about not wanting to take her life for granted Train; but what you're eventually doing in the process is taking her love for granted. She loves you Train, trusts you even more than she does herself. Be careful Train, you might end up losing her anyways, the way you're keeping up. Then you'll regret what you did."
He recalled a telephone conversation that he had in the morning.
"I'm sorry Train… I'm sorry for having coaxed you into this. I'm sorry for talking you into this mess called love, when you felt nothing at all… I know you care, but…" Her voice quivered.
Train couldn't hold himself back any longer. He felt he needed to let go of his emotions or he would die of a heart attack.
"… Instead of hurting yourself like that, express your true feelings and let go of those useless emotional baggage that are becoming a burden on you…"
"…Tell her; tell her about your true feelings. Tell her why you were acting that way. Tell her how much you love her…"
Train got up from the couch and saw Eve's face was bent down slightly, she was crying silently.
Train walked up to her and grabbed her by her shoulders. Eve looked at him, startled.
"Foolish girl…" he muttered.
Soon Eve was pinned against the wall by Train.
The clock struck seven.
The front door clicked and Sven walked in, "I'm home."
Train walked back to the couch lazily, yawning and rubbing the back of his head. He soon fell asleep like nothing happened.
Eve still stood there against the wall. What just happened? She thought.
Sven looked at both of them totally clueless, and finally spoke, "Eve could you get me a glass of chilled water. It's too hot outside. And what's with your face, it looks all red." He said as he stretched and relaxed on the chair. She added softly, "Nothing."
Eve slowly walked over to the kitchen, her movement unsteady as if walking in a daze. She slowly raised her hand so that her fingers were now touching her lips, Did he..?
Early next morning they set out for Creed's place. Neither of them spoke much, except for Sven's occasional rebukes reserved for Train. However Eve caught Train many a times stealing a glance of her face in the rear-view mirror.
"So you've both passed with flying colors." Kyoko exclaimed. After lunch, the ladies were having a small gossip session.
Eve simply stared at her blankly. "See, I've made love report cards for you two…" Kyoko was busy demonstrating the grading system, which of their aspects was considered. Echidna and Eve could only sweat drop at her antics. They spent the rest of the evening finishing their last minute shopping. The men on the other hand walked into a nearby pub.
Each of them had downed three shots of vodka, Train however managed to gulp down only one; he was missing his favorite milk. The ambience was particularly suitable for the so-called 'guy-talks'. Soft music and drunken ramblings of the bar's regulars seemed like the perfect retreat before Charden was to be imprisoned forever with something as so small as a ring.
"Finally you did the right thing. As a man it's your duty to keep your woman happy…" Charden said. Three shots were already showing their effect.
Train chuckled, "Enjoy your last night of freedom, Charden, because with Kyoko I can already imagine your life ahead. A frustrated father with five kids to look after, doing all the house-chores, shopping for groceries, cooking. Imagine you wearing a pink apron…"
"What's wrong with a pink apron?" Sven growled as they gulped down another shot of vodka. Train however was sipping in a chocolate milk smoothie.
"Be careful Romeo, the father of your Juliet is sitting right beside you!" Creed warned Train.
Kyoko and Eve were busy selecting clothes and stuff for Kyoko's wedding trousseau, on Kyoko's insistence that they start shopping for the wedding right from now. Echidna on the other hand was busy doing some last minute jewelry shopping.
"Kyoko said you kissed Eve—" Charden said.
"WHAT?!" Sven cried. He got up from his seat intending to hit Train, as Creed tried to hold him down.
"Just look at you Charden, how sick your condition is. You're yet to get engaged and you're already like 'Kyoko said this' and 'Kyoko said that'", Train glared at Charden. Then he turned to Sven, who was fuming with anger and said, "And for your information, Sven-daddy that's what couples do. What are you going to do when we think of marriage and all the other 'advanced' stages?"
"What kind of term is that? 'Advanced stages'? That's the best you could do? Seriously Train, how old are you? One? Grow up!" a familiar voice cried from behind.
"Who asked you anyways? Mr. Jenos Rinslet Walker?" Train added nonchalantly. The rest of them turned back to find Jenos Hazard standing behind them.
Sven asked, "How'd you know we're here?"
"Rins and I went to Creed's place but the butler said you all were out so I called up Creed on his phone; he said you were here." Jenos added.
Rinslet followed in soon after. Train cried, "Oh Rins, long time no see!"
Rinslet smiled, "Guess you still can't live without your milk… You're the only person who'd drink a milk smoothie sitting in a pub!"
Train smiled goofily as he rubbed the back of his head and added, "I have my ways… And besides who's going to take care of the brawls and troubles that these old drunkards make?"
"Who are you calling old?!" all four of them shouted unanimously.
"Where are the girls? Where's Eve, Train? I want to see her how she's grown." Rinslet asked.
"Oh she's grown up beautifully…" Train stopped short when his eyes suddenly fell on Sven's angry expression. Rinslet noticed it too and quickly added, "Well that's good to hear…"
Creed said, "They're at the shopping mall. You should join them there."
As she was about to leave the pub and close the door behind her Sven caught up with her handed her a package and said something. He then returned back to his seat.
Kyoko spotted a beautiful evening gown which she desperately wanted for Eve to wear it on their engagement. The dress was a beautiful shade of beige with a shimmery girding around the waist. Eve was a little hesitant on trying it on.
"It's beautiful Kyoko-san, there's no doubt about it, but I can't…" Eve stopped short, she felt a little uncomfortable in admitting that the dress was too expensive.
"Go ahead Eve," a familiar voice said. Eve turned around to look who it was.
"Here, Sven sent some extra money in case you needed something to pick." Rinslet Walker said.
"Rinslet… How'd you know we're here?" Eve asked surprised.
"Well, Kyoko asked us to get here a day before; but due to some urgent work we couldn't get here in the morning. When we reached Creed's mansion nobody was home, the butler said you all were out shopping. Jenos then called up Creed and he said you all were here; they're sitting in a pub now, getting drunk."
After about a couple of hours they were ready to go home.
"Hey Train, aren't you coming with us?" Jenos cried.
"You all go ahead. Don't worry, I'll be right on time for dinner." He said as he disappeared into the distance.
After dinner Eve presented Kyoko with a collage that she made staying up late last night. The collage had the photos of their younger days, their happy memories together; their long shopping sessions. They relived those memories, talking and laughing about what happened when. Echidna felt a bit left out but Kyoko and Eve made sure to make her feel comfortable in their discussions. Rinslet was planning a make-over session for Echidna. Kyoko soon joined her in this noble undertaking.
Eve however fell asleep soon after. She was fatigued from the four-hour journey that they made to get to Creed's place; then their gossip sessions in the noon, though she didn't speak much, but sometimes even good listeners get tired because of all the conversations going on around them; then the shopping spree that they went on in the evening had left her completely exhausted.
The next evening, Kyoko and Charden exchanged rings amidst loud applauses of the guests and loud cheers of Jenos and Train.
Eve was wearing the dress Kyoko chose for her. Rinslet exclaimed, "Oh my! You look like a lady already Eve. Beautiful." Then she added with false tears, (sob) "My little Eve has grown up!"
Eve countered, "Shut up, Rinslet! I'm not a kid anymore! I'm eighteen years, one month and ten days old!"
Quickly they all broke into a loud laughter.
Soon everyone was on the dance-floor, slow-dancing to the soft music playing on.
Train held out his hand towards Eve, "May I have this dance?"
Eve looked at him and smiled. Soon they were dancing as if they were the only two people on this earth, completely unaware of anyone else's presence. Train slowly leant in as they continued to dance and whispered in her ears, "Princess…"
His voice snapped Eve to reality.
"Princess I want to talk to you about something. It's important." He whispered, "We'll slowly get out of here, I don't want anyone else near us while we talk."
As they danced, it seemed they were just gliding on the floor, as if their feet barely touched the ground. Soon they were out of everyone's sight and Train pulled her along.
Finally they stopped at a place where it seemed like the porch overlooking the garden; it was a full moon night and the bright moonlight fell directly on them.
"What is it Train? What did you want to talk about so urgently?" Eve asked apprehensively.
"I don't know how to put it, Princess..." he paused, sighed and then continued, "That wound you sustained back then and all those other wounds that I inflicted on your heart. Those fights you lost, those bounties you failed to defeat, I know it's my entire fault. I was stupid enough to leave you alone like that for all those months. All your fears and apprehensions are just the result of that Eerwig incident. After what he did to you and what you saw you were bound to be afraid and I did nothing to help you overcome your fears. Instead I pushed you far away thinking that I could protect you like that. My enemies would target you to get their revenge on me, just to hurt me and watch me suffer in pain."
He paused again and as he started to speak again, his voice choked, "I couldn't forgive myself if something happened to you, Princess; that's what I thought. But in the process of protecting you from harm, I ended up hurting you even more and made myself go through that immense mental pressure."
Train stopped and then walked over to her and hugged her tight, "I'm sorry Princess, but I promise I won't let you down. I'm sorry for ignoring you like that, for acting so cold towards you…I promise to be by your side through thick and thin."
Eve gently leant behind and let go of all her worries. She just didn't ruin the moment by talking. But she needed to let Train know how grateful she was, how much it relieved her that Train reciprocated.
"Thank you Train. I'll cherish this moment forever… You've given me the life that I longed for, thank you—"
She suddenly felt Train's hands giving her a gentle push.
As she let go, Train sat down on his right knee and took out a ring from his pocket.
"Will you marry me Princess?"
Eve smiled and said, "Yes."