Paradigm Shift
Chapter 6: Flashback

She was smiling at him, dimples forming on her cheeks. They were so faint that he hadn't even noticed them for years, though by now, he had memorised everything about her. He could paint a perfect portrait of her in his mind, probably better than he could of himself.

He wondered what she saw when she looked at him. She claimed he was difficult to read, but he thought she was harder. He knew everything about her, yet she was in some way still a mystery to him, some unknown that he only thought he knew.

It was odd because she once admitted the same thing about him, but he couldn't think of anyone else who knew him as well as she did. She could read him like a book, much better than he could ever think to read her.

"We've been together for so long that I keep thinking you'll get tired of me at any moment."

He expected hesitation but the response came immediately.

"I've never thought that."

An accidental slip of a smile. Neither were fantastic when it came to showing how pleased they were—at least showing it in the form of something as conventional as a turn of the lips. She was probably better than him though.

"Maybe you can forget about me in a day, but I don't think I could ever get over you."

Somebody was shaking his shoulder.

He stirred in his sleep, awaking to a throbbing head and an immediate irritation that somebody was disturbing him.

"Wake up, love."

The sound of the feminine voice was unfamiliar. His eyes instantly shot open, and he stared into the person looking right back at him. She had bright blue eyes and was dressed in a short, lacy nightgown. Her damp, platinum blonde hair was poking out of the towel around her head. He jumped, surprised by her presence in his room.

Who was she?

He looked down at his sheets to realise they were not, in fact, his sheets. He scanned the room to confirm that it wasn't his either.

Where was he?

She laughed softly and handed what looked like a pile of his clothing to him. He wasn't sure how he hadn't notice he was unclothed until this point, but he was.

What the hell happened?

"Good morning," she greeted him.

He quickly scrambled to put his pants on to cover up the indecent part of him.

"Who are you?" he asked carefully, pulling the covers up slightly, as if that would do anything.

"Claire." She looked at him oddly when his expression remained blank, then sighed. "Charity?"

His eyes widened and without thinking cried out, "The stripper?!"

As much as it didn't matter, he couldn't help but think she looked very different in the daylight. He could barely remember what she looked like the night before, but she definitely didn't look like this. She looked like any other girl, and had this been the first time he saw her, it would have never crossed his mind that she stripped for a living.

The realisation was a little unsettling.

"I went home with you last night?!"

She looked both annoyed and hurt by his tone.

He hadn't meant to sound so rude, but on the other hand he couldn't care less about her feelings at the moment.

This couldn't have happened. Not to him. It was some sort of bad dream, and he would wake up any moment.

He swore he was going to kill Tai for not stopping him. The second that bastard got home from work, he was going to—


"What time is it?" he demanded, looking frantically around the room for a clock.

"It's just past 11."

"Fuck!" He sprang out of bed, fumbling with his shirt and trousers which were anything but business attire. "I'm late!"

She frowned at him, obviously disappointed by his reaction to the whole ordeal. "I can call you a cab."

He didn't say anything back to her, and she left the room. He clothed himself as fast as he could, checking his pockets for his belongings. His mobile was there, battery dead. His wallet was there. Tai's wallet was there.

Wait, what?

He'd worry about that later. He charged out the door to see Charity waiting for him on the other side.

"I called you a cab," she told him.

Even though he was already two hours late for work, he paused to think about whether he should ask her what he wanted to. It seemed grotesquely inappropriate, especially given his rude reaction to her earlier, but he justified it with the thought that he would never see her again.

"Did we use protection?"

He couldn't tell if he sounded awkward, but he knew he sounded deadpan. It was his default tone when he could think of no other.

She looked even more disappointed, and it surprised him once more that she looked so normal. He wanted her to look like some loose, directionless girl that didn't care about him, but she looked just upset enough to make him feel a little guilty. The guilt was overshadowed by his disappointment in himself for now, but he was sure it would return later to plague him.

She nodded, and his guilt rose. He had obviously offended her from the beginning, and he was making no effort to conceal it.

"Sorry, I just—"

"It's no problem, love. You just want to make sure you didn't catch anything from a stripper like me, right?"

In fact, that was exactly what he was thinking, but her tone was so hurt that it made him feel bad for thinking it. He only shook his head as he opened the front door to her flat. "Sorry for everything. I'll, er, I'll see you around."

He said it knowing he never would, but he didn't care. He had to leave. He had to leave now.

"Hi Tai! How was work?"

Tai ignored his neighbour, pretending like he hadn't noticed her pop out of her flat just as he walked by. Urara had a loud voice, but he pretended he couldn't hear it through his headphones.

Normally, he would have been fine making small talk, but he was in a sour mood today. Work had been a bloody nightmare, and he hated everyone. He swore he was going to quit his job the second he got a different offer, and he'd never look back.

In reality, he knew that the real reason why he had had such a rough day wasn't due to work at all. It was freaking Sora and her freaking dramatics that had ruined it.

After the events of last night, she was still not talking to him. At first, this just really annoyed him, but when she wouldn't budge, he started to get nervous. That eventually evolved into fear, and now he was fairly certain that she was going to break up with him, over something as stupid as him going out to a stupid strip club for his stupid friend to get over his stupid ex.

Sora had ignored his calls and messages for the majority of the day, though she finally messaged him around four that she would meet him at seven. This had only taken him about a million attempts, and while a part of him was annoyed that it had taken such effort, he found he mostly felt relief that she wasn't going to end things by just never talking to him again.

His co-worker had laughed at him when he had told him what happened. Lying to girlfriends about going to the strip club was apparently Boyfriend 101. Evidently, he was the only one who hadn't gotten the memo. Matt had told Megumi whenever Tai had forced him to go. TK had told Kari when he and Matt had secretly hired one for his stag night, though in retrospect he could remember Kari not being particularly happy about it.

Most of all, however, if he were being completely honest, he had simply thought that Sora would not have cared. She was so laidback, and it wasn't like he had cheated on her. Hell, he spent more time watching Matt than watching girls.

Nevertheless, he had been wrong, and he now had to fix things. His co-worker recommended flowers. He was still on the fence about that. Not only did it seem cliché, but over-the-top.

He glanced at his watch as he threw open his flat door, determining he had about half an hour to kill before he had to go meet Sora.

"I'm home," Tai announced grumpily. His flatmate was on the couch, but he instantly turned to him with a glare so menacing it actually made Tai flinch. As un-seriously as Tai took Matt, he had to admit that he had a pretty intimidating presence. "What's up?"

"'What's up?'" Matt repeated angrily, standing up. "'What's up?!'"

Used to his mood swings by now, Tai took one of the unopened beer cans off the coffee table, surprised that Matt hadn't already cleared them. "Yeah, what's up? You didn't come home last night." Tai grinned at him. "Did you find a girl?"

Matt looked ready to kill him, as he always did, but he suddenly composed himself. "You know what? I did."

"Nice," Tai said with a nod, tipping his can to open it. "Congratulations, mate. You've now slept with two whole women." Matt didn't react to the backhanded remark or snide grin. "What's her name?"

"Her name?" Matt repeated. "Claire. Or Charity. Depends what time of the day it is."

Tai looked at him confusedly, not understanding what his friend was saying but not caring enough to ask for an elaboration. "She sounds hot."

Matt lunged at him, shoving his shoulder. "You let me go home with a fucking stripper?! What the fuck is wrong with you?!"

It took Tai a second to process the information. His lips twitched as realisation struck, and he let out a chortle. "You went home with a stripper?! I didn't even know you could do that." He took a swig of beer, laughing still. "You know, I was pretty mad when you and Davis didn't answer your phones, but if it was because you were getting it on with a stripper, I forgive you. That's awesome."

"If you don't stop laughing, I swear to God I'll kill you." Matt hit him across the back of his head, instantly ridding Tai of his mood.

"You want to try that again?" Tai asked dangerously, pleasantries gone as he wiped spilled beer off his chin.

"Why the fuck didn't you stop me?! Obviously, I wasn't sober enough to make sound choices because I left with a fucking stripper!"

"Well, for one thing, I'm not your goddamn mum, and you're a grown ass man. It's not my job to watch over you while you're getting pissed drunk," he snapped. "To be honest, I probably would have stopped you. Too bad I was outside because you and Davis wouldn't answer your damn phones!"

"What the hell are you talking about?"

Instead of explaining the situation to him calmly, he yelled it. How he had to step out for a call, unintentionally throwing himself out of the club. How he had to walk home because he didn't have money for a cab, taking him five times as long as it should have. How Matt not coming home meant he had no wallet for the day, thus having to embarrassingly ask his assistant for money to buy lunch. He left out the fight with Sora, but he blamed Matt for that too.

Not that Matt would have any of it.

"Oh yeah?! I was three hours late for work today. Three hours!" he shot back. "Not to mention I slept with a fucking stripper!"

"It's not my fault you're crying over some stupid bitch—"

"She's not a bitch."

"She's a fucking bitch, Matt!" Tai shouted loudly, feeling himself snap. "She dumped you and dropped off the face of the planet. She doesn't want anything to do with you anymore, so stop trying to convince yourself that she's coming back, get the fuck over her and move on. She doesn't give a shit about you, and you're probably the only one crying over it. There are billions of other girls out there, and I'm betting a grand majority of them are better than your stupid ex-girlfriend!"

Matt stared at him dazedly, at a loss for words. It was then that Tai realised that he had come off too strong.

"Look, Meg was a cool girl, but you can do better. She—"

"You're such a shit friend," Matt hissed, interrupting him. "I don't know why you're trying to tell me anything. You've never even had a real girlfriend!"

"By choice!" Tai reminded him.

"Yeah, even if you decided to get one, she'd probably dump your ass in a month," Matt spat back. "Nobody could handle being with anyone as cold as you."

"I'm the cold one?!" Tai repeated incredulously. "You think I'm the cold one?!"

"Yeah, you are. Here's your wallet back." Matt seized it from the coffee table and threw it at Tai's chest. It fell to the floor. "There's no money in it. I guess I gave it all to Charity, right before I fucked her."

Tai watched as Matt stormed out, a slam indicating he had gone to his room, loud music indicating he didn't want to be disturbed. He sighed as he picked up his wallet, then downed the rest of his beer.


He had been in relationships before, even if Matt refused to formally recognise them.

There was Sakura, his high school girlfriend. He had asked her out because he was supposed to. The captains of the various sport teams were supposed to fight for her, so as football captain, he did as was expected of him, courted her and won. They were more of a symbol than an actual couple, but they dated on and off throughout their schooling years, winning various awards along the way that were arbitrarily based on relative popularity in comparison to other pupils. He broke up with her right before he left for uni, when he decided he wanted to see other girls.

Then, right after TK and Kari announced their engagement, his parents had sat him down for one of their talks. His younger sister was settling down; why couldn't he do the same instead of wasting his youth away? After all, he was supposed to set an example for her, not the other way around. Those words got to him, and, in the midst of a quarter-life crisis, he decided he had to meet his future wife immediately. The next day, he asked out Kiko, a girl who worked at his firm. They had already been flirting for a while, and he thought she was cute, sweet and ambitious. She was nearly the direct opposite of what he would say was his "type," and almost instantly, he regretted it. He stuck to it anyway since his mother was so ecstatic, but after a month he found her insufferably whingey and neurotic, even though Matt and Megumi claimed he was being dramatic. Unable to figure out a way to break up with her himself, he gave her the honour after he accidentally cheated on her with their boss during a business trip. Evidently, being drunk out of his mind and not remembering a thing weren't acceptable excuses. His suspicious promotion shortly after the incident didn't help his cause either.

So, whenever people asked him how many girlfriends he had had, he'd say two.

That being said, neither of them had been anything like Matt's relationship with Megumi or Kari's relationship with her husband.

For one thing, he didn't think he ever loved them. He had told Sakura that he had, but it was only because she wouldn't sleep with him otherwise. He had never even thought to say the words to Kiko.

Matt and Megumi had been attached to each other's hips, as were Kari and TK. Tai always found Kiko's constant presence stressful, to the point where he took his first holiday ever just to get away from her.

Matt sulked whenever Megumi was the slightest bit annoyed with him, but whenever Sakura or Kiko had gotten angry with him, he would simply avoid them until they got over it. Sometimes he'd apologise if necessary, but he did it efficiently. He was an I'm-sorry-let's-move-on kind of bloke. Matt liked to draw out elaborate ways to apologise, even after he had been with Megumi for so many years. Flowers, chocolates, dinners, gifts, monologues. That wasn't his style.

Yet, here he was in Sora's doorstep, flowers in hand, reciting the speech he had prepared in his head to himself silently as the chilling thought of her breaking up with him loomed in the pit of his stomach.

While he had broken things off with Sakura, Kiko was the one who had dumped him. It hadn't come as a surprise though. He knew the second he woke up with his boss's legs wrapped around his naked body that the relationship was over. He had told her what had happened once he got back from his business trip, and the most uncomfortable part had been watching her sob.

It was strange to him how he was more nervous to apologise for going to a strip club than he had been to tell his ex that he had cheated on her.

He rang her doorbell, and she answered a few moments later with a scowl, frowning at the flowers in his hand.

He immediately blanked on his speech, even though giving presentations was what he practically did for a living.

"I got you these," he said clumsily, holding them out to her.

She didn't take them. "I can't believe you thought flowers would make things okay." She opened the door further to let him inside at least, so he did.

"Sora, I'm really sorry," he blurted, as if he had a time limit. "I swear I didn't want to go to the stupid strip club. It's just that Matt has been such a mess about his ex-girlfriend, and I thought it'd be good for him because he never goes out, and for once he was the one who wanted to leave the flat. I swear I didn't do anything. All I did was buy Matt a dance, but I just had one drink, and I didn't even finish it. I left right after you hung up on me, I swear."

He flinched when she moved, but she only sighed, taking the bouquet from his hands. "Don't freak out, Tai. I'm not angry anymore. I'm just disappointed."

If only she knew him better, she would know that disappointment was the one thing he did not fare well against. He could handle people being angry with him or hating him, but he couldn't stand disappointment.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with the idea of you going to those kind of places, but I'm more hurt that you didn't tell me about it. It's like you were hiding it."

"I'm sorry," he apologised immediately. "I wasn't trying to hide it. I just thought you wouldn't care. It didn't even cross my mind, Sora."

She crossed her arms. "Well, for future reference, I care."

"Noted." He tried to smile, but she didn't smile back. It was when he quickly changed his expression to match her serious one that she loosened a tiny bit.

She reached up to rub his cheek, sighing. "If you're going to do something like that, the least you could do is not get caught. Isn't lying to girlfriends about that kind of thing Boyfriend 101?"

While fascinated that she had the same message as his co-worker, he was more curious about the other part of her statement.

"You called me your boyfriend."

Her cheeks turned pink, and she tried to hide it by looking down at her flowers. "Well, aren't you?"

This was the usual breaking point where he would break things off with any girl he was dating. Once they labelled him a boyfriend, it meant they wanted something more serious than he wanted, and it signalled an emergency stop for him.

"I guess I am," he agreed.

"Well, aren't you romantic," she muttered, nudging the side of his head with her fist. She looked down at her flowers again, and when she looked back up, he saw a trace of regret in her expression.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"I'm sorry I overreacted," she said quietly.

"You didn't overreact," he countered, though inside he thought she had.

"It's just," she continued, as if she hadn't heard him. "My best friend got played by this guy a while ago, and my other friend just got cheated on, and I guess I'm just paranoid that all men cheat."

"I'm not like that," he said without thinking.

It was a flat out lie, and he felt bad for saying it, but it wasn't like he could take it back now.

"I'm glad to hear it." She looked comforted, smiling with relief. "I think cheaters are the worst kind of people, don't you?"


She reached up to kiss him, putting her arms around his neck. His guilt for lying quickly forgotten, he tried to intensify the kiss, but she pulled away.

"Can you do me a favour?"

He nodded quickly and tried to lean down to her again, but she moved back, not allowing it.

"I want you to let me know when you're going out."

He hated this part of relationships. Matt used to do it, as did the rest of his friends who were in relationships. He too had to do it with his exes, but it didn't mean he didn't hate it. Sometimes, he forgot, and that should have been fine. He never cared the other way around.

"Okay," he agreed, lowering his head to her again. She allowed him a peck before she pulled away again, disappearing into her kitchen, silently making him follow.

She was pulling a vase from a cupboard, presumably for the flowers he had gotten her.

"So you went to that place because of Matt," she said, unwrapping the plastic around her bouquet after she had filled the vase with water. "How is he doing?"

As she started to trim stems to put into the vase, he told her what had happened, though he censored the end of Matt's night with just "a girl" instead of a stripper.

"It's sad that you two are fighting."

Tai brushed her statement off. "He'll get over it after a good night's rest. He's been crabby lately."

She frowned. "As his friend, you should be there for him."

"He's had a month to get over his ex," Tai argued. "It's annoying to go home to him brooding everyday. He's acting like some angsty teenager."

She didn't respond to him immediately, growing silent. He let her finish trimming the stems and arranging the bouquet, and it was only after she had thrown the plastic away that she spoke again.

"Have you ever been dumped?"

He shrugged. "Once."

"Then you remember how horrible the feeling is, don't you?" She walked over to him and brushed his fringe from his face. "It takes a while to get over."

As he was deciding it would be best if he didn't tell her the real reason he got dumped, it hit him from the serious look on her face that she spoke from experience. He tried not to dwell on it, as he really didn't want to think of his girlfriend with another man. In theory, it made perfect sense. She was not the first girl he had been with, and it would have been naïve for him to think he was the first man of hers.

Still, it wasn't something he necessarily wanted to think about.

He leaned down to kiss her, and she toyed with him a little bit until his hand slipped where she didn't want it. He held in the urge to groan as she pushed him away.

"You should go be there for your friend."

"I hate Matt," he whinged.

She ignored his tone. "Thank you for the flowers."

"Do you like them?" he asked. She had told him once that her mother was a florist. She said she used to hate flowers, though she liked them now.

"I like sunflowers," she joked, walking him to the door.

"I'll remember that for next time." He turned and gave her a hopeful expression. "You sure you don't want me to stick around a little bit longer?"

She leaned up to peck his lips. "Good night, Tai."

He gave a dramatic sigh, which earned him a playful slap to the arm.

"Good night."

Matt knew he had blown up on his friend unfairly. Tai was right. He was old enough to make his own decisions without a chaperone, and it certainly wasn't Tai's obligation to take care of him every time he got carried away with the alcohol.

It was just that…

It sounded so cliché, but only having slept with Megumi was something he had really liked about them. Some of his friends, Tai especially, liked to make fun of him for it, but he didn't care. It made him feel like he was truly Megumi's, and she was truly his.

But now what could he say?

I've slept with my ex-girlfriend of thirteen years—oh, and a stripper when I was blackout drunk.

It was no longer special. It no longer had meaning.

He hated that no matter where he turned, the world had to remind him that what he had had with her was not what he had always thought it was. They weren't made for each other. They weren't anything special. Ultimately, they were nothing. They were no different from any other couple that dated for a long time only to have it not work out.

He knew that every couple thought the same thing, but he had truly believed the two of them were. What an illusion he had set up for himself. He was supposed to be the sensible one. How could he have fooled himself for so many years?

He heard the front door opening. Tai.

Tai had been acting strange too. He stayed at work late during the weekdays and actually came home during weekends. The former wasn't too strange as Tai often had periods when his workload would increase to the point where it consumed him. The latter, however, was unlike him. If there was one thing Matt could count on, it would be that he'd have Friday and Saturday nights to himself. In the past few weeks, however, Tai came home from partying early, always citing fatigue from work. This came from the same man who had been rushed to the hospital in the early hours following Matt's 20th birthday due to alcohol poisoning, then miraculously making it to his Business Law class a few hours later to take his exam. Matt still hated him a little bit for passing it, because it was the kind of unfair thing only Tai Kamiya could pull off.

He heard a knock on his door, which was unnecessary because Tai opened it without waiting for a response.



A pause.

"…I'm sorry I didn't stop you last night."

Tai wasn't very good at making Matt feel bad for him, but this did. Tai rarely apologised for anything, and this was probably one of those instances when he himself owed the first apology.

"Me too," he said instead.

Through it all, he was never good at this sort of thing.

"All right then," Tai concluded with a nod. "Have a good night."

He and Tai were very different. Tai probably actually didn't care that he was apologising first, or even that he didn't really have a need to apologise anyway. He would just forget everything the second he stepped out of the room, and he would never think back at it.

Matt wasn't like that. He felt too guilty, and it would probably be something he would continue to think about if he didn't do something about it now.


Tai stopped, allowing him the chance to speak.

"I shouldn't have freaked out on you like that," he said.

Tai shrugged. "Probably not. It's all right though. I'm used to your mood swings by now."

Matt let the comment pass, choosing to end the current conversation by bringing up another. "You've been working late a lot recently."

Tai was, despite his character and his denial, a bit of a workaholic. When Matt first met him, he thought he was the laziest human ever, but Tai actually did take his work quite seriously.

He shrugged again. "Not really. Sometimes I work late, sometimes I go to the gym."

Matt raised an eyebrow. "You go to the gym? Why are you going there all of the sudden?"

"Because I don't want to look like you."

"Go to hell, Tai."

He grinned at his own joke, then turned a little more serious. "Look, I know you think I don't understand, and I probably don't, but just so you know, there's more to life than her. Whatever you're beating yourself up over, she's probably not worth it, and if she were, she'd be here."

He didn't argue with Tai, knowing it wouldn't get him anywhere.

"And you know what? If anything, I bet she wouldn't like to know you're living like this either."

Even if he wanted to respond, Tai didn't let him, leaving after saying it.

"You aren't ever allowed to break my heart or turn me into that state…"

Her image flashed in his mind as it always did. Since that horrible day, he would imagine her from their happiest times to that heart-wrenching last, but until now, he hadn't envisioned her disappointed.

He wondered how he would feel if he were to find out she were in the same state as him. A part of thought it would feel good, as he wanted her to miss him, but he knew that overall it would bring him no satisfaction.

"What would you do if we broke up?"

Through it all, he didn't want her to be miserable, and even though she had thrown him away, he liked to believe that she wanted the same from him.

His consciousness slipped for a second, and she was standing in front of him again, frowning, upset at what he had become.

It was a waste of life, and even if he were allowing it for himself, he didn't want the same for her.

Tai was wrong. She was worth everything, but more than that, she was worth having a man who didn't crumble so easily.

"I'd be sad, but I wouldn't tell the world and inconvenience everyone's lives."

He missed her—God, he missed her—but this was getting out of hand.

He had to stop.

He felt a rush of motivation that he hadn't felt in a long, long time.

"Don't you need me?"

She used to tell him that she admired him for his composure. She would say it was one of her favourite things about him, as he embodied it in every aspect of his life, from the music he played to the way he carried himself on a day-to-day basis.

He was beginning to wonder if he even possessed such a thing. He surely hadn't exuded that in the past month.

This was it. This was the end. He was finished feeling sorry for himself. He would allow himself to be sad over the breakup, and he would allow himself to miss her, but he wouldn't let it consume him anymore.

If Megumi were to ever come back, for whatever reason, he wouldn't allow her to see this pitiful side of him. At the very least, that was what he could still do for her.

She had opened his window to let the gentle spring breeze into his room. Their first semester at uni had just started, making it one of the first big adjustments he had had in a very long time. He wasn't really fond of change, but it wasn't too bad. She helped by being there.

She was sitting on his tiny dorm bed, his blanket wrapped around her legs, holding onto his pillow as she complained to him. She had come in her usual post-class form, glasses replacing contact lenses, makeup washed off, her long, dark hair pulled up into a bun on top of her head. He called it her muffin hair, and she only ever wore it like that when she didn't care about her appearance. She wore an oversized vest and one of his boxer shorts that she had taken from him a long time ago.

Because she always made an effort when she was out, her friends thought she was always put together. He knew the real her. Megumi had an uncanny ability to transform herself within a matter of seconds. He bet he had once been shocked by this, but he couldn't remember anymore.

He turned his head from his computer screen, taking a break from his essay to listen to his girlfriend whinge.

Her roommate's boyfriend had just broken up with her roommate, making it annoying for Megumi to live there anymore.

"You can always stay with me," he offered, even though he wasn't sure if his own roommate would be okay with it. He lived with his brother's girlfriend's insufferable brother, who he was convinced was the worst human being who had ever existed on this planet. Thank the lord he had left for the afternoon.

"No, I'm just complaining," Megumi said with a sigh, burying her face into his pillow. "It's just stupid that she needs to always have a man. She's so dependent. It's sad."

He almost didn't want to say what he was thinking, knowing it sounded childish, but he asked anyway.

"Don't you need me?"

"We don't count," she dismissed immediately. "It's just her. She falls in love with every person who shows interest in her and thinks that every man is the one, when statistically speaking, most relationships are destined to fail."

"We won't."

"Of course we won't. I told you. We don't count."

He stood up from his seat to sit next to her instead. "Think about it this way. If you and I were to ever break up, wouldn't you be sad too? Even if she's annoying you, you should endure it."

"I'd be sad, but I wouldn't tell the world and inconvenience everyone's lives," she huffed, lifting his sheets so he could be covered as well. "Then again, maybe it's because I've never experienced something like that that it's annoying me so much. I'll get over it soon. I'm just complaining." She lifted a hand to his cheek, rubbing it a little. "What would you do if we broke up?"

"I'd probably get over you in a day."

He had said it in a deadpan voice, which to some would sound like he was being serious, but she knew better.

Nevertheless, she pushed him anyway, frowning. "I should break up with you for even saying that."

"It's a stupid question anyway," he muttered, scooting closer to her again. "You and I aren't ever breaking up."

Her face twitched slightly, and he could tell that she was trying not to look so pleased by his words. She liked to do that often. He often couldn't tell when she was pleased or sad. He liked to say he could only tell when she was angry.

She rested her head against her knees, looking at him sideways. "We've been together for so long that I keep thinking you'll get tired of me at any moment."

"I've never felt that," he said immediately.

"Good." She sat up straight again. "You aren't ever allowed to break my heart or turn me into that state my roommate is now." She leaned forward to kiss him, staring at him intently as she pulled away. "Maybe you can forget about me in a day, but I don't think I could ever get over you, Yamato."

23 June 2013

The above date is for my own reference and has no significance to the story. I just want to keep track of when I upload chapters.

Thank you for your reviews, and apologies for the latter half of this chapter. I'm afraid I couldn't be bothered to proofread it as much as I wanted.