Being Takaishi Takeru

Oh, hey there! How's it going? I thought you might be curious to see how things are going now that everything has simmered down at long last. It's been three weeks since everything happened, and Hikari and I grow closer day by day. I'm heading to the department store as I speak to meet up with her. Today's my birthday, and she said she wanted to do some birthday shopping with me. I've got no idea what she's up to, or what she might have in mind for my birthday gift, but far be it from me to pass up an opportunity to be with my girlfriend.

Mmm...can I just say that I never get tired of saying that? My really is a many splendid thing. If you haven't experienced it yet, just give yourself some time. You will, eventually. And it's the most magnificent feeling you could ever have.

Of course, I'm not the only one who's feeling the love these days. I visited everyone else before starting to head for the store to meet Kari. I might as well catch you up on them, as well as how my day has gone so far. It's certainly been interesting to say the least. So here goes.

_ _ _ _ _

The easiest couple for me to check up on was Sora and Taichi, considering they both live in the same apartments as I do. I happened to catch up with them at the Takenouchi home just as they were heading out for the day.

"Hey guys! How's every little thing?" I asked as I approached the two of them.

"TK, hey my new best friend!" Taichi said as he shook my hand at first, and then pulled me into a big bear hug. It squeezed a bit of the air out of me, but I recovered after he put me back down.

"I take it everything goes well?" I asked as I gasped for air.

"Never better. Hey, happy birthday by the way! 16 now, eh?" Taichi said, slugging me lightly in the shoulder.

"Okay, that's enough of the TK abuse Taichi." Sora said, smacking his head lightly. "Go on ahead, I want to talk to TK alone for a moment."

"Right. See ya downstairs babe." Taichi kissed her quickly and then headed down the stairs.

"He's sure in high spirits anymore." I commented after Taichi left.

"Thanks to you, TK. I have to admit, I feel much the same when I'm around him." Sora told me. "All things considering, you really did good by us."

"I'm glad it all worked out. I always felt you and Taichi-san fit better and Niisan."

"I know, and I think I agree now. For that matter, I don't think I would've had things turn out any other way."

"I'm glad you're happy with him, Sora-san."

"And how about you? I understand Hikari-chan has something planned for your birthday today." She said as she folded her arms, smiling at me as if she knew something.

"Yeah, she said to meet her at the department store for shopping or something like that. It's not like I need clothes, so I've got no idea what she's up to." I scratched the back of my head as I spoke, completely oblivious to whatever it was that Sora knew.

"Oh, I have an idea." Sora smiled at me knowingly.

"And you're not sharing either, are you?"

"Of course not! Then it wouldn't be a surprise."

"I gotcha. Well, you'd better catch up with Taichi-san. I've still got to visit the others before I head into town."

Sora nodded, but first she stepped up and hugged me tightly. I hugged her back, and then stepped back from her a moment later.

"You're a really special guy, Takeru. Hikari is one lucky girl." She told me.

"Really, I'm the lucky one, Sora-san. But thanks all the same." I replied. "You guys are coming by tonight for cake, right?"

"Wouldn't miss if for anything. We'll see you tonight!"

With that, Sora headed down the stairs to catch up with Taichi, and I departed for my next stop: the Inoue convenience store.

_ _ _ _ _

Now I've walked into the store to a number of strange scenes in the past, but today had to top anything I've ever seen before. I arrived to see Miyako and Ken staring intently at the counter top where the cash register was.

"No! Don't go that way! Straight! Straight!" Miyako yelled at the counter as I approached.

"C'mon, you can make it! Just keep! No! Don't stop! Keep going!" Ken also yelled, also waving his arms as he yelled.

"Um...hi guys?" I said, trying to be inconspicuous. Both of them finally looked up from the counter and smiled at me.

"TK! Sorry, we didn't hear you come in. We were watching a race." Miyako said.

"A race?"

"Yeah, see?" Ken said, pointing to the counter. I looked, and at first didn't see anything. Then I looked closer, and there were two ants crawling around on the counter top.

"You've got to be kidding me." I said, looking up at them. "Ant races?"

"It'll be the next craze, you just wait and see." Ken said with a grin.

"You guys really are a pair. Of what I'm not sure just yet, but you're definitely a pair." I said, shaking my head at them.

"By the way, happy birthday!" Miyako said as she reached under the counter. She produced a box of coconut Pocky with a bow on it that she handed to me. I love Pocky to begin with, but coconut is just the best.

"Ah, many thanks Miyako-san! This'll go in a very good place." I told her, taking the box.

"That would be your stomach, right?"

"You bet. So how're you guys doing?"

"Just great, thanks to your help TK." Ken said. "Unfortunately, I can't hang around right now."

"Awww, do you have to go, Ken-chan?" Miyako whined.

"Sorry, sweetie, I promised Iori-kun I'd help him clean up the dojo so he could make it to TK's tonight." Ken said. "I promise I'll be back to pick you up before tonight, tough."

Miyako nodded to him, and he gave her a quick kiss on the forehead and headed out, waving to her as he left.

"Looks like all's well on this front as well." I told her after he left.

"I really owe you one for hooking us up, TK. My Ken-chan is everything I dreamed he'd be." Miyako said with a dreamy smile.

"Ken-chan?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Hey, I'm allowed to have a pet name for him. If it'd been you, you'd be Takeru-chan."

"Heh, thanks but I'm taken."

"I know. It's almost too bad. We could've had a lot of fun together, you know."

"I know it, Miyako-san, but I also know that Ken makes you very happy, and that does my heart good to know."

"Yeah, you're right. Well before you go, I gotta give you a birthday hug."

"Heh, okay Miyako-san."

She stepped around the counter and we hugged for a moment. She let go after a moment, pulled my hat off, ruffled my hair a bit, and then put my hat back on.

"You're really something else, Takeru-kun. What that something else is, I'm not quire sure yet, but I like it all the same." She said with a smile and wink.

"Whatever it is, Kari likes it." I added, straightening my hat out.

"Oh yeah, by the way, have fun shopping today with her. I know you will."

"First Sora, now you? What the heck does Kari have planned after all?"

"If you want to know you've got to go to her. Now go! Ken-chan and I will see you tonight."

I thanked Miyako for the Pocky again and left, making my way downtown. It was close to lunchtime, and I was being treated to lunch by the third and final couple I wanted to check in on: Koushirou and Mimi.

_ _ _ _ _

Don't ask me where she got the taste for it, but Mimi's favorite fast food restaurant is KFC. To hear her explain it, there are KFC restaurants all over in America, and she quickly became addicted to their chicken. It's good enough, I guess, though I still prefer most Japanese food to fast food. Still, far be it from me to turn down an offer for food.

"So, how's it feel to be 16, TK?" Koushirou asked as he sipped his soda.

"At the moment, hungry." I said as I swallowed a mouthful of fries. I eyed his fries for a moment. "You gonna eat those?"

"Yes! Geez, you must have a black hole for a stomach!"

"Hey, I'm still growing!"

"You two are too much." Mimi said as she finished her food.

"So how are things with you guys? I don't see you around much." I said, looking at them. Both of them were sitting on the same side of the booth together.

"Um...well, we're just..." Koushirou was going a bit red in the face as he seemed to be fishing for words.

"Busy! Yeah, just always running around together, right Kou-chan?" Mimi said, cutting him off.

"Huh? Oh! Yeah! Right! Very busy, Mimi-chan."

"Riiiight." I said, reading between the lines a bit. "So, things are good then?"

"Very." Both of them said in unison, and in a similar dreamy tone. I almost choked on my food at how funny that was to hear.

"Anyhow, I'm about done. I'm going to hit the washroom before we head out, okay Mimi-chan?" Koushirou said.

"I'll be here waiting, Kou-chan." She winked at him as he headed off.

"So, exactly how often do you two make out?" I asked after he was away.

"TK! How can you ask such a thing?" Mimi said, trying to act shocked. I continued to look at her for a moment, and she finally broke down. "Any time either of our homes are empty."

"Well it's good to see you're happy together."

"It's more than that, TK. I feel he completes me, you know?"

"I'm sure he feels the same way, Mimi-san. You two really were meant for each other."

"Yeah, that's what I think too. Sometimes I wonder what might've happened between us by now if I hadn't left before."

"Or if he'd given you those flowers in the airport like he meant to."

"That's true. But what matters is we're together now, and I love him deeply. Though we have you to thank for it all, Takeru-kun."

"You didn't need much help from me, Mimi-san. Your feelings were already there, I just put you together."

"Even so, whatever you said to Koushirou really opened him up. So really, thank you TK."

I nodded with a smile at her as we both got out of the booth. She hugged me and gave me a peck on the cheek, which she quickly rubbed off after she let me go.

"Don't want Kou-chan or Hikari-chan getting the wrong idea." She said with a wink.

"Right. Thanks." I said, rubbing the same cheek myself.

"Oh, and have fun shopping today. It'll be an interesting time, I can guarantee that."

"You girls really are conspirators, aren't you? What is this all about?"

"Trust me, TK, you will greatly appreciate it."

Koushirou rejoined us a few moments later and we left the restaurant.

"You guys are coming by later, right?"

"So long as you leave some cake for us!" Koushirou commented.

"There'll be plenty for everyone, I promise."

"We wouldn't miss it for the world." Mimi said.

"Well, I'm off to meet Kari. See you guys later!"

I headed to the bus stop and caught the next bus headed for the department store, my mind buzzing with what Kari could possibly have in store for me.

_ _ _ _ _

So here we are. Kari said to meet her on the fifth floor, and I'm just about there. I wonder why the fifth floor, though? There's not much stuff that I'm interested in until you get up to at least the seventh floor of this store.

The elevator doors open and I head out. I spot Kari quickly, as she's leaning against a support column. I jog over to meet her, and her face lights up as I approach.

"Hey there birthday guy!" she says as I take her into my arms. We kiss briefly, and then start walking, though I'm mostly just following her lead.

"So, should we head upstairs?" I ask.

"Nope, this is the only floor we need for shopping." She replies.

"I guess I'm confused then. I thought you said this was birthday shopping?"

"Well, it is. I'm doing some shopping, and it's your birthday gift from me. But I need you along to help out."

"Okay, now I know I'm confused."

Kari just smiled back at me and leads the way over to an area with lots of very colorful clothing hanging around on several racks.

"This is where we need to start." She says as she starts picking things out.

"Kari, these are all swimsuits. Why do you"

Oh. My. God.

"Sounds like someone finally got a clue." She says slyly. She steps up to me and speaks quietly, almost seductively. "Find a comfy seat, Takeru-kun, and enjoy the fashion show."

"Have I said recently that I love you?"

"You say that now. Just wait until after we're done here." She says as she starts to head for the changing room.

"What happens then?"

"We hit the lingerie section." She says as she disappears behind a curtain.

I love my life...

I appreciate you listening to this story of mine. Just remember, don't ever give up hope folks. No matter how bad things may seem, or how dark or bleak your world may be, things really do work out in the end. Nice guys don't finish last after all. I speak from personal experience here, so trust me.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a personal fashion show coming courtesy of my girlfriend, and I'm feeling a bit greedy, which means I'm not sharing what happens next with anyone. Hey, even nice guys need a break from being nice every once in a while. And if you think I'm passing up an opportunity like this, you're plain crazy! See ya!