Chapter 35

The Swim of Things | By: | Genre: Humor, Romance | Rating: M | Series: Evangelion | Status: In Progress | Tags: Alternate Universe, Post-Series, Post-TI, WAFF | Summary:

This is a classic Rom/Com staring the Evangelion cast. It has just about everything you would expect, and probably read before, but is my latest personal take on the genre. Hope you enjoy it.

It was February 14th and the high school was all in a twitter. There was a ton of candy being passed around and just as much gossip. What with all the talk about who was giving out honmei-choco and giri-choco to whom and whether it was the kind they said it was how could there not be juicy gossip? Were some girls giving more personal chocolates to boys they should be only giving the friendly type? Were some boys misinterpreting what kind of chocolates they were getting? Were some boys getting honmei-choco from more than one girl? It was all so scandalous among the gossipy teens.

 

But what was also gossip was some of the weirdness surrounding some of the gifts. Mai was making a lot of boys wonder about their status with her as she was refusing to state what kind of chocolate she was giving out. And to make matters more confusing it was all homemade chocolate to boot so you couldn't make any guesses based on that. Was she putting out an open call for love from any boy willing to ask her out? Plus some of the boys she gave chocolates to were already taken, deepening the intrigue.

 

Those boys though knew what it meant though. After all they were there when she made it.

 

It seemed Asuka, Rei, Hikari, Mai, Yuma, and her friends Kohama and Tamiko all got together at the Katsuragi residence for a chocolate making party. Asuka, Rei, and Mai didn't really know how to make home made chocolate so they needed Hikari's help while the other girls were surprisingly adept at it. And it was done where it was done because the affluence of taste testers present. Kaji turned out to be the biggest mooch out of all the guys there as he found it cute how his little daughter kept giving him chocolate. So cute that he simply couldn't turn down the dozen or so times she did it. Now where his daughter learned about such a tradition at such a young age was a mystery he said he didn't know the answer to. But the roll of the eyes from his wife as he said it spoke volumes, the source was also the recipient.

 

Only Mai was giving out chocolate to many boys though. Hikari just gave a special one to Touji and Asuka just gave a special one to Shinji. Shinji then did something that pissed off a lot of the other guys as he broke tradition and gave Asuka chocolate back right away. The pretty chocolate heart she gave him was returned by a half dozen Godiva truffles. The other girls in the classroom quickly noticed the noncompliance to the rules of Valentines Day and White Day and were wondering why their boyfriends didn't do the same. Shinji of course was completely oblivious to what he had done and only bought the chocolate to make Asuka happy too.

 

Another oddity was that Rei didn't give any chocolate to Kensuke. The chocolate she made was just giri-choco she gave to Shinji and Touji. Kensuke got something much better in his opinion, a new part for his moped that he had been looking around for. It was sort of a retro piece only collectors would have so he knew his girlfriend must have worked hard to get a hold of it. That made it much more special than boring old chocolate. Also sort of shamed some of the other girls as giving Kensuke that kind of present sort of broke the model of expectation. It was much grander than any of their presents. Rei, like Shinji, had no clue about any of that though. She just wanted to get her boyfriend something nice.

 

Later on in class Kotono and Rini went to Rei for a little help with their studies. Of course with those two the conversation eventually took a turn away from scholastics and onto the days intriguing topics. “What in the world did you give Kensuke?” Rini asked. When all the other girls were giving out chocolate she saw Rei give Kensuke a machine part. And it must have been something special as they had seen Kensuke brag about it to all the other gear heads and most of them looked jealous he had it.

 

Rei answered the girls with a truthful “I don't know.”

 

“You don't know?” Kotono asked confused. “You bought it, didn't you?”

 

“Yes” Rei answered. “But I don't really know what I bought. I only remember Kensuke was looking for something called a remote gas electric synchronization crossover relay system for his moped and then bought it from some dealer on e-bay. But what I actually bought and what it does, I don't really know.”

 

“Well whatever it is, he's getting major props for it from the other gear heads” Rini said. “They seem really jealous of him right now.” Then Rini looked off and wondered out loud “I wonder if my boyfriend would want one of those gas electric synco-whatevers?” By now Rini was over her last boyfriend and had a new one. He was this really cute boy that had a really cool motorbike and hung around with the rest of the gear heads in the school.

 

“It was expensive” Rei told Rini.

 

“Oh c'mon, how much could something like that cost?” Rini laughed. The machine part wasn't all that big, only about the size of a fist.

 

Rei leaned closer to the other girls and whispered how much it cost her. Kotono and Rini's eyes immediately went large in surprise.

 

“Ummm… I think I will stick with chocolate” Rini said as there was no way she was going to buy her new boyfriend a gift that expensive. If he wanted something like that he was going to have to get a whole lot cuter and buy a cooler bike in her opinion.

 

Kotono went a different way with the information though. “I can't wait to see what he gets you in return for White Day.” Tradition said the boys gave you back thrice what you gave them so whatever she had coming was going to have to be good. Her mind was thinking Rei was in store for some fancy jewelry.

 

Rei though was not expecting something expensive and said as much. What she bought Kensuke was pricey but she didn't buy it because of that, she bought it because it was something he really wanted. In return all she was looking for was something she would enjoy as well.

 

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Asuka was downstairs visiting the first years during lunch time, causing no small amount of distraction to that floor. Did Asuka come down to start trouble among them and demonstrate her superiority over the first years? Or did she come down to flaunt her looks and make their boyfriends look at her instead of them? Quite a few of the popular first year girls were very worried they were about to be thrown down. They may have been at the top of the societal charts for their grade level but they were no match for the queen of the school.

 

Of course that wasn't why the, very reluctant of said title, queen was down there. She couldn't care less about those girls and completely ignored them. She simply came down to visit with Yuma, Kohama, and Tamiko. She wanted to know the end results of their chocolate making. Kohama and Tamiko were all smiles, then again they both had boyfriends now so this day was easy for them. Yuma on the other hand was a completely different story. It seemed that she joined the gardening club after she was done with swimming and sort of liked a boy in it. Problem was he was as dreadfully shy as she was so nothing had happened.

 

Of course Asuka didn't know much about this before as Yuma was afraid of what would happen if she told Asuka. In fact Asuka, along with Hikari and Rei, only learned about this crush at the party when Mai spilled the beans about whom her little sister was making chocolate for.

 

Personally Mai thought her sister was dragging her feet too much and if she didn't do something the two would never get together. So he dropped the bomb at the party in hope that Asuka would do something. But why she knew Asuka would react was different from why Yuma was worried about Asuka knowing about her crush. Mai knew something that Yuma didn't. She knew the truth about how Asuka and Shinji really got together. Asuka wasn't this aggressive confident juggernaut with love that Mai's little sister painted her as. In fact she suspected that Asuka was just as shy when it came to love as her little sister. Asuka got a helping hand from another so maybe so should Yuma.

 

“So Yuma, did you give your chocolates to Naoki yet?”

 

“I… uhhhh…ummmm….. no” Yuma squeaked.

 

“Why not?” Asuka asked.

 

“I was going to wait till after school… at club” Yuma said looking away from Asuka.

 

Unfortunately her friends weren't allowing her to stick by that answer as Kohama quickly said “That's not what you said earlier…”

 

Yuma quickly shushed her friend, unfortunately though the damage was already done as Yuma could feel the gaze of Asuka upon her. “I-I'm not ready yet.”

 

“If I waited for you to be ready I would probably have to be a senior next year too” Asuka scoffed at Yuma's weak excuse. “Now let's go give that boyfriend of yours some chocolate.”

 

“He's not my boyfriend…” Yuma blushed. “We're just… friends…”

 

“That's because you're too meek” Asuka told her. “Nothing will ever happen if you don't do anything.”

 

“But…but…”

 

Asuka cut off Yuma's rambling as they walked down the hall. “It's as simple as this, do you like him?”

 

Yuma was shaking with nervousness as they got closer to the boy's classroom so Asuka took that as a yes. “Then what are you waiting for?”

 

“I… ah… ummmmm… club. Yeah… I am waiting to do it at club...”

 

“You already tried that excuse” Asuka chuckled as they got to the door of the classroom. “Now just get in there and give him the chocolates you made for him.” And with that Asuka gave Yuma a little shove inside.

 

This was so seriously bad for Yuma and her heart was thumping so hard that she could swear everyone else in the room could hear it too. If it was just her walking into the room rather few people would have noticed but with Asuka outside everyone's attention was grabbed quite quickly. Including the boy she liked. Now she was really regretting not doing this earlier when all the other girls in the school were, it would have been so less embarrassing then. How could she have let this situation end up like this was the only thing she could think. She didn't even know what to do.

 

Asuka let out a quiet “Go on” as Yuma ended up freezing by the doorway.

 

That snapped Yuma out of her stillness. As embarrassing as this was it could be a whole lot worse if she didn't do what she was supposed to do. Asuka was a bold enough girl to march up behind her and make her give her chocolates to the boy looking at her. There would probably be a long winded explanation too. The thought of that was enough to scare Yuma into giving this boy the chocolates herself.

 

All in all Asuka thought it went well. Yes both first years were blushing horribly but Yuma did say she made the chocolate for him and he did thank her for them so they were well received. Nothing too out of the ordinary in her opinion, and as they left the class room Asuka told her “Good job.”

 

But as they walked back to Yuma's class room, Yuma asked quietly “Why'd you do that?”

 

“Because sometimes love needs a helping hand” Asuka smiled and then told Yuma right before heading up some stairs to go back up to the senior's floor. “Just ask Rei to tell you the real story of how Shinji and I got together. You'll understand.”

 

This of course left Yuma completely confused, but also very curious. Her question wasn't really answered but also an even bigger one was hanging in the air now. But this time she could get the answer. All it would take was asking Rei for it. Something she quickly did during the very next break. She didn't care if that meant going upstairs to the senior's floor, she had to know.

 

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Asuka's plan for sharing her chocolate with Shinji was to bite off the bottoms of two of the truffles and pour the luxuriously luscious liquid all over her pussy and place the chocolaty shells on her nipples. Then she would award Shinji his real chocolate for this Valentines Day. But all that would happen later as right now she was working at Shin Seiki's. Li Mei was in a tough spot as she couldn't do anything at the restaurant. Her doctors forbid her from any strenuous activities due to her advanced state of pregnancy and that meant she was banned from the kitchen entirely. She was also banned from working the service counter, being a greeter, working in the back office, or anything else that fell in the realm of her having to get up and move around. Right now only two options were open to her, she could either rest in her bed in their apartment above the restaurant or rest in one of the booths in the family area below. Since she was sick and tired of staring at her ceiling she was down below right now.

 

“I'm really sorry to call you and Shinji in today” Li Mei told Asuka while lounging in one of the booths with Asuka seated across the table on from her. “But we were just so short staffed today.”

 

After taking a sip from her drink Asuka told her not to worry. “We didn't really have any plans for today. Maybe so fun later tonight but other than that we wanted to stay low key.” Right now Asuka was on a break and since Shinji was busy prepping food for the cooks in the kitchen she decided to give her boss some company.

 

“You're about the only ones then” Li Mei sort of grumbled. “I swear just about everyone decided that they must absolutely have to have this day off.”

 

“Well it is Valentines Day” Asuka said giving her boss the workers side of that argument.

 

“I know, I know… I should have expected this. But I wish they would let me know a couple weeks ahead of time instead of dropping it on me at the last second.” This was Li Mei's main gripe. If she knew ahead of time who was going to take the day off she could have planned for it. But as usual most of the people who took the day off waited till the last second before they asked for the day off. This left the Li Mei in a pinch, she couldn't tell her workers no because it was Valentines Day after all but at the same time she needed as many people to come in as possible because after all, it was Valentines Day. Taking your lover out to eat on this day was a pretty popular tradition.

 

“Are Rei and Kensuke working today too?” Asuka asked. If Li Mei was pressed into calling people to come in she suspected those two would be some of the first people called. But she had been so busy doing her job that she didn't have time to find out that herself.

 

“Thank god yes” Li Mei answered very appreciatively. “But I had to move Rei to being a server up there because one of the girls I called is new and can only work as a greeter.”

 

“You should treat her to something nice” Asuka told her boss.

 

“I'm sure Rei is not the only girl you're talking about” Li Mei smirked as she read between Asuka's lines.

 

“Well…..” Asuka said looking off with a guilty smile. Someone may have been trying to bargain for a fancy meal and a romantic night herself.

 

“Don't worry, I will give you guys some sort of bonus for today. Just don't expect it to happen today.” The upstairs part of the restaurant was even busier than it was downstairs.

 

“I'm not” Asuka told her letting out a big breath and finishing off her drink. Usually she got a longer break than this but since it was so hectic right now all she could spare was a quick five minute sit down to get something to drink. After that she got up and went back to work.

 

Asuka checked if any of her orders first were up first before she made her rounds to see if her tables were all okay. Unfortunately one of them wasn't and Asuka walked back to the kitchen with a dish in hand. “Sorry guys, I have one order of egotistical asswipe trying to impress his girlfriend by ordering a steak medium and not knowing it's supposed to be pink inside and then complaining it's undercooked.”

 

That of course set an already stressed out group of chefs off and Asuka walked back to the table with a steak well done and instructions from the kitchen that if he doesn't like this one he can shove the steak up his ass. Of course Asuka lightened up the message and just said “Sorry about that sir, here is a new steak cooked to a proper medium.” Asuka made sure to wait till her back was turned to the couple before she rolled her eyes at them. The guy was going on and on to his girlfriend about how smart he was on this issue and why this new steak was more correct.

 

As she passed by Li Mei they shared a knowing look. The customer may have always been right but that didn't stop some of them from being complete morons at the same time.

 

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Asuka enjoyed giving Shinji his chocolate so much that it caused both Kaji and Misato to chuckle while sitting on the couch that night. It wasn't like Asuka was yelling or anything like that but they could hear a muted moan or two of delight coming from that room's direction. “Well they're sure in tune with this holiday's spirit” Kaji joked.

 

“You can say that again” Misato joked back as this had been going on for over an hour now. “But it's good to know they can make each other that happy.”

 

Kaji let out a content sigh at that and nodded yes. Early on he was very worried about how Asuka and Shinji would handle a sexual relationship but it seemed that it wasn't something that he had to worry about. Those two meshed together very well and even in the beginning when things weren't all that great between the two sexually there wasn't hurt feelings and arguing but acceptance that they would have to work at sex to make it better. That proved to him that the two were grown up enough to handle that kind of relationship.

 

And speaking of grown up relationships someone else was trying to engage in one. This was a nice quiet night, well mostly quiet, and they were relaxing together on the couch enjoying the peace. Keiko was already asleep, Asuka and Shinji were obviously busy with each other, and both Misato and Kaji figured Rei and Kensuke were as well so there was going to be no interruptions tonight. In the past that would have meant sex right away but at their current level of parenthood it meant they could take a nice quiet break and simply enjoy each others company to start off with. But break time was over as Kaji watched Misato unzipped his pants.

 

“Is it time for my gift?” Kaji smirked as he watched that beautiful wife of his get down on her knees and crawl between his legs.

 

“You know it” Misato winked and then coaxed out her husband's endowment.

 

Kaji let out another contented breath as he let his wife deliver her present with utmost skill. He couldn't help but run his hands through her beautiful raven black hair while her head bobbed up and down. Even at this stage in their life, having seen her do this to him uncountable times, he couldn't take his eyes off of her. “I don't think I will ever be able to get enough of you” he groaned as he let his wife pleasure him completely only to have Misato enhance the pleasure by humming a sweet “mmmmmmmmhmmmmm” while still sucking on him in agreement.

 

It didn't take long for Misato to get a gift in return from her man, one of many she figured she would get tonight. But now it looked like Kaji was ready for even more as she let her husband strip her of her clothes so he could discover the other gift she had for him waiting under them.

 

Kaji eyes filled with lust at the sight of his wife wearing a sexy new pair of lacey red and black panties and bra. “You get the best presents for me.”

 

Misato only moaned in delight as her reply as Kaji's hands had already found their way under the sizzling hot attire. Soon though she found herself having to muzzle her screams of pleasure against the nape of his neck in order to not wake up all the sleeping people around as those talented fingers of his touched and rubbed and groped all the right places. Kaji proved his prowess when it came to knowing all about his lover and gave her a rather intense present in return to show her how true his love was.

 

Misato was still breathing heavily afterwards when she got up to head towards the bedroom. The foreplay was to happen on the couch while the main event played out in the bedroom.

 

But that was not to be as Kaji grabbed the curvy waste of his sexy vixen from behind and pulled her down onto his lap, thrusting his way deep into her in the process. The bedroom could wait as he wasn't quite done having fun on the couch yet. The sight of his wife in her sexy new lingerie, especially those scorching red and black crotchless panties, just begged of him to take her right away.

 

A sharp pleasure filled gasp filled the living room as the surprised intrusion of her lover into her bomb shelled her senses and she was not able to silence herself. More cries of passion followed as her bra fell to the floor and her bare breast got cupped by two gifted hands. And that aggressive husband of hers even returned the necking as he kissed and nibbled it. This just felt so good that she couldn't keep quiet. How their little daughter didn't get woken up by all this she would never know.

 

In fact it wasn't until several positions later when she found herself on her hands and knees on the couch that she was able to find a pillow to muffle her voice. But that only stopped the cries of passion from emanating throughout the room, it did nothing to stop her husband taking her from behind. And right now there was nothing she would do to stop that, she had completely surrendered her body to him. Whatever position, for however long, and no matter how many times he wanted to bury his cock into her pussy she would let him. Her body was the ultimate gift to him this Valentines Day and she couldn't be happier about that. The passionate cries that screamed out of her were testament to that.

 

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The next morning Asuka walked into the kitchen dead tired but completely content. She wasn't the only one like that though as she spotted Misato looking very much the same as her while taking down some dishes for breakfast. “I hope you at least flipped the couch cushions.”

 

That bratty little teasing got replied to with a “Don't worry, I will take the wetvac to it this afternoon. Should I do the same to your mattress?”

 

Asuka blushed at that. “Ummm… were we a little too loud last night?”

 

“In the beginning you were” Misato smirked. “But then something grabbed my interest too much for me to pay any attention.”

 

Asuka could completely relate to the grabbing of interest. “I love it when they grab it over and over and over, till you aren't even sure what time it is or where you are.”

 

“You said it girl” Misato smiled back.

 

“Only bad thing though is we have to go to school today. I really hope I don't fall asleep in the middle of one of my lectures.”

 

“Did you get any sleep last night?” Misato asked.

 

Asuka shook her head no. “My alarm clock didn't wake us up, it stopped us.”

 

“That does suck” Misato said feeling the same way. She didn't get any sleep last night either. In fact the two were still on the couch when they heard Keiko wake up. At least she could take a nap later on when her daughter went down for one, Asuka though was going to have to suffer.

 

After that Asuka pulled out her cell phone and placed a call. She answered the incredibly drowsy hello with “Remember we have school today” and then hung up.

 

“Rei?” Misato asked.

 

“Yup” Asuka said back and then walked over to the bathroom to get a shower. Shinji was already inside getting one so she joined him so they could share the shower and save some water. Of course they ended up having one last quickie before Asuka turned the water to cold to stop them from having anymore quickies and also to try and wake them up. It didn't really work as she still wanted Shinji and sleep.

 

After getting cleaned up and some breakfast Shinji and Asuka left for school, stopping by Rei's place first to make sure those two were up. As Asuka figured it was better for her to do that than Misato, who would eventually check to see if they left for school. Being amorous the night before was not a legitimate excuse to miss school, even if enforcing that made her a major hypocrite from her previous life experiences.

 

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*********** OOO ***********

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It was late February and Asuka and Rei were sitting together in the classroom working on some homework. Most of the students knew that when those two sat together like they were it was not the time to go to them for help because they were busy doing assignments for their college courses. And depending on what and how hard those assignments were the atmosphere surrounding them could be quite scary. Asuka was very vocal about her displeasured assignments and you would be able to hear her swearing under her breath in German when she was stressed out about one. Rei on the other hand tended to stare at her assignments with an intensely frigid glare. Not exactly something you wanted to intrude upon.

 

Luckily for Mai this wasn't the case. Rei was reading something and Asuka looked like she was doing some math problems that weren't all that hard for her. “Hey” she said sitting down by them. “I know it's still a ways off but Hikari said I had to find out who was going to do what for the sports fest.”

 

“Why do you have to?” Asuka asked. “Shouldn't Maisaka do it? He's supposed to be the vice-rep of this class after all.”

 

“I don't think Hikari trusts him to get the job done anymore” Mai said quietly to the two of them. Or at least that was the impression she got from their class rep when Hikari told her to do this.

 

“I do not blame her” Rei coldly agreed. She was still mad about the culture fest in some ways and since he was the one in charge of that she sort of held a grudge.

 

Asuka just chuckled at Rei's grumpiness as she understood where her friend was coming from. “So Hikari told you to do it then?”

 

“Since I'm part of the committee she said I should be doing it” Mai answered.

 

“Too afraid to tell her no?” Asuka joked about the extra chore saddled upon Mai.

 

Mai though wasn't joking back when she answered “Yes.” She had sat through enough meetings with the student vice president to challenge the girl anymore. Most of the time Hikari was a good friend and someone fun to hang around with, but when it came to her being responcible and serious she was too much for the girl to handle. And you couldn't go over Hikari's head either as the teachers tended to agree with her and the school's president lived by the motto `What Horaki wants, Horaki gets' when it came to the school council. By now he was nothing more than a figure head.

 

But Mai being in charge was not a case of bossiness from the student council vice president as Rei explained. “Hikari picked you to be in charge because she trusts you can do the job properly. That is something you should feel good about.”

 

That actually got Mai to smile as it was a big boost to her self worth. And if Hikari was putting that much trust in her she wanted to live up to it. “So what three events are each of you girls going to do?”

 

“Three?” Rei questioned as that was too many to her while Asuka went the opposite direction “Only three?”

 

“In order to make things fair it was decided that everyone from each class has to do exactly three events. No more, no less. Apparently for the last couple years a certain class was dominating the festival by having their best athletes participate in all the events while the rest of the class sat out and watched.”

 

Asuka looked away to hide her guilty face.

 

“That's what I thought” Mai giggled as while it was never publically said to her who these people were she could figure it out. These children weren't Marduk candidates for nothing after all. “So what's it gonna be?”

 

This required Asuka to think for a bit. “I probably should do one of the relays” she said first as she was one of the faster girls in the class and the relay events were worth a lot of points. “And I already told Rini and Kotono I would do the cheerleading event…” That meant she could only do one other thing even though she wanted to do them all. “If I really can only do one more make it the Calvary battle. But sign Shinji up for that too as he's always my trusty stead.”

 

Both other girls ignored the naughty smirk Asuka developed after that line. There was so much more going through that red head's mind right now than they wanted to know about.

 

“What events did you do before?” Mai then asked Rei while avoiding the perverted thoughts floating around.

 

“I don't think she has ever done anything with the sports fest” Asuka answered for her.

 

But that was not right as Rei corrected “I have participated before.”

 

“You did?.. When?” In all the time Asuka had known her she had never seen Rei participate. More often than not she would be completely removed from the event and wouldn't be around.

 

And that was true of Rei for the most part. She usually snuck off and read a book instead. “Last year Mr. Ohta told me I had to participate in at least one event so I did the bean bag toss.”

 

“I must have been doing something else” Asuka commented as she didn't remember seeing Rei do that.

 

“You were busy getting ready for one of the races” Rei told her. “If you wouldn't have been I would have tried to get you to do the event for me.”

 

Asuka snickered at that. Even though Rei was a good student and the teachers loved her, she wasn't above trying to circumvent their decisions if it meant she could get out of doing something she despised.

 

“So do you want to do the bean bag this year too?” Mai asked.

 

“I suppose” Rei answered back regretfully. Since Mrs. Amano hadn't told her anything about the sports fest she was actually planning on trying to skip out on it entirely by saying she had to study at the University. Obviously that choice was no longer a viable option. She knew better than to argue the new rules because all it would take is one simple conversation between Misato and Mrs. Amano and her guardian would order her to be at the sports fest.

 

“I'm also going to sign you up for the obstacle course too.”

 

Rei gave Mai a very clear “No” for that. In no way did she want to do that event. That was one of those events that was worth a good amount of points for each class yet was done by a single representative of the class. She wasn't so much against doing it as she was afraid of letting everyone down by coming in last. It was better in her mind to let one of the other more athletic girls do it, then the class would stand a chance of winning.

 

Mai though was of a different opinion. “You have to. Asuka's probably the only other girl in the class who stands a chance of winning it.”

 

“I am not that athletic” Rei said back trying to shoot down the comparison between her and Asuka.

 

“Rei…” Mai started out not believing that for a second. “… You were part of a swimming relay squad that won a National title. And you're probably one of the best in the district on the balance beam. You're athletic.”

 

“No, I'm not” Rei answered meekly.

 

“She's just like your little sister about this” Asuka said with a roll of her eyes. “She refuses to believe she has an ounce of talent or skill even if she has the accomplishments.”

 

That caused Rei to get embarrassed.

 

“She really needs to do the obstacle course though” Mai repeated. “I mean the set up this year is like tailor made for her.”

 

“What do you have to do?” Asuka asked as she was curious.

 

“First you have to run fifty meters and jump over three hurdles” Mai answered as she started to explain the whole course. “Then you have to jump up on a beam and run across it. After that you have to crawl under some netting before running across another beam. Then it's sitting in a kneeling position for four minutes without fidgeting, or five minutes if you do move, before you have to run across a third beam. Finally it ends with a scavenger hunt where you have to find something that's written down on a piece of paper.”

 

“You're doing the obstacle course” Asuka directly informed Rei. “You're not allowed to say no or try to get out of it. And if you do I will tattle to Misato who I know will make you do it.”

 

“That's not fair” Rei said speaking up after being so quiet. She knew that last part of Asuka threat was very true and that Misato really would force her to do it. Even she had to agree that certain parts of this race were geared towards what she was good at. That made her question how the obstacles were selected for this race. “Did you set this up so I would be the pick to participate in this race?” She was wondering if there wasn't some behind the scenes shenanigans going on that involved the previously mentioned intrusive guardian.

 

“Honest to god I didn't” Mai swore to the truth. “I mean it was my idea for the hurdles but everything else was selected by other people. They decided to go with the theme balance and endurance.” Mai then got sort of quiet and hesitant as she was worried about the next thing she was going to say. “To tell you the truth most of this race was set up by a girl from the gymnastics club as she was the main girl in charge of this particular event.”

 

The only reason Mai would have for not naming that girl was if that girl was Kaede. That caused a strong pang of jealousy to surge through Rei and she said “I will do it!”

 

Mai got a little scared of the look on Rei's face when she said that, which was the reason she really didn't want to mention Kaede's involvement in the first place. It was no secret that these two girls did not like each other one bit. In fact if you asked Rei she would tell you she hated Kaede even more than she did Karowu.

 

A mean little “Beat her into the ground” from Asuka followed by a determined “I plan to” only made this situation worse to Mai. She wasn't so sure if she should have mentioned this to Rei now after all. This caused her to try and change the subject quickly. “So what is the third event you want to do?”

 

“I do not care, just sign me up for anything that is left after you ask everyone else” Rei replied, with her focus still firmly set on the relay race. This was something she wasn't going to let go of.

 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****

 

At the end of the day Mai had finished her job and she was handing the event sing up list to Hikari. “Because our class is going to be one girl short I had to sign a couple girls up for a forth event.” Hikari was going to be much too busy running the sports festival to be able to participate in it this year.

 

“Asuka” Hikari assumed as one of them. Mai and another girl from the Marduk group were the other two. Technically that wasn't cheating, they needed some girls to fill their roster and this just happened to be the ones who volunteered.

 

“Yes.”

 

“I figured she would be the one to volunteer to do that” Hikari said not surprised. She then looked over the list at who was doing what, everything looked good. “Thank you. You did a good job.”

 

“We do have one minor problem though” Mai said adding on, hopping that it didn't change Hikari's opinion that she did a good job as well, it felt really good to Mai that Hikari told her that.

 

“What's wrong?” Hikari asked as it didn't look like there were any problems on the list to her.

 

“While trying to get Rei to do the obstacle course I sorta let slip who designed it” Mai answered with a look of regret. She was wondering if Hikari was going to be mad at her over this.

 

Hikari wasn't though. “That's not a big deal. Rei is smart and would have figured it out anyway, better if she knows from the start. Plus I have seen other class lists and it's only fair if Rei does it, most of them have girls from the gymnastics club doing this event too.” Hikari left out the sharp `Serves those bitches right' she was thinking in her head. She was still mad at that group of girls over what they did to Rei. She then looked at the list some more. “I see you couldn't get Shinji to do the boys obstacle course.” Shinji was just like Rei, had had skill and ability, but no confidence in himself. Despite that she was hoping Mai could still get him to do it as Hikari thought he stood the best chance of winning it. Just because she wasn't going to be able to participate this year didn't mean she didn't want her class to win. There was class pride at stake after all since the class with the special group was the same class that won every year.

 

“Touji and Kensuke already convinced him to do a couple events with them and Asuka signed him up to be her “trusty stead” for the Calvary battle so I couldn't.”

 

“Well that explains the dirty smirk on Asuka's face” Hikari said with a little giggle as she was wondering about what caused that look this time.

 

“Sometimes I really wonder about those two” Mai said looking over at Asuka, who was now sitting with Shinji and whispering something to him. “Is he really able to keep up with her?”

 

“Easily” Hikari said. “Wait till baseball season when you see Shinji practice and you will understand.”

 

“You know, I've heard from the other girls that Shinji's pretty good at baseball, but I would never guess it.”

 

“That's one of things that makes him good” Hikari answered as she was well versed in this particular dynamic of baseball. “He doesn't look imposing at all so pitchers aren't afraid of him. That causes them to get lax and Shinji makes them pay for it.”

 

“So a deceptive hitter” Mai said thinking about it. She could believe it, after all Shinji gave off a very meek vibe, so if he actually did have skill you would never figure that out till it was too late.

 

“By the way” Hikari said interrupting Mai's train of thought. “I talked to coach Kohrogi about you helping out this year. He says since I will be busy with student council part of the time it's okay if you want to help out.”

 

“Really?” Mai asked excitedly. “He said I could be a manager?”

 

“Not an official manager” Hikari told her as she was still going to be the senior manager and there still was going to be a second year filling the junior manager role. “More along the lines of an extra helper.”

 

“That's cool” Mai said as that still meant she would get to work and hang around with the baseball team. “Thanks a lot Hikari.”

 

“No thanks are necessary” Hikari said back and then sighed while thinking ahead. “Considering how much I've got to do for student council I will need all the help I can get.”

 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****

 

While Asuka was busy riding her steady stead that night Rei and Kensuke were together under the kotatsu talking to each other. “Maybe I shouldn't have agreed to do the obstacle course” Rei said second guessing her decision. The reason she said yes was petty jealousy and that was not sitting right with her. If anything she was feeling guilty about not be able to let her animosity towards Kaede go.

 

“I think you will do fine” Kensuke said trying to reassure his girlfriend that it would go well. “I bet you will even win it.”

 

Rei only sighed in response to that encouragement. She wasn't as believing in herself as her boyfriend.

 

“What're you worried about?” Kensuke asked.

 

“If I don't do good I will let the class down” Rei answered as that was another thing she was worried about. In the past Asuka always ran the obstacle course and both times won it by a large margin so these were points she was sure the class was expecting to get. She wasn't sure she was going to be able to match Asuka's triumphs though.

 

“You're not going to let anyone down” Kensuke replied to the fretting blue haired girl. “If you win, you win. If you don't, you don't. It's not going to make one bit of a difference. Besides the rules are different this year so no one expects us to run away with the festival this time.”

 

“But still…” Rei tried to argue.

 

“But still, nothing” Kensuke stopped her. “You have a lot less to worry about than the rest of the class. The course won't even be a challenge to you.”

 

“It might be” Rei said unsure of herself still. Actually what Kensuke just said was something she had heard quite a few times today, but she didn't believe it. Many people in the class thought of Rei when they were told the course the girls would have to run for the obstacle race. She may have not been one of the outwardly athletic girls in the class but considering her accomplishments she was one most of them agreed should run that race. In fact quite a few of them, including Asuka, thought she was better suited for this particular race than Asuka herself. The race had certain aspects that made Rei the most balanced girl for it.

 

“How could it be” Kensuke challenged her. “Half the course is balance beams. Who in the whole school is better than you at them?”

 

Rei didn't have the self-confidence to answer that question even though the answer was obvious.

 

But that wasn't all as Kensuke continued. “And the kneeling bit, four minutes is nothing to you. According to the girls at the restaurant you could do forty minutes and still be fine.”

 

All Rei could do is blush at the confidence her boyfriend was showing in her. What he was saying felt very good to her but still she was fighting it, she just couldn't see her beating other people at an athletic event. “But I'm a slow runner. The other girls will catch up to me then.”

 

“Who said you were slow?” Kensuke asked as personally from what he saw during gym class, Rei was actually pretty quick.

 

“But I have never won a race during class” Rei answered. During the few times the gym teacher actually got her to run a sprint, Rei had never won one. But there was a very good reason for that.

 

“That's because the only girl you ever run against is Asuka… Hell, most of the boys in our class can't beat her in a foot race. If you would race the other girls I'm sure you would win.”

 

Rei let out another sigh to that. This little argument was going nowhere in her opinion. She just couldn't understand why her boyfriend had so much faith in her. Athletics wasn't her strong suit so it was not something she was expecting him to support her with.

 

Kensuke though knew better. Rei was full of self doubt and easily had the ability to run away with the obstacle course, she just needed to believe in herself. “Bella, even if you don't think you can do it, just try your hardest. Okay?” If Rei did that he was sure she would win even if she wouldn't believe it.

 

Rei had to surrender to that request as she faintly nodded her head yes to that. As bad as it felt to believe she wouldn't win it felt even worse to think she would be letting Kensuke down if she didn't even at least try. “I just hope the scavenger hunt at the end isn't too hard.”

 

“I don't think it will be” Kensuke answered. Considering he knew the person who designed the course he was sure it would be relatively simple. He knew Kaede set this course up because she was planning to participate in it. That meant she wouldn't risk any lead she figured she would have on something hard to find. “More than likely it will be something easy to find.”

 

“I hope so” Rei said worrying about it.

 

“If you want we can practice” Kensuke smirked.

 

“How do you practice?” Rei asked missing the change in mood change as she was still worried about the race.

 

Kensuke took three slips of paper and wrote something on each, out of the view of Rei. He then placed each slip of paper, writing side down, in front of the blue haired girl. “I have written three things that are in this house. You need to find them and bring them back here as quickly as possible. I will keep track of how long it takes you to find them.” He then slid the first piece of paper in front of Rei.

 

This was sort of silly and Rei gave her boyfriend a look. No way was she going to run around the apartment looking for things and think it was practice.

 

“Ah c'mon it will be fun” Kensuke said back to the hesitant look.

 

“It seems like a waste of time.”

 

“Just trust me” Kensuke said back with a bigger smirk than before.

 

This time Rei did not miss the smirk, that boyfriend of hers was up to something. But as she thought about it maybe so was she. She was getting tired of being depressed and sullen. She knew he was just trying to lift her spirits and what was the harm in playing along? She turned over the first slip of paper. It said `the most beautiful woman in the world…' She blushed. Then she blushed harder as the next slip of paper said `…naked….'

 

“You're loosing valuable time” Kensuke said as he looked at his girl pausing in front of him.

 

“Do I have to?” Rei asked embarrassed.

 

“Oh yes. It's essential for the next slip.”

 

She knew exactly where this was going now but she was also very curious about what was on that final slip of paper. She did the only thing she could do to find out, she stripped off her clothes.

 

It was worth it as Kensuke turned over the final slip of paper `…and making love with the luckiest guy in the world who loves her more than anyone else.'

 

Rei chided herself for being such an easy mark for the person in front of her, she also stripped off his clothes and made love to him. If anyone else tried something this corny on her they would be lucky if she even acknowledged them with a roll of the eyes, but Kensuke could always get away with it. There was just something about this boy that made it not only okay to play these kinds of games but desired. This was the one person in the world who could see past everything she portrayed and knew deep down inside of her she liked these sorts of games. The smart, serious, and reticent girl the world knew actually had a sense of humor who wanted the sweet fool.

 

\\\\||||////

*********** OOO ***********

////||||\\\\

 

A couple girls were very surprised to see Rei get on the bus by herself and take it to school with them. It was the 14th of March and by far the warmest day of the year so far. Maybe not quite warm enough for Rei to ride her own scooter to school but definitely warm enough to see her on the back of Kensuke's moped, holding him tightly from behind. And considering what today was of all things, White Day, that was especially expected.

 

“Umm Rei…” Rini started. “What're you doing here?” Rini was very confused because it didn't look like anything was wrong with Rei. She looked the same as any other time she got on the bus, except for Kensuke not being with her. Those two were always together now when going to and leaving school.

 

“It still is too cold to drive to school myself” Rei answered. If it warmed up just a couple more degrees she would think about it.

 

“Not that” Rini asked. “Why aren't you with Kensuke?”

 

“He had to leave early today” Rei replied. “He told me he had to pick something up before school.”

 

“And he didn't want you going with him, right?” Rini asked looking excited. After knowing about the gift Rei gave Kensuke she was still thinking Kensuke was going to be getting her something grand back on this particular day.

 

Rei was of the opinion that Rini was overreacting. It was no big deal to her and to tell you the truth he did offer to take her with him when he left earlier this morning. She turned the offer down. She was comfortably nestled in her warm bed with Dai snuggled up against her tummy, purring away under the covers. Plus she was still sort of tired and wanted to sleep more. Considering Kensuke wasn't pressing the matter any she decided to sleep in for a bit longer with their cat. “He invited me to go along with him but I was too tired.”

 

“I hope he knows your ring size then” Rini grinned while the other girls who new Rei on the bus giggled.

 

Rei dashed their curiosity though with “He's not going to get me a ring.” She knew that because she told him she didn't want one a while ago, if he was going to go the jewelry route she would much rather get a hair pin. After all she had already gotten a promise ring from him shortly after he moved in with her, and until they were ready for “the ring” she wanted no others.

 

“Well he has to get you some kind of jewelry after what you got him” Rini explained. “I mean anything less would be disappointing.”

 

That was the other girls' opinion, not Rei's. While she didn't know what he was going to get her he did give her a clue. He told her what he was getting her was one of her favorite things and she would not be disappointed in it at all. To her that is what she could be excited and curious over, not simply the thought of jewelry she wouldn't really ever wear. She was still sort of a plain Jane when it came to wearing jewelry outside of her job. From time to time she might wear a pair of earrings, mainly the ones Kensuke bought her, or a hair pin but that was it. Wearing anything truly flashy brought her unwanted attention. “I will be happy with whatever he gets me.”

 

“You're way too easy on him” Rini said while the rest of the girls nodded their heads in agreement.

 

Rei obviously didn't feel the same as them as she simply shrugged her shoulders and then pulled a book from her bag and began to read it. These girls just didn't get it in her opinion so she was done talking to them.

 

Rini knew Rei better than the other girls she was with so she picked up on Rei's clue. That reading of a book in front of them all meant this conversation was over, so Rini dropped the subject. Personally though she was just so curious about what Rei was going to get. There might have even been some gossip surrounding this event as what Rei got Kensuke on Valentines' day was a good bit more extraordinary than any of the other girls in the school. It was so individualistic and well thought out when you factored in who her boyfriend was, it made giving boring old routine chocolate sort of low brow. That spawned the gossip of whether Kensuke would be able to match his girlfriend's gift.

 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****

 

About fifteen minutes after Rei got to school Kensuke showed up with a bouquet. But it was not roses or any other flowers it was a bouquet of cookies, twelve fresh `long stemmed' gingersnap cookies. This absolutely floored most of the class, made a select few grin, and absolutely delighted Rei.

 

“I wondered what that boy was going to get her” Asuka said as she too had a touch of curiosity. “Good pick.”

 

Touji looked over at Hikari, who was holding the more traditional bouquet of red roses. “I would have got you an ice cream bouquet but they don't make those and it would melt.”

 

“I'll settle for an ice cream cone after practice” Hikari smiled. She loved her roses and knew he was just kidding her. But still if he was offering more, she wasn't going to turn down an ice cream cone.

 

“It's a date” Touji said back making Hikari very happy.

 

That got Shinji thinking and he said “If I stuck the truffles on a stick all the filling would run out of them.” There was going to be no improvised twelve long stemmed Godiva truffles.

 

Asuka didn't agree with that as a very naughty thought ran through her mind. “Depending on what `stick' the filling runs out on, I might like that very much.”

 

Shinji blushed while Touji and Hikari chuckled at that. There was no mistaking where Asuka mind was and what she all of a sudden decided she wanted.

 

But the thought that Kensuke scored a jackpot with his gift stopped with them, the rest of the class was wondering why Rei looked happy. Kensuke's gift, while original, didn't seem special at all.

 

“That's it?” Rini commented looking rather disappointed.

 

“What a let down” Kotono added on. “That's not even special.”

 

“They're dark brown too” Another girl said. “Aren't they like burnt?”

 

“Why the hell is Rei smiling?” one of the guys questioned looking at a girl who was much happier than he could comprehend why. “After what she gave him I would be pissed off with just cookies. That's so cheap.”

 

That boy got walloped over the back of the head for the second time this year by Asuka, this time he deserved it though. “Stopped being petty little stupid idiots. You guys have no clue what you're talking about.”

 

The other girls talked over the obvious “Owww… What you do that for?” from the boy as first they didn't like being called idiots and second, they didn't think they were clueless.

 

“Are you telling me a bunch of burnt cookies are worth anything?” “No way that's as good as what she got him.” “He was supposed to get her jewelry.” “I would dump my boyfriend if I got a crappy present like that.” “He doesn't have an once of romance in him.” “Rei is such a freak to like that... Owww!”

 

Asuka stopped the ranting by smacking the girl who called Rei a freak upside her head too. “Like I said, completely clueless.”

 

“Well if you're so much smarter than us, then tell us why a bunch of burnt cookies is worth anything” the girl rubbing the sore spot on her head challenged rather snottily.

 

“One, they're not burnt. That's how ginger snaps are supposed to look. And two, do any of you know what's Rei's most favorite treat in the whole wide world is?”

 

The other girls either shook their heads no at Asuka or still looked at her confused. When you got down to the nitty gritty, not much was known about Rei still. Yes she was more approachable now but still she didn't volunteer any information about herself.

 

“Well now you do” Asuka said pointing at a blue haired girl who was totally into the gift she was just given. Enough so that she had a big smile on her face and they even heard her say “They're still warm even” in a very loving way. She was obviously a very happy girl right now, munching merrily on a warm and soft gingersnap cookie.

 

“So cookies are her favorite things?” one of the girls asked now completely confused. There were so many better things than cookies in this wide world so this didn't make any sense to her.

 

“Not cookies” Asuka corrected. “Gingersnaps. Rei isn't big on sweets normally but she loves gingersnaps.”

 

“Well gingersnaps then” the girl shot back. “They can't be that good.”

 

“To Rei they are” Asuka replied. “Personally I like my Godiva chocolates better…” Asuka had to brag there as the kind of chocolates she got were much better than what most of the other girls got “…but Rei's thing is gingersnaps. So what Kensuke got her is something that Rei really wanted.”

 

“Are you really trying to tell me that she wants those cookies more than jewelry?” Rini asked.

 

“Yup” Asuka answered and then added on to that as she knew the girls weren't going to stop there. “You girls need to realize that what you value isn't the same as what Rei values. She has a very different set of expectations and principles than most people, and therefore wants very different things.”

 

“That makes no sense at all” one of the girls said as she couldn't wrap her mind around that concept. There was no way she could believe Rei could be happier with cookies than jewelry.

 

“Let me put it another way then” Asuka said with a smirk. “Rei got a gift she is incredibly happy with and truly appreciates, did any of you?”

 

That hit the group of girls rather hard. Most of them got generic gifts back that, while being nice, didn't make them nearly as happy as how Rei looked right now. Maybe Kensuke really did come through with his gift after all. His level of knowledge of Rei to know that is what she really wanted the most must have been much more than they thought. That left many of the girls thinking, did their boyfriend know them that well?

 

Asuka left the group of girls in deep thought on whether they got gifts that matched that level and went back over to Shinji. She looked at her nice selection of chocolates and then back at Shinji with a predatory smile. “So many different flavors, so little time.”

 

Hikari and Touji didn't know what was funnier. The scarlet hue of Shinji's face or the look of wanting in Shinji's eyes. Asuka may have been the aggressive one in this relationship but you would be a fool to think Shinji was simply easy prey. Someone may have liked getting caught just as much as the one doing the catching enjoyed getting the tables turned on her all night long.

 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****

 

Mai came into the room laughing. “You have to see how red Yuma got” and she showed a picture she had just taken when she was downstairs on her cell phone to Asuka.

 

Asuka began to laugh. “If she gets that red from flowers, I wonder how red she will get when he finally kisses her.”

 

“She'll probably explode” Mai said still chuckling.

 

“So has she even brought him home yet to meet your folks?” Hikari then asked, giggling a bit as Mai showed her the picture too.

 

“Oh yeah” Mai smirked. “My dad made him come over and introduce himself the second he heard they were dating. I don't know which one of them was more scared, Naoki or Yuma.”

 

Rei had a different opinion of this matter as she said “Poor Yuma.” Something like that had to be dreadfully embarrassing. She also had to stifle a giggle as Yuma was preciously red in the picture Mai showed her.

 

“Well, you can't just date the sweetheart of the family and not have pure intentions” Mai said. “I mean my dad does make any boy interested in me come over for dinner too, but I have never seen him put any of them through the ringer like he did Naoki. But I got to give him credit, he wasn't scared off and they are still dating, albeit they are moving rather slowly.”

 

“Slow is a good thing” Asuka said giving her opinion.

 

Mai wasn't surprised to hear that from Asuka, or to see Hikari nod her head in agreement, but the fact Rei was agreeing as well surprised her. “But…”

 

That was as far as Rei let Mai go as she reinstated herself “Slow is a good thing.” Just because Mai knew more than most girls about Rei's and Kensuke's true relationship didn't mean she could actually base any assumptions upon the knowledge.

 

Both Hikari and Asuka giggled at Rei's insistence while Mai smirked. “I take it slow was how it was supposed to happen?”

 

“Yes” Rei answered and then blushed as she looked away. “But then things happened…”

 

“Ah… `things'…” Mai said giggling along with the other three. “They can really foul up romantic plans, can't they?”

 

“That is definite” Rei replied still a little embarrassed. It wasn't like Kensuke and she rushed their relationship, it just happened that way.

 

“Oh, and speaking of things” Mai said turning her attention to Hikari. “You're little sister is rejecting everything downstairs from what I hear. Even something from my little brother.”

 

“Your brother is going after Nozomi?” Asuka asked skeptically.

 

“He's obsessed with boobs and her little sister has a nice rack” Mai said pointing over at the class rep.

 

“Then he can stay away from her” Hikari stated. “She just had a nasty breakup so I doubt she wants any suitors right now. Especially ones just interested in her body”

 

“You know I told him he was an idiot to try and get a girl on the rebound” Mai said as she was never mad at Nozomi for turning her brother down but was curious as to why she was turning every boy down right now. “But that little brother of mine never seems to learn.”

 

“What Nozomi needs right now is someone who will respect her and not try and push her boundaries” Hikari said sounding like a smart older sister. She knew what her little sister was truly like. As much as Nozomi wanted to put out the image she was like her eldest sister Kodama, the truth was when it came to intimacy she was like Hikari. The level of commitment needed before she was going to let a boy get between her legs was something most of the boys wanting to be with her weren't able to provide. And when they tried to ignore her wishes and push forward without said commitment Nozomi tended to snap and immediately end the relationship. That was what happened a little while ago when her last boyfriend tried to take more than he was given as an early White Day present.

 

“I should tell the putz to stop bugging her then” Mai said about her little brother. While he was her little brother, being a girl she could understand how Nozomi was feeling right now. After all she had a few failed relationships under her belt as well and days like White Day just made those feelings you had after breaking up that much worse. This was no time for her little brother to be acting like a typical lustful first year boy.

 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****

 

Near the end of the day there was a loud “You big liar, you did get her jewelry after all!”

 

Kensuke was across the room talking baseball with some of the guys when he heard that. And as he turned around he could tell that statement was directed right at him. That caused him to get confused as well, he really didn't buy her jewelry. “What are you talking about?”

 

“This!” the girl stated taking a hairpin out of his book bag.

 

Kensuke walked over, swiped the hairpin away, and sort of admonished the girl. “Don't go digging into others people stuff.”

 

“Whatever” The girl said back not caring about his privacy. It was his fault anyway for leaving his bag open so she could see the hairpin in there. “You were just trying to show everyone up before.”

 

Again Kensuke had no clue what this snotty girl was talking about and he told her “Whatever you're thinking, you're wrong. This is a hairpin I got for Li Mei, not Rei.”

 

“Ah…. You're two timing Rei!”

 

The person that statement pissed off the most was who it was supposed to, Rei. But not for the reason this other girl thought. “Li Mei is our boss at work and part of the uniform for one of the areas in the restaurant involves wearing hair accessories” Rei said walking over to the girl. But the way she said it caught a lot of people off guard, it was almost like she was admonishing this girl for daring to say something like this. “She asked us to pick this up for her because she was too busy with a new baby and work. Kensuke simply has it in his bag because after class we are heading straight to work.”

 

The other girl backed off after that due to a cold glare. She was replaced by a more welcomed conversation member, Asuka. Who promptly swiped the pin out of Kensuke's hand and inspected the hairpin. “She went with the tortoise shell design after all.”

 

“She told me there already was one like the mother of pearl design she was also looking at in the dressing room so she decided to go with this one for a change” Rei replied enjoying this little bit of conversation so much more.

 

Asuka actually liked the hairpin she was inspecting a lot. “Maybe I will wear it tonight” and she put it in her hair. She then smiled as she saw a little nod of approval come from her boyfriend who thought it looked good on her.

 

“You're working upstairs?” Kensuke asked.

 

“Tonight I'm going to be” Asuka answered. “Apparently that new girl has caught on well enough where she can be a waitress up there so Li Mei asked me if I could work the front desk tonight because she needs all the other girls to wait on the customers.”

 

That didn't really surprise Kensuke that much. As busy as things were up there on these romantic days he figured Li Mei needed all the help she could get. Even if that meant sacrificing one of her better waitresses in the family restaurant below to fill in up there. “So you're going to make Shinji suffer all alone tonight.”

 

“Please” Asuka scoffed. “Last Valentine's Day when I did work down there I never even saw him.”

 

“Too busy in back?” Kensuke asked Shinji.

 

Shinji nodded his head yes and said in a defeated manner as of one who had already surrendered to his fate “I have to make all those radish roses for the dishes.” Shinji didn't mind doing that once in a while but when he had to do it all shift long it got tedious. And considering what today was it was a given that is what he was going to do.

 

“Man that's gotta suck” Kensuke said back feeling his friend's pain.

 

“You make those radish roses” Kensuke was interrupted by Rini, who had overheard their conversation. “That's so cool.”

 

“More like monotonous” Asuka said back with Shinji agreeing whole heartily to that. “It stops being any fun when you have to make a hundred of them and the head chef comes up and tells you to make two hundred more.”

 

“Okay, not cool” Rini said retracting her statement. That sounded like a whole lot of work. “So do you make those cutesy wiener animals too?”

 

“Sometimes” Shinji answered as that too was part of his job. “But someone else is going to be doing those tonight.” Shinji wasn't going to have time to do any of those tonight, for him it was going to be a giant pile of radishes to his left, a pairing knife at his right, and the order “Get carving” from the chef next to him as every dish tonight came with a complimentary radish rose to celebrate White Day.

 

“Are those things hard to make?” Rini asked as she had tried in the past to make them for a special lunch for her boyfriends but never quite got the hang of it.

 

Shinji sighed out his answer “It's not skill… it's repetition.”

 

“They used to make Shinji do stuff like that over and over until he got it right” Asuka added on.

 

“And once you get it right they make you do it even more” Shinji sort of complained. He generally preferred to cut things up and get things ready for the chefs in the kitchen than to be giving the jobs that required finesse. Unfortunately for him he was capable of finesse and was quick about it so he was stuck doing those types of jobs.

 

“Remind me to never work in a restaurant” Rini commented as that sounded like too much work for her.

 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****

 

Rei and Kensuke got to work before Asuka and Shinji, this was mainly due to the fact that it was faster to travel by moped than it was to wait for the bus. But once they got there they were immediately put to work. Shinji with his radish rose duty and Asuka filling in upstairs at the hostess stand.

 

Right before Asuka walked out to her station though she bumped into Hatoko. The lead waitress for the restaurant was quick to notice the hairpin in the redhead's hair. “Isn't that the new hairpin Li Mei just ordered?”

 

“Yup” Asuka answered.

 

Hatoko was just in back two seconds before Asuka had shown up helping another girl get ready and she didn't see it then so she was a little mystified as to how Asuka was wearing it. “How did you get that?”

 

“I wore it in” Asuka answered smugly.

 

That was even more confusing. “Huh?”

 

“Li Mei asked Kensuke and Rei to pick it up for her since she was too busy to, and I swiped it from Kensuke during school earlier today.”

 

“Why you little sneak thief”

 

Asuka's only reply to that was a smug smirk followed by her sticking her tongue out at Hatoko, then Asuka walked off towards her station for the night.

 

There was another waitress by them and Hatoko turned to her. “That's totally cheating.”

 

The other girl let out a little whine. “I wanted to be the first to wear that one.”

 

What was going on here was a big contest among all the girls who worked up there. Anytime Li Mei bought new jewelry or a kimono there was a contest to see who could wear it first. That boss of theirs would always tell everyone she bought something new but would never tell when she actually got the new item and placed it in the dressing room for the girls to wear. So this was sort of like a treasure hunt thing for all the girls up there. Asuka though completely cheated in her way of being the first to wear that hairpin though. And that wasn't all.

 

“Not only does she get to wear the hairpin first but she also got the black with red roses kimono too” the other girl continued to whine. That was one of the favorite kimonos among all the girls.

 

Hatoko sighed at that. “You know what really sucks..” and with a pout “… she looks so much better in that one than any of us.”

 

“I know” the other girl pouted back. Asuka's red hair fit perfectly with that outfit and that sort of made the other girls jealous.

 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****

 

In the kitchen on the floor below Shinji had an unexpected workmate. He was expecting another one of the prep cooks to be making the little wiener animals but instead it was Li Mei. She didn't quite have her strength back to work as a chef and she also did this so she could keep an eye on her baby girl, who was in a play pen crib right beside her. This child was going to grow up in this restaurant from the get go. She also got doted over by every person in the kitchen. All little Alisa, named after Zukav's favorite grandmother, had to do was make one little peep and every person in the kitchen turned to make sure everything was alright.

 

“How am I ever going to raise this child right with all these people spoiling her all the time?” Li Mei sighed.

 

Shinji just smiled at his boss while continuing to cut radish roses. There wasn't much he could say about that due to him being a guilty party. Plus he had heard comments like that from several people in the past about his treatment of Asuka. Usually it was them asking how they were ever going to get Asuka to be a normal well adjusted girl with him spoiler her all the time.

 

“Why am I even bothering asking you?” as Li Mei thought much like those other people. “You spoil Asuka horribly.”

 

“She doesn't mind” Shinji simply said back.

 

“I'm sure she doesn't” Li Mei chuckled. Li Mei had figured Shinji and Asuka out by now. Shinji wasn't spoiling Asuka because he felt he had to, he was spoiling her because he wanted to. These two people desperately wanted happiness and comfort in their lives and if both parties had to spoil the other to achieve that, then they were happy to do that. “By the way, did I see Asuka walk in with my new hairpin already in her hair?”

 

“Yup” Shinji answered and then looked on in dismay as one of the chefs took all the roses he had just made for some dishes coming up and said he needed to make a lot more as business was starting to pick up on an already busy day.

 

“That's going to rile some of the girls up” Li Mei mentioned, shaking her head a bit. She knew about the competition and that is why she never said when she got anything in. Hopefully by randomly adding things the girls wouldn't fight over who got to be the first to wear something. Her plan wasn't working so well but there was little she could do about it.

 

“I don't think Asuka cares” Shinji said back as more radishes were set down beside him. “She said she really likes it so she wanted to wear it.”

 

“It does look good on her, with the red hair and all” Li Mei remarked. “Should look nice with the roses kimono I told her I wanted her to wear tonight.” There was an executive decision made and that is why Asuka found one of the favorite kimonos waiting for her. Asuka was acting as the face of the restaurant tonight, she wanted the girl to look her best.

 

“I wish I could see her in that” Shinji sighed.

 

“Maybe if you're lucky she will come down and let you see her” Li Mei said trying to grant the boy some luck. She then sighed as she saw all the work in front of both of them “Because I don't think we're going to get a break at all.”

 

Shinji's shoulders dropped in disappointment as he said “I know.” This was going to be another nutsy night, just like Valentine's Day.

 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****

 

Shinji did actually get to see Asuka in her beautiful kimono, but it wasn't till the end of their night. He was too busy to go upstairs and Asuka was too busy to go downstairs till the very end of their shifts. But all that busyness didn't exactly tire them out as Asuka giggled “For someone who just spent all night carving your hands are still awfully energetic.” They decided to get off the bus a couple stops early and visit their favorite nearby park. Right now it was full of lovers, some definitely overcompensating publically in their showiness in their opinions, but still they found their little hidden away spot where they were afforded some privacy. That meant some sensuous kissing and playful petting was able to happen. Specifically Asuka was really enjoying the two hands caressing her ass while they kissed.

 

“My hands were sore after work” Shinji commented “But they don't hurt anymore.” Mysteriously all the pain in his hands disappeared the second they went up Asuka's skirt.

 

“Good” Asuka purred. “Because I've got all sorts of plans tonight that involves your wonderful hands.” That scintillating statement soon sequenced to some serious smooching once again.

 

And after a little while those same unexpectedly energetic hands sent a cue to Asuka that playtime in the park was over and it was time for playtime in bed when she felt them go under her panties and start to lightly brush up against her impatiently growing sexpot. “Let's go home Shin-kun… quickly.”

 

Shinji had no problems complying with his girlfriend's wishes and they hurriedly headed for home and some utmost privacy so they could do many things that were not possible in public. And once home it was quickly to Asuka's bedroom and quickly to undress and even more quickly to a pleasant position. Shinji was looking up at a heavenly part of Asuka that almost looked like it was begging to licked and fingered energetically while Asuka was staring down at something standing straight up at attention, and my what attention she was planning to give it.

 

“I think I'm in the mood for the mysterious” Asuka announced and then shook up the box of chocolate she got earlier. After the mixing up of chocolates she removed the top of the box and at random picked a chocolate truffle. “Now let's see what flavored Shinji I get to have tonight…” Asuka cooed as already those energetic fingers had started playing with her. Wasting no time she quickly broke open the truffle and watched as the sweet red syrup ran all over and coated Shinji's cock. She then leaned down a little lower and took a lavishing lick of Shinji. “Mmmmm…. Raspberry…” And right before she completely went to town lapping up all that deliciously sweet and tart syrup off a very appreciative stick she handed through her legs half the chocolaty shell the liquid had been contained in. There wasn't any reason Shinji should be denied a candy coated treat tonight as well.

 

Shinji knew exactly what Asuka wanted him to do and was very happy to do it as he took the decadent chocolate and rubbed it all over Asuka's pussy, using his girlfriend's body heat to melt the chocolate. Then he devoured Asuka, eliciting many moans from her on his cock as she slurped away at her chocolate truffle bouquet that had all the syrup running down its stick.

 

Shinji was able to hold out on the completely arousing raspberry, but the next round of strawberries did him in and Asuka got her sweet syrupy strawberry filling turned into a creamy salty strawberry filling. Not that bad of an exchange in her opinion, she was definitely going to have to remember this fun game of sharing her chocolates for the future. The reward she got in return for sharing was pretty awesome as well as by the time she finished licking off the last of the strawberry syrup she ended up having to grasp the sheets of her bed as an intense orgasm ripped through her body.

 

Shinji could feel Asuka's hot breath against his dick as she cried out in joy, making him more than ready for round two if Asuka desired it. And for a second he thought that is what was going to happen as after he saw her recover she grabbed another chocolate out of the box.

 

While another round of fun with food would have been pleasurable, Asuka had something else on her mind. Since Shinji was nice enough to make a truffle out of her pussy she needed it to be filled now, and Shinji had the perfect tool for that task as she turned around on him and inserted that filling tool all the way into herself. “We emptied a couple truffles of their fillings Shin-kun…” a ripple of pleasure surged through her body as she leaned forward and laid her breasts against his chest. The feeling of his heartbeat against her own gave her a sense of serenity that nothing else could. “… I think it's time we started filling my truffle back up.”

 

After that tempting offer Asuka put half the truffle she had grabbed before into her mouth, the other half was meant to be shared with Shinji. Shinji's hand came up and wrapped around Asuka, holding her tightly against him. The two spent the rest of that night sharing truffle infused kisses while making love.

 

\\\\||||////

*********** OOO ***********

////||||\\\\

 

Shigeru Aoba walked into Shin Seiki's ready for a delicious meal after a long day of recording with his band. He was greeted at the front stand by a blue haired girl wearing a beautiful kimono. “That one new?” he asked as he hadn't seen any girls up there in that one yet.

 

“Yes” Rei answered. “I am the first one to wear this particular kimono. But that is of no concern right now, please follow me to your table.”

 

That reply was kind of strict and impersonal. “Did I do something wrong?” Rei didn't answer his question and even deepening this mystery he noticed she was not leading him to a table but the stairs to the third floor. “Ummm Rei… where are you taking me?”

 

Rei simply answered with “Please follow me.”

 

Shigeru could tell if he didn't do what he was told he would most likely be in trouble, Rei obviously was told to bring him somewhere or she wouldn't be doing this. And when they got to one of the small meeting rooms up on the third floor he heard “Li Mei is waiting for you inside.”

 

Shigeru let out a troubled sigh. “I take it you know?” There was no mystery in his mind anymore as to why he was here. Something had happened, certain people found out, and now this situation needed to be addressed.

 

“I know only part” Rei answered truthfully as she didn't know the whole story, just the small part Hatoko was willing to confide in her with. “But Hatoko was most likely completely open with Li Mei and I would expect her to know everything.”

 

“How much trouble do you think I'm in with your boss?” Right now he was hoping that he wasn't about to be banned from ever showing up at this restaurant again.

 

“That will depend on your answers” Rei replied and then opened the door for him.

 

Shigeru Aoba looked inside and saw Li Mei sitting at a table waiting for him, she didn't look very happy. He heard a quiet “Good luck” as Rei shut the door behind him.

 

And as Rei walked back down the stairs she was thinking to herself `because you will need it.' Her boss was extremely steamed about this situation as it wasn't something that happened once but twice. She let it go the first time but now that rock star was about to go head to head with an overprotective boss who just had one of her employees that she thought of as family messed with.

 

When Rei got back to her stand she saw a panic stricken Hatoko waiting for her. “He didn't look mad did he?... I shouldn't have told Li Mei about the second time… Oh god, I hope he isn't mad at me…”

 

“I don't think you have anything to worry about” Rei told her. “Mr. Aoba is not the type of person to hold a grudge. Everything will be fine.” Considering what she knew about this situation Rei very much doubted that Shigeru would blame Hatoko in any way, in fact she was wondering if he was feeling guilty about the situation or if he happy in some ways about it. She suspected there was a whole lot more going on here than either Hatoko or Shigeru knew about. They were both just friends but she wondered if that was a decision based on two heart guarded people not being honest with each other and themselves.

 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****

 

Due to a very uncomfortable silence at the beginning Shigeru felt compelled to speak. “I know what you're thinking, I'm a complete louse…”

 

Li Mei interrupted his explanation right there with a very clear “Yes you are.”

 

“I promise it won't happen again.” The dirty look he got after he said that made him cringe, that was definitely not the answer this woman was looking for.

 

“Don't you give me that phony line Shigeru Aoba! Accidents are like lightning, they don't strike the same place twice. I can understand what happened last Valentine's Day. Both of you were lonely and decided to go out for drinks after work and commiserate about how alone you both were. Then you got a little too drunk in the process and ended up in bed together at the end of the night. I can let that go easily enough as two boats passing in the night, but I can't let go that you slept with her again on White Day. And you weren't even drunk that time!”

 

Shigeru felt really horrible after hearing that explosion. All of it was true and worse yet the fault lied mostly with him as both times happened at his place and he was the instigator of the hookups. He dropped his head in shame and started to rub his temple. “Why can't I ever get it right with women?” Hatoko really was a good friend and he was feeling like he totally blew it with what he had just done.

 

“Because you're absolutely clueless when it comes to women” Li Mei flat out told him. “Trust me, I know you and your band buddies. I've served you food at least twice a day for many years when we worked for Nerv. I'd hear you guys talk about your big dreams and about women, and then giggle with the other girls in back because we all thought you guys didn't have a clue. Now I'm happy you proved all of us wrong with your musical dreams but when it comes to women…”

 

“I still can't figure it out” Shigeru finished for her.

 

“That's why none of you are married” Li Mei said taking a shot.

 

“Actually Hajime is engaged to a girl down in Tanzania” Shigeru said trying to defend himself and his band mates.

 

“You mean the girl he knocked up?” Li Mei replied proving that she read those supermarket tabloids too from time to time.

 

“Well, I, ummm….” Shigeru didn't really have an answer for that, it was true after all.

 

“I at least hope he's marrying her for the right reasons” Li Mei said offhandedly about that situation.

 

This was a nice little sidebar he could get a seconds escape at so Shigeru jumped on that statement. “He really does care for her and she is moving to Japan to be with him, so I think it will work out.”

 

“That's good for Hajime, now if we could only get your situation to work out” Li Mei said getting the conversation back on the right track, much to the dismay of Shigeru. “And don't you dare simply think this is just a problem for this restaurant's reputation. Yes, I am very disappointed that you took advantage of one of my waitresses and in the public's eye that could look bad for me. But what I'm really worried about is Hatoko as she is very confused right now.”

 

“I didn't exactly take advantage of Hatoko you know” Shigeru shot back as he was tired of looking like a bad guy. “I didn't push her into bed and she never said no.”

 

“That's because she likes you, you dumbass!” There was a little conversation a while ago between Li Mei and Hatoko where Hatoko mentioned to her that she might be developing feelings the reluctant rock star.

 

“Wh- wha???”

 

“For the love of…” Li Mei said shaking her head in frustration. “Can't you even tell when a girl likes you?”

 

“But we're just friends” Shigeru argued back.

 

“Like you're the type of guy who would sleep with `just a friend'” Li Mei said very directly. “I know who you are, you're not a rock star who does things like this. You're a normal guy who has no clue what he has gotten himself into, is afraid of where it might go, and is more worried about the girl he slept with than himself. Which is why you're standing still, trying to pretend nothing happened.”

 

“Am I really that transparent?” Shigeru had to ask.

 

“Yes” Li Mei answered truthfully.

 

Shigeru sighed as he leaned back and laid down on the floor. And while staring up at an ornate ceiling he said “I can't let Hatoko into the limelight, I like her too much. She's the first real friend I made since I became famous who likes Shigeru Aoba and not the lead singer of a popular rock band. That would all be destroyed if we even did something simple like date.”

 

“So you think like that and still slept with her anyway?” Li Mei asked.

 

“I already told you those two times were accidents.”

 

“And I told you I don't think they are” Li Mei said right back. “In fact I'm sure this is going to happen again whether you want to admit it or not. You two obviously like to take solace in each other and are comfortable enough with each other that you can be intimate.”

 

“Which is all the more reason why we shouldn't go out” Shigeru replied. “Have you seen the tabloid headlines about me. According to them I have dated girls I have only meet once, cheated on said girls with other girls I talked to for only a second , and even fathered children with girls I have never even meet. Can you imagine what they would write about a girl I actually am dating.”

 

Li Mei could see his point but she also had another in mind. “Yes that could be bad but did you ever stop to think about how Hatoko would feel about the situation? You seem to be doing a lot of the decision making for the two of you without her thoughts and wishes in mind.”

 

That really made Shigeru feel like a heel. He was so concentrated on protecting Hatoko from the media that he didn't even bother asking if she wanted to be protected from it in the first place. “You're really hammering on me today Li Mei. I must have really made you mad.”

 

“Not mad” Li Mei answered. “Disappointed. You need to fix this as Hatoko is confused on where she stands with you. She's not the type of girl to do what you guys have been doing. There is much more to this and you need to confront this instead of trying to sweep it under the rug in an attempt to spare the other's feelings.” Li Mei ended the conversation at that and told Shigeru to think about the situation more while he ate dinner at his table downstairs.

 

After Shigeru finished his meal he headed for home to think this through.


 

Author's Notes: 

(A/N: I've been sitting on this chapter for 4 weeks now planning to do one last proofread before I put it up. I still haven't had a weekend free up enough to actual do it so I am just going to put it up, errors and all, and update it later on…. And that is the abrupt end to this chapter. Life just seems to be flowing along as usual for everyone so there isn't much to say other than catch you all again when the next chapter comes out.)

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