Anya sighed as she looked at the orb sitting on her night stand. Her great-grandfather was so proud when she received it. She had seen a twinkle in his eyes that she had never seen before. It was the last of anything she saw in his eyes, he was dead the next morning.
"I hate you," she told the small object. She was the next bearer of the Armor of Loyalty... so what? In gaining that armor, she lost her grandfather, and any chance at a normal life. She should have just went on that last vacation with her father, and step-mother and died in the crash like everyone else.
"But at least," she thought with a sigh. "At least this blasted thing brought me Rowen, and the others." She then looked at the clock next to her. It was 8:30. ?Shit!? she shouted. She jumped off of her bed and started to strip out of her street clothes.
"Hey, Anya, you okay in there?" Chiyo asked.
"Why didn't you tell me it was this late? Rowen'll be here any minute!" Anya shouted through the door.
Chi pushed the door open and watched Anya trying to find something to wear. "So, you and Mr. Hashiba are going out again? What's this, the third Friday in a row?" Chiyo looked across the room and noticed a photo album sitting on Anya's desk. "What ever happened to 'we're just friends, grow up Chi,' huh?"
Anya picked up a pair of black jeans and quickly put them on... almost falling over in the process. "I don't have time for this Chiyo," she growled. "Where's my gray blouse?" she asked.
Chi folded her arms and leaned against the doorway. "In the laundry."
"Sit down," Chi said lowly.
Anya shook her head as she started to look for another top. "I don't have time."
"Anya Nikita Doji, sit down now," she commanded.
With wide eyes, Anya sat on the bed.
"Thank you." Chi walked over to Anya's closet and started to look through the clothes hanging there. "You've been up here going through that album all day haven't you?" she asked.
"That has nothing to do with...."
"It has everything to do with you being this upset. The last time you were like this, it was Mama and Papa's wedding anniversary. Now on Grandfather's birthday, you're all cranky, about to go out on date, and you're acting like you're like this every day." Chi pulled out an emerald green turtleneck sweater and gave it to Anya. "Now, I know you like Rowen, but I also know that if you don't chill out, you're going to wind up taking his head off."
Anya looked at the top in her hands and gently ran her hands across the soft cotton. "I'm sorry Chi...."
"I'm used to you," she said carelessly. "Besides, who would put up with me when I get into my moods?" Chi saw an answer forming on Anya's lips and frowned. "If you say it, I'll make you eat that sweater."
Anya laughed as she hugged her step-sister. "Okay. But I will say that you and Kento make a cute couple."
"Wha..." Chi was cut off by the doorbell.
Anya's eyes widened as she ran into the bathroom. "Tell him I'll be there in a minute!" she said before slamming the door.
Anya felt Rowen take her hand into his. She looked
into his midnight blue eyes and smiled. "I had a great time Rowen. Thank
you," she said softly.
"Are you sure?" he asked. Chi had told him that Anya was in a foul mood tonight, and even if she hadn't, the redhead's lack of communication said it all. "You didn't seem quiet yourself tonight."
She lowered her head. "I'd rather not talk about it."
"You've barely spoken all evening."
"We were in a movie."
"But before that. At dinner."
She turned on him. "Look, today's just not one of my better days, okay?" she said on the verge of shouting. She roughly pulled her hands out of his and folded her arms. "Maybe you should just take me home."
Rowen put his hands in his coat pockets and sighed. "Sure, if you want." Rowen walked beside Anya in silence until they reached his car. Once there, he opened the door for her and walked to the driver's side.
They drove along in complete silence for ten minutes before Anya noticed something. "This isn't the way to my house," she said lowly.
"I have something to show you."
She folded her arms and watched the snow fall. It was light when they left the movies, but it was starting to come down hard now. "I think we should...."
"I have to show you something," Rowen repeated.
She looked at his profile and slowly felt her anger mingle with curiosity. All night he had seemed happy and pleasant, but now, he seemed like a whole different person. On his face were hard angry eyes. She figured that she had given her mood to him. She returned to looking out of the window, and started to feel sad. Rowen was always more than nice to her, and now she had upset him. She looked out into the dark road, and saw a full moon. "I'm sorry Grandpa. I didn't mean it," she thought before turning to Rowen. Just as she opened her mouth to speak, Rowen pulled into a driveway of some kind.
"We're here," was all he said before getting out of the car.
Anya looked around and saw that they were out in the middle of nowhere. She saw Rowen walking along a trail the was being hidden quickly by a forest and the snow, and ran after him. Her cheeks, nose, ears, and fingers were starting to go numb as she reached out for him. "Rowen, where are you taking me?" she asked.
Rowen reached a small house, walked up to the door, and ignored her.
Anya looked around in utter awe. The house was small, true, but the surrounding landscape was breath taking.
"Are you coming in or not?"
Anya looked at Rowen as he stood in the doorway. He was still angry. She walked into the house and looked at him. "Rowen... I'm...."
"I have something that I really have to say to you," he cut in. As she walked over to the small sofa, he closed the door. He pulled his coat closer to him. The fire place was just lit, and it would take a while for it to start burning good. "I know today was your Great-grandfather's birthday," he started. Before she could say anything he raised a hand. "Please, let me say this," he said looking into her eyes. "I asked you out tonight to try and get that fact off of your mind. But there's another reason too." Rowen looked around the house and sat next to Anya. "Today's the day that my mother told me that she and my father were getting a divorce."
He felt Anya's stare as he looked into the fire that was starting to burn better. "We had always come out here on vacations. All of us. This was the only place that I felt like I had a family. They wouldn't fight here. It was like this place had a spell on them.
"You could ask the guys, and they'd tell you, every year around this time, I'd always come here and sit and remember all of the good times... and the not so good... and the times when I felt like just running away and never looking back." He looked into her eyes for a brief moment before standing. "But tonight I really didn't want to come here. It was like I knew I was going to be with you, and all the hurt and pain that today usually held just went away, because I was going to be with you."
Anya could feel the tears stinging her eyes. Not only had she upset him, but she reminded him of the very thing that he wanted to escape. The unhappiness. "And I screwed it up," she said with her head bowed.
Rowen looked at her. "An-chan, I wanted to bring you here because I wanted to tell you all of this. I didn't want to fight with you. Not tonight." He knelt in front of her and lifted her head up. "I didn't mean to make you feel guilty." He was lost in her eyes as they glowed from the fire light. "Come here, there's something else that I wanted to show you."
Anya followed him to the back door and gasped. "Rowen, it's... it's..."
"I would offer to put on a pot of cocoa, but I'd screw it up," he said as he looked at the snow covered clearing.
She looked across the clearing and saw the snow falling gently on all of the tall trees. A single ray of moonlight came down almost like a spot light onto the small pond, turning it into the perfect mirror for the stars. She then looked at Rowen.
Without knowing how they slipped from her mind to her lips she had no idea. All she knew was that the friendship they had agreed upon was over. "I love you," she said softly. She saw Rowen's smile as her eyes went wide. Before she could say anything, she felt his lips against hers in a small sweet kiss.
"I love you too," he whispered as he pulled away from her.
Anya felt herself blush. She then moved away from him smiling. "I'll fix the cocoa. It's getting cold."