"Well, we're here!" Tristan announced as he stepped out of the driver's side of the car. He and Ryou ran around to the car's other side to open the doors for Catzi and Serenity. As the girls exited the car, Catzi stared up at the ferris wheel, the tallest part of the amusement park, dotted with colored cars around its edge.
"Do you want to go on that first?" Ryou asked from next to her.
Looking up at him, she shook her head and smiled. "Nah, I think we should go on the more exciting rides first!"
"Oh, like that roller coaster!" Serenity exclaimed, pointing at a set of white tracks. An orange train of cars rolled smoothly down them as people's screams increased then decreased in volume.
"Sounds like a great idea, Serenity!" Tristan agreed. "C'mon, let's go!" He and Serenity raced for the entrance to the park.
Ryou blinked, leaning back a bit. "Uh... I'm not the best with roller coasters."
"Do you throw up on them?" Catzi asked in a small, worried voice.
Ryou held up his hands, clearly embarrassed. "No, not that! They're just a bit frightening, that's all."
"I think they're supposed to be a little bit. Let's try it, anyways," she suggested, tugging lightly on his wrist with two of her fingers. "Please?"
Something about Catzi's gentle plea and shining eyes made Ryou's heart melt and his polite smile become tender. "Alright, we'll go on it as many times as you want."
Catzi grinned, which in turn made Ryou smile wider. "Awesome! Now let's catch up with Tristan and Serenity!" Catzi cheered. Laughing, the two ran after the impatient Tristan and the giggling Serenity who stood and waited for them.
All four of them ended up going on the roller coaster several times, mostly on Ryou's and Catzi's combined insistence. They also enjoyed various other rides, and Tristan and Ryou even tried to win prizes for their dates. Tristan won a medium-sized teddy bear for Serenity, but poor Ryou seemed unskilled at the games he tried. Catzi quickly reassured him with a hand on his shoulder, saying that he didn't need to win anything for her. Tristan suggested that they buy ice cream, an idea Ryou, Catzi and Serenity all approved of enthusiastically.
The four of them walked up to the Ferris wheel just as the girls were finishing their ice cream. "Wow, that goes up really high," Serenity said in amazement, looking up at the cars on the very top of the wheel.
"Have you ever been on a Ferris wheel before?" Tristan asked her.
"Yeah, but it's been such a long time. Let's get on the next car!"
Catzi laughed as she watched Serenity bounce on the balls of her feet, dripping chocolate ice cream on her shoe. "Yeah, we totally should!" Catzi agreed before licking her own cone.
Ryou watched Catzi for a moment, a small smile complimented by faintly pink cheeks on his face. "Let's get in line before it gets too long, then," he suggested, pointing at the people waiting in front of the Ferris wheel.
"Yeah, and we can ride all together!" Serenity chimed. She and Catzi laughed as they ran to get in line. Smiling widely, Tristan and Ryou shared a look before following them.
They were in line long enough for the girls to finish their ice cream, and the four of them boarded car number seven together. Tristan pointed out Domino High and other sites he deemed important for Serenity, while Catzi and Ryou alternated between conversing and looking out at Domino City from their aerial view silently. Tristan noticed with a smirk of amusement how Catzi and Ryou snuck glances at each other when the other wasn't looking.
As they got off the Ferris wheel, Tristan remarked nonchalantly to Ryou, "You know, I think we should ride that again you and Catzi in one car, me and Serenity in another."
Ryou lifted an eyebrow. "I thought Joey said he didn't want you alone with Serenity."
"What?" Serenity and Catzi asked simultaneously. They looked between their dates with perplexed expressions. Catzi thought, Does that have anything to do with why Bakura asked me out?
Tristan, suddenly flustered, waved his hands in protest. "Hey, c'mon, Serenity and I won't be alone! We'd be in cars right next to each other, so we'll be able to see each other at all times! Really!" For some reason, Tristan's protest made Catzi feel angry, curling one hand into a fist by her side.
Ryou placed a hand over his chin, thinking for a moment. Before Catzi could demand an explanation from Tristan, Ryou said, "If you girls would like to go again, we can try Tristan's idea," He turned to Catzi and Serenity.
The girls exchanged a puzzled look, then shrugged at the same time. "Sure, why not?" Catzi said to Ryou. She shoved her anger from her mind for now.
"You can show me more of Domino from up high!" Serenity chimed, smiling at Tristan as she said this to him.
"I'd love to, Serenity!" Tristan agreed, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and leading her to the now short Ferris wheel line.
Ryou watched the two for a moment, eyebrows furrowed in slight confusion. Then, he turned to Catzi, smiling slightly. His face quickly took on a mask of concern when he saw emotion in her brown eyes. "Are you ok?" he asked meekly.
Startled out of her thoughts, her gaze ripped off the ground to meet his eyes. "Oh, yeah, I'm alright!" she assured him hastily, a sweat-drop on her head. Not too angry, at least
Ryou raised an eyebrow, then relaxed and smiled. "Alright, if you say you are." That being said, Ryou and Catzi walked over to join Tristan and Serenity in line.
Unlike earlier, Catzi was quiet and contemplative. A weight began to build on her heart- for two reasons. The first was because it bothered her a lot to think that Ryou may have only asked her out because Tristan needed another couple to tag along with him and Serenity. The second reason she couldn't quite place until she began to board the Ferris wheel.
She froze, stepping one foot into the pink car. It was number 3.
"Catzi?" Ryou asked from behind her.
Catzi shook her head furiously, scurrying into the cat. She slid on the bench to the far side of the car so Ryou could sit by her. Being the gentleman that he is, Ryou sat next to the other window so there was some space between them. Still, concern shone through his eyes as he asked, "Catzi, what's wrong? Have you not had fun today?"
Catzi gave him a wide-eyed look of surprise. Apparently he misread me! "Oh, that's not it at all!" she laughed nervously, waving her hand in the air. "Really, I've had a great time today. It's just
" She trailed off nervously, rubbing her neck nervously. She glanced up at Ryou, whose eyes held a question that he was too polite to ask. His eyes
are so soulful and calming. The thought made her smile and blush slightly. "I just had a flashback when we got on."
"What about?" Ryou asked, smiling.
"Just something Yugi told me about the Ferris wheel," Catzi replied. Her hands clenched on her knees.
"Oh," was all Ryou said. His smile evaporated as he turned to look out the window.
Stupid! Wrong choice of words, Catty! Catzi scolded herself. She stared down at her shoes and clutched her skirt hem tighter. Why'd you even bring him up? Now you've made things awkward! She turned her head to stare out her own window. The ground below looked like a mesh of color as their car rose higher on the Ferris wheel. Wait a second
Catzi squinted, looking down at the ground. I could've sworn I saw them. Her eyes scanned for a familiar brunette girl or a short boy with spiky hair, but by then she couldn't distinguish the faces apart of anyone in the crowds below. Sighing, she sat back, staring at Tristan and Serenity in the car in front of them. Tristan attempted to hold Serenity's hand, but just as he was about to grab it she pointed out the window and began talking. Catzi smiled. "Tristan's not doing a good job there."
"What do you mean?" Ryou asked, turning.
Catzi pointed. "He's trying to flirt with Serenity there. See?"
Ryou watched them for a moment then smiled. "I see." There was awkward silence between them again as he began casually looking out the window again.
I really should tell him what's on my mind, Catzi thought, studying Ryou intently. He looks
sad. I don't like that. She opened her mouth, then shut it again, looking out her window. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eyes; he still was looking out the other window. Then, she looked at Ryou again, saying, "Yugi actually told me about something that happened to Tea on this Ferris wheel," she said.
"Really?" Ryou met her eyes.
The curious look in his eyes almost made Catzi lose the words on her tongue again, but quickly she said, "Yeah, it was before Yugi found out about the Pharaoh being in the Puzzle, and technically they both told me about it." She paused, then continued, "See, Tea had asked Yugi on a date, and they came here to this park. That day there was a bomber in the park, so they were evacuating everyone."
"I remember hearing about that," Ryou replied. "They had to repair the Ferris wheel after that, almost from scratch."
Catzi nodded. "Yeah, and apparently she- I mean Tea- guessed about there being another side to Yugi, so she got onto the Ferris wheel, into this car," Catzi tapped on the car's wall, "to get the Pharaoh to come out."
Ryou's eyes widened. "She did? I never thought she would put herself in danger on purpose!"
"Well, she was just trying to make him think she was in trouble, but she didn't know the bomber had placed several bombs on the Ferris wheel. Not one, but several. Then, the bomber made the police chief play a game with him to keep the bomb from going off, but Atem before he found his name offered to play instead, since he was trying to save Tea."
"And he won?" Ryou asked, obviously interested.
"Yeah, although he cut it kinda close," Catzi said with a laugh. "Seriously, a bomb either right above or right below Tea went off, I don't remember which."
"That sounds terrifying," Ryou replied, eyes widening.
"Definitely," Catzi agreed, nodding so her hair bounced around her shoulders. "But no one got hurt, thankfully," she added with a smile.
"What kind of game did Atem play, even?"
Blinking, Catzi began playing with her hair. "Uh
" She looked up, then back at him. "I don't remember, actually. Something with balloons or face cards, not sure which."
"Yeah, sounded weird to me, too."
The wheel slowed down, then came to a stop as they arrived at the bottom of the Ferris wheel. The ride worker opened the car for them, and as soon as Ryou stepped out he held a hand out toward Catzi. Blushing, Catzi took his hand and allowed him to help her out in a gentleman-like manner. Ahead of them, they saw Serenity half-dragging Tristan towards a cotton candy stand, and Catzi laughed at the sight. "C'mon, Bakura we'd better catch up with them," she said while grinning, beckoning for him to follow as she ran towards the other two.
Later in the day, Catzi and Tristan were standing outside the bathrooms waiting for Serenity and Ryou, each holding their own and their dates' cotton candy. Catzi decided then to ask him what had been on her mind earlier. "What did Bakura mean when he said that Joey didn't want you and Serenity alone together?"
Tristan sighed. "Basically that Joey's being protective of her, and he wouldn't let me ask her out unless I brought along other people, so I made this a double date."
Catzi narrowed her eyes at him. "Is that the only reason why
"Hey Catzi, Tristan," Serenity said with a smile, walking up and taking her pink cotton candy from Tristan. "I heard some girls in the bathroom talking about an artist doing free temporary body art over near the games. Let's go check it out!"
Several hours later, after Serenity and Catzi got matching flowers painted onto their wrists and after a few more rides, the foursome were back in Tristan's car. The sun was setting, coloring the sky orange and red as the foursome talked and laughed together. By the time they had dropped Serenity off at her house the other three were worn out and sat silently on the way to Catzi's place.
Catzi sat staring out the window, fingers playing with strands of her aquamarine hair. Her short talk with Tristan earlier came to mind. I still don't know if Bakura only asked me out because Tristan forced him to. But
does it really matter? Should I ask him about it?
Soon Tristan pulled up to where she lived and parked the car along the curb. "Here we are! No need to worry about hurrying or anything," he replied, looking back at Ryou.
Ryou looked surprised for a moment before chuckling, "We won't be too long, no worries." He opened his door and stepped out. He opened the other door for Catzi and walked with her up to her front door.
"Thank you for taking me to the park, and for inviting me to come," Catzi said, turning to face Ryou.
Ryou mirrored her small smile. "You're welcome, I'm glad you could come."
They stood there for a few more moments. Catzi alternated between looking at Ryou and playing with her hair. Finally, she said, "You know, you don't have to let Tristan or anyone else pressure you into things you don't want to do."
"What do you mean?"
Shuffling her feet together, Catzi replied, "Well, just because he said you should ask me out on a date doesn't mean you have to..." She looked down at her shoes.
"No, it's not like that," Ryou protested. "It's just-"
"But Tristan said Joey wouldn't let those two be by themselves on their date, so I thought-"
He reached out and put a hand on her shoulder, making Catzi pause abruptly as she looked at him in confusion. "Catzi, I
" Before she could figure out what he was doing, he leaned over and kissed her cheek. He pulled back, his cheeks pink. "Forgive me for being so forward, but
" He rubbed his neck awkwardly, looking down at his shoes. "I
," he whispered, and then he said something she couldn't make out.
"What was that?" Catzi asked.
Lowering his hand from his neck, Ryou raised his head and met Catzi's eyes. A look of gentle determination in his face made her heart skip a couple beats. "I like you, Catzi. I like you a lot."
Both fell silent. Did I just hear what I thought I heard? Catzi thought as she continued to gaze into his brown eyes.
Sighing, Ryou looked away and closed his eyes. "I'm sorry for surprising you like that. I didn't mean to-"
Arms flung around his chest made him stop talking mid-sentence. His whole face red, he looked down at the top of Catzi's head. Catzi hugged him for a few more moments then pulled back. "I
like you too. A lot, even," she almost whispered.
His eyes widened. "But what about Yugi?"
She shook her head, still smiling. "He and I are a thing of the past, Bakura."
"Are you sure?"
She nodded. "He hurt me, true, but it's still in the past, and I don't care for him that way. Not anymore."
He visibly relaxed, and they both stood there beneath the lamplight, happy but uncertain of what to do next. Finally, Ryou reached forward and took Catzi's hand, making her blush. "Catzi
W-will you join me for a date in the park next Saturday?" His face turned red as he added, "I heard there was going to be a free performance there, and we could take a walk around the pond, too."
Catzi raised an eyebrow. "Just us?"
"Just us," Ryou affirmed, smiling widely.
Not that today's date wasn't fun, but
being with just him will be nice. "Yes, I would love that," she replied
Ryou bent down and kissed her hand. Catzi's cheeks even brighter pink, she smiled wider to keep herself from giggling. "I'll pick you up at noon," he said, continuing to hold her hand.
" Nervously she walked up to him and kissed his cheek. "Thank you again. See you at school."
That was enough to fluster Ryou. "Um, yeah, of course, see you then."
Both of them were grinning as Catzi entered her house and Ryou went back out to the car where Tristan was waiting.
"Chiyoko! How was your date?" her mother asked as Catzi entered the kitchen.
Grinning, Catzi replied, "Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful."