SHINA

The food was delicious, as it always was whenever I come for dinner… but the tension in the air was so prominent that it made me lose my appetite. I could tell that Angel was very uncomfortable. It made me wonder whether it was the right decision to bring her here for our first date… I mean, I always came here for dates, it was normal for me… but Angel is probably feeling so awkward and out of place… and I don't really know how I can make things better for her.

I stared at the golden liquid that I was swirling around in my porcelain bowl and tried to think of a way to cheer Angel up. She had eaten most of her food and now she was playing with the stray vegetables on her plate. My eyes zeroed in on a whole baby carrot that was resting on the edge of her plate and an idea formed in my head.

Slowly, I reached over the table and snagged the carrot. Angel wasn't paying attention to me, currently drinking out of her cup of green tea. I put the tip of the carrot into my mouth and held it between my lips. I tapped the table gently to get Angel's attention. When she looked at me, her eyes widened and she choked on her tea, snorted, and then held her nose while she spluttered; her tea most likely came out of her nose. I lost my control and I spit the carrot out and cackled at the reaction. Angel, after a few coughs, ended up laughing along with me.

In high school, we were sitting at lunch with all out friends. At that time, I never brought lunch for myself because I didn't like packing but I also didn't like paying for the school lunches. So everyone started to just feed me; a container of apple sauce here or a couple of celery sticks with peanut butter there…

Well, one day, I got a pack of baby carrots and while everyone was talking, I decided to be a perverted asshole with the carrots. We all laughed and after a few minutes I finally called it quits and said I had homework to do. Well, while I was multitasking with homework and eating carrots, it turned out that I was literally sucking on a carrot… and then Angel…

I chewed on the carrot absentmindedly as I tried to finish up my psychology homework. It was a damn difficult problem and I let out a soft moan of distress. I still don't understand what possessed me to take AP Psychology. I could barely understand what was going on in the lessons and it was a miracle I was passing. A soft sigh escaped from my lips as I ran a hand through my hair. I molded my lips around the carrot again and nibbled distractedly as I stared out one of the large window panes of the cafeteria.

"Shina."

My head swiveled around when Angel called out to me, "Ye—"

And just like that, Angel was yanking the carrot out of my mouth and throwing it onto one of the many lunch trays on the table.

"You're such a damn tease… Pervert."

Everyone was quiet for a moment before we exploded with laughter. Angel's cheeks were bright red and so were mine, but we both laughed in glee. It was embarrassing, but it was just too funny.

Apparently, I was right in assuming that she still couldn't watch me eating carrots because of that accidentally innocent and perverted moment. We were laughing so hard that everyone in the restaurant was staring. By the time our laughter had died down to giggles, our stomachs were hurting and I'm pretty sure the restaurant owner was about to come and kick us out for making such a ruckus.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and chuckled softly, "Ahh, gosh… come on, Angel. Let's go do something fun like walk on the boardwalk."

Angel's chuckles died down and she gave me a weird look, "Shina, it's freaking October and we're wearing evening gowns. Unless you're planning to take me home to change, I don't think I wanna be walking out there!"

A frown found it's way onto my lips as I stood up and gathered my things, "But I don't feel like stopping."

"Oh? But what happens when I get cold?" Angel walked beside me as we made our way out of the restaurant.

My frown turned into a playful smirk, "Don't worry Angel," my arm slithered around her thin waist and with a hard yank, I pulled Angel flush against my side, "I'll keep the cold at bay!"

Angel blushed brightly and I laughed as I released her to put some space between us. I had meant the cheesy move as a joke, but I found myself blushing cherry red as well and my heart pounded rapidly in my chest. The valet came back with my car and after patting the boy's cheek with a smile I slid into the driver's seat. I almost missed the daggers that Angel had sent towards the teen valet and I couldn't suppress my chuckle in time; she was quite adorable dressed in jealousy… Angel looked at me in confusion as she flopped into the passenger's seat when she head my poorly suppressed chuckle, but I dismissed her as I started to drive in the direction of the boardwalk.

The car ride was gonna be a bit long, but we were both enjoying the silence between us. After a while I turned my music on again and began to sing quietly. While I was singing along, I sneaked a glance at Angel out of the corner of my eye and I couldn't help but feel so warm and snug at the small smile that was curving at the edges of her lips. I was glad that she was comfortable. It was just like old days…

It was close to nine when we made it to the boardwalk, but it was fine. I locked up my car as we stepped out into the chilly night air. Walking around the ruby mustang, I offered my hand out to Angel, who took it, albeit a bit hesitantly. My fingers interlocked with the raven's and I pulled her along as I began a slow stroll on the almost empty boardwalk. Our heels clicked dully against the dark wood and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore created a soft melody that immediately pulled the tension from my body. I felt so flexible and free… so relaxed… and I was grateful that Angel was by my side so that I could experience this feeling with her. Glancing back, I could see the same serene expression that I had on my face mirrored in hers. She was enjoying herself…

I turned my head back around with a smile and glanced up at the lights of the luxurious casinos we passed. Looking farther up, I caught sight of the beautiful pure full moon. I turned my head once more to glance at the beach. There was a beautiful bluish-white tinted light that engulfed the area of the sand and water… so beautiful…

When I was suddenly jerked to a halt from Angel's sudden stop, I was about to turn around to ask her if something was wrong… but then I felt her finger lightly tracing a pattern that was on my back…

I didn't know what she had suddenly did that for and it really freaked me out… but as my surprise subsided, I realized just what it was that Angel had been tracing on the back of my left shoulder…

"So beautiful…" her voice reached my ears and I couldn't suppress the shudder that went through my body at hearing the awe in the compliment…


ANGEL

I was enjoying our little walk down the boardwalk despite the chilly air. Holding Shina's hand warmed my entire body up anyway, so the cold wasn't a problem… plus, I couldn't say no or ask to go when I saw how happy and calm Shina looked at the moment. She looked so playful and happy and… and she looked just like she did in high school, when life wasn't weighing her down. I could see the strain that she was trying to hide from me and I knew it was probably from her job… so it was nice seeing her this calm and carefree. I gently tightened my grip on her hand as we continued forward, content with just watching Shina's gaze flicker excitedly from the lights of the casinos, to the sky, to the water… but it wasn't until we passed under the next lamppost that I noticed it.

My body screeched to a sudden stop in surprise and our locked hands caused Shina to stumble when I accidentally pulled her back. Before she could turn around and take such a sight away from me to ask what was wrong, my hand shot forward to trace a white pattern that was etched into Shina's back. Her bare skin was soft under my fingertips as I traced the white outline of an extremely detailed angel wing where it was connected to half of a heart that seemed to be dripping some type of substance, most likely blood. The design looked so familiar and I racked my brain hard until I finally realized why: Shina had drawn this design back in high school when she had declared that she was going to get angel wings as a tattoo on her back.

Under the light ministrations of my finger, I felt Shina shiver. I traced over the bleeding half of a heart and was prepared to go and trace what I figured would be the other half of an identical copy of the white inked left wing tattoo… but what I came across was something that looked like a scar. I almost thought that it was real, but after running my finger across the white inked marks, I realized that the scar was in fact just another tattoo. It confused me though. Where this fake scar was located was supposed to be the other identical half of the wing and half heart… the heart was supposed to connect in the middle too… I remember her specifically telling us this over the lunch table… so what was this…?

"What happened to the other side, Shina?" I asked in a gentle voice as I moved closer to Shina's slightly trembling form to get a better view of the tattoo, "And why did you get it in white?" my hand pressed against the half heart that wrapped around her left shoulder blade.

Shina hummed softly and I felt her lean into my touch, "I… I liked how the white looked against my skin… and it's such a pure color… but, I couldn't handle the pain of getting another wing that detailed on my back… so I asked my tattoo artist to make the right side look like it was scarred… as if the other side of the heart and wing was ripped out." and then in a quieter voice, I heard Shina whisper, "I never truly felt complete anyway after we broke up… so it corresponded well with my life…"

My hand dropped from Shina's back and I could only stare at her with wide eyes. When Shina turned around to face me, she had a soft smile on her face… but it clashed so greatly with the water building up in her eyes. I had to blink rapidly to rid myself of tears as I saw how emotional Shina was becoming.

Shina took my hand back in hers and smiled brightly, a stray tear escaping from her eye, "You know, I'm glad we were able to meet again… go on this date. I haven't felt so calm or genuinely happy in so long I was beginning to think I could never feel this way again… Thank you…"

I didn't know what to say, so I used action instead. I was tempted to kiss her right then and there… hold her flush against my body and kiss her till she couldn't breathe… but I knew Shina might freak out about that, so instead of locking lips, I pulled Shina against me in a tight hug. I rested my chin on her shoulder and my arms looped tightly around her waist… Man… the last time I remember holding Shina like this was when she was comforting me after another failed relationship in our senior year of high school… but it feels just as nice… especially when Shina's arms wrapped tightly across my back and her hands grabbed the back of my shoulders.

We stood like that for a long while, both of us content to just to be in each other's arms. But finally, Shina decided to pull back with an embarrassed chuckle.

"Damn, look at me getting so wimpy… Haha, sorry about that… let's continue our walk…"

Shina and I walked side by side and hand in hand. It didn't matter where we were going. Soon enough, we found ourselves strolling through the sand with our heels in our unoccupied hands. The sand was soft and cool against my bare feet. It felt nice and I knew that Shina was enjoying herself once again. She no longer had tears in her eyes and her smile looked so much happier. She led me down towards the water and we stopped just when the water gently lapped at our feet. It was freezing, but I didn't say anything when I looked at Shina's face again.

I didn't know whether Shina was affected by the cold, but I definitely was… so while we were standing on the bank with the water kissing our skin, I decided to find some warmth… This led me to close the distance between me and Shina. I pressed close to her side and let out a soft sigh as her body heat engulfed me in a warm, comforting blanket. Shina responded immediately by wrapping her arm around me waist and resting her cheek against the top of my head. I looked out at the darkness before us. The ocean looked mystical, with it's gentle waves and bluish-white glow from the moon. It felt surreal and it only served to make this night even more beautiful than it already was.

When Shina let out a soft sigh, I looked up to see her looking down at me (damn she grew slightly taller since high school and she was already a few centimeters taller than me back then), "Let's get going. I at least want to introduce you to someone."

My head bobbed up and down slightly in acknowledgement to the idea. The red head smiled and she pulled me along, her hand still gripping my waist, till we reached her parked car. I settled in the passenger seat and watched as Shina walked around before she sat down in the driver's side. When she started up the car, I was grateful for the blast of heat that billowed against my body. Shina turned up the heat when she saw me shivering slightly before she put the car in reverse and got us back on the road. I didn't know where she was going or who she wanted me to meet, but I was content to sit in the comfortable silence of the car and let Shina take me wherever she wanted me to go…


KAT

"What the hell are you doing here?!" I couldn't help but gawk in surprise as I stared at Logan's slumped form sitting at my bar. The raven looked exhausted as all hell.

Logan's eyes trailed up to my face before he let out a weak snort, "I can't hang out at a bar for the night?"

My navy eyes narrowed slightly, "This bar is a good hour away from your shipping dock… and I'm sure there are plenty of other bars on the way that are closer than mine."

He looked like he was trying to come up with a good excuse to use against my logic, but after a while, he just gave up and set his head on the counter of the bar and groaned loudly. Feeling merciful, I pulled out two shot glasses and placed them both on the counter. The sound of the glasses clinking against the wood surface made Logan's head shoot up right when I was pulling out my strongest bottle of alcohol.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

I hummed softly as I poured two shots for the both of us, "You looked like you had a rough day and I'm a bartender. So, let me do my job. This one is on me." Suspicious eyes roved over my face and it made me laugh as I picked up the shot glass, "I'm serious Logan. I'm not being an asshole right now. This is part of my job. You can spill your deepest, darkest secrets to me if you want though." I downed the clear liquid and scrunched up my face slightly at the burn.

Logan scoffed, but he too ingested the alcoholic with a heavy sigh. Logan's head fell back onto the bar and he moaned loudly, "I hate my fucking job…"

A smirk found it's way onto my face, "And I love mine," but on a serious note, I reached over the bar and patted Logan's shoulder, "Did something happen?"

The raven's voice was filled with agitation as he responded to my concern, "They fucking replaced Jacob with an even bigger dickhead… this one just doesn't understand his place and likes to speak out. But when I tried to say shit to the higher ups, I got called out for it… Apparently the kid is one of the company owner's sons and he made him take the job to learn some discipline… Well fuck, look how that plan is going!"

Sounded rough. Logan probably wants to beat the shit out of the brat. I snickered at his luck and Logan scowled at me.

"You're such a bitch. How are you a bartender?"

"Hey, what the hell is that supposed to mean?!"

"Aren't you supposed to be trying to make me feel better?!"

"That requires me to act like I care."

"Isn't that your job?"

"No!"

"Damn, how do you even have customers if you treat them like this?"

"You're an exception!"

Before our little child's feud could continue, I heard the bells above my bar entrance jingle, signifying a new customer. I looked away from Logan and leaned against the counter in a seductive manner; if it's a new customer, they were definitely going to pay me some attention… if they were a regular, they were going to get a very nice greeting.

"Slut." I heard Logan cough.

I was about to rip him a new one, but I simply smirked when I realized he was blushing and looking everywhere but at my ass, which was currently in his view.

"Kat!"

My eyes shot back to the door when I saw Shina walking in. I smiled brightly and nudged Logan so that he could stop acting like a little schoolgirl. We both watched as Shina approached with the biggest smile we had ever seen etched onto her face. She looked so fucking happy and it made her look so much younger and livelier. Trailing behind her was a young woman who seemed to be around Shina's age. She was a couple inches shorter than Shina and her skin only a slight shade lighter than Shina's caramel complexion. Her eyes were a lovely brown and her black hair reached her shoulders with the bangs flowing over the right side of her face. I automatically knew who it was.

Both girls were dressed in simple black dinner dresses so I only needed to assume they went on a date to Shina's favorite restaurant. However, if that was the case, then I had to wonder why these two were here at… what time is it?

"What are two beautiful young ladies like yourselves doing outside at eleven at night?" Logan complimented.

I snorted at him and he glared at me. Shina caught both of our attentions before we started bickering again though.

"We just came back from the Boardwalk and I wanted to stop by here so I could introduce someone to you, Kat. I didn't expect you to be here too, Logan, but that's a good thing. I can introduce you to her both!" Shina pulled her date forward and out of her shadow. Her arm wrapped around the shorter girl's waist and pulled their bodies flush together, "Logan, Kat, this is Angel Effilreta! Angel this is Kat and Logan."

Angel smiled shyly, but she dipped her head, "It's nice to meet you both."

A smile broke out on my face as I stared at Angel, "It's nice to finally put a face to the amazing descriptions that Shina has always been telling me. I'm Katherine Dancer, nice to meet you Angel." Damn, Shina knew how to pick them… this girl was fuckably adorable in person.

Logan cleared his throat and I looked over to see him smiling as well, "It's nice to meet you Angel. I'm Logan. I'm basically Shina's best older brother."

My frown evolved into a scowl, "Best Older Brother? Oh please. I'm a way better older sister!"

"Oh really, what makes you so much better, whoretender?!"

"Well, I've known her for longer and I know how to comfort her, man-bitch!"

"Knowing her longer has nothing to do with this!"

"You're just mad that I know her better!"

Shina cleared her throat quite obnoxiously, but it stopped our bickering long enough to seen her looking quite annoyed and Angel laughing behind her hand. Shina snorted, "You two are as childish as ever. You both need to hop in bed together and get laid. That sexual tension just won't do."

Logan and I spluttered at the comment.

"No way would I get in bed with her!"

"No way would I get in bed with him!"

Shina laughed, and then she grabbed Angel's hand, "You two are unbelievable. Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and introduce Angel. It's quite late and we both have to get back home to our loyal companions. Maybe we can all meet up at my house soon and have a couple of drinks and hang out. See ya!"

"Bye everyone!" Angel hollered over her shoulder as Shina led her out of the bar.

"By the way, I ship it!" Shina's voice rang out over the sound of my bar door closing and the bells ringing.

Both Logan and I, once again, spluttered and blushed… and then I poured us another shot on the house to ease up the now-awkward silence that hung over our heads. Shina… she really knew how to screw up the moment, didn't she? That's my girl…