Author's Note: QueenVegita, I wanted to thank you for pointing that out about the times…I did put that there to put more obstacles to the date, but if I had been my usual forgetful self that would have helped me greatly…Thank you. *smile*

DISCLAIMER: The characters aren't mine, they belong to Squaresoft (I can only wish they were mine) I ain't makin' one red cent, or any other cent of any color, I'm as poor as a church mouse (hey who came up with that sayin' anyways…I mean how can you tell if a mouse that lives in a church is as poor as say a mouse livin' in an apartment building?) Please don't sue, cuz all ya'll get is my kids' broken toys and dirty laundry, and I do mean clothes, this ain't the mafia!!! Ya I know my grammar needs major help…if some English instructor was reading this, they would probably faint dead away…please excuse my lapses in grammar. *grin*

Warnings: : Language, sexual content, and anything else my wicked little mind can think up.


Chapter 7

By LaughingWolfGirl

Irvine was on cloud nine, walking around the Garden with a huge grin on his face, he couldn't stop smiling, and all his thoughts were on a certain blonde and thinking of being with him tonight, whether they sat and talked all night or just sat quietly. He just wanted to be with the gorgeous guy. He was off in his own mind and didn't see the perky brunette closing in on him fast from the left, not until she jumped onto his back did he realize he wasn't walking alone. Nearly knocked over from her jump he reached back and held her up in a piggy-back position, and looked over his shoulder grinning back at her.

"Think you could give a guy a little more warnin' darlin' before you decide to jump on a guy, at least then ya won't end up on the floor."

Selphie laughed and just hugged his neck tighter for a moment and then released, letting him know that she wanted down. He released her and she immediately got in front of him, walking backwards.

"Where did you go so early Irvy, and hey where were you last night, I came by but didn't get an answer?"

"Well love, I fell asleep as soon as I got to my room and didn't hear your knocks, who knew I was so tired." He said quickly, feeling a twinge of guilt at lying to his best friend.

"Ya and how about this morning huh? I thought we could all go shopping together, but I see you already did that, if that lump I felt in your pocket is anything to go by."

"Aw sweet, don't be mad at me, I woke up early and didn't want to bug anyone so ya I went to town and got my cologne." Among other things he thought to himself with a grin.

"Irvine Kinneas, what has you grinning like an idiot, if I didn't know better I would say you're in love!" The petite brunette stated while smiling up at the cowboy.

"Would that be so unbelievable Selph? I mean I could have met someone ya know, I know you and Quistis are an item and Squall and Rinoa are supposed to be one-"

"You do know that Squall and Zell are starting to have feelings for one another don't you?" Selphie interrupted him.

"So when did you figure it out and ya I've known for awhile."

"Poor Rinoa, I have a good mind to go over and let her know so she won't get hurt to bad."

"Selphie you stay out of it, Squall won't string her along and even if he wanted to Zell would never let him, but I don't think she will be as hurt as we all think, the girl is like a cat Selph and she'll land on her feet just fine; but if ya stick your nose in, you could cause it to be blown way out of proportion."

"You really think so?"

"Ya I do darlin', you'll be letting Rinoa know that she has an audience to play up to and rather than keeping it quiet the way Squall would like, she'll sing loudly to all."

"Ok I'll take your word for it, and you didn't tell me, so did you meet someone…come on spill the beans, I wanna know."

"Well sweets, come to my room while I put my stuff away and I'll give ya all the juicy details."


"Squall man, keep your voice down, the whole restaurant doesn't need to know, and I didn't say they were kissing, I said they were almost kissing."

"Hell Zell, warn a person next time your going to spring that kind of info on them."

"Ya well, I didn't know you would be telling everyone in one sentence, but I thought you would want to know, and then let me know what we should do about it."

"I can't believe Irvine was nearly kissing Seifer Almasy, man just saying his name curls my innards with disgust, what could the cowboy be thinking. Or should I say; what was he thinking with?" Squall said with disdain as he sat back in his chair looking over at Zell's anxious expression.

"Well he was controlled by Ultimecia, that wasn't his fault; it was just like Rinoa and Edea."

"Yes, but before the whole Sorceress fiasco, he wasn't controlled then, and he was a bully, always looking out for himself only, taunting and picking on others."

"Ya but Irvine told me he's changed, and that we should give him a second chance."

"Is that what you think? Do you think he could have changed so much?"

"Well no, hell I don't know Squall, that's why I wanted to talk to you about it, you were his rival, if anyone knew him best, it would be you."

"Truthfully, I don't know what to do, I'll have to think about it, and in the meantime I suggest we watch Irvine, make sure he comes to no hurt, I mean Seifer could just be playing with him, I wouldn't put it past the guy. I'm done talking about them." With that he gave Zell an intense look that melted the smaller martial artist's toes.

"Seifer, get that truck out back unloaded for me will ya, just put them in the storeroom, and after that, give Chico a hand with cleaning the tables out front, just don't get in Roxanne's way, for some reason she don't like you." Manny said while grinning at his newest employee.

Seifer had met the others and most were willing to be friendly to him, which surprised him as well, but the waitress from earlier still wouldn't really acknowledge him too much, not unless she had to. He found out her name was Roxanne, and had a thing for Irvine. Well she was out of luck, the cowboy was his, and if he had his way, the boy would stay his for a very long time. Looking at the others who worked for Manny, he realized that they all looked like hard-luck cases. It seemed that Manny had a soft spot for those down on their luck. Which worked for him, he wasn't about to judge anyone here, not when he was in the same way as they were.

While he was working cleaning tables his mind kept wandering to Irvine and replaying the scenes from this morning. He couldn't believe that he had found someone, someone who felt the same way, if that kiss was anything to go by. Thinking of the cowboy, made him realize that he wasn't going to be able to meet Irvine at eight this evening, he would have to see if he could get his break at eight and run down and meet Irvine and explain the situation, or he would have to try and call the Garden and see if they could patch him into the cowboy, though he wasn't looking forward to calling and talking to anyone else there. He would just have to ask Manny for the break and hope for the best.

While Seifer was in the back unloading crates of food, he saw his chance to talk to Manny, so he walked over to the boss, who was doing an inventory of food stuffs, and took a deep breath and come right out and asked, "Hey Manny, do you mind if I take my last break for the day at 8:00?"

Manny looked over at Seifer for a few seconds and then replied, "You know kid, I'm not sure that would be a good idea, generally around that time, my shop gets the busiest," he saw Seifer's face fall a bit at this news and quickly answered, "how about we play it by ear hhmm…I mean, if I don't need you at the time, you can take your break. That work for you? What you got a hot date or something at that time?" Manny laughed while waiting for Seifer's reaction.

"Well ya kind of and no way to let them know that I can't make it, so I was hoping to run over to where we're supposed to meet and explain and maybe reschedule it."

Again Manny looked over at Seifer, this time with a raised brow and a small grin. "Tell you what, I'll do this for ya once, but don't get used to it, you can take your break and go meet your date and let them know what's up and then get back here and work your ass off, just do be lettin' the others know I let you do this, then they'll all be asking for stuff."

Seifer was once again amazed at Manny's generosity with him, he didn't know what to make of it, not being used to kindness from others. Manny saw the surprise look on the tall blonde's face before it was quickly covered and felt a twinge of sadness that the boy would be surprised at kindness shown to him. He knew that the other shop owners liked to call his coffee shop, "Manny's Charity House" behind his back, but what the other shop owners didn't realize was, that by giving these kids a second chance, and believing in them, made them very loyal and willing to work hard. Sure some didn't work out, that was to be expected, but most stayed and worked out well. He had the best turn-over rate in town. He hardly ever had to fire someone or have people quit, where as the others constantly had problems keeping employees, and if kindness and support was all these kids needed, well that was fine with him.

"Thanks Manny, I owe ya one….and I won't let it get around." Seifer said while wearing a smile that reached his eyes.

"Ya…ya…just work your ass off and we'll be squared, and don't be tellin' anyone that I'm nice or something, I got a rep as a hard-ass, and I wanna keep it that way."

Seifer snickered under his breath at this and nodded at his boss before walking back to the crates, feeling happier than he had ever been.

"YOU'RE IN LOVE WITH WHOM!" Selphie nearly yelled in her surprise at what Irvine had just revealed, causing the cowboy to wince at the pitch in her voice. He loved her dearly, but there were times that her voice could raise the dead and have them covering their ears as well, good thing they were in his room sitting on his bed.

"You know Selph, I really didn't want the whole of Garden finding out about this, at least not yet." He said wryly.

"Oops sorry Irvy, I just was so surprised at who you met, it just seems weird that you would be in love with Seifer, especially after one encounter. Are you sure it's not just lust?"

"Oh ya darlin' there's a whole lotta lust goin' on there, but that's not all, I can't really explain it to you, but I just know that he's the one…I've never, never felt it this strong, it's as if part of me recognized him instantly, he was a piece of me I really didn't know was missing, a part I needed. Can you understand that Selph?"

"I can't say I've ever felt that way, not at first sight or first meeting, but if you say that's how you feel then I believe you Irvy, but does he feel the same way, cause you know I don't want to see you hurt, I mean this is Seifer we're talking about here, he doesn't have the best track record around people and I don't wanna see you hurt, cause then I would have to hurt the guy!"

"He does darlin' he does, I saw it in his eyes, I felt it in his kiss, and I know what he used to be, but he's not the same person Selph, you gotta look into his eyes to see him, and you know, I wonder how much of his bullying was actually mean, I saw him today tease Zell, and Zell react like he did before, but I was watching him Selph, he was just teasing, he didn't mean it. I bet some of the way he was before was the same as I saw today."

"Well Irvy you just be careful ok, promise me, cause you know I love ya and only want the best, and if this is what you want I'm behind you totally" She told him while reaching over and giving him a huge hug.

"Hey Selphie, I hate to cut this short, but I gotta get ready I got a date tonight darlin' and I gotta look my best don't 'cha know!"

"OOOh a date, with him huh, gee Irvy you work quickly don't ya." Selphie laughed while getting up from the bed and walking to his door, "Well then good luck tonight and have fun and be sure to give me details tomorrow ok!"

"Sure thing sweetheart, though if there are really juicy details I'm keepin' those to myself!" He smiled at her cheekily while she stuck her tongue out at him and left.

Seifer looked at the clock impatiently, knowing that soon he would see Irvine again and hoping that Irvine would understand and want to reschedule. He didn't know what he would do if Irvine wouldn't do it, but after that spectacular kiss earlier, he was pretty sure everything would work out. It was amazing how one kiss could color his perceptions so much; make him see the world so changed. One day, that's all it took, just one day for his life to be turned upside-down, it was incredible, if he didn't know better he would say he was dreaming.

When the time came by for him to go, he quickly walked into the back of the shop, looked over in Manny's office and let him know he was going on his break and walked back to the front to leave. Once he was outside he walked quickly, nearly running in his haste to get to Irvine. He saw the cowboy leaning against the dock rails, letting the ocean breeze blow through his loose auburn hair; he was facing up letting the moonlight shine in all her glory upon him. Seifer felt his chest constrict at the beautiful sight before him.

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