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.
Irvine walked over towards the hotel, mulling over his kiss with Seifer, smiling hugely. He had never felt so happy, he felt like he had won the lottery or something. The feelings that the blonde evoked were incredible. He wanted to run and shout to everyone how happy he was and who had made him so happy, but he knew that that was impossible. At least for the moment it was. If everything worked out between himself and Seifer, he would be shouting it from the rooftops, letting everyone know that the gorgeous blonde was all his.
He had been so deep in his thoughts he didn't realize that he had arrived at the restaurant and that Zell was looking him over looking for what looked like wounds or bruises. He became slightly exasperated with the martial artist for thinking that he couldn't take care of himself. "Zell why are you looking at me like that…what you think Seifer tried to hurt me or something…you know he's changed, I can see it in his eyes, he's not Ultimecia's puppet anymore nor some mindless bully?"
"You spend a few hours with him and now you're an expert, you think he's changed, ok maybe the Ultimecia thing is over with, but you forget what an asshole he was before that started. Leopards don't change their spots, and I don't think he has either!"
"You don't believe in giving people second chances? Man Zell, I never knew you were so unbending." Irvine shook his head while looking at Zell's slightly guilty face.
"Alright, so I'll give him a chance, next time I see him I'll be polite, hopefully he won't call me Chicken-wuss though."
"Thanks Zell, hey listen I forgot that I told Selphie that I would train with her today and I need to get back to the Garden, do you mind if I pass on lunch this time, I'll catch up with you guys later."
"That's ok, I know how Selphie gets if your late for training, don't wish that girl on anyone when she gets her panties in a bunch." Zell grinned while patting Irvine on the back in camaraderie.
Irvine marveled at the difference in touches, how Seifer's slight touch ignited his senses beyond reason, while Zell's touch invoked nothing, nothing but friendship. At least he knew that what Seifer made him feel was real and not just a passing fancy. "I'll see you later Zell." And with that he turned on his heel and started walking towards the Garden.
Zell watched Irvine walk away for a few seconds and then lost his smile as he walked into the hotel, thinking about Irvine's defense of Seifer. It bothered him, seeing his friend with the Former Sorceress Knight and the look on their faces, if he hadn't come upon them when he did; they looked like they might have kissed. He would have to talk to Squall about this, get his input, if anyone knew Seifer it would be his former rival.
Zell spotted the gorgeous brunette standing at the entrance to the hotel restaurant waiting with his arms crossed across his chest, his face bored-looking. Zell couldn't resist smiling at Squall, seeing him made him happy and he had to smile in some way or he would burst. Squall looked over and spotted a grinning Zell making his way to him and felt his chest lighten, it amazed him how seeing Zell happy, could have a direct effect on him. This had never happened with Rinoa ever.
"Hey there Squall, have you been waiting long, I could have sworn that I was on time."
"You are Zell, I was done with the shopping early and came over here and decided to wait, was that Irvine I saw you with outside?"
"Ya that was, I invited him to have lunch with us, but he had a prior training bout with Selphie, but you know I gotta talk to you about him, get your opinion about it."
"Let's get our table and then you can talk to me about it."
Seifer walked to the end of the dock and looked out at the ocean, marveling at the miracle named Irvine. If anyone had told him that he would be kissing the cowboy today, he would have laughed in their face, asked them what they had been smoking. What where these feelings that Irvine was provoking, could it be love, he didn't believe in love at first sight, it had to be something else, but nothing in his life had prepared him for these feelings. He had never felt anything remotely close to this; it had to be love, the instinctual recognition of the other half of him.
His breathing became slightly erratic, and fear set it, he was opening himself for great pain here, greater than any he had ever felt before. Was he willing to take the chance that Irvine wouldn't hurt him, was he really willing to trust another, to believe in another? Seifer stood there still as a statue letting his thoughts run rampant, when he realized that he had never been a coward before, why start now. No one could accuse him of running from a gamble, and this would be the biggest gamble of them all.
With that decided, he turned back towards the town, and realized that it was nearly noon, if he was going to do better for himself today, he better get looking for a job. As he began walking into town, his shoulders felt slightly lighter, and he found himself smiling, and anticipating tonight.
Irvine walked a few blocks from the restaurant and looked back making sure that Zell wasn't still watching him. He figured that since he had come to town to shop, he better get shopping, especially for his Dolce & Gabbana cologne, so he would smell good for tonight. Just thinking about tonight made him smile hugely in anticipation, his smile causing others to stare in appreciation of his looks. Irvine noted none of this, all his thoughts focused inward in wonderment of his luck. It was amazing, just last night he had been depressed about his love life and now….now he was on top of the world, he had found exactly what he had been looking for.
Irvine was a great believer in love at first sight; it was the romantic in him he supposed. But he also completely trusted his instincts, when his gut spoke to him, he listened with both ears. His gut feelings had never let him down before; there was no reason to doubt them now. He knew, positively knew, that Seifer was his and he was Seifer's. All he had to do was make sure that Seifer knew this and understood it. He grinned even more at the thought of "Telling" Seifer that they belonged to each other, he could just see an arrogant brow rising and lips curling into a smirk on the blonde. Maybe he should convince him instead. The image of Seifer had him laughing out loud, causing some of the other customers in the shop to look over at him quizzically, since he was standing alone and laughing.
Seifer walked through town walking into different stores asking about work and getting the same reactions, the owners and managers would look down upon him and answer with an unequivocal NO. He was getting very discouraged, here he was attempting to better himself and no one would give him a chance. Those that might, were reminded by others, of who he had been, and would turn and glare angrily at him. How was he supposed to prove to people that he had changed when no one would give him the chance, and he had better find something soon, or he would have to go to the motel and gather his belongings and find a shelter of some sort?
He was walking slowly along, fighting the wind that had picked up, glanced across the street to the coffee shop that he had found Irvine in, and noticed a "Help Wanted" sign in the window. He hurriedly crossed the street and walked in, immediately making eye contact with the same waitress that had been hitting on Irvine. He started to roll his eyes, but stopped himself in time, realizing that if he wanted to get a job here; alienating the others who worked here was not a good idea. So he bit the inside of his cheek and walked over to the girl and tried to smile, which came out slightly sickly.
"Excuse me but the sign in the window says help wanted and I was wondering what kind of job was being offered?" No one could accuse Seifer of not having good manners when they were needed. He had just rarely exercised them, saving them to use on those that could be beneficial to him, like this waitress standing in front of him, chewing gum and looking bored.
"I'll go get Manny; he's the owner of the shop." She flounced off towards the back leaving Seifer standing there in the middle of the shop. He decided to walk over towards the front of the shop and look out the windows while waiting. He didn't have to wait long, heavy footsteps alerted him to the owner's presence and he turned and met the man half way. The owner had very short thickly-coarse black hair, buzzed all around and about an inch on top, making it look like it was standing straight up. He had bushy black eye-brows and dark, almost black eyes that had a crafty look to them, his skin was swarthy looking. The man had no neck to speak of, which worked out for his square shoulders and had on an apron speckled with food stains, covering a very large gut, proving that the man loved food. His smile looked more like a grimace of pain.
He looked over Seifer for a second and then held out his hand for him to shake. Seifer quickly took the hand and felt the other man squeeze tightly while shaking it. Seifer continued to look the man in the eye, feeling like he was being tested in some way, but not sure how.
"So you're looking for a job are ya?"
"Yes sir, I am."
"Well I'm looking for a sort of jack of all trades here, and the pay ain't the greatest, I'm gonna work ya hard though and if ya prove to me your worth it, I'll increase your pay maybe."
"Could you tell me what kinds of jobs I might be doing?"
"Well I'll teach ya to run the grill, you'll help clear dishes, wash them, help with the inventory, stocking. And that's just for starters, anything else I need ya to do, I'll tell ya. Still interested in the job?"
"Yes sir I am still interested, when do you need me to start?"
"How about now, I'll pay ya minimum wage, but that includes meals, you'll work till 10:00 pm tonight, sound fair?"
"Yes sir, there's just one thing, I need to get my things together from my motel room before they get stolen, I could do it during my lunch break, but I thought I would let you know."
"You got a place to stay boy? Or do you need one?"
Seifer found himself responding to the man with total honesty, rather than keeping it all to himself, something about the man felt right and he wanted things out in the open rather than take the job and then loosing it once the man found out who he was.
"Sir, do you know who I am?"
"Well you're the kid that needs a job right!" Manny said with a smirk.
"Yes sir I do need the job, pretty badly, but what I meant was do you know who I was before?"
"I do, Seifer Almasy, Ex-Sorceress Knight, this is a small town boy, and not much goes by without me knowing about it. You've been looking for a job for a while now, I've been paying attention. I'm willing to give you a chance, as long as you deserve it. I won't judge ya from what you done, just on how you do your job here. So do you need a place to stay as well?"
Seifer was stunned, Manny knew exactly who he was and was willing to give him a chance, he felt the back of his eyes sting and had to blink several times, unwilling to show how much Manny's words had affected him. He attempted to answer Manny but had to clear his throat of his emotions, even so his voice was husky when he finally did answer.
"Yes I do sir, I had till 4:00 this afternoon to get the rent, but I would rather not stay there anymore."
"Where you stayin', Balamb Motel?" At Seifer's nod he continued, "That place is terrible, I got a room upstairs that I can rent to ya, it's small, only a bedroom and bathroom, but it's clean and is bug-free. And don't call me sir, makes me feel old, call me Manny like everyone else. So we got a deal?"
"Yes si…I mean Manny, we got a deal, and thank you, I won't let you down."
"Well come on boy, follow me to the back and I'll show ya what you can do first."
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