Key Notes:

“Japanese talking”

“+American English talking+”

“/British English talking/”

“#Australian English talking#”

Nothing ever changes in Nick’s life. Ever since his parents died, life just became dull. Effy tried to raise him the best that she could. But, Nick just couldn’t take it. At age fifteen, he filed for emancipation. The courts granted him his wish after much persuasion from the boy himself. Now, everything stayed the same and quiet. Well… almost…

“/Hiya!/” a voice chirped behind the boy as he was walking to school one morning. He didn’t have to turn around to know who that was.

“/What do you want Cassie?/” he asked. The girl raced over to her crush.

“/Hi!/” she cheered. Nick rolled his eyes.

“/What do you want?/” he asked again. She cuddled up close to him. He looked at her in disgust.

“/You’re touching me,/” the bastard said. Cassie didn’t get the hint.

“/Yes…/” she mumbled. Nick groaned again.

“/What do you want?/” he asked again. Cassie looked up at him with her sweet doe eyes.

“/I just want to walk to school with you,/” she said. Nick looked away, annoyed.

“/Why?/” he asked. Cassie shrugged at him.

“/Cause,/” she said.  “/I like you./” He snorted at her. Cassie gave him that look.

“/What?/” she asked. “/It’s true!/” Nick sighed aloud.

“/Whatever…/” he said. Cassie’s eyes lit up like a Christmas. Nick whipped right around to her.

“/No talking!/” he snapped as Cassie opened her mouth to speak. She closed it up right away. Nick sighed and rolled his eyes. This was going to be a long walk.

“/Let’s just go!/” he hissed. They left the parking lot to get to school. Yeah, nothing is ever changes for Nick. Except for this crazy nutter of a girl that he was stuck with against his will. He might as well get used to it.

Subject: Nick

The pair made it to school in time. Nick turned to Cassie.

“/Okay, get lost,/” he told her. Cassie blinked at him.

“/Why?/” she asked.

“/Just go!/” he barked. The girl shrugged at him.

“/Okay…/” she said in a small voice. Then, she walked away to class. Nick watched her leave. He breathed out once she was gone. “Alone at last!” he thought. But, everyone knows how long that lasts with him. Classes were focus on exams for the next week. It didn’t matter to him. He had easy classes this semester anyway. The boy sat in the back of his classes, bored out of his mind. “This is so boring,” he thought. “Wonder what Ace is up to now…” The boy shook his head in surprise. “Why the hell am I thinking about her for?!?” he thought.

“Is there a problem, Nick-kun?” a voice asked him. Nick quickly looked up. The teacher and other students were staring at him.

“/Huh?/” Nick asked as the question took its time to register in his brain. He blinked for a moment.

“/Oh,/” he said at last. “/No…/”

“Please pay attention, Nick-kun,” the teacher said. “This exam is really important to your grade—whether you think so or not!” Then, she carried on with the lecture. Nick rolled his eyes again. “Whatever…” he thought. If he was bored now, the boy was going to wish that he was back in a classroom again.

After school, Nick managed to slip away before Cassie could find him and follow him back to his flat. He just couldn’t understand why she had to follow him around so much. She claimed that she liked him. Nick snorted at the idea. He found it all out-right annoying. Oh well, couldn’t think about that now. He just wanted to go home and be in the clear for the rest of the night. But, that just wasn’t going to happen for him.

As soon as Nick reached the apartment parking lot, he noticed the 2003 white Toyota echo parked in front of the building. He sighed and rolled his eyes. “Oh great!” he thought. “She’s here. What the hell does she want now?” Might as well find out. He rolled his eyes again and headed up the stairs. And who to his wandering eyes should he find sitting on the sofa? None other than his older sister, Effy. This time, she wasn’t alone. A man about her age sat next to her dressed in a nice suit. His was lightly stroking Effy’s hand. Nick blinked at them both confused.

“/What are you doing here? And who is he?/” he asked his sister. Effy gave him a shy and quiet smile.

“/Nick, this is Roger Ballard,/” she said in low voice. “/He and I have been working together for some time and…/” Roger quickly grabbed her by the hand.

“/We’re getting married!/” he announced aloud. Nick blinked at them, confused.

“/What?!?/” he asked. Effy looked at her lap, blushing.

“/Roger and I are getting married,/” she said. Long moment of silence followed. Nick started to say something, but stopped.

“/Uh… That’s what I thought you said…/” he said. “/Robert could you excuse us for a moment?/” The boy quickly took his sister by the hand and grabbed her into the kitchen without waiting for an answer.

“/It’s Roger,/” the man corrected.

“/Whatever!/” Nick called. The siblings made it into the kitchen. Effy looked at her brother, lost.

“/Nick,/” she said. “/What is this all about?/” Her brother whipped around to her.

“/Are you mental?/” he asked.

“/What do you mean?/” his sister asked.

“/How long have you known this bloke?/” Nick asked.

“/A couple of months,/” Effy said.

“/Just a couple of months?/” her brother asked. The psychiatrist nodded. Nick sneered at her in disgust.

“/Are you mental?!?/” he asked again. “/You don’t know him enough. He could be a pimp or something!/”

“/But I love him!/” Effy protested.

“/So?/” her brother asked. His sister looked at him sharply.

“/Do you remember when you *had* to get emancipated from?/” she asked. Nick rolled his eyes at her.

“/Yeah, but that’s different!/” he shot back.

“/No, it’s not!/” Effy yelled. Her brother looked at her, blankly. That was the first time had raised her voice at him in years. The psychiatrist forced himself to calm down.

“/You made your choice to get free and be your own man,/” she went on. “/Now, it’s my turn to stand up and make my own decisions./” Nick stood there, staring at her. He finally gave her a shrug.

“/Fine,/” he sighed. “/I still think you’re making a mistake./”

“/We’ll see,/” Effy said back. Then, they went back into the living room. Roger sat on the couch, blinking at them.

“/Uh… Is this a bad time?/” he asked. This awkward feeling carried on into dinner. Effy cooked for both her boyfriend and finacee. The boys just looked at each other in silence. Roger felt as if he was sitting on a huge block of ice when he was in the room with Nick. His brother-in-law-to-be didn’t trust him already. Nick only gave him a death glare. Roger looked away from him as fast as he could. Luckily, Effy came back with the food.

“/Well,/” she said. “/How are my favorite boys getting along?/” They looked at her with the look that said, “/What do you think, you silly cow?/” Effy forced herself to smile.

“/I see…/” she mumbled. *Sweat drop on Effy’s head* This was going to be a long night. For Nick, it would just get even longer. Suddenly, the door bell rang. Effy quickly looked up at the sound.

“/Nick, could you get the door?/” she asked. The boy was already to his feet before she could even get the question out of her mouth.

“/Already on it,/” he said. Nick walked out of the dining/living room to the front door. He looked out the peep hole. Cassie stood on the other side waving at him. Nick sighed aloud as he opened the door a crack.

“/What are you doing here?/” he hissed. Cassie gave him a little smile.

“/I came to see you,/” she said.

“/Why?/” he asked.

“/I’m lonely,/” Cassie said.

“/Don’t have anyone else to harass?/” Nick asked. “/I’m sorry you don’t have that many friends./”

“/Can I come in?/” she asked.

“/No!/” Nick snapped. “/Now get out of here!/” He slammed the door in her face. The boy breathed out hard.

“/Nick,/” Effy called. “/Who was that?/”

“/No one,/” he lied. Cassie pounded on the door.

“/Nick!/” she called. “/Let me in, please! I promise I won’t talk!/”

“/No!!!/” he yelled. “/Now go away!/”

“/Is that Cassie?/” Effy asked.

“/Let me in, Nick!/” the girl cried outside.

“/Go away!!!/” the boy yelled.

“/Let her in, Nick!/” Effy called.

“/Let me in!/” Cassie pleaded.

“/NO!!!/” Nick shouted. It took about a good ten minutes before Nick folded and let Cassie in. Now, the table was really full. Cassie sat smiling next to a sneering Nick. Effy served everybody their food before sitting down herself. Roger looked Cassie up and down and then at Nick.

“/Is this your friend?/” he asked. “Stalker is more like it!” Nick thought.

“/Yep!/” Cassie spoke for him.

“/May I ask what your name is?/” Roger asked.

“/Cassie Nelson,/” the girl replied. “/But all of Andy Warhol’s entourage calls me Saffina!/” Nick rolled his eyes. “Here we go again,” he thought. “More Ace bullshit!” Roger raised an eyebrow at her as she smiled at him.

“/Is that so?/” he asked.

“/Yeah!/” Cassie bragged. Nick snorted at that statement.

“/Andy Warhol died in ’89!/” he pointed out. “/You weren’t even born then!/” Cassie looked at him, blinking.

“/Oh wow, really?/” she asked. “/That makes me sad./”

“/Nobody cares…/” Nick mumbled under his breath. All conversation just died from there as everyone ate. The snark king had the feeling that Cassie wasn’t going to leave just yet.

And what a shocker that turned out to be. She followed him all the way out the door. He didn’t even turn around to her.

“/Why must you follow me everywhere?/” he asked. “/And don’t say that you like me!/” Cassie thought about that for a moment.

“/I just want to get to know you,/” she reasoned. Nick froze in his tracks as that gave him a great idea. Why not show her what a bastard he really was? He turned and looked at her.

“/You really want to get to know me, huh?/” he asked. Cassie nodded at him quickly. Nick stepped over to the girl.

“/Well then,/” he said. “/Can you handle one night out with me?/” Cassie nodded at him again.

“/Yes!/” she chirped. “/Anything to be with you!/” Nick smirked as he began to set his plan into action.

“/Okay then,/” he said. “/Come along, I’ll give you one hell of a night!/” Nick took Cassie into downtown Tokyo. If she was as simple-minded as he pitched her to be in his mind, she would just leave him alone forever after a crappy night with him. First stop, one of Tokyo’s sleaziest bars. Nick and Cassie walked through the entry. The girl looked around in slight concern.

“/Nick, why are we here?/” he asked. He smirked to himself coldly.

“/Oh,/” he replied. “/Just a favorite place of mine from time to time./” Cassie seemed to be trembling all over.

“/Aw, what’s the matter?/” he questioned in a fake voice of hospitality. “/You’re not going to bail on me, are you?/” Cassie quickly shook her head.

“/No!/” she said. “/I can take it! I can take it just fine!/” “We’ll see about that!” Nick thought.

“/Okay then,/” he said. They walked over to the bar. The bar tender took one look at them.

“Yeah?” he asked. Nick gave him a kind little smile.

“/Just two of your hardest stuff,/” he said. “/And make it quick, f**k face!/” The bar tender rolled his eyes.

“Whatever,” he mumbled. Then, he got right to work. Nick smirked as he saw Cassie trembling out of the corner of his eye. Perfect! She would want to run along home in a few seconds. Nick reached into his pocket and pulled out his pack of cigarettes. He drew out a fresh cig and lit it up. Yep, any second now. However, an unseen element would complicate the plan. Cassie grabbed onto Nick’s arm. He didn’t even look up at her.

“/Get off me, you mental cow!/” the boy snapped. Cassie slowly let go of him. She looked around her as an icy pit began to crystallize in her stomach.

“/Nick, I don’t like it here,/” she said. He only shrugged at her.

“/Not my problem,/” he told her.

“/Why are we here?/” she asked.

“/You wanted to be with me tonight, didn’t you?/” Nick asked. “/So deal with it, cow!/” Cassie began to tremble again.

“/I want to go home, Nick,/” she said. He shrugged at her again.

“/Good if you want,/” he said. “/Nothing’s stopping you./” Cassie hesitated at that offer. She was about to slide off the stool when another patron landed his hand on her knee. Her eyes turned their attention onto the hand’s offer. This creep looked about thirty and his breath smelled of whiskey. This man looked like a sick-minded pedophile looking for some action. Cassie looked at him with big eyes.

“Aw, come on doll,” he slurred out. “The party’s only getting started!” The girl shied away from this beast.

“/Please stop touching me,/” she said.

“Aw, what’s wrong, girl?” the drunk man asked. “What’s wrong with a little fun?” His hands slowly went up her leg. Even Nick couldn’t take seeing this. He reached forward and smacked the guy’s wrist lighting fast and hard. The drunk looked up at him, pissed.

“Hey, what’s the big idea punk?!?” he snapped.

“/The girl said get off of her!/” Nick barked. The drunk glared at him.

“Oh yeah?” he asked, standing. “And what are you going to do about it?” Nick smirked at him and gave off a little snicker. He didn’t even stand up for retaliation. The boy sat down his drink and punched him right in the face. The guy just dropped straight to the floor. The other patrons looked up from their drinks in shock. The bar tender pretended not to see a thing. Nick turned back to a stunned Cassie.

“/You alright, Ace?/” he asked. She nodded and ran straight out of the bar. Nick looked at her slightly odd.

“/Cassie, wait!/” he yelled. The boy raced right after her. Okay, this plan had just derailed from that sleazy barfly trying to molest her. Time to play the good guy, against his will, no less.

Nick raced out of the bar looking for his little buddy.

“/Ace! Ace!/” he called in the night. “/Ace, where are you?/” He found Cassie looking out at something in the alley. Curious, Nick slowed down his pace as he made his way over to her. Cassie turned her head and saw him walking over to her. Nick stood just a few inches from the crazy girl.

“/See Andy Warhol or something?/” he whispered.

“/Shhh…/” Cassie whispered back as she pointed forward. Nick looked into the alley to the direction she was pointing in. Loud moans engaged his ears as he moved his head. A forty-something blonde woman dressed in white sat on a trash bin with her legs wrapped around the waist of a man in his late twenties. Nick squinted harder for a better look. He instantly connected the voices in his head.

“/Holy crap! I knew it!/” he yelled. Both the man and woman looked up, startled. Roger looked up at his soon-to-be-brother-in-law and his little friend. The look of “Oh shite!” covered his face.

“/Nick! Cassie! What a surprise!/” he exclaimed. Nick stepped forward, shaking his head and smiling.

“/My, my, my,/” he said. “/I knew you were a shady, dirtbag. Now, I have the proof!/” The woman quickly got dressed and ran off. Roger swallowed hard as his eyes got bigger.

“/Please don’t tell Effy!/” he pleaded.

“/Why?/” Nick asked.

“/I love her so much!/” the man begged. Nick snorted at him.

“/You have a funny way of showing it!/” he said.

“/It’s only the one time…/” Roger started to say. All three of them went silent. The man looked to Cassie for help. She only shrugged and shook her head as she smiled. The man sighed in defeat.

“/Okay,/” he said. “/What do I have to do you keep you quiet?/”

“/Get dressed and don’t do it again,/” Nick said. “/I’m going to trust you to be faithful to my sister until you die. Because if I catch you again, I might sing like a crow!/” The smirk at the end added on the menacing affect he was projecting.

“/Yes!/” Roger said quickly as he pulled up his pants. Nick and Cassie watched him like cops engaged in a strip search. Nick smiled at him wickedly.

“/Good boy,/” he said. Then, the boy turned back to Cassie.

“/Shall we good now, Ace?/” he asked. She nodded at him, happily.

“/Yep!/” she cheered. Then, they departed into the night. As they walked into the “cleaner” part of the city, Cassie looked up at Nick.

“/Are you really going to tell Effy?/” she asked. The boy shook his head at her.

“/Not this time,/” he said. Cassie looked at him funny.

“/Why not?/” she asked. Nick shrugged.

“/I don’t want to hurt my sister right now, I guess,/” he reasoned. “/But if he does it again, I’m talking./” Nick looked and noticed Cassie smiling at him.

“/What are you smiling for?/” he asked. She clutched his arm and snuggled up close.

“/I knew there was some good in you,/” the crazy pretender said. “/This all proves it!/” Nick just rolled his eyes and sighed. Why say anything now? Just let her live the dream until tomorrow. That was the story of his life. Might as well roll with it. She’s not going to take a hint anyway.

The next morning, Nick headed out to school again. He looked around to find that Cassie wasn’t in the parking lot like she usually was. A strange sense of joy and a hint of disappointment filled him. “Where is that nutter?” he thought. He she finally pissed off at last? Nick walked out to the parking lot entrance. Ah, there was Cassie! Waiting for him with a bright smile on her face. Nick raised an eyebrow at her.

“/What do you want?/” he asked. She gave him a little shrug.

“/You,/” the girl replied. “/Only you./” Nick blinked at her as a sweat drop formed on his head.

“/Huh?/” he asked. Cassie giggled at him.

“/Well, let’s go!/” she said. “/We’re going to be late!/” She grabbed Nick by the arm and dragged him to school with her. “What just happened?” he thought in confusion. Get used to it, buddy!

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