Thanks for reviewing—TurnUpTheMusic247, pandachick97, Jou, Soccerninja17, snapplez101, Dalalalalalal, beverlyamethyst16, and Symmetrical Writer—for reviewing the last chap!

And we're back to solely Lily's POV. Sorry to those who liked Kei's perspective!

Anyway, R&R!

Chapter Seventeen

"Really, why are you making giving me another dress code today?" I asked Kei as he held a pair of dark, denim shorts and a black-and-red striped V-neck with elbow-length sleeves in front of me. "What are you, my stylist?"

He chuckled and said, "Yeah, sort of. Now just be a good girl and wear them, okay?" When I didn't respond, he added mischievously, "Baby, do I need to dress you up myself?"

I flashed him a fake, sickly sweet smile and said, "You know what I want more, baby? I want to kick you out of my closet. Literally."

He laughed playfully and snuck out of the room before I did just that. "Don't even think of wearing other clothes!" he yelled through the door.

"Fine!" I yelled back. I wasn't really annoyed that he chose me something to wear. In fact, it was cute. Where in the world could you find a boyfriend who would force you to wear something he chose? Besides, the last time he 'commanded' me to wear something, it was our first real date and he brought me to the beach. If he hadn't made me wear that, I would've worn something uncomfortable.

Why I had to wear shorts this time, I had no idea.

"Okay, I'm done," I announced, stepping out of the room.

Kei gave me the once over, a smirk appearing on his face. "You look stunning, milady," he said in such a formal, British accent that it made me laugh.

"Why thank you, young man," I replied in the same intonation.

"Whereabouts do you like to go, mademoiselle?"

"Wherever you go, my dear monsieur," I answered cheekily.

He beamed. "Well then, my love, let me lead you to paradise."

That did it. I burst out in fits of laughter. "Okay, shut up now. That accent doesn't suit you!"

He pouted playfully and said, "If you love me, you'd lie and say it suits me."

"Aw, you know how much I hate liars," I cooed, pinching his cheeks. "C'mon, Kei. I wanna know where in the world you're taking me."

"Be warned," he said, wrapping an arm around my waist. "We're going somewhere very normal, you're gonna get bored of it."

He guided me downstairs and I wondered what he meant by 'normal'. I didn't exactly know his definition of the word. His entire life, he didn't live the normal way. He lived in luxury and, well, a broken family.

Upon stepping on the porch, Kei stopped and said, "Before anything else, I'd like to give you your present first."

Despite feeling a bit unsettled because I wasn't the kind of girl who loved taking gifts, I grinned and said, "Make sure it's useful or I'll return it back to you."

He smirked and said, "Oh, Lily. I always knew you're gonna love it."

He climbed down the porch steps and disappeared in to the left side of the garden. I just noticed that he had his red Jansport bag slung behind his back. What in the world was inside it? After about a minute, he returned, pulling something in his hands.

My mouth agape, eyes wide open, I gasped.

He was holding a bike. A red and silver mountain bicycle—my dream when I was a kid. I never had my own bike and only used to borrow my old best friend, Cassie's bike.

Oh my God, Cassie! She's the person I used to spend my birthday with, the person who used to plan it and throw me a mini party with only a couple of friends. I hadn't talked with her for ages. We used to send messages to each other, but then the last month was like zero communication.

Now I remembered. What kind of best friend was I? She'd been my best friend ever since I was born.

I walked down the porch steps and threw myself at Kei, hugging him. "Thank you," I said sincerely when I pulled away. "How'd you know? Adelaide?"

He grinned and nodded. "Yep. You're sneaky friend has told me."

"Well, at least you didn't think of giving me something so…flashy and brilliant and shimmering, shining, splendid."

"What are you referring to, a jewelry or Jasmine?" he asked playfully.

"You watched Aladin?" I said mockingly, eyes wide. "Gosh, you're such a girl."

He faux-glared at me and said, "Ouch." He clutched his heart dramatically and added, "That hurts to hear, especially from you, Lily."

Giggling, I smacked his arm and said, "So, where are we going?"

"We're going somewhere using this," he gestured at my bike and the bigger, black one behind him that I hadn't noticed before.

"And you're bringing that bulky Jansport bag with you?" I asked thoughtfully.

"It's part of the plan," he said cryptically.

I grinned and said, "I'm getting excited now. I think today's gonna be so much fun."

"You bet."

"But before that," I added, biting my lip. "Can we go somewhere first? It's not that far, I swear."

"Of course," he replied. "Where?"

I smiled longingly and said, "To my old neighborhood."

The side of the city where Kei lived in was like the 'Upper' part—kind of where the richer kids lived. The side where I had lived in and grown up before, on the other hand, was like the 'normal' part of town. Typical.

I felt a wave of nostalgia as Kei and I drove our bikes down the familiar driveway, remembering those days when Cassie and I would take in turns of driving her bike as kids, or when we would go jogging together first thing in the morning to remain physically fit (for her, it's the word 'sexy').

Ah, the good 'ol days.

Before reaching Cassie's, I passed by someone I never thought I'd ever see again. He was my old high school's male swimming team captain and, well, my first sort of boyfriend. You know. The one I kissed because of that stupid truth or dare and had to pretend to go out to. Adam.

Ah, the horrible days.

But it was rude not to stop especially since we had already made eye contact. I skidded to a brake and Kei did the same, looking at me with confusion. I nudged my head towards Adam and Kei tensed. I gave him a look of reassurance and he relaxed, saying, "Go ahead."

I climbed out of the bike and approached Adam. "Hi!" I said with a big smile on face. You wouldn't know, but it was kind of refreshing to see an old face after a pretty long time even if that old face wasn't what you wanted to see. I meant, it brought back the memories. "How's it going, Adam?"

"Lily!" He grinned, giving me a brief hug. "I thought you'd be gone for good."

"Ouch," I said, slapping him playfully in the arm. "You wanted me out that bad?"

"Well, after what happened last year…" he implied. "And after you moved out of your house, I thought I wouldn't see you forever."

I gave him a small smile. "Yeah, it's been a while. Anyway, I brought someone with me."

"Yeah, I could see that," he murmured.

I looked at Kei behind me and gestured him to come forward. He left his bike, and walked towards us, a slight smile on his face.

"Kei, this is my old friend, Adam," I introduced, feeling sort of awkward. "And Adam, this is my boyfriend, Kei."

"It's nice to meet you, man," Kei said, shaking his hands.

"Yeah, same here," Adam replied amicably but I could see him tensing up a bit at the word 'boyfriend'.

So I decided to escape here already. "It's nice running in to you Adam, but we gotta go somewhere."

"To Cassie's?" he surmised.

I nodded. "Yeah."

"See you around, then," he said.

He watched us climbed on our bikes and as we started pedaling, he said, "Happy birthday, by the way!"

I looked back at him and waved. Honestly, how could the dude remember it? I wasn't even that close to him back then. But then again, he was one persistent young man, chasing after Miss Redhead who wouldn't even say yes to him until she got cornered on a dare. And she meant 'me'.

"So," Kei said, slowing down his speed to keep up with mine. "What's the business with that Adam?"

"He's a friend," I said evasively.

"I think he likes you, though," he said. "You might not have noticed, but he gripped my hand so hard earlier."

I chuckled. "I told you you're lacking exercise!" I teased.

"You're avoiding the question," he pushed.

I rolled my eyes and said, "Are we having this conversation while we're biking?"


"Alright then," I said. "He was like, the first boyfriend I ever had…but only because of some stupid game of Truth or Dare."

Kei skidded to a halt and I followed suit, raising an eyebrow at him. He was smirking.

"What?" I snapped.

"You would go out with a person because of a dare?" he asked teasingly. Great. He wasn't jealous. It was worse. The devil was making fun of me.

"Shut up," I said. "The dare wasn't to go out with him. The dare was to kiss him. And things got out of hand because…well—"

"Because he likes you?" he guessed.


"And you went out with him out of pity?"

I sighed. "Are we really discussing this on my birthday?"

He put an arm around me and gave me a kiss on the cheek, saying, "Nope. Sorry, I was a bit jealous you've known another guy before I even knew you existed."

So he was jealous. I grinned and said, "Well, I've known a lot other guys before I knew you existed."

"Aw, you're so cute Lily," he said, pinching my cheeks lightly. "But you wouldn't wanna know how many girls I—"

"Oh, shut up," I cut in, laughing. Okay, I knew that he was such a womanizer and everything before we met, but I didn't really care. I was just glad that I was part of the reason for his improvement.

"Let's go to your friend, Kelly's house, then," Kei said, climbing his bike.

I rolled my eyes. "It's Cassie!" I corrected exasperatedly.

"I know," he laughed and sped up.

"Hey, wait for me!" I bellowed at him and pedaled furiously. He threw his head back, laughing at the top of his lungs, the air whipping up his blond hair. Without his fancy cars and suits and everything, he looked so normal. And handsome.

"Hey, kid, that's not the right way!" I shouted at him. He was turning to the left but Cassie's house was to the street to the right. I heard his wheels following suit and I skidded to a brake in front of the fourth house.

"So, this is Cassie's house?" Kei said from behind me.

"Yeah." I didn't know why, but it was strange, coming back here. It was like forgetting about something, burying it in your subconscious, and it all came back to you in one blow.

I asked Kei to stay there and walked through the front lawn myself. I felt nervous. I meant, what do you say to your best friend after not seeing her for like five months and then randomly showing up on your birthday?

But then again, it was better than not showing up forever, so I rang the doorbell and waited with bated breath.

The door opened and I was greeted by Cassie's brother's surprised face.

"Carter!" I exclaimed, equally as surprised. "I thought you were in NYU?"

"I'm visiting for a week because of some stuff," he said, shrugging. Then he beamed and added, "Looking good, eh, Lil?"

I nodded. "Never better. Where's Cassie?"

"Oh, she's in her room," he said, opening the door wider to let me in. "Who's that guy outside?"

"He's my boyfriend," I told him dismissively. "I asked him to wait outside."

"Rude, aren't you?" Carter teased and nodded towards Kei like all men did to show their acknowledgement or whatever. I waved at him as Carter closed the door."

I made my way towards the familiar path to Cassie's room. It felt like ages since I had done this. I smiled slightly when I noticed that her door still had that hello kitty name plaque that I gave to her on Christmas four years ago.

I took a deep breath and knocked on the door three times. As I predicted, her answer was, "Can't you damn tell I'm still sleeping?"

Yep. She wasn't a morning person. I was surprised, though, to see her already wide awake when I opened the door. Her bed was made and she was sitting there, holding some box on her hand. The look on her face told me that she was in a dilemma.

"Hey, I told you I'm—" She looked up and stopped talking, her jaw dropping. "Oh my God, am I still asleep?" she said, clearly confused.

I grinned and said, "Nope. Or do you want me to shower you with a bucket of cold water just to be sure?"

"Lily!" she jumped from her bed and engulfed me in a big, bear hug. I laughed, feeling happy and relieved at the same time. I thought she would've been mad at me for not visiting until now. She let go of me and held me at arm's length, saying, "I've missed you!"

"Me too," I said, beaming. "I'm so sorry I haven't—"

"Apology accepted," she interrupted, grinning. "You know I can't hate you, right? Anyway, I have a secret to tell you…"

My interest perked up. "What is it?"

She grinned and said, "Happy birthday!"

I laughed. She truly was my best friend. "So you have a new definition of the word 'secret', huh?"

"Yep. Anyway, I've got something for you," she said. "I never thought I would be able to give it to you because you're living in a palace and I might not be able to come in there unless I sneak in."

"Shut up and give me my present," I said.

She hopped back to her bed and handed me that box she was holding earlier. I guessed she had been debating whether or not to give it to me. The thought made me happy to come here. "Open it."

I opened it and smiled. There were three things inside. First was a framed photo of us together. It was taken here last year, at her room, while we were bored out of our skulls from doing our science project. The second one was a CD.

"What's in it?" I asked.

"I recorded some of your favorite songs with my awesome guitar," she said and I felt tears well up on my eyes. "What? Why are you crying?"

"Nothing," I said wiping the tears away. "It's just…thank you. For always, well not 'being 'there, because obviously we weren't 'there' for each other for a couple of months but…thanks for always remembering. And sorry for crying and babbling."

She chuckled. "No worries."

I took out the last one. It was a letter.

"Read that when you get home," she said. I put everything back inside the box and Cassie asked, "So what're your plans for today?"

I bit my lip and said, "Actually, I'm spending it with someone…"

"Oh my gosh, you got yourself a boyfriend!" she exclaimed. "And you're not denying it because it's true."

I shrugged. "Well, yeah. And there's something else. My boyfriend is sort of like…well, my soon-to-be stepbrother by paper."

"Really?" she said, looking surprised. "That's awesome! You get to live under the same roof as your boyfriend!"

I chuckled. It was just the kind of reaction I thought I'd get from my best friend. "Yeah, shut up."

"Anyway, is he a hottie? I bet he is. Where is he, anyway?"

"He's outside," I told her. "C'mon, I want you to meet him."

So we went outside. And guess what? The first thing that Cassie said when she saw Kei was, "Oh my God, you're smokin' hot!"

Kei seemed taken aback by my best friend's boldness. I giggled. "See yourself in her?" I teased, remembering Kei telling me things like that back then. "Anyway, Kei, this is Cassie, my best friend. And Cassie, this is Kei, my smokin' hot boyfriend."

Kei shook her hand awkwardly. "Er, it's nice meeting you."

Cassie put her hands on her hips and said, "You don't seem delighted at all."

He shrugged. "You're…well, not what I expected."

"What did you expect Lily's best friend to be, a goody-goody who actually know how to do karate?"

Kei chuckled and said, "Exactly!"

"Hey!" I exclaimed. "I'm here, you know."

"So?" Cassie said, grinning. "Do you prefer us talking behind your back then? If you'd like, I'd take your boyfriend inside my house and then we could talk in there."

"I hope you're not planning on stealing him," I teased. "Anyway, we sort of have an errand to run…and I want you to come by his…I mean my…I mean our house later."

She laughed and said, "Sure thing. Your house. Got it."

I rolled my eyes at her. "Shut up, Case."

"Why can't you stop telling me to shut up?" she said, grinning.

"Because you're my best friend and that's what best friend's do," I answered. "Anyway, we have to go so..."

"What's up with the bikes?" she asked as Kei and I climbed our bicycles.

I shrugged. "His idea of fun," I said, nodding my head towards Kei.

"Well, it is fun," he reiterated and turned to Cassie. "Anyway, it's been nice meeting you."

"You too."

"See you later, then," I said as Kei and I sped up. I turned to him and said, "Now, where are we going?"

"Somewhere," he answered vaguely, grinning. "It's actually not that far from here."

A/N: Yay or nay?

Anyway, sorry I was sidetracked with the plot I had in mind and everything that I wasn't able to put yet the 'place' where Kei was taking him. It would be on part two. I couldn't put in here because it would've made the whole chapter too long.

So…that's it. I hope you enjoyed it. By the way, Cassie would pop in the story now then from now on. I don't know why but I just love her character.

Anyway, thanks for reviewing! Please, please, please REVIEW! :D