|By : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits|
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
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|Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, it any characters therin. I am not making any money here.|
Chapter 18: The Summer
July 7, 0001
The car sped down the motorway. It was midday, and the highway was mostly deserted. I was behind the wheel this time. Unlike Aerith, I wasn't the scared one; that was my passenger/driving instructor: Cissnei.
Yeah, once I turned sixteen, she was good enough to teach me to drive. And I drove her crazy.
"Tobin, slow down!" she demanded.
"I'm going the speed limit!" I insisted.
"You're going forty over!" she snapped.
"So?" I replied. "I'm learning!"
"I am a Turk," she reminded me. "I can arrest you!"
"For what?" I asked.
"Anything, technically!" she replied. "Please slow down!"
I did as I was told. If figured she would complain less if got off the motorway, so I took the nearest exit. Unfortunately, it didn't shut her up.
"You forgot to signal!" she reprimanded.
I sighed as I turned off the ramp. It was that moment I realized I had turned on red without stopping.
"You must have a death wish," she groaned.
I groaned in response. I was well aware she would be a backseat driver the entire time.
August 12, 0001
My parents sent me a check for my birthday, but I left it until the twelfth of August, as the Game Pyramid Three wasn't released until then.
I had mine reserved at Haverford Electronics since April. I promptly went there and picked mine up as soon as it became available. I picked it up, paid for it, and headed for the exit.
And then, I saw Durham glaring at me. I forgot to mention she worked there. Her dad owned and founded the chain, hence the name.
"Tobin," she demanded as she approached me, "what are you doing here?"
"I'm shopping," I replied as I presented the bag and receipt.
Durham was not impressed.
"I think you better leave," she insisted.
"Leave me alone," I retorted. "Just because you dumped me doesn't mean I can't shop here. I checked!"
Durham let out a sigh as she folded her arms.
"I got what I came for," I continued. "I'm on my way out."
"You better not come back here!" she snapped.
"No promises!" I dismissed.
Durham turned around and angrily stormed off.
Realizing that I no longer had any business there anyway, I turned and headed for the exit.
And then, I saw someone more pleasant I knew.
"Hey, Gehrig," I greeted.
"Hey, you!" she greeted back.
"What're you doing here?" I asked.
"Passing the time," she replied. "Mary Ellen sexiled me again."
"Oh," I said. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," she insisted. "I'm used to it."
"Why does she do that to you?" I inquired.
"Because she's Mary Ellen," Gehrig answered. She then made eye contact with me. "You are right, you know," she said.
"About what?" I asked.
"You can still shop there, even if an employee dumped you," she clarified. "If she wanted to ban you, you would've had so sign something when she dumped you saying you couldn't be here. I'm assuming that didn't happen?"
"Chuckie Knox tried to pull the same kind of garbage on me at the drug store he worked at," she continued. "It didn't fly."
"Durham's got problems," I said.
"She's a bully," Gehrig added. "Didn't you see what she put on social media at the beginning of the year?"
I shook my head.
"It was a picture of Ronaldo surrounded by other classmates," she informed me. "But she photoshopped it to move them away from him and look like they were avoiding him on purpose, like he just farted or something, and put a caption below that read: 'Nobody Likes Ronaldo Ortega!'"
"Wow," I said.
"Listen," she continued, "are you doing anything this weekend?"
I shook my head.
"I have two rooms reserved at Gold Saucer," she said. "I was going to take Zack and Aerith, but I so happen to have four passes. Want to join us? It's one place Durham won't bother you."
This was almost too good to be true. I needed the break. It would cure the boring summer I was having so far, and it would get me away from Cissnei for a bit.
"Count me in!" I said enthusiastically.
August 15, 0001
We arrived at Gold Saucer and checked into our rooms. Zack and I took a room on Main Street East, while Aerith and Gehrig took the room on Main Street West. After putting all our stuff away for the night, we decided to hit the rides.
Aerith was wearing a yellow summer dress that she looked really cute in, but Gehrig, who had decided to be a tee shirt and jeans girl that day, warned her that some of the rides would have to be avoided, as she would be suspended above park guests.
Our first stop was Speed Square. We found ourselves in line for a ride. Of all four of us, only Gehrig had been to Gold Saucer before, so she became our unofficial tour guide for the weekend.
"What is this?" I asked.
"It's a game," Gehrig replied.
"It looks more like a roller coaster," I observed.
"It's both," Gehrig corrected. "You get these little guns to shoot at things while the coaster's running."
"I've never been on a roller coaster before," Aerith said.
Gehrig displayed an evil grin.
"That will change today!" she announced.
We stood in line for nearly an hour before finally boarding the ride. Zack and Aerith sat in front, with Gehrig and I in back. We picked up the guns, which were made of plastic and lit up when you pulled the trigger.
"You know," Zack began as the coaster proceeded up the launch track, "I've never been on a roller coaster before, either. This isn't so bad."
"Brace yourself," Gehrig warned as the coaster reached the focal point of the track.
A moment later, the coaster shot down at full speed.
"Oh fuck!" Zack shouted at the top of his lungs as Aerith began to scream. "Oh fuck! Oh fuck! Oh fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!"
"Watch that mouth!" Gehrig playfully reprimanded as we all pulled out our guns.
The targets were kind of lame. They were ghosts, stars, planes, and even alien ships. You were going so fast that you didn't even have time to aim. Zack, Aerith, and I kept missing out on our targets because it took too long to focus on them. Gehrig, meanwhile, was shooting mad left and right.
Predictably, Gehrig ended up with the highest score. Zack came in second, and Aerith came in third. Yours truly came in dead last.
As we were leaving Speed Square, we looked at the camera pictures. Zack's mouth was wide open. Aerith had a look on her face identical to a woman giving birth...at least like they show it on TV. But you wouldn't see me; Gehrig's hair was covering my face!
After we finished eating at what appeared to be some sort of medieval dungeon, we passed through a channel and found ourselves in a room with black and white tiles, as well as a purple carpet path. Said path led to a door with a skull above it that read "Challenger."
"What's this?" Aerith asked.
"Battle Square," Zack replied. "Beyond that sealed door's the battle arena."
"And a chance of a lifetime!" called a voice.
The four of us turned to see a black-haired body-builder wearing a red speedo approaching us. It was Dio, the park owner.
"Anyone who wins a fight tonight gets a free lifetime pass."
"If that's the case," began the skeptical Gehrig, "how come there's no line to enter?"
"Not a lot of brave folks around, I guess," Dio replied before turning and leaving.
"Ew!" Aerith groaned.
She wouldn't word it this way, but the reason she was disgusted was that Dio's speedo was riding up his ass crack.
"Is that any different from the thong you wore on your birthday?" Gehrig asked.
"Yeah, but I'm a girl!" Aerith replied.
Meanwhile, our First Class SOLDIER had a determined look on his face.
"I'm going for it," Zack suddenly announced.
Aerith, Gehrig, and I gasped in unison.
After entering, Zack followed the purple carpeting until it ended at the battle arena. Zack, being the smart and prepared one, had brought his sword. Anything can go wrong anywhere, you know.
The actual battle arena was a square plate, suspended over an abyss of purple flames by ten giant chains. Below there was a seal that read: "The Brave Do Not Fear The Grave."
Aerith, Gehrig, and I got front row seats. Aerith waved to Zack, and he waved back to her.
"I should've brought my cheer uniform," Aerith whispered.
And then, the lights went out.
Two spotlights appeared. One was on Zack's. The other was on the gate at the opposite side of the arena. Moments later, a giant leach-like creature emerged from the other side.
Aerith grabbed Gehrig's arm and squeezed it tightly.
Zack, meanwhile, immediately grabbed his sword.
"You've got to be kidding!" he shouted. "I've had worse than this!"
He easily sliced the creature in half and waved to Aerith, who let go of Gehrig's arm and breathed a sigh of relief.
That's when shit really hit the fan.
After not moving for several seconds, the creature fused itself back together.
"I didn't see that coming!" he muttered.
This time, he got smart. He sliced the creature in half once again, but then kicked the pieces over the ledge before they could recover. The creature disappeared into the flames.
Aerith, Gehrig, and I were all waiting for him at the entrance.
"Don't ever do that again!" Aerith snapped as she threw her arms around him.
"I'll have to second that," Gehrig added.
"I won't have to!" Zack insisted. "Look what I got!"
He then proudly presented his lifetime pass, good for him and one guest.
"Yay!" Aerith exclaimed as she applauded.
"Maybe I want to take Tobin on a man date?" he suggested.
"Watch it!" Aerith playfully warned.
"Shall we continue exploring?" Zack suggested.
So we continued exploring. The sun was down by now, and everything was lit up. Unfortunately, everything was also two hours away from closing for the night. If you're staying there, you have a curfew. You have to be in your room by ten. If you're caught outside after that, security guards take you away. I don't know what happens after that, but I've heard rumors that there's a prison below the park that you can never get out of.
So we game to the mouth of a channel, and stopped to analyze what beheld us.
A gondola was sitting on the track, and it looked only big enough for two people to fit into.
"Where are we?" Aerith asked.
"Round Square," Gehrig replied. "It's for couples only."
"Oh," Aerith said. "We'll move along, then."
"You're a couple," Gehrig pointed out.
"We wouldn't leave you guys behind," Aerith insisted.
"It's alright," Gehrig insisted. "Tobin and I are gamers. We can pass the time at Wonder Square."
She spoke the truth; I wanted to check out the arcades before they closed.
"Are you sure?" Aerith asked.
"We'll be fine," I told her.
"Meet is at Wonder Square," Gehrig instructed.
ON THE GONDOLA...
The door to the gondola slid open as Zack and Aerith embarked. There were two seats, only big enough for one person each, two feet apart from each other. This made the hardest part of the ride climbing in, but couples didn't care.
The gondola started moving slowly as Aerith smiled and placed her hand on Zack's; she had been hoping for some alone time between the two of them.
After a few seconds, their ears were greeted by the sound of something zipping by outside. They both turned to the window to see the roller coaster flying past them, the passengers screaming in delight.
"Oh," gasped Aerith. "How nice!"
As the gondola continued, the young couple could see a track that was made completely out of colored glass. Before they had time to consider what it was for, a herd of mounted chocobos raced by.
"It's so pretty," Aerith continued.
Fireworks then exploded, causing Aerith to jump for a moment. She squeezed Zack's hand briefly before relaxing. The fireworks were in all colors, something Aerith had never seen before due to her life in the slums.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" she said.
"You're beautiful," he complimented.
She squeezed his hands; it made her feel tingly inside whenever he complimented her like that. And yet, there was something she wanted to say to him. It had been on her mind for weeks, and now she felt like she had to say it, or she would burst.
"Zack," began Aerith, "can I tell you something?"
"Go ahead," he approved as he gently rubbed her hand with his thumb.
"It bothered me at first when I found out your were in SOLDIER," she began. "Ever since I was a little girl, I heard the stories. How they found war glorious and all that stuff."
Zack was silent. They were having such a perfect evening. He wondered why she would bring that up now.
"But, now," she continued. "I want to kick myself for believing that."
He immediately felt better. She was apologizing to him in the most romantic way she could.
"I was wrong the whole time," she admitted. "And you restored my faith in people."
He was particularly touched. He had had girlfriends before, but none of them had ever said something like that.
"Zack," she began as she leaned closer to him, "I feel safer with you more than anyone else. More than my mom, Gehrig, anyone."
And then, she pressed her lips against his.
As they continued to kiss, Zack pulled her closer.
Aerith suddenly felt herself lifting from her seat. And, before she knew it, she was on his lap.
Zack was running his hands up and down her back through her dress. Their tongues were meeting, and a spark ignited in them both.
Aerith ran her hands through his hair as she continued to kiss him. She didn't want to stop. The feeling of their lips and tongues together, coupled with her hands all over her back, was all too pleasurable.
But she had to stop because the tram stopped.
"Bummer!" she giggled as she climbed off his lap.
The two stepped off the gondola, finding themselves at the same station as before.
"Well..." Zack began.
"We need to find Tobin and Gehrig," Aerith informed him.
He then took her hand and led her through the channel.
Aerith noticed that, at the mouth of the channel, that they were not at Wonder Square; they were at Main Street East. She found this interesting, coupled with the fact that Zack seemed to be walking with such direction.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"Short cut," Zack replied with a smile.
This doesn't seem like a short cut, Aerith thought to herself.
Then, suddenly, Zack turned a sharp right, into a brick hallway. He then led her up a flight of stairs into another hallway, which was lined with doors. He stopped at one of them, and pulled a key out of his pocket.
"This is your room?" she asked.
"You got it," Zack replied as he unlocked the door. "They only give one key per room, and I'm the one who's got it."
With that, the door opened, and Zack led Aerith in. There was a parlor with a couch and TV beyond the door. Beyond the parlor was a dining area. And that was where he stopped.
"This doesn't seem like much of a short cut," Aerith giggled.
"Okay," Zack admitted. "You got me.
Aerith then placed her hand on her hip.
"What's the real reason you brought me here?" she asked.
"I want a little more time with you," Zack replied with a smile.
She smiled back.
"I think I'd like that," she agreed as she placed her hands on his cheeks and kissed him once more.
Zack pulled her in and wrapped his arms around her waist. As they continued to kiss, he pushed his tongue against hers.
Aerith began to kiss him more hungrily. She gripped his shoulders, almost squeezing them as they continued to kiss.
And then, he kissed her neck.
The signal shot through Aerith's mind; she had not forgotten what Gehrig had told her about the neck-kissing.
She had not forgotten what this meant.
Aerith quickly became nervous; it seemed as if the moment she had anticipated for nearly three months had arrived.
"Zack..." she began.
He silenced her with another kiss on her mouth.
Maybe it was a false alarm, she thought.
And then, she felt his hand resting on her butt. This was definitely not a false alarm.
"Zack, we shouldn't," Aerith whimpered
In response, Zack kissed her more deeply, and gently squeezed her butt through her dress.
"Zack," she protested, "really, it's not a good-"
He silenced her with another kiss.
She badly wanted it. And yet, she thought of Gehrig and I, whom she felt she was neglecting. And she thought of what she feared.
She broke the kiss, and backed her face to a neutral distance.
"I don't want to get hurt," she continued. "Please don't hurt me."
"I won't ever hurt you," Zack assured her. "I promise."
They kissed again, running their hands over each other's upper torsos. And then, almost instinctively, Aerith found herself gripping the bottom of Zack's shirt.
"Take it off," he gently commanded.
Slowly, she lifted the shirt up, pulling it over his head and dropping it to the floor. She kissed him again, pressing her tongue against his harder than before. She kissed her way up and down his uncovered chest, running her hands over his bare back as she did so. She then returned to his level, and planted a kiss on his lips.
Zack kissed her back, and gently placed his hands on her shoulders, gently but firmly pressing down on the straps of her dress.
Aerith knew her dress was moments away from coming off. She nodded to him, giving him her approval.
Zack kissed her on the mouth once more. He then swiped both straps aside, causing the dress to fall to the ground, exposing her bra and panties.
Aerith's heart was racing as she stood before her boyfriend in her underwear. It was the most a guy had ever seen of her.
Smiling, Zack gently took Aerith's hands and placed them on his belt line.
Knowing exactly what was to come next, she unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, gently causing them to slide to the floor, leaving him in his boxers.
He then kissed her again, and began to run his hands over the skin of her back. He ran his finger tips up and down her spine, causing an incredible sensation. Then, without warning, he unhooked her bra and brushed the straps aside, causing it to join his pants on the ground, revealing her breasts.
Zack gently placed his hand on her exposed left breast and began to kiss her deeply.
Aerith wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back, pulling herself close into him. The feeling of her bare breasts against his chest was overwhelming, and she kissed him but for a few moments before reaching below and practically yanking down his boxers.
In response, the naked Zack picked up the topless Aerith and carried her into the bedroom. He kissed her again after setting her down. He began to pull her panties off her body.
Aerith gasped at the realization that she was now completely nude. She had little time to take it in, as Zack planted another loving kiss on her mouth. Her continued to run his hands over her body, gently squeezing her now-bare bottom.
"Are you ready?" he whispered.
Aerith took both of his hands and squeezed them. She had though about this moment ever since she had learned the facts of life. She wanted to give up her virginity to someone special, someone who she trusted with her life.
And it was him.
"Yes," she replied. "I'm ready."
He picked her up once more and carried her to the bed. He then lay her down gently.
The naked Aerith nodded in approval. She was almost waiting for the experience.
Waiting no longer, Zack guides himself in. As she was a Virgin, he broke her hymen in the process.
Aerith cried out in pain, and tears began to form in her eyes.
Zack immediately stopped.
"No, don't," she begged. "Keep going. I can do this."
Zack pushed himself back in, gently at first.
Gradualy, the pain turned into pleasure.
"Kiss me," Aerith commanded.
Gehrig and I had reached Wonder Square. We saw a staircase leading to the arcade floor and a whole group of people surrounding us. None of them were Aerith or Zack. We actually thought at first that they went on the gondola again. But, in any case, one of us spotted a couple of familiar faces.
"Isn't that Scarlet and Heidegger?" Gehrig asked, as she noticed the bearded man and blond woman walking into the channel that read "Event Square," hand in hand.
"It looks like it," I said.
"Are they on a date?" she asked.
"It looks like it," I repeated.
"I didn't even know they're a couple," she said.
"They're off-and-on," I explained. "They have a daughter together."
"And I thought the president was scandalous," Gehrig commented. "I babysat his son, once."
"Rufus?" I asked.
That didn't sound right. Rufus was older than us, and Lazard was older than that.
"No," she said. "His name's Evan Townshend. He must be twelve or thirteen by now."
As we approached the stairs, I caught another familiar face.
And he caught me.
"New girlfriend, I see," Cait Sith commented.
"She's not my-"
"We're just friends," Gehrig interrupted.
"Pity," Cait Sith lamented. "She is a cutie."
"Thanks," Gehrig said, seemingly not offended.
"Can I at least read your fortune?" the cat requested.
"That won't be necessary," Gehrig insisted. "I'm never dating again."
"There are more things in life to look forward to," Cait Sith pressed.
"Persistent little booger, aren't you?" she suggested. "Alright, you've talked me into it."
She paid him ten gil, whereupon that cat did another one of his silly dances. He then stopped, and a troubled look claimed his feline face.
"What is it?" I asked, feeling somewhat concerned.
"You're friend has a big heart," Cait Sith replied. "Maybe too big."
"That's it?" Gehrig asked.
Cait Sith nodded and hopped off.
"Hey!" she exclaimed, but it was too late. He was gone.
"Bastard," I muttered. "Money sucking, lying bastard."
"He's right," she corrected, with a sincere look on her face. "Maybe my heart's too big. I tolerate Mary Ellen, don't I?"
And then, something popped up in my head that had been there for a while. Somehow, I could no longer resist the urge to ask.
"Hey, um," I began, "mind if I ask you something?"
"Sure," Gehrig replied. "Ask away."
"Is there a reason you call her 'Mary Ellen?'"
"That's her name," she replied after a brief silence.
Of course, I meant as opposed to "mom."
"And I tolerate Aerie," she added.
This surprised me.
"I thought she was your best friend," I said.
"She is," Gehrig clarified. "And I love her like a sister. But her mission drains me sometimes."
"Her mission?" I asked.
"To be a wife and mother," she explained. "We're only sixteen. We're supposed to have fun."
"I just wonder what's going to happen senior year," Gehrig muttered. "Watch her demand a ring by spring."
Just then, Gehrig's phone began to ring.
"Yeah, Aerie!" she greeted.
"Zack and I just did it!" I heard Aerith announce over the phone.
Gehrig immediately got an embarrassed smile on her face.
"Shhh! Keep it down!" she reprimanded. "Before Tobin hears you!"
Too late. I already did.
"Or before Zack hears you telling me!" Gehrig added.
"He's getting ice," Aerith replied. "Gehrig, it was amazing!"
"I believe it," Gehrig said. "But can we talk about this later? Girls' night, maybe?"
"I'll hold you to it," Aerith replied before hanging up.
Gehrig sighed as she put her phone back in her jeans pocket. She then looked at me.
"You heard, didn't you?" she asked.
"I'm afraid so," I replied.
"I guess you now know she's an open person."
We stood in awkward silence for a few moments. Then, Gehrig glances at the stairs leading to the arcade floor.
"Up for a few games?" she asked.
Aerith sat upright on the bed with her legs crossed like a pretzel, staring at the ceiling and taking in what had just happened. The lights were off, but her eyes had adjusted to her surroundings. It was truly a peaceful atmosphere. The room was dead silent. She could almost forget she was in the middle of the world's largest amusement park.
It was almost as placid as planting flowers in the church, but she was well aware that this was radically different. She was naked, and was also taking in the feeling of the bed against her bare skin. It was another sensation she was not used to.
She realized that her relationship with Zack would never be the same again. He had seen her breasts. They had both seen each other's private parts. They had had sex. She was no longer a virgin.
The fact that she was no longer a virgin was something she would be spending time taking in as well. She thought about what Gehrig had said, how it was an incredible experience.
She was right.
At that moment, Aerith heard the door to the suite open. A few seconds later, Zack appeared in the bedroom. He quickly pulled off his shirt and slipped off his pants, leaving himself as naked as his girlfriend.
"Come here," he said gently.
"Everything okay?" she asked.
Aerith got up off of the bed and walked up to Zack.
He immediately placed his hands on her shoulders and looked her sincerely in the eyes.
"I think I'm starting to fall in love with you," he said.
Aerith didn't respond right away. Her mind was full. They had only been together for a little over four months. Yes, they had just had sex, but the l-word...
"Don't rush into it," she finally replied. "Take your time, okay?"
Zack nodded, realizing that she was right.
"Can I give you a massage, then?" he asked.
Aerith's sincere look changed to a smile.
"I would like that, actually," she said as she placed her hands on his cheeks and kissed him.
He scanned her naked body, and noticed her pubic hair wasn't waxed. It was a new step she would have to take.
A few moments later, the still-naked Aerith was laying on the bed on her stomach, as the still-naked Zack was rubbing her shoulders.
"Mmmmmm," she moaned; she had never had her shoulders rubbed, either.
Zack scanned her bare shoulders as he rubbed them, and then shifted his gaze toward her bare back. He realized how beautiful she really was, and how her body seemed perfect. It wasn't the reason he was dating her, but it made him feel all the luckier.
And then, he spotted Aerith's butt. It was her best feature of all, and Zack could no longer take his eyes off of it.
"Zack, this is so nice!" she purred.
He continued to rub her shoulders, but his eyes were where they were.
Meanwhile, Aerith began to feel her boyfriend staring at her naked backside.
"What are you looking at?" she playfully giggled.
"Um, nothing," he sheepishly replied as he quickly returned his gaze to her shoulders.
Zack was right; we all have our fears. Gehrig's was being mugged, or something worse, while walking alone.
So I was good enough to walk her back to her and Aerith's room, as mine and Zack's was on the other side of the park.
"Thanks for walking me," Gehrig said when we got to her door. "I know I'm kind of paranoid about it all."
"No worries," I assured her.
Then, Gehrig got an annoyed look on her face.
"I might actually yell at her when I go in," she said. "I any case, she better let me know which bed not to pick."
She hugged me good-bye and disappeared into the door.
I turned around and began to walk back to the room I shared with Zack.
Sure enough, Gehrig yelled. But not at Aerith.
"TOBIN!" she called from the door.
I turned around to see her standing in the doorway. She had somewhat of a guilty look on her face, even though I knew she did nothing wrong.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Aerie and Zack aren't here," she said. "They're back at your and Zack's room."
I groaned inside. I suppose I should've seen it coming; it had to be one of the rooms.
"Seriously?" I asked.
"I'm sorry, bud, but I think you're sexiled."
"Great," I groaned.
Gehrig pulled out her phone and attempted to call Aerith, but she had since turned her phone off.
"Phone's off," she announced.
Now I was somewhat annoyed. I had to think of what I was going to do.
"I guess I'll head to the booking desk," I said, defeated.
At first, I thought she was annoyed with Aerith. But it turned out that she was somewhat annoyed with me.
"Do you have any idea how much the rooms are here?"
"What other choice do I have?" I asked.
And then, I realized what she was hinting at.
"Why don't you swallow your pride and ask?" Gehrig suggested. "Aerith is too busy being naked with Zack in your room to mind."
"It wouldn't be right of me," I lamely replied.
Gehrig sighed again and made eye-contact with me.
"Is it because I'm a girl?" she asked.
"Maybe," I replied. "Zack and I and you and Aerith were supposed to room together for a reason."
"Says the guy with the girl roommate," she continued.
"You wouldn't be uncomfortable?" I asked.
"Why would I be?" she asked. "It's just two friends making use of the facilities."
I gave her a look of defeat; Gehrig was the hardest person to argue with.
"Just get your butt in here!" she demanded.
Sighing, I followed her in, closing the door behind me.
The room was identical to Zack's, with a parlor, dining room, kitchen, and queen bed.
"You can put your stuff by the couch," Gehrig said. "It folds out. I'm sure there's an extra pillow and blanket somewhere around here."
"Thanks," I said.
It was kind of useless, though, since all my stuff was back in Zack and Aerith's love nest.
Gehrig noticed this, too.
"Damn," she muttered. "Sorry. I have to go to the bathroom. I'll check to see if there's free stuff for both of us in there. There usually is."
I nodded as she walked off. As weird and annoying as the situation was, I found it somewhat amusing. I did realize that I would probably never go through something like this again.
When Gehrig returned, she was wearing a white tank top and black pajama bottoms, and was barefoot. I wasn't surprised, since it was kind of late, but it seemed...different. I guess you could say it's a soft side of Gehrig I had never seen before.
"You're covered," she assured me. "They left free shampoo and soap for both of us."
"That's good," I said.
"Well, Tobin," she continued, "if it's not too late, want to see what's on?"
"Sure," I replied as I sat down on the couch.
"Tobin, Tobin, Tobin," she said as she sat down next to me and picked up the remote. "Who named you?"
"My mom," I replied. "My dad wanted to name me Leon."
"I like Tobin, better," she said with a smile.
Since she asked me, I figured that I might as well ask her.
"Who decided your first name would be Gehrig?" I asked.
"Nobody, actually," she replied. "Gehrig's actually my middle name."
"Really?" I asked. I never knew that.
"My real first name is Anna," she continued. "But I've been going by my middle name since first grade. There were two other Annas in my class."
Gehrig then clicked on the TV. All we saw was static.
"Hang on," she said as she stood up and walked up to the TV, peering behind. "Well, I'll be damned."
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"The wall output's been ripped out," she replied. "I mean, it's gone."
"Great," I said.
"No sweat," she continued. "There's another TV in the bedroom."
We went into the bedroom, where Gehrig sat on the bed and clicked the remote. This time, the TV worked.
"Hallelujah!" she sighed. She then turned to me. "You know, it's funny, but I never saw you in middle school."
"I didn't go," informed her. "I was homeschooled."
"Didn't the city of Midgar ban that?" she asked.
"Actually, I'm from a farm near Gongaga," I answered as I sat down in the nearby chair. It gave me a crappy view of the TV, but it was better than nothing.
"Oh, a farm boy?" she asked.
"You got it," I confirmed. "We had everything but goats and horses."
"I never would've guessed," she said. "I figured you'd always lived in Midgar.
"Have you?" I asked.
"No," Gehrig replied. "I was born in Kalm. But I've been in the city since I was four."
She then lowered her head and glanced at her toes, which, I noticed at that moment, were painted red.
"Do you want to know what happened with Chuckie Knox?" she suddenly asked.
"What happened?" I responded. That seemed out of the blue.
"Mary Ellen stole him," Gehrig replied sadly.
"She stole him?!" I asked.
"We were together for three months," she continued. "And the funny thing was that we had never met each other's parents. So, eventually, he introduced me to his. And I felt bad that he hadn't met mine. So I brought him over one night. Now, you'd think that, after three months, he would be committed enough not to let another woman get the best of him. But no. Mary Ellen called him up to check a leak in her bedroom ceiling." She paused. "If she wasn't too loud, I wouldn't have noticed. But that was the end of our relationship. I wouldn't talk to Mary Ellen for a week. I never saw Chuckie Knox ever again. And I haven't dated a guy in almost a year."
"But couldn't you find someone else?" I asked.
"What's the point?" Gehrig sighed. "I dated three more guys after that. Then I decide to be a good girl and introduce them to Mary Ellen, and, low and behold, Mary Ellen turns on her cougar charm. So I'm dumped again."
I was silent. I really felt bad for her. Gehrig was a nice girl, and certainly deserved better.
"And that's why you call her 'Mary Ellen' instead of 'mom?'" I asked.
"That's part of the reason, I guess," she replied. "I mean, she went into labor and gave birth to me, but ever since I was thirteen, she suddenly started treating me more like one of her girlfriends than her daughter."
I knew there was something more.
"But enough of my problems," she finally said.
"I don't have any problems," I insisted. "I'm free of those."
"No, you're not," Gehrig insisted. "You've been sexiled."
"If that's the worst thing that ever happens to me," I replied, "I'd be lucky."
Gehrig then took a long look at the position I was in.
"You're going to watch from there?" she asked me.
"I can see," I insisted.
In response, Gehrig patted the spot on the bed next to her.
"I won't bite," she insisted.
I stood up, realizing that this would be another "two friends making full use of the facilities" situation.
And I sat down next to her.
THE NEXT MORNING...
Zack was the first to stir. He felt himself awake, and remembered right away that he was in the hotel room. He felt the welcoming presence in front of him, and opened his eyes, eager to view it again.
There she was. She was laying on her side with her eyes closed, sound asleep, wearing nothing but her earrings, necklace, and bedsheet. The sheet stopped two inches above her waist, giving him an ample view of her breasts.
And then, her eyes slowly opened, revealing the green that made them beautiful.
"Hey!" she greeted with a smile.
The two instinctively kissed, with the sensation of their lips pressed together a welcoming moment for them both.
"How are you?" he asked.
"My boobs hurt," she groaned. "But I slept good."
He pulled her close and kissed her again, wrapping his arm around her bare waist as he did so.
And then, the smile faded from his face.
"I think I left Tobin stranded!" Zack realized out loud.
"Don't worry about it," she assured him. "I'm sure Gehrig let him sleep on the couch. She has a room just like this one."
"I'll buy him breakfast," he decided.
Aerith sat up and turned away from him, allowing her hair to run down her bare back.
"Don't you want to take a shower with your girlfriend first?" she asked sweetly.
She then stood up and stretched, giving him an intentional view of her exposed posterior.
"I think I'd like that," he replied.
"Then let's get clean and dirty at the same time!" she giggled as she began walking towards the bathroom.
Zack took an understandable look at her naked body walking across the room before joining her.
I woke up at seven or eight in the morning. I was still sitting up, and, for some reason, my torso felt heavy.
Putting everything together, I realized that I was still at Gold Saucer. It was Sunday, and I realized that my sexile was still in effect.
And then, I realized why my torso was so heavy: Gehrig's head was pressed into it. She had fallen asleep on me.
I didn't really know what to make of that. Of course, neither of us had intended for that to happen. I wondered how embarrassed she would be upon waking up. That said, she looked so composed and peaceful that way.
At that moment, Ms. Cline awoke. She stirred for a few seconds before making eye-contact with me in surprise.
"Oops!" she giggled as she sat up and cracked her head. "Sorry!"
That said, she did not seem embarrassed.
"No worries," I assured her, without making eye contact.
"Somebody's embarrassed," Gehrig said as she stood up and stretched.
"Sorry," I said. "This really has never happened before."
She came around to face me, putting a hand on her hip.
"Didn't your girl roomie ever fall asleep next to you on the couch?"
I shook my head.
"She always goes into her bedroom and locks the door because she says she sleeps like a cartoon animal," I informed her.
"What does that mean?" asked Gehrig.
"God only knows," I replied.
"Well, it's something you can cross off your bucket list," she said with a smile as she patted me on the shoulder. "I won't tell anyone if you don't."
She then turned around and started walking toward the bathroom.
I still couldn't believe it; Gehrig had actually fallen asleep on me.
"I'm going to take a shower," she announced. When she reached the threshold to the bathroom, she turned her head towards me. "And don't try to peek!" she warned.
She closed the bathroom door.
I then heard the lock click.
THE STUFF THAT MIGHT HAVE GONE UNNOTICED...
The gondola ride Aerith goes on with Zack is very similar to the one she's supposed to go on with Cloud. Of course, in the original Premonitions, Cloud goes on the Gold Saucer date with Tifa instead of Aerith.
The room where Zack takes Aerith is the same room where Aerith and Cloud have sex for the first time in the original Premonitions, further cementing the parallels between Cloud and Zack.
Gehrig wears the same kind of pajamas Aerith wears in the original Premonitions, suggesting that Aerith takes after Gehrig in a similar way Zack takes after Angeal or Cloud takes after Zack.
I wonder if what Tobin said to Durham is true; I didn't bother to look that up (if you've been dumped by someone from a place if there's nothing that prevents you from being allowed to go back there). I think a lot of zoned communities have hardcore policies checking out dumped exes and fired former employees coming back.
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