Rurouni Kenshin Fan Fiction ❯ Let's Just Pretend ❯ Trounced ( Chapter 13 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Kaoru shifted in the front passenger seat to frown back at Misao. She tried to ignore Kenshin as he reached to change gears but she couldn't help the way her breath caught in her throat and her heart raced every time he reached for the stick. For some reason, she no longer had control over her life. “Misao, you know how bad I am at this game.”
Misao rolled her eyes, looping her arm through Aoshi's. “Stop complaining. It'll be fun.”
'Fun' wasn't exactly the word she would use to describe an hour of agonizing torture. “For some strange reason, I don't think it's fun to embarrass myself in front of half the school.”
Misao shrugged. “You exaggerate. It's only the six of us.”
She folded her arms, pouting slightly. “With Sano it might as well be half the school. Why can't we laser tag or paint ball?”
She pointed an accusing finger in her face. “Because you'll trounce us. Well, except for maybe Himura. Now, face forward. You're making me nervous.”
“I'm sure Kenshin is an excellent driver.”
“Exactly. So you should pay attention.”
Misao snuggled closer to Aoshi, sending a clear message that she was done conversing for the time being. With a put out sigh, Kaoru turned back to the road. This could not possible be any more awkward. A low groan shattered the silence. She grimaced. Barring a full out make-out session in the backseat. So perhaps it could get more awkward. She blushed, searching for some kind of distraction. “So, do you have any siblings?”
Kenshin's lips quirked. “No.”
Silence descended over the car only broken by the activity in the backseat. Kaoru fidgeted with her hands. When in doubt, ask stupid questions. “How are your parents?”
The car slowed to a stop at a red light and he glanced at her. “I...My parents...” he trailed off hesitantly. His fingers tapped the steering wheel restlessly before he cleared his throat. “I'm orphaned.”
She blanched. So much for polite conversation. Politics and religion were definitely out. She frowned. Stick to the weather. “I'm sorry. I didn't know.”
“It's alright, Miss Kaoru. Hiko took me in.”
“SeijÅ«rÅ Hiko. The dean.”
She shouldn't have asked. She sank down in her seat. How did she get into these situations. “Oh.”
Kenshin grinned. “Don't worry. He thinks you've got spunk.”
She blushed. Change the subject, Kaoru! Weather! “It's been nice lately. Hard to believe it's almost November.”
“I suppose.”
Great. Now she was killing the conversation. “Do you bowl very often?”
Kenshin pulled into the parking lot. “When I was in undergrad, we went bowling all the time. I'm alright.”
“I'm terrible. I get excited when I break sixty.”
Kenshin chuckled. “You can't be that bad.”
“Oh, but I am. It's embarrassing.”
“Well, I promise I won't laugh.”
Kaoru smiled. “That's comforting though I can't say Misao will abide by your resolution.”
He grinned at her which made her heart flutter. “If it starts looking bad, we'll put the bumpers up.”
“Thanks. That makes me feel a lot better.”
* * * * * *
The four of them climbed back into the car in silence. Kaoru wrung her hands, darting an anxious glance at Kenshin. The evening definitely didn't go like she thought it would. Kenshin probably thought she was a liar now. She risked another glance at him as he buckled his seatbelt. A slight smile hovered over his lips, but he seemed relaxed. Maybe he's trying to block the experience. She does that from time to time. Unable to take the silence any longer, she sighed. The heat from the glare in the backseat certainly wasn't helping. “I'm really not that good. I'm serious.”
His head tilted and even in the dark she could see his amusement. “You don't expect me to believe that now, Miss Kaoru.”
“But I'm serious!”
Misao huffed. “You completely trounced us, Kaoru. I swear you cheated.”
Kaoru twisted in her seat. “I did not!”