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1st June, 2013
1. an intentionally false statement
Grinning, Toph held her hand up in a display of familiarity as Aang walked through the door of the Jasmine Dragon, Katara and Sokka following close behind.
"What's up, Twinkletoes! Sugar Queen, Snoozles," Toph added, cocking her head in their direction. "You're late, what were you doing? Shopping?"
"Nu-uh." Sokka's whining voice carried through the full shop as he sat opposite her. "I lost track of time with Suki. You're early. Don't you have other friends to hang out with?"
"Yeah, but I didn't lose track of time." Taking a sip of her tea, her small frown was missed by her friends as they sat around the table.
"So, what did you need me for?" Toph asked, setting down the cup with a little more force than necessary. By this stage, Sokka had his mouth full of bread, so he waved his hand in Aang's direction. The young airbender picked up the conversation.
"The King needs extra security at the party tonight, and I suggested you. I can't make it because Zuko has asked me to meet him at Ember Island and naturally Sokka insisted he tag along."
"And I've commissioned Suki for my classes, so they can practice some offensive waterbending against non-benders, and we just won't have time," Katara added, taking a small sip of the cinnamon chai that one of the waitresses placed in front of her.
"Ahh. And what if I have plans?" Toph asked, eyebrow raised. Sokka let out a small bark of laughter, though was quickly silenced by a glare shot at him by Katara.
"Oh, well, I just... didn't think you did..." Aang mumbled, a frown on his face.
"Yep. Big plans I have a uh... a date. Sorry." If Toph had been speaking to them on the telephone, she would have been banging her head into the wall by this stage. A date?! Really?
She heard Sokka snort again while Aang choked on his tea. Toph's heart sped up as Katara squealed, moving her chair to sit next to the blind girl.
"Oh, really?!? What's his name, do I know him? Oh, where did you meet? Can I help you find a dress? I know-"
"Woah, Katara, chill," Toph interrupted, her face reddening. "It's uh... his name is... Kai. He's an earthbender. We uh... he came to one of my classes once..."
Katara was beaming so much the blind girl could feel it, but she was too busy regretting her brash excuse.
"Why have we never heard about him before?" Aang asked, and Toph searched madly for an excuse—any excuse.
"Oh, well, I haven't seen him in a while and then he... he asked if I wanted to go out and I said yes," she stuttered in panic.
"It's okay to be embarrassed Toph," Katara told her, pulling the blind girl in for a hug.
"Thanks, Sweetness... I have to go um, get ready. I'll talk to you later..."
Standing up swiftly, Toph left a small pile of coins on the table as she walked from the tea shop. She could hear her friends still discussing the strange turn of events and she picked up her pace.
Toph hadn't actually had any plans, but this wasn't the first instance that Aang or Sokka had called her up to give a speech that they were supposed to do, or meet a dignitary while they did something else. Counting silently in her head, she could think of at least four other cases where her friends (Sokka mostly) had organised something else to do. With a scowl, she realised that most of the time they got her to work while they did something "coupley". Just because she was single didn't mean that she didn't have a life—she had her own job running the Dai Li and teaching earthbending to the lower classes of Ba Sing Se; she couldn't keep picking up their work—especially when they expected she would.
Entering her large home and making her way to the backyard, Toph walked into the earthen tent she slept in and quickly changed out of her guard's uniform and into something more comfortable. Katara hated it when she wore her track pants, but her previous plan was still in effect—stay at home and bake a fruit tart. The only difference was that it wasn't for Aang's five years outside of the iceberg, it was for her to eat and feel better about herself.
Fruit tarts were notoriously difficult to make, and after several hours of attempting to cook the dried pastry and burning her arms yet again on hot fruit, Toph considered giving up. It really was too much trouble just for comfort food. Luckily, the door rang just as she was about to throw it through a window.
Answering the door, it took Toph about two seconds to realise that she was supposed to be on a date, and it was obvious she had been in the kitchen for some time. When Aang stepped under the eaves, she knew he knew it too.
"Hey, Toph. I didn't expect you to be here," he said, frowning. Toph laughed, hiding her discomfort
"You're lying. Why else would you come here?"
"Like you did today? I could tell..."
Toph's face erupted in a heated blush and she stumbled on her way back to the kitchen.
"I don't know what you mean, Aang," she denied, picking up a rolling pin and squishing the drying pie crust. She heard him go over to the cutting board and begin chopping up the different types of fruit she had bought for the occasion.
He didn't reply, and the only noise came from the two friends as they prepared Toph's pie. Between the two of them, it only took ten minutes or so before the dish was sitting in her fire stove, cooking slowly.
"Why did you lie?" Aang asked while they were waiting for it to cook. Toph had lad him to her lounge room and sat on the floor, still not saying anything.
"Why did you?" she countered, and he laughed.
"Because I don't know why you did, and I wanted to find out," he said, and Toph huffed. "It wasn't because you felt... lonely... was it?"
Toph snorted at him. "Really, Twinkletoes? Out of everything you know about me, you think I'd make up a fake boyfriend so I didn't seem lonely?"
"Hah! You just admitted he was fake!" Aang jumped up, crying out in glee. Toph promptly socked him in the arm, still frowning but a smile threatening to break through.
"Shut up. Fine, he was fake; I made him up. But not for the reasons you think," she was quick to add.
"Well, why then?"
"Ugh," she groaned, slapping her forehead. "I did it because I'm sick of you taking me for granted. You just expected me to drop everything to come to your rescue, while you go to a beach. Not exactly fair, Aang."
"Oh... I didn't think of that. Gee, I'm really sorry Toph... You know, you could have just said that instead of faking a boyfriend," he grinned. Toph returned it and stood up.
"Nah, I couldn't have. Katara would have told me that it's my job to help the King just because I'm part of the Guard. Lying was the easiest—it got me out of going, and it got her off my back about never dating anyone."
"Yeah, she's pretty ruthless," Aang agreed, eliciting an inelegant snort from his youngest friend.
"You think? Why do you think I made up having a... ugh... a date? She's already tried hooking me up with almost every other guard, her students—you know she even started suggesting the girls at the Five-Seven-Five society?"
Aang laughed at this, earning himself a punch and a glare.
"Nothing," he answered, still giggling slightly. "But she's worse than Poppy, isn't she?"
Toph let out her own laugh at this. "You said it. Hey, you want some pie? I was just gonna pig out, but I guess I should be nice to my guest, huh?"
"I'd love some!"
Toph went to the stove and carefully pulled the hot dish from it using a cloth. The two friends spent the night, several blocks away from the largest party ever held in the Upper Ring, eating burnt homemade fruit tarts and talking about the best attributes to give fake dates.
A/N: bet you thought that was gonna be super angsty, eh?
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