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August 25th, 2016
Jinora was in bed, wide awake. Even though today had been fairly long, tiring, and it was late, no way in hell was she able to sleep now.
Kai had been a true gentleman and walked her home after their little outing, and holding his hand all the way back did give her a sense of security.
Of course, now it was a matter of trying to get over the kiss, which wouldn't be easy. The main question that was spooking through Jinora's head was: now what? They hadn't really discussed it, but it was obvious, at least to her, that they couldn't just go back to the way things were. One benefit they had this time around was that no one knew about it, and that they'd get to keep it a secret, at least for now.
That was the good part, but the obvious downside of that was that they couldn't ask anyone for advice either. At least, for now. Chances were that if this actually was something, Korra would be able to see right through her, and maybe Fen would as well. Especially the latter would be bad, because Fen did have a the tendency to be a bit of a yenta. She could keep some secrets, but something as juicy as this, no way.
Korra would be the lesser problem, at least for Jinora. But even if she did catch wind of them, it wouldn't matter, because the amount of people from their school there was small and the amount of people that knew Jin was actually Jinora was limited to Kai.
And yet, it had her worried. If they really were going to be an item, she'd want to keep it on the down low for now.
Which pointed to another good question and perhaps the most pressing one of all: were they going to be an item? Kai had a reputation for being a ladykiller, but then again, Jinora had seen a lot of his reputation being proved wrong just by sheer power of will from her end, her determination to get to the bottom of him. She wasn't there yet, but it was a start. He definitely deserved the benefit of the doubt with this one.
Jinora rolled over to check her alarm clock. It read 3:40 in the morning, so she rolled back with a sigh. "Fucking hell, Fong," she muttered. (Again.)
Of course, Sunday wasn't much better. Most questions she'd had during the night were still roaming wild in her head, and they weren't the kind she wanted to ask him over the phone.
But there was a bigger threat looming in the distance: her parents coming home. That there were going to be consequences for what she did was kind of inevitable, so Jinora used her time to prepare for the inevitable. Cushion the blow, so to speak.
She had removed her SIM-card from her phone and stowed it away separately in her room from her phone, along with one of her father's old phones, so that she could cheat her way out of having hers taken. Now was not a good time for that punishment.
There was an extra bag of marshmallows (Jinora's guilty pleasure) in the pantry, should they be necessary, as well as an extra pint of ice cream in the freezer. Low-fat, can't go for the whole stuff straight away, plus, bigger chance of her mother not noticing it.
Of course, there wasn't a lot she could do about her laptop, but then again, she could make the argument that she needed it for school, which was true. For the rest, well, banning her from books wasn't really an option, and her parents didn't know about the skating anyway, so that wouldn't be a problem just yet.
It went roughly as Jinora had expected. At about four, the rest of her family came home again, neither one of her parents looking very pleased.
She silently followed them into the living room, while her father instructed Meelo, Rohan, and Ikki to take their stuff to their rooms.
"Can we do this with Ikki as well? I kind of want to talk to her first," Jinora offered up.
Her parents exchanged a surprised look, but then also nodded to each other. The four of them moved into the living room, where Jinora turned to her little sister. "Look, I just wanted to start by apologizing to you. I was legitimately pissed off, but me flying off the handle like that wasn't what you deserved. I'm sorry."
Ikki eyed her up suspiciously. "Sure."
"Can we try the truce again?"
-"Yeah," she said, not the least bit convinced. "Can I go?"
Jinora raised her hands in defeat, looking towards her parents.
-"Yes," Tenzin said. "We need to have words with Jinora anyway."
The younger girl quietly made for her room, leaving the three of them alone. "That was unexpected," he opened.
"I meant it," Jinora said. "I don't want the bad blood between us anymore. It's tiring, and I'm sick of it. But if she's not willing to take me seriously, there's not a lot I can do about it."
-"I'll talk to your sister," Pema said. "And even though I think this is a good first step, you know perfectly well that what you said and did was way out of line. You're grounded for the next two weeks, Jinora. Straight home after school, no library."
Jinora sighed, because that was kind of what she was expecting. "I suppose I had that coming."
-"Yes you did," Tenzin commented. "We'll leave the internet on, but you'll hand over your phone for the first week. If we think you're making progress, you'll get it back."
"That's not fair!" Jinora protested, even though she was prepared for this. (Keeping up appearances and all.) "It's my phone!"
-"Yes, that we pay for," her father deadpanned. This was true, the bill still had her mother's name over it. "Like I said, you behave this week, we'll give it back to you come Sunday." He held up his hand, signalling Jinora to hand it over.
"Fine," she sighed and took her phone out of her back pocket to turn it off. "I'll time 168 hours from now," she said while placing it in her father's hand. "Anything else?"
Her parents shared a knowing look. "No, not for now," Tenzin said. "But the main thing is that we want you to make an effort to make nice with your sister again. No more of this tension between you two."
"I just tried that," Jinora said. "I apologized, and you saw just as much as I that Ikki didn't care. The ball is in her park, and if she decides to throw it back, I'll catch it properly."
Pema smiled. "That's what we want to hear."
Even though it was in her bag, Jinora noticed her phone buzz. It was Monday, so the first two periods, she wasn't in the same classes as Kai. Not surprisingly, the message contained only two words.
Kai: Slept well?
Jinora: Sort of. We need to talk
Jinora: First break
With that settled, sigh turned back to her work, though it was still difficult to concentrate.
-"You've put on your 'I love Kai'-face again," Fen teased on a hushed whisper.
"Oh, drop it," Jinora replied. "We've had this discussion before."
-"So why is he involved? I saw the name over the conversation."
(DAMN.) "Can't I get a little bit of privacy anymore?"
-"Not until I know what I want to."
Now Jinora had been backed into a corner. Fortunately, she wasn't too bad at improvising. "Fine. He came by my house, took me out for a romantic dinner, after which we had a steaming make-out session, and we're about to have another one."
Fen just rolled her eyes. "You really aren't taking me seriously on this one, aren't you?"
"I want to, but since you're not listening to what I'm saying, I can't. Now will you believe me when I say that for that English project, we buried the hatchet, and it stayed buried. I consider that progress."
At this, Fen just sighed. "Yeah, sounds reasonable, if you weren't so obviously hiding something."
Jinora sighed. "Look, I dug up stuff that I wasn't supposed to. Put a light version of it in the project and promised him to keep it a secret. And it's also not something to play around with, this is serious, so I figure, I should at least help out on the sidelines. That's the truth."
Fen smiled. "That's more like it."
In the break, Jinora quickly and quietly made her way over to the auditorium, where Kai was already waiting for her. An involuntary smile crept over her face when she saw him. "Hey."
-"Hi," he smirked back. It was fairly obvious that whatever happened on in that alley was still swimming through his mind too. "So... now what?" he asked.
Jinora sighed, because that was the question she had been asking herself all weekend long. "I don't know. Haven't been able to come up with anything clever."
Kai slowly nodded. "Alright, let me ask you this: what do you want it to be?"
"I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. The kiss, the walk home, even the dinner. Part of me can't wait for more."
-"And the other part?"
Jinora chuckled. "Thinks it's a terrible idea."
He took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "I suppose those parts wouldn't happen to line up with where you draw the line between Jin and Jinora, would they?" She didn't say anything, because that was actually right on the money. He took her silence as confirmation. "Gyatso, I stand by what I said these past seven years. You do drive me insane, and you have a massive stick up your ass. But at the park, you're this carefree girl, loving what she does, not giving a damn about anyone. That's someone I'd like to get to know better."
She took a moment to think about what he said. "Kind of ironic, seeing how I'd like to get to know the part of you hidden beneath the tough guy-shell. You do care deep inside, and that's someone I can spend more time with."
-"I remove the shell, you remove the stick. Sounds like a fair deal to me."
Jinora chuckled and leaned in to peck him on the lips. "Fine. Deal." She couldn't help but chuckle at the thought. "This is crazy. Us together, I mean."
Kai laughed as well. "Yeah, I suppose. I should also stop calling you Gyatso, seems a bit weird now."
"I'd appreciate that," Jinora said. Kai clasped her hand in his own and started pulling her towards the door, but she resisted. "Kai, wait."
-"What is it?"
"Well..." She sighed, because there was no easy way to bring this. "Do you think we can keep 'us' quiet for a bit? Just until we figured out ourselves what we can make of it. Fen already suspects, and I really don't want to deal with the fallout of my parents going haywire when they find out as well. Nothing too public for now."
Kai looked a little disappointed but nodded. "Sure. But let's try and not let that get in the way too much, okay?"
-"So what do you say? Meet up after school?"
Jinora internally swore. "Can't. I've been grounded by my parents for yelling at my sister. Maybe tonight, at the park?"
She took a quick look around, just to be sure, and saw that it was entirely quiet. "Give me one more kiss and we're on our way."
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