This Is My Life @sara1991
Chapter 9

"Hello, and welcome to Holly's House of Food. Are you here for breakfast?" A hostess asked kindly.

"Yes." Ryou answered as he held onto Mai, who was laying her head on his shoulder.

"You made it just in time; we're still serving breakfast for about another hour. Please follow me and I'll seat you. Five? Booth or table?" The hostess asked kindly.

"Yes, three adults and two children. Booth please." Ryou responded as they followed her.

"How old are the children?" The hostess asked as she led them to a booth.

"They're both four." Ryou said seriously.

"Ok then; here you go. Do you need booster seats?" The hostess asked kindly.

"Yes please." Ichigo said right away.

These were tall tables and Kai was taller than Mai already; his head just reached the table.

"I'll be right back." She said as she set three menus on the table.

"Thank you." Ryou, Ichigo and Sakura said at the same time.

"What wrong baby?" Ryou asked as Mai started crying.

"I think somebody's tired." Sakura said, looking at Mai.

"Pancakes!" Mai cried into Ryou's shoulder.

"Yes, you're going to get pancakes…in just a little bit. We have to wait for booster seats and then we all have to see what we want." Ryou said, gently rocking Mai.

"Ok…two booster seats. Your waiter or waitress will be with you in just a little bit." The hostess said, handing Sakura and Ichigo the booster seats before heading back to her post.

"Can I sit by the window, daddy?" Mai asked softly.

"Sure." Ryou said, setting her down so that he could take one of the booster seats.

"Kai, where do you want to sit?" Ryou asked, setting up Mai's seat.

"By the window." Kai said calmly.

"Ok then." Ryou and Ichigo said as he picked up Mai and set her in her seat while Ichigo got Kai's ready.

Ryou sat next to Mai while Ichigo sat next to Kai and Sakura sat next to her.

"Hello; I'm Kaito and I'll be your waiter this fine morning. Can I start you off with some drinks?" Their waiter, Kaito asked politely.

"Ichigo, Sakura; go ahead." Ryou said, allowing the girls to go first.

"I would like a cappuccino with cinnamon flavoring." Sakura said kindly.

"Of course; and you ma'am." Kaito asked, writing Sakura's drink down.

"I'll just have a strawberry smoothie." Ichigo said with a smile.

"Of course. Sir?" Kaito asked, writing Ichigo's drink down

"Can I get a coffee, black?" Ryou asked calmly as he watched Mai start to squirm around.

"Of course. And the children?" Kaito asked with a smile; he was a gay man who loved and longed for children of his own…but right now, his partner didn't.

"I want apple juice." Kai said right away.

"Ok…and the little girl?" Kaito asked politely.

"Orange juice with no pulp. And, where is your bathroom located?" Ryou said and then asked.

"Of course. The bathrooms are just down behind that wall over there. I'll be back in just a little bit." Kaito said as he started walking away.

"Kai, do you need to go?" Ryou asked seriously.

"No, I'm good; I went earlier." Kai said calmly, looking out the window.

"Ok…" Ryou sighed as he started scooting off the bench.

"I can take her; I have to go anyways." Sakura said with a smile.

"So do I." Ichigo said softly.

"Ok, go with mommy and grandma." Ryou said, setting Mai on the floor; she fell over right away.

"Come here sweetie." Ichigo said, picking Mai up before they walked to the bathrooms.

"Do they always travel in packs?" Kai asked, watching the girls leave, causing Ryou to choke on his coffee a little.

"Where did you hear that?" Ryou asked, trying to hold back laughter.

"Around. I usually hear guys say it when they watch a group of girls walking away. Then they start acting stupid, falling over and they start talking gibberish. Maybe girls really are witches…" Kai explained and then mumbled as he seriously thought about it; this time Ryou couldn't hold back and started laughing.

"What's so funny?" Kai asked, confused.

"Kai…girls aren't witches. Just wait until you're older; you'll understand what all that means. No, I'm not going to explain it to you now. But, I will say: most, not all, but most guys will do that once or a few times in their lives. And, trust me; girls do it too." Ryou explained, smiling.

"I hope I'm never like that…I like being smart." Kai said seriously.

"We'll just have to wait and see. And, being smart is a good thing; but, being kind is more important. Also know this: just because you're really smart, doesn't mean you won't make mistakes and such. Some of the smartest people can be just as stupid as others. I've made mistakes…plenty of them. I'm going to tell you this, because I don't want you to end up exactly like me. By the time I was ten, my IQ was over 180. But, I wasn't exactly very social; I was a loner…and that carried on as I got older. I didn't have any friends my own age; I only had Keiichiro and my parents. And, I believe because of how smart I was then and am now, I pushed people away because they weren't as smart as me. I'm not saying do stuff you're not interested in, but try to not talk about how smart you are or push others to try to be smarter; it'll come back to bite you in the butt. Do I have friends now? Yes…but that's only because of underlying circumstances. No, you do not need to know about that. If your mother could actually carry kids on her own and things didn't happen the way they did, you and Mai wouldn't be here today. Now, listen to this part very carefully: you and your sister are NOT mistakes…far from it. But the night you and Mai were…being created, I was stupid; I made a mistake. Nine months later, you and Mai were born. It only took three years to find out and learn about you two, but I got you. If I had known about you two to begin with, I would've gotten custody of you then and there…one way or another. I would've fought for you two so that you two could've had a better life than you had before. Now, here comes the part about your mother. Your mother and I are very aware that you are aware that she couldn't carry you and your sister inside of her; and that she cannot currently or will ever be able to carry any child inside of her. Now, if she could, she could become pregnant and carry a child to term, you two still probably wouldn't be here." Ryou explained, he stopped to take a breath, when Kai spoke up.

"Why?" Kai asked, confused.

"Because your mother didn't like me in that way. And, to be fair, I wasn't always the nicest to her. I'm telling you this, because I don't want you to treat a girl that you end up liking-way in the future the way I treated her. But, I have loved your mother since the first time I laid eyes on her. I knew at that moment she was the one I was always going to love. However, she was with someone else. So, I kept my distance and was very rude and not so nice to her. I did that to keep her around, but to not let her know and lose her. I wanted her to be happy, but I couldn't… Needless to say, I didn't know how to manage my feelings and was just rude and not very nice. Maybe, you and your sister would be here in the future; but, you certainly wouldn't be here now, because your mother and I, at the time were not together in any way. I'm not going to say you and your sister are the reason she and I are together; that's a horrible reason to be with someone. The reason for that is: if someone's not happy with the person they're with and have kids together, it not only creates tension for the parents, but it also makes tension for the kids. It's just not fair…to anyone. And, whether your mother and I ever got together without you or your sister being around, or not; she still would be the woman I love for the rest of my life. Even if I couldn't be with her. And, that's what love is. If you love someone, you set them free; if they come back, it's obviously meant to be. If not…well then, they're meant to be happy with someone else." Ryou explained seriously, looking at Kai, neither of them realizing the girls had come back.

"What about now?" Kai asked curiously.

"What do you mean?" Ryou asked, looking at Kai.

"How do you feel about everything now?" Kai asked seriously.

"I couldn't see my life without any of you…especially you and your sister. Yes, I love your mother very much; but you and your sister come first, and I will always love you two just a little more." Ryou said seriously.

"I love you too! I'm sorry it took me so long!" Ichigo cried, hugging Ryou.

"Hey. We've already been through this; it doesn't matter. I have you now and that's all that matters…you and the kids." Ryou said seriously and then blinked a few times as Sakura took pictures.

Oh, and Kaito was standing there, a blubbering mess.

Earlier:

In The Bathroom:

With Sakura, Ichigo & Mai:

"Holy cow, these toilets are huge. Hold on Mai; these are too big for you to use on your own; you'll fall in." Ichigo said as she removed Mai's bottoms; she then held her over the toilet while her mom sat in the next stall…silently crying.

"Jeez…you really did have to go…" Ichigo said, somewhat in shock as she had been holding Mai over the toilet for almost fifteen seconds, and she was going.

Another few seconds ticked by and she was finally done and ready to wipe.

"Ok, wait here; now it's my turn." Ichigo said as she removed her bottoms and sat down, after placing a seat cover thing.

When she was done, she stood up, wiped, flushed and threw the seat thing away.

"Are you ready?" Ichigo asked calmly.

"Yes." Mai said softly just before Ichigo opened the stall door.

"Ok, let's wash our hands." Ichigo said as she turned the water on and lifted Mai up so she could wash her hands, before washing hers.

"Mom, are you ok in there?" Ichigo asked as she picked Mai up.

"Yeah, I'll be out in just a second." Sakura said calmly, after taking a deep breath.

"Grandma's sad?" Mai asked when Sakura came out to wash her hands.

"A little." Sakura said softly.

"Because grandpa didn't come to breakfast with us?" Mai asked, confused.

"No sweetie. It does have to do with grandpa, but you're much too young to understand right now." Sakura said seriously, with a smile; Sakura knew Mai was just a little girl and was confused. She also knew she'd be more confused later when they got back to the summer house and Shintaro wouldn't be there.

"Ok. Please be happy grandma." Mai said softly as she reached over to pat Sakura on the cheek.

"Thank you sweetie; I will be." Sakura said with a smile.

"Is something wrong Mai? You don't have to go again, do you?" Ichigo asked when she noticed Mai kept giving her weird and confused looks.

"No, I don't have to go again." Mai said softly, squinting a little at Ichigo.

"Then what's wrong?" Ichigo asked calmly.

"Why do you have hair?" Mai asked, confused.

"Wh-what do you mean by that? I have hair just like you and a bunch of other people." Ichigo explained, very confused…especially when she seen her mom snickering a little.

"No! You have hair on your naughty parts; I don't have hair there! Why do you? Why don't I have hair there like you?! I want hair there like you!" Mai cried out, clearly confused, but with much determination, causing Sakura to just burst out laughing.

"Uh… Uh…" Ichigo stammered, embarrassed, while trying to figure out what to say.

"Grandma, what's wrong?" Mai asked, confused.

"Nothing sweetie… It's just that, your mother asked me the same question when she was younger. Seeing as mommy's too shocked to speak at the moment, I'll tell you what I told her. The hair on your mommy's naughty part is adult hair. Most all adults have adult hair on their naughty parts; I do. I'm sure your daddy does; but don't go asking to see it. You don't get to see a guy's adult hair until you are much, much older. Anyways, once you're older, you'll start getting your adult hair. But until then, just be a kid. Ok?" Sakura explained, looking at Mai.

"Ok." Mai said softly with a smile; she was very satisfied with that answer.

"Are you ready to go back now?" Sakura asked as Ichigo recovered.

"Yeah. Pancakes!" Mai cried happily.

When they got back to the table, they heard Ryou explaining to Kai some things.

Current Time:

"That is just the most beautiful thing I've seen in a long time." Kaito said, tears running down his face while several other customers clapped…embarrassing Ryou and Ichigo

"…Thank you…" Ryou and Ichigo said slowly, just before everyone went back to doing what they were doing.

"Why was everyone clapping?" Mai and Kai asked, confused.

"Never you mind…" Ryou sighed as he took Mai and set her back in her booster seat.

"May I please have the honor of taking your orders?" Kaito asked, still a blubbering mess.

Normally, Ryou, Ichigo or Sakura would've said something; but it was clear as day that Kaito was gay…and seemed like he was having some kind of personal issues.

"Yes, I would like the "Happy Sunny Meal" with two sunny side up eggs on two pieces of toast with the scrambled egg smile and bacon hair." Sakura said calmly.

"Uh-huh…ok. Ma'am?" Kaito asked, looking at Ichigo.

"Can I get the "Mixed Platter" that comes with French toast, waffles, pancakes, one egg, sausage links and some strawberries?" Ichigo asked calmly, getting Mai's attention.

"Would you like peanut butter, melted chocolate, syrup or whipped topping…or a combination?" Kaito asked calmly.

"Syrup and whipped cream please." Ichigo said with a smile.

"Of course. For you, sir?" Kaito asked with a smile.

"I'll have scrambled eggs with French toast, sausage links and some bacon. Oh, and melted chocolate and whipped cream for the French toast, please." Ryou said calmly.

"Yes, of course. And the children?" Kaito asked with a smile.

"I want the "Lumberjack" breakfast." Kai said with high enthusiasm.

"I don't think we have a child version of that…" Kaito said, looking back.

"I don't want a child version; I want the adult version." Kai said calmly.

"That is a lot of food… Are you sure you don't want something else?" A different waitress asked, walking by.

"Yes, I'm sure." Kai said, slightly annoyed that someone else wanted to take his order when Kaito was their waiter.

"Yeah, he's sure. If that's what he wants…" Ryou said calmly.

"That's a lot of food…" The waitress said in shock.

"He'll eat it all. Trust me… He'll have the "Lumberjack" breakfast." Ichigo said, very annoyed by now.

"Ok. And the little girl?" Kaito asked as the one waitress walked away with a huff.

"I want what mommy's having, but with scrambled eggs and sausage patties." Mai said, tugging on Ryou's arm, while looking up at him.

"How much is in that?" Ryou asked, looking at Ichigo.

"The "Mixed Platter?" There are three types: the one that she ordered comes with four pancakes, four pieces of French toast, four waffles, choice of eggs, five pieces or a combination of sausage or bacon and choice of fruit or fruit salad with fruit of choice." Kaito explained calmly.

"She'll never eat that… Mai, baby, you won't eat all that food; you have to get something else." Ryou said calmly; Mai's eyes got big and she looked like she was going to cry.

"We do have a child's version of that. Everything's just cut in half." Kaito said quickly.

"Then, I guess she'll have that, with scrambled eggs, sausage patties and a fruit salad with oranges, bananas, grapes, kiwi, peaches and no whipped cream or anything like that." Ryou sighed.

"Would she like peanut butter, melted chocolate, syrup or whipped topping…or a combination?" Kaito asked with a smile; he had seen many children not get what they want and just start whaling. Mai just sat there quietly, eyes huge and watery.

"Syrup please, and thank you." Mai said right away.

"She is so polite and well behaved." Kaito said, writing her order down.

"She is." Ryou said calmly.

"Well, I'll be out with your food after a while." Kaito said, walking away.

"So, what are we going to do today? It looks like it's going to rain…" Sakura said, looking out the window.

"And it's too cold to go swimming right now." Ichigo said calmly.

"I don't know… We'll just have to play things out as they go. If the weather keeps up like this, Kai and I will be able to go fishing." Ryou said calmly.

"Yeah!" Kai exclaimed happily.

"Kai, shh…inside voice." Ichigo said seriously.

"Sorry." Kai said right away.

"Mommy has adult hair on her naughty part. One day Kai and I'll have hair there as well." Mai said happily, causing Ichigo and Ryou to nearly spit their drinks out while Sakura sat there trying not to burst out laughing.

"Wh-what?" Ryou asked once he could breathe and get his composure back while Ichigo sat there, embarrassed.

"You don't need to repeat yourself; he heard you. I'll explain later." Ichigo said right away when she noticed that Mai was going to start talking again.

"Ok." Ryou and Mai said at the same time.

Twenty Minutes Later:

"Ok. I have a "Happy Sunny Meal." An adult "Mixed Platter" with syrup and whipped cream. Scrambled eggs with French toast, sausage links and some bacon. One "Lumberjack" breakfast and a child's "Mixed Platter" with syrup. Do any of you need refills on drinks?" Kaito asked, after handing everyone their food.

"Can I have more orange juice daddy?" Mai asked, looking at Ryou.

"Sure. Kai?" Ryou asked, taking Mai's cup.

"Yes please." Kai said as he started eating.

"No pulp, correct?" Kaito asked, remembering.

"No pulp." Ryou repeated.

"If he eats all that food, I'll pay their bill and do garbage and whatever you say for a whole year." The one waitress said as Kaito refilled Mai's orange juice with no pulp and Kai's apple juice.

"Ok." Kaito said as he went back to Ryou and the others.

The "Lumberjack" breakfast, by the way, is: five pancakes, five waffles, three pieces of French toast, three sunny side up eggs, a good amount of scrambled eggs, a good amount of hash browns, five sausage links, three sausage patties, five pieces of bacon, three pieces of regular toast, a typical fruit salad, with cups of syrup, melted chocolate and whipped topping.

Forty Minutes Later:

"I can't believe he ate all that food…" The waitress said in shock as she and Kaito stood behind a counter while he smiled.

"Well, here's their bill; pay up." Kaito said seriously.

"Fine…" She said annoyed, pulling out her wallet. The only reason she wasn't going to try to back out is because the general manager had heard her little bet.

"Say…you're not going to hold me to the other half, are you?" The waitress asked, somewhat scared.

"You're damn right I am." Kaito said, snapping his fingers in the air as he got a to-go fruit cup.

"Are we all done here?" Kaito asked with a smile.

"I think so." Ryou said as they all sat there, not eating.

Mai fell asleep about fifteen minutes ago after she got done eating; she was laying on the bench with her head on Ryou's lap.

"Would you like a to-go cup for her fruit salad?" Kaito asked calmly.

"Yes please." Ryou replied calmly, lifting Mai up a little.

"Here you go." Kaito said with a smile, handing Ryou a decent sized to-go cup.

"Thank you." Ryou said as he took the cup.

"Mmmm…daddy…" Mai moaned and stretched as she slowly woke up.

"Did you have a nice nap?" Ryou asked as she leaned into him, which made it easier for him to get her fruit in the cup.

"Excuse me." Kaito said as Ryou got the rest of the fruit in the cup.

"Yes?" Ryou and Ichigo asked at the same time.

"This is my boss and owner of the restaurant; she would like to talk to you." Kaito said politely.

"Ok…" Ryou and Ichigo said, looking at each other, confused.

"Mr. Ryou Shirogane…son of Jin and Ami Shirogane." The lady said with a smile.

The woman had long brown hair and pale blue eyes; she was taller and quite thin.

"How do you know me and my parents' names?" Ryou asked, looking at the lady, pulling Mai close to him.

"I'm not going to hurt the children. You don't remember me, do you?" The lady asked calmly.

"No…should I?" Ryou asked, looking at her.

"I suppose…you were only four the last time I seen you. My name is Holly Shirogane. Your father is my younger brother…or was… I'm your aunt." The lady, Holly said calmly, shocking Ryou.

"If you're my aunt…why didn't you come find me when my house went up in flames and killed my parents…or I thought they killed my parents; I just found out they may be alive." Ryou sighed, looking at Holly.

"Well…I heard about the house being engulfed in flames; I never heard anything about your parents being killed though. Honestly…when I saw you sitting at this booth, I thought I saw a ghost. Ryou, I was told you were dead; that would be why I never came looking for you." Holly said calmly.

"Who told you I was dead?" Ryou asked, confused.

"Your dad. Yeah, out of the blue, after not talking to me for six years, he called to tell me you were dead; your body completely incinerated in the fire…along with Keiichiro. Is he still alive as well?" Holly explained and then asked calmly.

"He's alive; he took care of me after we thought my parents died… " Ryou replied.

"That's good." Holly sighed in relief…especially when it looked like something clicked in his head.

"Why haven't you and dad talked until then?" Ryou asked outright

"Has to do with our parents…your grandparents. Your dad and I share the same father, but we have different mothers. Dad had a few one-night stands or whatever with my mother until he met your mother. I was born three years before dad met your grandma. Your dad was then born six years after that. So, your father and I are nine years apart. It has nothing to do with your mother; she was very kind and loving towards me. It all had to do with my mother; she was very vindictive and took me away. When you were born, your dad somehow got a hold of me. It was nice. For that age, you were incredibly smart; you must be super smart now. But then again, your dad is really smart as well. Anyways, I was around until you were a little over four. My mom called ranting and raving and bla, bla, bla. Doctors told her she was really sick…and that, because I was her only living relative, I had to take care of her because she absolutely refused to live in a home… Needless to say, it was all a trap and I was institutionalized for ten years. By the time I got out, mom really was sick. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh or horrid or whatever; and you're obviously a family man. But, after that stunt, even though she begged me for my help, I told her no and moved out here. She passed away about five years ago. I was very surprised that she left me all of her money and this place. But back then, this was a bar she had purchased one night when she was extremely drunk. But, for the most part, she got it completely paid off. I paid the rest of the debt and turned it into what you see now. I hate bars… But anyways…you're a father now, I see. You must be the mother; you are very pretty. Just like my brother, he knows how to pick 'em. Eh? Eh? Eh?" Holly asked, embarrassing both Ryou and Ichigo.

"Yes, this is Ichigo and these are our twins, Kai and Mai." Ryou said calmly, once he was able to get over his embarrassment.

"Kai and Mai? Are those short for something?" Holly asked, looking at Ryou.

"I don't really know; I didn't get them until they were three. And, we didn't find out Ichigo was their mother until sometime later. Long story short, I got extremely drunk one night, had a one-night stand with a girl, who got me drunk on what I've always assumed to be the anniversary of my parents' deaths, so that she could find something. After that, she just kind of vanished. Last year, when I found out about and got the twins, we thought she was their biological mother. However, they both got really sick at one point and that's when we found out she stole Ichigo's eggs that were being saved for future use and had them implanted into her. And then, after that, that's where I came in. Their case worker is having a hard time finding or getting their original birth certificates so that he can make some changes. So, we're still waiting on that…" Ryou explained calmly as he and Ichigo covered Kai and Mai's ears to keep them from hearing certain details.

"Ahh. Oh, I'm sorry; you must be Ichigo's mother. I don't want to leave you out of all this." Holly said politely after apologizing.

"It's quite alright. This is a family thing." Sakura said with a smile.

"You're so kind. If you don't mind my asking, but what kind of changes?" Holly asked, confused.

"Names and such. Seeing as neither Ichigo, nor I got a chance to be a part of their lives when they were born; they were named by the lady who gave birth to them; we technically have the right to change their names to whatever we want. However, we have agreed to not change their names as to not confuse them…well Mai anyways. Also, we want to have it on record that Ichigo is their biological mother, instead of the other lady." Ryou explained calmly.

"Oh, I see. Anyways, I have to get headed home to my family. I actually just wanted to see if you remembered me; and, if it was ok with you and Ichigo, for the twins to take home, I'd like to give them each, plus you, Ichigo and her mother a complimentary cake. They're just small cakes; they're actually about the size of three small pieces of cake smashed together. We have a variety of them in the heart of the diner… A.K.A the center of the diner. Kaito will lead you to them and get them ready for you all, should you decide the kids can have one. Oh, it was so good to see you again; you grew up into a fine young man and got yourself a very pretty girl and have two lovely kids. Your parents will be so proud of you. Also, these cakes are complimentary, because your kids are two of the best-behaved kids we've ever had here. Well, I have to head out. I hope to see you again sometime." Holly said, hugging Ryou before she left.

"Daddy, cake?" Mai asked, lightly tugging at Ryou's arm.

"Yeah, ok… Just let me get the check first." Ryou said calmly as he scooted out of the booth.

"No need for that, sir; it's already been taken care of. The waitress who was by earlier bet that if your son ate that entire "Lumberjack" breakfast she would pay for your meal…among other things. You're all good." Kaito said with a smile.

"Ok. Well, come on; let's get your cakes." Ryou sighed as Mai slowly scooted, wincing here and there.

"Are you hurting that bad today?" Ryou asked, looking at Mai as she made her way to the end.

"I'm ok…" Mai said softly as she got her legs over the end of the bench so she could get down.

Right away, Ryou, Ichigo and Sakura could tell she was going to fall over once she made it to the ground.

"Come here." Ryou sighed as he picked her up.

"Am I getting cake as well?" Kai asked as they followed Kaito.

"Yes, you are. Here we are. We have many different types of cake. Just look at the pictures and pick out which cake you want." Kaito sang happily.

"The cakes aren't really that big, are they?" Ryou asked when he noticed the pictures of the cakes each had, like, eight pieces each.

"No, of course not. I mean, we do have cakes that size. The cakes that you and your family are getting are technically made for children; but adults love them just as much. The smaller ones are behind the pictures; the bigger ones are in the show cases up front, in back and in the kitchen." Kaito explained calmly.

"Ok, what would you all like?" Ryou asked as they looked over the pictures.

"Nanner Peanut Butter De…" Mai started out when she seen a picture of a cake with peanut butter cups, chocolate, peanut butter and bananas on it; she knew the first three words, but couldn't figure out the last word.

"Nanner Peanut Butter Delight?" Kaito asked while the others continued to look.

"Yes please." Mai said happily with a big smile, completely forgetting about how much pain she was in.

"Very good reading." Ryou said with a smile.

"Let's see…this is one of our more popular ones. Hmm… Oh, you're just in luck; there are two left." Kaito said as he disappeared behind the small case; he then picked out a small cake and placed it in a box.

"Can I get the "Triple Strawberry Surprise?" with hard chocolate frosting?" Ichigo asked, looking at the pictures, eventually landing on a three-layered strawberry cake with oozy chocolate frosting in between each layer. The outside of the cake was decorated in pink, strawberry frosting and strawberry sprinkles and had small strawberries in the shape of a heart on the top.. The surprise was the type of sauce drizzled all over; it was dyed pink…but it wasn't strawberry.

"Of course." Kaito said with a huge smile as he once again disappeared behind the case.

"Ma'am?" Kaito asked, looking at Sakura.

"Oh, umm… "Pineapple Coconut Sunset Paradise" please." Sakura said, looking at vanilla cake that was dyed dark blue, red, purple and a little yellow with pineapple frosting and coconut shreds all over.

"That one is also pretty popular. But, it looks like we have…one left; you get the last one." Kaito said, picking out her cake and placed it in a box.

Kai was still looking so Ryou went next.

"I'll just have the "Yellow Sprinkle Surprise." Kai, hurry up and decide before we leave, and you get nothing." Ryou said calmly; he wasn't actually going to leave without getting him a cake as well.

The cake Ryou picked out was a yellow sponge cake with chocolate frosting, covered in multicolored sprinkles and the surprise was the sauce in the center of the cake and on the outside.

"Can I get the "Quadruple Chocolate Volcanic Lava" cake with chocolate sprinkles?" Kai asked, finally making his decision.

"Of course. Technically, this cake is very popular…however, not so much for the smaller ones. Most people want this in the large version." Kaito said, pulling out what Kai had asked for.

The lava cake was a dark chocolate cake with homemade milk chocolate frosting, chocolate sprinkles, white chocolate oozy chocolate running down the sides and filled with ooey-gooey hot chocolate fudge in the center.

"That's just what you need…" Ryou sighed as Kaito taped the boxes down the sides to keep them together, before placing them in a large bag.

"Here, go with grandma. I'll get the cakes." Ryou said, passing Mai to Sakura.

"Come here sweetie." Sakura said, taking Mai from Ryou.

"Thank you." Ryou said as he took the cakes from Kaito.

"No, thank you. And, please come again." Kaito said with a smile, waving as they left.

It wasn't raining out; but, it was sure cold and windy.

Ryou got the cakes in the back of the van when Kai looked away from the car.

"Mr. Nikos? Hey, it's Mr. Nikos! Mr. Nikos!" Kai yelled, waving to a tall, skinny man in a dark blue trench coat, black boots and a fishing hat, that was covering his short, light brown hair.

"Kai, what are you doing? Who's Mr. Nikos?" Ryou asked, looking from Kai, to the man Kai was waving at.

"Kai and Mai Shirogane?" The man asked, with a smile.

"Daddy! Daddy!" Mai cried, immediately reaching for Ryou, almost falling out of Sakura's arms; she was struggling so much.

"Ok, ok… Hold on. Kai!" Ryou called when Kai went running to the man, meeting him halfway.

"How have you been?" The man asked, looking at Kai.

"Good, and you?" Kai asked calmly.

"Kai, what do you think you're doing just running off like that?" Ryou asked, walking over to them.

"Sorry…" Kai said, looking at Ryou, guilt written all over his face.

"What are you doing with Kai and Mai?" The man, Mr. Nikos asked, looking directly at Ryou.

"I'm their father, Ryou Shirogane; this is their mother, Ichigo Momomiya. Just who are you?" Ryou asked, demanding an answer from this man he did not know, who seemed to really upset Mai.

"I was their therapist after they were released from the hospital ward and, transferred into the child protective services ward. I had heard that they were released into their father's care; but, I did not receive any information about you. I was not aware their mother was alive. I was also told that their mother was to not have anything to do with them." Mr. Nikos said calmly, narrowing his eyes at Ryou.

"You mean Maya. Maya gave birth to them, yes, but she was not their biological mother; Ichigo is. And, it's none of your business as to how any of that happened." Ryou said seriously; there was something about this man that he didn't trust.

"Are you two happy with your current living situation?" Mr. Nikos asked, looking at Kai and then to Mai.

"Of course, we're happy; mom and dad are the best. And yes, we feel safe; Mai is even talking, and has been for the last year or so. Why are you asking this?" Kai asked, confused.

"I just want to make sure my two favorite clients are well taken care of. My professional opinion? Kai seems like he's doing fine; Mai on the other hand, seems like she should still be seeing someone. I'm always available." Mr. Nikos said seriously.

"They're already seeing someone, thank you very much." Ichigo said, standing next to Ryou.

"Mai, is something wrong?" Ryou asked, feeling Mai shake like a leaf.

"She's really pale." Ichigo said, genuinely concerned.

"Home. Wan go home." Mai cried, tears starting to run down her cheeks.

'Why are they acting like this? There couldn't be something wrong with Mr. Nikos, could there? He was always so nice to us. But Mai, she seems so scared and upset.' Kai thought to himself as he looked between his family and Mr. Nikos.

"Well, as nice as it was to meet you, we have to get going. Come on Kai." Ryou said seriously as he turned to walk away.

Kai noticed it right away…

Mr. Nikos smiled, a creepy smile, and waved at Mai; she immediately hid her face in Ryou's neck and started crying even more.

"Bye-bye." Mr. Nikos said, still smiling and waving.

"Bye." Kai said as he went with Ichigo to the van, after walking around the block…twice, to make sure he was no longer there; he had gone into the fishing hut next to Holly's House of Food.

The walk was awkward and silent…except Mai's constant crying.

Somewhere during the second round around the block, Mai had cried herself to sleep; she was so exhausted."

"Is he gone?" Ichigo asked as they walked back up to the parking lot.

"Yeah; he went into the fishing hut." Ryou said before they walked to the van and drove back to the beach house.

"Kai, can you run up to your room and grab your sister's stuffed animal, please?" Ryou asked once they got inside.

"Sure." Kai said as he ran upstairs.

"What's going on?" Ichigo asked softly, confused and worried about Mai.

"I'm not sure; but, Mai sure didn't like that man." Ryou sighed as he held onto Mai.

Even though she was sleeping, Mai was clinging to Ryou and was not letting go.

"But he can't be that bad, can he? Kai seems like he trusts him enough." Ichigo said, looking at Ryou.

"I don't know…but there's something about him I don't like." Ryou said seriously.

"I know how you feel; there was something I didn't trust… But, I don't know what." Ichigo said, looking out a window.

"It's a parent's intuition. All good parents have it." Sakura said as she made a pot of coffee, after putting the cakes away. Kai then came running downstairs with two stuffed animals.

"I brought her mine as well…so she'd have extra comfort." Kai said, looking at Ryou and Mai.

"Thank you. Well come on then." Ryou said calmly as he led to the way to the downstairs spare room.

"What are you doing?" Ichigo asked, confused.

"I'm placing Mai in bed down here so that when she wakes up, she won't go stumbling down the stairs and hurt herself. She's already in enough pain as is; her knees are very puffy today." Ryou said as he placed Mai in the center of the bed with both stuffed animals and two large blankets on either side of her so she wouldn't go rolling out of the bed; he then placed a stool on one side of the bed while he placed a chair on the other side so that she could get out easier.

"What are you planning?" Ichigo asked as they walked out of the room, leaving the door open.

"Kai, what are you doing?" Ryou asked, noticing that Kai had sat down on the couch.

"I'm going to see what's on television." Kai sighed.

"No…you're not." Ryou said, standing there.

"What do you mean? What'd I do?" Kai asked, confused, looking over the back of the couch.

"We're going fishing. That is what you wanted to do today, isn't it?" Ryou asked, looking directly at Kai.

"But, grandpa's not here. I thought we were only going because of him…" Kai said confused, looking at Ryou.

"We don't need him to go fishing and have a good time; it can be you and me time…just the two of us." Ryou said, immediately getting Kai's attention.

"Really?" Kai asked excitedly.

"Yeah. If we go now, we can make it to the bait and tackle store and make it to a secret spot I know of to fish." Ryou said, looking at Kai.

"Yeah! I'll be right back; I have to use the bathroom first." Kai said excitedly as he got up and ran to the bathroom.

"Secret fishing spot?" Ichigo and Sakura asked, looking at Ryou.

"It's a spot my dad used to take me when I was Kai's age…maybe a little older." Ryou said calmly.

"I would've never pictured you for the fishing type." Ichigo said, looking directly at Ryou.

"I wasn't. But, it made dad happy; and, I would do anything with my dad whenever I could, because he didn't get to spend too much time with me with his job. I want to do the same with both Kai and Mai…minus being away so much. If he wants to go fishing, we'll go fishing. And, I don't mind fishing; it's actually very peaceful. I'll have my phone on me and it'll be on; call me when Mai wakes up just to let me know…or if something happens." Ryou said calmly, but seriously.

"Ok." Ichigo said with a smile; she loved just how great of a dad Ryou was.

"Are you ready?" Ryou asked when Kai came running back out.

"Yes!" Kai exclaimed happily, with a huge smile.

"Well then…let's head on out. We'll be back after a few hours…unless there's emergency or severe weather." Ryou said, leaning in to gently kiss Ichigo.

"See you after a bit." Ichigo said with a smile, watching her boys leave…

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