Vampire Song

Chapter 9

Ava is curled into Kaz’s chest as his phone rings loudly. He plucks it from the table and puts it to his ear. “Mmm… moshi moshi?” Ava snuggles more against him, the soft fabric of her shirt brushing over his bare chest as she moves.

“Just wanted to remind you of practice. Just in case you were… busy.” Hyde chuckles softly and Kaz frowns, eyes closed.

“Busy?” he manages out sleepily.

“With how the two of you walked home, I’d be surprised if nothing happened.”

“Mm, nothing happened,” Kaz states as Ava stirs, blearily looking at him with a small frown on her face. It looks like he isn’t the only one nursing a hangover today.

“Bullshit,” Hyde states in astonishment.

“Not—” Kaz is cut off by Ava pressing a kiss to his lips and he gives a small noise of pleasure before she breaks the kiss and rubs at her head, looking at him hopefully. “I have to go find the aspirin.”

“Yeah right,” Hyde responds with a laugh. “See you in a few hours!” Kaz hangs up on the laughter and sits up with Ava. The bike shorts cling tight to her body as she moves, slipping off the edge of the bed to stand. Kaz follows her movement but heads into the kitchen and retrieves a small bottle of painkiller, offering her one of the pills and a glass of water to wash it down with, pajama bottoms hanging low on his hips.

“Mm… thanks…” She downs the pill and gives the water back to him, watching as he takes a pill and drinks more of the water afterward. There’s a short silence in the dim kitchen between them.

“We’ll have to get breakfast out. Nothing here to cook. I’ll go shopping later,” Kaz claims and Ava gives him a smile.

“As long as there’s no alcohol involved.” She gives a quiet laugh and Kaz nods in agreement.

“I’ll make sure there isn’t.” He smiles back at her before moving and gently wrapping his arms around her again. “Mm.” She pauses before wrapping her arms back around him, head on his shoulder as he nuzzles into her neck. “Any ideas as to what you might want?”

“Surprise me,” Ava responds. Kaz considers the options before giving a nod, chuckling softly.

“All right.”

They leave the diner with Ava looking amused, Kaz content to hold her hand as they walk instead of last night’s drunken draping over her shoulders. “A button to summon the waitress. I swear that would make whoever built it millions in the States. I’d love a button to summon them. You don’t have them hovering all the time.”

“You really had no idea about that?”

“None at all.” She gives a small laugh. “Like I told Arimatsu, my only trip outside of the US was a very poor trip to the UK. It did not go well.”

“How’d it go wrong?”

“How didn’t it is the more accurate question.” Ava shakes her head as they head up the street, keen on forgetting the event. “Should I wander around and get lost or are you still wanting me right beside you for your practice?” She tilts her head, a hint of sarcasm in the second half of her statement. Kaz pauses in thought, considering the two options.

“Well, I’d rather you not be lost. And I need to get groceries afterward.” He leaves the statement hanging and Ava shakes her head with a look of mirth on her face.

“Not letting me out of your sight now that you’ve got me.” Kaz’s face flushes faintly and Ava gives a small laugh.

“I just…” he starts to defend but Ava shakes her head, making the sentence die on his lips.

“It’s fine. Wandering off to explore is just in my nature. Maybe when you get out, we can wander and you can let me explore without any fears of me getting hopelessly lost,” she offers and a smile appears on Kaz’s face, making her smile in return. “I figured you’d like that. All right, off to practice then?”

“I suppose so.” The voice that comes out of the guitarist is reluctant.

“You have to go or I’m going to locate where it is and go there myself. You’ll follow me.” Ava pokes him playfully and he smiles more.

“You’re right, I would.”

“Just to watch me slap him again?” She laughs.

“If he deserves it, yes,” he responds and she laughs harder.

“You were in college?” Kaz asks as he’s tuning his guitar for practice, Ava sitting across from him and playing with another guitar.

“Yep.” Is the short answer he receives.

“Did you graduate?”

“I was three credit hours short. Even though I shouldn’t have been based on my advisor’s information. He apparently missed that one class.” Ava plucks a few strings, making a jarring sound that makes Kaz wince. It’s terribly out of tune. He wonders how it got so out of tune by just traveling from the US to Japan. “They claimed that they couldn’t make that final semester of junk classes I took, plus the one actual class, count towards those three missing hours. I told him to go fuck himself eventually.” There’s a short pause punctuated by her playing on the out of tune guitar. “Actually telling him to go fuck himself was the least of what I said. I was an extremely angry, hotheaded person at the time.”

“Oh.” Kaz moves his gaze up to Ava, taking in her appearance another time. Every time he learns something new, it only serves to raise more questions. “What happened?”

“I left. Three credit hours short of a Bachelor’s degree in that field.”

“In that field?”

“I double majored.” She smiles slightly at him, looking up from the guitar across her lap. “I was sitting on what turned into a useless degree in Japanese language and culture for a few years. I went back to a different college and got my Masters in that. I refused to finish out those three credit hours.” There’s a faint, distant look on her face, hand paused on the headstock.

“Do you regret it?” Kaz finally asks after a silence.

“Most days, yes. That I didn’t at least finish it out at a different college.” Ava turns her attention back to the guitar. “I’ve had doors closed in my face because of my pride. One day, I’ll go finish it when I get the time and funds.” She tilts her head as she seems to finish playing. “Here we go, all in tune.” Kaz raises an eyebrow at the guitar, and Ava tilts her head before strumming it, playing a chord. No jarring noises, nothing out of tune.

“Did you just do that by ear while we were talking?”

“Yep. Old secret, shh.” She holds her index finger up to her lips with a sly smile. “I’ll teach it to you another day.” He blinks as she carefully sets the guitar to the side into its stand and gets to her feet, stretching. “I think I might bug someone while you’re finishing tuning that one.” She steps away, leaving Kaz to stare after her before looking back at the guitar she tuned. He reaches a hand out and runs it across the strings. They sing a harmonic chorus.

Ava’s eyes dart here and there as she looks along the street. She’s carrying an armful of groceries, not having allowed Kaz to carry all the bags himself. He couldn’t complain much, it left a free hand to hold hers with. They’ve gone in and out of quite a few little shops along the street, Ava particularly interested in some of the cell phone charms in the music store. She leaves the music shop with a small bag stuffed into one of the grocery bags, making sure that Kaz doesn’t see it. It doesn’t take them much longer before they’re at his doorstep, heading into his apartment again.

“That’s not far at all to go all the time,” Ava states as she looks out the window, seeming to recognize the area that they were at.

“I would’ve shown you around more but we bought perishables,” Kaz responds, beginning to put some of the groceries away. Ava joins him within a moment, pulling everything out of the bags before questioning where things go and putting them away. She smiles a little as she looks over the ingredients for dinner.

“It looks good.”

“You’re just hungry.” Kaz attempts to push the nerves away, beginning to get things together to cook.

“Am not.” There’s a pause. “Well I am, but that has nothing to do with it.” She pulls her hair up into a short ponytail, the spiky ends pointing in different directions. “So what do you want me to do?” Kaz blinks at her before smiling a bit.

“Taking everything out of the packages might be nice.” He starts a separate portion of the meal and glances over every so often. Eventually, she looks at him expectantly.

“What next?”

“Anou… If you cut the vegetables into pieces, I’ll slice the meat.” He finishes up what he’s doing, offering her a knife and she quickly gets to work, Kaz watching partially. A strand of hair has escaped the ponytail and it hangs loose right behind her ear, tucked back once already. He nicks his finger and attempts to pay more attention to what he’s doing.

“To a good meal.” She taps her glass of water off his and he smiles. “I didn’t know you could cook,” she teases.

“Well-kept secret until today.” He chuckles as he takes a sip of his water.

“A good one. You would’ve had girls climbing over each other for such a catch.” He tilts his head a little at her statement.

“Not you?” he wonders.

“I don’t usually do chasing.” Ava’s face flushes as she smiles. “I prefer something more mutual when trying for a relationship.” Kaz smiles more in response.

“Does that mean this is mutual?”

“With a heavy emphasis on possessiveness on your side, yes.” She smiles brightly, the flush crawling further across her face. He reaches across the table and gently takes her free hand.

“Does that mean I get to use the word girlfriend now?” He beams and she pauses before giving a nod, another smile parting her lips.

“As long as I can use boyfriend.”

“There was never any question about that.” Kaz smiles brightly, gently squeezing her hand and receives a slight squeeze in return.

“Yes! I know! Your relationship status moved to something you can actually describe.” Hyde rolls his eyes, swinging the microphone around by the cord. “Everyone else already knew it was coming! Can you please focus for five minutes?” Kaz feels his face light up bright red.

“Sorry.” He manages out over Ju-ken laughing.

“Good! Now let’s continue!” Hyde barks out the song title again, looking pointedly at Kaz who missed the song title three times before. Kaz nods, being sure that his singer understands that he’s paying attention and knows the song this time. They start into it quickly as they practice on stage. Kyoko and a couple others had taken off with Ava what felt like hours ago to the guitarist. At this point, he at least wants to know where she is.

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