Odaiba Memorial Day- 20 Years Later

Chapter Twelve- Sora

Sora Takoto had some problems. Things lurking in her past that she never wanted to remember. The guilt, shame, and everything associated with these problems had the potential to tear a person apart.

But right now her biggest problem was the oven, the inside of which was in flames when Sora opened the door.

"Waauugghhh!!" That pretty much said it all. Fortunately, she held firm after the initial shock, and rushed out to retrieve a fire extinguisher. She did, she got back, and she doused the fire before it could turn into anything significantly threatening. Still, it was more than enough excitement than she usually got while preparing dinner. Sora set aside the extinguisher and tried to catch her breath. Really, the only thing ruined was dinner. But it was still a shock.

"Whatís going on in here?" Chi was in the dark, and therefore more confused than exasperated. It was probably for the better, as an eight-year-old probably wouldnít have handled the situation as well as Sora did.

"I have no ideaÖ Chi!" Sora went from catching her breath to making sure her son didnít kill himself when he opened the oven door. The worry was unfounded, however, as the extinguishing job was sufficient; all that was left of the fire (or dinner for that matter) was a smoking heap of charcoal.

"SoÖ is that dinner?" Chiís innocent question made Sora relax, at least for a second.

"It used to be." Chi flashed a smile and turned towards his mother, wagging a finger at her and impersonating her as best as he could.

"Just wait until my father gets home!" Sora shook her head as he headed back to his room. However, he stopped and turned back, "By the way, if we eat out, I could go for ramen." Chi was obviously not affected by the incident. That at least calmed Sora down a little bit. But it was still a shock. And in the middle of the whole incident, she must not have heard Tareshi arrive. He walked into the kitchen, sniffing the air.

"Something smellsÖ good." He tried to keep a smile, but the stench of smoke was too powerful.

"I donít know what happened! The oven justÖ burst into flames!" After Sora's report, Tareshi opened the oven door, hopefully to do a more thorough investigation than Chi did. Sora just watched, still a bit dumbfounded by it all.

"HmmÖ looks like weíre ordering takeout!"

"Yeah, yeah, Chi wants ramen. But what do you think happened?"

"I donít know- Iím not sure how old this oven is. I think it might be due to the wiring, but Iím not going to pretend that I know how these things work." Tareshi emerged from the oven and looked at Sora, "Iíll call someone tonight and get somebody to look at it." Sora nodded. She was still shaken. It didnít help that Tareshi started laughing.

"Itís not funny! The oven was on fire!!" Sora was slightly angered at Tareshiís lack of concern. He continued laughing.

"Iím sorry, itís just like it was cooking fine and then- boom!"

"Yeah, it scared me out of my mind!"

"Itís okay! Youíre fine, Chiís fine- thereís no problem! Just relax, youíll give yourself a heart attack." Tareshiís comforting technique worked, as Sora calmed down a bit.

"Okay." Tareshi walked out of the kitchen, and Sora followed. Tareshi turned towards Chiís room, "Chi! Iím going to get some take-out, you wanna come?" Chi exited immediately.

"Sure!" Tareshi turned to Sora.

"You coming with?"

"NoÖ just get me the usual. Iím going to stay and clean up." Sora replied. Tareshi nodded.

"Okay, címon kiddo, letís go." They started out, but before exiting, Tareshi had an afterthought and turned back, "Oh, and thereís a letter for you from Cody Hida. I have no idea what he wants, but itís on the desk."

"OhÖ sure." Sora was confused. She wasnít sure what Cody wanted, and why it couldnít be done over e-mail, but dismissed it and went to work cleaning up after the fire.

All in all, it was a pretty stable life for Sora. It wasnít anything glamorous, spectacular, or, for lack of a better word, sexy, but it suited Sora fine. It wasnít boring by any means, and with a loving husband and a son to take care of, she was happy. She had managed to put aside previous incidents and move on, forgetting about her problems and concentrating on her loved ones. So really, there wasnít a problemÖ right?

Sora didnít even think about being concerned about the envelope from Cody. She didnít consider the possibilities that may have resided inside. The possibilities that she could be forced to revisit old issues, old problemsÖ old affairs. But as soon as she opened the envelope, those concerns entered her head real fast.

A reunion. She dismissed the possibility of any formal digi-destined reunion nine years ago. She never received an invitation from Tai, and neither had anyone else. Given the lack of digi-destineds appearing at the weddings of TK and Kari as well as Izzy and Yolei (Sora herself had pretended to be ill to get out of the former), she had always assumed that it was all over. And while she wouldnít mind associating with a few of her other friends like Mimi and Matt, a full-blown reunion was out of the question. So many things had gone on between the group that a reunion between all twelve would be difficult to arrange, and even more difficult to successfully host. Between Izzy and Kenís falling out and Mimi leaving Matt for Joe, she had assumed that a reunion was out of the question. Of course, she didnít dread the idea because of the tense atmosphere or the difficulties in organizing it. She knew damn well why she didnít like the ideaÖ it would mean having to see Tai Kamiya again.

Without hesitating, Sora threw the invitation and the envelope into the trash bin. But it was too late- the memories had already been triggered.

--

"Donít stopÖ" Was it a dream? NoÖ it had to be real. It just did not feel wrong.

"I donít wanna stop." Despite everything, she was completely lost in the moment.

"Please donít stopÖ" It was unavoidable. Even if they wanted to turn back, the damage was already done. It was simply a matter of sealing the deal.

"I canít stop." There was no turning back now.

"TaiÖ" She knew who she was with, and she knew what she was doing.

"I love you Sora Takenouchi." But as for the consequencesÖ she didnít care.

 

The wake-up call was a bit much, but itís hard to expect anything less from Kintaro, as he pounded on the door, jolting the two lovers awake.

"Hey, you two decent?" Sora was just getting her bearings back. She tried to recollect the events of the previous night. But hers was a fate worse than not being able to remember- she recalled it all. And it was still a shock.

"Not really!" Tai seemed to be a bit in awe of the situation, but handled it okayÖ until Kintaro burst in. "Hey!" Tai wasnít too happy with his roommate.

"What- thatís what sheets are for."

"What do you want?" Tai seemed annoyed.

"Just uhÖ what do you two want for breakfast?" Tai rolled his eyes, "Hey! Donít complain! I didnít get anything last night. And you did, when was the last time that happenedÖ" Tai was getting increasingly annoyed here, as if Kintaro didnít understand the situation, "Oh, wait- it was only a month ago, wasnít it?" Sora was still taking in everything.

What have I done? WaitÖ a month ago?

Sora looked over at Tai. He seemed unsure about what happened. But he didnít seem all that regretful about it. Could this all just have been another wild night for Tai? And that she was no different from whomever he was with a month ago?

"Look, Kintaro, can you get out of here?"

"Yeah, yeah, Iím going." Kintaro headed out, mumbling, "Man, I donít even have a hangover- that party sucked!" At least he was gone. Tai continued to sit in the bed, pondering the situation. Finally he turned to Sora.

"Good morning." He looked upward, "Wow."

"Wow indeedÖ" Sora was a bit depressed. Was that all he could say about it? Two childhood friends doing something like this, despite one of them being married, and all he can say is "wow." But it was more than Sora could say. She knew it was wrong. He knew it was wrong. But they couldnít stop. And now she was left with dealing with everything, while all Tai can say is "wow." She couldnít control the tear that emerged from her eye.

"You okay?" Tai must have noticed this. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder, which she promptly shrugged off. She had already dug herself a hole, she didnít want to make things worse.

"Am I okay? TaiÖ do you have any idea what we did?"

"Oh yes I doÖ that was certainlyÖ wow." Sora stood up and started dressing. The mixture of sadness and anger she felt equated into silence, "Sora, whatís wrong? Donít tell me you changed your mind about this all of a sudden, because itís too late." Sora finished and started to head out the door. She turned once towards Tai.

"TaiÖ Iím married." As she walked out, into the living room of the apartment, Tai followed her.

"Well itís a good time to remember that now!" Tai was starting to get frustrated as well. Sora was continuing out when Tai grabbed her by the hand, "Donít tell me you didnít want this to happen." Sora slowly turned around to face Tai. She pulled her hand away. And Kintaro drank coffee on the couch.

"TaiÖ I donít know what I was thinkingÖ" Tai quickly looked concerned.

"WereÖ were you drunk?" Sora sadly shook her head. Tai breathed a sigh of relief. And Kintaro drank coffee on the couch.

"I donít know what happened. I wasnít thinking straightÖ but why didnít you stop?" Tai suddenly turned angry.

"Me? Why am I supposed to stop? You didnít want to! This is just as much your fault as it is mine!"

"Well, Iím not the oneÖ you know." Sora didnít want to go into detail regarding sexual roles, but hoped that Tai would get the drift. And meanwhileÖ Kintaro got up to get a refill of coffee.

"íScuse me." He said quickly and headed to the kitchen.

"Look Sora, there is no way youíre going to say that Iím responsible. You wanted this. You seemed very happy last night."

"Tai, I wasnít thinking. I was being stupid. I made a mistake. But Iíd expect that as a friend, youíd realize that and stop me!" Both Tai and Sora had their voices raised. It was a hell of an argument. And Kintaro, having gotten more coffee, was back on the couch.

"Why does this become my responsibility? You were the one that forgot that you were married, not me!"

"You must have conveniently forgot too, unless youíre willing to sleep with a married woman!"

"Sheís got a point there." Tai stared at Kintaro, who finally looked up from his coffee to address the issue.

"Kintaro!" Tai was directing to his roommate now, "Youíre supposed to be on my side!"

"Hey, Iím just calling it as I see it. Iím the referee here. And frankly I think you both should get yellow cards, but I ainít handing them out because Iíve done some pretty wild things too." Kintaro pointed quickly at Tai, "Although technically she was legal. Either way, Iím not going to judge youÖ but still Tai- she is married."

"Maybe, but if sheís willing to sleep with me it canít be that big."

"Point for Tai." Kintaro turned to Sora, "Response?"

"To what?" Sora was really angry now. Kintaro was treating this like a game, "I already said I wasnít thinking straight- are you saying I donít love my husband?!"

"Iím not!" Kintaro was very defensive, "Tai is!"

"Kintaro!!" Tai was about as annoyed by Kintaro as Sora.

"Well whoever said it, itís not true. I love Tareshi. Got that?" Soraís calm way of saying it actually served to stress the point, "So now what am I supposed to tell him?"

"Thatís not my problem. If you didnít want to deal with this, you shouldnít have done it. Simple as that."

"Tai, are you that self-centered? This is just as much your fault as it is mine, the least you can do is help me through it!"

"What am I supposed to do, go up to your husband and say ĎHey Tareshi, hereís your wife safe and sound and might I add that sheís great in bed.í I donít think that would go over real well." Tai was trying to defend himself best as possible. Kintaro was occupied, looking along a bookcase. He pulled out a small black book.

"This is just a joke to you. Iím just another girl to youÖ just anotherÖ score. Arenít I?"

"What? No!"

"Just like that one girl you were with last month. What was her name?"

"Who?"

"You donít even remember her name, do you? Will you remember mine next month?"

"I donít know who youíre talking about. Last monthÖ"

"Ami." Kintaro was looking through the book and brought the name forward, "Her name was Ami."

"Her? What does she have to do with this? And whatís in that book, anyway?"

"Just a record ofÖ contacts. If you catch the drift." Kintaro smiled slyly, then pulled out a pen and turned to Sora, "You know- just in case. By the way, do you want me to put you down as Takoto or Takenouchi?" Sora turned back towards Tai.

"This is just a game to you, isnít it?" Sora was getting more angry with Tai every minute, "Just a contest between you two to see how many women you can screw. Of all people- I had never expected that youÖ"

"Sora! Iíve never even seen that book before! I donít know what Kintaro keeps track of!"

"YeahÖ" Kintaro added, "This is just for my recordsÖ and occasional nostalgia. And besides, Taiís list is a lot lower than mine, see?" Kintaro held up the book so Sora could glimpse at the names on it. Sure enough, there were only about four or five, although one that she read immediately forced her to turn to Tai.

"Jun?" She was shocked beyond belief. Was he stooping this low?

"Jun Otohime." Tai answered plainly, "Iím not that bad."

"HehÖ" Kintaro laughed, "You forgot Ami, but you remember that one though, donít you!" Must have been some sort of inside joke, but Tai wasnít laughing. Neither was Sora, who was still furious.

"TaiÖ I canít believe what youíve turned into," Sora calmed down before continuing, sadly, "And I justÖ I just never want to see you again." Sora turned around and walked out the door. She wasnít sure whether or not Tai called for her, but it didnít matter- Tai Kamiya was officially out of her life.

I can only hope Tareshi will understand.

As it turns out, Sora couldnít even bear to tell him. Although Tareshi was quite forgivingÖ this would be a test. And it was one Sora didnít want to risk failing. She did indeed love Tareshi, and didnít want to lose him. When he asked how the week went, she just said it was fine. Nothing more, nothing less. She didnít respond directly to any questions involving Tai. Indirectly, she also wanted to reaffirm herself that she was devoted to one man, and overcompensated quite a bit. Tareshi, trying to make up for his frequent absences, suggested a brief vacation, sort of a second honeymoon. Sora was all for it. She just wanted to get Tai out of her head. Forever if possible.

--

It worked as well as it could. The name Tai Kamiya barely entered her head at all for nine years thereafter. And in that time Sora continued her life as normal. As a result of their little honeymoon, Sora and Tareshi were blessed with a little son, Chi. And he grew, as did the happy couple. And the painful events of that one night with Tai were all but forgotten.

And although Sora didnít enjoy putting her past aside, forgetting about her role as a digi-destined, she had to do it. It was the only way she could cope with the situation. She didnít have anything left as a digi-destined. Her service was no longer needed and her companions had moved on as well. Sora was happier, and that was all that really mattered. So after the unfortunate recollection, Sora continued going about her daily life- the invitation to remain undisturbed and unanswered in the trash can.

It wasnít long before Tareshi and Chi were back with dinner. Sora had already returned to her normal self- the memories contained, the oven cleaned. Luck, however, was not on Soraís side.

"So what was from Cody?" Sora was only slightly surprised. She knew her husband well, and forecasted him bringing it up.

"Oh, nothing." Sora and Tareshi both went into the kitchen to get some bowls for the food.

"Nothing? It was from Cody. There had to be some reason for it."

"Just, uhÖ writing a letter. Heís polite like that. He likes to stay in touch."

"With who? You werenít that good of friends with him."

"UmÖ well. He tries to stay close with his fellow digi-destined." Sora answered very carefully. It came out to her liking. Tareshi apparently had accepted the answer, as he headed out of the room. Sora smiled, and distributed the all-precious takeout into three bowls. She almost dropped them when she heard Tareshi from the other room.

"Digi-destined reunion? You never were a good liar, Sora." Tareshi was very positive, "Whyíd you throw this out?"

"I just donít feel like going. Iíve got too much to do with the shop." It was an old excuse, but it was always a good standby. But Tareshi wasnít buying into it this time.

"Come on, you can get somebody to cover for you. And besides, itís only for a couple days. We can bring Chi along, itíll be great! Heck, half of these guys donít even know that you had a kid, theyíll be dying to meet him!" The reasons Tareshi gave were a bit tempting. She did want to let some of her friends know that Sora had procreated. But she knew the risks, and immediately dispelled any wavering thoughts.

"Look, I donít want to go. I have my reasonsÖ"

"And I have my reasons for calling Cody right now to tell him weíll be there."

"You wouldnít!" Sora couldnít believe this.

"Watch me!" Tareshi smiled and picked up the phone. He looked at the invitation, and dialed a number. Sora was livid.

"Tareshi! I donít want to do this!"

"Give me a good reason why you donít want to go and see your friends again."

"IÖ I have reasons."

"Tell me, then." There was no getting through to him. But she couldnít tell him. Not now.

"IÖ canít."

"Okay thenÖ" Tareshi turned his attention to the phone, "Hello, Cody Hida? This is Tareshi Takoto, Soraís husbandÖ" Tareshi listened to Cody on the phone, smiling at Sora. She did not smile back, "Yeah, well Sora will be thereÖ you bet, me and Chi as well." Sora shook her head as Tareshi sealed the deal. Her life was going to come apart at that reunion. She just knew it.

 

Only the night before, Sora had all but completely forgotten about Tai. She had put him out of her life. But Tareshiís action today brought everything back into focus. The inevitability of it was horrifying. There was that Tai would harbor resentment, or that Sora would make a spectacle of herself in either her arguing with or completely ignoring Tai. There was also the possibility that Tareshi would find out on his own. It wasnít much of a surprise that Sora had trouble sleeping that night.

I canít think of anything good that could come out of this. Tareshi, how could you do this to me?

She was mad at him, but as he slept peacefully she knew that he wasnít to blame. She didnít give him a reason not to. She couldnít. She didnít want to risk losing it all. Tareshi was important to her, and she didnít want to upset him. And she also didnít want Chi to find out. Even if he wouldnít fully understand the magnitude what happened, she didnít want her son to think any less of his mommy. That thought was made worse by the time of conception- Chi was conceived merely days after Soraís affair with Tai. Like Sora just bounced from one guy to another, regardless of marital status, and one of them happened to get them pregnant.

At least Iím lucky that Tareshi was the father. But waitÖ how do I know? Sora, stop thinking about thatÖ thereís no way thatÖ itís impossible.

Sora tried not to think about the possibilities. It was something she had never considered before. She was so fixed on putting Tai out of her mind that she never really gave any thought to the possibility that anyone other than Tareshi could be Chiís father. It seemed impossible to Sora, but at the same timeÖ why did it seem impossible? The second honeymoon thought to be responsible for Chi was only a few days after the affair. Chi wasnít born extremely ahead of schedule or extremely behind schedule- Sora remembered it being one day ahead of the projected date, definitely nothing to cause concern. It was becoming clear that the idea wasnít just possibleÖ that there actually was a fair chance of Tai being the father.

Given everything- Sora had every reason to question who Chiís father really was. Tareshi, Tai, and Chi each had brown hair and brown eyes, so that couldnít determine anything. Chiís blood type was the same as Sora, so that couldnít determine anything. Chi occasionally acted a bit wild, which was definitely not in Tareshiís blood. But given Soraís behavior during her childhood, it could just as easily be him acting like his mother used to as acting like his father. All other facets of Chiís persona could be either derived from Tareshi, Sora, Tai, or simply the x-factor that makes children so unique. Even if that factor wasnít there, she wouldnít be able to put her finger on anything that made him definitely Tareshiís or definitely Taiís. While she was obviously glad that there wasnít anything linking him as Taiís child, the feeling of not knowing bugged her.

This was a sad, serious issue that Sora had to deal with. The reunion was one thing- no matter how bad, it would be over. Even if something disastrous happened like losing Tareshi, it would be tied up somehow and the event would end. But if Tai was actually the father- it was something that Chi would have to deal with for the rest of his life. Knowing that he was produced by accident. That he symbolizes an extra-marital that never should have happened. That he was a walking, talking scarlet letter. And that was worse than any reunion. Needless to say, Sora wasnít falling to sleep with this epiphany on her mind.

"Sora? You still up?" Sora had been silent the whole time, but one sigh must have sneaked out, which was apparently enough to wake Tareshi.

"YeahÖ" She said sadly.

"Whatís wrong?"

"Um. Just canít sleep." Either way, she still couldnít tell him.

"Oh. Thatís not like you. Are you worried about that reunion? Because if you didnít want to go, you should have said so." Tareshi was half asleep, but tried to help Sora as best as he could. Comforting was never one of Tareshiís strong points- he was generally in a good mood, and had trouble dealing with situations where a good mood wasnít expected. That was part of the reason Sora couldnít tell him- it was very rare to see Tareshi lose his temper, but if there was one thing that could get him nice and pissed, it was this.

"Itís not about that," Sora started the half-truth, "I think Iím just going to get some water." By now, Tareshi was already back asleep, so Sora silently got up and followed through on her claim.

The trip to retrieve a drink of water turned into a stroll around the house. All the time wondering- what was she to do about this? She couldnít get out of the reunion (the calling in sick only barely worked last time), and she couldnít tell Tareshi. But who could she tell? Not her friends at the flower shop- given their gossiping habits, Tareshiís mother was liable to know the secret within hours. But, there had to be somebody out there. Somebody who could understand the magnitude of this, somebody who could help her through this. All the meanwhile, she headed into Chiís room, and watched her son- the source of all the controversy.

Could Taiís legacy have been with me the whole time?

She sighed and closed the door, letting him sleep peacefully. She headed into the living room, when she noticed that the computer was on. The glowing red light, though small, was like a beacon to her. She was about to simply turn it offÖ but then remembered that simply pressing the off button wasnít healthy for computers. So she turned on the screen to shut it down the proper way. She was in no hurry to get back to bed; she still wasnít tired. And with that in mind, why even shut it down immediately? Thereís nothing else to do, so why not spend ten or fifteen minutes as a bored insomniac aimlessly surfing the web?

She began with the e-mail. As luck would have it, she actually did have something in her inbox. Perhaps some direction on what she could do next? Instead of being some junk that she could play along with for fifteen minutes (why not try to get a diploma from some loser community college, itís dead time anyway), it turned out to be from a person she had never expected to get mail from, especially this early after receiving the invitation (although Tareshi hadnít picked up the mail in a couple days, so the invitation could have been waiting for some time). Of course, the more Sora thought about it, the more she realized the potential that lied with this e-mailer. That although it was an innocent e-mail, it could be the contact that she needed to get some advice. She immediately knew that she was set on talking it over with this particular person:

"Sora, canít wait for the reunion. BTW, got a great idea of a little prank we can pull on Tai and the others. Iíll talk to you later about it. Gotta go- Matt."

She didnít know what Matt had in mind for a prank, nor did she care. Matt would understand the magnitude of all this. Hopefully he would also be able to help her figure out what to do. As her ex-boyfriend, and a friend to Tai as well, he would be ideal to at least listen to her. She replied immediately asking to have some sort of an online chat the next day. Doing some quick math, and a reasonable estimate of the time difference, she decided to see if he could be available at noon her time. Tareshi would be at work, Chi would be at school, and Sora could unleash everything without fear of being judged. After replying, she went to bed. If she could at least get somebody to listen to some of these problems, maybe she could sleep a bit easier.

 

As luck would have it, Matt was available at the said time, 7:00 the previous night on his time, and was more than willing to talk to Sora. So by noon, Sora was all ready to spill everything, in hopes that Matt would at least listen, and show some empathy. Matt had decided that if they wanted to do this, they were going to do it right, and that if Sora really had something she wanted to say, a video conference would be more appropriate. Sora had all the necessary tools hooked up. And noon came, and after all the introductions, and getting the bugs out of the way, they were able to begin. At least Matt appeared to be smiling kindly. That was a good start. It was obviously very choppy images that acted as video, but they were minor compared to the sound of his voice, which was fairly clear.

"Sora? Is this working now?"

"YeahÖ I think so. I kind of wish Izzy were here to help us out."

"To be honest, I think he designed this software. Anyway, nice seeing you again."

"You too. Look, I donít want toÖ"

"I canít wait for this reunion. I was a little unsure at first, but now Iím excited. Iíve been away for so long that I havenít been able to keep up with everybody. So how are you and Tareshi?" Matt interrupted, apparently trying to keep things light.

"Oh, weíre fine. I donít think you ever met Chi, though."

"Chi? As in a kid?"

"Yeah. Heís eight years old. Youíll meet him at the reunion." She didnít want to start with the Chi issue yet, "But anyway, I really need to talk to you. I think youíre the only one that really can understand whatís going on."

"Why, what is it?" Matt seemed to get more serious. Sora took a deep breath and started.

"Well, Iím happy that youíre excited about the reunion. Because Iím certainly not. I really donít want to go to this."

"Why not? Donít you want to see everyone else? Mimi and IzzyÖ and Tai."

"TaiÖ I definitely donít want to see him. I havenít seen him in nine years, and I donít want to start now." Matt appeared confounded.

"What happened?"

"Well the last time we saw each other, I kinda, wellÖ" Sora was almost in tears, she didnít want to recall it again, "I kinda slept with him." Even with the choppy picture, it was clear that Matt was shocked.

"YÖ youÖ slept with him?"

"YeahÖ it justÖ happened."

"Excuse me." Matt walked out of the picture for a minute. The microphone didnít pick up on what he screamedÖ which was probably for the better. He sat back down, more than slightly affected by the announcement. Sora didnít find that encouraging. "Wow. I wasnít expecting that. Does, uhÖ your husband know?" Sora shook her head.

"No. I donít know how I could tell him. I donít want to know how heíd react." Matt nodded.

"And it just happened? Or did Tai do something toÖ?"

"No, noÖ we just did itÖ without thinking. And I havenít talked to Tai since."

"HmÖ just a question- was he better than me?" Sora looked at the screen oddly. It was definitely Matt.

"Matt, this is serious, IÖ"

"I know, I just want to have all the information before saying anything." Sora didnít oblige. She didnít want to turn the conversation into a joke. She also didnít want to give him the satisfaction of a negative answer. She merely changed the subject.

"Iím wondering if I should tell Tareshi, and how. Here, let me ask you this- back when we were dating, if I had told you that I had an affair with Tai, how would you react?" Matt seemed to take the question seriously.

"Do you want me to be encouraging or should I tell the truth?"

Uh ohÖ not good.

"Tell the truth." Sora braced herselfÖ

"Iíd kill him." Matt said it plainly, but didnít seem happy about the answer. Regardless, he continued, "I mean, Iím even having trouble with this now. Weíve been apart for awhile now, and I still canít believe this. If we were dating, sorry to say it but Iíd be pissed. Iím kinda pissed anyway."

"Youíre not going to kill him at the reunion, are you?"

"NoÖ Iíll just sock him in the face once. That should suffice." Sora shook her head. It felt good to talk to somebody, but maybe Matt wasnít the right choice, "But look, things could be worse, couldnít they? I mean, itís not like youíre unhappy with Tareshi, itís not like you actually do love Tai, and itís not like Tai got you pregnant, right?" Sora really had to take a deep breath now. Although two of them werenít true, the last one was the kicker.

"IímÖ not sure about that last one. I had never thought about it before, but Chi could be Taiís son. Iíve been assuming too much in the last eight years, and never thought that there is a chance. But there isÖ and I donít know what to do about that." Matt paused to let that sink in.

"Oh. Wow. Thatís umÖ" Matt couldnít finish. Sora could only imagine what he was thinking over on the other side of the Pacific.

"I just donít know what to do, Matt. Iím lost. And with this reunion, thereís the chance that Tai and I could really hurt each other again, or that Tareshi would find out, or anything. Iím scared. Iím sorry if this is laying too much on you, but I needed to tell somebody."

"Look, Sora, IÖ donít know what I can say to help. I donít know what you should do either. I can see why you didnít tell him. I canít help you with advice or anything, but I will say this: If you ever need somebody to talk to at the reunion, or to let go of any problems, or even need a shoulder to cry on- if you canít tell your husbandÖ Iíll be there for you no matter what." It didnít sound like much, but it was very encouraging. Sora smiled a little bit. At least she now knew that she had a friend at the reunion. That was important.

"Thanks Matt. I really appreciate that."

"One more thing that I can do though- I can try to get your mind off of all this. I know itís serious, but you shouldnít get too worked up. Howís everything else going?" Matt was right, she had to at least try to not think about it until the reunion. So with that, she continued the conversation. Just talking.

Unfortunately, as the days rolled by, Sora not only thought about it constantly, she began to think about the previous things Matt was talking about. And slowly, she started to realize that there was one thing that she didnít tell Matt. Something that she couldnít tell Matt. Something that she tried not to think about herself.

Itís not like Iím unhappy with Tareshi, itís not like I actually do love Tai, and itís not like Tai got me pregnant, right?

She knew the first wasnít true. She knew that the third was a big pain in the butt. But what about the second? She flatly denied itÖ but deep down, she wasnít sure. The idea of her loving Tai gave birth to even more questions. Why does she care if Taiís at the reunion? If she really wanted him out of her life, she could simply ignore him, or simply argue with him and win. Why did she do it in the first place? What was it about Tai that took down all of her defenses, and all of her logistics, all for a night of mindless bliss? Either she was very weak, or there was something there. Either answer wasnít pleasant. But the final question was the worst of all. The mother of all questions. The one that haunted her above any shame, above any guilt, and above any apprehensions regarding the father of her child. The one question in the whole matter regarding the affair with Tai that was so perplexing that no matter how hard she tried, she could not think of an answer- Why did she enjoy it?


Authorís Notes
Being the last chapter before the reunion, itís really easy to overlook this one. But I hope that with the "morning after" scene, the revelations concerning Chi, and the chat with Matt, this chapter gets some serious looks too. It again serves as a closer, but since the "Walking the Wild Side" plotline only gets two chapters of material, the issue is simple at the outset, and quite complex when you look at all the different facets of it. Also, although there are only two chapters of it, this particular plotline is the only source of non-digi-destined characters that will appear at the reunion, as Tareshi, Chi, and Kintaro will be there as well. And you better believe they all make an impact on the reunion, and all four plotlines.

I realize that quite a few people had guessed that thereíd be something about Tai fathering Soraís child. Although whether or not Chi is Taiís kid is still unknown, the issue was something I was planning on doing since the beginning. And hopefully thereís still enough mystery involved that it still creates an enjoyable, albeit predictable, plot twist. Iím not too worried- I still have a couple surprises in store. Itíll be good. Also on that matter, it is too late to try to work me into making sure it ends a certain way. Iíve had the ending results solidified since around chapter six, and have no reason to change them now. Go ahead and say what you want to happen, but know that my decisions have been made.

Finally, if you had any thoughts on how you pictured the reunion, you can pretty much throw them out the window now. Especially if you thought that the four separate plotlines would remain separate during the reunion. Because when this thing hits- itís going to be one gathering of twelve people. Remember- despite the different stories- this is still one fanfic.

Enough talk- letís get ready to rumble!!
Chapter Thirteen- Reunion (Part One)
Ten years ago, twelve friends met, all happy, and all on the crossroads of life. But as the years went by, they fell apart, some becoming enemies in the process. Now, the twelve reunite, despite the previous years. But as many soon learn- those at the reunion that cause the most problems arenít the enemies being avoided, but the ones mistaken for friends.