Rolling The Dice
Author Note: I do not own Yugioh or any of the characters from the show. I hope you enjoy this story and I look forward to seeing what people think of it. If you like it please R&R. I don't expect this to be a long story like my other two Yugioh fics, but I think it will be a fun ride as it moves along. Just a warning this story will contain spoilers for Battle City and possibly the Noah's Virtual World saga. This fic has been beta read by Minor Arcana; a big thank you to her for all her help and advice on the story.
Dog Days Chapter Eight: Rolling The Dice
Mai left a note for Joey telling him she went out to the store and to stay put. She wanted to pick up some soda and chips for Duke and Yugi who would be coming by. Having left it for him on the coffee table she slipped out of her apartment and went to pick up another cell phone to set up for Joey as well as stopping by the store to get some chips and a couple twelve packs of soda. It was just after two and Mai went to the mall first to get the phone. Then she made her way to the grocery store, humming quietly, thinking about the changes in Joey and in herself.
'I'm sure he's sleeping still, but hopefully he will feel well enough to visit with Duke and Yugi when they get over. I think I can persuade him to stay again tonight unless Yugi had plans with him that he wants to stick to.'
She had the air conditioner on high in her car, it was just so humid outside, it reminded her of what it had been like for her that last year at home in high school. Unlike Joey, she'd had the most boring and uninteresting home life. Her parents always had better things to do then spend time with her, so she'd gotten into reading at an early age. Music had grown to be an important part of her life as well, she'd even written some poetry over the years. Being an only child was lonely and one thing that she could see affected Joey was having a sister.
Serenity had grown on Mai after she'd woken up and found out just how upset Joey was over her safety. Her frantic accounting of how he'd stood up to Marik and had been technically one word away from defeating him and claiming the Egyptian God Ra for his own. It hurt that she hadn't been able to see him then, but she'd been thrust into darkness that had gnawed away at her sanity, torturing her, mocking her loneliness and fear. Serenity had stayed by her side and Mai felt closer to the young girl then she could say she felt about anyone other then Joey himself.
When she pulled back up to her place it was just a little before three and she quickly entered her apartment. She listened to see if Joey would call out to her or if his silence meant he might be sleeping. After a few moments of continued silence she went to the kitchen and put down the grocery bags, taking the two twelve packs to the refrigerator to start getting cold, then looking out to the living room she saw he wasn't there. Putting her purse down she headed to her bedroom, and sure enough, Joey was sleeping on the bed facing away from her.
She went over to put her hand on his forehead and frowned when she saw he was shivering. Standing up she took off her vest and stepped out of her heels, then she crawled up the bed behind him overtop of the covers. He moaned and she felt him stirring, pulling her around him like a blanket he couldn't get enough of. His fingers entwining in hers, pulling her hands down around his chest. When he relaxed and his hand let go of hers she reached up to run her hand through his hair at his temple. He was still shivering when he turned around to face her.
"God I hate feeling like this. I'm real sorry to be in yer bed again but my head was spinning and I woke up missing you. So I came here to be close to some part of you. What time is it?"
Mai laughed, "You mean you can't read that clock says three fifteen?"
Joey opened his eyes and blinked trying to focus on the clock. "I didn't have a jacket with me did I? I'm really cold. I hope this passes before the guys get here. I don't want them to see me looking so weak and helpless."
"Oh come on Joey, they just want to see you to make sure you're ok. Listen, I'm going to get up and get a sweatshirt and some extra thick socks and then I am going to dress you up and rub your feet or whatever it takes to get you warmed up." Mai rolled over and stood from the bed, swiftly heading to a dresser, opening the second drawer she pulled out a blue sweatshirt, then she moved to the top one, pulling out a pair of socks she closed it.
"Here, let me get these socks over your feet and you can try to pull this over your head." Mai gently lay the sweatshirt on his chest, then she reached down to lift the blanket from his feet, she pulled one overtop of the pair he already had on.
"I can get that..."
"Joey, let me take care of you please? Just relax. Duke and Yugi should be here anytime." She then pulled the second sock on before pulling the comforter back over his feet.
He hadn't even tried to pull the sweatshirt on and so she sat down on the edge of the bed to start helping him get that on next.
"Sit up a little bit Joey and I can try to pulled this over your head and you can slip your arms in." Joey did as she asked and over his head the sweatshirt was one quarter of the way on.
"I think I need to move to the couch again, if you have any more ginger ale I'd really like one."
Joey slowly sat up and then pulled his arms through the sleeves and then wrapped his arms around himself shivering.
"Sure Joey. Come on, let me help you out there and I will get you set up with a nice cold ginger ale." Mai helped the young man to his feet and then out to the couch.
He crumbled in a heap on the purple velvet material, pulling the blanket that was there around his shoulders. She left him there and expected Duke and Yugi to arrive any moment. She took out a few cans of soda and stuck them in the freezer to jump start their coldness. Next she took out a can of ginger ale and headed out to the living room to give it to Joey. He smiled weakly and looked like he'd stopped shivered so she nodded handing him the open can.
"Thanks Mai. I think I need some Tylenol or something for this fever. I know I don't feel so hot."
"You look kind of pale. I'll be right back with something for the fever." Mai was on her way back to the living room when there was a loud knock on her door.
"Just a minute," Mai went to the door and looking through the peephole she saw it was indeed their two expected visitors.
"Hi guys, come on in. Can I get you something to drink?" she greeted the two young men warmly and led them back through the kitchen, stopping to take out a bag of chips and to get each of them a cold soda from the freezer. Then she led them to the living room and Joey piped up to greet Duke and Yugi. They both waved to him and he smiled. They came in and sat down, Yugi near Joey on the couch and Duke gestured to the chair after which Mai nodded to him, then he sat down.
"Boy Joey you like like hell if you pardon me for being blunt. I hope you don't mind we came over to check up on you." Duke crossed his legs and put the can down on a coaster by a side table near the chair.
"Well I feel like hell, but so what? Did I miss anything important at school?"
They shook their heads and Yugi spoke up next, "No, in fact it was boring without you there. You're hardly ever absent so believe me we all missed you Joey."
"Yeah, well I should be fine by Monday. But I don't know about staying at your place tonight Yug. I still feel pretty crappy and I don't want to get you sick."
Yugi smiled, "It's ok Joey, I am just glad to get to see you at all."
Duke could feel a lot of tension in the air and even though everyone knew what was going on, only Duke knew how he could help Joey to solve his problems. He wondered if he should just come out with it in front of Mai and Yugi or if he should ask to talk to Joey alone. He pondered this silently as Joey washed down two pills Mai had given him to help take his fever down.
'I probably should try to get him alone somehow.' Duke couldn't think of a decent reason so he just came out with it after a few minutes passed with no one saying anything.
"Hey Joey? Can I talk to you alone for a minute?" Duke smiled and Mai gestured to her bedroom and he was sure he'd seen Joey blushing when their eyes met.
"Yeah sure Duke. In here." Joey stood up and then leaving the blanket on the couch, he headed to the bedroom, making a guilty face when he saw that the covers were all messed up in there.
He closed the door behind him almost all the way and then he turned to Duke, "So what's up Duke? Something going on you need to talk to me about?"
"Yeah well there is Joey. I know this is going to probably sound off the wall, but I need to find a room mate. Nelson, the guy I had been rooming with moved out and my place just feels too big for one person. I was thinking that if you would be interested I could help get you moved in and you could even work part time at the Game Shop. So what do you say? Care to move into my bachelor pad and pal around over the summer?" Duke smiled hoping that his sincerity came through his tone of voice because he really didn't want to bring up the obvious and had a feeling Joey wouldn't want to talk about it anyway.
"What? You want me to move in with you Duke? You gotta be kidding me right? You know I'm seventeen and all, hey you're serious aren't you man?" Joey's jaw dropped in shock.
"Of course I'm serious. Did you think I would come into Mai's bedroom to talk to you about something I was just joking about? But seriously, what do you say? Think about it huh?" Duke gave Joey the thumbs up and then looked to the door.
"I'll think about it Duke. Thanks man, for asking. I have been thinking about getting out of my place for awhile now, so if you're really sincere about that I just might take you up on it." Joey grinned and then returned the thumbs up before he opened the door and winked at Duke over his shoulder.
"So what did we miss?" Joey smirked at Yugi, who rolled his eyes and looked at Mai who laughed.
By the time Yugi and Duke left Joey was feeling like he could sleep some more and Duke said that he was having Yugi stay over at his place with him and that he hoped to hear from Joey soon. Joey told him to count on it and then they left. It hadn't been even forty minutes that they had stayed, but Joey was worn out. He thought about telling Mai about Duke's offer, it just seemed to be awfully convenient that he would just be inspired to ask him to be his new room mate, not that he'd accuse Yugi of breaking his word to him that he wouldn't tell anyone. But he did wonder if he had actually told Duke or if Duke had just come to his own conclusions and made that offer to him as a token of friendship showing he cared about what happened to Joey.
"So what did Duke want to talk to you about Joey?" Mai came to sit down beside him, resting a hand on his shoulder as she moved next to him.
"You're going to think this sounds crazy, but he asked me to be his new room mate. I think Yugi must have been up to something."
"Why do you say that? He looked as lost as I did if you ask me hun. I think that was all Duke's doing. He called earlier from school to see how you were doing and I'd say that he looked really worried about you. So what do you think? Are you going to move in with him then?"
Joey leaned back against the couch and thought about it. There would be nothing to stop him from doing it and all he really needed was his clothes, plus Duke had wheels so he'd always have a way to get to school. As he thought about it Yugi had looked confused when they'd left, but he was sure now they were talking about things. Joey looked over to Mai.
"Do you think I should?"
Mai nodded and leaned down to curl up around his side, coiling her hand around his waist, resting her head on his chest. He sighed and reached his arm around her shoulders. Maybe it would be the right thing to do. He decided he was too tired to decide about that yet and he just enjoyed the feeling of resting with her on the couch.
"Are you getting hungry yet? I could make you a grilled cheese or something if you think you could try eating it. I feel like I am shoving food in front of you all of the time, if you want I can just stop and when you want something please just tell me?" Mai leaned back so that she could see up into his soft eyes.
"I'd love a grilled cheese. Are you sure you don't mind me staying over again though? I could go home..."
"Joey don't even say that, you're staying here. I got something for you though. Let's get up and go to the kitchen, I want to show you something." Mai stood and helped Joey up.
They went into the kitchen and she went to her purse, pulling it open to take out the cell phone she'd had activated for him. She turned to face him and with her free hand she reached to his and then put the phone into it with the other, keeping her hands wrapped around his supportively.
"I got this for you when I was out earlier. I don't want to hear anything but yes, so please just accept this from me. That way if you need help you can always call me or Duke or someone and I won't worry about you as much, ok?" Mai stayed there as he met her eyes.
He reached a hand over to her chin and leaned down, kissing her forehead softly, whispering a reply of gratitude. As if drawn to him like a magnet, she responded to the affectionate gesture, reaching up his back and holding him there. Joey slid the phone into his pocket and then put his arms around her, still amazed at how well they fit together anytime they embraced. Maybe moving in with Duke would be the beginning of a better time for him.
'I'm going to call him after we have something to eat and tell him yes. I bet I can get my clothes tomorrow morning early before dad is up and just leave him a note telling him not to worry and maybe talk to Mai about giving him this phone number she just gave me. There's no doubt this is what I want and I know it is what she wants too.'
Joey let himself run a hand through her hair, caressing the side of her face lovingly. He wanted to kiss her in the worst way, but he held off. Mai patted him on the back and then pulled away with a smile. He did bring her hand to his lips to kiss the back of it, making the young woman's mile grow even broader.
"Now sit down so I can get started on these sandwiches," Mai went to the refrigerator and pulled out the butter, cheese and some bacon, "Do you like bacon in your grilled cheese?"
"Mmm that sounds good, sure why not?" Joey sat down and looked over to the CD player on the kitchen table. Mai must have noticed because she came over and turned it on. He smiled, pleased she'd decided to share this with him. "So I think I am going to tell Duke yes. After I get moved it, will you go out on a date with me?"
Mai stiffened up and then slowly turned to face him.
"Are you asking me to be your girl Joey Wheeler?"
"What if I am? You know you can't resist me. Will you go out with me?" Joey stood up and she turned to face him.
"You know the answer to that don't you? I have been your girl for a long time already. You just didn't know it yet." She turned back to the stove, flipping one of the sandwiches before she felt Joey coming up behind her.
'I guess he is feeling better. What a relief that he is moving in with Duke. I think he might finally start to be happy for the first time in a long time.'
Strong arms wrapped around her waist and she shuddered as he embraced her from behind, his head resting beside hers, his hands rested at her hips. She gasped and swooned against him, he stood firmly when her right hand reached up behind her, to find its way into the hair at the nape of his neck, a place she wondered what he'd look like if she kissed him on. He moaned and gently pulled her hips back against him as he moved his head against her fingers before he couldn't stand anymore and had to back away or break down and kiss her.
'It's not like if something did happen between us, like we made out and lost control over ourselves, it's not like we haven't known each other for years already. She said it, she has been my girl for a long time, I just didn't know it yet.'
"Well I know it now and I'm hungry now, but it isn't really food I want. I better sit down and just adore you from over there or else you won't get those sandwiches finished." Joey bent down as he'd spoken, as he stopped, he kissed her shoulder, letting his lips linger there for long moments as if he would totally give in to the urge to shake her up.
"My, I'd say someone is feeling better. Mmm, do that again will you?" she looked up at him over her shoulder as he'd moved to sit down.
"I promise I'll do that again my RoseWhip. I like this music. Def Leppard isn't it?" Joey gracefully moved into the chair as Mai nodded.
"Their stuff is pretty cool. I think I have this CD at home."
"Really? I figured you'd have heard of them. I was listening to it earlier, I sometimes even dance around my apartment just for fun."
She grinned at him then hesitated as she seemed to notice something odd in the way he was smiling at her. It was a big dumb looking grin and she felt as if he was looking right into her soul.
"Yeah, like you did this morning. It was lovely and so are you. I wish I felt better, I'd love to dance with you," Joey knew she was embarrassed by his statement, but they had a standing friendly challenge of sorts to try to one up the other any time the opportunity presented itself.
"You mean you saw me?" Her mouth was a perfect silent scream of fear and Joey frowned seeing he'd upset her rather then flatter her.
"Yes, I saw you. When I got up last night and had that cramp, I even stood at your door for a few moments watching you sleep, then before I turned to lay back down you started thrashing around and crying out."
"Do you really mean that? That you would love to dance with me?" her lavender eyes pleaded with him for honesty and he gave it to her without question.
"Yes, I did. I'd like to dance with my girl, is that such a terrible thing?"
She giggled, "No, I just didn't expect that you'd have seen me earlier like that. So get an eyeful with me in that little shiny nightie?"
Joey winked and nodded, "I was in awe of your gracefulness and I was so faking it when you came back in after that. I was so sure you'd catch onto me and get pissed I was watching you, but I couldn't help myself. I heard you singing and that got me out of bed."
"I bet you couldn't you stinker. I'm going to get even with you for that, mark my words. Anyway this is going to be a great cheese sandwich so I want you to enjoy it." Mai brought over a plate with a steaming heaping of cheese and bacony goodness.
"Oh yeah, that's heavenly. Where's yours?"
"Over here. Just relax, I'm just going to get this pan soaking."
She lifted the spatula and pan to the sink where she put them both into the stainless steel sink, then she turned on the hot water to get them wet. Next she picked up a can of soda she'd pulled out for herself when she'd put the remaining soda from the freezer back into the refrigerator. A minute later she was sitting next to him, a bag of pretzels between them.
As they ate, Joey reached under the table to tickle her feet with his and she playfully told him to stop it, but her shining eyes told him she wanted anything but. After they'd both put down their grilled cheeses Joey got up and took her plate along with his over to the sink. Mai came up behind him and took a turn embracing him from behind while he tried to do something. He chuckled and turned on the hot water, taking the dish soap and the yellow sponge, Joey washed their two plates, next he flipped it over to use the green scrubby side on the frying pan Mai had used to make their sandwiches on.
Joey let her hug him around the waist as he ran water over the pan to give it a final rinse. After he'd inspected it for soap he put it in the dish rack, where the two plates were now drying. The spatula was last and once he had it cleaned and sitting in the dish rack, he rinsed the sponge, washed his hands and turned off the water. He reached for a couple paper towels and dried his hands off before turning around to hold her in his arms. Over her shoulder he made a basket with the paper towels into the trashcan and then he let his hands crawl down her back, for some reason he started to sway to the music. She melted right into him and they slow danced to "Hysteria" before Joey started to feel like he needed to sit down.
"I need to give Duke a call, should I just use my phone?" he winked at her and she nodded. Joey pulled the cell phone from his front jeans pocket and asked her if she had his number nearby.
"Yeah here, on the coffee table, he wrote it down for you on a card for his shop."
"Great, what do you say I get this out of the way?" He picked up his ginger ale and went out to the couch.
He sat down and picked up the card Duke left for him and then he dialed the number he'd written there for him. Duke answered on the third ring and Joey heard Yugi laughing in the background at something on a television turned up way too loud.
"Hi Duke, it's Joey. I was thinking about what you said and the answer is yes. When did you want me to bring my stuff over?"
"Hi Joey! Hey Yugi, turn that down will you? Joey's on the phone. Ok, that's better. So what about tomorrow morning? Are you feeling better?"
Joey laughed, "Oh yeah, I'm just fine. Listen Duke, if I get on your nerves or something just know you can always come out and tell me straight up. I really think working for you would be really fun so yes to that too. Tomorrow morning sounds fine to me. Shall I call you after nine or so?"
"Yeah that'd be perfect Joey, wanna talk to Yugi a sec?"
"Sure, talk to you tomorrow Duke, bye." Joey waited and then Yugi's cheerful voice greeted him, "Hi Yugi, having fun? I'm sorry I had to bail on you but I don't feel so good and tomorrow I should be better."
"Oh yeah, I saw the room Nelson moved out of and it's awesome Joey, you won't need anything but your stuff, there's furniture and all in there waiting for you. Duke even has a computer set up in there on a desk and all. You'll like it I bet."
"Yeah I am looking forward to seeing it too Yug. About the other day. I'm real sorry I didn't tell you about all that sooner."
"Don't worry about it Joey, as long as you're all right that is all that matters to me. Tell Mai I said hi."
"I will. Have fun Yugi. Bye." Joey hung up after Yugi had and he turned to look at Mai.
"You know I think you're going to be really happy there with Duke judging by the smile you're wearing."
"Yeah, I think I will too. I think I am going to take this sweatshirt off now. I feel pretty good now that I ate something and things are finally looking up."
Mai giggled and snuggled up to him as she helped him lift off the sweatshirt. It caught his tee shirt in it as the cotton stuck to the sweatshirt, revealing his chest and it made him laugh to see how Mai was gawking at him when he got the shirts untangled enough to get the right one off.
"What? Don't tell me you think I need a tan or something."
"Oh nothing like that Joey, I was just eyeing your stomach is all. You really have great abs." Mai reached down and tickled Joey making him cough.
"Man Mai, I can't laugh right now. I'm feeling too happy to and if you think I got nice abs, then I appreciate the compliment. I would say likewise, but I wouldn't want to overstep my boundaries so early in the evening."
"Oh please, you like to press every boundary you come across and you damn well know it. You're really something else Joey. A real class act."
He laughed and she reached to the remote to turn on the television. They sat there watching videos and talking for a long while. She got up to take a shower and he fell asleep on the couch. Leaving him there she went to bed soon after, but left her door cracked open in case he needed her or wanted to come in later to be with her when he woke up. It was hard to fall asleep but the blonde finally did, with a small smile on her face.