Tifa Lockheart (beatrush18) wrote in ffvii_ac_rpg,
Tifa Lockheart

Tifa and Rufus -- Miscommunication!!!! (Part 2 of 3)

Tifa: By the expression on his face, she knew that although her words were a little stronger than harsh, she had made a very valid point and had gotten to him. Still, she knew that she should’ve filtered her words instead of just letting them flow out. It was a very low blow to open up those wounds that she should’ve just left alone. That happened to become a very bad habit with her when announcing the pregnancy. First with Cloud and mentioning his past, now with Rufus. She didn’t have a right to try to analyze his feelings that he had for her, or anyone for that matter.

“Are you requesting that I don’t worry about you and be concerned on your overall well being?” Her voice was much softer now, definitely didn’t have that sharp edge to it that it did moments before. “Rufus, I don’t know what you do on a daily basis, but I do know that your job is stressful so I want to make sure that you are doing well. Things just… came up in conversation, that’s all. I’m sorry, I wasn’t deliberately prying.”

Exhaling through her nose, she continued to look off to the side, away from Rufus’ glaring eyes and away from the people in the café who were making their own side comments to themselves about what was going on. Tifa was sure to hear about this one later… no doubt in the morning in a tabloid or newspaper somewhere. “I refuse to live my life in fear, Rufus. That is different than being nonchalant. If Jenova isn’t ruling the evil party in Gaia, it’s going to be something else. Perhaps something stronger. It’s happened before, it’s bound to happen again and I am not going to put my life… my dreams… on hold because I have to save the world. I’m not going to do that to myself, and I certainly don’t want to do that to Cloud. I don’t like to consider myself a hero, Rufus… I like to consider myself a person. A person who can do things just like everyone else. That includes having a family and children. That includes being happy.

She slowly turned her eyes back to him again, her gaze not as harsh as she felt herself calming down. “I know the danger of it all and I really do appreciate you looking out for me and being concerned. I guess… it’s what I’ve been trying to do for you too. I don’t want something bad to happen to you, but I don’t want you to lock yourself up in your mansion without anything. It’s lonely… and definitely not what you want for yourself. It’s definitely not what I want for you.”

Rufus: Something in her voice had changed which... threw Rufus off entirely. It was almost the same tone he vaguely remembered from the night of the party and it almost calmed him but at the same time, he wasn't altogether thrilled with it. With her words. Concern. "I don't want anyone worrying about me," he managed out, hating the tone of his own voice because it wasn't strong or commanding but he was tired. This was all too much. He cleared his throat. "I've dealt before. I'll deal with it now. I don't need people worrying about me. They need to worry about themselves."

And that was it, wasn't it? What he was slowly getting tired of. Being worried over when people had their own problems. It was his job to make sure that this debt was repaid. That people had power and the company was afloat and he could pay his Turks' salaries. That everything was in its right place and society was functioning properly. That everyone was okay. He was president, after all.

He hated that she was right though.

Nodding a little, he looked off to the side again, out that window. People walked by oblivious to the outburst. His throat felt dry and a strange aftertaste only vaguely reminiscent of coffee was in his mouth. She was right and it bothered him. But he couldn't have no reaction to her words, managing a nod here and there, his brow furrowed. "You... you should be allowed that." He watched a bird -- some sickening shade of yellow and black, float by the window and grimaced a little. "I didn't mean you should not be happy." Then what did he mean? And Rufus wasn't sure. Didn't know if he'd ever be sure. He had been so worked up over it.

He signed, slipping back into his seat and taking hold of the cup, staring down at the dark liquid inside. "I'm not even sure what I want, Tifa. But don't... get all worked up worrying about me. It does no one any good and I'm not locking myself away in there. I'm not living in fear. I'm just doing what I have to. My duty. And I won't be able to forgive myself if none of this is accomplished. That includes making sure she leaves this planet. That includes me worrying. Not you."

Tifa: Thankful that her calming down calmed him down as well, she took a deep breath through her nose and placed her hand flat on the table. Of course Rufus wouldn't want anyone looking out for him, that was something Tifa knew. It didn't stop her from doing it though. Everyone knew that Rufus overworked himself, staying at his office late at night, sometimes even sleeping there. His office had a full bathroom, complete with shower, just in case an overnighter was needed and she could only guess how often he needed to use it. "Well, like it or not, I still do. You put a lot of work on yourself, and I know you're president, but you're only one person. There's only so much you can do before working yourself to death. I know that you can hold your own against Jenova, but your strength isn't going to do you any good when you're exhausted and overloaded."

Realizing she was nagging, she sighed and shook her head. Everything that happened to the planet with Mako and Hojo wasn't his fault, but she had a rather large hunch that he put that upon himself anyway. That was a completely different topic entirely that would've sprung up another argument, so Tifa figured it was better if she just kept her thoughts on the matter to herself and not upset or anger him anymore.

She gave him a slight nod of her head as a response, glad that he was able to see her point. Having a life of just saving the world whenever it was in peril was not her plan... she wouldn't want that for anyone. What was the point if you never had any aspect of a normal life? No, that person would turn solely into a robot, losing all feelings and their own conscious thought. "We all should be allowed that. After all that we have been through, we know that we'll never have normal lives, but we should still be able to have a taste of what a normal life is like. You know, do something that other people do every day, on every continent, all over the world. It's not like I'm going to get married, have children, spend the rest of my days as a little housewife and give up fighting all together. There's always something to fight for."

Chuckling at her very cliché monologue, she took a sip of her mostly melted frappuccino. Having a baby did require her taking a break from the hero business, but hanging up her gloves was something she never planned to do. Plus, it wasn't as though Cloud would be putting away his sword either. No, the common goal of having the planet be safe was still on all of their minds.

"Then, excuse my annoying nagging," her lips turned into a small smile before continuing, "it's time for you to step out of the office to think about it. Take a vacation. Go to Costa, lay on the beach or something to clear out your brain and sort your thoughts. No one knows what you want but you... You once told me that you don't like people telling you what you deserve." She halfway wondered if he would remember when he told her that. It was when she broke up with him, but she didn't need him to tell her that to have that knowledge. "Find out what you want and then go for it." It was what she did, after all.

The topic seemed to go back to her worrying about him and she didn't want to feel as though she truly was patronizing him now. "You're right though, I don't need to worry about you, but I do. I worry about all that I care about."

Rufus: We could go around in circles like this forever, Rufus realized, staring down at the cold wooden table a moment and wondering if it was all entirely wood or some synthetic material. They were both far too stubborn. He would explain to her that she didn't need to waste her time like this and she would up and -- still worry regardless. And he doubted that would change, but still he didn't like it.

"I have a vice president now. It makes things marginally easier. It isn't all me doing the work. Not all of it at least... so I don't think I'm going to work myself to death anytime soon. At least for now." It wasn't an excuse either. A lot of his work did become easier once he elected Tseng his second in command, formally at least. Not that there still wasn't a lot of work. Rather he was no longer drowning in backed up paperwork. It was still perhaps more than one person should have had to deal with, but at the same time he was at least sleeping at home. Eating meals. Tired a lot, but not on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion.

It was pretty much the way he was used to living. Jenova added into the mix made things worse, but they hadn't been easy to begin with. Even before the company fell he had had a lot of work. As it was, half of his executives had been idiotic before Weapon took care of them. He was used to doing the job of more than one individual.

"I don't think I was made for the 'normal life.'" There wasn't meant to be anything behind the words -- just a statement. He couldn't imagine living the way people lived elsewhere, perhaps because he had never remotely lived like them. Someone like Tifa or Cloud or really any of them -- they may be living the way they were at that moment, but odds are they had something to look back on. Childhood or memories of how their parents were. Townsfolk that lived near them. "I doubt I would know what to do if such a lifestyle was sprung upon me, either." And then it hit him, how different their wants and needs were when it came down to it. And he supposed that she knew the dangers, and she knew that perhaps it wasn't the time, but she still wanted this life that he could barely understand. And he wasn't sure, but he might have been glad, then and there, that she had chosen Cloud. Tifa was no more made for living amidst this corporate life and competing for his time than he was made for picket fences. He cleared his throat and attempted to clear his mind from that.

"But you're right. There is always something to fight for." And he knew that he himself -- even after Jenova. Even in times of peace. He would still be struggling for the company. Against the past and for the future. Until that debt was paid. Until it made sense why he hadn't been blown to bits -- why he was still alive.

Sometimes it was just hard to see beyond all that.

"First you. Then Elena. Then... you again. I am starting to think I should just go away on vacation so that I'll stop being told the same thing." He chuckled softly under his breath. "It couldn't hurt though... get away. Do some thinking..." And then he made a face, a half grimace. Couldn't hurt? "...no sunning myself though. I'd rather not burn."

Sipping the remnants of the coffee, he tried his hardest not to spit it back into his cup like some classless freak as she went on about worrying over him again. "No. I suppose there really is no stopping you. And I guess that's a good quality, just... don't get caught up in it. I'll be alright.”

Tifa: People were still staring in their general direction, even though they were much calmer now, so it made Tifa’s cheeks flush a little. As social as she was, she never did like being the center of attention in a large group of people, especially when it was negative attention such as making a scene or having new news about her carrying Cloud Strife’s child. She had a strong feeling that was going to be spread like wildfire.

“Yes, at least Tseng can help you out with a lot of it, you’re right,” she agreed, taking another sip of her mocha. “You’re only 26 years old, you need to live a little outside of the office once and a while. Just to regroup your thoughts and relax.” She lifted an eyebrow, as if to add onto her statement about him needing a vacation.

Not sure what to say about the normal life comment, she politely nodded her head. There wasn’t much about her past that she knew at all, with the exception of news articles and that one time where they talked about family on his bed. She couldn’t imagine what it must’ve been like for him, having cameras flashing in his face ever since he was young. At least there was a part in Tifa’s life where she felt normalcy, when she was younger. She was very close with her family and had many fond memories of them… yet, she didn’t think Rufus did. She felt sorry for him for missing out on that. “Well, it would probably be a slight change, but it’s not so bad once you get used to it,” she added on with a small smile.

“I think if more than one person has told you that you need to go on vacation, we have a very good point. So, go somewhere for just a little while. Take Tseng with you so you two can have a good time.” She figured after what she saw of them at Elena’s, they would be able to have a good time together. A little unsure of their… relationship… Did they just work together or was there more? Cloud pointed it out first, so at least she wasn’t alone in the thought, but it looked like something was going on. It didn’t matter to her though, whatever made him happy. “Take a lot of sunblock and you’ll be fine while you sip pina coladas on the beach.”

Chuckling softly, she kept a smirk on her face as she shrugged her shoulders. “Once I have my mind set on something, I’m like a freight train. Nothing can stop me so don’t even bother trying.” She wasn’t going to deny the truth.

Rufus: Sitting back in his seat a little, Rufus couldn't help but notice something in her stance -- in the tinge of pink that colored her cheeks and the way her eyes seemed to dart around the room a moment. Thankfully the cafe wasn't really crowded at all, but it only took a few individuals to begin talking, starting rumors, spreading information. He hated it but at the same time it was nothing new. "Ignore them." He said without bothering to shoot the strangers a glance or even pay the slightest attention to them. "They mean little in the long run."

For a second it seemed as if she had conceded and begun to realize that he wasn't really going to work himself to death but it could never be that easy. She had a point though -- not that he was ever one to think that the will of the majority was always right but then again, he was just as stubborn, usually.

"I suppose. It'd probably be quiet out on the beach since tourist season is coming to a close..." he halfway mumbled to himself, tearing a napkin in two. Autumn was coming and that most likely meant that the rich and... annoying would probably be thinking about Icicle and winter cottages. He himself had little patience for the cold and, well... if the beach cleared. It could be nice. "I haven't used the boat in a while either... I'm sure Tseng could use the break as well and, I probably owe him after what happened." But that was something Rufus knew he would never be able to live down, at least in the foreseeable future. Even if he had grown to like the arrangement, and Tseng seemed to be enjoying the kitchen. Library. Surround sound entertainment system.

Then again, it wasn't his fault, so what was he feeling bad about, anyway?

Tifa seemed so strangely deep in thought... Rufus raised an eyebrow but said nothing. It really wasn't his place to wonder what she was mulling over there.

But then the moment seemed to have passed and... Freight train? Well, that was an apt metaphor, he silently mused. "Yes. You are. They barrel down the hill and they even carry cargo. Just... watch it, alright? Keep a low profile..." Then he smirked a little and turned his attention out the window once more. "No derailing."

Tifa: He had a point, yet it still bothered her that people were staring. At least they were calm with each other now, but most of the people would forget that part. The fact that they were pretty angry at each other would be the part that would be spread. “I know, I’m trying to. It’s just another time for me to sympathize with a pet fish. All those people looking and poking the bowl, ya know?” Her face remained exanimate as she kept her gaze on Rufus so she wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone else and blush. Or have a hormonal, bitchy attack. She couldn’t be quite sure and she wasn’t about to test her out of whack hormones.

“See, listen to me every once and a while, I have some good advice. I promise you that the company won’t shut down while you’re gone.” She mixed the contents of her drink a little bit, trying to mix up the melted part with the still frozen part before taking a sip. Unfortunately, most of it was melted, but it still tasted all right. “You have a boat? …although that doesn’t really surprise me…” Chuckling, she nodded her head at her own thought. Of course there were many luxuries that Rufus had and didn’t have time for, a yacht would no doubt be one of them.

Clearing her throat a little, she started, “It would also give you and Tseng some time to bond a little bit.” This is awkward… She thought to herself, shifting in her seat a little before continuing. “So, uh, how are you and Tseng anyway? You both looked pretty happy at Elena’s. Well, okay, you were bickering but that’s besides the point.” A smirk punctuated the ending of her sentence, figuring that there wasn’t arguments all the time. She assumed. “But you know, Rufus, if you wanted him to move in with you, you could’ve just asked. I’m sure he would’ve said yes, then you wouldn’t have had to burn down his apartment.”

She tried to stifle her laughter, but it really wasn’t any use. This was definitely something that he was never going to live down, and for that, Tifa found it rather amusing and felt the need to add onto it. It was just strange to think of Rufus in a relationship with a guy… but it wasn’t as though he or Tseng denied it…

“Well, the way I look at it, it could be both a weakness and a strength. It does leave me rather exposed most of the time, but because of that, people know what I’m thinking. The majority of the time, anyway.” The only time where she wasn’t completely readable was while fighting, but it was mostly because the opponent didn’t know her. Whereas, when she sparred against Cloud, he pretty much could read her moves. It was a double edged sword, so to speak. “Nah, no derailing. No worries.”

Rufus: "I'll be honest. They'll probably make up a fair bit of things about you." He moved the now nearly empty cup on the table, shuffling it aside and then back in front of him. "Fish generally do not know any better... any different. Perhaps us meeting like this wasn't the best idea ever. At least out here with this kind of information..." He blew a wayward lock of hair out of his eyes in exasperation, thankful that at least there were no cameras around. His hair had taken quite a turn for the disheveled. Bad stress-induced habits.

"I suppose we'd leave Elena in charge for a while, if Tseng and I both took up your advice. She'd do alright." And she probably would. It was why they had mutually -- and drunkenly decided that she would take Tseng's place and knew she would do rather nicely in that position. Not that he would really say that but... it was understood.

"Yes, I have a boat." He smiled. "Can't say I've really seen much of it in years but it should still be docked out in Costa. I doubt anyone would dare steal it." Because odds are he would kill them, was the underlying meaning. Rufus had it in him if particularly crossed. He could at least send someone after said offender.

Bonding. With. Tseng. Rufus couldn't help but laugh a little at that sentiment. "I'm not entirely sure we can really bond all that much anymore. Not entirely sure what the protocol for that is. Living together. Working together. Knowing him... forever?" Theirs was perhaps an odd friendship when he really took time to look it over. Then again, he remembered vaguely the confusion over their 'fighting' at the party and... did it really look that bad from the outside? "That was nothing. I think I'd have to do something... horrible for us to really fight." He shrugged. Not that burning down someone's house wasn't something horrible, just... he cleared his throat. "That really was an accident. I was just trying to playfully... steal all of his things. I didn't really want to live with him. I'm not a monster... I couldn't leave him homeless." He stopped himself before rambling on like a fool and resorted to running fingers through his hair again.

"It's less quiet there now, though. And his cat is nice."

He smiled a little as she went on about... was it her stubbornness? Her tenacity? She seemed to have missed his bad pun and he was rather glad of that. Still it struck him for a second that... was it easy to read her? He could see maybe... vaguely when something was bothering her or she was thinking hard but... He hadn't noticed their relationship failing or that she was hiding something at the party and... Well, there was really no reason to be dwelling on that thought anymore. He exhaled slowly. "You speak as if being covert in these matters is a bad thing... But yes. Derailing would be bad."

Tifa: She shook her head and let out a small ‘heh’, knowing all too well that he was right. She could only imagine what was going to be said, although she was sure she wouldn’t’ have to wait very long. There were bound to be news articles and her face plastered all over magazines and tabloids, along with reporters hunting her down to know the truth. It was something that Cloud was going to be thrilled over, more than her. If there was one thing Cloud liked, it was having his private life remaining private. What a concept. “Well, there’s nothing we can do about it now. It… was bound to be leaked sooner or later.” She had hoped that it would’ve been later rather than sooner, but she felt that a completely private conversation between the two of them would’ve been awkward. More awkward than being in a coffee shop with listening ears, although it would’ve been nice to keep the news private for a little while longer.

“Well, I hope to hear that you and Tseng are out of the office for a while. Elena will do an excellent job keeping things in order. You did hire her for a reason, a good one, this I know.” She smiled at him, pleased that he was actually going to go through with the vacation. He sure needed it.

Taking another sip of her drink, she nearly choked on it with his choice of phrasing. ‘Not entirely sure they can really bond all that much anymore.’ That was certainly a little bold, and a little more information than Tifa really wanted to hear, so she looked up at him with a smile, eyes wide without blinking. “Well, that’s… nice. I’m really happy for you two.” She felt her smile start to fade, so she chuckled nervously and took another sip of her drink. That was certainly something she never thought she would hear from him, but then again, he had to know how her and Cloud’s baby was brought into the world. However, that was a little more subtle than… that.

The kitten conversation was at least a little easier to talk about, so she decided to add onto that and stray away from him and Tseng… bonding. “I knew you always liked little cats, even though there is a special place for Dark Nation in your heart. How is Dark liking a smaller cat in her home? Is she getting along with her?”

Clicking her tongue playfully, she said, “I never said there was anything wrong with being covert. You are in charge of all of Shinra Electric Company, being a part of covert operations is part of your job description. Or Tseng’s. Perhaps both?”

Rufus: He nodded, staring outside a while before turning his gaze back on Tifa. Her displeasure with the soon-to-be spreading of this information was noticeable and if Rufus noticed... well... that had to mean something. He almost felt bad and probably would have if the whole matter still wasn't so new. And weird. But he supposed it was probably odd for her as well. He was just a little wary about what they were going to say. The papers had been rather quiet about the whole issue of him seeing her and then... not seeing her. Were they going to pounce on this bit of news? He drummed his fingers on the table, mumbling, "Vultures..." under his breath before blinking and coming back to reality. "I suppose. If you look at it that way..."

Leaning back again, he nodded at her. "I suppose I could send postcards, then. Naw. I doubt the company would implode upon it self with our absence. That's what everyone keeps assuring me of, at least. We promoted her for a reason as well." He still wasn't sure the whens and hows of this little excursion, but he had a feeling that until he actually got up and left the office for at least a week, he wasn't going to hear the end of it. And that could lead to headaches, so...

After turning his attention back to the napkin that was sitting on the table, folding it in half... not so much even attempting origami but needing something to direct any wavering anxiety on concerning this entire conversation -- At least they weren't angry anymore. And then he heard a sound and looked up to see Tifa sipping her drink rather oddly. "Careful there... don't want to choke or anything..." It took him a second to get what she was saying there... about Tseng and himself? Oh. "Well, I guess I managed to get off rather easily, all things considered..." He paused a moment, mulling over that and really... though Tseng would never actually kill him like he threatened, it could have been worse... "I suppose it's not every day that you burn down a friend's home and half of their possessions."

"Dark and Black Midnight seem to be doing well together. At first I was a little concerned she might be jealous, but Midnight seems to have taken a liking to her. Either that or Dark is just a warm... thing to sleep on." He seemed to brighten up a bit at talking about the cat. "I wouldn't mind having another one... I mean, Tseng isn't going to live with me forever, I suppose." He thought a second. Wasn't it nine months, approximately until the building was rebuilt? He'd lost count.

"Hmm. I suppose it's... well... it was part of Tseng's job description. Now... I guess it's part of my personality? I'm not sure if I would be cut out to be a Turk..." He smirked. "I'd have to wear black. What would the world say to that?"

Tifa: “Yeah, they really are when you think about it. Most people’ll do anything for new information. Sometimes I think they would sell their soul to the tabloids if it was possible, just to find out new information before everyone else.” She let out a sigh, still dreading the headlines in the morning.

“Just think, the more postcards you send, the more you’ll think about work. This is supposed to be a brain cleansing thing, really. Drink pina coladas, get a nice suntan, stay away from the whole work aspect.” She gave her head a simple nod, and with a smile said, “Elena can take care of it all. The more you check up on her, the more it looks like you don’t think she’s capable of doing it.”

Tifa had to look away from Rufus for a moment, so she focused on the table, and blinked blankly. Did he really just say that? Slowly, she lifted a hand up to her forehead, rubbing with her forefinger to let the information, unfortunately, sink in. “W…Wow, Rufus…” Was all she was able to mutter out, quite disturbed of the thoughts that she was having of Rufus and Tseng at the moment. Too much information was all that she could think of saying, but even those words wouldn’t come out. Rufus had never been one to talk about his private life, so why was he starting now? About this with her? “And it’s not every day that I feel my brain break. Wow.”

Still unable to look up at him, she tried to think of different things. Anything that would take her mind off of Rufus and Tseng. She knew exactly what his mansion looked like, and knew there were a lot of spots for… Oh god, she was thinking about it again. Whipping her head up, she said, perhaps a little too enthusiastically, “Cats! Yes! Cute little things that amuse me endlessly and definitely change the subject. Reno is getting much bigger, you know. If Cloud didn’t hate cats so much I would get a playmate for Reno, but… I think one cat is enough for us at the moment.”

A look of confusion washed over her face when he said that Tseng wasn’t going to live with him forever. She was so horribly confused. “What do you mean? I know that you’re organized and rather anal…” She couldn’t believe that she just said that and it made her close her eyes again. She was now scarring herself. Clearing her throat, she started again. “What I mean, clearly, is that you have a date for when you’re going to… kick Tseng off?” Planning the break up date was organization on an extreme level.

“It would be interesting to see you in all black actually,” she looked him over, deciding that it would be nice. “Don’t get me wrong, you wear white very nicely, but it would be different to see you in a different color.”

Rufus: "Well, at least they haven't taken any incriminating pictures... that's usually where they make the real big bucks..." Thankfully Rufus was generally wary of appearances when he caught the slightest glimpse of a camera. The media would make a frenzy out of the slightest thing. Hair out of place. Bags under your eyes. So they should have at least been thankful in that regard.

"It isn't that I think her incapable just..." He paused. "It's... hard to explain." And really what way was there to say it? I'm a huge control freak who likes things done his way didn't have a nice ring to it. "I meant friendly postcards anyway. Or at least the kind that mock. You know. Childish neeners. Having the time of my life. That kind of stuff. I still doubt I will bother attempting to tan."

Something was apparently doing strange things to Tifa, it seemed, and while Rufus thought that perhaps it could have been pregnancy related, he had a slight hunch that it was something he said. But what? Try as he might, he couldn't come up with anything at all. "Are you... okay?" He raised an eyebrow, cocking his head to one side a moment. "Maybe you need to lie down." But with the comment about her brain breaking, Rufus grinned and shook his head a little. Oh. People tended to have problems understanding the intricacies of his friendship with Tseng. Maybe that was it. "I know... I'm sure it must sound very strange, the way Tseng and I get along but... it works out rather well, I suppose." He shrugged and downed the rest of his drink, now stale and not at all good in the slightest, but the caffeine was welcomed.

Blinking at her little outburst, Rufus placed his cup back on the table, wishing for another but figuring he would just ignore everyone else there until he decided to pay for the drinks. "You should look into getting another. Cats tend to go well in pairs. Especially if you're busy doing other things and, all things considered, it might be good for him."

As if Rufus wasn't already confused enough about Tifa's strange behavior, her asking of a rather obvious question was baffling beyond all measure. "Well... I mean... I seriously doubt this is a permanent arrangement. Eventually though. I mean, it's only a matter of time, really until he moves out. Of course I don't know the date." Rufus laughed a little. He knew a vague idea of when the building would be rebuilt. "It's difficult to really know entirely when these things will be finished. ...And I'm not anal. I just... like finishing things. Having a specific place for everything. No fuss. No mess. Just things done right." He made a look of distaste. There was nothing wrong with that, being organized. And really, when it came down to it, he wasn't that organized. No more than the next person, really.

"But thank you for the vote of confidence." He scratched the back of his head and smiled a little. "I think Tseng might have said the same thing, speak of the devil. A very interesting change of pace. Also, it would confuse everyone, I think."

Tifa: She was silent for a moment, but couldn’t exactly agree with him. For the most part, he was right. Pictures of strange looks on faces and outfit mishaps or something of the sort were the kinds of things that she saw on tabloids quite frequently… then felt compelled to buy all the copies in every store so she could have a bonfire in the parking lot of 7th Heaven. News of a pregnancy though… that was front page material, and Rufus had to be aware of that. He was probably just trying to water it down, make it not seem as big of a deal as it was. Her and Cloud expecting a baby? Pictures didn’t matter when headlines such as this were clear as day.

“Ha, I can definitely see you sending a postcard that said something along the lines of ‘wish you were here… no, I don’t. Keep Shinra Electric together.’” She smirked at her own joke, yet she wasn’t exactly how much of a ‘joke’ it was. It was something that Rufus would do, and then laugh about it. “You’re just not used to a tan, that’s all. Those ‘florescent lighting’ tans are just a myth, you know.”

Nodding, she said, “oh yeah. I’m fine. Nothing wrong with me over here, mm mmm.” It didn’t sound convincing, especially since she wasn’t convinced that she was okay herself. In fact, she was having a little hard convincing her brain to accept this information. What did she do to him when she broke it off? “No, that’s not a problem. I mean, if it works out for you two, go for it and stay that way.” Just because her curiosity got the best out of her, she had to ask, “So, uh, how long has this been going on? I haven’t heard anything about it until I saw you two at Elena’s together.”

She had to raise an eyebrow at the thought of getting another cat. “I don’t think that would be such a great idea. My cat and Cloud get along very well… better than Cloud would like me to think… but I don’t think I’d get another one. Especially with the baby on the way. We can only handle so much…” It was something that she really hadn’t thought about all that much. So much needed to be done in the mean time and she just hoped there were enough hours in the day to get everything done. But, like he said, another cat would be a good playmate for Reno. Tifa just couldn’t see Cloud being too happy with another animal in the house.

“That’s kind of a negative way to look at it all, Rufus. You shouldn’t think of it that way, just enjoy it while it’s happening.” She was still kind of confused, but for him to think that the relationship was going to end so soon definitely wasn’t the best approach to it all, but giving him relationship advice would be ironic at best. “So, you need to not think of when it’ll be finished. It takes out the majority of the fun and instead, replaces it with dread and fear. Enjoy every day that you have together and make the best of it. The thing is, Rufus, with something like this, there is no right way to do things. No contracts, signing your signature, stuff like this. Live it out in the best way possible.”

That was in no way the strangest thing I have ever done…. She thought to herself, keeping the small smile on her face and trying not to seem as though she was rambling and monologuing something repetitive. She truly didn’t know what to say, but she just had to let it all sink in… and not have her mind wander off to a very scary mental place. “There are a lot things lately that have been confusing everyone, so I guess it wouldn’t be the first time.”

Rufus: Tifa didn't seem to be entirely consoled by his take on the tabloids and really, Rufus couldn't blame her. Everyone took that kind of attention differently. He himself had grown up used to them, finding new and interesting ways to escape without seeming like he was running away. Taking care to keep up appearances and all. That and he just couldn't imagine what she would be going through within the next few weeks.

On the upside, other than dramaticizing his little outburst, there was little the media could make up to really make a mess of things on his end. Thankfully

He was a little taken aback by her joke, moments later, trying not to laugh out loud. That sounded... surprisingly like something he would do. Something cruel and horrible, while enjoying -- as much as he could enjoy not being in control of the company, his vacation. Amused letters to those grueling at work. It was so much like him it was scary. "Ah, so you have been paying attention." He smirked back at her. "They'll be friendly postcards, I assure you. And I know you can't tan that way... I just don't entirely see the point of baking under the sun only to get wrinkly and cancerous later on."

Tifa's curt dismissal of whatever few seconds of concern he outwardly displayed only proved to point out that she wasn't fine. That much was clear. Something was up and Rufus was anything but convinced that all was right with her. Also she was looking at him funny. It was unnerving. And he still had little clue what she was talking about. How could it be a problem, Tseng living in that giant mansion with him? He had known him for countless years so trust wasn't an issue. Not to mention the place was rather huge and even not counting certain areas that Rufus did not allow entrance into, there were enough rooms that he could go days without seeing the other man. "Well, really, it seems alright right now. I mean, there's plenty of space to get around there. It's not like we're constantly cramped up on top of each other. You should remember... there's more than enough breathing room there. He doesn't really sleep in the library." Tseng would pay for that statement. It made Rufus look bad. Worse, really. No one would let him live this entire situation down. "Hm. Well. I think the... incident happened... about a month ago. And I cannot stress enough... I didn't intend for things to go that far. Just... foosh." But she wouldn't believe him. No one would ever believe him. Damned fridge.

"I suppose another cat might be too much. You can always let him visit Dark and Midnight." Rufus shrugged. Perhaps that sounded a bit silly but... animals liked company. He often felt a little bad that company for Dark was in short supply. Maybe that was why she seemed to take interest in Black Midnight. "As long as he's given enough attention, though, he should be alright without another cat in your house."

Negative? Rufus blinked, slightly confused. "I wouldn't consider it negative so much as realistic. The time will come, eventually. Even if I don't... altogether... mind having him around I'm not harboring any strange delusions of permanence." Rufus liked this arrangement. He had someone to talk to who wasn't a quadruped and the mansion often smelled delicious. He just wasn't in any position to be... well... creepy about it. "But enjoying it? Yes. There are pancakes. It's all rather nice. And no, I didn't make him sign a lease or anything."

He drummed his fingers on the table and watched her smile then... a smile that looked to be a million miles away. What was she thinking? But no matter. Things had gotten surprisingly civil. Rufus wasn't going to root around and potentially anger her or himself. "Ah. Yes... perhaps it's all the stress... anticipation. Fogs up my mind a bit. I've been meaning to go to the shooting range lately but I've just been too busy. Tied up in one meeting or another."
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