Chapter 15

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Kairi's heart felt like it was in her throat. No one liked to hear those words. They never led to anything good. Was Sora already backing out? Was the distance already too much? She gently petted Yuna in her lap, trying to keep her hands from trembling.

"Sure... what's up?" She asked hesitantly, expecting the worst.

She heard Sora take a deep breath before answering. "It's about Mika... well, I think it's Mika anyway."

Kairi's hand stilled over Yuna. That wasn't at all what she was expecting. She had barely thought about Heart of Worlds this weekend, let alone Mika. Mika's weird, but her seemingly innocent crush on Sora had been more annoying than anything. So what was this about? "From HoW?"

"Yeah. I, uh," Sora could be heard switching his phone to his other ear as he shuffled around on the other side of the phone nervously. "I've been getting some weird texts lately, and I think they're from her."

"What makes you think it's her?" Her jaw clenched thinking about Mika texting Sora. It wasn't that she was jealous... maybe she was a little. But how did this even happen? How did she get Sora's number? Yuna let out a "meow" and nudged her hand. Kairi began petting her again distractedly.

"Well, I'm not entirely sure it's her. They never told me their name. I assumed it had to be her since the texts have been pretty similar to things she's said in the clan chat ... well, until recently."

Kairi bit her lip, but when Sora didn't continue, she prodded him a bit more. "Something changed?"

"Yeah." She could hear him take another deep breath. This is bad. "I need you to prepare yourself. It isn't good."

Kairi closed her eyes as a nauseated feeling started to take over. Her anxiety was slowly building up in the pit of her stomach. "Just tell me, Sora. What happened?"

"The person who has been texting me, Mika or whoever the hell it is," Sora paused before he said his next words very carefully. "...was stalking us while you were here."

Kairi's eyes snapped open. She stood up from the kitchen floor, letting Yuna jump out of her lap with an angry "meow" just in time to keep from dropping to the floor. Her hand tightened around her phone as her palms began to sweat. Someone had been following them around while she had been on Destiny Island? They knew who she was and what she looked like? She was speechless.

Sora gave her a moment and then continued. "They sent me photos of us at the restaurant and at your hotel. They are threatening to release the photos and make it look like you exchanged sexual favors for an interview with me."

Kairi caught herself on the kitchen counter as her knees almost buckled from underneath her. "Oh my fucking god..." That was not what she was expecting. Blackmail? Blackmail that would ruin her career before she even had a proper chance to make someone of herself?

"I know. I'm sorry I didn't say something sooner, but I thought I could handle it without letting you know." Sora's voice got quieter as he confessed. "That was dumb of me... You deserved to know."

"Fuck." Kairi let herself slowly slide back down onto the kitchen floor. She felt like she had crested at the top of a rollercoaster and was staring down the tracks that dropped down infinitely. She was hot, sweaty, and had that floaty feeling like being outside of her body. She tried to ground herself.

Once she had collected her thoughts properly, she asked Sora, "What are we going to do? They'll ruin my career with rumors like that, no matter how baseless they are. The gaming industry isn't exactly kind to women..."

"I know." Sora said, interrupting those intrusive thoughts and what-ifs. "Don't worry. Riku and I have a plan if you will agree to it."

Hope fluttered in her stomach briefly. "What is it?"

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