Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh! or any of the characters. If you thought I did, seek professional help.

Yay, I found time to make another chapter! ^_^ Once again, thanks to you awesome people who review! An authoress likes to feel appreciated.

Alright, I know absolutely nothing about Japanese school systems, so I'm just following an American one.

~~~

Chapter 3: Skipping Out

Joey stared at his desk miserably, feeling like the whole world was against him. He looked up and felt impending doom as his teacher began passing out the blank tests. Everyone around him looked so calm and unconcerned that it made him feel all the worse. The teacher was getting closer now... he was handing a test to the kid next to Joey... {This is it,} Joey bemoaned, {Time to stumble through another test I don't understand.}

Just before the teacher handed Joey his paper, a student walked in the door. The student handed a small slip of paper to the teacher, waved to a kid in the class, then walked out. The teacher glanced over the paper and looked down at Joey.

"You'll have to make up the test on Monday," he said a bit reproachfully.

"Wha...?"

"You're being checked out."

The teacher handed the slip of paper to Joey, who gaped at it in shock. It was a check-out slip.

It felt like a miracle to Joey. He had no idea what was going on, but he wasn't about to argue. He slung his backpack onto his back and left the classroom, stopping at the door to smirk at the indignant students who didn't want to take the test.

As Joey walked toward the front of the school, he suddenly realized that he had nowhere to go. He was just pondering this when he turned a corner into the parking lot where he stopped in shock. There, leaning casually against her blue convertible, was Mai. She had a meschievious grin, and she waved him over.

Joey quickly ran the rest of the way and stopped just in front of her. The situation finally connected itself in his head.

"Did you check me out?!"

"Yup."

"You can do that?"

Mai's smile widened and she winked at him. "I'm 24. I can do whatever I want." She then turned to her car and opened the passenger door, motioning toward it.

Joey realized that she wanted him to get in and he stared at her quizzically.

"You got something better to do?" she asked amusedly.

Joey took her point and followed her request, sitting in the front passenger seat and tossing his backpack in the back. She closed the door behind him and walked around to the driver side. She got in, started up the car, and pulled out of the parking lot.

"So... where are we going?" Joey questioned.

Mai shrugged. "I dunno. Anywhere. Everywhere. Got any ideas?"

"Um... arcade?"

"Sure."

***

After spending several hours at the arcade (at the end of which Joey accused Mai of cheating because he claimed it was the only way anyone could beat him at air hockey eight times in a row) the two of them headed to the mall for lack of anything better to do. By the time they were through messing with the demos in an electronics store and setting off all the talking toys in a children's store it was late evening and both of them were hungry.

"So, we gonna get something to eat?" Joey asked hopefully.

"Sure. Might as well push it the rest of the way and make it a real date."

"You know, technically a date could be any kind of outing."

"Don't try to sound smart. It doesn't suit you."

"Hey, what was that supposed to mean?!"

"Don't think too hard about it. You might hurt yourself."

Joey turned away and crossed his arms, pouting, and Mai sported a triumphant grin.

***

By the time they arrived at Burger World, Joey was finished pouting and looked plenty ready to eat. They sat down in a booth near the window and ordered there food. There was a few seconds of awkward silence until Joey spoke.

"...What's wrong with me?"

The question was so random and unexpected that Mai could only stare at him in confusion. Joey looked down and stared at the table, feeling heat creep up into his cheeks as he realized how stupid that must have sounded.

"N-no, I mean, last night you said that thing about... being afraid to get close to me... and I though I understood it then, but then I was thinking... When you were with that Chris guy, you certainly didn't seem to mind him getting 'close' to you. So, uh, is there just something about me?"

"...There's nothing wrong with you, Joey. On the contrary... When I said 'close,' I meant more... emotionally than physically. I never really cared about him. I guess I was just trying to compensate for something I felt like I was missing."

"Then why were you so upset when he left?"

"It's still no fun being abandoned. And it's not the first time I've been left behind. It was more bad memories than anything else."

"Oh... well, you should be more careful next time. You deserve someone better than him."

A wry smile stretched across Mai's lips as she said in her signature mocking voice, "And who do you think would be better for me? An immature high school kid who can't even pass his pre-Algebra class?"

Joey looked up from the table to glare at her. {Man, why does she always have to do that? She's all sweet one moment and then she's putting me down the next. I wish she'd make up her mind.}

"Well, um, I'm not... That's not... My birthday's in two months you know!" Joey could have hit himself. {What kind of dumb argument was that?!}

"Mine's in a week."

"...Really?"

"Well, six days actually. November 20."

"...I didn't know that..."

"Nobody does."

Just then the waitress came with their food. Joey was too busy scarfing down his burger and Mai was too busy pretending she didn't know him for any more conversation to take place. When they were both finished Mai paid for the food and they left the restaurant.

It was now completely night and rather cold outside. As they were walking towards Mai's car, Mai felt herself shiver. She looked over at Joey, who seemed completely oblivious. She deliberately made herself shiver harder, but he was idly kicking rocks that he passed and watch cars go by.

"I'm cold," Mai said pointedly.

Joey looked over at her. "Um, I'm sorry."

Mai rolled her eyes. {Geez, this guy is slow!} "You know, a gentleman would give a lady his coat."

Joey smirked. "If I see a lady I'll give her my coat. Besides, do I look like a gentleman to you?"

Mai turned away and muttered something Joey couldn't hear. Joey shook his head.

"Fine, if you want it so badly, here!" He tore off his coat and threw it at her. She caught and put it on.

"Thanks," she muttered sarcastically.

After a few moments of silence, Joey whined, "Now I'm cold!"

It was Mai's turn to smirk at him. "It sucks to be the guy, doesn't it?"

Just then they arrived at her car. Mai drove Joey home, in relative silence. She stopped the car in front of his apartment building, but as he was getting out she called him back.

"What is it?" Joey asked, already standing outside of the car holding the door open.

"I just thought you might want to know... tomorrow I'm taking a plane to America. There's a tournament thing going on. The flight leaves at 6:10 in the morning, so this is probably the last chance I'll have to say goodbye."

Joey looked taken aback. {Why didn't she mention this sooner?} "Well, um, when are you coming back?"

Mai hung her head. "...I don't know if I am. I mean, I don't really have any reason too..."

Joey felt his temper rising. "What do you mean you don't have any reason?! What did we just... I mean, what about... why did you... Isn't being with someone you care about enough reason to go anywhere?!"

Mai didn't say anything, which just upset Joey further.

"FINE!" he screamed, "I hope you never come back!"

He slammed the car door so loudly that several people looked out there windows to see what all the fuss was about. Joey didn't care. He stormed away toward his apartment, not even sure himself why he had gotten so angry.

Mai watched him leave, and as she did she muttered to herself, "Good, then I won't!"

But the more she tried to be mad at him, the worse she felt. Her vision blurred as hot tears streamed down her cheeks, and she drove away feeling lower than she ever had in her life.

~~~

What a cheery way to end a chapter. Anyway, please review! I take any kind. ^_^

And, um, Joey didn't leave his backpack in her car. I just, er, didn't mention him taking it out. That's it.