The Second Incarnation Part 1

The "Kalm" Before the Storm

By Shelly Ichishita

"Hey Tifa, what are your measurements?"

"Why do you want to know Barret?" Tifa shouted from the kitchen.

Instead of a reply Tifa heard Barret and Cid laughing loudly. Those guys! She thought. She and the remaining members of the group were taking a much deserved summer vacation in Villa Cloud, the villa in Costa del Sol that they had bought off of the late President Shinra. Marlene was out of school so Barret brought her along too. Everyone was here: Barret and Marlene, Cloud, Cid and Shera, Nanaki, Yuffie. Well, everyone except Vincent and Reeve (a.k.a. - Cait Sith). They both decided to stay in what was left of Midgar, Vincent to get a better idea scientifically of what that madman Hojo had done to Lucretia and Reeve to help him with the Shinra security codes.

Tifa was fixing a killer dinner, crab cakes and fried calimari to start with, herb encrusted rack of lamb and garlic mashed potatoes as the main course, and lemon ice with Grand Mariner cream for dessert. Marlene was sleeping over at a friend's house and Tifa really wanted to impress Cloud. She wished that the guys would get the hint and head out to the bar or the pool hall but so far she had no luck.

Suddenly she felt a hand rest on her shoulder. "Smells great Tifa, you need any help?" Cloud asked.

"Um, no thanks." She stammered. "I've got it under control. Why don't you see what the guys are up to in the den?"

"I think that I'll stay up here with you if you don't mind." Cloud said. He walked up to the stove and started to stir the Grand Mariner sauce. "I'm not too good at this so you're goin' to have to tell me what to do."

Tifa blushed. Was Cloud finally starting to like her again? She knew that he had a crush on her when they were young but that was before he had met Aeris. Maybe they could start over and become more than friends. But just as Tifa was starting to enjoy Cloud's attention Barret and Cid yelled, "Cloud! Hey we need you down here pronto!"

Cloud shrugged and headed toward the den. "Okay, what do you two jokers want? I was kinda busy up there ya know."

Barret and Cid were sitting in front of the computer. "Well this guy wants to know what we're wearing and I figured that since you're the resident expert in women's clothing you could help us out." Barret explained.

"What!" Cloud yelled. "Why the hell would you tell somebody that you're wearing women's clothes?"

"Because we're pretending to be women, Einstein." Cid answered.

Cloud was barely able to talk because he was laughing so hard. After he took a few seconds to compose himself he asked the guys, "Why?"

Cid started to turn red. "Don't get the wrong idea Cloud."

"Yeah, let me tell 'ya why." Barret said. "Yuffie taught us how to use the Internet, so we decided to go into a chat room. But nobody would talk to us 'cause we was guys so Yuffie suggested we pretend to be women."

"Exactly." Cid interjected. "Hot women."

"So that's why you jokers were asking what my measurements are." Barret, Cid and Cloud turned to see Tifa in the doorway. "By the way, dinner's ready. If you ladies are done here that is." After throwing out that last remark she turned on her heel and walked out.

"Just say that you're not wearing anything." Cloud said as he exited the room.

Barret nudged Cid, "Let's try it."

A few moments later Tifa and Cloud heard Cid shout, "Hot damn!"

"I guess it worked." Cloud laughed as he and Tifa set the table.


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