A/N: I came up with this while trying to come up with lyrics for a song that will be used in one of my future stories. I went "gee, this would be an awesome story. I should totally write it out". And so I did.
And this is the result.
Summary: The story of a girl's unrequited love and how she couldn't bring herself to tell him her feelings until the very end.
Goodbye. I love you.
Two kids chased each other around on the grass, watched by the two adults near by.
One was a girl with short brown hair and a clip that held back the bangs. She was dressed in a yellow summer dress and a bead bracelet adorned her left wrist.
The other was a boy, spiky black hair that looked un-tameable. He wore a white t-shirt and a pair of black shorts that reached past his knees.
Laughter rang as the boy kept chasing the girl, always missing by a hair. Eventually, one of the adults called out to them.
The two stopped and turned to where the woman was waving at them. They quickly ran over to where the girl's parents were, hands clasping each other's. The mother smiled and fixed the girl's hair while the father ruffled the boy's.
"Did you have fun?" the man asked.
"Yes!" the girl answered before pouting. "Are we going now?"
"It's getting late, Sayuri," her mother told her gently. "I'm sure Misaki-kun's parents are worried."
The boy said nothing but the girl felt his hand squeeze hers. She turned to him. "But I wanna play with Misaki-kun some more!"
"Maybe next time," her mother said, patting her head carefully. "Do you need us to walk you home, Misaku-kun?"
He shook his head. "I can go home by myself."
The girl's father sighed, looking around. "What kind of parents don't pick up their own kid?"
The man rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "Uh, sorry."
"It's okay," the boy said, shrugging. He turned to his friend, a smile on his lips. "See you tomorrow?"
The girl nodded with a grin. "Of course! Be careful, Misaki-kun."
"I will, Sayuri-chan."
They hugged and waved goodbye as the boy walked back home.
"I wish I could have told you."
FIVE YEARS LATER: AGE 13
"Give that back!"
The three third-years laughed as one of them—wearing a cap that was probably against school regulations—held the book high above the girl's reach. She kept jumping up to grab it, but the boy was too tall. She growled when she missed again and was going to kick them—screw seniority and respect—when someone snatched the book away. She blinked and turned to see her friend, the book in his hand.
He nodded and handed her the book, eyes glaring at the other boys. "Leave her alone."
The cap-wearing third-year scoffed. "Or else what?"
Sayuri watched as Misaki twisted their senpai's arm behind his back with little effort. She looked around to see if any teachers were nearby before remembering that they were all in a meeting. What bad timing...or maybe that was a good thing.
"Argh! Show some respect to your senpai!" the boy exclaimed, struggling to get out of the hold. His two friends watched nervously, exchanging looks as they wondered what to do.
"Apologise to Sayuri," Misaki ordered.
"Wh—ow, ow! Okay, okay! I'm sorry!" His arm was then released and he glared at the younger boy before muttering to his friends to leave. She watched them run away before sighing as she turned to her childhood friend.
"You're lucky all the teachers are in a meeting."
He smirked. "Why do you think I did that?"
She shook her head, though her lips were curving to a smile. She appreciated his help. Really. "You're hopeless."
"But it's too late now...isn't it?"
THREE YEARS LATER: AGE 16
She flipped the page as she took another bite of the onigiri. Her classmates chatted and ate around her, leaving her alone to her studying. She took another bite in frustration.
"Why does English need 'with' and 'whom' and 'that'...?" she mumbled, flipping back a page. "This is so boring."
"Why are you so boring, Sayuri?"
The brunette glanced up to see Misaki sitting in front of her, a familiar smirk on his face. "What?"
"You need to stop studying so much," he commented, turning the book so it was facing him. He flipped back a few pages. "Ah. Noun clause modifiers."
Sayuri closed the book and snatched it back. "Why are you here anyway? I thought you had practice."
"Captain got sick from his girlfriend's cooking." He then blinked and smiled. "Oh, yes. I got something to tell you."
Something went off in her head. "Hm?"
"Kanata agreed to go out with me."
The girl in his class that he had mentioned before.
The girl who wanted to be a model and probably could with her long legs, beautiful hair, and pale skin.
The girl Misaki liked.
Sayuri blinked. "Oh. Is that so? About time. You're losing your touch as a lady-killer, Misaki-kun."
He flicked her forehead. "Meanie. Well, that's all. I'll leave your boring self to your studying now."
"Psssh. Good luck with Kanata-san."
The smile on his face—the one that used to be reserved only for her—made her heart ache. "I hope so too."
She waved until he was out of the room. Once he was gone, she took a bite of her onigiri, flipping her book open again.
"...it's salty now."
"I wonder if I would be happier with you."
FIVE YEARS LATER: AGE 21
She took her phone out to check the time as she walked down the street, humming along with the music from her headphones. Five more minutes till the agreed time. That was good. It meant she wouldn't be late. She turned the corner and smiled upon reaching her destination. Pocketing her phone, she entered the cafe and looked around for Misaki.
He waved at her from a table near the back, his girlfriend sitting next to him. She waved back and went to give order at the counter.
"A mocha, please."
"That'll be 300 yen."
She paid and waited a few minutes before thanking the barista for the drink and walking to the table. She sat across from them and carefully sipped her mocha.
"So, why did you call me here?" she asked.
Kohana clapped her hands with a big smile on her face. "Yuuta-kun told us the news!"
She blinked and set her drink down, eying them both. "What?"
"He told us you said yes!"
"Oh!" Her eyes were wide before her gaze looked at them accusingly. "You knew what he was planning?"
Kohana smiled sheepishly while Misaki smirked (as always). "Of course we did. We're friends, Sayuri."
"Can I see the ring?" Kohana asked.
She extended her right hand and the other woman grasped it lightly as she examined the ring. Sayuri didn't understand the fascination. The engagement ring had three diamonds: one small heart-shaped one on both side of a larger diamond. There were more extravagant rings out there.
"Did he engrave anything?" the other asked, smiling.
"An infinity sign," she answered, taking her hand back.
"Ah, how sweet," Misaki commented, sounding half-sarcastic. "I'm best man, of course. Neh, Sayuri?"
"Don't just decide such things!" Kohana exclaimed with laughter in her voice. "It's not your wedding, dear!"
Sayuri sipped her mocha quietly as she watched the couple laugh with each other.
"I wish it was..."
"Eh? Did you say something, Saa-chan?"
"Nope. So, you're my maid of honor, right?"
"Of course! Ah, I want to get married too. Misaki, when are you proposing?"
"When you least expect it."
"Not fair! Misaki~!"
She smiled sadly. It was better this way.
"Yuuta is a good man. He should find a woman who cares for him the way he does for me.
"And Takashi deserves a mother who loves his father."
SIX YEARS LATER: AGE 27
She watched her four-year-old son play by himself in the sandbox. He showed no signs of wanting to interact with the other kids in the playground. She wondered if that was normal.
She didn't look to know that Misaki had taken a seat next to her on the bench. "Don't you have work?"
"Not at the moment. Got a photoshoot in less than an hour so I'm enjoying my freedom for a while before heading off to the studio."
"Ah, the life of a singer," she commented with amusement. "I'm glad I'm just the owner of a bakery. How did you ditch your stalkers?"
"Decoy. So, how's the kid?" he asked, watching her son attempt to make a sandcastle.
She sighed. "I don't know. He keeps to himself and doesn't play with others. Yuuta tells me that maybe we should take him to a doctor to see if there's anything wrong."
Misaki hummed. "I'm sure he's fine, Sayuri. Don't worry so much."
Takashi glanced up at that moment, looking their way. She waved for him to walk to them and the four year old got up and obeyed. She lifted him up onto her lap and ran her fingers through his hair.
"Say hi to Misaki-jisan, Takashi."
"Hello," the boy mumbled, face half buried into her shirt. She laughed lightly and tried to get him to get out but he refused to move.
"Hey, kid," her childhood friend greeted back, not bothered by the kid's actions. "Want some ice-cream?"
She rolled her eyes as Takashi slowly looked up at the offer of dessert. "Don't spoil him, Misaki. Yuuta does that enough."
He grinned and ruffled the boy's hair, earning a whine from the brunet. "But I haven't seen him in a while! Let me spoil."
"Please, 'kaasan?" Takashi asked, eyes imploring his mother while trying to fix the damage done to his hair.
She groaned; she was always weak to his puppy-dog eyes. "Fine, fine."
They headed to the nearby ice-cream parlor and Sayuri stood with Misaki to the side. The woman working smiled as she watched Takashi decide what flavour he wanted. A few high schoolers giggled as they ate their ice-cream, eyes on the boy and cooing over how cute he was.
"Takashi will grow up to be a lady-killer in the future, Sayuri," Misaki joked. "Look at the girls he's charmed."
She laughed. "I'm not that surprised. His father is quite popular at work, and his mother isn't that bad-looking either."
"Ah, if you and I had a kid together, our child would be the best-looking kid ever," he commented, not noticing the way she had flinched.
"Kaasan!" Takashi called, standing in front of the register and head barely reaching the top. She walked over to pay for the single scoop of ice-cream—lychee, not surprising—and handed the treat to his eager hands. He dug in immediately and she chuckled, patting his head. They exited the parlor and Misaki checked his watch.
"Well, time for me to go. See you, kid."
"Buh buh," Takashi said around his spoon.
"I'll talk to you soon," the man said to her before walking off. She watched him go, wondering when that would be. As a celebrity, his schedule was quite full and the paparazzi was always nearby. She felt a tug on her coat and she looked down to see her son staring at her with a curious look on his face.
"Kaasan, why don't you look at 'tousan like that?"
She froze and swallowed hard. It seemed she would have to be more careful in the future. She sent a mental apology to Yuuta. "How's your ice-cream, dear?"
Takashi then offered her a spoonful, the question already out of his mind as he tried to get his mother to take a bite of his delicious dessert.
"I never thought that this would happen."
THREE YEARS LATER: AGE 30
She ran as fast as she could and cursed on how out of shape she was. She had been on the track team back in high school and college. She could go faster and she needed to go faster. The looming building that was the hospital came to her sight and she entered through the doors, slowing down slightly as she headed to the ER.
Kohana was sitting on one of the plastic chairs, head bowed and resting on her clasped hands. Her lips were moving quickly, words inaudible as she prayed.
"Kohana!" she called out as she neared.
The model raised her head up and stared for a few seconds, as if uncomprehending who was in front of her. Without warning, she flung herself into Sayuri's arms. The brunette startled as she took a step back for balance. She stared down at her friend and swallowed, knowing that couldn't be a good sign. She blinked back the tears that were gathering in her eyes as she rubbed circles on the other's back.
"It'll be okay," she muttered. "You'll get through this."
Kohana sobbed harder into her shoulder and she continued rubbing circles on her back, even as the doctor came out of the operating room to deliver the news that he had not made it through the surgery and how he was sorry for their loss. The heartbroken woman cried out in anger and sorrow, cursing god and the circumstances that had brought upon her husband's death.
And Sayuri ignored the pain she was in—her heart felt like it had stopped beating but it wasn't surprising since the person who had it was now gone—so she could comfort the only woman her best friend had ever loved.
"But it did, and I only have one thing left to say now. Something I couldn't when you were still here."
THREE WEEKS LATER
She walked down the aisle and stopped before the casket. He looked like he was sleeping peacefully. She stared at the man who had been her best friend since she was four.
The man who had protected her from bullies.
The man who helped her with her homework even though he hated studying.
The man who cheered for her during track meets even though he had his own duties to the basketball team.
The man who gave her the money to start her own bakery.
Sayuri placed the flower with the rest that were on his chest and brushed against his cheek for a split second.
"I love you."