Haha! Surprise fourth chapter! These guys just wouldn't leave me alone. This is probably actually the end though. Warning: extreme awkwardness ahead.
This is so stupid. And unfair.
Daichi and I have been a couple for about a week now, and it's great, but it's affecting my martial arts in a way I don't like. Whenever I have to fight Daichi (and the guys in our club make us do so more often now; laughing at us the whole time) I get nervous, and I'll think about how close our bodies are, or I'll start staring at his lips, and I can't concentrate on our fights anymore. But that isn't the worst part of it.
The worst part is Daichi. He doesn't even seem to notice my distress, and even worse, he's not fazed at all when we fight. Isn't he supposed to be going crazy with teenage hormones or something?
I want to ask him but I can't. I'm sure he'd have some perfectly sensible response for me, like he isn't thinking about anything else when he's in a match, only the match. I wish I could do the same; I should be able to do the same.
It's not fair.
There's nothing I can do about though. I just have to put up with it, and take a cold shower after practice. At least it's not so bad that I can't beat him at Muay Thai. Usually. Daichi's gotten quite good at Muay Thai lately. He says it's because I'm such a good teacher, but I know he's just gifted.
"Have you got plans Thursday night?" I ask him, after my daily cold shower, when we're on our way home. It's kind of funny, how little has changed since we confessed to each other.
Actually, it's a little sad, but I don't know what to do about it.
"No, I'm free," he says.
"Do you want to come over for a match?"
"Yeah, that's always fun," he answers. I notice a little blush, and I smile. At least he's still aware outside of matches. And so shy too – I don't know how no other girl noticed how adorable Daichi is before I did.
When we walk home now I don't have to worry about people seeing us and getting the wrong idea. People assumed we were going out long before we actually were, but I denied it then, so I think people still think we're in a platonic relationship.
Sometimes I wonder if we're not too. We hold hands, and we've kissed a few times, but like I said, not much has changed. I'm too shy to do anything forward, and I think Daichi thinks that means I don't really want to do anything more. It's just that I don't know how to initiate something, and I can't ask my friends because they would just rip right into me.
"I'm home," I call as I walk into the house, but there is no response. "Dad?" I walk in; feeling worried all of a sudden. I used to take my dad's presence for granted, but ever since his accident I worry about him a lot more.
I'm starting to panic a little when I notice the note on the kitchen table.
I have to work late tonight, please tape the match for me, Dad.
I put the note down slowly, glancing over my shoulder at Daichi. He's standing in the kitchen doorway, filling up the entire frame. This means we're all alone. What if he thinks I planned this?
Well, what if he does think I planned this? Maybe that will prompt something.
"Um… I guess my dad's not going to be home tonight," I say.
Daichi nods calmly. "Oh ok." He looks around the kitchen. "Should we make something to eat then? What time is the match?"
I look at my watch. "It's on in about an hour," I say.
"Ok. What would you like to eat?"
I laugh and start to take out food for supper. "You don't need to cook for me in my own house," I tell him. "I can cook you know."
He smiles and takes a step into the kitchen. "I guess I'm just so used to doing it," he says. "Well, if there's anything I can do to help, just let me know."
And so, the first time I'm alone in the house with my boyfriend, I tell him to chop up vegetables while I cook noodles.
At seven we turn on the TV and sit down with our supper and snacks to watch the match. It's a good match, and soon I'm yelling at the TV, dropping food all over the floor in my excitement.
When my dad comes in, I'm in the middle of eating a prawn off the floor while Daichi laughs. We both turn and grin at him while he stands, hands on hips, shaking his head at us.
"I hope you at least remembered to record the match," he says.
"Of course!" I reply. "It's a really good match too! In the first round even…"
Daichi and I launch into a replay of our favorite moves, while the men onscreen interview the winner. My dad laughs and goes into the kitchen to grab leftovers to eat.
Later, when Daichi has gone home, my dad asks, "Are you dating that boy?"
I blush and nod.
"And I left you two all alone?" My dad slaps his hand to his forehead. "What a terrible father I am!"
I laugh and reassure him. "Yeah, we did all sorts of dastardly deeds. I made him chop up the radish, and then we put on Pra Jiads and screamed at a television…" I sigh at myself. I had honestly thought, when I first discovered that my dad wouldn't be home, that something romantic might happen, but maybe my friends were right. Maybe there is no romance in my bones. "Don't worry dad, I'm too much a guy to be an unruly daughter."
I spend a lot of time the next day observing Daichi. Does he think of me as a guy too I wonder? What if he's not really attracted to me, I mean physically? When I think about my actions last night, when we were all alone, I wince a little. I mean, I didn't even think about trying to act sexy – I ate a prawn off the floor!
"What's up dear? You sure are sighing a lot today," Izumi says, while we wait for our teacher to come back.
"Oh nothing," I reply.
"Trouble with Daichi?" she guesses.
I tell her about what happened last night. Natsuki leans in when she hears Daichi's name, and I'm sure she'll tell Tomoko about it. Well, at least I know my friends won't blab to the rest of the school, just to each other.
When I get to the part about eating food off the floor Natsuki laughs, snorting when she tries to cover it up. Izumi smiles sympathetically and pats me on the shoulder when I've finished my story.
"I wouldn't worry about it; that's just the way you are," she tells me.
"Yeah, but the way I am is not attractive," I counter.
Natsuki giggles. "You're certainly not the sexy type Shun," she says.
Izumi nods. "But you don't have to be the sexy type," she says. "None of us is particularly sexy either."
"Speak for yourself," Natsuki mutters.
"Well, except for maybe Natsuki in her mind," Izumi amends. "The point is, Daichi said he likes you right? He doesn't like you because you're a sex kitten; he likes you because you are you. And we like you for that reason too. You don't need to worry about being someone you're not, when we all like for yourself."
Natsuki nods. "I have to agree with Izumi's sappy little speech," she says. "You shouldn't change; you're much more fun the way you are."
Izumi glares at Natsuki, but I feel much better thanks to them. They're right after all; besides, if I tried to be sexy I'd probably just end up failing miserably and making a fool of myself. More of a fool than I usually am.
The next time I face off against Daichi, I think of that night, and I don't feel so awkward anymore. I guess I really am ok with not having a physical relationship. I mean, I really like Daichi, and I know he likes me too, so why does there have to be more than that?
I trounce him in our Muay Thai match that day. It feels great. Not because I beat him, but because my head feels clear again, and that is a good feeling. Now that I've decided I don't have to have sex with Daichi, I feel much easier. I feel like I can go back to being myself.
But then I notice his chest heaving as he tries to catch his breath. There's a droplet of sweat clinging to his collarbone, at the base of his neck.
There goes my resolution.
While I enjoy a cold shower after practice, I try not to think of Daichi. I never expected I could feel this way; there have been no signs of it all my life. I don't know what to do with myself anymore.
I never know what to do, do I?
I linger in the changing room, reluctant to face Daichi while my face is so red, as I'm sure it must be. Tomoko asks if I'm feeling alright and I tell her to go ahead. I just need a minute.
Daichi is waiting for me when I come out of the change room. Everyone else has left already. Well, I know that nothing will happen, even if it's just the two of us.
"Are you feeling alright?" he asks.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
Daichi puts a hand to my forehead, just to be safe.
"Really, I'm ok. You don't need to worry about me. I just got a little excited about… uh, practice."
Daichi is quiet, staring at me. I'm still caught off guard sometimes, by how dark his eyes are. "Can I kiss you?" he asks.
I nod. "You know, you don't really have to ask."
Daichi has really nice lips, surprisingly soft lips. It feels really good when our lips touch, and when he kisses me on the cheek, or my forehead, or my neck. I let out a little noise of surprise when his lips move on to my neck and my shoulder. This is new and unexpected.
He pushes my shirt off my shoulder as he kisses me, and I close my eyes. It's surprising how excited I get with this touch, how suddenly I can't breathe properly. I'm already out of breath when he puts his lips back on mine.
As surprised as I was when he kissed my neck, I'm even more surprised when his tongue touches mine. I think he's a little surprised too, because he stops quickly and looks at me.
"Ah sorry! Was that weird?" he asks. "I don't really know what I'm doing, so I thought, I'll just go for it, but if it was weird, I can stop."
I laugh. I guess we're both clueless, though he's doing a better job of this than I am. "I was just surprised," I say. "I liked it."
He blushes bright red, and then he kisses me again. But then something occurs to me and I have to push him away.
"Wait!" I gasp. "I can't do it here!"
"Ok," he says, but then he frowns. "Why?"
"If we do this, then I'll be reminded of it during club time, and then I'll be distracted, and my fighting will go downhill." Even more than it already has.
He nods, looking serious. "That is true. I hadn't thought of that."
"Well, I'm sure you wouldn't be bothered," I say, grinning.
"What's that supposed to mean?" he asks.
I squirm, caught by my own stupid tongue. "Just that, well… you never seem to think about these things while we're fighting, and I know it's silly that I do, and I try to stop, but I still get distracted during our matches."
Daichi grins. "Really? Is that what you're thinking about when I flip you onto the mat?" he asks. He puts a hand to his mouth and blushes. "Well, as bad as it was before, I'll definitely have trouble when I flip you now. Now I'll never be able to concentrate."
I punch his arm. He smiles and shoulders his backpack and we walk out of the clubhouse. I wait while he locks the door.
"But now, where can we go?" I ask. "Now that I'm all hot and bothered, I don't want to stop."
Daichi blushes. "I don't know if I can handle you when you're being forward," he says. "If you keep this up I might just jump you in the clubhouse one of these days."
I gasp in mock surprise. "You wouldn't dare!"
"Just watch me!" he says, and then he laughs. He takes my hand and shakes his head at himself. "You're right though. I wouldn't dare."
Neither of us is inventive enough to think of a place we can be alone. He has too many siblings, and my dad is probably at home. He's been careful since he discovered he left Daichi and me alone the other night. Now I wish we had used the time more wisely.
Finally, my dad is away on a two-day business trip. I waste the first day by being unable to get up the nerve to ask Daichi over. Natsuki eyes me all day at school – she can tell something's up – and partly because of that I can't talk to Daichi. Not without stammering and blushing anyway.
When I'm lying in bed alone that night I think of Daichi, and I promise myself I'll ask him over the next day. If I don't do it, then I'll shoot myself, or something.
After club I wait for him to finish up the attendance records. He smiles and takes my hand, and we walk out the of the school gates. I'm yelling at myself in my head, and finally I say it, "Would you like to come over tonight?" I ask. "My dad's not home."
"Uh… yeah. Yes I'll come over," he says, and his face looks so determined, so much like a superhero in a movie, that I have to fight back laughter.
And oh, it's so awkward, but Daichi is so sweet, and I really am happy. It takes us a while to even take our shirts off. I keep wanting to jump on him and rip his clothes off, but when I actually reach out to do so, I can't do it. I'm so much braver in my head than I really am.
And I've seen Daichi shirtless before; I've seen him half naked, but this is different. Before, it was always in a sparring situation, or the like, not like this, not so close.
"Ah, do you have to stare so much?" Daichi asks. He's blushing, and I suddenly feel like a dirty old man. It's kind of fantastic actually. "You're making me feel kind of nervous."
"Maybe we should turn off the light," I suggest. Daichi agrees and he gets up to turn it off, giving me another view of his naked body before he gets back into bed with me. I'm careful not to let him see me staring this time though.
"Um, should I be here?"
"I don't know; I've never done this before."
"Well, neither have I."
I can't help but laugh a little. "This is supposed to be the most natural thing for people to do; it's supposed to be instinctive isn't it?"
"I blame media," Daichi says. He plants a kiss on my neck; he's good at that anyway. "For hyping it up too much."
Finally we find a comfortable fit and then…
"I'm sorry! Is it no good?" Daichi asks worriedly. I can just imagine the look on his face, and I smile.
"No, it's not so bad," I reply, putting my arms around his shoulders. "It's nothing compared to a broken limb."
"Should I move then?"
It's over quite quickly, but that's probably for the best. I don't know if I could handle much more. My heart already feels like it's about to explode.
Daichi turns to me and takes a strand of my hair between his fingers. "Was that… um, I mean… did you…?" he trails off and sighs.
I take his face between my hands and give him a kiss. "It was lovely. Thank you for putting up with my lecherous ways and letting me take advantage of you," I tell him.
He laughs and puts an arm around my waist. It's funny, how much this is all like sparring; how the positions all resemble something else, but it feels so very different. Very different.
I think I could get used to this.