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You're Special to Me

A novel by MIYANO RAN

~ Bernadette Co is known as the shy and kind girl in school. Due to lack of self-esteem, she rarely talks to anyone and remains hidden under her thick shell. But, deep down, she is really a very friendly person… but she doesn't have enough courage to show it. But, as she enters her new school year, she is determined to fight off her shyness and make friends. Then, her old childhood friend comes along… who helps her through the exciting, fun and dramatic school life… and in the long run, life itself. She meets more people who make important marks in her heart… and those are her true friends. This story talks about the inevitable cycle of life and death, constant change, happiness and sadness, triumph and tragedy, hurt and comfort, correcting mistakes, God, friendship, family, romance, loyalty, letting go of the past, forlorn regret, starting anew, optimism, steadfastness, understanding, patience, courage, strength, faith, hope, and above all… love… and so much more. ~

~ This novel encompasses almost all important facets of life. ~

~ Albeit this looks like an ordinary and shallow story at first, if you search deeper, you will see that this is a powerful, sentimental and emotional story that can move hearts. Do not be deceived by its simplicity. After reading this… you will feel that life has so much more to offer. Life is… special, the most special thing God created…. Life ~

~ Comedy, Friendship, Family, Angst, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life~

Chapter II- You

The classroom was fully air-conditioned; I was really glad I brought my sweater to school today. I looked around and noticed that the room was painted green and I was very happy with that because it was my favorite color, not to mention the color of nature, too. The classroom was filled with forty-two students; exactly one-half of them were boys and the other half were girls. We sat according to class number, meaning, our surnames were arranged in alphabetical order and since I was 'Co', I sat in the second column nearest to the door, third row. Raine was seated in the fourth column, the middle of the class, while Annielyn sat behind her. I saw Annielyn and Raine chatting with each other and I was happy with that. The class was arranged in such a way that odd numbered columns were occupied by males while the even columns had female occupants. Therefore, the ones to my left and right were boys and the ones in front and behind me were girls. I fished my green sweater out from my backpack and wore it since it was quite chilly. Suddenly, I just heard the gentlest voice which tickled my spine. "Hi Bernadette, long time no see! We're seatmates again."

I turned to my right towards the familiar voice. My eyes widened in shock and that just made you laugh. It was you. You… you're my seatmate? You were the one who talked to me. My cheeks felt really warm and my heart couldn't help but beat fast. I recognized you from somewhere in my memory in an instant. You were my classmate back when I was in the fourth grade and you were my seatmate, too. Maybe it was because your family name is 'Ang'. As soon as I saw you, all our good memories played in my mind. I remembered that we used to talk a lot during free periods. We used to joke around and grin at each other while wishing each other good luck before exams started.

But, ever since the fourth grade, sadly, we never became classmates again. That was five years ago… Oh, I missed you so much! The last time I got to have a conversation with you was back when we were eleven years old. Even if we were batch mates, we didn't really get the slightest chance to talk to each other. Actually, maybe I did, but I was too shy to approach you. Besides, you are very sociable and you've got lots and lots of friends… I didn't have the guts to talk to you. Neither did you approach me… you were also busy, I guess. We would just occasionally see each other in the hallway and we'd wave at each other while grinning, but that was the end of it. We never had an actual conversation. I also remembered you greeting me a 'congratulations' on our grade school graduation three years ago. I missed seeing you… I really did. I never thought we'd be seatmates again this year… after five long years. I thought you've forgotten about me…

"Stephen…" I told you while feeling my eyes sting. "I missed you." "I missed you, too, Bernadette. Hey… don't cry in front of me!" You told me with a wide smile while patting my back. "Don't get too emotional." Then, I smiled and told you. "I'm just so glad… really glad, we're classmates." "Hey, I'm really sorry I didn't talk to you within these past five years… I…" You suddenly stopped for a reason I wasn't sure of, however, I was sure that I saw you blush. You blushed… at me? I blinked, shrugging the thought. "Ah… it's okay." I told you with a smile. "You have other friends, too, I understand." "N…no, it's not like that!" You suddenly said in protest; although I wasn't quite sure what you were protesting for.

My heart started pounding all over again as I made short and quick breaths. I kept thinking and thinking repeatedly in my mind about the fact that you blushed at me. You really did; I saw your cheeks turn into a light shade of crimson! And, the way you smile at me every single time… the way you protested… felt so right, so magical. You never cease to make me smile, even just a bit. There was something about your eyes behind your stylish rectangular glasses that made me dizzy whenever I looked at you. You always help me…take care of me…talk to me when no one would. You told me… you missed me, too! So, is there the slightest possibility that you might like me, too? Do you like me…? Do you…? Do you have the slightest feeling…? Could we ever be…? Because I think I feel…I…

Wait! Stop… I shouldn't think like this. I'm still fifteen… I should focus on other more important things like studies and building friendships…not trivial matters like petty admiration towards a very talented, smart, kind, good-looking guy like you. I'm too young for crushes. Although, I have to admit that I've admired you for years… My heart started beating… What on earth am I saying to myself? I don't like you that way. I don't like you that way! I shouldn't think this way! I like you… as a friend. I admire you… because you're talented. I don't need to feel anything… different. You're admired by lots of people. You won't like me… That's absolutely right; we're just mere friends… simple friends… only friends! Then, I just realized the most stupid thing I could have ever done in my entire life; I subconsciously shook my head in front of you! Now, you were staring at me curiously while your face was slightly twisted to one side. I was speechless. "It really wasn't like that." You started saying again in a defensive tone. "I didn't keep in touch with you not because of my peers… neither was it because I was busy…"

I felt my expression turn slightly sour. I felt that unexplainable twitch in my heart. Why was I so upset? Disappointed? What was I waiting for? Did I misinterpret you? Were you ashamed of being my friend…because of my shyness? If it wasn't because you were busy, or if it wasn't because of your many friends, then, why didn't we talk in the duration of these five long years? Then, as if reading my mind, you suddenly added. "Of course… neither was it because I didn't like you." Like me…? Like me? You said it… I gasped. Then, my thoughts were interrupted once more by what you said. "I didn't have the courage to approach you… I didn't know how to start." You looked at me with the tenderest eyes when you told me. "It was always so easy for us to talk… right? As seatmates I mean. It's like we had the reason to… we had the liberty to do so. No one would judge us… We were seatmates… and it was natural for seatmates to talk, right?"

You sighed before continuing. "I really liked talking to you…a lot, a whole lot. But, when we didn't become classmates anymore… I didn't know how to maintain our bond. It was as though our friendship was only trapped within the classroom… on our very seats. When we were not on our seats… we couldn't talk. I understand that you're very shy, Bernadette… It would be awkward for us to talk outside class. Because of our opposite gender, people might tease us as lovers. All these years… we never were in the same class. So, we had no communication… I felt as though we've drifted apart, so far that I wasn't even sure if you still thought of me. I did, though. I thought of you everyday… even if it seemed like I treated you like an invisible girl…" I was so shocked with your words… they were so deep, and oddly, I felt like we were one… because I felt exactly the same way about you. I felt hot tears rising but I had to control them from bursting out. Everything you said… was true to me, too. We felt the same way…

"I'm so sorry… I've completely ignored you all these years." You told me while flopping down on your seat right after the teacher was greeted. Then, I sat right next to you. I felt bad that I didn't even notice the teacher entering the room; moreover, I didn't even know that the rest of our attentive classmates have greeted her already. We were in our own world… our minds were preoccupied. "I feel… the same. I thought about you, too, my friend." I told you shyly while smiling, then I added. "Teacher is about to start class, talk to you again later, ok?" I turned away from you and faced the teacher who was talking about the new school policies. Then, I heard the faintest whisper you uttered after that. "You haven't changed, still like an ideal student, as always. I really like that, goodie-old-two-shoed girl." I didn't turn back to face you but I let a small modest smile creep on my countenance. And from the reflection of the shiny white board, I saw you smile back at me.

In the morning, our class adviser discussed with us the new rules and regulations of the school for this new academic year right before we went to the auditorium to attend the opening ceremony and the Holy Mass. We also got to meet new faculty members and also see the new set of student council officers. I was fairly happy this morning; I met new friends. I also met you again. During the opening ceremony in the auditorium, I saw you from a faraway seat fast asleep. Our class adviser saw you and you got scolded right after waking up. Due to your sleepiness, you accidentally hit your head on the wall which was beside you! I couldn't help but giggle when you made this really cute pout as soon as the teacher turned her back away from you while rubbing the back of your swollen head. You saw me giggling; I clasped my mouth shut in embarrassment … and then you stared at my eyes and made the sweetest, most breathtaking smile. With all my courage, I bashfully smiled back at you, too.

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