It didn't matter that this type of love I had for you was forbidden and unrequited, that someday others would notice these feelings or that you'd never accept them, as long as I could continue being with you. Besides, I never could look at you as my big brother. To me, you were the only one who took care of me with all his might. No matter how difficult things became, you didn't complain.

When I think back on the days we spent together, when I finally realized that the love I had for you was the kind of love that should not have been there, I laughed at how cruel it was. It was you who saved me from the emptiness. It was you who gave me a reason to smile. If you weren't there for me, I would have lost hope and isolated myself in a small dark box. You held my hand and pulled me out…so why

Ever since you moved away, I can only rely on these blurry memories and fading pictures of you. You were the only person who I had a relationship with; my big brother, my friend, my imaginary lover. Growing up is hard, but in my dreams, I can still love you forever. And yet...

Those dreams have slowly turned into nightmares. Sooner or later I'll go back to being that person I was, with no wishes or dreams. It's useless. I can't remember the kind of person I was when we were together. How was I able to laugh? How I was able to live a normal life? Onii-chan, please don't leave me.

For one year, I had you all to myself. I can still remember how I was the center of your world, and to me you were mine. Our parents had to work day and night, they were so busy that at times they didn't come home for weeks or even months. They didn't bother about me. You cooked, cleaned and taught me everything from beginning to end. I never thought of how much a burden it was for you. It's almost been two years since then, it feels like it's been five since I've seen you.

"Mei?"

With my hand on my cheek, looking out the window at the dark clouds that formed, I was lost in thought.

"Hey Mei-chan! Aren't you going to eat?"

My fingers twitched and as I came to and I found the face of a classmate standing in front of me, with two girls behind her. "Oh." I stood up, and scooted out my chair. "I have to go buy lunch."

They laughed. "You would be really popular if you didn't space out all the time," one of them said.

"That's right! Don't you want a boyfriend?" The other said.

"Not really," I said with a clear voice as I grabbed my small wallet and left the class, but not before I heard their whispers.

"What's her problem?!" One said in a frustrated tone.

"Don't be mad. In Junior High she barely talked with others, only her close friends, but she was still more cheerful. After that, she suddenly changed and stopped smiling." The one who was the first to call me, interrupted them.

"You're too nice Hana! Why bother with someone like that?"

"I...kind of admire her. She's beautiful, get good grades, athletic and even though she comes from a good family, she doesn't boast about it. I've heard that all her family are all doctors or work in at the hospital. And she's not that bad, I've spoken to her a few times before. Only...I wish I could see her smile more."

"What's with that? It's almost like you're in love with her or something!"

She laughed. "No way! It's not like that! I just want to be friends with her."

She's known me since junior high? I don't remember her face or name at all. As time continues to pass quietly, I spend my days studying and reading books, and sometimes I liked kicking a soccer ball with my best friend.

I don't bother remembering everyone I've come in contact with and I make sure not to do anything that makes me stand out too much. I never thought of myself as "beautiful" but rather decent looking, so that comment earlier confused me.

I have short black hair and hazel eyes with an average height and weight for a 2nd year Senior High School female student at 17 years of age. Because of my poor eyesight, I'm usually seen wearing small black rimmed glasses. When other girls talk to me or ask me to go hang out with them, sometimes I'd accept. And when guys ask me out, I'd blush slightly like a normal girl would, only to reject them with an apology. It was this subtle distance I put between me and others.

That's how it used to be. I wonder...when did I start distancing myself from others this much? Lately, that subtle distance turned into a large gap. Some students started calling me weird since I would be caught daydreaming a lot. It was as if I was missing something…as if my time was frozen, unable to move on.

But…there was one person who was different, who I could be me myself around. It's when I'm with him that I feel as if my time was trying its best to change.

"Why do people only desire things they know they can't have?"

Ritsu, startled started coughing as he tried swallowing his food. Taking a drink from his water bottle, he gulped it down. "What's with that all of a sudden?"

"Just answer."

He stayed quiet for a few seconds and then gave me a serious reply. "Maybe because it's human nature? If the thing we want is too easy to get, then there wouldn't be any sense of satisfaction when we obtained it. But..."

"What?"

He glanced at me. "Is this about your brother?"

"It's like you can read my mind."

He licked his fingers. "I can." I kept my eyes on his tongue, as he cleared the crumbs from his hand. He glanced at me and grinned. "What? Mesmerized by my looks?"

"Yup," I replied bluntly. It couldn't be helped. Ritsu had an erotic aura to him. Maybe it was because he had experience with girls, but his looks were definitely part of the equation. With middle-length light brown hair and green eyes, he's had a lot of girls in school come after him. He has a piercing in each ear, giving him the carefree playboy vibe. But the truth was, he was more mature and hardworking than others.

Believe it or not, the reason the girls go after him is mostly because of the way he looks when studying or reading, not because of him being athletic. The diligent aura he gives off when reading during break is something the girls can't keep their eyes off.

Unlike me, he didn't put up an act. Ritsu is a really calm person and has a dream to work at a publishing company. He doesn't try to fit in with the crowd and comes off as cold to most, but he actually cares a lot about other people, especially those who are close to him. His close friends understand this part of him.

When we were little we used to play with each other a lot. He was aware of the difficulties I had with my family and was always there for me. He lived in the same neighborhood as me and also had similar things going on with his family. His parents were very strict, while my parents were barely home. We both came from influential families.

"The way you answer without thinking, it's dangerous, you know." He stood up, and walked towards the edge of the building. "And? What did he want?" We always had our lunch on top of the school roof. It was the only time during school…no, during the day when we spent time together. Ritsu hid from his classmates for me since we couldn't see each other after school. Although I went home, after school, he went to his part time job at a bookstore.

"He said that there's something he wanted to tell us, so he'll be staying for the weekend. Mom and Dad will come home today too." This time I'll ask him if I can move in with him. I saved up a lot of money from working part-time.

The first school bell rung, informing us that lunch time was almost over. "We should get going." I stood up intending to go back inside the building but Ritsu grabbed my arm. "What is it?"

He stared at me as if he was looking through me, sometimes I really hated the way he read me so easily. I always thought that the only person who could tell what I was thinking, who knew me, was my brother…that was until I met Ritsu.

"Why don't you give up? Things won't work out the way you want it to."

"Let go." I shook off his hand.

"I'm worried about you Mei! He'll hurt you again like that time when he suddenly left!" My eyes widened and before I knew it I raised my hand and slapped him. "Ouch…" he paused when he saw my tears. "Mei?"

How dare he? How dare he say that? Doesn't he know that I'm already aware of it? There isn't anyone who understands that more than me.

"I'll mail you later," I said to Ritsu before leaving.

The rest of the day passed by uneventfully. Hana waved bye to me, while her two friends glared as I left. I quickly got my things together and left school. I didn't want to run into him now.

But what was the point in going home. Going home every day where no one is waiting for me. To a large empty house.

My brother barely pays attention to me anymore. Ever since he left the house, everything changed. He doesn't call, he doesn't visit. Without telling me anything about it, he left me. I came home after summer school one day, surprisingly to find Dad at home after months of not contacting us and he was with someone.

"She's the daughter of my friend and an assistant from work. She'll take care of whatever you need when both Mom and I are out. Your brother has decided to live on campus at his University, so he'll no longer be able to look after you. She lives close by so call her know if there is anything you need."

But…it's okay. He came back today. Finally, I won't be alone. Mom and Dad too…we'll be together as a family again.

As I walked home, I started to feel guilty for hitting Ritsu and sighted. He was just worried about me. I'll call him later and apologize.

I was unaware of the small drizzle that had started as my thoughts kept wandering. That is until it started to rain really hard. I didn't have an umbrella, but it didn't matter since I was almost home.

When I looked up, through my dripping hair, I could barely make out the figure of two people walking on the sidewalk as I had come from up the street. In case I was mistaken, I moved my hair away from my face and looked again. Under an umbrella, there stood my big brother and a woman, laughing and holding hands. He kissed her lips and then took her left hand and kissed the finger which wore a ring.

I couldn't do anything but stand there with my gaze lowered, until their legs left my field of vision. And then, I ran.