If only I could tell you everything this heart yearns for. That would only make me feel more desperate, that without you I couldn't even breathe. You were my cage and yet the place where I felt safer. If I continue to rely on you for everything, what would that make me? We can't go back to those days where I would cover my eyes, we both knew that this relationship we had wouldn't be able to continue like this.
"What are you talking about? I called you Ri-chan way back when we were kids." I said, trying to laugh my way out. He didn't buy it.
When I knew that the love I had for my brother was that of a love that couldn't be returned, a hopeless unrequited love, I had refused to cry. You silently sat next to me on the roof at our spot and told me that it was okay to cry. I called you an idiot through my tears. When my brother suddenly left home one day, I started to hate how empty the house was. You'd come over with sweets in your hand almost every day and would talk with me until the last minute. I used to laugh at how you'd run out of the door trying to catch the last train home. I cherished the time I spent with, because I knew that if you weren't there, I would have done something stupid.
"No, you called me by that nickname only after we started dating," he said in a gentle yet deep voice, as if trying to desperately remind me.
But Ritsu, during all those moments, during all these years, how did you feel as you looked at me?
"So what?" When his grip loosened, I snatched my hand from his and stood up. "Even if I did regain my memories of when we started dating, what would that change?"
His eyebrows creased in confusion. "Why would you move away without saying anything to me? If you remember about us, they why did you leave me...?"
I cut him off with a short laugh. "Weren't you the one who betrayed me first?"
"Eh?" He said, confused. "What do you mean?"
"That day…you kissed that girl! I…I don't want you to stay with me because of that promise. You obviously like her, but you kept rejecting her because of me, right?"
"Her? Who are you…?" He paused and then his eyes widened as he remembered something. "That's wrong. It wasn't like that at all." Ritsu pulled my hand and forced me to sit down again. "It's true that I kissed her, howerver it wasn't because I like her."
He then started to explain what happened.
"That girl pleaded for me to kiss her. Since she was moving away, she wanted something to remember me by. I asked her why she liked me so much and she said it was about how I didn't treat her like the others and pity her. I had forgotten about it until she told me, but that day…I remember how the class decided to play Dodgeball and since she was feeling okay, she also wanted to play. Our classmates didn't want to let her play and told her it wouldn't be good if she collapsed or something. I told them to think about how they would feel if they were in her shoes. After thinking about it for a little they apologized and let her play. Anyways, after she told me about what happened, I still rejected her. I asked her if she was okay with me kissing her when I didn't have any feelings for her. I told her that she would regret it. But…she said, "I won't regret it!" And told me how the reason she was moving was to get better treatment for her illness. She said she didn't want to regret anything. After that, I couldn't say no. I always thought it was my fault that you got in an accident, so when we reunited I decided to not say anything and just stand by your side."
Ah…so that's why. I see. I see. He didn't hate me. I'm glad. I'm so glad.
"It wasn't your fault." It was because I didn't trust you. Tears silently started sliding down my cheeks as I thought about it. My heart felt relieved as if a large burden was lifted. But…but…that's wrong. That's not it, Ritsu. It wasn't just about that. I am scared. I don't want to feel that way ever again.
I stood up again. "I understand but that doesn't change anything."
His eyes widened. "Why? I already told you that it was a misunderstanding. You should know that I…"
I nodded my head. "I know…but Ritsu, I'm tired. I don't think we can be together like before."
"But we both like each other, right? What's wrong with being together? We can get through anything that comes our way. I'll always keep my promise with you."
Ritsu, don't you get it? It's because of that promise that I'm scared. I'm not scared that you'll hurt me…but scared that you'll leave me. My parents were like that. Mom told me when I was little that she and dad were childhood friends and that they really loved each other. But, look at them now. They were always fighting. Barely saw each other. And in the end they got divorced. I don't want us to end up like that.
Picking up my stuff, I walked towards the door. "We aren't kids anymore Ritsu, I don't need you to take care of me anymore. Besides..." With my back facing him, I didn't have to look at his face to see how much my next words hurt him. "I...found someone else who is willing to look after me. It doesn't have to be you, you know?"
I shut his door behind me as I stepped outside. Leaning against the door, I looked up the dark sky to the falling rain and smiled at the irony of it all. "What the...? Haha." Now that I think about it, it was always raining on days like this.
I wonder, if there would come a time where I'd be able to forget about these feelings and laugh back at the memories I spent with him. Even though now I think that such a day would never come, I'm sure it would. Time could be cruel after all. We all experience that sweet, sour flavor of change.
"Are you okay? You've been sighing all day and during class." Tama said, looking at me with a worried expression. "Our classmates were shocked too, since you rarely show any sort of expression and it's hard to know what you're thinking."
"Instead of worrying about me, you should be worried about the exams. If your Dad sees you're slacking off, he'll cut you off from your allowance." We had finished class and decided to visit my brother and his wife. Itsuki-nii's wife had given birth to a boy about a week ago, they named him Yuuki.
He pouted. "You think of me as some rich kid who can't take care of himself, don't you." He stopped to look at something. "It's a cafe...oh, I heard from my friends about how the beverages and food here is really good! We can bring something back for Itsuki and his wife."
Tama took my hand in his and pulled me inside. "W-what are you...?" Before I finished my question, I realized where it was we were when very familiar eyes glared at me from the other side of the store. "Ritsu..." With his hair tied back, and a black apron around him, he looked handsome. But he was wearing black bunny ears…usagi?
"Welcome! Let me show you to your table!" A girl wearing white bunny ears appeared before us. The place was full of university students and even teachers. I guess that was to be expected since the school was close.
I covered my mouth to try to hide my laugh. "Pfft...I can't...bunny ears..." When we sat down at the table, his glare became even more intense when I burst out laughing.
"Mei-chan?!" Tama called out. Having never seen me laugh out so loud like this, I didn't blame him for being shocked.
"S-sorry. It was just too much." I glanced at Ritsu and then smiled when he refused to meet my eyes. How cute…
Even though I told myself I would keep my distance from him, I couldn't help but tease him after seeing such a thing.
"Do you know him?"
"Yeah, he's my childhood friend." When Ritsu came to our table I introduced him to Tama after he took our order. "I met him overseas at school." I said to Ritsu.
"Tamaki-kun, is it? Why come all the way here?"
Was it just me...or was Ritsu mad? I cleared my throat. "Even though he doesn't look like it, he really likes books, you know? He wants to work at a publishing company here. Well, he used to live here before and his family is here too." Because he felt as if he was suffocating with his parents, he decided to live with his Mom on the condition that when he graduates High School he has to return here. Apparently his parents don't have a good relationship with each other. That was another thing we had in common…it was also something similar to what Ritsu went through.
"That's right. It was really a coincidence to find someone who lives in this area over there, and to think that we like the same thing." Tama said smiling, unaware of Ritsu's cold look. "Ah! Hey, what did you mean by "even though he doesn't look like it"?
"You're so slow!" While we were laughing and as I teased him Ritsu left without saying anything else. I watched as he and the other employee talked. He was smiling. It was a true smile, a smile he never showed me after I lost my memory. Who was that girl to Ritsu? No...that was something I had no right to even think about. Not after…
I turned my eyes off of Ritsu to Tama, only to find his face right in front of me. "W-what?" He moved back, and crossed his arms, the expression on his face turning cold. I blinked my eyes at the change in his demeanor. It only happened for a few seconds, I detected a different side of Tama that I've never seen before. Then he suddenly changed back to his usual self.
He grinned. "After we visit your brother, how about we go to my place to work on our paper for class?"
I glared at him. "I don't get you. Why are you living in the dorms when you have your own place?"
"What? Jealous?" He said laughing. When he stopped laughing, he looked at me seriously. "It's my dad's place…and it's just…a bit lonely staying there myself. So why don't you bring me a house warming gift and you can stay the night."
My eyes slightly widen. He realized what he said and then smiled bashfully with a blush. "Don't worry, I won't do anything. I just thought it's better than spending the night at your brother's."
Tama doesn't know about how I used to have feelings for Itsuki-nii, but he realized that I when I talked about him and his wife, that I made a weird expression. He also knew that I took great consideration in giving him and his wife space. I won't say that my feelings for Itsuki-nii were mistaken. Even if everyone else frowns on it, to me, that time I spent with him alone was very real. It's just that after I remembered the time I spent with Ritsu and how our relationship had changed in that one year, I came to understand the difference of 'love' I had for the both of them.
"There are plenty of rooms and they all have locks on the door. Ah…and since we already got permission to stay out, it would be a shame to go back to the dorms. My cousin also drops in sometimes and uses the guest room so…"
I laughed in my head at how Tama was panicking. After saying all that, how could I say no? But really, to take advantage of the fact that I want to give my brother and his wife space, he really is clever.
"Alright. But you'll have to explain to Itsuki-nii about that." I said smiling and standing up.
"Eh…? Ehhhhh?!" Tama yelled out and quickly ran after me.
We had finally made it to my brother's house, to find that their situation wasn't so good. Yuuki filled the house with his cries, and his wife tried to get some rest after not getting any sleep for a few days. Itsuki-nii took time off of work to look after Yuuki, and before he could beg us to help, Tama and I ran out the house like our lives depended on it. Of course, that was after explaining that I wouldn't be staying the night over with them. I guess Itsuki-nii was too tired ask any more questions and let us go.
It was around 8 pm when we finally made it to his place. His place was large and beautiful, with a nice scenery. "As expected of the rich young master." I said whistling as I stood in the living room. Tama was unusually silent. Curious about why he didn't say anything, I turned to look at him when he caught me off guard and pushed me down on the couch.
"Tama? What are you...?" With his serious expression, I couldn't bring myself to continue. I stared up at his outline that hovered over me. With his hands pinning me, I couldn't move.
"Mei." He leaned down to kiss me. When he pulled back, he buried his head in the nape of my neck and whispered in my ear as if saying that these words were only meant for me to hear. "I love you."
So much for promising not to do anything.