Why did things end up like this? I don't want it to end like this. Ritsu!
I ran inside the hospital intending to get on the elevator which took too long to get here, I decided to use the stairs. He's on the fourth floor. After hanging up with the girl who called me, I told Misaki to take me to the nearest hospital. She agreed and then asked if she should tell Tama but I quickly told her not to. Even though Tama smiled as he sent me off, I'm sure that he wouldn't be in the mood to hear about the guy that I love. I know that he isn't that kind of guy...but it was best if we kept our distance for a while.
As I ran up the stairs, I kept thinking about the worst possible situation. What if Ritsu doesn't remember me, or forgets some of his memories like I did? Or what if he's fatally wounded and is in a life and death situation? God...Budha...anyone...I beg you to save him. I haven't told him yet. I haven't even told him anything yet! I refuse to let this get between us!
I frantically searched for his room number. I didn't…no couldn't even think clearly enough to ask a nurse where it was. That was when I came to find myself standing in front of a girl who was holding what looked to be Ritsu's cell phone. "Aren't you...?" With my hands on my knees, I doubled over while breathing hard.
She turned around to look at me. "You're finally here! I'm late for my date, you know!" She handed me his phone and then left.
She really left...I stood there dumbfounded by her actions. That's the girl who works with Ritsu at the cafe...exactly who is she? I took a deep breath and stood up straight. This wasn't the time to question their relationship! First came...I faced the door to the hospital room, my hand hesitating on the knob. Ritsu must be okay, because if he wasn't that girl wouldn't be acting so normal. He's alright, right?
As I was about to open the door a female nurse stepped out making me take a step back.
"Ah. Are you a family member or friend of his? He took some pain medication a little while ago, so he's still sleeping. But you can take a quick look at him." She picked up a chart from by the door, and then left.
I stepped inside, closing the door behind me gently. I took another deep breath, walked slowly to where he laid on the bed. His right arm was in a sling, other than that there were a few bruises here and there. According to what the nurse said he doesn't seem to be in a coma. But my worries weren't satisfied enough to be blown away.
While I watched his peaceful sleeping face, I couldn't stop myself from reaching out to brush my fingers against his cheek. "Idiot...what am I going to do if you don't remember me? Sorry, don't forget. I'm not strong like you, so the thought of you forgetting me. I…"
Even my case of amnesia was something rare, what if he wanted to forget me? Like what I wished for, what if after what I said, he started to hate me and erases his memories for me.
"You what?" A raspy voice asked.
Taken aback when his hand came out of nowhere and grabbed my wrist, I took a step back. When I looked at his face again I saw his eyes that were closed a few seconds ago were now wide open staring at me. And then it hit me. "Were you...um...pretending to be sleeping?"
"It was pretty interesting seeing you get all flustered. Hearing you slowly walk up to me and gaze at my face entranced. See something you like?" He said with a grin that quickly changed into a groan when he shifted his weight. He winced in pain.
"Are you okay?!" I tried pulling away from his grasp so that I could call for help but instead he pulled me towards him and I ended up with my knees on his bed between his legs, my arms by his head, hovering over him. I didn't need a mirror to know how flushed my cheeks looked.
"You!" I raised my voice and looked at him angrily.
"Sorry. Don't pout." He wasn't sorry at all, since his grin obviously showed that he was having fun teasing me. "Finish what you were saying earlier. You what? Tell me."
I couldn't bring myself to look in his bright eyes, like how I avoided them, I avoided his questions too. "Aren't you mad at me? I left for two years without telling you. About what I said last time...how can you...?" How can you pretend as if nothing happened? But I didn't finish the question and instead shifted my weight uncomfortably. This wasn't how I pictured things going for our next meeting. And I didn't really want to have a heated discussion about everything...but seeing as how I'm in this position...haha...I guess that would be a little hard to avoid.
"Did you think that would be enough for me to give up on us?" He laughed a little, and then winced again. "I stayed by your side when you lost your memories even knowing that there might be no chance for you to recover the time you spent with me. Something like that wouldn't keep me away. Besides...I know you better than you know yourself. When you try to push someone away or lie about what you really feel you always have this habit of clenching your fists."
"No I...!" Oh...now that I think about it...I sighed. "Can I ask you something?" When he said okay, I asked him the questions I've always wanted to ask when I regained my memories. "When I couldn't remember only that one year of my life, what were you thinking of? And when I told you I love my brother, how did you feel? Be honest." Unable to brace myself for his answer, this time I was the one who winced.
"It hurts." He put his hand on my head as if he was trying to comfort me. When it should have been the other way around. "It hurts being unable to do anything for you."
My eyes widened. "What?"
"Sure I was sad…but more than anything, it hurt seeing you in pain when you realized you couldn't be together with your brother."
I dug my nails in the sheets, unable to suppress my feelings for this man anymore. I wanted to tell him those three words. But even then, I still wasn't able to.
"How can you say that?" I whispered, my voice coming out even raspier than his. "I don't deserve to be by your side."
He was confused. I could tell by the way his expression changed. Still, he waited patiently for me to continue.
"When I remembered everything that happened. Your confession, and then the way I selfishly thought about myself." Before he could interrupt, I said with a stern face. "Yeah, I was hurt and frustrated with my parents at that time, but it doesn't give me an excuse for treating you coldly. And then to think that I wasn't able to be there for you when you moved out of your parent's place." I shook my head again when he opened his mouth. "Yeah, I lost my memories of that year we dated, but you were still my friend…and yet I didn't even think about what you were going through!"
He chuckled softly. "At least let me get the words out."
I leaned away from him, trying to put distance between us as I readied myself. "The reason why I couldn't accept the idea of being with you...was because...I was afraid. What if something like that happened again? What if I lost my memories and couldn't remember you at all next time?"
"I doubt something that rarely would happen twice..."
"It could! It's not impossible! And then...that means I could fall in love with someone else again!"
"I don't want to lose these feelings I have for you again." Tears slid down my eyes, to my cheek and hit the white sheets. "That night when I regained everything that was the only thing I kept thinking about. I fell in love with someone else! Those feelings I had for you, where did they go when I looked at my brother differently? And in the end the feelings that I had for my brother, was it nothing but attachment? Everything inside me was so tangled up that I couldn't point out where my feelings started and where they ended."
"Mei...my poor Mei, are these thoughts you've suffered all this time?" He smiled gently at me. It was the same sad smile he gave me as he would watch me in school. But this smile was filled with a different kind of warmth, a warmth that was like my own personal sun, however, his words were the exact opposite of this gentle smile. "You don't have confidence in your feelings for me, do you?"
Ah...when his words sunk in, it was too late for me to escape. "That's not it! I…just don't want us to end up like my parents. They were in love with each so much, but look at how they ended up. I…don't want to lose you."
He sighed. "Even if you somehow lose your memories again, or even if that happened to me, I won't regret the feelings that develop during that time. Attachment? It might have been, but I'll tell you this. You who I watched during that time was really in love with your brother. The pain you felt, the silent tears you shed and you who tried so hard to hide the fact that you were unable to sleep sometimes. They were all part of you..."
I pouted like a little kid. "Are you saying you're okay with me falling in love with someone else?"
"The only thing I know is that even if you say you want to leave me, or even if we fall in love with someone else, the feelings I hold for you now are real. And no one can stop me from trying to win your heart again. Like I did this time," he said grinning.
What I've worried about for two years, and couldn't bring myself to admit, he summed it up in a few minutes. My nails dug even deeper in the sheets, I wouldn't be surprised if they broke or if the sheets tore. "Then...is it okay if I stay with you?"
"Even though I'm selfish?"
"Even though I might hurt you again?"
"I love you."
"Ye..." He laughed his silly laugh. "Pwaha, I know."
"What if…we end up like my parents? Promise me…we'll still be friends."
"Though I doubt that'll happen…but…if one day we really do fall in love with someone else, I promise, that we'll still be friends." He smiled, a very, very sweet smile. "Just like I promised you when were little, I'll always stay by your side."
After that, Ritsu and I talked about a lot of things that went on after I left. He told me how about how the owner and his daughter literally forced him to work there at first, then he soon started getting used to it. The Dad and daughter refused to let such a good worker get away...and that's how he started working there...permanently.
What shocked me was…that girl, is actually the girl who confessed to Ritsu when we were in junior high. After her illness got better she moved back to this area. When she met Ritsu again she was happy, however according to her she 'awakened'. She said it was boring to stick with one partner and wanted to experience dating and many other things…seeing someone change so much is really frightening.
"That Dad-daughter pair are really scary when they get mad," Ritsu said laughing and wincing again.
"How did you end up like this anyway? In the hospital..."
He rolled his eyes. "You ask me that now?" He laughed when he saw my "oh yeah" expression. "When I was working I saw these two little kids playing soccer." He scratched his cheek, looking a little embarrassed. "They reminded me of us when we were kids, so I went outside and planned on playing with them a little and before I could the girl ran out in front of a car trying to chase down the ball...since I was the closest person there I jumped in to save her without thinking, but I only had enough time to push her away and somehow protect myself a little."
"You could have died!" I said panicking.
"I know...but I'm fine, it's over now." I put my arms around his neck and hugged him tight. He groaned in pain, but I didn't let go because I didn't want to give up this time we spent alone. I listened to the soft drizzle outside that hit the window in tune to the heart monitor.
Ritsu was discharged from the hospital two days later. Because he couldn't use his dominant hand, I refused to leave him alone in his apartment and moved in with him without asking for permission. He came home to find me cooking in the kitchen, but didn't say anything about it besides how good the food smelled. And just like that we promised to always tell each other the truth about what we were thinking. That night, even though Ritsu's arm was in a sling we barely had time to sleep...I guess that was us trying to make up for the two years we were apart from each other.
We met when we were seven years old and realized our feelings for each other six years later. We dated for one year and after losing my memories, it took me another year to fall in love with someone else. For two years I spent my days next to his side as a friend, hurting him. And after remembering everything I ran away again for two years. After meeting each other in the rain again at age twenty, I finally stopped running, deciding to face everything with him.
I know this isn't going to be a happily ever after, that there are going to be a lot of obstacles we still have to get through. Ritsu wants to be a soccer coach and said that he'll probably do a lot of traveling to learn from other coaches before becoming one himself. Knowing him, he'd be against me giving up on my dreams to follow him. I was okay with that.
As long as these feelings for him exist and even if these feelings did change, I know we'll always have the memories of the time we spent in the rain, thinking of each other. It's strange how the rain I hated so much at first because it reminded me of things I'd rather forget, has become something I look forward to. I'm sure Ritsu feels the same.
This was, after all, a story about our rain colored memories.
*A/N: The next chapter is an extra in Ritsu's POV about his two years of separation with Mei. Enjoy!