14.

I had thought about what Aiko said for the rest of the day. She knew I was considering it and seemed to keep prompting the up sides to it. I had to admit I was a bit touched that Aiko was the one pushing it, but I still didn't like leaving her in the dust. It had been me and her since Miyu's betrayal. Would going out with Risa ruin that?

While I waited for my friends to come to the school exit, I felt nervous. If I didn't attempt asking Risa out, would Aiko force me into it? Or would she be crushed if I actually took her up on her suggestion. I didn't know. I thought I'd ignore it for the time being and just let us enjoy the weekend without any troubles.

But Aiko didn't show up at the school exit like she normally did, it was just Risa. We waited around for her until it was clear she wasn't showing up. Inside I knew why. She was giving us time to be alone. When I looked around for her closely, I saw her peaking from behind a wall giving me a thumbs up.

"Uh… let's just go on with out her." I quickly said, nervous that Risa would see her.

"S-Sure."

So we left and I felt completely nervous. Should I really asked her out? My nerves must have been really apparent as I could tell Risa was starting to get nervous too. This was getting ridiculous.

"I wonder why she wanted us to go on alone." Risa spoke in a quiet voice.

"Huh?"

"You saw her too, right. She was shooing me along."

"Oh." I wondered what that was all about. "Has she talked to you about anything?"

Her ears got slightly pinker. "Why do you ask?"

"No reason."

"Well…" Risa started but wouldn't finish.

I could take a good guess what had happened. "So she came to you earlier today and said you should ask me out."

"Huh?" Risa stopped walking and looked surprised. I stopped as well. "How'd you know?"

"She did the same thing to me earlier!" I laughed.

"Did she?" Risa started to giggle as well. "So she's playing match-maker?"

"Yeah." I still was laughing. "I guess she's really serious about it."

"It's nice of her, but she shouldn't worry about us." Risa quickly said.

I waited, wondering if she was going to ask me out. But when she started walking I knew she wouldn't. She couldn't be the one to betray Aiko, even if Aiko flat out told us to start dating. I wondered if I had to courage to do such a thing, or if I was being talked into it by Aiko myself.

"Akira-chan?" Risa asked softly when I hadn't spoke for a long time. "Do you like me?"

"Uh…" I stammered, feeling completely exposed.

"Just be honest, I won't be upset if you don't like me."

"You want me to act the boy and be the one to confess first. No way." I said, trying to sound funny. I don't think it really came off that way because Risa didn't laugh.

"Akira-chan."

"I… I…" I was stumbling over my words again. How come it looked so easy to confess on TV? "Risa-chan, I…"

She stopped and grabbed my hands pulling me closer to her face. "Just tell me. Whisper it in my ear. Mouth it. Say anything. Just tell me." Risa's eyes were looking a bit glassy. "I just need to know… I have to know."

I leaned forward to whisper in her ear but somehow that didn't happen. I don't know why I did it, I didn't plan it, but instead I leaned forward and gave her a long soft kiss. She didn't fight me. At first her eyes were wide open, then she closed them and wrapped her arms around my waist. When we pulled away, my heart was beating like mad. I couldn't believe I did that.

"Y-You didn't tell me." Risa said with a slight coy look on her face.

"I tried too… I just got nervous." I admitted.

"I'll let you try as many times as you want." Risa pulled me closer again. "But you're not getting out of it."

Her chest was pressed against mine and both of our hearts were thumping into the other. I wasn't nervous anymore. Her eyes were locked on mine and I realized something. Her gaze was just as intoxicating as Miyu's was, but it was completely different. While it was different, the thing I realized was that different wasn't bad. Different could be better. I kissed her again.

She pulled away this time, giggling. "No no no… You have to confess."

"You said I could try as much as I wanted to." I teased her.

"You can, but I won't give you a real kiss until you tell me."

"Tell me first."

"I will after you do."

We both had smiles on our faces. Finally I gave in. I leaned forward again, but she pulled away. I reached up and pulled her head closer and whispered in her ear what she wanted to hear… what I knew all along but was denying myself to believe. Then she did the same. She whispered her confession in my ear.

When we pulled away both of us were blushing. It felt different than Miyu. I was always confused when I was around her, felling out of place and having to take the lead when I was so lost I didn't know what to do with myself. But with Risa I felt like everything was as it should be.

"I love you." I told her again, this time in my normal speaking voice.

Risa squealed a bit, then let go of me and covered her mouth, embarrassed that she was acting so girly. It was just about the cutest thing ever.

"Say." I took a fake voice, like I was some stiff 1950's actor. "Would you like to go on a date with me, little lady?"

"Right now?" Risa asked, looking bashful.

"Sure why not?"

"Okay. But only if I get to pick where we're going."

I was surprised at this. I fully expected for her to make me take the lead. She must of read my thoughts, because she gave me a grin.

"There isn't any boys in this relationship. So we both will take the lead from now one, alright?."

I nodded with a grin.

And that's how Risa Akiyama and I became a couple. The irony is that if it hadn't been for Miyu, I would have never met her. And I guess in the end that's the important thing. I can't hate the girl anymore. In a way she made me who I am. Who knows how long it would have taken for me to figure out that I like girls? While she broke my heart, she also delivered to me my best friend and the love of my life. In a way, I owe her. From this time forward my life got a lot better, and it was all thanks to her.

I don't really know what happened to Miyu after this, but I have seen her around a few times. On those times I was tempted to tell her about how my life changed for the better, but I didn't want to upset her. As far as I can tell, she moved on in her life too. I saw her once with a girl, but I don't know if that was just a friend or another girlfriend. Regardless I wish her the best and I forgive her. Maybe, somewhere in her heart, she forgives herself as well.

The End.