"Shūn!” the person in front of me said amidst a blushing face and clenched fists. One of the fists undid itself into a still open hand, held out for me to take. “I’m in love with you! Please date me!"
I could feel the red spreading from my cheeks to my ears and neck, smothering the barely-there freckles in a sea of blush. My mouth, which hung open in shock, was suddenly covered in ecstatic hands I couldn’t control. A wide smile quickly replaced the shocked expression from moments before, albeit hidden underneath my hands; I was sure that my eyes were crinkled and sparkling like they always did when I was exhilarated, but it wasn’t like the confessor could see it. Positioned in a low bow, the purple hair prevented any way that the other could see my expression.
Thoughts flitted through my head. I could imagine us holding hands while walking on the sidewalk leading to school and kissing at the crossroads between our houses; I could see us hugging outside of class longer than any best friend should and getting married, kissing in front of the supportive pastor from my church. I shook my head. It was way too soon to be thinking about that sort of thing, right? Of course, marriage led to other, more inappropriate thoughts, which I also shook into oblivion.
The head chose that time to rise, taking in the shake of my head without registering the look in my eyes or the corners of my mouth peeking from behind my hands. “Of course,” was the disappointed-sounding answer. The rough voice filled my stomach with butterflies like it always did when I heard it. “I should have known that you weren’t... like me.” The way my future partner searched for the words was immensely cute to me - gray eyes shifting back and forth as if the words would appear in the air, the way the lip was bitten like it always was when its owner was nervous - and my heart began to grow with pure glee and love.
The dejected look on the confessor’s face, however, was heartbreaking. I mentally punched myself; while I was fantasizing about hands snaking around my waist and ogling the cutest expression I had ever seen, I left the person of my dreams standing there with negative feelings I didn’t want.
The expression on my face must have registered as horror and shock, damn it! The person who I wanted to date - the person who just confessed to me, marking that day as the best of my life - was walking away, footsteps crunching on half-dead grass. My hands dropped from my face as I reached towards my best friend, stepping forward. I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out but a measly squeak.
Thankfully, the recipient heard it. Turning around, I could see tear marks and reddened eyes. My heart snapped in two. I stood, frozen in my spot while awkwardly reaching out towards the person I loved. "Wait," I whispered, almost to myself. My smile had dropped, but my eyes were still wide and sparkling; they hadn't quite caught up to my heart that was currently being torn to shreds. I looked at my crush straight in the eyes. He gasped and stepped towards me, his facial expression mirroring mine.
"Aren," I said in a demanding voice. "Don't jump to conclusions so quickly. We talked about this, remember?"
Even if it was in a different context, I had been making an effort to prevent violent reactions that he had to things he judged too quickly. I told him that he needed to watch himself and to think before he acted. It seemed like he remembered this, however, and stepped towards me again.
I took a deep breath, dropping my hand. Stepping forward, I bet my lip and groped towards Aren's torso to wrap my arms awkwardly around it. I relaxed as Aren melted into me, hugging me back. The small circles Aren traced on the small of my back seemed to penetrate into my soul, filling me with feelings I absolutely didn't want to understand. My anxiety disappeared in an instant.
(He smelled like coffee and chocolate).
To his credit, Aren stayed quiet the entire time, unlike when Yumehara confessed to me. She had kept begging - screaming, actually - for me to love her and date her and give her a chance! It was, by far, the worst experience of my life.
When I felt a slight pressure on the top of my head, I didn't question it. I just hugged Aren tighter. Any so-called manliness vanished as he began to sob on my head for more reasons than one.
(I could feel the contours of his chest).
"I like you too," I mumbled into his torso. Aren was in no way stupid enough to miss that my scolding earlier was an indirect confession, but God if it didn't feel good to say it. "I have, for a while now."
Aren just hugged tighter, I reciprocating the gesture. Even if I was about to be suffocated, I didn't mind. Above me, Aren made a noise and I looked up at him. "Don't try to be smooth." A small smile appeared on my face as I chastised him. "Just hold me, okay?"
He followed my request with ease. We stood in the soft wind and tangled grass doing nothing but hugging. I felt protected by his muscular arms and chest, surrounding me with their warmth. It seemed only too soon when we broke apart, a giddy smile and the traces of crying staining his cheeks and underneath his eyes. I had to look away from his face - it was too bright.
Some people claim that only the smaller, more delicate of the relationship are like the sun, but I called bullshit the moment I saw Aren's off-white teeth aimed at me. I buried my face in my hands to avoid being blinded.
Aren called my name, and I muttered something barely cohesive about how he was too bright to look at. I felt cheesy - no, corny was the better word - as I forced myself to look at him. His suppressed giggles that barely escaped gave me all the indication that he had heard me.
Aren grabbed my hands, completely enveloping them. As I pouted at my consumed hands, I almost missed Aren kissing me on the top of my head.
I gasped and ripped my hands from Aren's, my face as red as a beet. Delight rippled through my body in waves. This was finally happening - I finally got the chance to act on my long-lasted crush with Aren. My heart was filled to the top with what could only be love while I stared at Aren like he was the universe.
My hands cupped Aren's cheeks so that I could pull him down and kiss him in the mouth, my cheeks puffed like a chimpmunk's. Aren laughed and pulled away, only to squish my cheeks with his hand - a noise that sounded suspiciously like a fart came from my mouth that made us both giggle like madmen.
With that, Aren placed his large hands on my waist and bent down to kiss me back, our noses brushing against each other and our eyelids fluttering closed. His lips were slightly chapped, but so were mine, so it didn't matter. I was just aware of his hands on mine, his neck under my arms, torso against mine, his breath on me.
It was me and Aren, Aren and me. And I couldn't have it any other way.