Disclaimer: Like anyone else, I claim no rights to Tennis no Ohjisama/Prince of Tennis. If you would like to own this wonderful anime series, please contact those involved; not a simple little college student.
"Eiji?" I could hear my mom's voice calling me from down the hall. "Eiji? Hon, Oishi's on the phone for you." When I didn't respond, my mom made her way into my room to see me laying flat on the bed and staring at the dirty carpet. Leaning against the doorframe as she held the receiver to her right shoulder, she sighed heavily. "Eiji, you have to stop moping around."
"I don't wanna talk to him." I muttered.
"You want me to tell him that?" Her tone was consumed with skepticism. Yet as I lay there, silent and motionless, she eventually decided I was being serious. Letting out another prolonged sigh, she placed the phone to her ear and said, "Sorry, Oishi-kun. Eiji doesn't wanna talk right now. ...yes, I'm sure he's just being stubborn. ...no, I don't think it's your fault, hon. Look, lemme talk to him and I'll get this all sorted out, okay? ...okay, hon. Yes, I'll tell him. Bye." I heard the notorious beep as the cordless phone hung up on my boyfriend and tennis partner. Still keeping my gaze focused on the floor, I could feel my mom's eyes eating into me. It didn't take too long for me to break. Sitting up on my bed, I glared at my mother.
"What?" I snapped.
"Why don't you wanna talk to Oishi?" She asked. Sitting cross-legged on my bed, I pulled my pillow onto my lap.
"Because I don't want to." I repeated, once again down casting my eyes to stare at the pillow's fringe. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my mom's figure move from the doorframe to my bed. The weight of the mattress shifted as she sat beside me; even then I didn't look over at her.
"Honey, there's obviously something bothering you." My mom commented, resting her hand on my shoulder. "Did you and Oishi have a fight?"
I said nothing and continued to stare out-of-focus. My mom sat there with me for several minutes in silence. I could feel her eyes watching me as she waited for any type of response. When she had been sitting there for fifteen minutes, she realized getting an answer out of me was futile. Getting up, she stood in front of me with her hands placed on her hips. "If you don't wanna talk to me, then fine. But stop avoiding Oishi and moping about it." Wit annoyance evidenced in her behavior, she left me once again in solitary.
The Next Day...
"Kikumaru... not that I mind that you're here, but can you explain to me why you're hiding away in the clubhouse?" Tezuka asked, casting his shadow over half the clubhouse by obscuring the entrance. I glanced up at him over my knees as I sat in the far corner.
"I'm not playing with Oishi." I mumbled.
Sighing heavily, the captain of Seishun's tennis team had hardly the sweet demeanor my mother had displayed. "Kikumaru, get your head outta your ass! If you and your boyfriend are having relationship issues, settle it! I'm not letting you drag this school-girl depression into team play! Get it fixed, or you're suspended." Without another word, Tezuka left and slammed the door behind him with such ferocity that the sound could be heard down the courts.
Pulling my knees closer to my chest, I rested my chin on them. Staring off into space, a glint of silver caught my eye. Twinkling in the moving sunlight, my eyes focused on the promise ring Oishi had given me. I stared for several minutes, losing track of time as I did so. Slowly, the image of the ring began to grow blurry as tears swelled in my eyes. Cascading down my cheeks like a harsh river, I lowered my forehead to my knees as I sobbed. I felt nothing when I looked at the ring. Before, I used to get a rush of affection and butterflies in my stomach when I looked at it or thought of Oishi. It was a cruel reality that I just did not love him anymore.
I didn't wanna face him. I didn't want to have to tell him that my feelings for him were nonexistent.
There was a light knock on the door. I ignored it as my tears were the only occupant of my mind at that moment. Even without receiving a reply, the person opened the door and stepped inside the clubhouse. "Eiji?"
Cold horror seeped into my veins as I recognized that voice. Jerking my head up, I stared ahead at the silhouette of Oishi in the doorway. As to be expected, he instantly noticed something was amiss on my behavior. Worry consuming his features, he walked up to me and knelt on the floor by my feet. Reaching out his hand, he brushed his rough fingertips against my cheek. Instinctively, I pulled away from him. I saw the surprise and sadness etch into his beautiful eyes prior to my reaction. Guilt sunk in around my heart, but I bit my bottom lip to avoid letting that emotion consume me.
"Sorry." I muttered in monotone. Oishi shook his head, shoving off my apology. "Why are you crying?" He asked; this time not trying to touch me. Instead of responding, I sat in silence and kept my eyes lowered to the floor. I could smell his familiar scent- the very one that had driven me wild so many times before. As it danced to my nostrils, it ignited nothing within me. My heart didn't skip a beat; my breath did not catch in my throat; my brain did not feel fuzzy; I had no reaction to Oishi at all. It was as if the two years we had been together were erased from my memory.
This realization only made the tears fall faster.
"Eiji..." His voice was soft; caring; loving. Wrapping his arms around me, ignoring whatever body language signs I gave off, he pulled me close to his muscular chest. "What's wrong, Eiji?" I still didn't say anything. Clinging to him, I prayed to feel something- anything- for the man I was once madly in love with.
I still felt nothing.
Oishi slowly rocked me back and forth in his arms, humming softly in an attempt to calm me down. Usually this technique was fool-proof, but being as how I was crying because I didn't love him anymore, him showing me such affection only worsened this experience.
"I love you so much, Eiji." Oishi whispered in my ear, pulling away enough to place a single, soft kiss on my forehead. Laying against him, tears making their mark on his uniform, I muttered a pathetic, "I know."