Season One: The Trials of Love
Episode Five the Things We Wish For
"Ayu-chan is what?!" Nina had a look of complete shock cross her face.
"For the last time, Nina. It's called pretending to be my fake girlfriend," Yuta explained with an exhausted look on his face.
"And…Ayu-chan…Ayu-chan has agreed? This cannot be possible," Nina demanded, looking about ready to pounce on Yuta.
"Sure it can," Yuta sufficed. It was long after the dreaded lunch. They had all hung back at the Sakura's residence to talk this over. Hiroki and Nina sat on a love seat directly across from, Yuta and Ayu, who sat themselves in arm chairs.
"Guys get jealous so easily! And Kaji-kun will," Yuta explained, averting the glare that Hiroki was giving him.
"I know Tetsushi, and I don't think that's the case," Hiroki defended his best friend. It was already weird knowing the whole situation of Ayu liking him. At first she was even skeptical about it. Except the problem was now it was like a group project. Or turning into one. Either way, Ayu always felt more embarrassed around Hiroki knowing, especially when they were around Tetsushi.
"He's too in love with Akiho," Hiroki bluntly said. Nina elbowed him in the ribs.
"Hiroki-kun!" She sputtered, narrowing her eyes at him. Something very un-Nina.
"Sorry, sorry," Hiroki rubbed his hurt rib cage. "I'm just trying to be logical here."
"Romance has no logic," Nina told her boyfriend. "It just is."
"Exactly," Hiroki replied. "So we shouldn't be trying to make Tetsushi fall in love with someone he's just not interested in."
Ayu felt her face turn bright red like the apples—sitting in the bowl on the table—
red. She felt like she was oozing with embarrassment. She felt mortified to be trying to be "slutty" pretty this morning and even worse that now Hiroki was putting down her efforts. She lowered her head as Nina said, "Oh! Ayu-dear." She stood up, defiantly, anyway and grabbed her bag. With all the pride and somewhat confidence she had left, she hurried out of the Sakura's front door and fled quickly. She pulled her uniform skirt down, running along the sidewalk. It was autumn although she felt the shiver of the truth. The real words that had completely and entirely crushed all of her spirit. As she rounded the corner, she stopped her speed walking or jogging. She had only really ran down the first block. She looked behind her, making sure the others were nowhere near coming after her. That would be even more mortifying and she knew it. She closed her eyes, releasing a sigh of relief as she kept walking although the more steps she felt a crash and her forehead practically bang hard into another body.
"Ouch!" She cried, turning her head and seeing who or what she crashed into.
"Ayu?" The person knew her she blinked, her vision refocusing on the person she bumpbed. Kaji…Tetsushi. Oh, my god. Her face had grown red all over again. If that possible. Today was just getting worse and worse.
"Ah—Kaji-kun," Ayu felt her face burn. She stepped backwards like three times and collected herself. She bit her lower lip and stared back at him.
"Sorry about that," She said. "I wasn't looking where I was going."
He smiled like he always did. The kind that made her heart melt. Absolutely melt, "It's alright." He said. "Where were you headed anyway?" He asked, looking past her at the empty sidewalk.
"Just home," Ayu replied. "How about you?"
"Oh, to the convenient store." He answered quickly. Then paused, eyeing her school uniform appearance and school bag. "Did you wanna go with me?"He asked anyway, figuring she had nothing much else to do.
Ayu felt reluctant in answering anyway, "Sure." She said. The two turned the other corner and headed down the block.
"So what was up with today? You and Kirishima, huh?" Tetsushi probed.
Ayu felt her nerves wrack from the little lie, "Uh, we had just gone on a few dates. I don't know if we're going out yet."
"Oh…good to know," Tetsushi nodded with a curt smile.
"Why's that?" Ayu stared at him. Why had he said that? She felt her hope conspire at the mere thought he was over (and done with) Akiho Hirota.
"'Cause you deserve better. I don't think Kirishima's right for you," Tetsushi told her a bit confidently.
"Is that so? Who're you to judge?" She lightly said. Ayu felt light around Tetsushi. He definitely made her feel that way. It was insane how good it felt to be by his side. To be talking to him. To him defending her the way he was. She felt protected.
"Oh, I'm no one. But, Kirishima just seems like the player type. No girl should be stuck with a guy like that," Tetsushi explained and h a guy like that," Tetsushi explained and Ayu sighed, knowing the ultimatum was up to her. Even so, his words felt like words of comfort and had comforted her.
"I'll consider it," Ayu nodded, more pleased than she let on.
"Yeah," She lent a smile.
"Good," Tetsushi lent a smile, back.
"By the way, how is your love life going?" Ayu asked. It was only fair. Even if it would hurt her.
"…Fine," He stifled, glancing ahead at the road.
"Still…um, do you still…uh, like…Akiho?" Ayu felt her cheeks inflame again.
"H-how did you know about her?" Tetsushi asked, stopping dead in his tracks.
"I saw you and her…the other day. And…we talked," Ayu stopped herself. No, that was just Nina's magic talking, from yesterday, when he ate the magic candy that made him fall in love with her.
"Well, I saw the two of you and you mentioned someone had rejected you. So, I just figured it was Akiho-san," Ayu jumbled her words together. Somehow it made sense. Although an angry look crossed Tetsushi's face.
"That's none of your business," Tetsushi told her, his expression crippling with anger. "But, she is the girl." He said, still sounding so cold. They continued walking toward the convenient store.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Kaji-kun. I won't bring it up again," Ayu lowered her head as she walked behind him.
"It's alright, Ayu-san…," Tetsushi said as he slowed his walk, he was still pacing ahead of her. "It's just a sensitive topic. I haven't even talked to Hiroki about it." Ayu thought for a second maybe she was being close to Tetsushi even if it only lasted for this moment.
"It's just embarrassing…and stuff. To be rejected, and all. I mean, I don't know if you know the feeling. But, it just….sucks," Tetsushi kicked a tiny pebble that lie on the sidewalk.
"Yeah…," Ayu trailed as she glanced at the road. It was empty. It was like they were alone in the world. Ayu almost liked it.
"Oh, have you been rejected before?" Tetsushi was taken aback and stopped, waiting for Ayu to fall into step with him again.
"Kind of," Ayu hedged. It was the almost truth.
"Oh, I'm sorry about that," Tetsushi remarked. If only he knew, then would he be so sorry? Ayu guessed he wouldn't. "But, at least you have Kirishima now." He added. Ayu almost gagged in her mouth. Yeah …right.
The rest of the walk to the store was not as interesting and Ayu had intelligently changed the topic. They talked about their sports, instead and Tetsushi's coming up game. That had lightened the mood and then when they reached the store; they had discussed magazines, manga, and what the best brand of chips was. It felt normal and that was what Ayu liked the best.
"The worst part was walking straight into that other person because I was emailing on my phone," Tetsushi told her as they shared embarrassing stories about walking into other people, or things. Ayu laughed lightly and along with him before sharing her story of walking into a pole, during a red light while typing mail to Nina from her phone. She could not remember a more easy conversation than this and as Tetsushi paid for his stuff, he had offered to walk her home.
"You must be freezing…in your uniform," Tetsushi acknowledged as they set out into the night and back toward Ayu's house. Yes, she was cold but around Tetsushi it just felt nice and warm to be with him. Eventually they had reached Ayu's home and it was quiet. Her parents must have been at work, still.
"Thanks for…walking me home," Ayu said with a faint smile.
"Sure thing," Tetsushi nodded and they stared at each other for a moment. It was tense sort of look. Thoughtful if anything.
"About before," Tetsushi brought up. Ayu hadn't a clue at what he was referring to. "I mean, I still…I do like Akiho. It's just a sensitive topic…to me because she had a boyfriend at the high school." Ayu hid her sullen attitude.
"Oh, sorry," she said although she didn't feel any bit sorry at all. When had she gotten so mean? She didn't know.
"Well, I really…have to go," she spun around on her heel and felt tears fuzzy her vision. Oh god. Not now.
"Bye, Ayu-san," Tetsushi had called behind her. She nodded without saying anything back and fled into her house.
Ayu closed the door shut, her breath erratic as if she was running from a ghost or some form of a robber. She couldn't believe her eyes, her ears, all of it. It was too much for an eighth grader to handle. The worst part, she didn't want to love him anymore. She didn't understand why a first love had to be unrequited love. None of it made sense and all of it seemed helpless.
Love was helpless.
"Ayu-chan! Don't give up!" Nina suddenly appeared, magic PC in hand filled with RAM. "SPAMOLA!" She grinned, watching the magical band of pink sparkle curve around her as she connected her treasure box with PC. A golden light shimmered as the tiny box opened, revealing the exact something that would fix all of Ayu's worries away.
"I'm so glad I found you," Nina's smile faded as she was enveloped in her magic. "But here you go a world…where Akiho doesn't exist." Nina mischievously said before a blinding flash of light engulfed the both of them. And Leo and with that the world was not what it once was.
A/N – Hi everyone! That was an even longer update. I know I'm horrible. But here's a Valentine's Day treat for all of you. And, I have no preview of what's to come but more magic, more love, and more heartache for sure.
See you next time! Ja ne!