It was a beautiful day. Grey clouds filled the sky, the sun filtering through like beams from heaven. The air was warm and moist, a welcome change from the cold, dry winter. Birds were chirping as they hopped from branch to branch. I admired the green buds on the branches of the tree in my front yard while I sat on the step of my small porch.
I felt my phone start vibrating in my pocket, but I decided to ignore it. Then the song began to play. I quickly yanked the phone out of my pocket and flipped it open. I didn't have to look at the screen to know who it was.
My voice sounded much calmer than I felt, and I silently thanked any god that would listen for that.
"Kagome," replied a smooth, deep voice. My heart skipped a beat.
"Hey! I thought you were out of town!"
There was a small chuckle, and despite not seeing his face, I could feel a blush heat up my face.
"I arrived home this morning. Are you free?"
My heartbeat was going wild, and I had to work to keep my breathing normal. My face grew hotter, despite the cool breeze.
"Of course! I'm always free for you."
I knew he was smirking as soon as the words left my mouth, and I mentally cursed. Leave it to me to say the most embarrassing things.
"As it should be. Meet me at the café."
I heard the phone click in my ear before I had a chance to respond. So use to getting his way, he rarely gave anyone a chance to respond.
"Conceited jerk," but my smile was big enough to split my face.
I stood up, placing my phone back in my pocket, and jogged down the sidewalk in the direction of our favorite café.
It was a fifteen-minute walk, but it was worth the scenery. Besides, I didn't feel like waiting for thirty minutes thanks to Tokyo traffic. The dark clouds just seemed to make it worse.
I arrived at the café with a small smile on my face. It was a small café lit mainly with the light from outside that poured in through the windows. On cloudy day though, like the current one, they turned on dim, yellow lights that helped keep the calm atmosphere.
I glance around, quickly spotting the man I was looking for. He sat in our booth with his back to me. He always said he would rather be surprised by my entrance than be forced to endure the hungry looks on other women's faces as they came in.
I walked towards our table, careful not to make a sound, but just as I was about to spring my attack, he was up and pulling my into a tight hug.
"No matter how quiet you are, Kagome, I can always tell when you're near. Your heartbeat is far too loud to sneak up on me."
My blush was back with a vengeance. I hugged him back with not near the force he hugged me, but my minor response was enough. He released me from his embrace and nodded to my seat across from him.
As I slid into the booth, I let my eyes roam over him. His long silver hair was pulled back into a braid. He was wearing a casual blue T-shirt, the same one I had gotten him for his last birthday. His skin was pale and smooth all over, making me slightly jealous for the billionth time during our friendship.
"I haven't been gone for so long that you can't recognize me. Even your memory isn't that bad."
"Hey!" I cried in mock hurt. "You're so cruel to me." I added a small sob and brought my hand to cover my heart for effect.
He said this with complete sincerity, throwing me off. I dropped my hand back to my lap and locked eyes with the man I'd known for most of my life.
"Sesshomaru, is something wrong? You never apologize, not even to me."
A smile, not a smirk, but a true smile that showed the tip of his fangs, spread across his face, and it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. It was a gift to see him smile, a gift that I would cherish.
"There is nothing wrong. Now let us eat," he said, waving his hand to the place in front of me.
I looked down in front of me, where Sesshomaru had motioned, to find a plate, my regular. I had been so focused on Sesshomaru that I hadn't noticed Hanato bring it. The woman and her husband were too good to me.
Sesshomaru waited for me to take a bite off his plate, as I always did, before he began. He'll never admit it, but I believe he still didn't, after eight years of coming to the café, trust Hanato and Jiro to not poison him because of his demon heritage. They loved him though; a secret between the owners and me that I was sure Sesshomaru would not appreciate.
As we ate, I asked him about his trip. His job required him to leave the country every so often, and I, who would probably never have a chance to even get on a plane, love to hear all the different places. He was my eyes to the rest of the world.
When we finished, Sesshomaru snatched the check out of my hand. I glared at him, which he returned with a smirk.
"I will cover this one. After all, I did invite you."
He began to walk away without waiting for my response, yet again. Not that I didn't give it anyway.
"Like that's ever stopped me from paying before, conceited jerk."
I knew he could hear me, but I didn't care. It wasn't like he would ever do anything to hurt me. With that thought, I ran forward and jumped on his back, a true accomplishment when you consider the fact that he's a foot taller than me. He stumbled forward a few feet, and I could feel the vibrations of his growl under my palms. I giggled nervously until he continued toward the cashier.
"Hello, Sesshomaru-sama, Kagome-chan."
Hanato's smile was warm and welcoming, as was expected of any owner of such a homey café, but there was a love in her eyes that always showed when I came to visit, even more so there when Sesshomaru is with me.
"Hello, Hanato-san! The food was amazing as usual! Thank you so much!"
I saw her eyes light up a little more and her smile become a little softer. She was always so modest.
"I'll tell Jiro you enjoyed it, Kagome-chan."
I beamed and dropped my forehead to rest on Sesshomaru's shoulder. I was suddenly very aware of my position on his back when I saw Hanato's knowing eyes. The woman and her husband had been like my second parents since my mother's death six years ago, and it was embarrassing to see reflected in her eyes what I yet to find the courage to tell the man currently holding me up.
"Have a good day."
I raised my head and smiled at Hanato. Sesshomaru simply nodded before carrying me to the door.
When we got outside, Sesshomaru let me down, careful not to let me lose my balance. I was disappointed at the loss of contact and couldn't stop the small sigh that escaped.
I looked up at the grey sky to hide my disappointment. Well, more like disguise the reason since I was hard pressed to hide anything from him, save my true feelings. The clouds had grown darker, I noted, and were lower in the sky.
"It's going to rain," I said in a dreamy voice. I always found the rain so peaceful and soothing.
There was something in his voice that caught my attention, a kind of hope or excitement that would have gone unnoticed by anymore else.
I looked up at him, trying to read his mind through his eyes. They were absolutely shining, and something in their golden depths told me everything was about to change. I felt the first raindrop hit my face and slide down my cheek.
"What would you say if I told you I was getting married?"
My heart stopped beating and my mind went blank. My entire body felt completely numb. I'm sure my eyes held my shock because Sesshomaru quickly continued.
"I want to propose to Tokiko, the woman I've been seeing for the past year. You've met her a few times."
And I suddenly knew what was going on. He wanted my approval. He would never care if his family didn't approve of the water demoness, but I was his best friend. My opinion mattered.
I wanted to tell him no. I wanted to say she wasn't right for him, that she could never love him enough. She could never love him like I did. But I could still see the hope hiding in his eyes, and I knew I could never be that selfish.
I lowered my face to stare at the ground and hoped the now drizzling rain would hide the scent of the tears forming in my eyes.
"If she truly makes you happy, who am I to tell you no?"
I felt Sesshomaru's arms squeeze me to his chest. I could feel the happiness radiating off him, though I'm sure his face was as calm as ever.
"Thank you, Kagome. You're the best."
I hugged him back, clung to him desperately. Without words, I willed him to change his mind, to tell me that he'd rather marry me, but he took my desperation as happiness for him. It was probably better that way. No matter how happy he would be to marry Tokiko, he'd never do so if he knew how much it would hurt me.
"I've got to go now, Kagome. Tokiko and I have a date tonight."
I nodded and pulled away, keeping my head down. I wasn't sure if I could handle looking into his eyes and seeing them full of love for someone else. I willed my tears not to fall, to just wait a little longer.
"It's going to start pouring soon. Would you like a ride home? My car is at the parking garage down the street."
I shook my head. I couldn't stay in his presence that long without losing control.
"No. I'm supposed to meet Sango in a little while for a little shopping. I'll just stay here with Hanato-san until then."
I managed to keep my voice even, my talent from years of hiding my utter excitement at seeing him.
"Very well. I will see you another time, Kagome."
He turned and walked away from me. The tears began to fall, washed away by the rain soon after. It was a not-so-beautiful day.
I felt eyes on me and looked to the left. Hanato stood in the window of the café, with her hand pressed against the window. I know she knew exactly what happened. You didn't own a café for that long without learning to read people's emotions and lips. She beckoned me inside, probably for a cup of her special hot chocolate, on the house, but I shook my head and gave her a watery smile. She took a step towards the door just a foot to her right, and I darted off down the sidewalk.
I didn't want to be consoled just yet. I didn't want anyone to see me, not after I'd just encouraged the love of my life into another woman's life.
My mind was spinning telling me all the reasons he didn't want me. I was too weak. I was too needy. I was too defiant.
I was too… human.
That evening, as the storm raged outside, I laid in my bed, listening to the answering machine as it picked up a call.
"Hey, everyone! You've reached the house of Kagome Higurashi. You know the drill!"
"Hey, Kagome! It's Sango! Just calling to see if you're okay because you're thirty minutes late and the ice cream for movie night is melting. I'm gonna start without you, but give me a call when you get the chance. Love ya, girl! Later!"
A few minutes later, my cell phone vibrated on my nightstand, and I picked it up. It was a text from Sesshomaru.
I opened the message and fresh tears sprung to my eyes.
'She said yes!'