by Tessa E. Harrison
One of the worst things you can do is fall in love with your best friend. Really, it is. But wait, you may ask, shouldn't your best friend be the best person to fall in love with because to have a good relationship, you need to be good friends with that person first, right? And that's true. You do need to be good friends with the one you date, otherwise, what would you do? Superficial romances may look nice, but there needs to be substance to keep you both interested in each other.
So why is falling in love with your best friend such a bad thing? Well, chances are, your friend sees you as just that, a friend. Someone to hang out with and like, but in a totally different way than romantically. And, when you fall in love with your best friend, it's even worse because you're so close to the person you like so much, and yet, so far away. As the best friend, you are allowed into their private world and trusted with just about every secret.
And when you fall in love, you realize just how precious the person is to you. As the best friend, you will do anything to stay near the other, even if that means putting your own feelings aside and watching your friend fall in love with someone else. Your friend's happiness means everything to you, so you do everything in your power to help him get the person of his dreams. And you sit back and watch your friend have a wonderful relationship with someone else.
When they fight, you comfort your friend, secretly hoping that this might be what tears the (right now) unhappy couple apart. And you feel guilty because it's such a bad thing to be wishing for and besides, this is your best friend you're talking about here that would be hurt the most. So you listen to all of his complaints, silently thinking that you would be so much better for him than his current partner. And when times are good for your friend, you're happy for him, really, you are.
Your best friend is, without a doubt, the most upbeat person you know. He makes everything fun. And that's part of the reason why you love him so much. His always smiling, at least, on the outside. You've seen his other faces because you're one of the lucky few that he's actually allowed to see this almost hidden side of him.
So just why are you friends? You are so different from each other. He's this light, bubbly force of nature that is almost always the center of attention, even when he doesn't really care to be. People are drawn to him. Including you.
Well, you confuse yourself. You say own thing, meaning another. And you act like you could care less most of the time, when really, you're so passionate about the thing. But for some weird reason, you just can not let people into your private world.
Actually, you know why you're so guarded. It's because your afraid of getting hurt. You put up these walls all around you to keep everyone, even your best friend, at a distance so you won't get hurt. After all, it's hard for someone to hurt you when they barely know you.
And maybe it's this lack of trust, this unwillingness to jump off this mental cliff, that makes people trust you even more. Because they see you as this all knowing, all secure safe to store their secrets.
At times, it bugs you . Because, say it isn't so, you're a human. Just a normal teen boy, just like them.
Well, maybe not just like them. Because no one can be just like another person. Not even in the case of twins.
As time goes on, you find yourself moving on from loving your best friend romantically. Not that he does not still hold a special spot in your heart. He always will.
But there is someone else who you find yourself gravitating towards. He is the total opposite of your best friend. Which may be why you keep pushing yourself closer and closer.
Until the day that he kisses you. You still do not know quite why he did that. But you kissed him back. And that was the beginning of a whole new chapter of your life.
You loved him and he loved you. Just being near each other made you both happy. He would look at you across the courts, a hidden smile in his eyes meant for you and only you. And you would smile the same secret smile back.
You had hidden jokes, like the banana. To this day, you could not help but grin a little when you saw one. And whenever he said something with captain-like authority in his voice, you would know that he really was not like that.
His two faces were probably what drew you in to him.
He had his public face that was hard, cold, commanding, and just a bit scary.
But then. Then there was the private face reserved for you and only you. The face that would smile. That would let it's guard down to show you the hidden him that he was afraid to show people. Who would have thought he would be such a silly person behind closed doors?
However, time seems to change everything. Because suddenly, that hidden face became hidden from you. And showed itself to a new person.
You did not want to hate him, either of them. They were both good people and you knew that. But you could not help but feel hurt.
No one knew just how close you were to the edge after your heart broke because of him.
You were drifting in a metaphorical sea of nothingness and yet, it held everything. Not that you knew that. Because to you, life seemed to hold no meaning.
One day, it felt worthless and you just had to get away. Away from the curious stares, the pitying looks, the worried glares.
And so you left.
You were not even sure where you were going. You just went where your feet took you.
And then, you were at a beach. It was a secluded place that was practically silent. The noises were the those of the waves crashing against a nearby outcropping of rocks.
That intrigued you and so, you went and found an even more secluded cove.
And it was there you fell in love again. Not with a person, but rather, a place. The sun was shining so beautifully. And the place was so peaceful. And suddenly, you were tired and ready to sleep.
But in the end, everyone must go home and you were no exception. And so you left your wonderful place, knowing you would never be able to find it after this moment and a little piece of your heart cried out in agony.
But there were people waiting for you.
People that cared.
You had been so caught up in yourself, your own feelings, that you had forgotten the others. You had not realized just how much damage you had done, how many friends you had lost. But you wanted to try to at least put things back together. It was the right thing to do, especially after realizing that you needed to get away, to leave completely for a while.
You spent a year in the United States as a foreign exchange student.
You were nervous when you first left. Because even though you knew it was not a forever good-bye, it was still a good-bye. And you had no idea how much things would change while you were gone. Had no idea how much you would change.
The people you were with were nice and welcomed you with wide arms. They had a son your age. And he was very interesting and different from anyone else you had ever met. And he knew nothing of the Japanese language outside of 'konnichiwa' and 'sayonara' which led to quite a few interesting conversations.
Out of your stay in the other country, the people would, without a doubt, always stay with you. They were what made your trip so great.
You did not fall in love, at least not in a romantic way. You gained a new family to add to the one you had been born into. Another brother, mother, father. You loved them just as much as you loved your first family.
And when it was time to go, you felt yourself almost dreading Japan. You had changed so much in such a little time. You were your own person completely, an individual. Going from a country where the individual was the accepted thing to where the individual was looked down upon.
And you wondered what had changed. It was a bad thing but you had had almost no contact with any of your Japanese friends and family. So whatever was in Japan was a mystery.
When you arrived, you found your family waiting for you. You had made them promise not to leak the news of your return and they seemed to have obliged in that request.
They all looked so different and yet, the same. Your mother had lighter hair, your father seemed to stoop down. Your sister was pregnant with her first child. Your brother had grown even more.
You went back to school a week later and found yourself almost lost. Everyone spoke a different language than you were used to. In fact, you had to stop and find yourself trying to figure things out that you had once known so well.
The people were the same. But different.
The love that had broken your heart had grown into a very handsome boy. But that was all you realized he was when you saw him. It did not hurt to look at him. In fact, you wondered what you had ever seen in him that had made him appear so special. Because he really was not. You were so much better than he was.
And your best friend. He had become a great person. He and his boyfriend were happy together. Looking at them made you believe in concepts like fate, destiny, soul mates, and true love. And you wished you could find your special person.
And so you stayed and observed, feeling like a fish out of water less and less as you became acclimated to the Japanese lifestyle once more. Not that you did not miss all the things you had done in your trip abroad.
Those memories ended up not being talked about very much. It was not that you did not want to share them. In fact, you wished you could. It was just that they were hard to explain.
After all, how you tell someone who has spent their whole life walking and riding the subway, always concerned about the time, just how wonderful and fun it was to just ride in a car for no purpose at all other than to do it? That life did not need to be so centered on time. That you could just take a step back to observe the things going on all around you.
Besides, when you tried to explain, you felt like you were being ignored. It was a strange feeling. Because you had never been ignored. And it made you sad because life had not always been like that. And it made you wonder if leaving had been the right choice after all.
But in the end, you decided that it was. Because you had no idea where you would be now if you had not found that cove at that secluded beach and taken the time to really look at yourself. Because you were not sure if that zombie-like you would still be around or if your uncaring ways would have been the end of you.
And so, you were glad that you had left. But there was still something missing. You had found a few answers.
But not all.
Time moves on, seeming to get faster by the day. One day you realize that it has been over a week since you last saw your best friend.
The both of you have different interests that are starting to take more prominent roles in your lives. You are looking at different schools.
He wants to go to some nearby school that focuses on athletics. You are looking at going overseas again. That taste of the United States you had so long ago, years now have gone by, has left you hungry for more.
All of your friends think you are a little crazy. But that is okay. Because you know the truth about yourself. You know what you are thinking and why. They do no understand you completely anymore. To everyone, even your own family, you have become a partial mystery.
When you were younger, you were in love with taking pictures. Now, photography has become a passion that you know you will pursue as a career.
You love all pictures. Black and white shots are your favorites though. They seem to speak more than color photos do. It is something that your friends, again, do not understand about you.
Your parents, especially your mother, hope you will grow out of this 'picture phase', to say in her own words because as the oldest son, you are supposed to follow in your father's footsteps and become a successful business manager. Your brother is the one who is supposed to have a little more freedom. You know your parents are hoping he will pursue a professional tennis career. They would like him to be a star.
The day your parents realized that you were really going to go after photography was when you converted the toilet room that connected yours and your brother's rooms into a darkroom. Your mother threw a fit and almost destroyed everything that you had bought with your own money that you had earned at a job assisting a photographer. The job did not pay a whole lot and all of your equipment was second-hand, most of it practically given to you by your employer. In fact, the only new thing you had was your camera.
Your precious camera that means more to you than your life.
It was the first thing you bought with your money. And the most expensive. But it was worth it.
That little black rectangle was your soul, you were sure. It went with you everywhere, constantly taking observations of anything, big or little, common or weird, that caught your eye.
And then your employer pointed out a contest that he had once participated in. The prize money was not very much but the other prize for first place was amazing. A six-month contract with a major magazine.
You immediately hopped into the project, taking pictures like your life depended on it. Which, in a sense, it might have.
You did not even get close to winning.
At first, you were crushed. But then you realized that you were still an amateur and for you to have won was practically unheard of. Professionals had been your competition, for crying out loud. For you to have won would have been a miracle.
When you applied and were accepted to a very good photography and arts college in Great Britain, your parents disowned you. You were left with nothing but the clothes on your back, your photography equipment, and the money you had saved up.
It was the worst moment of your life.
You had no idea where you could go for the few months until you left for school. And then you realized that without parents to pay tuition, you could not go to school.
You had to sell all of your equipment, minus the camera because there was no way you could part with it, and your employer was kind enough to hire you full-time now that you were out of high school. You still had no idea where you were going to live though. You could not go to your best friend's house. It was already too full, what with his parents, grandparents, him, his two older sisters, and the unmarried older brother. And you did not feel comfortable enough to ask any of your other friends if you could stay with them for an unknown amount of time.
You did not have enough money to afford one month's rent at the smallest apartment. Hotels were too expensive, even the capsule ones.
And then you received an email from a person that you had long forgotten.
Your childhood best friend, not the one who you had fallen in love with in junior high, had decided to try and open up his own beach shop. It was not the smartest idea, at least not in your book, until you realized that you had no room to talk, having let your own passion destroy just about everything that had once existed between you and your family.
He needed help though. And you had nothing better to do with your life now. So you thanked your employer for everything that he had ever done for you and left to the place you had once called home when you were a child.
Your friend let you sleep in the shop's back room on an old futon that had seen better days. Of course, if it had not been used to sleep on the beach at night, it might be in better condition. But you are in no condition to complain because it is much better than all the other weird places you had to spend the nights in.
Business is great and you have fun. Your friend seems to understand your passion for photography. He introduces you to a local photographer, who thanks to a stellar recommendation from your old employer, lets you help out part-time. This allows you access to his darkroom when he is not using it, which you are very thankful for.
You find out about another contest, a much smaller one than the last one you participated in, and decide to enter it. Your focus for it is the beach and the chance it has given you and so many others. You get fifth place.
You get some attention. You start to enter more competitions. And get more attention.
And then your life comes crashing down once more.
Long ago, you had vowed never to let anyone get so close that they could utterly destroy you. And you had kept that vow every since. At least, that is what you had thought.
But slowly, a few people had worked their ways into your heart. Your brother and sister had never left, and your niece had been a welcome addition. Your parents disownment had hurt but it had not crushed you. Your former employer, bless his soul, had become a major person in your life. And you knew that if something happened to him, you would go back to his side to help him through whatever it would be. Your As for the best friend you had loved, you had grown far from him. He was a friend now that you heard from only when something big happened. Your childhood best friend had found himself being your best friend once more. And he was a great friend that you knew you would always find yourself with. You could imagine that when you were old men, you would still keep in constant contact with him. No matter what you two end up doing with your lives.
No, it is the one person you thought you would never let hurt again that brings your life to a screeching halt that threatens to destroy the life you have built for yourself.
The attention you had gotten for your photography had brought him back to see you.
At first, you found yourself guarded around him. But slowly, as you two started to meet and talk once more, you let him back into your life. All the warning bells in your head scream at you, but you do not care. He was once special and you begin to remember why.
All his little nuances make you smile and laugh. You find that hidden face, that hidden smile. You start to wonder if your mind twisted him into being a horrible guy because he is not. At least, that is what you think.
He tells you that he made a big mistake, leaving you for that other guy. It was at that moment, you should have realized that being around him was a big mistake. But instead, like a teenage girl in love, you fell for him again.
And it was wonderful. Slowly, subtlety, even more so than the last time, you let him become the center of your world. Even photography did not seem to matter.
All you wanted was him.
All he seemed to want was you.
It had seemed that he had picked up a nasty addiction when he had been faced with heartbreak. So while you had rebuilt yourself, he had destroyed himself.
He claimed to need you, which made you feel special. You had never been needed.
And he had an apartment.
You were sick of sleeping in the beach shack's storage room. Because while you had gained a small reputation for your photography, you still had barely enough to rent an apartment and buy the things you needed.
You moved in and tried to help him. But it is hard to help someone when they do not want your help. He grew to resent you. You were a whiny person who wanted to control him, he claimed. You wanted him to be a clone of everyone else. You fought constantly.
And then, things grew violent.
The first slap seemed to be a mistake and you let it slide. But after the second, you fought back.
Your best friend would look at you, concerned about the bruises but not saying anything because guys are not supposed to notice that kind of thing.
You felt like such a girl, you thought, as you realized your relationship was unhealthy and tearing you apart. But if you just left him, you wondered if he would even live or if he would take his life in revenge. And you could not bear to have his death on your soul.
Guess he did not get that memo about not hurting each other by leaving. Because that is exactly what he had done.
Guess a pretty face that loved to drink was all he had ever wanted. That was the person he left you for.
It crushed you. And yet, it didn't. Your heart was fragile but you were strong. You were not devastated. But you did feel like curling up into a ball and crying.
But men do not cry.
Whoever came up with that was a liar. Because you were a man and you were crying. Well, maybe it was not crying. Because the only emotion you showed were silent tears as you sat on the beach in front of your best friend's shop.
It brought back memories of that lost cove that you had found yourself in so long ago.
At that moment, you felt the need to find it once more. You felt that going back to it would be the only way to really put your life back together.
You left a note on the door of shop telling your best friend you would be back sometime but that you needed to get away. You called your new employer and told him you were going on a journey. He made you promise to take pictures. You smiled just a little and answered with a yes.
And then, you left.
Leaving, it turned out, was the easy part. Finding that cove was the hard part. Part of the problem was that you could not even remember which side of the country it was on. At least you did know that it was not in the north because the place had been warm in the middle of winter.
You scoured Japan's coastlines, searching for it. And you just could not seem to find it. At points, you wondered if you had dreamt the place up.
You met so many different people, though, that it did not seem to be such a chore to look for the place. The people were what made your journey so great.
You smiled when you saw the look of shock on your best friend's face.
It had been two, no three, years since you had left on your journey to find that cove.
You had not found it. And you had not spoken to him or anyone else during that time other than to tell them you were still alive.
He told you to get ready because when the shop closed, he was going to take you to dinner and let you meet the woman that had captured his heart. You smiled and agreed, telling him you would be out somewhere on the beach.
And you almost laughed when you let your feet take control because you finally found the place. You had been so close to it all along. You went back to the cove and laid down on the sand once more. You took a picture this time.
And left it on the sand.
Because you realized that the place was not what you had needed to fill what you thought was the gaping hole in yourself.
No, what you had needed all along was to be yourself. When you had been with him, you had tried to be what he wanted you to be. And that was all wrong. Because you had not been willing to let him wreck your life the way he had wrecked his own. It was not love that had held you to him. It had been pity and guilt. Guilt because you felt that if you had not been in his life, it would not have ruined him. But then you realized that if it had not been you, it would have been something else that would have led him down the path of self destruction.
In the distance, you could hear your best friend calling you.
Hours had gone by in an instant. And you did not care. Because while things were painful, they could also be good. You had people you cared about and in turn, cared about you.
She was a wonderful person, exactly the type of woman you had imagined for your best friend. She was everything he could ever want and you hope that they would always be happy.
When they married, you were gladly the best man. And it was on that happy day that you found yourself drawn to an interesting person.
He was familiar. You had met him years ago in junior high, a rival player from the same team as the one who had taken your ex-boyfriend away. You remembered this guy and decided to not hold his former captain's actions against him.
You guarded yourself this time. After him you were worried about letting anyone else close to you. Even your best friend's now wife was held at a distance.
He screwed up. He made mistakes.
But you found yourself, instead of being pushed away by those things, drawn closer to him.
He broke the barriers you had set up.
You did not realize you had fallen for him until you met his boyfriend.
It almost tore your heart apart when you found out that he had a boyfriend. You remember your best friend watching you, worried about what you would do. And you did not blame him for worrying. Because you were not sure just what you would do either.
However, things seem to take a turn when that relationship ended. Your new friend and his boyfriend broke up. For good. You stood by your new friend, helping him heal his broken heart with your fractured one.
Time passed and you wondered if you were wasting your life on pining away for someone who did not seem to notice you.
A phone call came one night. Your ex-boyfriend, the one who had let himself be destroyed internally, was gone. He had moved on from alcohol to other substances. And let those kill him.
You were saddened by the news. That boy, for that was all he had ever been even if his age had suggested otherwise, had been so important for so much of your life.
You went to the cove for the first time since you had originally found it.
The picture you had placed on the sand so long ago was gone, as you had expected it to be. But in it's place was something you had not expected.
Your friend, the one you had fallen for, was sleeping on the sand. You watched the sunlight sparkle off his golden hair and felt your lips quirk up into a small smile. It appeared that even when you were down, he would do something that would bring back a bit of sun to your life.
You sat down beside his sleeping form. And as you sat there, you wondered if this would be all life held for you.
Stretching, you reached towards the sun, wishing you could touch it, but knowing that was impossible. But then the sun reach towards you.
The look on your face must have been shocked because he laughed. And you joined. You had no idea why you were laughing other than it just felt right. It was all you wanted.
And then, the sun stopped and looked at you with a strange look on his face. But then you realized you were not the only one who would do anything to protect the one you loved as the sun leaned in and kissed you.
Note: I do not own any of the characters in this fic. The main character is Fuji Syuusuke. It was written for the Autumn 2007 Subrosa Tennis challenge on