The ending...

The Love Story

Three beautiful years had come and gone. And well my life in Osaka has finally come to an end. All those Kansai accents, different lifestyles will be over. I could finally be at home in Tokyo. I could finally be closer to my friends and visit them everyday unlike the two times in a year thing. I could finally smell the crisp air of Tokyo, hear the crazy beeping of the cars next door, and be together with everyone once again. I'm back, TOKYO!

The sad thing, I was entering college. And so, I wouldn't even be classmates with Sadaharu nor Renji. I hear though that I might be sharing the same school with Yagyuu from Rikkai.

But I shouldn't worry about that. What I was supposed to worry about is my reunion with my old pals from Seigaku. My goodness I wonder how they look like now. But now that I'm about to see them, I can stop wondering.

My first stop after home? The graduation of Inui! I'm so excited to see him. How excited? Darn Crazily excited! I just love being in his company. And Renji, too. Let's not forget him. They've both been there since my rise and fall (if there ever was one).

And here I am on the way to Seishun Gakuen High School for the graduation ceremony. I wonder how they are. Well, yes I did see Sadaharu and Renji last summer but the feeling of being able to see them everyday is entirely different. In Osaka, I could only visit my family TWICE a year, unless they would visit me. But I reckon that only happened once. Think about turning eighteen without your parents. I didn't have a darn debut for goodness sake! But well, I continued to live... in a much different environment.

Ah! And who could forget their Kansai accents. It was horrifying. It was extremely fine talking to them but when I have a conversation with hardcore kansai students, I just freak. I mean, I understand them but it was different talking to them. They had this accent that was so addicting that I would end up having that accent for the whole day!

Oh well, the crazy Kansai days were over.

But I should not worry about that anymore... Right now... I'm in the school of Inui. I'm so excited to see him!! I looked around the gymnasium... and found...

No one??

Where were they?! Oh my gosh! I looked at my watch and realized something. I never asked what time was their graduation. The consequence? The graduation ended an hour ago (according to a professor nearby). Where are the students now? Graduation celebration (where the location is a mystery). And so, here I am wondering where the rest of the world is. Well, I could call Sadaharu but it seems that he doesn't want to answer. My last resort? Go to my loved bookstore and smell the dust of the Tokyo-sold books. I bet Mr. Bookkeeper missed my weekly visit.

I walked inside the bookstore and true enough Mr. Bookkeeper did miss me. I swear he was so happy to see me, that if he was the type of old man that would offer me fifty percent discounts on anything I bought, I would have bought the whole bookstore. But he isn't the type who does that and so leading me to find a cheap but wonderful book...

This reminds me that I actually worked in a bookstore for all the three years of my life in Osaka. When I told my stories to dearest Mr. Bookkeeper, I could feel that he could seriously relate with me.

But where were all the guys while I was enjoying my time with Mr. Bookkeeper? Where were they all? But most of all, where was HE? Does he still remember me? Am I still his friend? Who am I to Tezuka Kunimitsu?

Tezuka's POV

My three years of high school has come to an end. All those tennis tournaments, wild fan girls, tormenting teachers and terrifying homeworks has finally ended. But it is true that I will meet those again during college. It is a fact that I have graduated High school that continues to scream in my ears.

College is truly a more terrifying in a students life. I have not yet experienced it but thinking about it makes me realize that I am entering a more challenging stage in my life. I've already made my decision as to what course to take. It suited my personality and my liking. I believe that I can excel in this course and be successful. But I still carry around that dream of being a tennis PRO. Therefore, I will do my best to reach that goal.

At this very moment, I am "enjoying" the graduation celebration. Unlike that one back in middle school, this celebration occurs in just one night. The speakers are extremely loud and the students hired their own DJ for the celebration. And so probably the word "enjoying" can be replaced with the word "hating" since I am not at all enjoying the night.

Because of the hatred, Fuji, Kikumaru, Inui, Kawamura, Oishi and I have moved from the lower level to the roof deck. Here it feels cooler and peaceful like I always wanted it to be. There is a completely different feeling when I'm up here. The sun had already set, but the sky, unlike its darkness, had shades of orange around. It might be raining soon.

"Tezuka, are you really going to that University?" Oishi asked, as he slowly placed the glass of juice back on the table.

I nodded, "I do know that that University excels in my course."

"Ne, isn't that school far?" Kikumaru asked.

In the past three years in high school, his maturity level has risen. He's still very sanguine but his cat-like personality and nonstop hugging has slowly stopped. But, you may still see him hug others too tightly.

"Yeah, it is far but if that school will do me some good, I think it is the best for me." I replied calmly after sipping my drink.

"But we will all be far away from each other." Oishi said, while staring at his glass. We all looked at him. "Inui is going to be taking up some chemistry related course in some other university. Fuji and I will be in the same university and since the campus is big, it highly unlikely that we can bump into each other. Eiji and Kawamura will be in a farther campus. And Tezuka will be somewhere else, too. Today may actually be the only time we can celebrate like this peacefully."

He was telling the truth. We may see each other days before we enter college, but a peaceful celebration like this will be different. This maybe the only time we could do this. But that didn't surprise me. I already knew that this day would come.

"Inui have you heard from Amasawa?" Fuji surprisingly asked. I looked at him

"You're right, where is Amai-chan?" Kikumaru echoed the question.

Inui looked at his phone and realized something.

"What's wrong?" Oishi asked.

Inui stood up from his seat and finally said, "Amasawa tried calling thrice. The music was too loud downstairs that I didn't get to hear it."

"Woah! Call her! Call her!" Kikumaru stood up as well.

Inui dialed the number and placed it on his ear. After a few more tries he said, "She's not answering."

"She must be busy. Is she home?" Kawamura asked.

Inui thought for a moment. "Her graduation was last week. She said that a week after that, she'll be home."

"That means, she's back." Oishi concluded.

While they had this short conversation, the only words that passed my mind were "Amasawa Amai." No matter how much I try to process the other words they said, I couldn't seem to understand. Her name just continued to echo in my ears.

"It's good to know she's back. I wonder how Osaka was?" Fuji said.

It really is good to know she's home. So much time has passes since I last saw her, heard her or even hear her name. If only that wait could finally end.

"Ah yes, she is back." Inui said, "Shall we go get some more drinks?"

We all agreed. The roofdeck was freezing us, we needed some warm drinks.

And as soon as we entered the boundaries of the graduation celebration, the music stopped and the spotlight kept moving. It seemed to be looking of certain someone. All I could hear were murmurs from my classmates, other than there was complete silence. An unknown person was standing on the small stage. Who was she?

Then in a blink of an eye, the spotlight blinded me. Everyone was looking at me and I stared back at every one of them. Then the girl on the stage finally spoke.

"Hi, Tezuka-san, I'm from a school from Osaka just sending a message from a friend." She began. I looked at her, analyzing her, trying to see if I have ever met her. But nothing came to my mind. This girl was completely unknown to me. "Sorry I just can't introduce myself at the moment." She continued, "I have to send this very important message to you." Her voice echoed around the room. All eyes landed on me and her. I didn't understand what was going on. But I nodded, a signal for her to begin.

"My friend from Tokyo moved to Osaka a week before school began. She saw a few of her friends on her last day but the person she had waited for didn't arrive. And no matter how long she waited, he still didn't come. She left a small package for this person and inside it was the story of her life. He may not have realized it but one character was based on him." Everyone was listening intently to her story. I had finally noticed where this story was going to lead to. That story... it was about her life... She continued reading, "But that really isn't the important part. The moment I met her, I loved her sanguine personality. Her smile was so unbearable. She looked so pleasing and kind. She allowed me to read the scrapbook her friends made for her, and all those smiles were replaced by a sweet tear. Those tears that ran down her cheeks meant that she missed a whole bunch of her friends. And most of all she missed that one special person." She looked at all of us. She paused for a moment, took a deep breath. My heart was beating faster.

"It took her eight long months to escape from his grasp, and for the next few months, she tried to forget him. But in the end, as soon as this love story spread around school, her memories came back instantly. Everyone was interested in her story. Every word that she wrote about her life caught our eye. She was a celebrity. A dreaming celebrity. What surprised us most was the young man she fell in love with. He never seemed interested in her. He was chased by millions of fan girls and he had a very complicated life. But their closeness made the world turn around for both of them. He wanted their friendship to last forever. She wanted that, too. But she wanted to be with him forever, until the end of the world."

She stopped to look at me, shining under the spot light. Everyone had moved their eyes towards my direction. Fuji and others, looked at me, and smiled. My heart was beating rapidly. I didn't know how to react.

"Her name is Amasawa Amai. Tezuka, do you realize how special you are to her?"

And in that instant, I knew I had to see her. My heart was pounding and I never felt like this for the past three years. I took a deep breath to stop the pounding, but it didn't work. I had to run. I had to see her. NOW! And so I said..

"Where is she?"

She gave me a reply and I was off. I immediately lifted my foot and ran as fast as I can. I ran to wherever my foot brought me. But I had only one destination. To where Amasawa was: The bookstore.

Amasawa Amai's POV

The rain was pouring extremely hard. I could hardly hear Mr. Bookkeeper telling me the latest books being sold. I had looked around the whole store but only one cheap and wonderful book caught my eye. But I wanted two books! It's been so long since I read a Tokyo-sold book. The only thing I usually bought in Osaka were mangas.

I continued to search through books. The door opened and I looked at the person who entered. He was soaking wet but looked determined. He must have been some high school student. He asked Mr. Bookkeeper for a really really old book which is really hard to find, I believe. And true, it really is hard since Mr. Bookkeeper doesn't have a copy. I smiled at the student as he passed by me, then he left.

As I was about to pay my book, and some other book which I found, the door opened once again. I gave my payment to the young cashier that worked for Mr. Bookkeeper. While he packed my books I heard a very familiar but soothing voice.

I had once written in my untitled story for Tezuka:

This was how it all started. It was a crazy rainy afternoon, busy day mixed together with a wonderful book I just purchased. I was excited, very excited. But that excitement ceased when I met the eye of the one who I will fatefully fall in love with. And the hardest part? I may never be together with him again.

And if I could ever change that part of the story, I could say:

This was how it all started. It was the same rainy day, same position, same characters. The feeling of seeing him surprised me. And everything suddenly changed. The whole world was back in place. I was once again in love... This is how it will all finally come to an end.

"Amasawa Amai"

I looked back and saw the only person I've ever wanted to see.

"Tezuka Kunimitsu"

We stared at each other for the longest time.

"You're soaking wet." I told him, "Did you run?"

"Yes I did" he answered.

I got my books from the counter. I was very glad I had worn my contacts. I wanted to hold him.

"I need to tell you something." He said, I nodded my head. I waited for him to speak but he grabbed my hand and we both started running. I just hoped he wouldn't go too fast since I'm not much of an athlete. I felt the droplets of water splash on my face. I was freezing and freaking wet but that didn't matter. Tezuka's appearance mattered to me the most.

The moment he said the first syllable of my name, I was already breathless. He had already taken me away.

The routes we passed were very familiar. I knew where we were heading. I knew it...

"Seigaku Middle School." I said in between breaths. "You brought me back here." I looked at the school where everything began. This was the place where my life took its greatest step. This was the extraordinary school which changed my life forever.

"Amasawa, there has been so much that has happened in this school and until now I can never forget that all." He said, while staring at the school.

"So can I." I said in a whisper. I looked at my left hand which he was holding. I like it. The feel of his hand on my palm. The rain continued to pour heavily over us.

"Remember this rain?" I asked. And as if in synch, we both looked up at the sky.

"It's always like this for both of us. Reminded me of you." He answered.

"I agree." I said softly.

The rain has seen our moments together. It has seen the heart pounding minutes and the saddest smiles. It has watched our every single change from classmates to friendship.

His grasp tightened. "Amasawa, listen to me."

I looked at him. I wanted to hear him speak. He held on to both my hands. He opened his mouth, as if he was about to speak, then closed it. He sighed, then looked at me. I smile back at him. I knew that whatever he wanted to say, he couldn't say.

"Whatever it is you want to say, I hope you can tell me soon enough." I said, I touched his wet cheeks and stroked them with my palms. I proceeded to brush his hair with my hands. My hands rested on his neck. The last time I did this, I was completely unconscious. I gave him a smile. He removed his glasses and hanged them on his collar. We looked at each other for the longest moment of ours lives. The rain had not yet stopped and I didn't want it to.

And finally he moved. He wrapped his arms slowly around me. I rested my head on his chest and returned the hug. I wanted to be in this position forever, to be together with Tezuka.

I heard him mumble something, but I didn't catch it. He let go and placed his hands on my waist, "Amasawa, I missed you."

I grinned, "Oh gosh, I missed you, too."

A year has passed since that fateful rainy day. I've been seeing Tezuka for every single day of my life. Although he rarely smiled, the number of smiles he showed to me tripled. I've tried going in and out of his residence without hearing the teases of his parents, but I've been rarely successful. Sadaharu and Renji have been continuously telling me that Tezuka wasn't a wrong choice at all. And they reminded Tezuka to take care of me nonstop. Fuji and Eiji have been teasing us around. But even with all that nuisance, we still continued to live our private lives... as more than just friends.

"How's that chapter so far?" I asked Tezuka (but now I can call him Kunimitsu, but I've been having problems with that). We were on the swings. I just passed him the latest chapter of my story. He's been so kind as to give me comments on every single chapter I gave him.

"It's fine. There is more suspense to this chapter than the others." He looked at me before looking back at the papers, "But you still need to fix the consistency of the characters."

I sighed, "Fine, I haven't fixed that problem. I've told you before, Tezuka, that's my weakness. I seriously have to change their personality."

"Then try to fix that problem of yours, Amai." He said. And ironically, he can say my first name without hesitation at all. I'm sure he's practiced this.

Silence filled the place. He looked at the papers. He closed the folder and stood up. He went closer to me, held on to me and sat on the nearest swing. "Talk to me, Amai."

I spoke up immediately, "Remember that time under the rain? Back when I met you after I arrived from Osaka?"

He nodded his head.

"You were about to say something but you hesitated. What were you going to say?"

He looked at me surprised. He couldn't even seem to get his eyes off me. He gave me the folder with my story.

"Amasawa Amai"

I looked at him. He looked up at the sky. His grip on my hand tightened. He was still hesitating to say it. I brushed my thumb on his hand. Tell me, Tezuka. Tell me. He looked down on the ground. His hair covered his eyes.

"I love you."

And as if the world played along with him, a huge breeze came together and the birds flew off. He looked at me, awaiting a reply.

"I love you, too" I smiled then added, "Kunimitsu"

And well, that's how everything began for us. True, we've been together for a year already but he has never confessed and so has she. Our story is no different from any other. We had ups and downs, the first meeting, and the parting. We had jealousy and envy. But in the end, another happy ending as given. We succeeded. We fell in love and even with our differences, we understood each other. I love him and I love her. And we'll never part again... that's a promise.

- Amasawa Amai and Tezuka Kunimitsu

The end.

Message from the author (apologies and thank you):

It's finally over! Oh my gosh... it's done! It's done! It's done! Oh my gosh, I can't believe it. It's my first completed story! I've never finished a single story which I have written and thanks to this I could finally brag that I completed a story. I remember saying that I would have only 10-15 chapters but it exceeded and I promised 20... then I later didn't care about the chapters and here it is. Finally completed with thirty seven beautiful chapters.

I remember a certain chapter where I wrote all the "data" on Tezuka and a few chapters later, I wrote the first error of Inui. I was planning to make others, but I couldn't get ideas on how to put it. So, in the end "Chapter: Error Number 1" never got a sequel. I never really got to proofread any of the chapters, so there were probably lots of grammaticals errors and I probably missed some stuff. I am completely sorry for all of those mistakes. If it irritated or bothered you, I sincerely apologize.

And one last thing... I would like to thank ALL the people who reviewed, favorited, story-alerted, read, and even just clicked on. It just inspired me to write more wonderful chapters and give a successful end to the story. I hope I gave you guys an end that would give justice to the story. And I am so sorry that I never made them confess till the very end. It's quite hard to make Tezuka confess because of his personality. But I LOVED writing for all of you guys and it felt great that all this work came to some good. I hope I entertained with all those thirty seven chapters and I wish you guys all the best in life.

From Amasawa Amai and the rest of the crew of RESPECT, we would all like to say our goodbyes and thank you. PEACE OUT! See you guys around.