He was never on time. The sound of his steps echoes in his ears as he panted, rounding the street corner, a blue duffle bag flopping side to side. They planned on meeting nearly half an hour ago. Ken looked up from his book, leaning against the wall. Davis stopped, hands on his knees and panting heavily, brushing away the sweat from his forehead and then looked up. Ken sighed and slipped his book into his bag and slung it over his shoulder, "You're late."
"Sorry, dude." He stood up, catching his breath, "Soccer practice ran late."
"You had soccer today?" Ken looked him over, noting the uniform. He still had his shin guards on and it looked as though he hadn't even switched shoes. Ken shook his head a little knowing the damage his friends was doing to the cleats.
"Yeah, of course I did. I have soccer practice every Saturday! Remember?" David glared at him, both frustrated and envious, "I wasn't moved up to the varsity team like you."
"Right," Ken smiled, "I forgot."
"So, what's up?" Davis sat down on the curb, pulling his cleats off. He looked at the worn spike and cringed, regretting having not switched shoes. With a sigh he opened his duffle bag and pulled out his street shoes and slipped them on his feet.
"I need some advice…" Ken looked down the street, the red streaks of embarrassment started to race across his cheeks.
"Oh yeah?" Davis looked up with one eye as he battled his shoelaces, twisting them into a messy knot.
"I guess I just didn't know who else to go to…" His voice trailed away as he looked down at the ground.
"What about Leafmon?" He stood up, dusting off.
"This is a little over his head." Ken sighed.
"So what's the problem?" Davis picked up his duffle bag, hanging it on his shoulder. Ken looked down the street again, then back to his feet. His friends smiled brightly, slipping his hands behind his head and scuffing his shoe against the sidewalk, "Oh, I get it, it's a girl problem!"
"What?" Ken looked up with wide eyes, "Davis!"
"Look, all you have to do is tell her how you feel and tell her how great she is, girls love that sort of thing!" He grinned with pride, a small chuckle escaping his throat.
"Why do I have a feeling that's not going to work?" His shoulders sank.
"Ah come on, it works for me!" Davis smiled.
"But Kari still keeps turning you down." Ken pointed out as a few people passed by, crossing the street as the lights switched from red to green.
"Yeah, but she'll come around." He shrugged, thinking about it for a moment and then lifted his eyes back to his friend, "Wait a minute, this is a girl problem?"
"Yeah, it is, Davis." Ken looked down, forlorn and desperate.
"So…" He stepped closer, curiosity taking over, "Who's the girl?"
"Does it matter?" He glanced up, suspiciously.
"No, dude, it doesn't matter." He held up his hands defensively. Ken sighed and crossed the street. Davis dashed after him, close on his heels. Long days of soccer practice improved his running, and some times he was incredibly grateful, but mostly he complained, "Hey, wait up Ken!"
The two boys walked around the town for a while. Nothing was spoken between them until they reached the park. The half wall was made of white stone, facing a few small shops and separated the grassy field from the street. Ken sat down on the wall, Davis followed suit and dropped his bag on the ground. With a nervous sigh, Ken stared down at his knees, "There's this girl…I'm pretty sure I like her…I think more than just a friend."
"Yeah, so? I don't see the problem." Davis leaned back on his arms.
"What?" He looked over, confused by the indifference.
The spiky haired boy started to pick at his ear, "Like I said before, just tell her how you feel, Ken."
"It's not that easy." He sighed.
"What are you talking about? You just walk over to her and say, 'My name's Ken Ichijouji—
"She knows who I am, Davis." He interrupted with a glare.
"Alright, alright. Geez." Placing his hands on his knees, he pushed himself up and faced the downcast boy, "Look, next time you see her just say, 'I think you're really pretty' or something like that and ask her if she wants to hang out with you some time. No problem."
"I wish I could do that, but I think she'd just laugh at me." Ken lowered his head.
"Why would she do that? I thought you said she knows who you are, it's not like you're close friends or anything." Davis shrugged. He sat silently, folding his hands together and averting his stare to the cracks in the sidewalk. "Wait. You're friends?" His shoulders drooped. Ken nodded, not daring to look over at his companion. Davis rubbed his chin, considering the options, "Well, you could always just tell her you like her as more than just a…" His eyes shifted to the boy sitting on the wall, "…hold on, you said you're friends."
"Yeah, we're friends." Ken looked up.
"Is it Kari?" Davis's eyes narrowed.
"No." He stared blankly at him as though nearly offended.
"Alright, good, she's my girl." He boasted.
"Sure." He rolled his eyes.
Davis shot him a glare and crossed his arms. He sighed and relaxed, "So who's the—
"Hey guys!" A voice chimed in. The boys looked over as Yolei waved with a bright smile, "What are you two doing here?"
Cody looked over Davis, "Shouldn't you be at soccer practice?"
"Do you guys mind? We're sort of busy here. We can't be answering a million questions." Davis grumbled.
"Actually, we only asked two questions." Yolei corrected.
"What's the problem?" Cody looked between the boys trying to decided if Ken's distraught look was because of something Davis had done or if he'd sought out help from Davis and was having minimal, if any, success.
"Ken's having some girl problems." He pointed with his thumb. Ken sighed, dropping his head with his arms resting on his knees.
"Really?" Yolei and Cody said at the same time. They looked at each other. One a bit surprised and the other in disbelief.
"Why did you go to Davis? Kari still keeps turning him down." Cody pointed out.
"I know." He said quietly, "I was sort of starting to ask myself the same thing."
"Hey, my advice is pretty good!" Davis blurted out defensively.
"Maybe I can help." Yolei knelt down in front of him and lifted a finger in the air with a bright smile, "All you have to do is give her a complement; girls like that sort of thing, and then just tell her how you feel."
Ken looked up, "I think that's the exact same thing Davis told me." His eyes skipped past her and met with Davis who shrugged as though to say he was right.
"Wow, I can't believe you actually had some good advice." Cody looked up at the boy with wide eyes. He grumbled and folded his arms.
"You know, practicing what you want to say might help too." Yolei put her hands on her knees. Ken sighed, looking down again. She stood up and stared down at his blue hair fallen in his face, "How about this, you can practice with me."
Ken's eyes opened wide as he stared at the ground, his breath caught in his throat. With a hard swallow he regained his composure, "That's alright; I just need some time to think about it." He stood up and brushed himself off.
"It might help." Davis shrugged. A twinkling tone came from his pocket. He jumped, startled by the sudden sound and then reached into his pocket. He looked down at his phone with a groan, "Hey Jun…No…No…Ok…Do I have to…Ok, I'll be home soon…No…alright, bye." He slipped the phone back into his pocket, "Jun says I have to get home right now. I'll see you guys at school." Davis picked up his bag and waved as he turned around and headed down the street.
"I need to get home too. Grandpa's waiting for me." Cody sighed and walked the opposite direct. He turned around and smiled, "I guess I'll see you guys later." He waved and walked away.
"Davis was right; it might help to practice with me. I am a girl, you know." She smiled, a little part of her cringed at the idea of helping the guy she had a crush on to get some girl she didn't know to go on a date with him.
"I don't think it would help any." Ken sighed, repressing the glow of embarrassment.
"Don't be ridiculous!" She grabbed his arm and pulled him into the grassy field of the park, "There's no one here, so you can practice and no one will hear you."
"I know you're just trying to help, but I just need to think about it for a while." Ken stared at the ground.
"It wouldn't hurt." She sighed.
"I don't even know if she likes me." A small grin formed in the corners of his lips as he looked to the side, his face revealing streaks of red across his cheeks.
Yolei smiled, holding in a giggle, "I bet she likes you. You're just nervous." He nodded once in agreement. A small laugh escaped, "Alright Ken, we're going to practice what you're going to say. When are you going to see her?"
"Tomorrow, after school…" Ken looked up at her slowly; the red in his face hadn't drained.
"Ok, we'll pretend I'm her," Ken forced back a smirk as she pointed to herself, "and we're meeting after school."
"Sure." He said with a laugh in his voice.
"What's so funny?" She put her hands on her hips.
"Nothing, it's nothing." He covered his mouth as he tried to hold back the laughter.
"You're not making a very good impression on me." She crossed her arms, reminding him that he was supposed to be rehearsing.
"Oh! Right! Sorry." Ken straightened up and searched for words for a moment. His hand scratched the back of his head when he found himself tongue tied, "I, um, sort of…uh…" He looked away, red filling his face again.
Yolei sighed; her shoulders sinking, "This isn't exactly what I call a strong start."
"I'm sorry. I'm just nervous." He looked down.
"I know you are, but there's nothing to worry about, Ken." She put a hand on his shoulder.
He looked up with a weak smiled, "You're right."
"Let's try again." She nodded.
Ken took a deep breath, "Alright…" He looked up at her and paused for a moment and then sighed, "I can't do this."
"Yes you can! Don't give up!" She balled her fists.
He clenched he teeth, "I like you, a lot. I keep thinking about you and every time I see you with someone else, I can't stand it! I know we're friends, but I like you more than just friends. I don't even know how long I've felt this way," He tossed his arms in the air. Yolei stepped back, watching him. Ken looked up at the sky and then back to her, "I know I probably sound crazy, but it's the truth. I just want to know if you'd like to go out with me some time." He dropped his shoulder, exasperated.
"Wow that was really good." She blinked. Ken lifted an eyebrow, shoulders still low. Yolei lifted a finger, "I wouldn't change any of it." He sighed and lowered his head. She tilted her head to the side, "Are you okay, Ken?"
"I'm fine." He said quietly.
"Are you sure?" She tried to peek under his hair.
Ken looked up, lifting his head just enough to stare her in the eyes. Her mouth dropped open a little in surprise. He glanced away for a moment and then returned his attention to her with a look of burning concern, "Yolei…"
"What is it, Ken?"
He let out a deep held breath, "…I like you…a lot…" His eyes dropped away.
"Ken," Her wide eyes focused on him as he slowly looked back at her, red filling his cheeks. She found her voice again, "You weren't practicing, were you?" He shook his head from side to side. Yolei's cheeks filled up with a rush of blood matching him, "So, I'm the girl?" She pointed at herself.
She straightened up and thought about it for a minute. Ken straightened up as well, not sure about her reaction. Yolei glanced over at him, "You like me?" Something in her voice seemed to ring in excitement.
He nodded again.
"Are you sure?" She was in disbelief.
Ken sighed with a smile, "I'm sure." Yolei smiled brightly. He looked around for a moment, "Um…Do you want to do something?"
"Yeah." She said weakly through her glowing smile.
He smiled, a pink dusting filled his face as he reached over and grabbed her hand, "Let's go."