Disclaimer: Characters are property of Mr. W.
A/N: For some reason, this feels a bit off to me. Any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated.
"True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked."
Wally Beetles has never really enjoyed swimming. He chalks it up to the fact that he's only known how to swim for four or five years and that there's always that danger of drowning. Of course, it was a hot July day and, having been outvoted three to one, Wally had no choice but to swallow his pride, pull on his swim trunks, and go to the nearby beach. He hadn't been in the water yet and he intended to keep it that way. His group of friends had already been in the water for two or three hours, and Wally was guessing they would all get tired of swimming soon.
He waited for another ten minutes, then a soaking wet figure plopped down next to him. Her name was Kuki and Wally could easily call her the prettiest girl he knew. However, the combination of her hair being mussed from her swim cap, mild sunburn, and the smell of low tide made him move away a little. To make matters worse, Kuki had just been staring at him, not saying a word.
"Do yeh need something, Kuki?" Wally finally asked.
"You're not out having fun. Why don't you come and swim with us?"
Wally shrugged and turned his focus back to the water, where Hoagie and Abby were splashing at each other. Kuki frowned at his lack of response and he couldn't help but notice that her eyes crinkled a bit at the edges. The girl didn't say anything though, just dug her feet into the sand and sighed. "You really should try it, Wally. The water is great."
"Nah, Ah'm foine where Ah am. Go on and 'ave fun."
He knew that Kuki liked swimming. She liked almost anything that had to do with the beach, in fact. Wally would feel bad about making her miss out on something she liked because of something stupid like him being a little afraid of water. Kuki remained put though, humming under her breath and wiggling her toes in the sand. They remained in a comfortable silence like that for a while. By the time Wally spoke next, he was happy to find that smell of low tide was nearly gone.
"Kooks, what can Ah do to make you go away and enjoy the beach?"
The Asian girl forced a pout and flipped her hair. In a playful voice, she said, "If I didn't know better, I'd say that you were sick of me Wallabee Beetles!"
He replied without thinking, "Never could get sick of yeh. Ah love yeh, Kuki."
A split second later, Wally's brain seemed to have caught up to his mouth. The way it did this was by freezing up his thoughts, along with his body. The blonde couldn't figure out why he'd said that he loved Kuki, or why that he knew that it was true. Sure, the girl had been his friend for what seemed like forever and Wally thought she was pretty, but wasn't there usually a stage or something between just being someone's mate and making declarations of love like they were nothing?
After all, there had been no butterflies when Kuki had sat down next to him. Wally could not remember a single time that he had been caught staring at his best female friend with a dopey look on his face. Never in his entire life had he dreamt about kissing Kuki. (But, now that he thought about it, it didn't seem like it's be so terrible). Wallabee Beetles, not for the first time, felt completely cheated by life. There had been no signs. Just one minute he doesn't even want to sit by the girl because she reeks of fish and the next minute, he loves her.
Meanwhile, the girl he apparently loved was frighteningly quiet. Wally meant only to glance over to make sure Kuki wasn't about to strangle him or anything, but she was looking back. He couldn't look away and despite all the hot water he was in, Wally smiled because her eyes were doing that crinkly thing again. Finally, Kuki asked, "Do mean love as in like-like or love as in like a sister?"
"Oh. Ah'm pretty sure it's loike-loike," He looked away, "Yeh probably don't want to 'ang out anymore, roight?"
Wally felt Kuki shift on the sand, and then take his hand in hers. Her voice was soft, but firm. "Never. I'm pretty sure that I like-like love you, too."
"Oh. That's good," Wally replied, trying to subtly place his fingers in between his friend's.
Kuki turned to him and smiled. Once again, the butterflies in his stomach and pounding heart failed to appear. Both their hands were sweaty, but Wally was sure it had more to do with it being July and less to do with the hand holding. He smiled back at her nervously and she squeezed his hand. "It's very good, but I'd still like for you to come swimming."
If he hadn't have used up his quota for embarrassing things to say in one day, Wally would have told Kuki how, at that moment, he'd be much happier just holding hands with her than doing anything else in the world. However, it was the middle of July and he had said more than enough humiliating things for the day. All that there was left to do was to stand up and let his friend (his pretty friend who he had loved without knowing) drag him into the water.