Screaming Siopao: Anyone still reading this? Doubt it. I know GALS! Has died quite a bit, ever since On Demand took it off their listings & I don't believe it's available on Netflix. I just stumbled upon this old, unfinished draft chilling in my flash drive and thought it'd be fun to finish it real quick. Really just writing this for myself, but if anyone's out there reading this, drop a quick hello! It's been such a long time. I'm sophomore in college now. Quite missed this community.

Disclaimer: I don't own GALS!, or its characters. Plot's mine.

Recap: In the previous chapters, the popular & boastful Rei finally got the male-loathing Aya to go out with him! Aya has come to accept that she must stop lying to herself, for she cannot bury her feelings for Rei anymore. The spring term is over & it's time for summer break. What does Rei have planned for their first getaway?

A Wishful Blossom

Chapter Seven - First

By: Screaming Siopao

"Hey," Rei said as he nudged me awake. My eyelids fluttered open. I felt a bit flustered. Where was I? I blinked my eyes and looked ahead: a taxi driver. That's right. I was going on a trip with Rei. Had I fallen asleep on him? For how long? "Wake up, Aya, we're here."

"Hm?" I groaned as I stretched my arms a bit. I glanced at the digital clock on the taxi's dashboard. I had fallen asleep for only about forty-five minutes. It felt like I was gone for hours. I sat upright and observed my surroundings. In just those forty-five minutes, my environment sure had changed drastically.

Shrubs and oak trees had been replaced by palm trees. Dirt had been replaced by sand. The coos of pigeons had been replaced by the squawks of seagulls.

"Rei!?" I gasped in surprise as I gazed upon the vast, blue greatness before me. "The ocean?" Rei smirked as he got out the backseat of the cab.

"That's right. We're at the beach!" I was speechless. I hadn't been here in so long. And, of course, last time I was here was with my mom and dad... when we were still a family. This sight of the ocean made me miss my dad even more. He loved to fish, I recalled.

"I… You know I can't swim, Rei!" I said, recalling the day I almost drowned at the local pool when I was in elementary school. Luckily for me, my dad spotted me just in time. I hadn't set foot in a pool ever since, and was terrified to even try to learn how to swim. I told Rei of this incident countless times, and he knew I didn't know how to swim. I even got mad at him for joking about pushing me into a little stream, when we first started getting to know one another. So, why bring me to the ocean? "And besides," I continued, as I stepped out of the cab. "I didn't even bring a bathing suit."

"No problem," he chimed, while lugging our bags out of the trunk. "I know plenty of outlets around here and can get us some discounts."

"But-"

"No excuses, Aya," he interrupted. "You don't have to go far into the water. But just enjoy our stay here."

I sighed. He was right. No use in trying to get out of the situation. Rei and I would be staying here overnight, at some fancy hotel that he refused to help me pay for. I should be quite glad to be given this chance to be spoiled for a bit.

"Alright," I said, as I gave in. I saw him carrying my duffle bag, along with his own. "Rei, I can carry it myself, you-"

"It's fine," he said with a smile. "You know, you can let me do things for you once in a while. I like doing these kinds of things for you." I blushed.

"O- Okay," I sheepishly said. In his own stubborn way, Rei was a gentleman.

As I stepped out of the cab, I realized that the hotel we were staying at was extremely extravagant. We were greeted at the front by two majestic, white columns and shiny, golden gates, as if the entrance for heaven itself was welcoming us in. The ground was an elegant patchwork of red and grey bricks that truly complimented the garden of hibiscuses, palm trees, and vibrant lilies. The workers were hospitable and the clients of the building were all high-class and westernized. I could have sworn I even saw a celebrity or something walking around. "Are we really staying here?" I asked in disbelief.

"Yes, why do you ask?"

"It's just so huge and much too lavish for a weekend's stay," I stated. "H- How did you pay for our rooms anyway?" Rei paused for a bit and took in a deep breath. He bit his lip. He was hiding something.

"Aya, don't make this a big deal," he started. "But, uh, my family owns this line of hotels."

I stopped dead in my tracks as we were at the front doors. I stared at Rei for what it seemed like the longest time. Then, I laughed. I don't know why, but the laughter just came out from nowhere.

"Stop joking," I said. As I said that, one of the young women from the front counter came up and greeted us.

"Rei-kun!" she shouted as she approached the entrance. "It's been a while!"

"Hey, Maki-san, long time no see," Rei coolly responded. "She's my older cousin," he whispered to me, on the side. I stood there dumbfounded.

"No. No no no," I repeated, slightly shaking my head in rebuttal. "This is Yamada Suites. You're Otohata," I stated as I gave a quick chuckle. "Yamada isn't your name. Nice try, Otohata."

Yet, again, Rei had a counter-attack. He smiled in amusement. I didn't feel so good about that smile of his. I'd seen it all too much before. It showed he was confident. Same old Rei.

"Yamada," he began, "is my mother's family name. Her father, or my grandfather, started this business. It was passed down to my eldest uncle and my mother. She co-owns the place," he stated truthfully. I was in disbelief. I had been defeated, and I backed down my defenses.

"It's true, you know," his cousin, Maki-san, chimed in. "Your mother is coming tomorrow, actually. She's leaving the Osaka branch tonight after the routine visit."

"Yeah," Rei confirmed. "She called me last night about it. Said I could take a room for the weekend and bring Aya along." He turned to face me. Little, old, surprised me. "She really wants to meet you, you know." I blushed. I was suddenly nervous.

"Is this your girlfriend, Rei-kun?" Maki-san asked oh-so excitedly. She was a very enthusiastic person. Rei laughed.

"Yeah, she is. This is Aya Hoshino," he introduced. Before I could say anything, Maki-san totally surprised me with the friendliest hug I had just about ever received in my life.

"Welcome to the family!" she almost-shouted into my ear. I blushed with embarrassment.

Why hadn't he just told me about all this? Then, I would have had the time to mentally prepare myself. Taking all of this new information in about Rei and his family was so overwhelming right now. It felt as if Rei's world was so big. I felt so measly and microscopic.

It seemed as if the Otohata family had it all. Rei's family lived in a large, contemporary house. I remember going there with him once, when he and I had to stop by and pick up his baseball uniform before a game. He mentioned having an old, tradtional home down in Osaka, too. His dad was a very well-reknown surgeon. His mother co-owned a hotel chain all over the country. Rei was in one of the nation's most recognizable high-school baseball teams. His life was huge compared to mine. I all of a sudden felt out of place.

As we took the elevator to our master suite on the eleventh floor, which also happened to be the highest, I couldn't help but just sink in my own self-pity on the entire ride up. Rei definitely observed my silence. Knowing how well he knew me, he could probably sense my feelings of awkwardness.

"Aya," he said. I looked up at the elevator light, which beamed a diluted white pigment. We were on the 7th floor. "I'm sorry. If you don't feel comfortable here, we can leave. I know this is kind of a lot, for a simple girl like you. My family's a bit loud too. I guess you would rather be-"

"No," I shook my head as I forced a tiny smile. He could tell, I knew it. "This is nice. I appreciate it." And I really did. I could tell Rei put a lot of planning into this. I wasn't going to act like a spoiled little brat now and have him change the entire plans. I've come to grow in this relationship with this once-arrogant boy beside me; I think of him much more now. I was afraid to say that I was beginning to think of him more than my own self.

Ding. The two metallic elevator doors slid open. We were at the eleventh floor.

Our suite number was 618, only a few doors down from the elevator, towards the eastern corridor of the building. Rei removed a door key from his pocket and held the door open for me, as I carried my sole duffle bag.

"I rarely come here, but this is my usual room, when I do come to stay here," he said with a wink.

As the door swung open, I gasped quite audibly, to my embarrassment. I saw a room that was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. So luxurious. So neat and lavish. So, very westernized. I felt like a celebrity from Hollywood; it made me feel like a million bucks. On the eastern wall of the room were three massive windows that essentially covered the entire side of that room, minus the few inches of wall in between each window. I saw the sun high up in the cloudless blue sky; it was hovering at its peak, for it was already a bit past noon. The sea below it glimmered and shone bright, dancing lights into the suite, even at this high point. Before me was the ocean, for miles and miles onward. The thought of an endless sea frightened me, a bit.

"It's so beautiful," I said, entranced by the glimmering sun against the water. "For something so frightening, the ocean sure is amazing." Rei laughed.

"You're the only one who thinks it's frightening." I lightly hit him in the arm. A jokester. I've come to really like his playful side more, actually. I felt more at ease now; less offended and light hearted.

I set my duffle bag on the floor and sat down on the vast, silky bed- the only bed. I blushed in realization. Were Rei and I going to be sleeping together this weekend? In the same room? On this one bed?

Rei sat down on the spot beside me. We were so close; the skin of our arms were in contact. He looked straight into my eyes and spoke quietly:

"I only want to make this a memorable summer for you. The summer that we first spend together. You told me you didn't really have plans and, ever since, I'd been trying to think of places you might like. If you ever feel like just going home, just say so and I could call a taxi immediately-"

"Shh," I said, as I silenced him with my index finger over his lips. They were soft. I suddenly remembered our incident in the taxi, earlier. We nearly kissed! My heart began to pound harder. The thought of it drove me crazy. But, I managed to pull myself together. "I really think I'll enjoy it here." Rei's eyes widened just the slightest bit. His worried face slowly formed into an ecstatic relief.

"R- Really? I'm glad!" he said as he put his arms around me and gave me a playful, childish hug. It was as if all this time he was afraid that I wouldn't like what he had planned for me. I was surprised by the sudden embrace. Since I wasn't prepared for it, I fell back on the bed, with Rei still hugging me from the side. I blushed, no surprise. But this was the hottest blush I had ever felt to cover my face while I was with him.

I was still on my back, with my head slightly tilted to the right. Rei was laying on his left side, with his right arm wrapped around my waist and his left holding my back. He pulled me closer to him. I let out a slight, "eep." He smiled a true smile that crinkled the edges of his eyes.

I took a good look at his beautiful, genuine face, absorbed the warmth of his hands on my body, and inhaled the hot breath that escaped his lips. I had been so unsure with everything that had been happening in my life. Doubt with my relationship with Rei. Insecurities with other men. Self-consciousness with my own physical appearance. Uncertainty about my social standing. But when I looked at Rei, when I was with him like this, everything felt so sure; so right and real. Yet, it felt like a fantasy at the same time.

When I was with him like this, my uncertainties disappeared. No, they didn't disappear- something better had happened. They were completely assured. I was confident. I knew I was.

Rei put his lips against my forehead. It wasn't really a kiss. He just placed them there, and let them rest. I knew what I had to do. I knew what I needed to say. I'd been denying it for so long. But when I was with him like this, I knew it was sure. I couldn't bury the feelings any longer.

He deserved the truth. If I was going to give myself to somebody, I was going to give them my all; my everything.

"Rei," I whispered into the proximal space in between us. I paused for a long minute, thinking about how to express my feelings. I figured that being straightforward was the best way to do it. "Rei," I repeated with a slight sigh of nervousness. "I wanted to tell you that I may be starting to... Ah, I mean, I do, that is," I stumbled over my words. This went much smoother in my head. I took a deep breath. Just say it. "Rei, I- I love you."

As soon as those three words left my lips, my body tensed. All heat left my stiff corpse. The palms of my hands broke out into a sweat. My face grew paler than snow. I was terrified. Why was I so terrified?

I was afraid of rejection. I was sure that Rei was the love of my life. He had to be. I wanted him to love me back.

I waited for his response. I waited for him to say those three words back. Silence. Why wouldn't he say them back? A tear escaped my right eye, but he didn't see. I was so damn scared.

It seemed like an eternity until he finally gave a response to my confession. He hadn't moved since I said it, which felt like eons. Of course, it had only been about two minutes, in reality.

"You know, I've heard those same three words from so many girls," he began. "Some even were the most popular girls in school." What was this? Was he bragging? I didn't want to hear this. I had already known how many girls were infatuated with the great Rei Otohata.

"I'm sorry," I cried, with bitterness and self-pity. "I know I'm not rich, or popular, or gorgeous like them. But if you don't feel the same way, you can just say so. You don't have to-" He held me tighter to him, which silenced me.

His lips, still resting on my forehead, curved upward into a slight smile. I could feel it, and was relieved at once. Yet, I was still tearing. Quite a bit, actually. Soft, quiet, sobless tears. Of sadness? Maybe. Of fear? For sure.

"Aya," he said, in the most soothing tone. A voice like velvet. "I was beginning to feel afraid. With every girl that confessed to me, I felt number each time. I didn't feel anything. I couldn't return their feelings. I thought that I was some sort of robot who wasn't able to feel love. But then you..." he paused. I felt his smile on my forehead form once again. "You say it just once, and my heart goes absolutely crazy."

He lifted my teary face up to look up at his own. I felt so weak. He wiped my salty tears with his thumbs and kissed my forehead. Then my temple. Then my cheek. I was blushing now. He kept closing in. Slowly, but surely. He sure knew how to make me feel anticipation.

And then, my lips.

There was an instant spark. He held my face, while also placing a hand at the small of my back. He pulled me closer to him, the closest to him I had ever been. I had never been kissed before, but this had to be bliss. My lips fit so perfectly against his; they were two matching molds. I tasted his warm breath and felt his heart beat under my palm, while my other hand tousled his raven hair. Slightly, he bit on my lower lip. This made me go crazy, but I didn't show him my excitement. My heart must have been at triple its regular pace. I was in heaven.

I didn't want it to end, but it unfortunately had to. At our separation, Rei looked straight into my eyes.

"I love you, Aya," he said. It felt so right. He placed his lips over my ear and whispered: "Only you."

o0o0o0o

We spent the entire day indoors, though it was a gorgeous day outside. We cuddled next to one another, just enjoying each other's presence whilst drinking tea, watching movies on the large flatscreen in our room, and talking about our pasts and endeavors for the future. We laughed and we had moments of silence, when all we did was look into each other's eyes. The only time we left our room was when we had a late lunch in the dining hall. We didn't even eat dinner. I wasn't all too hungry, anyway. I heard that love did that to people, sometimes.

It was, in fact, love. My first love.

Before we knew it, it was eleven o' clock at night. I yawned as we were finishing up a documentary on the History Channel.

"You're tired," Rei noticed during my mid-yawn. "We should go to sleep." I nodded. He began to get up from off the bed.

"Where are you going?" I asked, confused. I didn't want him to leave.

"To my room," he stated flatly. I was silent. He had his own, separate room this entire time... I felt so dense. Rei caught on to my previous obliviousness, and chuckled mildly. "You didn't think I would be sleeping here with you in the same bed, did you?" he bantered. I blushed in embarrassment.

"N-No! You wish!" I attempted to justify myself, while crossing my arms in defense. I knew he could see right through me, though. He laughed some more.

"You're cute," he mouthed as he kissed my forehead. "But I should get going. You need rest for tomorrow." I was a bit sad to see him off. Though, he would probably just be in the room next door.

"Do you... have to go?" I asked meekly. I tugged onto his sleeve as he began to slide off the bed.

He kissed me on the forehead again. I was really beginning to get used to that; to this all; to him.

"Yeah, it's pretty late, Aya. I'll see you in the morning," he assured me with a gentle smile. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight," I reluctantly reciprocated. "Goodnight, Rei."

As I drifted off into sleep that night, I was lulled into a deep slumber by Rei's scent that still lingered on my sheets. He was always here with me, even though he physically wasn't around. And then I realized, for the first time in so long, that I didn't have a trace of loneliness swimming through my blood. Not anymore.

A Wishful Blossom

Chapter Seven – First: End.