Why do you hang out with a girl like me?

I memorized the Moon Social Link and it helped me write this little ditty. Yes, I used the word ditty. And it is not really a ditty. I just am tired right now.

I do not own Persona, SMT or anything of the sort.

I was only there because I had to be. I needed to be there because they made me. I, Ai Ebihara, was being forced to join something I did not want to do. What's new? So, I joined the basketball team as a manager. I was just some girl being forced to join because I missed too many classes, skipped too many days, arrived late one too many times. I had no intentions of ever showing up. I only showed up the first time, but I did not… I never would have met you.

I first saw you on the basketball court, standing there. You were only one of two who seemed to care. I needed to take care of that. You seemed far too serious. I wanted to see if I could crack that serious shell.

No matter what the club they forced me to join; I was still going to skip classes. I knew all the tricks in the book. I knew how not to get caught, how not to get in trouble. I was better than those foolish teachers and principal.

So, I approached you, you silver-haired boy. I asked you to join me on one of my escapades, my usual shopping trips. I actually did not expect for you to accept the offer. I mean, who would want to actually join me in one of trips away from school. Actually, who wouldn't?

I was the girl everyone wanted. I had the long, beautiful, strawberry-blond hair all done up in curls. It was so soft and silky that took me over an hour to get ready every year. I had just the right amount of makeup on, not too much, not too little. Though it took forever, it was what I did best. All the girls wished they looked as pretty as me.

Everyone thought I was the easiest girl to get, and they were all wrong. I would prove it to them all. I needed to show them. I needed to prove to them, to someone. To that, I needed the silver-haired boy to come with me to Okina.

He accepted my invitation… I had a feeling he would. Souji Seta would be my new bag carrier. I wondered if he would leave after one trip. Most of the boys I took did. They were usually ecstatic at first, but their enthusiasm soon faded. They just wish they had could have a good moment with me.

I visited him during lunch one day. I told him to come with me to Okina. I told him we'd back before the end of afternoon classes. He was such a goody goody. We set off right and made our way to the shops.

I visited one of the shops, and then another. It was so nice to be able to skip classes again. I bought some shoes, some purses, and some new clothes in general. Every time I bought something, I gave the bag to the silver-haired boy. Most of the ones I took there, once they figured out they wouldn't be getting anything out of it, just left. They would leave me with the job of carrying everything. But this boy, this boy… he carried all the bags no matter how much I bought. I took out my credit card to buy everything. This was the other thing that alienated all the other boys. Sure… I was rich, and that may have attracted some boys. But, we were new money. It was my money, no one else's. I was not going to let some boy take it away from her. When she told Souji, he didn't seem to mind or care.

I had to admit that it was actually fun to walk around the shopping area with him. He was a transfer student and he had stories to tell about the big city. He even told me if she wanted to skip classes, it was her choice. It was fine with him. He didn't run away, and I wanted to see he'd go shopping with me again. It would not have to be skipping. I knew how much he hated skipping classes.

He accepted to come along again. It was the first person to come along for a second time in well… forever. I wondered if this was some anomaly, this boy... Even though I meant to explain things to him and have a good time, she did not expect him to actually want to be there… or give a damn.

He patiently waited for her as I shopped at the fur outlet. It was completely unreasonable. And then… I couldn't even find something I wanted. That and they had nothing new in stock. The lady was such an annoyance, calling Souji, my boyfriend. It wasn't the worst thing to me, but still annoying.

For the first time in a long time at the store, Ai saw defiance in a boy's eyes. When she asked for something, Souji said get it yourself. It surprised her, but she did nothing. The grey-haired boy was far too interesting to leave behind. It was not like he was asking me out.

Souji listened to everything I had to say afterwards. He was nicer than any other guy, by far. I went on complaining about stupid shopkeepers and this boy kept on listening. I even made a crazy remark about putting clothes in vending machines. Of course, he had the nerve to agree with me. So I continued with my diatribe. I started sulking, but I felt a little better having that boy here. She felt almost like… he was a friend.

He joined me again… at my insistence in Okina City. I almost had to plead with him. He met me while I was sitting on the bench where we had chatted before. I was in no mood to buy anything today. He just said we should chill. It was kind of annoying because it seemed Souji had no real idea of what he wanted to do. Maybe it was because he was planning on going shopping with me. But… it was him. He'd make it interesting somehow. I wondered what it would be like if she never took the basketball managerial position. I would never have met him. It most respects, she felt like Souji was lucky to get her as a manager. But… then again, Souji was very interesting that he said he appreciated it.

They had the same advisor, and they were stuck together. Ai almost felt like she wanted to go cheer him on… that's if they ever got enough people to play a game.

Then, something came up that disgusted Ai. Some little prick came up to her, all stuttering and everything and tried to ask her out. I shot him down like it was nothing. The boy was ugly, that's all there was to it. That and he just came up to ask me out of the blue. What kind of person does that?

Then… Souji… the grey-haired boy rebuked me again! He told me that I could have at least talked to the kid. I told him that since he isn't attractive, he doesn't have a chance. It's not about personality, it's all about looks. You need a package deal with me. I shook my head at all of this. Why should I care? I lost any interest of being there, even with someone I started considering a friend. It was exhausting being around Souji. I didn't know why.

Something happened to me today while I was near the shoeboxes… It made me cry. I saw Souji and Kou talking to each other at the other side of the shoeboxes. It wasn't them that made me cry though. It was the others around them. Those boys… all of the other boys were such liars. They said I was on the prowl for boys. They said I was loose. They said I have a few boy toys at hand at all times. They even asked each other how much I cost! If I could… I would rip them apart. They kept talking about me. It was like I was a piece of meat that they could take away.

Suddenly, it stopped… Souji cut in with sharp words. He told them to stop. He did not believe I was loose. He did not see me as some sugary piece of ass. Kou cut in too. It was so sweet to hear both of them defend me. I never thought I would hear myself using that word to describe those two.

I was a mess. Even though Kou defended me, I couldn't let him see me like this. He was good looking, really good looking, and his family was rich too. Once Kou left, I had to go see the one person I could talk to and wouldn't ridicule me. I walked behind the shoeboxes to see Souji.

With his typical oblivious attitude, Souji asked if I had heard them. Of course I did. They were yelling. I would be surprised if there was anyone outside of Inaba that did not hear that these students thought I was some kind of… I don't know… Well, I tried to put on a brave face and tell him it did not bother me. I said that I expect it and that I don't care what they think. He knew I was lying about that. Souji always knew when I was lying. I still said thanks. It made me blush that he cared. Souji cared way too much.

I made him walk me home. Of course he came with me. Was it that I was always forcing him to? Maybe, I could ask him instead. But, why ask when I could tell him to do so. It was getting confusing.

I dragged him to the summer festival today. Well, I asked him instead of forcing him for once. We met at the Tatsuhime Shrine. It was pretty boring, but maybe it was going to be more interesting than I thought it would be. Maybe it was because he was there, was that why?

We went to make wishes at the shrine. I asked him what he was going to wish for. He said good grades, and I mocked him. He was so silly. I was wishing for Kou to like me. Souji was my friend, but Kou… Kou… I wanted him to like me.

We went to get apples next. I had been waiting a long time to get candied apples. Of course the guy at the stand made some snide remark about me. We got lottery tickets as well as the candy apples. I wanted prizes, so I bought plenty of apples. I bought plenty of every kind of food. I played every game to try and get all the tickets I could. I wanted a big prize. I ended up with some fifty tickets or so. Of course, I didn't want to draw fifty times. I made Souji do it. I told him to get the grand prize. He looked anxious. Guess what! Souji drew the grand prize. It was a damn bale of rice. Of course I did not want a bale of rice. It was too heavy. I took a coupon for the Shopping District instead. It was a much better prize. I gave one of the other prizes to Souji. It was some silly book. I hated reading.

I had fun that day and I told him as much. It was better than going with some boy who only wanted to be there to get lucky or something.

A little after the festival, I yanked Souji up to the rooftop. I needed him up on the rooftop right now. I was so screwed up inside right now. I thought about the time by the shoeboxes and the fact that I never really thanked him. Though saying thanks really would prove that it did affect me, I needed to thank him. I told him how messed up I was inside. I told him that my heart was beating faster all the time and that I can't sleep. That ever since that night… I told him that I thought I was in love. It was all so confusing. Kou… Kou was always on my thoughts and I told Souji. I wanted to know if Kou had a girlfriend. Souji was probably one of the few that might know. He was one of the few… probably the only one that would listen to me. I wondered, and I had to ask him if I was Kou's type, or if he thought I was "loose" too. Souji tried to cheer me up by telling me to have confidence. He's such a friend. I was trembling… I was not used to "being in love" at all. I have no idea on what to do here. I had turned to the only person I could trust… a boy named Souji Seta. He was just a grey-haired kid, a transfer student that does not judge me or care about any of my faults.

I pleaded with him… that I wanted him to ask Kou about me, about what type of girl he likes. He accepted, and a feather off of all the weight on my heart lifted.

I dragged Souji back to the rooftop a few days later. I wanted to know what he found out. It was late and the sun was setting. He told me that Kou liked "nice" girls. What the hell did that mean? "Nice" girls? Not being a cute… not beautiful girls? It was starting to scare me. Did he not like me? I was starting to panic. Every guy wants a pretty and cute girl, right? Those are the girls who find true love.

I got frustrated and just yelled at Souji to go ask him to see if Kou has a crush on anyone. I told him to hurry up and find out.

I heard Kou say Chie-san… Kou said he liked Chie-san… It broke my heart. It shattered into a million pieces. It was such a mistake to send him to talk to Kou. I was far prettier than Chie. I was far more attractive than her. I went back up to the rooftops and climbed up and over the fence. I couldn't take it anymore. Love… I never felt love like that for anyone else before, and he didn't like me. I hated it all. At this point, I hated everything. They could all go to hell.

I yelled at Souji to go away when he ran back to the rooftop. He must have known I was listening. I told him about every fault that Chie Satonaka had. She was just a silly tomboy that did not wear any makeup. For Kou to like that girl… it was pathetic. I'm pretty… I worked hard, why don't they like me? What's the point if a guy doesn't like me?

Souji told me to calm down, and to take a deep breath. I had barely noticed the tears that were running down my eyes the whole time. Souji reached out his hand and I took it. He helped me away from the edge of the roof and over to the side. He sat down by my side while I calmed down.

I decided I needed to tell someone how I used to be. I needed to tell someone why I changed. I explained to Souji that I used to be a chubby kid that fell down all the time. I knocked into things and basically made a fool of myself. My family was poor and I was bullied for what I wore, my weight, and being a klutz. How it hurt to bring up those memories. I tried to push those away, and hated to bring them up. The teasing was so painful, and I hated to think about it. Even boys I liked shied away from me because they were scared of my "pigginess". I told him that when we came into money we moved to Inaba. It was my chance to start over when we moved. I got into shape and read the fashion magazines. I became the "perfect" woman with the perfect smile. I should be able to catch any boy's eyes. I shook my head as I explained to him that when I really wanted to… I couldn't attract the guy I wanted to. It was pointless, all of it. There was no point in being pretty if you don't get anything out of it.

Will I ever be loved? I have no redeeming qualities, besides being pretty. Here he comes, of course, the silver-haired knight. He comforts me, by telling me that he just doesn't know you very well. He's so nice. Part of me feels that I should have fallen in love with him instead. But, I do not really care for him like that. I trust Souji with so much, but I don't love him. On the other hand, if I go out with him it may stir jealousy in Kou. Everyone likes Souji, including most of the girls in the 2nd year. That probably included Chie as well.

Souji shook his head and said no. I thought he was weird. Though, I almost come expect him to say no. I apologized to him. I needed to clear my head. I wonder if I should just go home and flop down on the bed.

I asked him nicely this time. I didn't drag him along. Still, I apologized for dragging him around to the rooftop. Of course he said he didn't mind. Figures… He really is a nice guy. I told him how I started thinking about all of my actions after I got back. The shopping sprees, the skipping classes, putting on nice clothes, the makeup; it was all to attract attention. The only confusing part to me was… why I could not stop talking to Souji. If I was not pretty, then what's the point? They hate people who aren't pretty, right? Maybe I'm wrong… I don't know everything yet.

I had been crying a lot recently, during all of this thinking. I had to make sure not to while I was talking to Souji. He had already seen me at my weakest.

I remember looking out at an open window and seeing the sunrise. The mix of colors with the stars still visible… I thought of Souji. I told him about all of this and that I don't know why I thought of him during this. He said because we're friends. I smiled. He was my only real friend. He was so weird, but I was glad I met him.

I came with Souji to the rooftops again. I had talked to Kou recently and I told Souji all about it. Nothing came of the conversation. I stopped feeling shaky and my heart stopped racing every time I saw him. I don't think I was in love with Kou Ichijo anymore. I told him it was a fleeting thing. Souji was his usual self, saying it was normal.

I had been lying to myself the whole time. I did what the "perfect girl" should do, but not what I should do. The perfect girl should like handsome men and rich boys instead of guys with great personalities. I realized this. I felt pretty good as a klutz though, and hiding this away from me was a mistake.

I started relaying to him about how I had hidden my true self away from everyone, including Souji. I was no saint when it came down to it, and the one person that would listen was listening to me. He patiently took in my every word. Only he would.

I left Souji as it got dark. Time had gone by so fast as I had spoken to him. I had no idea where it all went.

A few days later I had asked Souji to meet me by the shoe lockers to go to Okina. The fact that he accepted so readily made me kind of happy.

That bastard… he got there right when Souji did. It was this senior who knew me. I wanted nothing to do with him. He knew me, the old me. It was the "me" who always paid attention to every little detail. He was attractive, so I took him out, or gave him the illusion of such. Not anymore… I would never deal with him again. He had the nerve to ask me if I had changed for the worse. He said that Souji was just my new boy toy. He was a bastard! I yelled at him. We were not dating… He was my best friend… My only friend… I kept yelling at the senior. The senior was such an ass, and kept talking shit about how he could just pick me up again. He didn't know me anymore. The new me… He knew nothing!

The senior gave the shoddy and shallow idea that he was competing against Souji. He felt that he would be able to beat him easily. I just told him there never was anything between us. That frustrated him and he told me to come along. He was a bastard and I told him to forget it. That really pissed him off. He was so enamored with me before, while I cared about who looked good. Now, I wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole.

He threatened me… He said he'd hurt me… he and his friends would hurt me. I told him I didn't care about that crap. Threats are pointless to me. Still, I was scared of being hit by the senior as he came towards me. I did not expect Souji to jump in-between the two of us. The senior yelled at him that I was just playing him. He was so wrong… I would never make a fool out of Souji. He kept advancing towards Souji. I did not want Souji to get hurt, but he would take a blow for me. I didn't know what I was doing, but I jumped in front of Souji and took the blow for him. It stung like none other, but it felt right. I barely realized that I had yelled out in pain.

The senior told me that I got what I deserve, but right now I didn't care. I took the blow. Still, it stung… I asked him if I should have taken it. I should have expected something as silly as Souji thanking me for taking the blow for him. He was so silly, but so thoughtful.

It made me blush, his thoughtfulness. Souji cared so much. I told him it didn't matter, and that it was just something I did because I felt like doing. I don't really think far ahead anymore. Reflexes, I guess.

I thought about if my face would swell up. I laughed. I kept laughing. I decided that I still wanted to hang out with my best friend. It just made feel good to hang out with Souji.

I've been so confused. Why have I been so confused? I have been thinking about all the times I have hanged with my best friend and tried to tell myself that he is just a friend. Who could change me, make me feel good about being different, and not have me in fall in love? If I hadn't met Souji… then I probably would be still the same Ai who skips class, flirts with good-looking guys, and is a pompous jerk. Was it Kou who made my heart race, or was it Souji who was really making my heart race?

I had to tell him how I felt. I yanked his arm all the way up to the rooftop. Souji followed like he always does. He was rather cute when he does that. I told him that I had to tell him something. I really didn't want to tell him. Even though you know you need to tell someone, when you get there… you get so nervous. Souji waited patiently for me to find my words.

When I was finally able to talk, all the words came gushing out like a fountain. I was barely coherent as I tried to explain everything to him. I told him he was weird and I had no idea why he was hanging out with me. I was good-looking, but he never tried to date me. What was with that? He was just so nice. I told him that it was only natural that I'd fall in love with him.

I was waiting for Souji to reject me. He'd reject me just like Kou. I opened my heart to him just like I did to him, and it would be broken again.

My heart has been filled. It was filled with joy and happiness. He didn't reject me. I don't know why he would want to be with a girl like me. I didn't expect this at all.

I realized that I had liked Souji for a long time and when I asked him out right after Kou rejected me… telling me no was just letting me down easy. I just had to confess for real this time. Accepting me now was… making me so happy, exuberant really. Souji was the only one who didn't listen to all the nasty stuff about me, the terrible things people said, and those rumors people made up. Listening to them, it helped me so much.

I gave Souji a little compact that had a mirror on it. I told him that I used it, flipped it open to make sure I always looked perfect. I didn't need it anymore while I had him. Souji will be the one to make sure I'm perfect now. With Souji, I can't lie to myself anymore. He'll be there for me.

"Thank you," I told him.

I choked up at this point. "I… I… I love you," I finally told Souji.

I rested my head on his shoulder as my placed my arms around him. As I thought about it, he was rather good looking. Not that that mattered anymore.

All of that started because I joined the basketball team as their manager. Skipping class has its benefits, after all.

Well… I refused to really put in conversational pieces because I didn't want to. I didn't want to put in the Christmas scenes because it technically didn't fit with what I wanted to do. I thought this would be amusing, and I hope you enjoyed the show. Feel free to read any of my other stories.

P.S. If you see some glaring error that basically ruins the integrity of the story, I can try and fix it. As long as it is not, "Why did you write something this terrible! Destroy and erase it now!"