A/N: God, this chapter is stupid. I was in another sappy mood, and I read chapter 36 of Strobe Edge, so I was sadddd.

Sorry if people are OOC, and my writing is also stupid.

If you can't handle the bad… sappiness, don't read.

There's a time jump in here, because this way it won't move TOO fast. I was gonna break this up into a couple chapters, but I started having fun XD.

Takumi was late for the movie on Saturday.

"…We're going to miss the beginning if he doesn't show up soon." Midori said. I nodded, biting my lip. I wonder if something happened…

"I'll try calling him again." I said, dialing Takumi's number. Midori collapsed onto a nearby bench and drummed her fingers on her lap.

Takumi's voice mail picked up, and I left one last message. "I guess we can go."

"M'kay." Said Midori as she rose. She linked arms with me and we walked into the theatre.

"I didn't burn anything!" My aunt said as soon as I walked into the house.

"Good!" I kicked off my shoes and walked into the kitchen. "I'll make dinner after I change. Midori and I walked around after the movie… remind me to get better walking shoes."

"We can get some tomorrow."

"Alright." I said, tenderly walking upstairs. My feet ached with each step, and upon reaching my room I collapsed on my bed. I pulled on a loose shirt and a comfortable pair of pants. I was just heading back downstairs when my cell phone rang. Takumi's name appeared on the screen.

"Hi! What happened?" I said.

"…Sorry I missed the movie." His voice sounded strangely hollow, and I didn't have the heart to be mad at him.

"What happened?"

"I'll tell you later. I just wanted to apologize and let you know that I probably won't be at school for a while."

"Ah,"

"Do you want to come over next Saturday?"

"Sure." I sighed. He better have a good reason.

"Did you forget about me?" I heard a girl's voice say.

"…I'll let you go, you're obviously busy." I said. "I'll see you Saturday, bye." I hung up, and continued downstairs.

"…Are you okay?" My aunt said, after we had finished dinner. We were sitting in the living room, playing cards.

"Mmm." I said.

"…Do you want to talk about it?"

"What?"

"About why you're murdering that card?" She pointed to the twisted and bent card I held.

"Oh. I'm just worried, and kind of pissed off." I dropped the card and hopped onto the couch. "Takumi didn't show up for the movie on Saturday, and I just wished he would've called. And he sounded really hollow when I talked to him, so I hope he's okay. But something obviously came up, and he did apologize…so… I feel like I shouldn't really be angry about it, before hearing the whole story. And at least he invited me over on Saturday, so it's not like he's completely brushing me off."

"Did he call you?"

"Yeah."

"You weren't in your room for very long, why did you hang up so fast? You usually talk to him for a while before dinner."

"He was with a girl."

"…You're this upset over a movie?"

"Well, it was inconsiderate!"

"Are you sure there isn't anything else?" She had this weird… smile on her face. I raised my eyebrows.

"Uh, like what?"

"Liiiiike…" She wiggled her eyebrows and I laughed.

"You're acting like Midori. What?"

"Like you're jealous?" I gaped at her.

"I've known the boy for a week!"

"Crushes don't take long to develop. I'm not saying you have to marry him."

"I'm not jealous…. Girls really get jealous that fast?"

"Uh-huh."

"Isn't that kind of… shallow? I mean, for barely knowing someone?"

"They're not in love, it's just a crush, nothing serious. Like how you have crushes on manga characters."

"Hmph. Now I feel like a whore, thanks."

Andou

"Bye." The girl said, giving me one last kiss. I closed the door and threw on a pair of jeans. I doubted Ame would mind the mess.

I was just reaching for a shirt when the doorbell rang. I opened it and found Ame. She was pouting and carrying a thick packet of papers and wearing a sweater that looked way too big for her. Her dark frizzy hair was tied up in a long braid.

"…Skinny aren't you? Here." She tossed me the packet. "This is homework, and stuff that's gonna be on the test."

"…Ugh." I said, tossing the papers aside and pulling on a shirt. Ame plopped on the floor, fiddling with the sleeve of her sweatshirt. She was frowning at the floor, as if she was trying to figure out a math problem.

"So…what happened?" She said, suddenly looking up. I sat next to her and started sifting through the papers, explaining what had happened Saturday night.

"…Didn't want her to see me like that, so I left on my own."

"And you're sure your bruises are healed?"

"Yup."

"Alright." She narrowed her eyes at me, as if she was looking for something.

"…What?"

"…Nothin'." Ame said, clearly lying.

"Come onnn, what is it?" I said, shoving her shoulder lightly. "You haven't laughed this whole time, it's weird." I made a silly face at her, and she laughed.

That's weird… This week, when I was with girls, I easily faked smiling and laughing. But with Ame it felt more genuine, like I was just me, and I didn't have Ninako or Ren to worry about.

It was nice.

Ame

I reviewed everything with Andou for the rest of the day, and made sure to tell him to do his homework. I tried to be aware of how I felt, to see if I really did have a crush on him.

But nothing seemed different—I didn't feel nervous at all, and I was… just having fun.

He returned to school three days later, looking a little better.

I didn't have time to see him very much during the following week, between hanging out with Midori, drawing more designs, and schoolwork. We still chatted over the phone, and that was fun.

The weekend finally arrived and I was able to finish all of my homework on Saturday. On Sunday, my aunt had to work, so I had the house to myself. I had just finished breakfast when someone knocked on the door. I put down my sketchbook and went to open the door.

"…Hey." Takumi said. "Can I come in?"

"Yeah." I closed the door behind him, and we went to the living room. Takumi sat on the floor, pulling his knees to his chest and dropping his head on them. I plopped next to him, nudging his shoulder.

Andou

Ame nudged my shoulder. "You okay?" I shook my head. "…Well, I'm here whenever you're ready to talk."

"Can we do what we did last time?"

"Sure. Um… Cats freak me out."

"Why?"

"I think they're gonna slash my eyes out." I smiled.

"I still love her." I bit my lip, wondering if I could continue without crying. I felt Ame's small hand in mine, her fingers rough from kendo practice. "I'm glad she's with the guy she truly likes, though."

Ame

I sighed and rubbed Takumi's back. Poor thing… I listened as he continued to speak, telling me in more detail.

After he was finished, I stayed quiet, and just held his hand.

"Alright." I said after a few moments. "Let's go." I tugged him up and started pushing him out the door.

"Wait—what?"

"We," I said, successfully shoving him out the door and locking it. "Are going to the park. Or somewhere."

"Ame, I'm really not—"

"I know you're hurt, but trust me—this is the best thing to do. If you just continue to focus on it, it's only going to get worse. You've had several days, right?"

"Yes bu—"

"I'm not saying you have to completely move on from it, but sometimes it's nice to have a break." I looked up at him. "If you really don't want to, I won't force you."

Andou

I ran a hand through my hair, debating. Ame's dark eyes were staring up at me, as if she could convince me to go. She was wearing the same sweater as last Saturday, the one that was way too big.

"…You look like you're trying to control my mind."

"What do you mean trying? I am." She grinned and lightly hit me with one of her sleeves. Before I could reply, she ran away.

"Oiiiii!" I yelled, sprinting after her. Her loud laugh echoed through the streets as I chased her to the park.

She immediately scampered onto the playground, and we had fun climbing over it for half an hour. Ame slid down the wide slide, and I slid down next to her.

"I bet I can climb up faster than you." She chirped.

"Pshh." I said, and we commenced to race.

"Ummm…Takumi?" A voice said. I glanced over my shoulder, losing my grip on the slide and sliding down.

"Mao?"

Ame

A pretty girl was standing next to the slide. She didn't look happy about me being there, and she looked... almost determined.

Wasn't very hard to guess what she was so determined about.

"Well, I should be getting home. See you!" I said, sliding down the slide and starting to walk away.

"But Ame—" Takumi started.

"Have fun!" I called over my shoulder. I smiled, looking forward to a nice snack when I got home.

Takumi called me that night and explained to me who Mao was.

"Ohhh, I see. Well, when you're ready, you should give her a chance." I said. "Did you talk with her at all today?"

"A bit."

"Good!"

"Hmmph."

"I'll see you at school, okay?"

"Alright."

"Bye!" We hung up, and I snuggled under the covers of my bed. I pulled out my sketchbook and started doodling.

Six months soon passed, and everything started getting better. Midori found a new boyfriend, who was very nice. We all hung out together after school, and I never felt like a third-wheel. I started teaching my aunt how to draw, only because her failed attempts were extremely amusing. Takumi and I made it a regular thing to go to the park on Sundays, which was super fun. Sometimes we raced each other (and let me tell you, seeing whoever can drink a soda the fastest is not a good idea) and other times we laid on the grass and talked.

He still loved Ninako (he had pointed her and Ren out to me at school) but had started spending more time with Mao. Soon, he started talking less about how much he loved Ninako, and more about Mao, then about how nice Mao was, then about how cute she was and…

Yeah, you get the picture.

To be honest, it was getting a little boring—talking about Mao—but I definitely preferred a happy Takumi to a depressed one.

"…What's with you?" My aunt said one Sunday afternoon. I had just gotten back from the park, where Takumi had spent the entire time talking about Mao. We hadn't invented any competitions at all, but instead planned how he was going to confess to her again. Personally, I don't see why we needed to plan since she already liked him, but he seemed to enjoy it.

I sat in a kitchen chair and started eating.

"Mmmph."

"You're acting weird. Did you even notice that what you're eating is something I made?"

"I don't really care."

"Ammmeeee," she sat next to me and poked my nose. "Why are you so sad?"

"I'm not sad."

"Um, yeah, you are. You're crying." She touched my face and held up her finger, which had a drop on it.

"Huh?" I said, brushing a hand across my face. My cheeks were wet. "Uh… I don't know, hormones?"

"Did something happen?"

"It was boring today."

"But you always have fun with Takumi!"

"We didn't compete at all."

"So you're crying?"

"I guess." I sighed. "I don't know, usually I don't mind too much talking about Mao, even if there are days when we don't have any competitions. I mean, we talk about other stuff during the week, so he's really not that bad."

"Ooooh, I see." She said, draping an arm around my shoulders. "It's alright, dear."

"Huhh?"

"It's always hard the first time."

"Okay, seriously, where are you going with this? I'm not even crying anymore."

"…How could I have raised such a stupid niece?"

"Are you implying what I think you're implying?"

"That you're in love with Takumi and very hurt? Then yes."

"I am not!"

"I think you are, dear."

"I've only known him for—for—" I faltered.

"Not going to work this time! Six months!"

"Yeah, but—"

"I have a test!"

"Oh boy, this should be good."

"Tell me what you like about Midori."

"Personality or how she looks?"

"Both."

"Alright, uhh…. She's always really nice to me, and she makes me laugh. Her hands are pretty. She always looks at my designs, even if I've only changed them a little. And she has really pretty hair and a contagious smile. And er…. Yeah, other stuff."

"Now tell me about Takumi."

"Let's see umm…" I bit my lip and took another bite of… the food had been burned beyond recognition. "He's sincere about everything he does, he put himself before Ninako… um… He's really easy to talk to, I can say almost anything and he doesn't get annoyed, he's super sweet and funny, I'm never nervous around him. Uhhh…" I drummed my fingers on the table. "There's probably more, I just can't think of an—"

"HA! I was right!" She actually pumped her fist into the air.

"What?"

"You mentioned absolutely nothing about how he looks."

"And?"

"Which means you really like him as a person."

"…Couldn't that just mean that I don't focus on how he looks?"

"Shush, I'm right. If you were just friends, you wouldn't have cried when he was talking about another girl."

"Whatever, I'm going to bed." I dropped my empty bowl in the sink and went to my room.

I was planning to draw some new designs, so I put on some music and commenced to space out. About a minute later I glanced down at what I had drawn and jumped.

It was a rough sketch of slide, like the one at the park I went to with Takumi. I flipped to a new page and started to draw again.

A soda can.

New page.

A cloud.

Okay, this was getting freaky.

…But I guess it meant I really did love Takumi, huh?

Wooow, this sucks. I set my sketchbook down and couldn't help but laugh at how stupid I was. I hadn't cried today because I was disappointed about not competing with Takumi, but because I realized he didn't love me.

"You idiot." I sighed and leaned against my pillows. I suppose he would've still thought of me as just a friend, even if I had realized it and confessed.

"Ame?" My aunt said from outside my door. I heard her footsteps approach the bed, and it sagged when she sat on it. "Oh, dear, I'm sorry." Her cool hand brushed my hair back from my forehead. "But it'll be okay."

"I feel stupid. This is ridiculous." I sniffed.

"You're not—okay, yeah, you are stupid. But this doesn't mean you're completely obsessed over him like the girls you see at school, this is normal." I laughed and sat up.

"I think I'm going to tell him."

"Really?"

"Yeah, I want to be honest. I mean I'm not going to ask him out, I just feel like I should tell him. It'll be easier to move on, you know?"

"So you think after you tell him, everything will be alright?"

"No, but won't it be easier? He'll go out with Mao, and I can see that and think 'Oh, all right. Time to move on.'"

"Dear, it doesn't really work that way."

"I know I won't be able to move on immediately, and it's going to hurt—but I don't want to keep secrets."

"…Isn't it kind of late?"

"Nah, he'll be up." I wiped my eyes firmly and pulled on my favorite huge sweater. As I walked to Takumi's house, I typed a quick text: Can I come over?

He responded when I was a block away: Yes.

Ame, you cannot cry. It's going to make him feel bad. No crying.

"Hey, I'll be quick." I said when he opened the door.

"Why aren't you coming in?"

"No need, seriously, this will just take a minute. Umm…" I took several deep breaths and looked up at him.

Andou

Ame's eyes were red and a little swollen. Her long hair flowed in a wavy tangled mass down her shoulders.

For some reason, she looked especially tiny in her sweater tonight.

"Umm…" Her dark gaze held mine, and her fists were balled up. "I know that—that you love Mao, and er… I really do hope everything works out with you and her, but um…" She stopped and rubbed a hand over her eyes. "I just want to—to—be honest with you, because you're really sweet and fun to be with, and um… I don't want anything to change between us, so that's why I'm telling you this. Um…" A few tears trickled down her face, and she quickly wiped them away. I blinked, I hadn't ever seen her cry before, and it felt… wrong, somehow. She always seemed like someone who never cried.

And for some reason, seeing her little face crumple like that made me sad, too.

"Ame—"

"No, wait, let me finish. Er…" On impulse, I reached out and took her hand, like a big brother would. "I… I…"

A few more tears escaped and this time she didn't brush them away. "I… love… you." She sniffled and hiccupped, but she didn't look away from me. I really should have seen this coming earlier, but the idea of Ame loving me just seemed so… so… impossible that I hadn't thought of it. "S—sorry, I was trying not to cry. I know it seems stupid, telling you this, and I s—still just want to be f—friends. But now I can move on, better, I—I hope."

"Ame, I'm sorry." I pulled her into a hug, patting her back as she cried. "You're one of my best friends, though."

"Th—thanks. You're one of mine, too."

Ame

Stuuupid, you weren't supposed to cry! I was able to compose myself quickly, and when I did I stepped back, although it felt nice hugging him.

"So, you're going to ask Mao tomorrow, right?"

"Ame, we don't have to talk about this."

"No, it's okay. I don't want you to act any different, alright?" He still looked doubtful. "You hear me?"

"Okaaay."

"Good." I shoved his shoulder teasingly. "You better tell me all about it after you ask her."

"Of course." I managed to smile, waving to him as I walked into the night.

PREVIEW!:

"Ame, would you come down here?"

"Yeah!" I hopped off my bed and walked into the living room. "What is it?"

"Dear, I just got off the phone with a local orphanage. The one you stayed at before they'd let me adopt you."

"Oh, well, what is it?"

"They think they might have found your parents, but they need a DNA test to be sure."

A/N: This wasn't edited at all, because I'm lazy like that. Pllleeaaseee reviewwwwwww!

I'll probably update pretty soon, I'm into this story, haha!