Disclaimer: I don't own Lovely Complex.
A/N: Once again, I'm sorry for the update delay! I had to stop writing so that I could finish my last year of high school and graduate with flying colours. I'm happy to say I got into a fantastic university, and that I'm going to finish this fic before classes begin once again. Thank you all for being patient with me, since I know how frustrating it is to read a fanfic that updates rarely. Thanks to all who read, faved, alerted, and reviewed! I hope you enjoy this chapter. And trust me, I'm going to finish this story. :)
It's Best After the Worst
Although Risa had no idea of Otani's intentions, she knew it was something that would take a huge impact in her life. Why in the world would he reveal his plans to Heikichi and Suzuki and demand them to keep it a secret to their sweethearts? He wasn't that stupid to do that, because he knew that both of his best friends would eventually tell their respective sweethearts. It would take a huge ordeal for him to tell them in this situation.
She often checked up on her best friends, asking subtly if they had news about Otani and a secret. They both gave her the same answer – a big, fat no.
"Why? Do you suspect something again, Risa?" Nobuko asked. Risa had to cover her phone when Nobuko started yelling a string of insults against Otani again. Luckily, Chiharu was kind enough to reassure Risa that she would tell her if Suzuki knows Otani's fishy secret.
A week quickly flew by, making Risa feel even more anxious as the days gave her neutrality in terms of luck and happiness. Otani proved his promise to bring her home, and he occasionally brought her to different places for a date or two.
The man was still busy though, often bringing home a lot of papers to check and lesson plans to study. Risa knew how valuable work was to her boyfriend, yet she felt it burdened him with enough thoughts to overshadow the idea of her birthday coming up.
"Risa-chan, I'm sure Otani won't forget your birthday, Chiharu convinced with a smile. It was a day before Risa's birthday, and the three women decided to spend it together since Nobuko and Chiharu knew Otani wanted Risa for himself on her special day. Nobuko had prepared a variety of sweet delicacies that would definitely induce diabetes if served at a great amount.
"He better not," Nobuko snarled. "Or I'll hang him."
Chiharu looked at her in horror. "Nobu-chan! That's scary!"
"Yes, it is, so that chibi idiot must rethink his priorities," Nobuko replied with a sly smile. Risa simply shrugged.
"I don't mind that he's busying himself with work. I'm sure he's not that stupid," she reasoned, though the memory of Otani forgetting her birthday in the past contradicted the statement. Risa tried to shake the thought off, but the memory was still clear as crystal in her mind, taunting her.
"Let's not talk about that anymore, please," Chiharu whispered. "Nobu-chan, your cake is delicious! Can I order one for Suzuki-kun?"
Nobuko grinned and nodded. "Of course! I'll give a discount if you buy two!"
"How about three?" Risa chirped.
She relaxed with her friend's hearty laugh. "Stop joking, All Hanshin. It's your birthday, so you're going to get a lot of sweets!"
Though Risa was joyful with that, she felt very timid of Nobuko's idea of 'many,' and finally knew her instinct was right when she was given six boxes filled with assorted sweets. She was thankful, yes, and even hugged Nobuko tightly out of pure appreciation, but she had a very hard time carrying it. She placed the boxes on the table and went outside the sweet shop to check if Otani has arrived already. Risa knew how impatient Otani was whenever he texted her to get ready before he arrived.
And her intuition was right. Otani was outside, tapping the car's steering wheel with his index finger. Risa quickly ran in to get the boxes, kissed her friends on the cheek and thanked them, and ran outside. Otani saw how troubled she was carrying a bunch of boxes, so he left the car and opened the door for her.
"Thank you, Otani," Risa told him sweetly as she entered the car. Otani simply nodded before entering the car.
"What's up with the boxes?" he asked.
"Nobu-chan wanted to give us some treats to celebrate," she answered with a smile. Otani mouthed an 'oh' and laughed.
"Very clever of her! So she wants us to bring that to the reunion tomorrow, eh?"
"We're going to have a reunion tomorrow, dummy," Otani informed. "I forgot to tell you."
"So we're going to celebrate two things tomorrow?" she asked.
"Huh? There's something else to celebrate tomorrow?"
So much for believing in Otani. She sulked the entire evening, wondering if Otani was simply faking ignorance because he planned to surprise her.
He didn't have to go that far. Sometimes, he just couldn't realize how easy he could make Risa's heart ache.
Please don't forget my birthday again, Otani.