Do you love me?

A short story by Keiko Oda

Author's Note:

It's been awhile since I wrote in this website. If it weren't for the surprising IM pop-up of Kate Dominique, a good friend back in the Gakuen Alice community (If you're reading this, THANK YOU SO MUCH), I highly doubt that my name would stream the story feed today. I'm really sorry if I owe everybody a lot of updates (My last one was in 2009!). I'm really occupied with the workload in school, plus I have a lot of extra-curriculars and responsibilities to prioritize. I was forced to let go of my life in but I hope my readers haven't forgotten me. If you want to get to know me all over again, I'll be updating my profile and I'll be accepting contacts on Facebook just as long as I knew you previously. I missed you all, and even though my writing style has changed over the years, I hope you like this story nonetheless.

WARNING: OOCness

Everything except the names of the characters belongs to me. :-) So no plagiarizing or I'll find you!

"Do you love me?"

He often asked her this. Not because he doubted it. But because he loved the sour look on her face – lips curved into a grimace with a nose scrunched up with three tiny crinkles in between spiteful eyes and knitted brows – whenever he asked such a ridiculous question. She would then twist her hair to her shoulder, as she looked amusingly at his cheeky smirk before replying that she did, roll her eyes, and then brusquely tell him that if he asked her such a stupid question another time (a demand which he over and over again disobeyed when he'd phone her after a few hours and ask her the same thing) she would be the culprit of his death.

He knew she did not mean it for she loved him through the little surprises he expected every month – the ones with her neat, miniscule cursive scribed on a pastel coloured index card saying otherwise, atop a red box with a slice of cherry pie inside. In essence, it was not his favourite ("Frankly, I like apple better. But I guess you're okay"), but he secretly held onto the sentimental reason that it was because of a clumsy spillage on her sweater that resulted in an exchange of phone numbers and ice cream.

"Give me your hand!" she said, lifting her pen.

He examined her tight little body and decided it would be okay, though "I will not give you my hand"

He loved Mikan's – that was her name – twitchy personality. Though he found hilarity, he likewise found humiliation in her one-dimensional wit and rather blithe character, especially when he was his friends ("Mikan, would you please, please, PLEASE, shut the hell up?"), which therefore had her poking at his chest, accusing that he was ashamed of her and storming out the room. But he knew that she wished for him to come running out the door and acerbically telling her that he loved her even if she was a shallow brat, which he did, followed up by a bouquet of flowers the next day or a late night phone call with the muffled sound of her grandpa throwing threats at her ("It's three in the goddamn morning! Get off the phone or I'll cut off the line!")

But he, in his snide, cocky remarks and arrogant facade, hardly reciprocated cheesy verbose and therefore, stood nonchalantly in their relationship. Only once in awhile would he make the effort in buying her gifts or explicitly announcing romance. Nevertheless, he undeniably, unconditionally and irrevocably adored her. But she wanted a story of Romeo and Juliet, or Cleopatra and Antony (She cried in a lot of sappy movies while he finished the buttered popcorn) – and he was there, trying not to meet her gaze across the classroom even if he was dying to.

"Do you love me?" he still asked her, five months into their relationship, as they held hands in an empty parking lot.

"Why do you keep asking me that? Of course I do," she said dubiously.

But when she stopped the sweethearts and babys, and started seeing more of her friends during weekends ("I really miss Hotaru, okay?" her voice was quiet on the phone), not finishing the cherry pie during recess, and responding to the kisses on her shoulders, he knew something was terribly wrong. He did not mention it. He silently watched her not watch him any longer.

"Bitch! Why aren't you replying to my text messages?" he shouted, genuinely hurt, once when she walked into the classroom.

They ate together every lunch time, a few metres from the faculty room, where they often laughed at the sound of Narumi's singing.

She handed him the cherry pie.

"Eight months," she said, smiling at him. He smirked at her and kissed her. She brushed the black hair out of his face and remarked that he needed a haircut. He opened the box and took a slice.

"Do you love me?" It was her who asked this time.

He turned to her, hearing the humanity in her voice.

"What?"

"Do you love me?"

He realized that he had hurt her.

"Yeah...yeah, of course I do" Though never plainly telling her, he replied.

She avoided his stare as she looked down at the box of cherry pie, took a piece and thought that it was absolutely tasteless.