A/N: Okay this is like now probably the finalized edited version of chapter 1 . So much editing... =.= Anyways to those who are new: welcome! And to those who aren't: welcome back! First fanfic, first chapter, 100th time editing it...Anyways, story go go go!
Chapter 1: Willow
I love him. Not only are my feelings real but they're serious. Yet this one sided love is fated to be a forsaken one and I know nothing will be able to change its fate.
"Can I... hold you?" His husky voice resonated right through my entire body as the intentions of his words left me speechless. My mind went completely blank, but the only thing that knew exactly what it wanted was my heart.
Thinking back, this moment was probably the happiest and most regrettable memory of my life. If only I knew what this relationship would later become, I wouldn't have been in this situation. But even if I had known the truth, I wouldn't have minded because the feelings that were occupying my heart at this very moment were filled with innocent and naive thoughts, blinded by illusions of happiness as I burnt in a fire of emotions. That's why the moment I replied to his question, I thought I would lead a life filled with happiness until the end of my days.
Although the present me knew this would never come true.
While his feelings hung there, I watched my hands tremble over his shoulder as it gripped the white clothe covering senpai's skin. Taking one last shaky breathe, my voice barely a whisper, I gave him my answer.
That night was the first time I've ever done something so embarrassing in my entire life. The mere thought of last night's events left me thinking it was really all just a dream. Luckily for me it wasn't; it was all real. With just that, I couldn't help but feel blessed to be able to make love with my unrequited crush; with Saga-senpai. My mind was flustered but my heart was overflowing with happiness.
However, I could do without the waves of exhaustion and the excruciating pain that washed over me the next day. Walking around was difficult enough, but I was also suffering from a headache. Even my joints were aching and I just wanted to go home and collapse in my bed. If I had to face senpai right now, under these circumstances, I would've died from the shame of our actions last night, so instead of going to library like always, I went straight home.
Entering into a private residential area, I went through the gate with the plate that read "Onodera." I was greeted by the modern Georgian house that I called home. Although the size of the house wouldn't be considered normal, most of it was filled with books due to my father's job. Running the successful publishing company called Onodera Publication, my current love for literature was due to my father's influence from a young age. My parents are the poster people of stereotypical parents; kind and caring. But with the fact that we run a successful business that bears responsible for hundred or thousands of workers there, I felt the pressure as their only son and heir to the company. I felt overwhelmed and burdened by it all; especially with having a fiancée while I was in love with Saga-senpai. Although my fiancée had confessed she had feelings for me, I owed her the truth, the truth about my own feelings, leaving out the fact that the person I was in love with was a guy. But even after this mess was cleared up, nothing changed between our engagement as our parents had control over the whole thing. Even though I pitied her that she held feelings towards such a worthless man, I knew my feelings would never change.
As I walked into the familiar building, I noticed both father and mother were waiting for me in the living room.
"Oh. Ritsu, you're home early." The petite woman, who I call mother, greeted me, placing her cup of sencha tea on to the glass coffee table before her. "Come here dear. We need to discuss your future plans about studying abroad."
The topic of studying aboard was one of the few topics that left me agitated over my parent's control over my life. These times I felt like a bird trapped in a cage, a puppet being pulled by the strings of status and power. For once I wished they would give me the freedom of choosing where I wanted to study and who I want to love. To ask me to study abroad, when I was finally together with Saga-senpai left me devastated about the thought of leaving him for who knows how long. "Okaa-san, I thought I already told you, I don't want to go!"
"What are you saying now? You know your father had already planned to have you study in America when you turn 15." She motioned me to sit down as I dragged my feet over.
My father, who had been silent as he read his book, finally took a moment to look up at me. "Ritsu, I know this is a lot to ask for, going to a foreign place but I need you to get your act together as the heir of Onodera Publication." It wasn't the first time I heard the "heir" speech. Believe me, it always comes up when the topic is about An-chan (my fiancée) and I and how we need an offspring to continue the Onodera legacy.
"I'm tired. Can we talk about this another time?" I was at the limit of exhaustion and stress; there was no more room to add on to it, especially more family issues.
"Honey, you look kind of pale, are you not feeling well?" My mom's voice asked genuinely concerned.
"Just a slight headache; I think I just need to rest a bit. Excuse me."
Before they could even let out another word about studying aboard or my headache, I scurried away to the spiral stairs and into my bedroom. Peace and quiet welcomed me who had already collapsed onto the bed.
Studying aboard...How can I leave now, when senpai and I finally d-did THAT! My thoughts suddenly turned back to the memories of that night. Scarlet red replaced the pale face my mom described me having as figments of senpai's passionate eyes filled my mind.
"...I love you," was what I thought I heard senpai whisper before I fell into a state of unconsciousness last night, and again now.
"We are going out, right?" Again, I had come to the familiar but empty house of Saga-senpai's. Again, we made love, more stimulating and more passionate then the first. My heart was on fire and the idea that we hadn't confirmed our relationship yet had been pestering me for some while.
"Because senpai, you never say anything." Embarrassed by his confused reply, my face flushed crimson red. "Saga-senpai, do you... do you love me?" Anticipating his answer, my heart was beating as fast as a wolf going for the kill.
...! He laughed at me! What? Why! Could it be...he was just playing with me! Reality hit me like a bullet train. All this time, the memories that I kept so dear for these last couple of weeks, were all lies; lies that were skillfully played out with me in the palm of his hand. To him, this must have just been an amusing game of tag, watching me running in circles after him when he himself wasn't running at all.
Humiliation washed over me as I struck senpai from behind. In the process of escaping, tears trailed down my face making everything a cloudy blur. I ran as fast as I could and not once looking back― I wasn't able to see Saga-senpai run out and call out for me. His voice was muffled by the distance and the wind that carried my name further away from my ears'.
Maybe it was because of all the running and tears, but when I entered my house, a rush of nausea and dizziness swept over me clouded my vision. Dizziness tripped me as I found myself lying face flat on the floor. The sound of briskly rushed footsteps found their way to my ears, concern filling the air.
"Ritsu... Ritsu... Ritsu," I could hardly make out the voices yelling my name. When I tried to open my eyes, I could only focus on my body's rising temperature, heating up as if I was lying under a scorching sun. I felt the drench clothes that covered me and my sweat, run along my neck. It wasn't the first time this has happened; occasionally, I would sweat like crazy when it wasn't even hot in the room. At first my parents fret over it but I would tell them it was nothing, settling their minds for a while until another attack like this came again. I wanted to say it was fine, that everything will be back to normal, but this time I was scared; it had never been this bad before.
Before I blacked out, I could briefly recall my father yelling at someone to call 119, my mother calling out for me to stay awake, and me calling out for senpai in the darkness as I was transported into the hospital.
Leukemia: "a disease concerning the bone marrow and other blood-forming organs in which that they produce more immature or abnormal leukocytes than normal blood cells," is what the dictionary defines it. But the only meaning that rang through my mind after hearing that word coming from the doctor's lips was death.
"Your son has leukemia." Blunt and straightforward was how the doctor gave the diagnosis as he watched the reactions of the Onodera Family. The scary thing about doctors is that they don't hesitate and get straight to the point without batting an eye, and there were no exceptions given to this case. "It has developed into a stage in which our hospital- or any hospital in Japan- can't cure. The only technology that seems suitable to take care of it is in a hospital located near Los Angeles, California. But even in a best case scenario, your son may only live into his late-20s, give-or-take a few years. At the most, he'll live until he's 27."
"He's going to die? Isn't there anything you can do to cure him?" Forgetting his own position, I watched my father break down as his voice rose up at the doctor.
"We usually recommend a bone marrow transplant but as he has no relatives other then yourselves, we couldn't find any suitable match that fits Onodera-kun."
At this point, my mother had broken down into a hysteric mess as my dad tried his best not to beat up the doctor who was just doing his job. And all I did was sit there, blankly looking out the window, lifelessly watching the willow tree rustling against the wind. Looking at my reflection in the window, I saw a pale fragile boy with lifeless olive green eyes that resembled the man standing behind him. That moment I knew that the happiness of the last couple of days had abandoned me like everything else.
Every step my mother took towards me was like a knife piercing through my heart. Tears started falling and the pained face worn by my mother made me feel apologetic for all the pain I was causing them.
"Ritsu," her voice barely a whisper, "please, for the sake of your health, and for us, go to America."
The decision I made in the past about not going to America was now void to both my parents and to myself. It wasn't a matter of my education now; it was my life on the line. I owed it to my parents, who gave me life, to try to strive for it. And, under all these circumstances, it was a great opportunity to get away from the drama... and Saga-senpai.
Plastering a fake smile to cover all my pain and sadness, I could only manage a simple "Okay."
Dear whoever finds this letter:
I have decided to write letters for the remaining years of my life I have left. Although it may be sudden, by the time you read this letter, I will probably be gone from this world as I know these letters would never be in the hands of someone else if I was alive.
These letters, of which I will write more in the future, will probably act as a will or something of the sort. Right now, I am currently a 15 year old boy faced with cancer. It has been a month since I found out I had chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a month since I arrived in a hospital in America, and a month since I broke up with my first love, Saga-senpai, a man. Even though we were together for a short time, my feelings were serious; after all, I had been in an unrequited love for him for 3 years. But they were all in vain.
Although my feelings were torn apart by him, my heart still yearns for him and my mind still refuses to accept the truth. That's why, I'll forget him. The memories we once shared shall be buried in the back of my head and deep within my heart until I can no longer remember the feelings of love or pain. That's why, I swear, I'll never fall in love again.
So my friend and I fixed my chapter up a bit and hopefully its better compared to before. Thanks to my friend who is helping me edit my chapters and to the new peoples, I'm jumping 10 years later in the next chapter to the time when Ritsu is working at Marukawa. Anyways I'll see you guys next time. Bye~Bye! ^^