The right words. Confusion
"… You'll always be my best friend."
And it was true. Ritsu would always be Mio's best friend. No one else.
So then… why did it feel like she had just said something filthy?
Why did it feel so wrong saying that?
Mio was confused. It gave her this… this… painful feeling. Like that feeling you get when you lose something dear to you. She felt like that time her Mommy took her bass for maintenance without telling her and she thought someone stole it. No wait, this was ten times worse.
Somehow she felt her eyes tearing up. She didn't want to alarm Ritsu so she tried to fight them back, but she felt something on her head. Some sort of watery substance?
Is she crying? Why would she be crying? Did I say something wrong?
She didn't have time to ponder on that, because she was suddenly pulled out of the warmness that was Ritsu's wonderful and comfortable embrace. She was really glad to have such a great friend beside her.
"I don't know what I would do without you, Ritsu…" Mio smiled while looking into a pair of beautiful honey colored eyes.
"Yeah… Me too…" Mio could detect the sincerity in her voice, but deep down she felt a certain sadness weighing those words.
Soon after, Mio noticed something was wrong with Ritsu by the way she was jittery and she stuttered an awful lot as well. She tried to shrug it off and thought it was just a small fear of the results to come tomorrow.
Then Ritsu did something very strange. She left early. Ritsu NEVER leaves Mio's house early. Again she shrugged it off and blamed her unusual behavior on the results of tomorrow.
Soon after, her parents came home. Her Mommy asked her if she was nervous and just… out of the blue she answered "I'll be fine as long as Ricchan's there."
Ricchan? I haven't called Ritsu that since we started Middle school. And why would Ritsu really need to be there… I'm a big girl right?
Mio decided to get some sleep. Or at least… she tried to get some sleep. She tossed and turned until she couldn't take it anymore. She needed to walk this off. This… this…
What is this anyways?
Mio sighed as she wore some jeans and a jersey to keep her warm.
She checked the time. 5.30.
Might as well go for a walk to clear my head…
Mio couldn't shake off the feeling that currently resided within her body. It was a mixture of…
Fear… Of course I'd be scared… I mean the results are being posted today! W-wah-what if Ritsu isn't going to be with me? What if… No! She will be… I know she will…
Regret…Yeah… I regret not having to put more pressure on the idiot for not studying… I hope it turns out okay…
Confusion… So why was she feeling confused? And more over… Why didn't her own explanations feel accurate to her feelings?
Without realizing it, she reached a familiar park. She walked closer and closer to the center as nostalgia ran her over like a truck…
There by the swings… is where Ritsu first talked to me… actually talked to me… asked me what was wrong with me…
Mio started walking towards the swing set.
There was where the idiot wanted to build a castle as big as my house…
Mio smiled. She hadn't been to this park since she entered Sakuragaoka. It was good to be here again…
Nothing's changed… Well, except for that hedge in front of me…
Mio checked her phone's clock. 6.10.
Since I am here… I guess I could enjoy the sunset before I head home again…
Inhaling the freshness of the morning air, she sat down on one of the swings started reminiscing.
["Ne, Mio-chan, don't cry! See? I'm fine!"]
Mio smiled as she could just imagine a little Ritsu running towards her with a scrape on her knee.
["Ricchan, promise you won't leave me…"]
Yeah… Promise me you'll never leave me, Ritsu… I do love you… More than you could ever know…
Just then, the sun came in all its wonderful glory, its bright and clear rays radiated, removing all the horrible shadows, clearing the fog that had been hanging around the park.
Thinking she had seen the sun rise, she wanted to go back home. That was, until she saw someone stand up from behind the hedge. She could recognize the yellow headband anywhere.
She smiled. She stood up to call out to Ritsu when she heard her talking.
"Mom… Change of plans… I… think I'm going to my second choice University…"
Mio felt her knees getting weak.
No… She's joking right?
"I just… realized I want different things, Mom… No, Mio doesn't know yet… but I'm sure she'd understand…"
Tears formed at the corners of her eyes, her vision soon became blurry.
How could she think that… She… she promised me… she said so… she'd…
Tears stained her porcelain cheeks and a horrible pain in her chest signaled her that this wasn't a dream. She collapsed back onto the swing.
"Yeah… maybe it's time Mio and I… went our own separate way"
No! No No No! How could she? She promised!
"Why, Ricchan…?" Mio whispered, her voice too low for Ritsu to hear. She couldn't understand why Ritsu would do such a thing. Ritsu never broke a promise to Mio and yet…
["I love you too, Mio"]
No, it couldn't be…
["I love you too, Mio"]
Does that mean she…?
"[Sigh]… I'm sorry, Mio… but I don't want to just be a best friend… I want more… but apparently you're not willing to give it to me…"
Mio watched as a blurry Ritsu walked away while saying that to herself. Mio heard it perfectly clear though…and not knowing what to do, what to think, she ran. She ran as fast as she could. She ran past Ritsu, faintly hearing a confused "Mio?" behind her. She didn't care. The pain was too much for her. Where was her Ritsu who promised to protect her? Where was the Ritsu who promised to stay by her side forever?
Mio ran as fast as she could. She couldn't go home; Ritsu would just go there after seeing her. She ran to the one place no one knew she would be… the small forest near Yui's house.
Once there, she collapsed behind a small bush, crying her eyes out.
"I hate you, Ritsu… I hate you… I hate you so much… I…"
"I hate me as well…"
Behind Mio was a sad smiling Ritsu.
"How did you catch up to me?" Mio tried to whipe the tears away, but more came in their place.
"Eventhough I'm shorter than you, I'm faster, remember?" Ritsu sat down next to Mio.
"Look… it's for the best, Mio… I want what you can't give me… It's gonna hurt us both if we stay together and pretend. I seriously wouldn't be able to… I mean I couldn't possibly…"
"No." Ritsu stood up. "Look, Mio. You don't know how painful it was when you told me I was a… a… You don't know how much it hurt… here…" Ritsu held her hand close to her heart, showing where here actually was.
"I'm sorry, Ricchan…" Mio also stood up. "Then I guess… This is it, huh…"
"I'll always love you Mio… There is no one else for me…"
Ritsu kissed the raven haired girl on the cheek and waved goodbye. Somehow, seeing Ritsu walk away felt like a big part of Mio was going along with her.
"I'm sorry, Ritsu… If only I had the guts to tell you as well…"
Author's seriously depressed note:
Well, due to my reviewers' request I added this here Mio chapter. Sorry, guys, but seriously… this was bound to end sadly… Sorry 'bout that…
Review? Your choice… I hope you enjoyed it…