Today was the day for the third year's graduation and I hated my age greatly for that. Why could I not have been born a year earlier? That way I would be able to graduate with my doubles partner. Besides him, I was going to miss having all my other seniors as well. I found myself frowning deeply as I checked my bag to make sure that I had everything.
I spotted a piece of mint gum that Shishido-san had given to me yesterday and I placed it into a jar that was filled with all the other mint gums he had given me. I never told Shishido-san that I did not like mint, hence he gives me one every single day. I probably should tell him that one day but I did like that he gives me something every day without fail.
I was not sure if I was going to miss Atobe-Buchou much but not having them around would take some time getting used to. The thing that I was going to miss the most is spending time with my partner of course, being used to playing tennis with him as well as leaving school with him. We did many things together in school and I knew that it would take me a long time to break my habit of having my partner with me.
I had depended a lot on him after he had helped me improve on my Scud Serve. It might have been a payback for me helping him earn his regular spot back but I was nevertheless grateful to him. I had started admiring and respecting him even more after seeing how hard he was willing to train to get back into the regulars. The way that he had not given up after getting injured by my Scud Serve so much impressed me deeply. I was certain that I would not have done that if I were in Shishido-san's shoes.
I would have just given up on it seeing that I was not that interested in tennis after all. But my partner is different, tennis was Shishido-san's everything and I started liking it more after he had started being my partner. It was fun and enjoyable playing doubles with him even though our personalities were very much different.
That did not make much of a problem to me as I got along really well with him. Unlike me, Shishido-san was very straightforward, sort of rude and he does not care if his words were harsh or mean. Being a nice and polite male, I tend to always ask Shishido-san to apologise when I hears him say any mean things that might hurt the other person. He usually does listen to me when I ask, even if he was not willing to.
I really cannot imagine how I am going to play doubles with another partner. I could deal with it if Shishido-san was my opponent but when it's against another opponent, I really cannot think how I am going to play. Singles seemed hard and lonely already and I wondered how I was going to survive the year.
My mother was sending me worried looks and I sighed as I continued spacing out. I was well aware that I could not go see Shishido-san in this state and I tried to compose myself to look more like my usual self. I was upset but I did not want Shishido-san to worry about me on his graduation day.
It was not like Shishido-san wanted to be born a year earlier than me anyway and I was relieved that Shishido-san actually studied and passed his graduation exams although he knew that if he had failed, he might have been able to stay with me for another year. That would be too selfish of me and selfishness and that was the first time that I had ever wished to be selfish.
It would be boring without Shishido-san that was for sure. The reason why I was that motivated to practice was due to the fact that I did not want to pull Shishido-san down but now, what reasons do I have to improve myself? But I was well aware that I could not leave Hiyoshi-kun and Kabaji-kun alone without the other regulars. We were already down to the three of them and it was not going to be easy to figure out what to do with the team.
It would be lonely without the other seniors, as well as weird that they are not around. I was used to hearing Atobe-Buchou yelling orders at them, Kabaji agreeing with what he says, Jirou-san sleeping nearly all the time, Oshitari-san being his tensai self and adding many comments and remarks, Mukahi-san arguing with Shishido-san and Shishido-san being rude to them all. That was how life was like each day when we practiced and I was certain that I was going to miss all of that.
Without realizing it, I had already finished my breakfast and it was nearly time for me to catch the bus to school. I gave one last sigh before placing a cheerful smile on my face to prepare myself for seeing Shishido-san later. It might just be a year but a year was also long at the same time. At least all of them had rose up to the same school that I was certain I could go to.
I could always go to a music school but that would be lonely and I would have to make new friends all over again. The other regulars and I had made a promise that we would enter the tennis club together again once the three of us graduated and entered the school as well. I was sad and that was something Shishido-san would be able to see through for sure.
I enjoyed getting praises from Shishido-san when I did something that Shishido-san liked or if I made any improvements in my tennis. Now I would have no one to help me practice my Neo Scud Serve with and no one to play doubles with. I refused to play doubles if my partner was not Shishido-san. The one that helped me with my tennis and believed in me was Shishido-san and that would never change. Even though I was the one that replaced him, Shishido-san still asked for my help to help with his training.
He had never blamed me for taking his place at all, just that he was too weak. That was why he looked to me for help, with my serve being the fastest on the team. No matter how injured he was, he never gave up and that made me look up to him a great deal. I found himself chasing after the other's back and his acknowledgement always makes me happy.
It was almost like I trained myself so hard just to get some praises and approval from the older male. I was not sure of that but the reason why I even started tennis was due to the admiration from the match I saw between Atobe-Buchou, Shishido-san and Mukahi-san when they first played each other. I had remembered that Hiyoshi-kun and I happened to pass by and witnessed the match between the four of them and it had left a good impression on the both of us, making us wanting to enter the tennis club we entered Middle School.
Back then, Shishido-san still had his long hair and he was much less intimidating. My eyes were mostly glued onto him even though Atobe-Buchou was clearly the between player between the two of them. Oshitari-san was the only one that seemed to be able to play against Atobe-Buchou and it was a surprise when Kabaji-kun appeared once Atobe-Buchou was done. I was not even aware that he was even nearby at that time.
I dedicated myself to tennis the best I could without giving up my music at the same time. It was because Shishido-san believed in me that I was able to continue working hard and that my skills were good enough. I wanted to be of help to him and he helped me a lot in my weaknesses.
I shook my head to clear my thoughts and put on my shoes before getting out. I flashed a genuine smile when I caught sight of Shishido-san sitting at our usual seats. He stood up and I scooted over to the inside seats before he sat back down. We started having a normal conversation till I asked him if he was excited about graduating.
I probably used the wrong tone of voice because he was looking at me carefully before he answered that it was no big deal to him. The reason why he even passed was thanks to me forcing him to study after all. I gave a small smile at that comment before putting up a cheerful appearance and wished him all the best.
I promised him that I would meet him after the graduation ceremony ended with all the other regulars and we would take the bus back for the last time. He smacked me on the head lightly when he heard the last two words, calling me an idiot to think that it was the last time. We reached school much sooner that I liked and we parted ways once we reached the school gates.
At least that was what I was planning to do till Shishido-san mentioned that we still had time and he started tugging me towards the tennis court. This was probably the last time that I will be able to play tennis with him here and that was going to be an important memory to me that I will not be able to forget any time soon.
The game ended pretty quickly due to the lack of time we had and I noticed a flash when we were getting ready to walk towards the classroom. Mukahi-san had taken a photo of us and he had a cheeky grin on his face as he hopped around. Shishido-san was annoyed that he had taken a photo of us without his permission and they started shouting and more flashes were seen.
Oshitari-san managed to pry the camera away from Mukahi-san and snapped a photo of them while they were still thrashing around. I chuckled quietly at that before complimenting Oshitari-san on stopping them. Mukahi-san was going around taking photos of the other regulars to keep them as keepsakes that Atobe-Buchou will be giving us once he was done with it.
Nodding our heads, we passed the camera to a passing back student to take a group photo of the both of us. Right after that, Shishido-san and I went pushed together to take a couple more photos as Hyotei's best doubles pair. I smiled and answered that I would like to, causing Shishido-san to agree to it.
We parted ways after striking an agreement to meet later during lunch together. I was not in the mood for class as I was once again reminded that Shishido-san would not be here anymore after today. I had never skipped classes before and if Shishido-san ever found out that I did, he would not be pleased. My mind was wandering around instead of paying attention and I made a mental note to myself to borrow my classmate's notes once I was back to my usual self.
I was looking forward to lunch as well as dreading it. It was going to be the last time that all eight of us are going to eat lunch together in school. We might still meet each other often due to Atobe-Buchou organizing all those random gatherings out of nowhere. I could never understand why he spends so much on each gathering when we do not even care that much about the place and the food.
I hurriedly got out of the classroom towards the usual spot where I meet Shishido-san and the others for lunch. Mukahi-san, Jirou-san and Shishido-san were already sitting there and chatting. Shishido-san mentioned to me before that the three of them were childhood friends which was why their arguments had never ruined their friendship with each other before.
Shishido-san waved at me once he saw me and patted the left seat next to him that was empty and I smiled as I sat down, greeting the other two. The others joined us a little later and we had a normal conversation like usual. It was almost like old times till Atobe-Buchou mentioned that he was passing the beacon to us and he expected us to at least do a decent job at it.
Hiyoshi-kun was going to be the Captain seeing that I had no intention of being one. I did not think that I would be able to make them listen to me much seeing how soft-spoken I was. Hiyoshi-kun would be more capable of having them listen to his orders. Shishido-san respected my decision and he made no comment when I announced what I thought.
Shishido-san patted me on the head before he headed off with the rest, leaving me with Hiyoshi-kun. We turned to look at each other before commenting that we were going to take a long time getting used to not having them around.
The next time I saw Shishido-san was during the end of the graduation ceremony. Mukahi-san and Oshitari-san had left after promising to keep touch with the rest of us before leaving to something that they had to do. Atobe-Buchou was surrounded by huge amount of crying fangirls that we sad that they were not be able to see him anymore.
I sweatdropped at that when Atobe-Buchou was going to Hyotei High School and they would be able to see him if they had enrolled there. Shishido-san was surrounded too and he seemed really pissed off at them and he was scowling as he yelled at them to get away from him. Jirou-san had fallen asleep and Kabaji-kun was carrying him as he waited for Atobe-Buchou to leave.
Finally spotting a way to get away, Shishido-san grabbed hold of my hand and ran after he yelled at Atobe-Buchou that we were leaving and he would see him in school next time. We were lucky that the bus was one that we usually took and the other people had given up on chasing us.
I managed to get Shishido-san to calm down and not curse in the bus. I flashed him a sad smile as I mentioned that this would be the last time that we would be boarding the bus together. He called me an idiot and ruffled my hair as he pointed out that Hyotei Middle School was just a couple of stops after Hyotei High School.
We could still take the same bus to and from school and he reminded me that we could still play tennis together too. Shishido-san assured that we would definitely play tennis together every week. During times when we do not have exams or tests, we could meet after school and during the weekends to practice tennis together or just hang out.
I found my smile turning to a cheerful one when I heard that, I was not losing my doubles partner after all. I had feared that he was going to leave me behind and not have anything to do with me after he had graduated and I hugged him happily. He laughed and questioned if the reason why I had been so bothered all day is because I believed that we were not going to hang out anymore and that he was going to go on with his life without me.
He bonked me on the head lightly commenting that I was the only doubles partner for him and that he would be looking forward to having me on the same team again next year. Like usual, we ate together before going back home. It was much earlier since we did not have practice today, with yesterday being the official last practice for the third years.
We wandered around before boarding the bus again. Shishido-san questioned if I was going to continue calling him by his family name even when we are in different schools. When he had started calling me Choutaro, he had asked me to call him Ryou too but I had refused to. It was too hard for me to do it when he was someone that I respected a lot.
I nodded my head slowly and he gave a sigh before telling me that I could text or call him without worrying my pretty little head that I was bothering him. I blushed lightly at that comment, looks like he had managed to see through what I was thinking. I really was worried that I would be bothering him if I texted or call him, often aplogising when I do.
Like he said, the only things that changed was the fact that I no longer see him in school and we do not play tennis as often as usual. By the time we meet each other on the bus, most of the time we were already tired and only hanged out around the park or each other's house. I was relieved that he had kept his promise to continue spending time with me and I was grateful for that.
The times that we see each other had reduced and that had made the time we spent together even more precious to me. I treasured all the time that we had spent together deeply and there were times when we met up with the other six members, mostly at one of Atobe-Buchou's many houses or family owned places.
I was used to seeing Shishido-san leaving me a seat on the back right next to the left window and it was a big surprise to see him with a group of his classmates. I could tell since they all wore the same uniform with him and they were chatting too. There was a girl sitting next to him and I awkwardly approached them, unsure if I should be sitting at the empty seat in front of Shishido-san or the seat that was empty right in front of them.
Making a quick decision, I was about to sit down on the seat in front when I felt a pair of familiar arms tugging me backwards and I turned to see Shishido-san staring at me as he questioned why I was sitting there instead of my usual one. I muttered quietly that I did not want to intrude him with his classmates and girlfriend.
His eyes widened and I could tell that he was irritated. He stood up and pushed me towards my seat as he moved closer to my seat and placed his bag in between him and the girl before saying that there was no way she was his girlfriend and that I would never be intruding on him. He made brief introductions between me and the people around him much to the annoyance of most of the females there.
Looks like Shishido-san is popular like always. I do not know why but I felt upset that those girls were around Shishido-san when I was not and why were they all here in the first place? Shishido-san checked with me if we were still going to the Street Tennis Court and I nodded my head in agreement.
That caught the others' attention and they ended up tagging along with us. One of them challenged Shishido-san to a game of doubles before some of them started laughing and explained that Shishido-san does not play doubles. Shishido-san flashed me a look and I nodded my head as he answered that the reason why he does not play doubles is because his doubles partner was not around but now that I am here, he has no reason why he should not be able to play.
That caused even more hateful stares to be sent my way by those girls when he smiled at me and signaled me over. Looks like they really do like Shishido-san and knowing him, he probably ignored them. Fangirls were never his type and he had a big dislike about them. Unlucky for them, the first person to serve was me and they did not seem to think much about my tennis skills till they saw it.
Shishido-san was grinning and he praised me for improving on my serve while he was not around. I was surprised that he could tell that I made a slight improvement in it after not seeing my serve for so long. Our coordination skills had not faltered at all during the times when we had not paired up for a long time and the match was over quickly.
Shishido-san's friends were pretty impressed with me and invited me to play tennis with them more often if I did not mind. I looked over to Shishido-san and nodded my head when I got his approval. At least I know that I am welcome to hang around with Shishido-san's friends only that those girls seemed displeased with me even more. I made a mental note to be careful of them in case they got rowdy.
There is no way that I would do anything to them even if they attacked me, that was for sure. While I was lost in my thoughts, Shishido-san and the other guys had left to get some drinks from the machines and leaving me alone with the girls. They had immediately surrounded me and asking me why do I cling around their Shishido-san so much.
I frowned and argued that Shishido-san does not belong to them which ended up with them insulting me and ruining Shishido-san's name by making it seem like he is interested in guys. If I keep hanging around him, I would be in his way and make him be alone forever. Was that really true? Am I really getting in Shishido-san's way? He had never said anything before and he always urge me to text him if I want to.
Their next few words hurt and I did not want to hear them anymore. Was I really thinking of myself too much and take up so much of Shishido-san's time that he could do alone? When Shishido-san came back, he noticed that I was out of sort immediately and he urged me to tell him what happened. I kept quiet and after he had looked at those girls he was annoyed and he had gotten in front of them to demand what they said to me.
It was most likely the first time that they had seen Shishido-san mad as they seemed afraid when he yelled at them and they were barely answering him. When he had gotten what he wanted to know, Shishido-san walked towards me and dragged me away without a word. When we were far enough from them, he released me and apologized that he left me alone with those girls and that I should not care what they say. There is no way that I would ever be in his way,
I smiled and my mood was once again much better. We had ramen at a place that we liked that was owned by a friendly old couple. They always gave us extra servings when we come, and I was always thanking them for their kindness every time I noticed it. It was strange how I much I was affected by those girls' words as well as how annoyed I was when they said that Shishido-san was theirs.
I was still thinking about it when I got back, making me all confused as to why the girls see me so much as a threat to them when Shishido-san is just my doubles partner and senpai. But how I reacted to them were strange too, it was like I was saying that Shishido-san is mine. Do I like him in that way? That seemed rather unlikely but I never did think what my feelings towards him were.
In my mind, what was Shishido-san to me? I know that I admire him, I like having him around, the smiles that he usually sends to me, getting praises from him, having his attention on me and that he is much nicer to me than he is to anyone else. That does not seem like what someone would like about a friend now does it? But I admire him, of course I would want his attention.
There is something else is there not? Something that I figured out a lot time ago but kept it deep in my heart. My religion would not allow it and I have always been faithful to it but those girls has forced me to admit that fact. I did not want to share Shishido-san with anyone even if I have to keep those thoughts all to myself and never be able to say them out. Like Shishido-san would feel the same way as me, he's so popular with girls and maybe it really is my fault that he does not have time to find one. That makes me want to hog him all to myself even more to myself, away from all those girls.
It's their own fault for making me come to terms with my feelings for him, feelings that I was going to lock up. Now that the lock is unlocked, it's much too late for me to ignore them anymore. The days went back to normal, just that he would swap bentos with me once in a while saying that he missed having us eat together. Most of the time when he says that, I find that his bento had food that I liked back when we ate together.
Shishido-san's kindness is not always that visible to people and only people that knows and understand him well are able to see that. Unlike how the other six acts, they know full well that Shishido-san cares about them even if he does act like he does. I received text messages from Jirou-san and Mukahi-san sometimes and we managed to meet up a couple of times too.
We played tennis together much like old times and get reprimanded by Atobe-Buchou on how we were not as good as leading the team as he does, which we really could not argue. Time was still passing by too slowly and I wish I could graduate much faster.
In the blink of an eye, my birthday was here and I was pretty much dreading going to school with it being Valentine's Day as well. Like I suspected, there were a pile of presents and chocolates stuffed in my locker that they all fell onto me when I opened it. I sighed and took out a big bag that I prepared to keep all of them in into it.
I received a text from Shishido-san that he would meet me later after school along with a birthday greeting. The others sent me a birthday greeting too and a big parcel from Atobe-Buchou arrived yesterday. How he managed to know that I was planning to buy a better Violin is beyond me. And typical of Jirou-san, he stopped by to give me a few boxes of pocky before he fell asleep at my doorstep.
I was apparently going to get presents from Mukahi-san and Oshitari-san later from Shishido-san. Hiyoshi-kun shoved me a present before he ran off since there were a group of girls after him. I chuckled before Kabaji-kun appeared and passed me a wrapped present without a word and left quietly. I carefully placed the two presents into my school bag so that I would not mix it up with all the presents that I was going to get from the girls.
I get doubled of what most people get due to both birthday and Valentine's presents and it really is a pain when I find people giving me presents so often. My desk was filled to the brim with gifts like usual and I thanked my classmates who wished me a Happy Birthday. Shishido-san gets a lot of chocolates too, even though he seemed to scare them most of the time.
I bet that he would have a lot of girls after him right this instant and my mood got moodier and I just shoved everything into my bag. Lunch was hard work and I had to hide in the clubroom with Hiyoshi-kun with the door locked so that we could eat peacefully. The girls were still around with their never ending chocolates and I hoped that was the last of it.
Classes ended up ending early for some reason and I packed my things and dashed off before any more presents and chocolates would be shoved to me. I already had a bag full of things and if they give me any more, I doubt that I will even have any more space left to put them in.
Since it ended early, I decided to head over to Hyotei High School to wait for Shishido-san instead of waiting for him to come over. At least this way, I do not have to worry about any more chocolates and presents. Shishido-san told me many times that I should reject them if I did not want them in the first place but I found that cruel and mean and I always end up accepting them and sending them Thank You notes much to Shishido-san's disbelief.
He always thinks that I am much too kind but that is just my personality. I met Jirou-san outside the gates and he gave me a hug before standing next to me rather excitedly. He thanked me again for thanking care of him when he fell asleep on me yesterday. We chatted for a while before Oshitari-san and Mukahi-san noticed us and they warned me that Shishido-san would be late before they dragged Jirou-san away.
Ten minutes later, I spotted Shishido-san's classmates and they waved me over when they saw me snickering as they tried to tell me the reason why they're laughing. But Shishido-san's loud voice interrupted them. "You bastards. You guys left me alone with those girls on purpose. Do you guys even know how hard it is to get away from them when they never give up on the idea that I would accept their chocolates—Choutaro? Why are you here? I thought I was supposed to meet you…..I guess I was late huh? Gekidesa Daze."
He looked at me sheepishly and glared at his classmates as I tried to calm him down and explain why I was here. Shishido-san really did calmed down and I was relieved that he was not going to stay mad that long. He raised an eyebrow at my bag and asked if I ended up accepting all the gifts again. I looked away and nodded my head. He sighed and said that I was hopeless and that I would always end up getting lots of presents this way.
Speaking of presents, I fished in my bag for the purple box with a red box out and handed it over to him. Shishido-san stared at me in disbelief before speaking up. "Choutaro. This is like the second time that you're giving me these now isn't it? You really don't give up on any chances on giving me presents now aren't you? I told you that there's no need for you to give me gifts to thank me time and time again. Christmas presents were one thing but you even gave me a present on New Years too. But today is just weird. What kind of person gives a present on their birthday? You really are too nice."
I flashed him a cheerful smile and he took the box and placed it carefully into his bag much to the surprise of his classmates. It turned out that Shishido-san had rejected every single girl's chocolates and yet he accepted mine. I received birthday greetings from them and I noticed those group of girls again.
Shishido-san was starting to get irritated again and I hooked my arm around his in an attempt to calm him down. It would not be pleasant if he exploded right now and that was always not a good sight. He scowled and asked them to just give up on him ever accepting their chocolates. When they countered that he had accepted mine, he merely turned his back and muttered that he was leaving to celebrate my birthday.
We started running yet again as he continued grumbling that he hates Valentine's Day which he quickly explained that he just hated that girls kept forcing him to accept their chocolates and no the day itself. I assured him that I knew what he meant and he seemed much relieved after that. At least it stopped him from worrying that he had caused me any discomfort.
Shishido-san was not exactly happy that he celebrated my birthday with me by dining with me when we eat together nearly all the time. I told him that I was happy that he was spending time with me and that caused him to shake his head and say that I really am too nice for my own good. It might be due to the light, but I thought there was a light pink tint on his cheeks earlier on.
Due to it being Valentine's Day, there were not much places that we could go and we ended up heading to the park for a walk. When we sat down on the bench, I fell something landed on my head and I looked up to see Shishido-san's blue cap on my head. He said that it was my present and I thanked him for it, causing him to stare at me again.
He asked if I really believe that he would give me just his old cap as a present and I protested that I actually liked it, earning yet another amused stare from him. He pushed a white box to me claiming that it was my real present and the cap was just to see my reaction. And like he suspected, I really would accept anything from him.
I went back home to celebrate my birthday with my family and getting a couple of music score sheets and violin accessories. I had Oshitari-san's and Mukahi-san's present with me. Somehow, I was dreading what Oshitari-san's present would be and I was relieved that it was just a romance novel while Mukahi-san's present was a pretty nice trinket. Hiyoshi-kun's present was a new set of sketch book with a new series of watercolour pencils.
I smiled at that, just like Hiyoshi-kun to know what I want. Kabaji-kun's present was a pack of bird feed, how did he know that I feed birds in the first place? Shishido-san's present was last and I untied the silver ribbon gently and opened it. It was a small silver violin necklace that looked like it was not that cheap either. I smiled and replaced my usual cross necklace with it, liking how it looked. It was the present that I treasured the most, even more than the new violin along with his cap.
Hiyoshi-kun recognized the cap immediately when I wore it to practice and some of the other members recognized it too. But no one questioned me about it either and soon people were used to me wearing it like I had been wearing it all my life.
The rest of our time were spent the same way, with me stopping by every time classes end early and there were no tennis practice. It was enjoyable and fun, and we got to practice tennis together more often. His friends always welcomed me around and I noticed that the number of girls around had increased. I was told that they were Shishido-san's new fans due to his tennis skills catching their attention.
White Day came quickly and Shishido-san seemed to be still in school. His friends signaled me over and asked me to just leave him alone with his new admirer. They told me that she was really pretty and polite and that they might even be a couple too. I could spot him with a girl and Shishido-san did not seemed put off by her being nice to her too. They looked close and I could not bear to look there anymore and just dashed off.
I heard Shishido-san called my name but I still continued to run and boarded on the bus that came, not caring where it's heading to and sat down near the back. It was rather empty when I walked past and I closed my eyes as I questioned why I was that affected that Shishido-san was with a girl. Did I not understand that Shishido-san does not belong to me and he has a right to like anyone that he likes? Why was I that selfish?
I sighed and I felt a light pressure on my right, someone must have sat next to me. I ignored that and went back to my thoughts muttering a soft sorry to Shishido-san even though he was not even here right now. "Choutaro, why are you aplogising? Why did you even run off?"
I blinked and look up to see that he was the person that had sat down next to me. The bus was stopping and Shishido-san grabbed my hand and I found myself being tugged by him yet again. We alighted the bus and he was till tugging me till we reached an empty place with benches before he released his grip on me.
I looked down and whispered softly that I did not want to get in the way of his new possible girlfriend. "Choutaro. What did those idiots tell you? I was just asking her for help for something and I'm definitely not interested in her when there's someone else that I like. You really should stop worrying that you're getting in my way. Or perhaps you were jealous?"
I could tell that his last comment was a joke to break the ice but my cheeks were heating up. I immediately made sure that he could not see my face before I spoke up. My voice did not sound the way I wanted to and it ended up more like a stutter. "W-Why would I be jealous…? There's no reason for me to be jealous, Shishido-san….. It's not like I can control you, and we're just….friends too….."
He was fingering the violin on my necklace and he sighed. "Like I thought, you haven't noticed what this necklace holds. I waited a month to see if you would notice it without me saying anything but you didn't. Choutaro, do you really believe that I'm unaware of what your feelings are? You know that I can read you easily but yet you didn't think that I would be able to see though you?"
Shishido-san revealed that the necklace could opened up to show that it was actually a locket. It contained a small picture of each of us on one side and I looked up at him curiously. I was having trouble sinking in his words and I was still trying to understand what did he mean exactly. I heard a groan as he muttered that he gave up and simply tilted my head to look up at him. "In simpler terms, I noticed your feelings for me a long time ago. I just didn't have the chance to say anything and that's why I gave you the necklace. I decided that I would just confess to you on White Day if you still hadn't noticed it yet but you ended up mistaking that I was in love with a girl."
I blinked again before looking straight into his warm brown eyes and repeated what he said. "Did you just say that you were going to confess to me? Does that mean that….."
He gave another exasperated groan before he spoke again. "Choutaro, what is wrong with you today? Yes, I'm confessing to you and it does mean that I like you and return your feelings."
Shishido-san looked irritated when I was about to make another questioning remark and he was quick to shut me up with a kiss. Looks like he really could read me and guessed that I was going to question what he said again. But it all seemed hard to believe but the hard pressure on my lips were very much real and after many seconds, I finally kissed him back.
That had caused him to reduce the pressure on my lips and he pulled back a few moments later. "Now you're finally going to stop questioning me?"
I grinned and nodded my head, feeling awkward that I had questioned him so many times. At least I know that he returns my feelings and I do not have to worry that I would lose him anymore. He smiled and ruffled my hair affectionately, I do not get why but he seemed to like doing that a lot though.
We met up more often and studied together too. Well, we were mostly just sitting together while we each studied our own things, with me helping him with his English when he needs it. Shishido-san's English seemed to be improving and he could do most of his work without my help this time.
The time passed back really quickly for me, and I was always in a good mood since I would at least get a call from Shishido-san if I do not see him. No matter what he tried, I still ended up sticking to calling him Shishido-san much to his displeasure. Nothing would change my mind but he swore that he would make me call him Ryou one day which I believe he would be able to do for sure.
But it ended up really quickly too, for the both of us. I really should have known better than to reveal my relationship to my parents. With what our religion is, there was no way that they would accept us. Their words were really hurtful and Shishido-san could tell that I was deeply wounded when they said that they wished they never had a son if they knew that I would turn out this way.
Shishido-san was really quiet and when he spoke, I really wished that it was a dream. He gave me a sad look and aplogised that he got me into this mess. I wanted to protest that it was very much my fault but he would not hear it. He gave me one short and quick kiss before saying that he would not see me again. Shishido-san would not listen to anything I say and he ran off. I chased after him but he was much faster than me, his speed was still a much higher level than me.
I was a fool was I not? No amount of crying or praying is going to help me at all. All this time, I had obeyed my religion and I had never done anything bad before and just this one time that I decide to be selfish and follow my heart, I ended up being looked at with disgust by my parents and the person who I love to think that he had caused me pain.
I refused to talk to my parents and Shishido-san never picks up my calls nor do I see him around in his school either. I was told that he had not come to school ever since the day that I last saw him. I was worried and contacted the other regulars but none of them ever told me anything besides that Shishido-san was fine.
A letter came to me a week later and I found myself crying even more when I recognized the handwriting. It was a letter from Shishido-san and the content really broke my heart. In order to keep his distance from me and hoping that my parents would change their minds about disowning me, he had left to study abroad.
The whole week he had Atobe-Buchou arrange for him to transfer to an overseas school and he told me that I should not bother finding out where he's studying at since none of the Senpais would tell me. Shishido-san wanted me to be happy and live my life to the fullest without him and maybe now that he is not here anymore, I could start living like a normal guy and date a girl. And good luck with my tennis.
Shishido-san really was selfish and kind at the same time. He moved away from his family and friends just to make sure that my parents do no disown me but had he asked what I wanted? It was true that I was hurt by what my parents said but it pains me more when I can no longer see him. I was happy that I met him and that was something that I would never change.
I liked him, I really liked him and I would be happy with just living with him. How does he expect me to carry on playing tennis when he is not even here anymore? What reasons do I have to continue playing when it's the thing that reminds me of him the most? Shishido-san is cruel to have just left like that without letting me voice out what I felt or even let me say good bye to him.
It was unfair, why can I not have the one thing that I want the most? I had never wanted something before and I had always helped people why my god take away the only thing that I ever wanted? I only had him for just three months and now I can never see him again. Shishido-san had made it clear that he would never see me again.
It hurts, it really hurts. And it pained me much more than when my parents disowned me. Why can they not accept me for who I am and give me their support? I am still me deep down and did it matter to them so much that I was unlike normal guys?
I stopped smiling and I left the tennis club. I pains me but I ignored it when people needed help, the old me would help them immediately but right now I am just worn and tired. Why am I even alive in the first place?
Hiyoshi-kun was really worried and all the other regulars stopped by to see me too. I could tell that they were worried when I did not smile at them and greeted them in a nearly emotionless voice. Jirou-san seemed torn between wanting to tell me where Shishido-san is and keeping his promise to Shishido-san not to tell me.
They offered as much comfort as they could, telling me that Shishido-san was just a big idiot but he really did loved me. That was why he made the decision to leave and when they had heard about it, they were unable to stop him because his reason was unarguable. I broke down and whispered that I would rather have him here with me than having my parents to want me again.
Shishido-san accepted all of me, my flaws as well as my strengths but my parents only saw the bad side of me and they were quick to not want me. No one asked me to play tennis again and they made sure not to mention tennis or Shishido-san to me either. I asked them about him rather often, and during one slip-up from Jirou-san, I learnt that Shishido-san asks about me too.
If he still cared and loved me, why does him not come back or at least let me contact him. Hearing his voice is good enough for me, I could live with that but he gives me nothing. Nothing but the memories that we had as well as the presents he left behind to me. I worn his cap with me nearly all the time and his necklace continued hanging around my neck.
I managed to find my comfort zone and that was my Violin. Shishido-san used to praise me whenever he hears me play it but now all I can play are sad tunes. It gives me comfort and I could forget about Shishido-san for a short moment till I put it down again. The music I came up with were all full of sorrow and sadness and the number of score sheets that I filled were a mystery.
I gave up on going to Hyotei High School and none of them questioned why I chose a Music School instead. They could tell that I had not given up on Shishido-san at all and I often trouble them to tell me about him or to send him presents during the times when I usually give to him. Jirou-san would always go soft and agree to do it while they others just wished for me to move on because that was what Shishido-san wanted.
I wanted to be selfish and keep my feelings for him all to myself. I do not want to forget or give up on it. I decided to play the Violin and perhaps one day, he would be able to hear the music that I play and the words that I hid in it could reach him.
My parents never gave up on trying to matchmake me and they failed to notice that I was nothing like my old cheerful self. It was like all it mattered that I was not with Shishido-san anymore and they were desperately trying to ensure that I do not end up with another guy. I was in a cage, with them controlling most of my actions and time.
That was fine with me, it was not like I even do much in the first place. I only meet up with the others once a week and the rest of the time, I spend it on my Violin. They never seem to understand that I would never agree to any of their choices of who I should marry and they could not force me either.
5 years passed just like that and still I had not heard anything from Shishido-san. Atobe-Buchou mentioned that he had given one of my CDs to Shishido-san but he was not sure if Shishido-san heard it or not. For the past five years, I had continued sending him presents and letters but nothing ever comes back to me, he does not even send me a letter or mail my gifts back either. Had Shishido-san really move on already? The others had given up that I would ever move on but they still wished that I did regardless.
I had another concert today and I fingered the Violin necklace before stepping onto the stage. It had became part of me and it was still the most precious thing to me as it held a lot of memories to me, even if the photos inside were very painful to see. I miss Shishido-san deeply and in all my music, people could feel that I was waiting for someone and it was really sad.
My music attracts people due to the emotions that could be felt from it, even if most of them feel sad after hearing it. I had spotted someone rather familiar near the end but he vanished quickly when I looked into the audience again. Was my mind playing tricks on me or was that really Shishido-san?
I immediately went to look for the person that would most likely tell me if Shishido-san is back in Japan or not. Jirou-san was the softest out of them and he would at least drop me hints when he could not tell me directly. He seemed surprised when I questioned him and it took him a long while before he nodded and answered that Shishido-san came back a month ago.
I was really bitter, even after he comes back he still refuses to see me. Has he truly move on and found another person to replace me? That thought hurt and I could feel tears rolling down my cheeks as I recalled that he has always told me that I could feel free to look for him any time I want.
All these would not have happened if I was not foolish enough to believe that my parents would love and accept me for me. Why did I even have to tell them? Now Shishido-san is back but still I cannot see him. All I want is just to see him and hear his voice again, I can still remember his voice even if it has been five years since I last heard him.
The fact that he came to my concert showed that he still cared about me and I decided to take a gamble. The girl that my parents were trying to make me marry was someone that was similar to me and she could tell that I was waiting for someone important to come back.
When the news that I was going to get married reached the others, they were really shocked and Mukahi-san was really mad that I gave up after all this time. Oshitari-san had to drag him away but he seemed like he knew that there was a reason why I agreed it. I pushed an invitation to Jirou-san and asked him to give it to Shishido-san personally and make sure that he comes to the wedding because it is a wish of mine.
On that day, all my attention was to the crowd more than anything and still I could not find Shishido-san anywhere. Maybe this was not enough to get him to come after all, I smiled bitterly to myself and accepted the fact that he really had moved on.
We were going through the oaths when I felt that I had to turn around to the back or I would regret it for sure. My gaze was locked into one that was dark brown and I immediately recognized him to be Shishido-san. His hair was long again and he turned away quickly after meeting my gaze for a few seconds. I could feel the push from the female next to me and she smiled as he asked me to chase after him.
She said that she could tell that he was the person that I had been waiting for all this time. Looks like the ruse worked and I really got to see him again. Was I going to give up the chance just because I was stupid enough to go on with this wedding? She nodded her head and we announced that we were both cancelling it.
She smiled at me and wished me luck as she answered that she would take care of everything here. Sending her a grateful smile, I dashed off to find Shishido-san who had long left. Did I just ruin the the gamble I took to see him? I closed my eyes and thought of a place where he would be at and it came to me that there was one possible place that he would go to.
I headed towards the place where our relationship officially started, Hyotei Middle School's Tennis Courts. And he really was there, I could recognize his back anywhere even if it had changed slightly. I was crying again as I walked towards him slowly, willing him to turn around to look at me. "Choutaro. What are you doing here? Aren't you getting married? A groom should not just run off his wedding just because his Ex appeared."
The tears were dropping faster now as I finally got to hear his voice after so long. It had matured but still recognizable and I wrapped my arms around his back before speaking up. "I'm not getting married. How could I when I never got over you? You should know that, can't you see through me like always? All these time, you never even sent me a single letter or anything. I continued sending you presents with hopes that you would at least send me a letter but nothing, nothing at all. Even when you came back to Japan, you still refused to see me. Have you really moved on…..Shi—no, Ryou?"
He gave a low chuckle before placing his hands on mine. "So it was all a trick to lure me out? I thought it was weird that you insisted that Jirou gives me that invitation and that I must attend it. I tried so hard to make you call me Ryou back then and now at this time you choose to call me by that? Choutaro, you're making it hard for me to let you go like this. Do you know how hard it was for me to not be able to see or hear you anymore? I was used to having you around, you keep me calm and when you're not around, I could barely know how to control yourself. It hurts whenever I receive your letters and presents and do you know how hard is it for me to not just call you? Don't let all these five years go to waste."
I shook my head and tightened my hold on him, I do not want to let him go ever again. "Have you ever asked what I felt or wanted? Five years ago, all I wanted was to have you with me and even now that is all I ever wanted. Even if my parents don't accept me, I will be fine if you're here with me. Nothing pains me more than not being able to have you around. Shishido-san, I had never given up on my feelings for you. You should know when you heard my music at the concert that day….."
I could feel him shifting and he was leaning back towards me, his hair tickling my face. "Ah, so you really did spot me back then. The only time that I went to your concert and you spot me, now that's Gekidesa Daze. And I'm sorry, I thought that was the best thing to do at that time when you looked so hurt but I ended up hurting you even more….Why did you go back to calling me Shishido-san though? And I can never return your hug if you don't let go."
I released my grip on him and he turned around and hugged me. He was taller now, nearly the same height as me, probably just a few centimeters shorter than me now. "You will have to learn to ask me for my opinions next time you try to pull a stunt like that, Ryou."
I could hear his laughter as he ruffled my hair. "Trust me, that would never happen again because I'm never letting you leave me again. Now that you're here, there's no way I'm going to let go of you regardless of what happens."
"So you two idiots finally got back together huh? It's about time too. It has been hard on al of us for these five years when the both of you were still madly in love with each other."
Ryou growled and apologized to them. He spoke so fast that his words were really hard to catch. Everyone else were smiling though and I was glad that I managed to be with the person that I liked more than anything.
My parents really did not want to see me anymore after that and due to Atobe-Buchou's suggestions, we all ended up moving to America with him saying that it was all for our sake since America accepts Gay Marriages. Which we were all aware that it was for his own sake too. He was just using us for an excuse.
But I was fine with it, I had Ryou with me and it would be like the old times with everyone all together again. Maybe we could even play tennis again someday. Whether or not you have a happy ending is based on what you do, if you never give up, you would always still have a chance to find your happiness.