What am I searching for?
There's this… thing I just have to find. It's important. I just know it. It's hibernating, waiting for me somewhere. Waiting somewhere.
Why? Why do I have to find it? Especially in this heavy downpour?
The girl looked at her friend. The two of them, both at 15 and walking next to each other, had been friends for a long time. They were walking home from school in a winter's afternoon. It was a rather chilly afternoon, as the girl's friend, a boy that stood taller than her and whose most distinctive feature was the vertical scar above his left eye, let out a breath of misty air.
"Why do you…" the boy murmured. "Keep smiling and laughing?"
Maria cocked her head to one side in slight confusion. Grinning, she replied. "Because there's always something to smile about, Tim!"
He blinked at her. The girl, small but hiding physical strength, had that little childish streak about her. She would smile and laugh all the time, and her happiness was contagious. Even her brother inherited it from her. Tim sighed.
"I mean… what if…" he murmured. "What if there's nothing left to feel happy about anymore?"
"There'll always be something to feel happy about!" Maria laughed softly. Her laugh was soft, sweet and innocent. "You've got younger siblings, your bunny…"
"Shut it!" Tim sputtered, turning red.
"… And then you've got friends, right?" Maria said. "And then in the future you'll find more things to feel happy about! See? There'll never be a day when there's nothing to smile or laugh about."
"… Friends?" Tim murmured, forgetting the rest of what Maria had said. Friends… Yes, he had friends. Or a friend, rather. Maria was the only one that was his friend. Everyone else thought he was a gangster, given that scar above his eye, and stayed away from him. But she was the one that found him by himself under a tree and asked if he was okay. He clearly remembered that day, the first thing he noticed about her was the large horizontal, curved scar above her right eye.
"You're… the same as me. And yet… Why are you the one who's smiling there?"
"Why are you the one that's sitting there, you idiot! Get up! You shouldn't be by yourself!"
"No one wants me around, so leave me alone."
"Liar! Come on, let's at least eat lunch together, okay?"
He snapped out from his daydream. Suddenly feeling a surge of wanting security, he turned to Maria and looked at her seriously.
"M-Maria, Promise you'll be my friend f-forever, okay?"
Maria looked a bit puzzled for a moment, but she grinned and held out her last finger.
"If it makes you feel any better, we can pinky swear!"
Tim was dumbfounded by the childish offer, but he sighed and hooked his last finger onto Maria's.
Where is it?
I've been searching over and over again. I looked beneath the fallen petals and I tried to trace it. But where is it? Where is it? It's somewhere, I know it! Damn, it's getting difficult looking for it in the rain. It's somewhere here! It couldn't possibly just take off and latch onto someone …
When he woke up that morning, Tim could say he didn't feel very good.
He sat up and felt that empty feeling again. It ached, it hurt, and it was ridiculous since it was just imaginary, emotional pain, not real, physical pain. He felt a sharp feeling piercing his heart, and it hurt like hell. With that unpleasant stinging sensation, his thoughts ran wild for a moment.
What have I been looking for…?
He was fortunate he didn't have a course that day in the university. Feeling in a dull mood, he dragged himself out of bed and began thinking about his friend. He began to wonder if she was free today. He'll call her later, he decided. Probably after breakfast.
When he came into the kitchen, his two siblings, both younger than him, greeted him. There was his sister, Alice, the middle child. Her golden hair was short and ended in light curls. She smiled kindly at her older brother. As for the youngest sibling Luke, being only 17, he gave his brother a slightly awkward smile, and scooted his chair over. Alice served breakfast and the meal began. As usual, it was quiet and the atmosphere was awkward. Just a few years ago, being mature for his age, Luke would have tried to spark up a conversation. But now, he realised it was no use. The tension between his older sister and brother had begun to breed years ago, and now it had grown into something that made Tim protective in some ways, and Alice as a girl longing for something forbidden.
After breakfast, Tim went up to his room and turned on his cellphone. To his surprise, he found a text message from Maria. It read: "U free 2day?"
He sent back a reply, saying he would come over if she wanted to. She gave the okay, so he took a cold shower, changed into casual clothes and headed for her house.
What's this? Oh, it's the same feeling again… It's always there. It's going to bring me to the thing I'm looking for. I'll find it, no matter what. Even this rain can't stop me. Where is it…? That thing… I feel so close to it, yet it seems so far from my reach…
Where are you? No, more importantly, where am I?
"Mm? How come?" Maria asked.
Tim simply shrugged. "I suppose… It wasn't much of a surprise. It's as if I had expected this…"
Maria nodded thoughtfully. She had grown from a cute, innocent girl to a young lady with long, dark brown hair and large aquamarine eyes. The two bright yellow ribbons were still in her hair, and so was the distinctive scar on her face. She still radiated that positive air, and her laughter and smiles never changed: they were still as soft, as sweet and as innocent as ever. Although Tim did not pay much attention to her traits before, he did realize she had become to be quite charming.
Letting out a soft sigh, he took a sip of water, his mind still on what Luke had told him a few days ago. Luke had taken advantage of his sister's absence to 'go to a friend's house' and could not help but spill the beans in front of his older brother. Tim had to admit it was a bit of a shock, but it quickly faded to unimportant business not more than a minute later. After all, he had always suspected his sister still adored Antonio, the man he held a great disliking for. He assumed Maria was aware of it, but even if he told her, she wouldn't be affected much. After all, Maria didn't want to entangle herself in complicated situations.
Maria rested her head on her arms. Although she did look bored, Tim had to admit she looked quite cute. Her eyes had a slight faraway look to them and she looked thoughtful.
"Ah, well," Maria murmured. "Some things can't be helped, right? Maybe it's better if you leave her the way she is."
He nodded numbly. His hands quivered slightly as he mind focused on something else.
Where…? Why am I standing in a pool of my own… life's liquid… or is it rainwater?
I… can't… move…
Save me… A wound is opening and what's pouring out of it is… it's…
"Tim? Hey! You okay?"
He snapped out of his supposed 'daydream'. He rubbed his forehead.
"Y-yeah, I'm fine, thanks."
Maria gave a small smile. If she could read his mind, she would have called him a liar. But since she could analyse the atmosphere well, she assumed he was lying.
"Geez, if you're not feeling well, then please go home. I don't take sick people in my house," Maria said. "I'll see you to the door."
He would have protested, but something… restrained him from doing so. He complied with her and stood up. Hesitantly, he followed her to the door and said goodbye to her. The other smiled back, waving. He managed a small grin and he left with plummeting spirits.
What did he leave behind…?
The next day, he called her up. She was free again, she said. She asked if he was okay. He told her he was and he would come over.
He walked to her house. Somehow, everything about his short journey there seemed nostalgic. The trees, the road and even the cold, biting air. His shoes scuffed across the snow and he realised he was literally walking down a memory lane. A memory of seven years. That memory… He chuckled. He remembered his 15-year-old self standing on this very road with Maria and out of insecurity he asked her to promise to be his friend forever. She immediately promised and pinky-swore.
He glanced at his hand. Well, they didn't break that promise yet. They were still friends.
He went up to the door and knocked it. It wasn't long before Maria went up and opened the door. Smiling, she greeted him.
"Hi!" she said cheerily. "Come on in!"
He entered her amply-heated house and took off his winter jacket and scarf and hung them on a peg. That was when he noticed another coat hung on the peg next to his. It was too large to be Maria's. Could it be…?
"Aye, nice to see ye," the Scotsman seated on a chair in the dining room drawled.
It was him. Ian Kirkland. The Scotsman whom Maria befriended. He was close to Tim's height, maybe only a centimetre or so shorter. He had wild, red hair and piercing emerald eyes. He wore some silver stud in his ear and he smoked. But not now, of course. Tim knew that he had become quite close to the girl. Somehow, something about this man ticked him off. Something about him. Was it his looks? His accent, perhaps? Or was it the way he smiled at Maria and talked to her as if they knew each other for years?
"Tim, I hope you don't mind that Ian came over," Maria said. "It was sort of a last-minute thing…"
"No, it's okay," Tim replied. He sounded off, a little cold, maybe? He sat across Ian.
Ian, being a more sociable type of person, managed to strike off a conversation almost immediately. He talked about himself and his brothers and cracked jokes, causing Maria to laugh. Tim pretended to be listening to what he was saying and faked a smile here and there.
Somehow, he just didn't come to like Ian. There was just something that bred some sort of distaste…
What was it?
He pondered over this for a while, until Ian glanced at his watch and said he had better get home before his brothers would lecture him. Maria saw him out and when she returned to the dining room, she saw Tim looking serious. Well, too serious.
"Tim?" she murmured. "Hey, you okay?"
He looked up.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
The next few days, things got a little awkward. Tim began to notice Ian was brought up in Maria's conversations constantly. Maria, on the other hand, sensed something was wrong. Tim continued visiting her, though, so as not to cause suspicion. But, unfortunately, Maria noticed, and in her own mind she was caught in a dilemma.
One day, in the morning, Tim sent her a text message asking if she was free. She didn't reply. He simply assumed that she had overslept and did nothing about it. However, by early afternoon, she still had not replied. He found this odd, for she would normally reply a message, no matter what time she would receive it. He became rather concerned, so he went out to visit her.
He came up to the door and knocked it. There was no reply. He knocked again. And again. Still, there was no response. He resorted to using the spare key she had given him some time back. He slotted it into the keyhole and opened the door. He was surprised to find she wasn't in the dining room or the living room. He left his jacket and scarf on a peg and went to look for her.
"Maria!" he called. There was no reply. If she wasn't in the first floor, she would most probably be in her room. He went upstairs and found the door to her room slightly ajar. He knocked it. At first, there was no reply. Then, before he considered knocking a second time, he heard a muffled voice.
He opened the door quietly and stepped in. Maria was seated on her bed, dressed in a blue nightdress. It looked like she combed her hair, but did nothing beyond that. Her knees were to her chest and she wasn't wearing her ribbons in her hair. Half of her face was buried in her knees, her arms wrapped around them. He began to wonder if it was a bad idea coming to her house, but Maria scooted over and patted her bed.
"Sit down if you like," she said in a monotone voice. Tim nodded and sat next to her, his back facing her.
"What brings you here?" she asked, her tone almost icy.
"You didn't reply my message," Tim muttered back.
Ah, that. She ignored the message. But she didn't say that. She kept quiet. Silence hung in the air, until a question broke it.
"Why didn't you reply?"
Maria lifted her head slightly, but still didn't face him. Somehow, she just didn't want to reply. Something was between them, and it was surfacing and becoming evident.
"Because…" she murmured. "You seemed so tense and you looked like you wanted to be left alone the past few days. I thought it'll be okay if I didn't bother you."
He immediately felt a stab of guilt. Was that the air he had been giving off? He leaned back a little.
"Maria, I'm sorry. I guess I have been a little troubled," he replied softly.
"With what?" Maria turned to face him. She tensed. "You don't mean… Ian, do you?"
"No," he answered evasively.
"Don't lie!" Maria exclaimed. "I know you have something against him! Why? He's my friend and he's a nice person."
"Perhaps more of a friend than I am, right?" Tim let out a dry laugh.
She was dumbfounded. "W-what are you talking about?"
Suddenly, he turned around and in an instant, he pushed her, causing her to fall back on her bed. He pinned down her wrists and looked at her. She realised that they were in an intimate position and began fearing the worst.
"T-Tim! Get off me!" she said, struggling against his strong hold.
"I won't until you tell me something," he hissed. "What do you think of me?"
She was taken aback. She never expected him to pop such a question. It had taken her by surprise and she was fumbling for the words to say.
"Y-you're… a bit of an idiot," she sputtered. "B-but you can be nice sometimes… You're really a kind person and… you're just misunderstood."
That didn't go so well.
He twitched slightly. That's it. That was all that was coming from her. She began to feel uncomfortable under his weight and gaze. Thoughts ran through her mind. Okay, so she thought more of him, but she didn't want to say it. It was too… no, she just didn't want say it. She couldn't say it. She was so focused on her thoughts that she failed to notice that Tim was beginning to release his grip on her.
She slowly sat up, but Tim was still sitting in front of her, his green eyes locked on her. She shifted awkwardly and began straightening her nightdress. She didn't notice he was leaning forward. She was taken by surprise when he tipped her chin upwards gently. She felt her cheeks burning.
"What are you—…"
She broke off when he kissed her. It was a quick one and he pulled away almost once their lips met. Maria's cheeks were bright red, and she clasped a hand over her mouth. How did he…?
"I'm sorry," he whispered. Whether it was for the kiss or for making her feel off the past few days, she didn't know. But she saw the look of longing in his eyes as he murmured. "I'd better get going…"
What's coming out of this wound? What's pouring out of it? It's staining the liquid a different colour… Is… Is this love?
"Wait!" she reached out and grabbed his wrist before his feet had a chance to touch the floor.
"D-don't leave," she whispered. "Eu… Eu te amo… I love you."
He paused and turned to look at her. Did… did she just say she loved him? He wondered if it was some sort of trick. But she looked sincere and… shy. No, it was not a trick. He knew that. He turned around pressed his lips against Maria's, pouring his passion to it. She kissed him back, and he gently pushed her against the headboard. His lips trailed down her neck, and she snuggled closer to him.
He finally paused, slightly breathless. He sat back on the headboard, and suddenly reached out and grabbed Maria's waist. She gasped as she was lifted and was positioned between Tim's legs. His arms still around her waist, he leaned forward and rested his head on hers. She sat up slowly and kissed his neck.
"I love you," she whispered.
I found it.
I found what I was looking for.
No, who I was looking for. She's been here all this time, waiting.
I think… the hole in my heart is gone. So is that empty feeling.
Hey, look. The rain… It stopped.
He kissed her cheek softly. "I love you too."
A/N: Merry Christmas! Okay, not Christmas-themed at all, but I wanted to do something different. The title means 'Rain' in Dutch, so you can pretty much guess whose perspective this is shifted to. I contemplated on 'White', but in the end I ended up choosing rain. I wanted a pretty much angsty/not-exactly-happy sort of story in contrast to the happy stories… so yeah. Sorry if I disappointed you.