It's Just A Talk
He had been training when she'd found him, buried somewhere in the elegant expanse of the Celadon Gardens. It was a chance encounter, to be certain, but it was equally clear to him how pleasantly surprised May had been to meet up with him.
He'd taken some time off what he'd been doing to spend in her company, and after walking around for a while, enjoying the scenery, they had stopped to rest on a carved stone bench, and apparently she had been feeling chatty. If May had been anyone else other than herself, he might have suspected that she planned this, but it was May. No subtlety, no ulterior motives, ever.
"So!" she began, winking at him, "Since we're friends, we gotta know stuff about each other! You know lots about me, Drew, but I feel like we've barely scratched the surface when it comes to you. Why don't you tell me a little about yourself?"
"I suppose it's only fair, isn't it?
"You bet it is!"
His eyes gave her the once over, sure that he had reasons to distrust her, but he could ultimately find none. It was a fact that he was not the type of person to give away his thoughts easily. And honesty was paramount with him; break his trust, and he wouldn't give it out again. He could count on one hand the number of people who he felt comfortable confiding in. What surprised him today was that he counted her as one of those few.
Upon further analysis, he supposed he had no reason to be surprised. One of the things he liked best about her personality was the reason why he trusted her. She was so bad at pretense, so incredibly hopeless at not wearing her heart on her sleeve. Lying was a foreign concept to her, but on the other hand, she could keep a secret for someone if she wanted to. She was so earnest in the defense and keeping of her friends that he believed whatever he chose to tell her would remain between them only.
A part of him read more into that thought than was probably intuitive to begin with. He liked the concept of them having something that was just theirs. Goodness knows he'd worked hard for that outcome with so many things. For example…
It wasn't that he enjoyed teasing her. Sure, there was something satisfying at the reaction he provoked out of her, but he had never meant any of it in an unkind way. He meant for his comments to keep her on her toes, to challenge her. To make her want to better herself, because he knew she had the capacity, the talent to do so. Her success was a bit of his happiness, really. And it made her chase him, in a way. If all he had ever offered was praise heaped upon praise, he felt as if she might have forgotten about him, or grown desensitized. Hey, even he could be insecure once in a while – things happened. Whether the fear was unfounded or not, it was his motivation. He didn't want to be cast aside. He wanted to be her focus, rival, obstacle… whatever motivated her, too.
Having such an attitude; it had had the odd effect of bringing them closer together.
He couldn't have planned it better if he had tried. Becoming her rival had been one of the happiest developments in his life he could imagine, and perhaps he wasn't being so cocky in hoping that that bond would some day develop further.
"Fine. What is it that you want to know so bad, May?"
He couldn't believe he was saying that… just giving her pretty much free reign to interrogate him. It was frightening…but also kind of liberating in the same breath. It felt as if he had crossed a bridge he had always meant to cross, but hadn't previously for fear of what might lie on the other side. He was guarded by nature, but he wanted her to know him. To take all of him into consideration, and, hopefully, like him the same, or more, afterwards. Not some summarized version of himself that anyone else could glean. He wanted desperately for her to understand the real him.
"Nothing specific, I guess. Just… stuff!"
He smiled even while fighting the urge to shake his head. Figures she would say that, yet it amused him as if he hadn't expected her to respond that way.
"Eloquent as always, May. You never cease to amaze. But… honestly, what do you feel like it's important that you know? I won't back out from my promise. I will answer your questions today, but you have to think about what it is you want me to tell you. Whatever you might think, I can't read your mind, so, be specific."
"How did you grow up?"
"Year after year, like anyone else."
"Oh Drew, you know that's not what I mean! Your parents. Your family. Yeah, let's go with that. What are they like? Maybe start with that…" she trailed off, gathering herself for the story time she expected. She had her knees pulled up against her to where her feet too, were resting on the bench, and she was looking at him, her curiosity plain to see if he cared to observe.
He looked down momentarily, thinking on how best to explain the situation. It was hard to compare it to her family life, which was so whole, and normal. No conflict, no separation, or anything of a negative vein at all. He didn't think on paper his set-up looked scandalous- many families were in the same place- but hers was not, and he would hate for her to judge him for something like this that he could not control. He didn't think she would… but for risk of his pride being offended, it was hard to take that leap of faith.
"My parents are… divorced. It happened when I was seven, so it's been this way for years, but it's not great. I lived with just my dad before I started traveling around as a Trainer, and to be honest, May, I'm kind of glad I was able to get out. I don't know if you understand, but…"
She was watching him with an even expression. "Why wouldn't I understand? Did you guys not get along, was that it?"
"No… we got along fine, but by fine, I mean we didn't fight, but we weren't close either. My father worked a lot, and when he was home, it was hard to be around him. We just didn't have the same sort of interests. He wasn't invested in my life like your parents are with you and Max; he didn't have the time, energy, or inclination to be. He never got over losing my mom, either. She was the one who asked for the separation. All in all, it was sad. I needed to remove myself from that, so traveling was sort of a revive effect for me."
"Everyone is different, Drew," she commented matter-of-factly. "And how your parents are makes no difference to who you are, not to me, anyway."
"But, since I'm thinking about it," she amended, "if it was better for you to go on a journey, then I'm glad you did."
He inclined his head. "It was. Along the way I found other reasons for keeping it up, and I would have never known if I hadn't decided to make the first trip."
Deciding that it wouldn't hurt for her to know it, especially not if she seemed so happy to hear the little about his life that he'd imparted to her, he also commented, "It's been fun, traveling and seeing you all the time."
"Really?" She appeared excited at the very notion of it. He smirked a little, out of old habit.
"Come on, May, you know me better than that."
"I guess." Smiling contentedly, she laughed at nothing in particular, and he humored this behavior with a grin of his own. "You're smooth, but you've never said something if you didn't mean it."
The moment was so light for them, it was something to be enjoyed, not analyzed. He had no expectations as of now, and that made him feel so free. He was so used to being regimented, very self-controlled, that to simply let things happen as they do was thrilling. He was taking a little of her personality for himself today, and it was even sweeter due to the fact that she chose to share this epiphany moment with him.
She surprised him then, grabbing his right hand, and grasping it in both of hers. The gesture put him at ease. It was as if she did understand his nature after all. Maybe his talk hadn't been so full of hot air as he feared it had, and she had learned something she found useful in deciphering him.
"I appreciate you telling me all this. It's nice to know you a little better." She blushed cutely. "I hope you know you can always talk to me... if you wanna."
"This may be the first time, but I can promise you it won't be the last," he assured her, meeting her eyes for a brief moment. He then had to look elsewhere, lest he was tempted to embarrass himself by making a further move.
"Hmm?" he intoned, turning his head to gaze her way again.
Then, looking surer of what she was doing than was ever common for May, she leaned in closer, and caught him up in an embrace, pressing her lips very gently against his own. He stumbled mentally, but found himself reciprocating eagerly once his brain had made the connection between what was happening and that he liked it. Their hands tightened slightly around each other with pleasure, but no one was rushing here. The kiss was almost nothing, but yet it was everything, too. He wouldn't have altered it for the world.
She had beaten him to it, but for this outcome being what it was, he wasn't terribly concerned. It was bound to happen sometime – he'd been trying not to go in for one for almost a year, so this was long overdue. It felt as natural as breathing; he couldn't even make a big fuss over it, because it felt right, and he had wanted to do it himself.
At least he never had to worry about losing the fun of competing with her. Because it was clear to him now that she enjoyed it quite as much as he did.
A/N: Me, love to write about rivals? I don't know what you're talking about. Shhh. ;)
These two were on my to-write list, so I'm glad I've done this, finally. Blegh on the title though - I despise coming up with titles.