"This will be fun, I promise! You don't need to do anything. Just be there, and that's fine." Aya said in full exuberance, totally unmindful of how Zakuro was covering her own ears just to prevent herself from hearing any 'crap' from her friend.
"Oh! And before I totally forget, Tezuka-buchou and the rest of the 3rd years agreed to come as well! Now don't you think this is something? Oh…" Aya continued, now looking so dazed by her own imagination.
As far as Zakuro is concerned, she never agreed to help out in any preparations for the party that their team organized as a celebration for their victory on the Kanto regionals two days ago. So as to why she was now on the same room as the head organizer of the said event, remains a mystery.
The moment the bunch of first years arrive to check on their job delegations, Zakuro immediately went out the club room to escape Aya's constant blabbering. She never liked it when the place she's in becomes too crowded and noisy. It spoils her temper.
She went to the nearest vending machine on their school cafeteria and grabbed a can of cola, just in time for her to see a familiar figure few meters away from him, gleefully talking to the rest of the men tennis regulars. Zakuro noted the absence of Tezuka and Kawamura.
"Ne Fuji…Is it really okay for Tezuka to go to this party?" she heard Oishi asked. By that time, she had already strategically hid herself from the view of the guys.
"If what we heard was true, then it's never a good thing to let him meet her there. Tezuka doesn't like publicity." the vice-captain continued.
Zakuro had completely lost her interest on the cola she was drinking .
"Probability of public disclosure, 95%." Inui added.
"If the whole Seigaku knows about this, it'll surely be a very phenomenal wedding."
"Hai! Seigaku tennis 'buchous' , soon to get married!" Eiji shouted, all the while mimicking a news reporter on T.V.
"Eiji!" his doubles partner complained.
The chatters and comments went on and on, though Zakuro never really heard anything more after the revelation.
Yuka and Tezuka are getting married?
She shook her head in silent protest. There must be some sort of misunderstanding. She quickly left the place and headed back to the club room.
"Tadaa!" Aya blurted as she showed her masterpiece to the entire women tennis team.
Her audience didn't fail to show their amazement on the painting right in front of them. It was a large canvass painted with the picture of the entire team, delicately colored and crafted to suit its subtle background which happened to be some sort of a lakeside.
"Sugoi ne, Aya.." commented one of her team mate.
"Of course! This is for everyone guys! We deserve what we have now for all the hard work we've done! Good work!" she exclaimed.
Amidst the happy atmosphere around her, Zakuro seemed to be on a totally different world. She opted to talk to Yuka about the matter concerning her and Tezuka, but when she found out that their captain still hadn't shown up, she started to doubt whether or not it's even a right thing to involve herself in somebody else's life.
She just couldn't take in what she heard. Marriage is too much. They were not yet even in senior high school, for crying out loud! And then marriage? What were they thinking?
She sighed and shook her head.
What's wrong with her? Why did she end up so affected when she had already decided to move on? Did she do something that terrible to merit the amount of heartache she's enduring now? If she did, then she hoped somebody would tell her, for she really doesn't know what's going on now.
"Daijobo?" she heard her friend, Aya asked.
The rest of the team, had found something to be busy about, and she's unfortunately the only one left who found meditating worth the time.
"Nothing….just tired." she said as she headed out again for the door. "I'll go ahead." she added with a dismissive wave, without looking at someone in particular.
Day of the Party.
Everyone made themselves comfortable inside the Sadaharu's rest house located some place near Okinawa. It was an utterly perfect place for a celebration, and Aya couldn't help but thank Inui for the hospitality, regardless of the 'data' player's personal agenda. Whatever it was, it doesn't matter. They just came to enjoy. And that's what they'll do.
While others enjoyed themselves with the variety of foods, and the first-class musical accompaniment, facilitated by the other female regulars, Zakuro just couldn't muster any strength to show her delight to everything that has been happening.
How could she?
Few steps away from her was Tezuka and Yuka, standing side by side with each other in silence. Words are not needed for them to convey their need to be alone. And it hurts her a lot.
She gave out a sharp sigh before she stood up and faced the female captain.
"Can I have a minute?" she asked, sounding confident despite the wild beating of her heart as he felt Tezuka's piercing gaze.
Yuka shrugged. "Sure."
They silently made their way out, and settled to a place where nobody could hear them.
"What is all about this marriage thing, huh?" Zakuro asked.
"None of your business." Yuka answered.
Zakuro laughed. Humorless.
"Right. So what? You've been seeing him behind my back? Great!"
"I don't have to explain myself to you, Amane. And, hey! Is there even a reason why I should tell you anything? As far as I know, you're not his girl."
"So are you."
"Of course not. I'm not just any girl because I'm his fiancée." the captain said, placing emphasis on the last word.
"You don't even love him." Zakuro muttered.
"If you came all the way to tell me about that, then you're basically wasting our time. We both know that already. Why bother?"
The strong slap she received from their second year ace right after saying that, rendered her wide-eyed in shock. She slowly faced Zakuro in disbelief. Did she just slap her on the face?
Yuka should have thought about what she just said. She should have considered what it could've meant for the younger gal who was standing in front of her, face marred with those tears, and fists clenched with anger.
"How dare you." Zakuro said in between sobs, as she harshly wiped away her tears that wouldn't stop from falling.
Yuka just stared at her in daze.
"How dare you say that in front of me.." Zakuro continued, almost in a whisper.
"You….don't know anything." Yuka retorted.
"Urusai!" the younger gal barked, feeling the rage finally snapping out the confines of his grasp.
"Tezuka-buchou…you know I love him….and yet…..and yet, you-"
"Doyu imi?" a baritone voice came from behind, which startled both of the ladies.
"T-Tezuka…" Yuka breathed.
Zakuro's eyes widened as another drop of tear fell down her eyes. She stared at the guy's figure in shock, trying to think of a valid excuse, and a reasonable explanation for the compromising event. She knew however, that there were none.
Zakuro slowly stepped back with her head down.
"E-excuse me.." she mumbled, as she ran back to the rest house.
Neither of the two captains attempted to stop her, because actually there's no point. The damage has been done.
"Did you hear that?" Yuka asked, caressing her painful cheek, which by then feel swollen from the impact of Zakuro's slap.
"Amane…she loves you so much. It's a pity though…knowing that you can't be with her." Yuka said.
Tezuka eyed her curiously. He drank few glasses of beer, but it didn't mean his senses were impaired enough to miss the hidden implication on the gal's statement.
"What are you talking about?" he simply asked, feeling uneasy on the possible response he'll hear from the other captain.
Yuka smiled exhaustedly.
"I'm saying, that if you don't want me that much, then go and find somebody who'll make our excuse possible."
"We're not getting married."
"You told me yourself about that."
"C'mon Kunimitsu Tezuka. Think. I'll make Fuji go out with me in a week. You go find your own." she plainly said as if what she meant was so simple to swallow.
"Oh shut up! This is pissing me off." she snapped before walking away, and going back to rest house.
Tezuka gently massaged his temples.
Yuka Fumito. The sole heiress of his father's business partner.
Why does she always give him a headache?
...I wonder what's supposed to happen next...
Thanks for the read!