I frown as I look up at the billboard that's a few feet away from me. Damn it and all of it's blurred letters…
"Seto, what's wrong?" the concerned blonde next to me asks. An honest enough question, but it makes me inwardly cringe.
"Nothing," I reply, still frowning.
"Then why do you have that mean face?" he continues.
"Mean face?" I ask, turning away from the wretched sign to look at him.
"Yeah," says Joey, pointing at my face, his finger just inside my personal space bubble. "That face that's says, "I'll kill you if you mess with me." So, what I do?"
"You did nothing," I tell him, my insides tightening a little. Why does he always assume he did something wrong?
"Then what's wrong?!" he presses, making it painfully obvious that he's not going to leave me alone until he knows what's bothering me.
Sighing, I tell him quickly, "I can't see."
"Huh?" says Joey, who is now completely confused. Didn't you hear me?!
"I can't read what the billboard says," I explain, turning away from him embarrassedly.
"But the letters are huge!"
"You idiot, I wear glasses," I say annoyed.
"Oh…" he mutters, finally understanding. "So, you need your glasses?"
"You wear glasses!" he exclaims then, eyes widening as he looks at me, probably imagining what I'd look like wearing such things.
Unfortunately, I don't like wearing glasses, so I snap at him. "I just said that I did, you don't have to repeat it!"
"But I want to see you wear them!" he says excitedly before his face dims a little. "Wait a minute, we've been going out for 3 months and haven't seen you wear your glasses once!"
"I wear contacts."
"Why aren't you wearing them now?"
"They were bothering me…" Stupid lenses; if they could have just lasted until our date was over then I wouldn't be having this conversation!
"You should wear your glasses," Joey says suddenly, causing me to turn and look at him with a raised brow. "I bet you'd look sexy with them."
"I look just as sexy without them, trust me," I say with an eye roll. Of course he'd say that…
"Do you have those nerdy glasses?"
"No," I say stiffly before turning away from him. "Come on now, we're going back to my place."
"To get your glasses?"
"No, we're going because I'm holding a duel monsters competition there," I say sarcastically turning to give him a "Really?" look. Honestly, anyone would have assumed that.
"… Shut up," says Joey, feeling defeated as I drag him by the arm to my car.
I was sitting at the desk in Seto's room, waiting patiently for him to emerge with his glasses. Why had he kept this a secret from me? I've always thought glasses looked cool, and he seems like he has the right face for them. Is he embarrassed? He shouldn't be – I'm sure they look fine on him.
I'm proven right when he walks in, and I find that I can't help but stare at him.
"Seto," I say slowly and seriously, "you can never wear contacts again."
"Why not?" asks Seto, creasing his eyebrows in confusion as he sits next to me. Gosh, they look even better on him up close.
"Do you have any idea how fucking sexy you look right now!" I exclaimed, suddenly feeling the urge to kiss him.
"Joey, it's just glasses," he says, rolling his eyes and sighing a bit.
To him they may be "just glasses" – but they change everything! He looks amazing wearing them – the black, rectangular frames make him look so different! He usually looks like a mean giant, but with those glasses around his eyes he looks cute and cuddly and sophisticated and smart and, and so many things that just make him look so sexy! … I hope my nose isn't bleeding.
"They change everything," I say simply, not wishing to embarrass myself with how much I actually do like them.
"I'm not going to wear them all the time," says Seto stubbornly, his arms crossing over his chest. Ugh, why can't he ever listen to me?
"I will throw away your contacts," I threaten.
"I'll just get more."
… Damn it, he's got me there. "Please! Just wear them for me!" I give him my puppy dog eyes – the ultimate tactic. He can't say no to me now!
He looks at me for a minute before scowling. "Fuck you," he says angrily. "Stop giving me those eyes!"
I just continue to stare at him. The puppy eyes always work.
"Fine," he gives in, turning away from me. Which is good, because then he can't see the smug smirk that lights up on my face. "But I'm not wearing them in public," he continues. "I'll wear them when we're alone – just for you to see"
"Guess that's fine," I compromise with a shrug. "If any of your fan girls saw you right now, they'd kidnap you and who knows what they'd do after."
"If you could have any super power, what would it be?" Seto quickly asks to change the subject. I resist the urge to laugh; he hates talking about fan girls.
"The power to fly," I answer, smiling at him.
"Imagine flying with the birds," I explain. "Seeing people from all the way up there. Plus, I'd never be late for anything ever again."
"That's interesting," says Seto distractedly, looking down at the papers scattered over the desk.
"And you, what power would you choose?" I ask, wanting to keep the conversation going.
"The power to read minds," he says with a smile as he continues with his papers.
"And why?" I ask, looking straight at him while he picks up a whole stack of boring papers and flips through it.
"I'd be able to know things," he says carelessly. "Like what people want to hear."
"For your company, or for the people around you?"
"Mainly for the company – it would be easier then guessing what people want to see my company make," Seto explains as he pushes his glasses up a bit. Which, by the way, looks really attractive, in case you were wondering.
"You could also ask them with like, you know, a survey, or something," I tell him with a small smile on my face.
"It would take too long to read all of those," he says with a wave of his hand. His face scrunches up ever so slightly, though, and I can tell he's hesitating to say something else. "… And, there's another reason, for wanting to read minds."
The way he says that makes me feel kind of weird inside… it's like he's telling me a life-or-death secret. "There's another reason?"
"I don't want to seem like a jerk to everyone," he says quickly, as if he didn't say it now he would never be able to. "If I could read their minds, I could know what to say and what they think of me."
"But you like being a jerk," I tease him, while inside I'm just a little confused. Sometimes I don't know what he's saying… He used to treat everyone like crap and didn't care! It's not as bad now as it was before, like when he got people to beat Yugi up, but he still treats people like they don't have brains… Now he says that he doesn't want to act like that? It makes me wonder if this is actually Seto.
He laughs a bit after my joke, but it's not an evil or mean laugh like usual. It's more of a sad chuckle. "I don't like being a jerk. I act that way out of habit."
"What do you mean?"
"For me, it's more about power," he starts out, looking to the side of me instead of head on like usual. "Someone speaks to me and I insult them over what they're most proud of, or whatever they say to me – sometimes their greatest quality. Like I do with you."
"You do that stuff to me?"
"Yes… I call you a mutt mainly because you're loyal. So, in a way, it's a complement."
"Oh," I say, a little surprised. I never really noticed before… "So you don't like doing that."
"… I really don't know you at all," I say almost to myself. I can't believe it. All this time I thought I knew him, but it seems like I'm just uncovering a whole new side of him. Maybe this is all a joke…?
"There are many things you don't know about me," Seto interrupts my thoughts, sounding almost guilty as he turns away from me. "Like how I'm not confident at all… I know I look like I know what I'm doing, but I don't. I'm nervous most of the time, and especially around you."
He sounds so sincere… he can't be lying about this. So, maybe I don't know the real Seto… Maybe I just know the act he puts on. That's not good; what if I get to know the real him and I find something I don't like, and I don't want to be with him anymore. Then what?
"You aren't going to say anything?" His slightly self-conscious voice surprises me with it's sudden appearance. Guess I was too deep into my thoughts.
I just stare at him for a bit regardless, though. "So, um…" What do I say now?-? "I … I want to know the real you," I finally decide on, clenching my jaw determinedly.
"The real me?" he asks, turning to me with surprise written all over his face with a big, black sharpie. Does that really surprise him so much? "I guess I could tell you… but actually showing you how I really feel is completely different."
I nod understandingly. "Okay, so, for now, just tell me, and eventually you can act like your true self."
He blinks at me for a minute before smiling at me, which I return with a smile of my own. He takes a deep breath before starting out lowly, "The reason I don't have friends, besides the fact that I'm a jerk, is that I'm shy…" He bites his lip, turning away again so that I can only look at his side. "I'm kind of afraid of people, and I don't really know how to start a conversation without insulting someone. I don't even know how I got the courage to ask you to be with me."
"You're afraid of me?" I ask gently. I would've never thought that – he always seemed to be fine around me.
"I'm more afraid of your opinion of me," Seto explains. "Like right now. I bet you think that I'm just some wimp who's afraid of the world, that I'm a little boy and not a man, and if that is what you're thinking about… then you're right."
I stare at him for a minute, a little disbelieving that he would think that about himself. He always seemed so confident – who knew he was hiding this stuff inside? "Seto," I say, turning his head to look at me so he can see the genuineness on my face. "You're not a wimp, and you definitely are a man."
"Stop lying," he says, his tone bordering on harsh. "If I could read your mind I bet it would be the opposite of what you're saying."
Wow… this is the real Seto… He's shy, doesn't have confidence, nervous around everyone, and can't trust people… He's really messed up.
"Seto, when have I ever lied to you?" Maybe I can help him to be himself, and have confidence. After all, I'm a pretty confident guy, maybe even more so than I should be.
"How would I know?" Seto asks, his hands clenching into fists at his sides. "You could be lying to me about everything and I believe it all. I… I feel that you're telling the truth, but I just can't accept it." He looked down at the floor then, his eyes closing. As if wanting to keep tears at bay…
"Like you don't deserve it?" I ask quietly, a little put off by how he was acting. Seto and crying just… don't mix.
"Yeah, exactly," he says stiltedly, as if he's trying to control his voice.
Geez… this is, different. Much different than his usual personality. It will definitely take some getting used to, but… maybe I can learn to understand this new him?
"I want to help you," I say gently. "I want you to have confidence."
"How would you help me?" he asks, his tone conveying that he doesn't believe it's possible.
"I could get you to talk to people," I start, thinking. "Not like Yugi or Tea."
It's silent on his end as he processes my words. Then, a timid little voice speaks up, almost making my heart break. "…You… really care about me that much? You're willing to deal with me and my insecurities?"
"Of course I am," I say firmly, scooting closer to him.
"You're my boyfriend and I care about you a lot. Like, I really care about you."
It's silent for what seems like a year before he says, almost inaudibly, "I care about you a lot, too."
I smile a little. That was really good to hear – sometimes I wondered about that. Though, now I'm thinking… maybe if I told him this now, it would let him trust me more. And maybe give him just a bit of confidence. Just maybe…
"… I love you."
There. I said it, and my heart is pounding, my stomach is fluttering, my face is probably flushing, too… What is he going to say?
"… I'm not sure if I love you."
. . . I swear my heart stopped when I heard that. "…What?" I ask, turning to him, my mouth parted in shock. What's going on right now? I thought for sure that he would have felt the same way…
He looks up at me, effectively freezing me to the spot and ceasing my thoughts as I look at the sadness in his eyes. "I care about you a lot," he starts out with a whisper, "and I've only cared about you this way – no one else. But… what is love, anyway? Is it that warm feeling I get when you walk in the room, or is that just normal for someone you like? Is love that feeling I get when we kiss? Or is it when I want to see you more than anyone, when I can't stop thinking about you… Is that what it means to be in love?"
I can't take it anymore – I reach up and remove the glasses from his face gently, smiling a little as he looks at me with a timid expression, but it looks kind of cute on him. Time slows down just for us as I reach up once more and lock our lips in a passionate kiss. He wraps his arms around my neck to hold me closer, and as his glasses fall to the floor, I think to myself – yes, this is love. This warm, safe, indescribable feeling has to be love… And, hopefully, he thinks the same thing, even if he doesn't have a lot of confidence. I hope he knows that… I love him. Even with his flaws.