x Rima x

There he goes again– chatting and laughing with my best friend in an attempt to win her over, not that he hasn't done that already, anyway. Amu is clearly attached to the ugly hobbit. I wonder why? Maybe it's 'cause his eyes are so alluring, not to mention annoying when he's using it to mock me. Or maybe it's because of how long and wonderful his hair is. Maybe it's because he's super adorable when he pouts, or maybe it's those dimples that could easily pierce through any girl's heart.

Well, whatever it is, I don't plan on letting him win her over. I am a much better friend than him! I am sweet! I am also a girl! I am the Mashiro Ri–

"Rima-chan," Nagihiko called, tilting his head slightly to the left. It was a simple gesture, but it was enough to make my heart skip a beat.

"What?" I snapped, letting venom drip down my voice. I'm not sure what it was– the glare or the tone– that made the boy shiver a bit. Well, whatever it was, I'm glad it worked.

Nagihiko is, after all, my childhood nemesis, and I don't plan on admitting anytime soon how I really felt about him.

"You're spacing out again," he mumbled. I snorted and crossed my arms before giving him a look that could've made me look superior if he wasn't so full of confidence himself. "I'm not spacing out, pretty boy. I'm making a death wish towards you," I claimed. He didn't even flinch or anything at what I said. He just gave me a peculiar look, and I bet it could've developed into a full-on, heated glaring contest until my very sweet and bubbly friend decided to interrupt.

"Enough! Rima-tan, you're scaring me!"

I glanced at Yaya. She stood up, causing her pigtails to bob. It added cutesy to her small, pouting face– a face that Amu and other other kind-hearted human beings would've fallen for. Meaning I didn't fall for it. It was all clearly an act to help her get her way. Despite her immature ways, however, I still had respect for the girl. After all, we were both once accused of being Nagihiko's lovers so the fan girls locked us up in a closet for an entire day. Instead of wailing and crying like she normally would, Yaya spent her time comforting me since I was scared to death of small, dark places. It really meant a lot to me.

"By the way, Rima-tan! Can Yaya have some of your hot chocolate?" she plead, once again bobbing her head.

Of course, although I love this girl, there's no way I'm going to share my sweet hot chocolate topped with mallows and cream. I mean, I don't get this everyday! Every other day, yes, but not everyday!

I shook my head. No. Then, everyone in the group– Hotori-kun, Soma-kun, Fujisaki and Amu– covered their ears, preparing for what was to come.

"WAAAAAAAAAAH! RIMA-TAN YOU'RE BEING SO MEAN! GIMME THE HOT COCOA! GIMME THE HOT COCOA!" she pounced herself against me causing the cup to slip off my fingers. It crashed to the ground, the sound of it echoing across the cafe. Slowly, Yaya pulled away from me, bringing her hand over her mouth when she realized her mistake. "Oops. Yaya didn't mean to do that."

And so, after oh-so-kindly getting kicked out of the café, we decided to separate and head for different stores.

Hotori-kun went with Amu, who was blushing like mad. Yaya went with Soma-kun, who was already counting his bills, knowing very well how easily his wallet will get robbed whenever Yaya is there. Nagihiko said he'll go around on his own.

I decided to head to the bookstore, hoping that the latest volume of Gag Manga Daioh– the most awesome gag manga in the world– happens to be there.

A bell clang at my entrance in the small store, and I headed straight for the manga section. After looking through the shelves, I pouted. The series wasn't there even though it's incredibly popular nowadays. That's lame. However, before giving up, something caught my eye– a colorful book placed wrongly at the top of the "Literature" section; a book that looked awfully familiar.

The latest volume of my oh-so-beloved manga!

I ran up to it then stood on my toes before stretching my arms in an attempt to grab it. I tried again. And again. And again. After about twenty times of jumping, I decided that the book was too high for me to reach.

Cursing my height, I curled into a ball, leaning against the bookshelf, feeling hopeless. After months of waiting for this volume, I finally find it. But I can't even reach it. Talk about nerve-wrecking. Now that I think about it, though, this isn't the first time that my height has caused me pain and anguish. It isn't the first time that it has limited my abilities.

Who knows what else it can limit me from in the future.

I sighed.

It's decided then. I don't want to live anymore. There's no point to living if I can't reach the beloved and holy "Gag Manga Daioh!"

"Rima-chan?"

What is it, Nagihiko? Can't he see that I'm wallowing in my own self-pity? Why can't he respect me and leave me alone? Doesn't he know that it's rude to interrupt people's suicidal trail of thoughts? Some gentleman. He can't even take manners into consideration when he's speaking to me!

"Rima-chan, did you want this?" I felt something hard and cold nudge me on the left cheek. I lifted my face only to come face-to-face and nose-to-nose with none other that the ugly hobbit. After successfully resisting the urge to blush I identified the thing he used to nudge me with.

Gag Manga Daioh volume four!

"Give me the book," I told him, my voice low. Nagihiko shrugged before glancing at its cover. "Sure. But I didn't know that you, of all people, liked comedy," he then gave me a skeptical look. "Since when?"

Without wasting another second, I grabbed the manga from his hand and glared at him. "It's for my cousin, Fujisaki. My cousin! He loves this manga so much, especially when they do the pose and scream out bala-balance and–" I paused, realizing that Fujisaki was giving me a disbelieving look. I guess it's time to stop ranting about the manga. "Anyway, thanks" I said, the last word hardly leaving my lips.

Nagihiko was quiet for a while until he grinned, placing both arms behind his head in a relaxed manner. "It's okay! You just owe me a snack!"

That was when I punched him on the arm for being so full of himself, "I don't owe you anything."

"Sure sure, chipmunk. Whatever you say." See? This is one of the reasons my height has been such a disadvantage! The nicknames he comes up with everyday are harsh, I tell you!

"Don't call me that!" I spat, "shut up and die in a hole, Fujisaki!"

Later that day, I decided to go home earlier than the rest so that I could read my manga in peace within the comforts of my own bedroom. It would've been peaceful walk home. Take notice of the word "would've."

"Stop following me around, Fujisaki," I spat, trying very hard to keep my breathing even because he was so so very close and I swear, I could already get a whiff of his scent and it's really, really nice!

"I'm not following you around, Rima-chan."

"Then stop walking in the same direction as me."

"I wish I can, but my house is this way too."

I started muttering death curses at him as I continued to walk down the silent and empty town. To my surprise, he was silent. No insults, no jokes, no nothing. And maybe, just maybe I didn't like that.

Maybe I like it when we're arguing. Maybe I find it cute whenever he smirks. But I still find it annoying when his comebacks are so good that I couldn't make a witty remark.

"Hey Rima-chan, can you feel that?"

"Huh?" I said, glancing at him. He wasn't looking at me. He was looking at the sky. "Feel what?"

"Water,"

As if on cue, I felt a drop of water fall on my arm. Before I could look at the sky myself, the drops began to pick-up until it was full-blown raining.

"Darn," I muttered, looking aimlessly around for any sight of shelter. I like this sundress I'm wearing. It was given to me by my dad. This year is one of the few years that he actually remembered my birthday, and this dress is what he got me. There is no way I'll allow mud and water to dirty it.

My attention shifted to the sound of rustling beside me. I turned around, only to find Nagihiko unfolding the sleeves of his coat. I thought for a moment that he was doing that to cover his arms but then he removed it. I felt a strange sensation fill up my cheeks as I watched him place the coat over my head.

"Wear this while we look for some sort of shelter," he said.

Nagihiko was now wearing an Oxford which was drenched, causing the cloth to stick to his skin, showing me his well-defined chest. And then there was his face, wet, with his signature smirk lighting up his features.

Oh god. I think my head is going to explode. Oh, the things I would give up just to be able to squeal like one of his normal, rabid fan-girls when put in this situation. Oh god!

"Don't blame me if you catch a cold. You offered this coat yourself" I said, keeping my voice stoic and steady. He shrugged before placing a hand in his pocket.

"Like you said, chibi. It's only right for a guy to save a girl in distress"

After awhile, Nagihiko and I found ourselves taking shelter in a deserted little stall. We were silent as we waited for the rain to stop. It didn't. And it didn't look like it was going to let up any time soon either. Soon, it was darker, and I realized that it was about time I headed home.

"Did you bring your phone, you ugly hobbit?" I asked, not bothering to look up at him.

"No. Did you, Queen of midgets?"

"Nah"

This was going to be a long night.