The day had finally arrived. The day you'd been dreading. You knew your heart would be broken once it came. But that didn't stop the sun from rising this morning. No—if anything, the sun actually rose faster than usual.
It was time for you and your family to go back.
"(Name)." Your mother poked her head into your room. "Are you almost finished, dear?"
You nodded. You'd been zipping up your big suitcase, and now you lugged it down from your bed onto the carpet. "I'm done," you replied.
Mother stepped inside and she walked towards you. "I know you don't want to go back," she said softly, smiling a sad smile. "But school's going to be starting soon. We'll be back here next summer."
By then, everything might've changed. "I should just go to Eitoku," you murmured. Then you shook your head. "No, it's okay. I'll be down in a second."
Just then, your cell phone vibrated deep in your pocket, and you pulled it down, puzzled. It was a text from Maiko, telling you to meet her at the beach parking lot.
Mother read it over your shoulder. You turned towards her hopefully, your eyes shining. "May I go? Please?"
She sighed. "All right. But we're leaving at three, okay? Be back by then."
You thanked her and then shooed her out of the room so you could change out of your pajamas. You threw on a red plaid shirt over your camisole, leaving the first three buttons undone, and you shimmied into tiny cutoff shorts. Then you grabbed your day bag and ran out the door.
About fifteen minutes later, you arrived at the beach. You walked around the parking lot, scanning it for your friend, and you saw her sitting at a park bench on the sand nearby, keeping four gorgeous males as her company. She looked up as you walked towards them, and a smile burst onto her face. "(Name)!" she squealed, running over to hug you tightly.
"Hey," you managed, as she was crushing you to the bosom of her bikini top. Then you smiled at the boys. "And F4. Hello."
"Don't be surprised that we're here," Nishikado said. "You should be used to us showing up wherever you are, (Name)."
That was true. You had expected them to be here. You smiled, looking from his face to Mimasaka's to Hanazawa's. And then your eyes jumped onto the last boy's face.
Doumyoji was staring at you, his dark eyes hooded. His expression was carefully blank, and you knew why. You were sure the others knew why as well. Then he turned away.
The action was oddly cold, and you felt a pang in your heart. But you ignored it, instead sitting down at the table, next to Hanazawa.
For a while, the six of you chatted about life. Well, it was more the five of you talked. Doumyoji didn't say anything. He just grunted here and there. The boys talked about school, how they were sort of happy to be returning to Eitoku but at the same time, they wished summer was longer.
"Ain't that the truth," you sighed. "I'd love to go to Eitoku. This way, I could be with you guys every single day."
"It's pretty expensive, though, (Name)," Mimasaka reminded you. "Us four got in because, well, we're pretty rich."
"I see them frequently because my academy is nearby," said Maiko.
"Lucky. My current school is horrible. It's all cliques and groupies and everything. If you're not popular, you're a nobody." You rolled your eyes. "Compared to that, Eitoku doesn't sound too bad."
Nishikado thought for a moment, his fingers drumming out patterns onto the table. "You know, we could pay for your tuition," he said.
You shook your head. "Oh, no, please don't," you declined. "I'd feel so bad if you did. If I want to get into Eitoku, I'll do it with my own money."
"It's a lot of money," Hanazawa said. His voice was gentle, as was his hand as it held yours', the fingers intertwined together. You glanced at him and smiled.
Then the conversation was launched into memories and past events, and then Mimasaka and Nishikado went to go get some food from the sandbar and they came back with a real feast. The group dug in, and the atmosphere was pleasant. It was just perfect.
Finally, the time came around. It was two-thirty, and you had to get back or your parents would kill you. As you stood up, tears suddenly filled your eyes. "Oh, gosh," you said softly, swiping at them. "I promised myself I wouldn't cry, but…"
Maiko was the first to give you a hug. She reached out and brushed aside your bangs. "You have to call me from time to time, okay?" she said. "And maybe my parents can convince yours' to visit for winter break."
Nishikado was next. He swept you into a bone-crushing hug, lifting you off your feet. You squeaked in surprise, and he chuckled. "You'd better come for winter break," he said. "That's the time I'm usually free. So that way, I can spend more time with you."
"You're free during winter? But I thought…"
"Everyone's in a relationship by then. So the girls don't want to cheat on their guys and they usually stay together until after New Years'." A wicked gleam flashed in his eyes. "But after New Years', I'm busy again, making love to every girl in the city." He laughed as you blushed, and then he kissed you. "Maybe you and I could get together….kidding! I'm kidding!"
You shook your head, smiling, and then Mimasaka embraced you. He had some words to say to you, "You know, (Name), I've been thinking about what you told me. You were right. I am the balance of the F4. These guys are so childish, it's ridiculous. But then again, these guys are my best friends, and I would give anything to be with them." He spoke softly into your ear, his arms strong around you.
You hugged him back. "Mimasaka, I've always thought of you as my brother. You're so mature and everything. So stay that way, alright?" He nodded, smiling, and kissed your cheek before stepping back.
Hanazawa was still sitting down at the table, finishing a cup of tea. He chugged the rest of it down his throat and then stood up, wiping his mouth hastily. Then he reached out towards you and pulled you to his chest.
"You and I are going to get together sometime," he said. "Don't you forget that."
That was all he had to say to you, not surprisingly, and he tilted your chin up to kiss you passionately. The kiss left you dizzy and winded when he finally let you go.
Then there was just one more boy you had to say goodbye to. He was leaning against the table, his arms crossed in front of him. You started towards him. "Doumyoji…"
"Don't think you're going to get a hug from me," he said. "Not after what you did to me."
His tone was icy and you felt as though you were slapped. You stood there, stunned, staring at him.
For a long moment, he didn't do anything. Then Doumyoji sighed and went to you, awkwardly putting his arms around you. "I didn't mean that," he muttered into your hair. "I'm just…"
"I know. I'm so sorry, Doumyoji, I really am." You buried your head against his chest, inhaling his scent. "I was in love with you for a while…"
"That's not enough." Then he abruptly moved back, leaving you standing there.
You picked up your day bag and slung it over your shoulder. Then you turned to face everyone, smiling sadly, your eyes pooling with tears once again. "I'll miss all of you," you said. "I really will."
They all said words of encouragement and farewell, with the promise of seeing them once again behind them. Then you waved at them, turned, and started walking across the parking lot.
You looked over your shoulder. Hanazawa had his hands cupped over his mouth and he shouted, "If I had a rose for every time I thought of you, I'd be walking in a garden forever!"
A smile came to your lips, and you reached up to brush away a tear that escaped down your cheek. You'd love these guys forever. You'd see them again. It was all good.
And next time you met, Hanazawa would have more corny lines waiting for you.