(before i met you, i never knew what it was like to be able to look at someone and smile for no reason.)
"What?" I exclaimed, stepping back in surprise as I looked back up at him.
"I said, I'll walk with you to the station," he repeated, shaking the umbrella gently to remove the raindrops. "I'll borrow another umbrella from Green or somebody so you can take mine home with you, while I use the other umbrella to come back to the cafe."
"But aren't you supposed to be rehearsing now?" I asked, feeling a little guilty. I didn't want to interrupt his rehearsals with his co-workers for a small matter like this.
"They'll be fine, and I'm not performing tonight anyway," Red replied. "Green, Gold, Sapphire and Pearl wanted to do a new song tonight anyway."
"But―" I protested, ready to refuse his offer, but Red wouldn't hear me out. Instead, he yelled over to Green that he was taking his umbrella, and without bothering to wait for the brunet's reply, he walked over to the umbrella stand and took out another umbrella, this one being a dark shade of grey.
"Come on," he said, opening the cafe's door and holding it open. "Let's go."
Realising that there was no way I could change his mind, I sighed and headed outside.
Now we were walking in silence, not knowing what to say, but simply enjoying each other's company. Red's umbrella was just big enough for two, but even then I still had to walk closely to him to prevent myself from getting wet.
"I wonder what your boyfriend would say if he saw you walking with me," Red says, grinning at me. I jolt at the sudden question, and then when his question sinks in, I feel my cheeks redden at the thought.
"Eh? I don't have one," I say awkwardly, twisting the hem of my denim skirt to avoid looking at him. I let my fringe cover my eyes, blocking his amused gaze.
"Oh? Really?" he drawls, twirling the umbrella handle. I nod silently, trying to control the blush that was rapidly blooming across my cheeks.
"I thought a pretty girl like you would have had a long term boyfriend by now."
If my face wasn't red before, I'm pretty sure my face is a dark crimson by now. I don't trust myself to speak just yet, so I focus on my surroundings, looking at the people walking past, watching the rain fall, enjoying the peace and quiet...
"AIEEEEEE! It's Red!"
Scratch that. Within seconds, the calm, enjoyable atmosphere is brutally destroyed as a pair of girls approaches us. Their eyes are shining as they look at Red, but upon seeing me, they frown and their eyes narrow. Still, they force smiles on their faces and beam at Red.
"Fancy seeing you here!"; "Are you performing tonight?"
"No, I'm not," Red says politely, nudging me to the side so we can overtake them. Unfortunately, the girls mimic our steps and stands in front of us again.
"But we really wanted to hear you sing," one of the girl wails as she steps forward, tugging on his arm. Red tries to pull away, frowning slightly, but fails when the girl tightens her grip around his wrist.
"We loved the song you did with that other girl the other night!" The other girl squeals, grabbing his other hand. For a moment, the umbrella shifts and a sudden splash of rain descends on me, soaking me. At this, the other two girls grin mockingly, and one of the girls angles the umbrella to prevent Red from coming to my aid. I shriek as the cold rainwater splashes onto me, and Red shoots me a worried glance before glaring at the other two girls.
"Leave her alone," he snaps at the two girls, and his harsh voice causes them to step back, alarmed. He lifts the umbrella over me again, and I wrap my arms around my body, shivering slightly. Once he sees that I'm safely under the umbrella again, he takes my hand and leads us away from the two girls.
"Thanks," I say softly, raking through my blonde hair. It's hanging in rats tails after being in the rain, and I'm certain I must look awful. My white blouse is also soaked pretty badly, and my denim skirt has dark spots of rain on it.
"Are you all right?" Red asks carefully, taking in my dishevelled appearance. "You're shivering."
"I'm fine," I say, trying not to show how cold I actually was. Today was definitely not my lucky day. I was cold, wet, and my clothes were clinging to me like a second skin.
"Here hold this for a moment."
Red shoves the umbrella at me, and before I could ask him anything, he shrugs off his jacket and hands it to me.
"Here. Put this on."
"No I'm fine, really," I squeaked. My face was starting to colour up again. I honestly didn't want to cause him so much trouble. He had already offered to walk me to the station, defended me against the two girls, and now he was offering his jacket.
He didn't seem to hear my answer, and simply shoves the dark green garment into my hands.
When we finally arrive at the station, I'm not shivering anymore, thanks to Red's jacket. However, I can't help but feel self-conscious, because not only am I soaking wet, I am also wearing a jacket that's at least a couple of sizes big. To top it off, there are plenty of girls looking enviously at me, before turning their admiring eyes to Red. I turn to look at him, but he doesn't seem to notice the girls gazing at him. His attention is only focused on me, and he smiles lightly when he sees me looking at me.
"Thank you," I say quietly, breaking the awkward silence after we have been looking at each other for far too long.
"What for?" Red ask, surprised. He smile widens, and something stirs in my heart, causing me to look away.
"You know. For everything."
"Oh it's nothing," Red replies, waving his hand. He hands me his umbrella, and shakes his head when I attempt to shrug off his jacket. I smile gratefully, and as I turn to leave, he suddenly reaches out and grabs my hand.
"Hey, um, if you don't mind, you can always count on me to walk you to the station if you ever forget your umbrella," Red stammers. His confident demeanour is gone, and before me stands an embarrassed man whose cheeks are tinged a slight shade of red.
"I'll remember that," I reply quietly. To my embarrassment, my own cheeks are heated up.
For a moment, it seemed like time stopped when I looked at him. His eyes held that emotion from the day before again. Was it fondness? Or something else? I couldn't really put my finger on it. The evening crowd pushes past us, not bothering to acknowledge us as they hurry to their destinations. But for a moment, I didn't really care about the people pushing their way beside us. I just couldn't tear my gaze from the man standing before me.
Suddenly, a person bumps into both of us and we snap out of our trance, blushing. Before I can apologize, he lets go of my hand and waves, before disappearing into the sea of people.
"Someone has a boyfriend!" ; "Come on, tell us everything!"
Upon entering the cafe the next day, my left arm was instantly hugged by an ecstatic blonde, and my right arm was being grabbed by a brunet. Despite working with them for years, it never ceases to amaze me that how Bianca and Black were able to snag the latest gossip despite not actually being at the cafe at the time.
"Who has a boyfriend?" Silver asks ominously, his eyes sharp as he scrutinised the three of us. Crystal rolls her eyes and tugs him lightly on his arm to drag him away, flashing me a knwowing smile when she caught my eye.
"I don't have a boyfriend!" I say desperately, wrenching my arms away from the two youngsters' iron-like grip.
"White says she saw you two sharing an umbrella!" Bianca persists, clasping her hands in front of her and beaming at me. "She called out to the two of you across the street but you didn't hear or see her!"
"And she says you guys were blushing!" Black adds smugly, punching a fist on his other hand as if to make a point.
"I wasn't―" I stammered, trying to think of a reasonable excuse so I could get away from them, but my mind fell blank.
"Quit messing with Yellow," a smooth voice interrupts us.
"Show some respect to your fellow coworkers," another voice ― this one albeit more feminine― calls out.
I can feel myself being pulled away, and let out a sigh of relief. Ignoring the whines of the younger waitstaff, I followed the two who had come to my aid into the back room. When the door clicks shut, Ruby and Platinum immediately turn to me, their eyes shining with excitement. Platinum was wearing an earnest expression, the kind she had on whenever one of the waitstaff showed her a new skill, and Ruby was practically radiating some kind of ecstatic aura.
"So is it true?"; "Are you really seeing Red?"
"Oh for crying out loud!"
Throughout the day, I was the main target for everyone. I was constantly bombarded by questions, and after I answered them, I was immediately interrupted by someone else who demanded to know the exact same thing.
But still, thoughts of the walk I had with him surfaced every now and then. I remembered every single detail, from the way he expressed concern towards me after the incident with the two girls, and the way he would smile at me, his eyes bright with merriment. My face heated up at the thought.
"Her face is all red."
"Calm down, Silver. You're not her elder brother or something."
Startled, I looked up at the three faces peering at me. Silver had his arms crossed and looked concerned yet disgruntled at the same time; Crystal's eyes held amusement and lastly, Ruby's smile was so wide that it must be a pain to actually withhold it.
"Are you okay?" Crystal asked. "You had this dreamy expression and you were blushing."
"I'm okay," I squeaked, chiding myself mentally for blushing, and pushing my chair away so I could make my way to the kitchen. Unfortunately, Ruby beat me to it and was clinging on to my arm, his eyes pleading.
"Come on, Yellow! We're best friends, aren't we?"
I looked over at Silver and Crystal for help, but Crystal simply shrugged and smiled, whereas Silver formed a cross with his arms and shook his head, mouthing one word ― Blue.
Ruby was very close to Blue, and was sure to spill the beans to her in seconds, probably in exchange for some fashion tips or shopping discounts. If I were to tell Ruby anything, he would definitely twist the story a little more when talking to Blue. And if Boss caught wind of it, she would probably be planning my marriage within a week. With that in mind, I wrenched my arm from Ruby, and stomped off to the kitchen, knowing that Emerald and Diamond would leave me alone to gather my thoughts.
As closing time and the change of shifts drew closer, I began to wonder whether I should stay behind tonight. Wally had told me that Black was trying to organise some kind of day-shift gathering for all of us, and had sent him ― Wally that is― to persuade me to join them. Meanwhile, Black and Bianca managed to get Ruby and Diamond to try and persuade the other two workaholics, Silver and Crystal to tag along.
Of course, if they had asked me any other day, I would have agreed to come without a second thought. But after yesterday, butterflies were fluttering in my stomach at the thought of seeing Red again. On one hand, I wanted to avoid him at all costs and leave as early as possible so I wouldn't see him, but on the other hand...
"So are you going?" Wally asked, fiddling with his thumbs. "Cos Bianca threatened to beat me up if I didn't get a positive answer out of you."
"I'll have to think about it," I say, standing up when I see Emerald coming over to hand a tray full of pastries. Thankful for the distraction, I take it from him before Wally can, and then head over to serve the customers. As I work, I'm still mentally debating over the decision that I would have to make eventually.
"Come on Yellow," pleaded Bianca. "Everyone's staying tonight. Even Silver!"
I glance over at Silver, surprised. He catches my eye and mouths "Crystal, before rolling his eyes. Unfortunately, Crystal sees him and punches his arm, exasperated. My attention is drawn back to Bianca when she taps my nose gently (well actually, not so gently because this is Bianca), and pouts at my lack of interest.
"Please? It won't be the same without you."
Well, I supposed there was really no harm in just having a night out with my coworkers and friends. Even though crowds and loud parties weren't what I had in mind for the evening, at least I'll get some peace for the remaining few minutes of work.
"Oh fine!" I throw my hands up in exasperation. "I'll come."
"Really? You're coming tonight?"
Those simple four words sends a shiver down my spine, and causes my heart to skip a beat. A smile spreads across my face. I don't have to turn around to even see who it is.
"Yes, I am."
Happy Birthday Yellow! For some reason, I have problems updating my profile, so Ill just include my 'author updates' here. Friendzoned part 2 will be uploaded on Crystal's birthday :D
Oh, and I just started reading the HGSS arc. I know, slow right? Well, cos volume 41 just came out from where I lived, so I managed to get a copy like a few days ago. Sadly, I am suffering from a lot of SpecialJewel shipping feels ;_; there was so much SilverCrystal in that volume ;_; Now if you excuse me, I'm going to go and tape my broken MangaQuest heart back together again.
Thank you so much for all the reviews, and thanks so much for adding this story to your alert list and favourites list. I really really really appreciate it guys. You guys are awesome :D Thank you so so so much!