"I can't believe I lost." May's voice was flat as she spoke the words, tears blurring her vision as she stared down at the floor.
She'd trained so hard in anticipation for this Pokémon Contest, and she'd been so sure that she would win it. She'd been so confident, and her Pokémon had performed so well...everything had been going perfectly. That is, until the Battle Round. Her Pokémon had easily taken down the competition, and she hadn't expected that anyone there would pose a threat. Certainly not the rookie Coordinator that she faced last, who stood between her and the next ribbon. And that's when she'd lost.
She covered her face with her hands as tears began to stream down her cheeks. What would everyone think when they found out about this? What would Ash and Brock say? What about Max and her parents back home? What about Harley and Solidad? And...what about Drew?
That thought only made her cry harder. Her former travelling companions and her family would only be sympathetic to her, she knew. So would Solidad. She didn't know what Harley would do, but that didn't matter. All she could think about was Drew's face, pictured perfectly in her mind with disappointment etched into his delicate features. Drew would be ashamed of her. Drew wouldn't say it, but he'd think she was pathetic.
"He'd be right, too," she choked out. "I'm such a loser!"
"Who would be right?" a voice said, from directly in front of her. May froze. Oh, no, that voice...It couldn't be…
"D-Drew?" she stammered, slowly removing her hands from her face. She kept her face down, not wanting him to see her tears. Though it was probably too late anyway.
She glanced up cautiously, and the first thing she saw was a beautiful, bright red rose held directly in front of her face by a slender hand. Her hand shook as she reached for it, her fingers closing around the flower's stem. But then, before she knew it, her hand (which held the rose) was trapped between both of his. In a way, he was holding her hand.
She looked up slowly, her breath catching in her throat, her skin tingling from being in such close proximity to him. Her eyes were still close to spilling over, but she didn't care anymore. She knew he'd definitely seen her crying.
She flinched when he raised his one hand to her cheek, using his thumb to wipe away a stray tear. She remained tense as he continued this, not daring to think - or even hope - about the implications of this action that was completely unlike that of a rival.
It was when she'd stopped crying that he spoke again. "You're not a loser," he said quietly, and she realised he was staring into her eyes. She began to blush, a detail that didn't go unnoticed by her rival. His lips curved into a slight smirk. "But if you want to keep on being my rival, you have to be strong. Which means no more crying." May blinked once, twice.
Before she knew what was happening, he'd leaned his face in a little closer to hers. "Oh, and one more thing," he said, and she could feel his warm breath on her blush-stained cheeks. "You're cute when you blush."
He tapped her nose lightly as she sat there, unmoving, and straightened. He began to walk away, and he was almost around the corner and out of sight before May snapped out of her trance-like state.
"Wait, Drew!" she called out to him. She didn't think he would turn around, but he turned to face her at the last minute. "Remember, May. No more tears." Then, with a flick of his emerald-green hair, he was gone, and she was left alone to wonder about the situation she'd just been in.
"...What just happened?" she whispered, looking down at the bright red rose she still held tightly. She was still blushing, and she could still feel the touch of his hands on her own, and on her face. She blinked again in confusion.
She was stunned. She couldn't believe what had just taken place...but she did know one thing. From then on, she wouldn't cry again. She would be strong, for his sake.
May smiled then, her recent contest loss completely forgotten as her rival's words echoed through her mind. "You're right, Drew," she said, her voice almost a whisper. "For you...there'll be no more tears."