note1: And that concludes "Heart." I might write some more little vignettes of these two in the future, but for now that's all. Thank you for reading and reviewing!
Hiyori rolled across the bedspread with her favorite stuffed toy tucked neatly beneath her chin. She blinked her eyes against the darkness pervading her bedroom, but set them on nothing in particular, not even the shoe box she'd filled to the brim with things from the Fireworks Festival she'd attended with Hirose-kun nearly a year ago. It seemed, she thought, jittery with butterflies, that she would be plagued with a restless, sleepless night.
"Hiyori!" Reina yells, the area trimming her eyes wrinkled in a manner reminiscent of Ricchan whenever she scolds her. "I've got a bone to pick with you!"
Today had been incredibly… eventful, to say the least. Testing had ended, students had finally been given a break away from their hellish schedules and they were almost, if not completely, intent on blowing their time moaning and groaning over their hopes for achievement. Well, some of them, anyway.
"What's the deal with you and Yuushin?" She has her manicured finger poised and ready to jam in Hiyori's confused face as she cuts her off. Hiyori opens her mouth to speak, unspoken words coating in uncertainty at her friend's proclamation, but she's cut off once more when the English-speaking student launches into an angry tirade.
"Haven't you noticed, like, at all?! According to Hirai-kun, Yuushin's been calling you by your nickname since before you two started dating and not once have you called him or even made an attempt to call him by his given name! Why, Yuushin's even the one who came up with "Hiyorin!" Don't you realize the disservice you're doing him?!"
Now that Hiyori looked back on it, "eventful" seemed improper. Completely and totally embarrassing was much more fitting. Reina-chan hadn't given her a chance to say anything, not even to defend herself; granted, there really were no excuses in her not calling her boyfriend by his given name. Hirose-kun had never seemed bothered by it; though, now that she thought about it, maybe he had been. He just never said anything.
After all, he hadn't let her know of his jealousy towards Kou-kun until the Cultural Fest was nearly over, something she would've been continuously oblivious about had Reina-chan and Natsuki-chan not pointed it out.
The topic was brought up once before, she recalled, when she'd went to the zoo with Hirose-kun, Ricchan, and Kou-kun. She'd been too busy trying to pair up her two best friends to really give Ricchan's words any thought then, overwrought with guilt for angering Kou-kun and almost, if not completely, ignoring her boyfriend.
Fact was, Reina-chan was absolutely, 100% correct. She'd never called or even tried to call Hirose-kun by his given name.
It wasn't as if she'd never wanted to, though. It wasn't as if she'd never thought about it either. Nicknames and given names represented closeness and intimacy. Hiyori liked to think that she was fairly close to her boyfriend, even if kissing - something they'd started doing more often, despite the embarrassment - was the only intimate behavior they'd ever engaged in.
She told him everything and in turn, so did he. They stayed up past curfew - well, she did anyway; Hiyori wasn't so sure Hirose-kun even knew what curfew was - and talked on the phone well into the wee hours of the morning (or until her mother would burst into her bedroom and order her to bed). They held hands on a regular basis. He walked her home everyday when he could. She made him lunch (with Ricchan's help, of course).
They were an honest-to-goodness couple that did regular couple things, except he called her by her nickname - and occasionally her given name - and she… well, she was still getting used to the idea of calling Hirose-kun by his.
"A… disservice?" Hiyori mimics despairingly as tears threaten to spill past her eyes.
"Yes, a disservice." Reina leans back and away from Hiyori, arms folded over her chest. Luckily, Yuushin is away, so speaking on the topic wasn't too much of a big deal; though, the opened eyes, ears and mouths of the rest of the class say otherwise. Reina, though… she doesn't even notice. "When are you planning on calling him "Yuushin?"
Hiyori's cheeks brim red with color. "I-I… I want to, b-but…" By then, her eyes are shut tight and her lips are pressed in a thin line, mind overflowing with embarrassment.
"But, what?" Reina harrumphs with a stomp of her foot. "Look, you may as well start practicing now, because sooner or later he's gonna get fed up. I mean, it can't be that hard, can it? If you can call Nitobe-kun "Kou-kun," then I'm sure you can get out of the habit of calling Yuushin "Hirose-kun."
Hiyori's gaze is trained on the floor as she ruffles her skirt between her fingers. Her classmates' eyes are trained on her expectantly, voices a combination of encouragement and giggles. For a moment, she says nothing until she wills her lips to form the two-syllable name that sends her heart into turmoil, knowing that Reina was right and wouldn't demand anything less from her.
"Yuu… Yuushin," she mumbles, eyes shuffling to-and-fro until she settles on sealing them closed tight, the apples of her cheeks a permanent pink.
"Haaah?" Reina cups a hand over her ear and leans in, eliciting a gasp from her meek, cute-as-a-button friend-rival. "You'll have to speak up if you want him to hear you, Hiyorin!"
Hiyori stares at the floor, wide-eyed and flustered, and manages to swallow the butterflies welling up in her throat. Suddenly, she's reminded of the times she'd confessed to Hirose-kun, both at the Fireworks Festival and when he'd, quite literally, chased her through the hallways of school for a proper answer, her emotions overflowing like an overfilled glass of juice.
She takes a deep breath and yells, "Yuushin!"
Everything goes still, now. Hiyori's eyes are glued shut, her fists stark white against her green skirt. She wishes she'd kept her eyes shut, because it wasn't even a minute after she'd opened them that she'd followed the expectant stares of classmates towards the towering object of her affections standing in the doorway of the classroom.
He's quiet and red in the face. Very, very red. All it took was for Junpei to jab him in the ribs with his elbow, a snicker escaping his lips when Yuushin tries to cover his face, and Hiyori faints, overcome by her emotional breakthrough.
Hiyori shook her head hard, trying to clear it of the memory that'd embedded itself in her head not even twenty-four hours ago. She rolled over so that she was lying on her side now, and curled her arms tighter around the stuffed toy her now-boyfriend had gotten her for Christmas last year.
Yuushin, she thought tiredly, pink splaying gently across her cheeks until it colored her ears. Saying his name sent a rumble down her throat and to her chest, where it nestled and bundled for the night, until Hiyori had eventually found herself drifting off to sleep. Perhaps, saying his name would forever remain difficult, hard, and even just plain embarrassing.
But if it meant seeing his smiling, grinning, cheesing face and hearing his oh-so-pleasant thank-yous again and again, she'd say his name a thousand time over.