I started seeing Nitori – no, Ai- differently. I've always seen him as a good comrade, although there were rough times; but since everything's been sorted out with Haru and the others I see him more as a friend. I've never considered him as my kouhai anyway. Since then, he also sees himself more of an equal and talks more frankly to me, I think. At least he doesn't put me on a pedestal that much anymore. He's doing great efforts for the swimming team and himself and he's grown on me – not that I will admit that out loud, that's why I'm writing it in a stupid diary. I also have nothing to do since I'm fricking alone. But that's my fault. Anyways, long story short, Ai showed me a sight of him I've never seen before (shit if that doesn't sound corny, but actually it isn't at all).
'I still can't believe I'm writing this here', is the only other thing I'm able to think about as my mind wanders through the few hours passed.
Ai just finished classed and went back, finding me sat on my bed, staring at nothing.
"What's the matter, Rin-senpai?"
"I've already told you to drop the 'senpai', it's getting ridiculous"
"Still, you seem pretty off. Did something happen?"
"No, nothing happened. Stop worrying."
And really, nothing had happened to me, it's not because I'm silent that something's wrong, hell I don't even talk that much for starters. After a short silence which I thought had ended the conversation, he continued:
"Is it about Nanase or the other Iwatobi boys?"
"Why would something happen with Haru?"
"I don't know..he's your friend, I supposed that maybe you had some problems with him.."
"Well you are too and that doesn't mean I'm thinking or worrying about you all the time!"
That was a bad move. It was also a lie, at least part of it. I saw him taken aback, his lips tightening and a frown appearing on his face, but that didn't stop my stupid temper.
"Jesus christ Nitori how many times do I have to tell you that nothing's wrong for you to believe me? No need to be that clingy alright?!"
I admit I was harsh. It's also true that something was wrong with me, but I couldn't talk about it to my object of worries. This was so fucking stupid, but only because I was a moron. Since we became closer I've been calling him by his first name more frequently, and of course I noticed his reaction when I used his last name. Of course I noticed how his eyes would show disappointment whenever I called him Nitori. Of course I knew he hated it. But I still fucking did it.
I also knew that he really didn't like to be called clingy or anything close to it. I was aware of how insecure he could be, and how seriously he could take some of my remarks. He got better about that since I calmed my temper down and I became more friendly, but it's again gotten worse recently. It feels like I've made on step onwards then two backwards with him. I just couldn't help it, when I'm confused I always need to be alone, and if I get interrupted I snap, it's inevitable.
He surely assumes that he can do as before and try to repress what he thinks and feel, but now I notice how he flinches whenever I get angry at something, I see how many times he muffles his thoughts and it drives me mad. I notice way more than before, and way too much. And I get angry at myself because this is all my fucking fault. I thought things would get better now, and they do, but not as much as I expected.
I thought he would just avert his eyes as he's done it so many times, turn away and just go to sleep or occupy himself – I would then get angry at myself and my inability to talk and we would let things suspended, as always.
But that time would be different, and I really wasn't prepared to it.
Ai looked at me sharply, and I could see he was refraining his shaking.
"Am I that unbearable?"
"Is that so difficult to talk to me about what's bothering you? What, you had enough of me now? Even before you told me more about your worries! Is that another facade you're putting or are you just being an insesitive moron?"
"What the fuck Nitori?! Calm dow--"
"No! And stop calling me that! How am I supposed to react? Tell me! After the tournament you promised me, you really did apologize and promise to treat me better, as an equal, as I "should deserve"! And you know what? I believed you. I really did. You know I've always had self esteem issues, and I was truly happy to see that you'd consider me as a teammate, as a friend! That's all I asked really! I put up with so much just because I believed in you, and not only for swimming. And now you're treating me like that? Do you know how much that hurts?"
I saw tears threatening to drop from his eyes while he looked angrily at me, but above all, hurt. I was so dumbstruck that I couldn't form any reply.
"After the tournament, you seemed to have come at peace with yourself and your issues, and started opening up. I was really glad about that, how couldn't I? But it's been some weeks that you've been going backwards. What is wrong with you? You have friends to talk to if something's wrong, but you still talk to me as a mere stupid roommate, as a piece of crap?!"
"Ni—Ai, please calm yourself-"
"Stop interrupting me. Please."
I could only obey as I saw the tears finally dropping. I felt my throat tightening as Ai took a huge breath to calm hismelf down. He seemed to be regretful of his words – I wasn't.
"You know that for a long time I considered myself like that – a piece of crap" he flinched while swearing this time – well, it wasn't even proper swearing- "but I came a bit over it, and partly thanks to you. That's why it hurts, and it has always hurt, to see you like this, as I'm not trustworthy. I know you don't like 'clingy' persons, that's why I haven't said anything about it these past weeks, but this is getting ridiculous – just say what's wrong!"
"Ai.." I sighed heavily while pronuncing his name. Even though I knew I was at fault, it was hard for me not to explode. I really didn't want to explain something I wasn't even sure about. But he still pushed me over the edge.
That simple calling added to his pleading eyes did the trick. I really didn't want to but my temper took advantage of my uneasiness of the moment.
"Fucking hell Ai if I tell you there's nothing it's for a reason! I can't talk about it when you are the frigging issue!"
I just couldn't word anything properly, and I understood it when I saw a shocked and incredibly hurt expression written on his face.
"Wai – no, Ai wait, that's not what I meant..."
"Then what did you mean?!"
I had enough, I had to stand up, like a defense mechanism whenever I got too uncomfortable.
"Arlight – you know what, I'll tell you: you are my worry. Yes that's it! I know I've been fucking things up with you these past weeks, and I feel awful about it, like I feel awful about how I treated you before. Why do you put up with me anyway? That's what I had in mind. Don't you dare think that I haven't noticed with how much you put up. And then, yeah – why do I notice it so much anyway? Can you tell me that? I don't."
Ai's confused traits didn't stop my rant.
"And then I worry about it, and I get confused, and angry at myself, but then you prove to be always so caring and all I could do is fucking snap at you – it's a fucking vicious cycle!!"
"Rin, there's no need to swear so much.."
"I need it okay? I'm confused! Why is it now that I'm so much more aware of it? Is it because we're friends now? Am I seeing you differently? Certainly, but I don't know in what way! The only thing I'm sure of is that I'm being an arsehole to you! Why are you still there?!"
I stopped there before saying too much, my breath short. I was already regretting it.
"Rin..I'm sorry, okay, I shouldn't have got angry at you, I didn't know how troubled you were.."
"No, Ai. Don't fucking start. That's why I feel awful."
I kept looking at the floor, trying to control my breathing as well as my gestures. I stayed a moment like that, in an uneasy silence. He then peered at me with worried eyes, and I couldn't take it anymore.
All the time I had to repress the inexplicable urge to comfort him and to touch him, to just be there, everything came out at once during this moment of weakness, when my confusion has reached its peak. My left hand briefly touched his cheek before holding his face and pressing my lips against his. Even though I was in an emotional and mental turmoil, I still acted gently on him, as if I was trying to apologize – was I really trying to do that?
When I pulled away and saw his astounded look, I started internally panicking. However, no sound came out of my mouth, as I was only able to stay there gaping at him like a stupid fish.
Just when I needed my big mouth and Ai expected an explanation, I couldn't form any word and just kept staring at him.
He slowly turned around and walked towards the door in silence. After opening it, he started muttering some words confusedly.
"..I think I need some fresh air. I won't be too long."
After those simple words, he closed the door really carefully, as if he was afraid of breaking it.
I still hadn't moved an inch, always sstaring at the same point.
I fucked up. I don't know what just happened, but I know I fucked up.
And now here I am, writing this on my stupid journal I haven't used for weeks. I closed it and threw it somwhere next to me, on my bed. I then started to curl my legs against my chest and lower my head. He said he wouldn't be long, but of course that wasn't true. It's been an hour he's left, and my ideas weren't much clearer. That's what happens when you act without thinking. I didn't know why I did that, heck I didn't even know I wanted to do that – wait, I wanted it? How am I supposed to explain that now? Ai sure thinks I've been making fun of him or something, and I couldn't blame him.
I...really didn't know that was the reason of my behaviour and worries recently. I may have thought of it at some point but dismissed the idea as fast as it came in my mind. That couldn't be it, right? That I cared too much about him...in that sense.
I tightened my arms around my legs and tried to breathe steadily. I should try to explain myself to him when he'll come back. If he wants to talk to me that is. But how should I explain that? How do you explain something you're not even sure of yet?
When frustration kept building up in me, I heard the door opening. I didn't dare to move. I could hear his steps cautiously approaching and stop right in front of me. His hands wrapped gently around my wrists, and I raised my head to encounter his eyes just in front of me, noticing that he was kneeling before me. After a staring contest which lasted way more than I would have wanted, I gathered enough courage to speak up.
"Ai, listen, I'm sorry, I don't know what happened.."
My voice was rough from the previous snapping, which surprised me, but I still continued.
"I don't know what went trhough my mind, I-"
I cut myself when I heard a soft chuckle from the grey haired boy in front of me, surprised. He then smiled gently at me, and I couldn't help but feel my face heat up a bit.
"You've never been good with word, have you?"
A little bit outraged by that remark, I tried to retort something, anything, but I didn't have the time to, as he this time carefully pushed his lips against mine in a shy kiss.
Saying that I was flabbergasted would be an understatement. I didn't respond to the kiss as I wasn't prepared to it at all, but he didn't seem to expect me to do so. After an awkward silence where I was agape and he was trying to repress his smile, I tried to clear my mind.
"...you completely lost me."
Well that was clever; but true. I was at a loss. Ai laughed at that, and I didn't know if I should feel relieved or offended. I surely felt a bit of both.
"Should we try to take it slowly then?"
"Take what slowly?"
"Seriously Rin, you just should have told me that you had feelings for me, this would have been way easier since I have them too."
"What are you talking about?!" My face betrayed my words as it progressively reddened. "I-I have feelings for you?! That's just- " I stopped myself, I was really too slow at processing what was happening. "Did you just say that you had them too??"
"I did. I really like you Rin, and it's been a while. That's one of the reasons why I stuck with you, even when you're being an awkward idiot."
He laughed again, and I couldn't get mad at him. I thought about what he just said and got more embarrased, if that was actually possible. I lowered my face and put it on my hands before he could see how it matched with my hair.
"Oh my god..I like you too, is that it? I fucking like you, and that's what's been bothering me all that time...I'm an idiot."
"You are. But that's one of the things which makes you endearing." He then smiled nervously, his confidence gradually flattening. "So...is this ok?"
"Should we consider ourselves as a couple then?"
"Woah woah calm down there shouldn't we do that in order like a date first and then another then another one and see if- "
"You should calm down. There's no need to panick, and it's good for me as long as it is for you."
The only thing I could think about is that I really liked his laugh. He then stood up and chuckled lightly when he saw a glimpse of my disappointed look – damn was he giddy all of sudden.
"I think it would be better if we went to bed now, all that arguing was really tiring." He briefly stopped his rant and looked at me expectantly. "Huh...can I sleep with you tonight? J-just sleeping though! Nothing particular!" He added those two last sentences in a rush after seeing my startled expression, flailing a bit everywhere, his face adorned by a blush. He was really cute like that, actually. Before he'd change of mind, I took his hand.
"I guess I don't mind..."
After beaming at me the most brilliant smile I've seen – it was almost blinding-, he joined me and sat next to me on my bed. After staring dumbly at each other for a time, we actually decided that we wouldn't be bothered of changing into our pajamas and go straight away to sleep.
God if I knew it would be a long night.