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Reciprocated Love

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“W-Welcome, Inaba!” Taichi manages to slip out when he opens the door to invite her into his home. He blushes quietly as she flashes one of her modest smiles at him. “Uh, the others haven’t arrived yet, but they should be coming soon!” he says as he nervously scratches the back of his head. He has made her stand outside for quite a bit now until he realizes that he hasn’t let his guest enter the house. “Ah, I’m so sorry! Come in, come in! It’s cold outside. I can take your coat for you if you’d like.” Inaba hands him her coat and slips her shoes off as she enters Taichi’s house.

 

It’s been awhile since the five of them have hung out together for an extended amount of time outside of school and club activities. They all decided on a movie night at Taichi’s, even though he had no say in where the movie was going to take place. But he wanted to impress Inaba and Nagase so maybe having the movie at his house wouldn’t be such a bad idea. His mother and sister have gone out for dinner themselves and shouldn’t be back for a while, though Taichi wouldn’t have minded. He loves his family and being the selfless freak he is, always enjoyed the phrase “the more, the merrier”.

 

“It’s 6:15pm already and we told everyone to be here at 6:00. Are you sure they’re coming?” Inaba was beginning to question whether or not Taichi had reminded the others that tonight was movie night. “I texted them earlier today! I’ll call Aoki and you can call Nagase and Yui.”

 

“S-s-s-sorry, Inaban! I won’t be able to make it tonight! My mom and I are having dinner together and watching a movie here! It’s been awhile.. so I think Taichi will understand! You two have fun!”

 

“I have karate practice this evening for the upcoming Nationals or else I would be there! Say hi to Taichi and the others for me!”

 

“Hmm.. Iori and Yui said they’re unable to make it tonight. Plans have arisen. Any word from Aoki?” Inaba told Taichi as she looked through his movies.

 

“No… It seems Aoki is going out of town with his father this weekend. And I don’t want to reschedule because you’re already here, so pick a movie, any movie!” Although the others couldn’t make it, Taichi couldn’t help but feel a bit excited that he got to spend some alone time with Inaba. The club was also rowdy back at school; Aoki and Yui were always bickering about how much Aoki loved her, Nagase was also her happy self, usually updating Inaba on how her day went while Inaba types at her keyboard frantically, trying to write up the StuCS paper. Now he was alone with the girl who has been madly in love with him and he couldn’t help being nervously happy inside. He couldn’t help but notice how shiny and soft her hair shone as the light from above his living room glanced over at her in just the right way. She was fidgeting with the movie cases and had finally turned around to ask Taichi a question when she caught him staring at her with soft eyes.

 

“-chi. TAICHI.” He snaps back into reality and had forgotten how long he zoned out just thinking about her. “Ah, I’m sorry. Hehe, did you ask me something?” Inaba turned away quickly to hide her cheeks as a red color started to permeate them quickly. “I was just wondering if this movie would be okay to watch.” As she handed him the movie, Taichi scrunched up his little nose and lifted his eyebrows. “Um, Inaba.. I don’t really know what this movie is. I think it’s my sisters. Looks like a romantic comedy movie.. are you sure you want to watch this?” He didn’t think Inaba would be the type to watch such cheesy movies, but he watched it anyways. Maybe I’ll be able to get into it a little, who knows.

 

As they were watching the movie, Taichi noticed that it closely resembled his life. It was about a boy who was in a loving relationship with his girlfriend but there was another girl in his group of friends that thoroughly enjoyed his company. Although Taichi and Nagase weren’t in a relationship, the others in the StuCS group acknowledged the great possibility of them becoming a couple in the near future. The girl who liked the main character in the movie resembled Inaba; a petite tsundere that appeared to be indifferent and sometimes violent towards the main character but everyone in the audience is aware of how obvious her love was towards the main character. As Taichi and Inaba watched the movie, Taichi started beginning to notice parallels to what happens in the movie with events that have happened in real life.

 

Taichi is able to see from a third person perspective how someone like Inaba could feel like. The girl in the movie is always shying away from the conversation when the main character’s girlfriend would bring up something and can’t help but blush when she’s talking to the main character, later sitting in a corner asking herself why she had sounded so stupid when she talked to him. Taichi couldn’t help but turn to look at Inaba as she watched the movie –so intent and focused but it looked like she was hurting at the same time.

 

“I-Inaba.. Don’t tell me..  Is this how you feel whenever I talk to Nagase?”

 

Her eyes started to shine the way eyes do before they emit those heartbreaking tears of hers. “I should go. I’m sorry I suggested this movie, I honestly had no idea it was about this anyways.”

 

Taichi acts on instinct and grabs from her hand as she quickly jolts up from the couch. “Wait. There’s no need for you to leave. I enjoy your company. And I never said that I don’t love you either.” Her eyes widen as Taichi intertwines his long, gentle fingers into hers, pulling her back onto the couch.

 

“Technically speaking… Inaba… You were my first kiss as well. And I don’t regret it at all. I just don’t have everything figured out at this point, but I don’t want to rule out any possibilities for the fu-“ He was interrupted by a pair of lips that met his. She smelled of honeysuckle, a scent that he took a great liking to after that night. “Why do we have to discuss the future right now? I believe there are a lot more interesting things to do in its place.” Inaba said in a whisper as she continued to shower him with soft kisses. He threw all of his worries behind him as he drew her closer in an embrace and reciprocated the love that she had been waiting for since she met him.