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Eli is in front of you, she just confessed her love for you. She’s so close you can almost feel her body’s warmth. She steps forward and presses into you, her arms around your shoulders, engulfing you in her delicate scent. It's much more than just the smell of soap, it belongs to Eli and Eli only. It’s soothing just as her presence is, especially now that your heart is beating so frantically.

You are happy, how could you not be when a girl like her loves you. You are happy.

"Thank you Nozomi" she breathes, relieved but still fragile, still letting go of the fear of baring her feelings.

You accepted, there’s no need for fear anymore.

You slide your palms on her back soothingly, feeling her ribcage expand with every breath. She's beautiful, smart, strong, she could've asked for anyone, and then fell in love with you.

It’s really hard to believe.

You press a soft kiss to her head, and you hear her giggle over your shoulder.

It's not surprising when you see Nico pass by. She's going home, the scarf that must smell like her skin around her neck and her jaw set. She’s never taken cold well.

Your eyes meet for a fraction of a second when she lifts her head and flames spread on her cheeks. She feels like she's intruding, you already know.

Surprise, anger, sadness and, finally, resignation.

Emotions play chase on her features until you lose track.

Her lips slightly parted, Nico lowers her eyes again, breaking contact and gritting her teeth.

She exhales, shoulder slumping, and looks at you again.

For a second her gaze lingers on Eli’s back.

Shivers run down your spine at the forced emptiness behind those pools of red when she turns to you.

Her steps are silent as she puts too much distance between you and herself. Over the threshold, over the gate, down the road you know leads to her house.

Part of you craves one of her toothy smiles

Part of you wants to go after her and grab her by the wrist and kiss her senseless until her lips turn red and her cheeks hurt from smiling too much.

All of you understands you can't do any of that now.

Eli's soft breaths tickle your neck, her hands rest between your shoulder blades, her chest is pressed to yours. All of these things are now your reality.

And you're a coward who doesn't have the strength to say the right words at the wrong time.

You close your eyes and you know the image of black hair and red eyes will haunt you for the rest of your life, though you probably don’t think that's a bad thing.

Life is ironic, bordering on cruel.

You want her and you can't have her, so someone else will have her just as someone else has you.