As Ally lay down on the bed, she remembered what Tom had said to her.
"It's weird... It seems out of character for you," he had told her.
"What's that?" Ally had asked.
"Just going somewhere for a visit... And with a girl, at that. I just can't imagine you whispering and giggling like the other girls. It's weird to think you'd be like them."
"And of course, I'm not," Ally had said bluntly.
At the time she'd brushed him off as if she hadn't a second thought on the subject, but in reality she'd thought about that short conversation quite a bit since then. Tom might see typical feminine behavior as something negative, but Chiara often expressed frustration at Ally's inability to express her emotions with the finesse of a lady... Or often, even at all. How she felt about something... About someone, was often a mystery even to herself, at times.
No, she wasn't like the other girls. Her feelings would often slip away in favor of the critique of others, comments on the situation, or something else of mostly non-importance. If only she could be more 'like a girl', as Tom had put it, spilling their feelings out to anyone who cared. Even though many of them would never want to visit Nega-Earth the way she did so often, they seemed endlessly brave to Ally at that moment. She rolled over on the bed, closing her eyes in frustration.
The door opened. "I'm sorry," a voice said. "My dad is so useless... He said we should have tea, and then ended up having me make it myself!"
Ally heard the tray clank down the table, and she slowly sat up, making her way over to the other girl.
"What's this? I guess you've made yourself comfy," the blue-clad girl said.
"Chiara," Ally grabbed onto Chiara's hand as she sat down.
"Wha-" Chiara's cheeks tinted pink as she spoke. "What is it?"
"I just... Have to tell you something," Ally said, feeling her own face start to blush.
"What is it? Did something happen? Did someone get hurt? Are we-"
"I love you," Ally said.
Chiara's reaction was as blank as Ally's own expression for a moment, but then it slowly morphed into something else, something where the ends of her mouth pointed upwards, and her mouth opened. Chiara was laughing at her.
Ally didn't laugh. She began to blush even more, feeling something other than the shame and frustration that she'd felt earlier. This time, she felt foolish. Getting up and turning away, she said in a sullen tone, "I'm going home."
But Chiara hugged her from behind. That firm embrace let Ally know that Chiara wasn't going to let her go anywhere. "I'm sorry, really sorry. That was a really cruel reaction, wasn't it?"
"I can't disagree with that."
"I didn't mean to be like that. It's just... You surprised me! I'd given up hope that you'd ever return my feelings with such honest words. I was just... happy." Chiara hugged her tighter with this declaration. "I didn't expect it of you, but I believe you! Of course I do, because I already knew you felt the same as me without you even saying it."
"So... That was it." Ally said. "You thought of me as being dishonest, then?" she teased.
"No... No way!" Chiara insisted. "Just think of it from my point of view. You looked hilarious with that serious face, saying something like that!"
"It's hilarious for someone to have feelings for you? Then I'll go home, because that's the only reason I'm here."
"No, no!" Chiara insisted. "I'm sorry, I say careless things. I'd like to be thoughtful like you, but it's too hard. It's stupid, but I can't stop myself from saying things I think sometimes," she said.
Ally's expression changed to surprised as Chiara spoke. She smiled. So that's what Chiara had thought of her, Ally considered. She didn't outright hate her occasional lack of expression much at all, rather admired her virtue of introspection.
"I'm really sorry, but stay, please! You have to stay! You can't come see me all the time, right? So just stay, please, please!"
"Fine," Ally said. Of course the second instance that she'd go home hadn't been serious at all. She'd treasure any time with her Earth-dwelling girlfriend.