Chapter 14:

Please, Don't Ever

Where The Sky Meets The Land

Definitely I didn't tell Sora or Auntie Junko, or I should call her Mama as how she has allowed me, regarding my conversation with Father. It was too resentful to be divulged to them, or even to Butler Hanamaki. I would just pretend that everything was just fine and Father has just approved our newly bonded family. This way, Mama must be authentically glad because I've finally made up my mind.

On our birthday, I have discovered the reason Sora frequently had cuts on his fingers. Mama told me that he was learning on how to cook, yet he kept on making mistakes which resulted in his injuries. He wanted me to taste his cooking because I revealed to him that I liked cooking. It was undeniably mesmerizing that he had such thought while thinking of me, especially when he presented to me his fried rice. The deliciousness engulfing my alimentary canal tore me up, again.

I kept on wondering what Mama has discussed with Father last time that Father insisted on retaining my friendship with Sora. He allowed me to be their adopted son by law, but he repetitively reminded me to maintain the relationship up till friendship and that was it. Plus, he basically demanded me to find a lover, which perturbed me the most at the moment.

I did like a few girls as mere crushes but I've never confessed to them. Romantic relationship wasn't my life goal though I've adored some before. Studying smartly was the only aim in my routine which I found it suitable to me. I still put up defense around people, and it doubled when it came to girls.

Oh, I was confessed too. Thrice, if I wasn't mistaken. Those girls could have pitied me of my background that they wanted to cherish me like how a woman should do. I've never met my birth mother in person, but I didn't think no one could replace her in my life. Cheering myself would be my job, not the girls.

So I rejected every confession.

The winter was gradually coming to its end. Sakura flowers began to bloom, and their petals has started to fall off, somehow, beautifully. It was the period when people find it enthralling to do flower gazing beneath the Sakura tree lined up in road sides. There was one spot that I favored every year, perhaps the best flower gazing spot I've ever discovered.

"Flower gazing?"

Of course I've invited Sora to join me. I used to invite Father though I was always declined. The least thing I could do as a living human was to live as one, therefore I should do everything normal humans did. Flower gazing was included.

"Sounds interesting. When will we go?"

His dispirited expression lit up right away, regaling my doubting heart. I was relieved that Sora didn't seem to mind much. Despite being Sora's adopted sibling, I haven't gotten used to his family. Plus, I didn't live in that enormous mansion, implying a reason which was to avoid my little condo from abandonment. Mama at first refused to listen to me, but Sora manageably persuaded her with an assurance of routinized home visits.

"In the first weekend of April," I averted from his shimmering eyes, "Do you remember the hill slopes we, uh, used to spend time at?"

Sora stared at my fidgety, discerning that we've long forgotten the hill. The last time we spent time there together was during the sport festival week, then winter started soon after that. I could feel my face was blushing, perceiving from the gushing blood to my nose. Why did he look at me like that?

"I do. I won't forget it," Sora reassured and thumbed up. "But, Riku. I'm afraid I'll forget it later. Will you remind me again?"

I tilted my head on one side, baffled. "You won't forget the hill, but you're afraid you will for flower gazing?"

I saw Sora's pupils shifted to other direction, evading from colliding with mine. So he did feel embarrassed too. I chuckled at his cute shyness.

"All right, all right. I will," I ruffled through Sora's smooth hair, more to teasing, and his reaction was what I've anticipated to witness. "Do you want to go anywhere after school?"

"Nowhere. Straight home," Sora nuzzled at my palm like a kitten, letting out soft purr.

At this rate, I might bleed my nose. I retreated my hand and propped my chin to stare at him back. "Can you accompany me to a book café? There's one recently opened, and I would like to try it."

"A book cafe?" Sora's expression shone. "Sure! I would love to!"

The thrill we've been looking forward to retained my mood for the whole day. We didn't mind about our surrounding at all, focusing entirely on our lessons. Our classmates totally abandoned us and even put us together for class cleaning duty. It somehow mitigated so that I wouldn't have to get distracted whenever he had to do it with other people, perhaps Sora might be bullied because of the hatred.

Therefore, none of them paid their attention to us, whenever they bumped into us inside or outside the school compound. I might be all right with such cold treatment, but I felt sorry for Sora to endure such situation in our final years of schooling. I wasn't a good companion though.

"Is it that cafe, Riku? Riku?" Sora excitedly tugged my arm sleeve and pointed at a signboard written RakuRaku Book Cafe. "I can't wait! Let's go now!"

We hurriedly paced to RakuRaku and entered the premise dramatically, as if we were celebrities who entailed for intentness. I laughed at Sora's eagerness once we walked through the aisles. Tons of books readied on the shelves roused us, but Sora's thrill was finely pictured on his expression. I could not help but to chuckle at his spirit.

Sora has never belittled wherever I brought him to, or whatever I bought for him. He would gladly accept it and treasured it as if we wouldn't get second chance to repeat. But there was one bad habit he possessed that I disliked – He loved taking my pictures secretly. The shutter sounds would usually expose him, and his aversion to lend me his phone validated my prognosis.


Once he turned to me, I quickly snapped his picture. He was beaming at the moment, and I manageably captured his precious smile. Realizing that I candidly took his photo, he whined in dissatisfaction.

"Let me take yours too!" Sora grunted and prepared his Camera application.

"You've been secretly recording me! I knew it! So today, there's no chance for you-"


"Hey! You don't listen to me!"

Sora stuck out his tongue, jeering at my failed attempt to block his trial in snapping more of my picture. I saw him giggling to himself while reviewing his phone, intriguing me even more.

"Hmm, it's not good. I won't show this to you," Sora let out a sigh and put down his phone.

"What do you mean?"

I snatched Sora's phone in a blink. He gasped and cried, again in displeasure, pouting and sulking. Luckily he didn't set a pattern or password for his phone, hence I could directly open his Gallery and reviewed the meant photo.

It doubled, denoting Sora's shaking holds. That was what caused the bad quality, but I was amazed at the emotion portrayed on my face at the moment.

Was I smiling this bright before? I never imagined myself curving such happiness on my facial, which I found it fascinating. I wasn't praising myself though, but I've never considered to smile like that.

"I see. It's pretty good, so you shouldn't delete it."

"Why? It's shaking, and I don't want to strain my eyes to match with double images," Sora fetched his phone back from my hand. His finger swiped on the screen, then he showed his phone to me again, "Look at this. It's much better than today's."

Instead of looking at his phone screen, I stared into his eyes to find unwavering honesty in him. He then noticed that he has disclosed his secret activity of snapping my photos covertly, thus he quickly retreated his phone with blushing face.

"I'm sorry! I don't mean to scare you! It's just that I wanted to show you the comparison of my shots for quality!" He quickly brushed it off with hasty hand waves.

I knew it was a shameful divulgence that Sora has been peeping over me all these while, yet I didn't feel even a hint of fright or cautious. Honestly, I was contented to know that I was his camera focus, though it was hidden, and I had the urge to hug him tightly.

I liked him paying attention to me.

I loved him.


Damn! I couldn't really hold my words once I grasped the cause for my deep fondness over Sora. The friendship I treasured ever since we were close occurred to be the main source of my daily pleasure, thus the resultant sensation I've begun to comprehend led me to one sole, undeniable, feeling – Love.

Yes, it was love. I loved Sora. Whenever he smiled, I had the tendency to caress his lips. In spite of his disorder, I wanted him to fall in my arms so bad. While he might get swayed by discouragement and frustration, my demanding heart would love it if he chose to rely on me and pour everything out.

"What is it, Riku?"

I've started a conversation, therefore I would be the one prolonging it.

"Do you, by any chance, have a girlfriend?"

The frozen facial he wore slightly delighted me. If only we were alone, I might have kissed him in no time.

Have I just imagined myself kissing him? Yes, I did.

"N- No, for the time being," Sora anxiously replied, still averting from me.

I held my breath upon his answer, uncertainty hit me. Sora seemed unruly, but he didn't really dodge from my upcoming questions.

"Then, do you have someone you like?"

A waitress arrived by, bringing our drinks and put them on our table. She bowed a little and walked away, gratifyingly leaving only the two of us. The silence submerging the whole store paradoxically deafened me, as if I was ingested into a vacuum. I gulped my worry away.

"Y- Yes, I do have someone I like," Sora pressed his one thumb against the other. Flushed face. Anxious and quiver. Possibly his heart was pulsating hard like mine. "I even want to get married to that particular someone."

A large portion of my soul was sent flying away from my body. I slumped into my chair, shivering in devastation by his answer. In addition to liking someone, he even confided his desire to get married to that girl. My welled up tears were threatening to trickle down my cheeks, of pure disheartenment, but my eyelids have done great in retaining them. I inhaled deeply.

"Riku, for some reason, I've been looking at this book!" I couldn't figure out whether Sora was pretty dumb or he just wanted to change the topic. Sensing my emotion was going to explode, I would rather follow his flow. "This! I once heard it was one of the best seller!"

Sora talked to me gleefully, like there was nothing clumsily stirred us up. I was disgruntled to feel that he wasn't really paying attention to me. Plus, his habits of changing topics and averting from my stares were basically tormenting me. My reaction upon every of his cheeriness definitely masked my frustration, and I couldn't recall what he has said either.

The sky altered in color to orange-ish, and the memory recollection of our happy time spent on the hill top rushed to me at the worst moment. I kept my hands in my pockets to hide my tremors, but my engrossment was still concentrated on Sora. My heart felt swollen and about to explode.

"Riku?" Noticing my sullen response, Sora's smile faded over it. "Why are you keeping quiet? Are you sick?"

Never ever I thought that I would neglect Sora's concern. Instead of replying to him normally, I opted to march forward without notifying him anything. He kept on calling my names. I did want to reciprocate, but my reluctance hindered my body movement from reacting to him, even when my ears perceived the sound of his running.

"Riku, why did you not respond to me? Are you mad at me?"

It was upsetting. Too detrimental that I couldn't look Sora into the eyes. I bit my lower lip as I walked away, nearly leaving him alone there. Judging from the footsteps, he has ceased from running.

"Riku, if I've wronged you, I'm so sorry!" Sora apologized without doubt.

How stupid I was to not realize my own feeling sooner. I should have made it clear since day one. At this rate, I might not have the chance to get closer to Sora, romantically.

"Riku! Hey, Riku!"

I turned around, confronting him. I lessened our gap and stared directly into his pupils. Unshaken and firm, yet his eyes portrayed his heartbreak. I've hurt him, huh?

"If I've teased you, or caused you to get mad at me, I'm truly sorry. I never thought to hurt you in any way."

"Sora, I should've just spilt everything," Keeping it all by myself was too painful, and holding onto it was much more disastrous for my own heart. Therefore, I chose to confess. "I'm sorry if I've offended you. I don't mean it that way. It's just that I couldn't really control my jealousy over someone I never wanted to know in the first place. I'm sorry."

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