Where The Sky Meets The Land
"What are you talking about, Riku? I don't understand."
I knew it. I could have predicted Sora's response to my affectionate confession. I didn't lie; jealousy wiped me out after he admitted his feeling towards a figure I never met in person. I gazed at his perplexed expression, getting the idea that he really didn't understand what I've said.
I inhaled deeply for two main reasons. Firstly, to calm down my palpitation. Secondly, it was necessary for a human to just breathe.
"I said I like you," I blurted it out undoubtedly. I saw his adjusted complexion – From frowning in puzzlement, he greatly gasped at my revelation.
It should be. He must have never seen a guy confessing to another guy like how I’ve done. Reminiscing Mama's disclosure about his dark past, he must be revolted that I liked him and potentially doing the same thing to him. Frankly, I forgot to take it into consideration. I was so full of myself that I wanted him to be fully aware of my feeling.
Without thinking of his problem.
Sora could say I was selfish. Yes, I was. I wouldn't deny it because it was the fact that drove me to this confession. I wanted him to treat me nicely, and only I would have to study every of his sides. The only person who could see him smiling was me, his closest friend, and I didn't intend to help him in befriending others as well.
Was it selfishness? Yes, it was.
"Riku, are you serious?" Sora's intonation lowered. He jittered with his fingers while keeping his voice as subdued as he could.
The same view from the hill top greeted us as the sun has almost set wholly. Last year, we were around this hour when we played slides and he toppled over because he fell asleep in the middle of the sliding. Why did I keep recalling that day? Because it was the day of our first encounter, which I reiterated to retain in my mind.
Was I the only one treasuring it? It seemed as so. My wrenched heart demolished realizing I might be experiencing an unrequited love. I loved him and I didn't want him to like someone else, but I didn't have the right to hold him down either.
My sight rested on his pale complexion, which I have just noticed it. He was squinting though it wasn't directed to me, yet I saw his wobbly limbs.
I haven't done anything noteworthy when Sora, out of the blue, miserably collapsed. He was fortunate that I could grab him before he dropped on his buttock. I softly slapped his cheek to wake him up, as how I always did.
However, the peculiar difference this time was that I didn't hear any soft snores. Was he passed out for real? I shook his shoulders, getting more vigorous the more I pleaded for his awaken. No matter how harsh I've shaken him, there was nothing responding – Not even a hint of lips twitching or finger lifting.
What has actually happened? I was panicking when I realized Sora wasn't falling asleep. He fainted, but I didn't know what the reason was. We didn't run or exercise, let alone fighting each other. It was just a misunderstanding between us, with me as the cause.
Sora wasn't to be blamed. I was jealous, out of nowhere, and that was it.
I put my hand on his forehead to be informed that his temperature has elevated. Apparently, he had fever! It was the first time he fell sick on me, and I couldn't do much but to call Mama to notify her about Sora.
"Is he?!" Nervousness rushed at Mama. Her cheeriness faded and replaced with infinite anxiety. "I'm sorry, Riku. Mama is still away from the district. Only the maids are available at the moment, but none of them could drive. Butler Hanamaki is with Mama too."
"Then, I'll send him home myself," I said, undoubtedly.
Sora might be feeling sick even from our visit to RakuRaku, but he was persistent enough to not tell me anything. To make it worse, I burdened him with my confession out of the blue. The deeper I came to my senses, the larger guilt engulfed me. I shouldn't be selfish in the future, or I tended to hurt those around me, and Sora was the first example. I would take this as a punishment to me then.
"No, no. You don't have to, Riku!" I heard there was an interception in our communication line. It must be that Mama has entered somewhere out of the range. "Just bring him to your house. Mama will pick him up once we get into the district."
I haven't had the chance to object her request when she immediately hung up, leaving me dumbfounded with the blacked out Sora in my arm. My mind went blank for a few seconds before the chirping birds interrupted my daydream. Picking up Sora's bag and hanging it onto mine, I carried Sora on my back and with the leftover might remaining, I walked back home.
The sky has turned murky as we have safely arrived at my little condo. Carefully, I laid Sora in my futon and wrapped him in my blanket. He has not woken up from the faint, which terrified me more. I've never experienced him losing consciousness like this, other than his abrupt nap. Remembering his fever, I brought a bowl of clean tap water from my kitchen and a piece of clean towel.
He was pale, but I didn't find it sickening. In fact, I intensely looked at his countenance. My sight rested on his smooth skin, his round face, his chin, and I halted at his plump lips. The smooth fair skin he possessed somehow mimic a girl, his pointy chin showed up notably despite his round-shaped facial, and those pale pinkish lips...
Sora twitched a bit, probably due to my touch. I blinked. What did I do? I retreated my hand from caressing his lips. Those lips I've been setting my sight at...
How I wish I could kiss them.
I shook my head. I've been really greedy to have Sora all by myself. The longer I let my thirsty lust drove my action, the further I would act upon Sora. Definitely he wouldn't like it, thus breaking our friendship up might be his next choice in order to enlarge our gap.
I didn't want that!
The clean towel I've fetched from the Japanese table was soaked in the water. I wrung it, folded it neatly, and placed it on Sora's forehead. He was still burning, like it worsened as time went by. I had the urge to call the ambulance to bring him to the hospital, but Mama would be more troubled then.
That soft voice stunned me, thus I quickly grabbed Sora's hand, reporting to him that I was always by his side. I saw him frowning, but there was no sign of waking up. He merely talked in his sleep.
Why did he apologize out of nowhere? "Sora, please have more sleep, all right?"
Sora groaned in his slumber. I stroked his hair, like a mother persuading her little son to sleep soundly. I felt bad for bringing him out for a long time. I didn't want his fever to take over his body.
I bit my lower lips. It was always I that demanded this and that! Sora has never asked anything from me, which kindled a fearful rage within myself.
"Sora, I'm sorry. I shouldn't flaunt my jealousy on you," I squeezed his hand in pure disappointment. Of myself. "You may have the right to like anyone you want. I won't hinder you."
Watching Sora's chest waving up and down from his composed breathing, I sighed in relief. I reposed on my side, next to him, but not sharing the blanket. I propped my head with my arm and fixated my eyes on his calm countenance.
"Nevertheless, Sora, I won't promise you that I will stop loving you," My sight became blurry as my tears welled up. "This is my first time in my life that I'm afraid. I'm afraid of losing you. I don't want you to get out of my range, out of my grasp. I'm sorry that I, for a moment, had the intention to conquer you all by myself."
Sora was not responding to my confession, yet I proceeded. This was the righteous moment to pour my heart out, so that I wouldn't have to bottle up my feeling towards him. I drew myself closer to him, and I even landed on the pillow; my pillow which I used to rest his head on.
"Sora, I'm sorry if I've offended you. I hope you won't feel regret for befriending me. I want you to know that I won't forget my promise to stay by your side. No matter how far you've run away one day, I will find you again. I love you, Sora."
While I was sobbing in the pillow, Sora shifted and lied, facing towards me. I thought it was his reflex during sleep, until I heard him mumbling.
"I love you too, Riku."
I raised my head abruptly until an audible crack snapped me. I groaned in pain and rubbed my nape to ease the pain. The most surprising part was Sora has finally woken up and was looking at me. I rolled backward further from him, leaving my futon and crouching by the wall in agony. I didn’t notice his returning consciousness, plus he intervened right at the peak of my hearty confession. Who knew how much he has listened?
“No, please. Don’t.”
I stopped him from asking anything. I didn’t want him to react upon my confession. It was too embarrassing because the Riku our classmates used to know was not the type to easily reveal. I’ve exposed my childish side to Sora!
“Why, Riku? Am I wrong?”
Which part of it that he meant wrong? I never saw him in the blame. I might be the cause, therefore I should be the one backing off. Sora stretched out his one arm, groping the air to grab me in his fingers.
He wanted me to be in his grasp. He was calling for me. It was wrong to leave him hanging, wasn’t it? I scooted over, diminishing the physical gap between us and tenderly squeezed his hand.
“Riku,” Sora’s opening perturbed my steadily pounding heart. “Thank you for loving me. I thought I was the only one,” he seized both my hands and drew them to his chest, “You’re the one I’ve loved the most. The only one I would like to have as a lover. A lifetime partner. I was too shocked to acknowledge that you’ve the same feeling for me.”
Sora’s pleading gaze soothed my jumbled soul. He smiled at me, reassuring his health even though the fever basically wore him out. I loved seeing his lips parting for a smile. For me. Furthermore, the absence of anyone beside us really enhanced the mood lingering across the condo.
“I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, Sora,” I repeated, just in case if he did have some grudge against me, “It’s just that… I can’t bear seeing you with other person. I want you to heed only to me.”
“Riku,” Sora naturally caressed my face, specifically my cheek, with one hand while fixating his eyes into mine. “You don’t have to apologize. Our feeling is mutual. No need to feel bad for.”
The blossoming contentment in me altered my gloomy mood earlier into astounding cheerfulness. So, Sora loved me too, huh? I couldn’t hope beyond than Sora’s unbounded fondness towards me. My welled up tears did trickle down my cheeks, yet it unutterably depicted my perpetual delight.