Chapter 8:

Let's be Friends

A Love So Sweet, I Get Confused

Screams of joy, the rattle of chains as carts were pulled up into the air and the sweet smell of cotton candy. Today’s date could only be one thing; a theme park. Mitsu had a huge weakness for the theme parks. Something about the adrenaline rush that would set him up for a good day and feel he could conquer the world. So, when Akio suggested his next date with ‘Hana’ be at a theme park, he couldn’t help but immediately say yes. Upon walking through the gate, ‘Hana’ burst into a fit of giggles, overcome with the joy that felt nostalgic.

Akio loved seeing the bright smile ‘Hana’ was showing him today. To him, ‘Hana’ had seemed much more relaxed in comparison to their previous meetings. Feeling a little brave, Akio reached forward, lightly touching ‘Hana’ open palm and when there was no resistance, he took ‘Hana’s’ hand fully into his own. “Is there anything you want to do first?” He asked.

‘Hana’ looked up to the sky, closing his eyes as he felt the warm breeze hit against his skin. Today’s outfit being ankle jeans and a dark loose top, meant he could risk cooling off on the water rides. He smiled, opening his eyes and giving Akio and excitable look. “I’d love the water rapids first,” He proclaimed. “Before the queue gets too long.”

“Sure,” Akio agreed, starting to escort ‘Hana’ in the direction of his desired ride. “We can always dry off on one of the roller coasters afterwards.”

“You have this well thought out,” ‘Hana’ complimented squeezing Akio’s hand slightly. Wait… ‘Hana’ looked down. His hand nestled comfortably in Akio’s. His mouth twitched. In all the excitement, he hadn’t taken any notice of Akio’s hand. His hand began to heat up, his heart rate increasing. What was the play here? Was it too late to pull his hand back? No, Akio had already taken this as an open invitation to keep hold of his hand. Think Mitsu, his brain cried out to himself. He gulped, time to put some of his acting skills into play and put on the most convincing performance of his life. Taking a deep breath, he let his hand, casually glide out of Akio’s as he ran forward, laughing and turning to Akio to call out; “Last one there has to buy the sodas.”

‘Hana’ continued to run, thankful he managed to get some trainers for today. Though, Akio seemed to take the challenge seriously as he ran ahead of ‘Hana’, ‘Hana’ having to push his legs harder to keep up. Athletic could now be added to the list of things Akio is.

After the water rapids, despite ‘Hana’ losing the race he initiated miserably, Akio still offered to buy the sodas. ‘Hana’ sat under a large tree, covered by its shade but could still feel the warm breeze beginning to dry him off. “Good thing my wig stayed on,” He sighed, swinging his legs. “Guess I should have thought that through a bit more.”

“Do you always have a habit of speaking to yourself?” Akio laughed, placing the ice-cold drink against ‘Hana’s’ cheek.

‘Hana’ practically melted and the refreshing feeling of the drink against his cheek. He hummed, taking the drink and pulling the tab, opening it up with a hiss. “It helps me think things out sometimes, you know?”

Akio nodded, opening up his own drink. “I guess I can understand that,” He stated. “Especially when it gets lonely. Sometimes just speaking to yourself to make heads or tails of things is the only way to get by.”

Taking a sip of his drink ‘Hana’ had start to let Akio’s words sink in. He figured Akio must live on his own based of the lonely comment. Does that mean he doesn’t have any family? He seemed to be popular enough at school to not feel lonely. I wonder what conversations he has with himself, ‘Hana’ wondered, looking in the corner of his eye. Akio just happily sat there, taking large gulps of his soda. I wonder if he confides his feelings to Tomo. “Akio?” The pair looked forward, noting Tomo and some of the other girls from their class grouped together by the shop entrance where Akio had purchased the sodas. Realising she was right, Tomo ran over to them, advising her group she wouldn’t be long. Panicked, ‘Hana’ figured playing the shy card can help keep his face covered. He hid his face into Akio’s forearm, whining slightly to make his discomfort know. “Hey Akio,” Tomo greeted. She tilted her head slightly, trying to gauge a look at Akio’s companion. “Who’s your friend Akio?”

Akio laughed, trying to make it so Tomo could see ‘Hana’s’ face. ‘Hana’ praying that Tomo wouldn’t recognise him. Standing up straight, Tomo held out her hand. “I’m Tomo,” She introduced with her signature friendly smile. ‘Hana’ hesitated before offering her own hand, being immediately taken by Tomo and shaken with great excitement.

“I’m Hana,” her introduced, his voice barely above a whisper.

“Nice to meet you, Hana,” Tomo said. “Let’s be good friends.”