“Hi, Shelke,” Yuffie’s voice rang out as she entered the apartment.
“Hello, Yuffie Kisaragi,” Shelke said in a calm counterpoint to the other girls loudness.
Shelke sat at the plain wooden table, in a plain metal chair. There was a bookshelf with a few books. An old TV sat on a stand in front of a beige couch. Off to the side was a small kitchenette and further inside was a bedroom and a bathroom. There was nothing personal here. It felt so colorless.
“I brought you a present. Here you go.” Yuffie held out a potted plant with brightly colored flowers.
“It is a plant.”
“I know! It is perfect to brighten up this place for you.”
Shelke rose from her seat. Before she could reach her, the young ninja placed the plant on a windowsill.
“Thank you for the gift, Yuffie Kisaragi, but it is unneeded.”
“How many times do I have to tell ya to just call me ‘Yuffie’! And I know it is unneeded. That is why it is called a gift, duh! You are supposed to say thank me for it.”
“Thank you for the plant.”
“So how are the treatments going?”
“They are going adequately.”
“Well, you know if you need anything to just call me. We are friends after all.” Just as quickly as Yuffie had blown in and she was gone.
Shelke approached the planet. She seemed almost hesitant to approach a mere plant. Of course, any trepidation was completely illogical. Bending forward, she put her nose into the flowers in a somewhat clumsy movement. She inhaled the sweet scent. Shelke closed her eyes. They then snapped open. She had read about this custom. Giving flowers was a sign of romantic interest. She could remember that Vincent had given Lucretia flowers in the past.
Was Yuffie courting her?
Shelke blushed slightly. She had never had anyone express romantic interest in her. Was every time Yuffie has asked her to do something with her part of the courtship? She found herself not minding the idea of being dated as much as she would have thought.
When she walked to the hospital for her treatment she thought of Yuffie. She had always thought Yuffie was like the others, but knowing she thought of her that was made all the difference. It meant that she did not think of Shelke as a child.
Several days later Yuffie called. She wanted to know if Shelke wanted to go out. For the first time, she agreed. The next time she agreed. She also agreed the time after that. Then, she called Yuffie.
“Shelke, you don’t have to call me by my full name. Gawd, it makes me sound way too formal.”
“I called to inquire as to your availability to go out to dinner?”
“Sure, that sounds cool! Want me to come get you?”
“That would be appreciated.”
Shelke waited for Yuffie. She wore a dress that Tifa had helped her pick out. She had not told Tifa the true nature of the outing. The kind hearted bar owner could not wrap her mind around the fact that Shelke was only physically a child. Shelke rose from the chair and stood instead.
She was still standing when Yuffie let herself in.
“I’m here, Shelky!”
“I said you don’t have to call me- Wait, you called me ‘Yuffie’.”
“Yes, I did.”
“That is great Shelky! Your dress is pretty, why are you so dressed up?”
“For our date.”
“Date? What are you talking about?”
“The interactions we have been having recently. You presented me with flowers and then we went out on dates. I must admit, I was hesitant. However, I have started to reciprocate your feelings.”
“This can’t be happening. Shelke, you are a kid!”
“I am not a child. I am nineteen. Yuffie, I love you.”
“I’m not listening. You can’t make me listen to your lies.” Discretion was the better part of valor. So Yuffie embraced that philosophy as she rushed out of the apartment, with her hands on her ears.
Shelke watched her go. There was a wetness of her face. She reached up to wipe away the tears. They just kept coming and coming faster than she could wipe them away. She sagged to the floor. Shelke sat there and cried in a way she had never cried before.
She hated both her heart and Yuffie for their betrayals.