She told him to wait
Before he would tell her how he felt, he was told to wait until she let her feelings out first.
He respected that
But it also hurt him
Natsuki couldn't stop shifting in his seat in the committee meeting, he eyes always glancing over to Anna every few seconds - she still looked down and gloomy like last time. He hated that she looked like that, she always had a calm face with soft words, smiling at sweets and cute animals - he wanted to do something, but everytime he approached her she would turn her head and run away. He was hurt but he knew she was still getting over Mocchi’s confession to her, it hurt him more that she unknowingly has to go through two more.
“Please, just don’t say anything yet and wait a little longer…”
Mari looked so solemn as she said those words, he’s never seen her like that and it shocked him - her eyes were determined, he knew something was going on that he couldn’t interfere with. Despite desperately wanting to confess to Anna, he agreed with Mari - she was just as determined as he was but he didn’t know what for. But she and Anna have always been close friends, with Mari being so serious he couldn't help but agree.
Glancing over again he saw her write down notes, his eyes travelled to her hands. He had touched them before, they were small, thin, delicate but soft and warm. He couldn’t help but blush at the contact, he wanted to hold on to them more - maybe soon he can?
“And this concludes the decorating committee meeting” Jumping slightly at the announcement, he quickly averted his eyes to the teacher “Everyone, please keep your printouts”
As students started to stand, Natsuki kept his eyes on her, frowning at her solemn expression Maybe I should talk to her… when she made her way to the door he panicked Wait!
“Ko-Kobayakawa-san!” he suddenly loudly said her name, causing her to stop and quickly look at him, surprised at his loudness.
“Ah...Erm…” he didn’t know what to say, it was a surprise that she actually stopped and looked at him instead of ignoring him. Mari’s words ran through him - no he couldn’t tell her that yet “See you tomorrow”
“...Yeah, see you tomorrow…” her voice had lost it’s softness, she sounded tired, bored, stoic. Nothing like the Anna he knew before, he wanted it to change. He wanted to tell her how he felt, to have her smile and laugh again.
But he needed to wait, Mari told him too, and as difficult as it was - he was going to.
“Mari-chan” Her soft voice rang through the silent classroom where her longest and closes friend, Mari sat. “Thanks for waiting, I’m done now”
“Good work Anna~” Mari’s usual cheerful voice with Anna made her feel a bit better, she had Mari with her which has helped her enormously - she was glad she was friends with her.
“Sorry for making you wait so long, let’s go”
“Not yet…” Mari said, a small smile on her face “Before that, there’s something I want to tell you, Anna”
“Something you want to tell me?” Anna repeated as she sat down opposite Mari, smiling at her “What is it?”
“Well…” Mari smiled back, but for some reason Anna could see it wasn’t her usual smile she had with her - she wondered why. Mari’s cheeks blushed as she stuttered out her words“I...I like you Anna”
Anna looked at her confused “Eh? But I like Mari-chan too you know?”
“I know but...but mine’s different” Mari told her “You like me as a friend but...but I don’t”
Anna looked hurt “You...You don’t like being friends with me?”
“What? No! No that’s not what I’m trying to say!” Mari gasped, Anna was happy and relaxed at her response, but could see Mari wasn’t finished. “What I mean is, is that I...I….”
“Eh?” Anna gasped “Mari-chan, your crying!”
True to her words, tears slowly ran down Mari’s red cheeks. Anna rushed to get a tissue from her pack and started to wipe the tears away “What could cause you to start crying?”
“Because... I’m scared” Mari sniffed out.
“Scared? But why?”
“Because you might leave me” Mari replied “You might stop being friends with me and not wanting to be near me ever again”
“I could never leave you Mari-chan” Anna strongly told her “Your my best friend, you’ve been by my side for so long, being with you makes me happy. I could never imagine leaving you”
Mari sniffed again, the tears seemed to have stopped as Anna drew away the tissue - but she kept it in her hand just in case.
“Are you sure?”
“Even, even if I told you that I’m….I’m in love with you?”
Eh? Anna started at Mari, wondering if she heard the correct words “Your...Your in love with me?” Mari nodded and Anna looked at her in shock. Mari, the girl Anna always spends time with, who listens to her problems and helps her, the one who always helps her with taking care of herself, the one who has saved her many times from perverts, the one who has always been her close friend…
Is love with her.
Anna held onto the desk, afraid of losing her balance and took in a deep breath. She couldn’t...She didn’t think - imagine this would happen. Mari being in love with her, the thought never crossed her mind but now here the two are.
Her chest hurt, she felt all sorts of emotions - shock, guilt, sadness. Her head was fuzzy, it wouldn’t concentrate on anything - it was blank.
“Anna?” Mari looked at her, eyes while still red with tears, searching her “Anna, please say something”
She didn’t know what to say, she couldn’t think straight, her body was shaking. What do I do? She kept wondering, she had been confessed to before by Mochizuki- she couldn't give Mari the answer because it felt different.
“I’m…I’m sorry” she breathed out and stood up before grabbing her bag “I...I need to think”
Ignoring her friends cry, Anna ran out of the room, she changed her shoes at the lockets fast before going out - stopping when she felt water on her.
It’s raining… she looked up at the grey clouded sky as rain fell It feels like tears she thought as she resumed running home, crying along the way - and couldn’t help but feel like it was right as she was drenched when she got home.
As she layed on her bed, refreshed after a bath, Anna felt a bit better. She needed to think hard on what had happened moments ago, it was tough for her as she never expected this to happen.
But I didn’t expect Mochizuki-kun to confess to me as well she reminded herself And now Mari-chan…
Her chest hurt again and she held her shirt, the images of Mari confessing and crying still vivid in her mind, they played over and over again, words still fresh that she would still hear them clearly as if she was back there right now.
How did Mari-chan fall in love with me? She wondered as she thought back, Anna was the first one to approach her and shortly afterwards they became best friends, they always hang out together in and out of school, eating out of cafes or going shopping - they have had numerous sleepovers which have always been fun and enjoyable. Mari helps her on how to take care of her skin and beauty and has saved her many times by perverts and rude people, everytime Anna feels sad Mari is right there to cheer up, to be her shoulder to cry on. Mari is the one person Anna can tell anything to and to find comfort in. Without Mari-
The painful feeling in her chest returned, but this time it felt tighter that it made her whimper slightly. “Eh? What was that?” I didn’t think of the confession, I thought of my time with Mari-chan and without her-! There it is again!”
It’s whenever I think about not being with Mari-chan… but that’s to be expected right? Mari is the closest friend, of course it would hurt to imagine not being with her. But she wondered now that Mari has confessed to her...
When Mochizuki confessed she avoided him and Natsuki, she didn't know what to do when the two were together and near each other so she ran - seeing them was too uncomfortable as well as hearing their names. Will I have to be this way with Mari-chan?
“Because you might leave me, you might stop being friends with me and not wanting to be near me ever again”
“This must be how Mari-chan feels...it hurts” How can I put her through this pain? She thought as she started to cry Mari-chan doesn’t deserve this, she deserves to be happy, laughing and smiling. Mari-chan shouldn’t cry and feel pain and sadness.
“I could never leave you Mari-chan. Your my best friend, you’ve been by my side for so long, being with you makes me happy. I could never imagine leaving you”
“Are you sure?”
“Even, even if I told you that I’m….I’m in love with you?”
“I don’t want to leave her, I want us to always be together”
She avoided Mochizuki, Natsuki, and now...
But right now, I don’t think we can
"I'm sorry, Mari-chan"