Izumi does that thing where she opens her mouth and pauses. She knows that if she doesn't stop to take a breath, the words will just come out together as a name, "Mei-san". So in a split second of everyone else's time (which seems like weeks to her) she begins again.
"Mei," she says. Her words are always almost commanding; Mei responds instantly.
"Izumi?" She asks, turning her chair around completely to give Izumi her full attention.
"Mei," Izumi says again, scrabbling for a sense of solid ground, except that it is something Mei has never been able to give her, not a moment of peace since entering the gates of St. Lucia. She doesn't mind it anymore, mostly. "I uhm. Let us talk, privately."
Mei is currently sans-Rihito, and simply assumes - as one would had they not been brought up in a world where butlers were standard - that privately meant just the two of them.
Kiba waits expectantly, toes pointed and smile wide. It's impossible to be annoyed with him so Mei just stares.
"Kiba." When Izumi says his name, Kiba springs into action, attempting to anticipate her needs before she can ask them, and half-expecting himself to be wrong and so listening very hard just to be sure. "Could you perhaps get us some tea?"
"Of course, Izumi-sama!" Kiba gasps, as if the idea that it could be too much trouble for him is painful. He dashes away, and Izumi leans towards Mei conspiratorially.
"We have a few minutes - Kiba will change his mind at least three times about what kind of cakes to serve alongside the tea."
"...So, you wanted to talk about something?" Mei looks completely unconcerned about the tea. Izumi can't blame her, seeing as it was only a distraction method.
"I don't really know how to be tactful about this," Izumi begins, fingering the lace tablecloth, "and I can't say that I have a wealth of experience to drawn upon in this kind of situation-"
"What kind of situation?" Mei asks, eyes widening in exasperation.
"-but," Izumi continues, as though she hadn't been interrupted, "I have been thinking. And I believe, were I in the situation your Mameshiba is currently in, I would find the limbo excruciating."
"What?" Mei asks, jumping as though poked with a hot iron.
"I mean, to reveal your feelings to someone, and have them not reject you, but to leave you without an answer. Imagining the possibilities, whether good or dire... Do you not believe that could drive someone a little crazy, Mei-san? Believing something is within reach, when it is not? All because someone has not said one single, powerful word?"
Mei doesn't even notice the way Izumi hides behind the sudden formality, worried about offending her. She is just too mortified to care. Why are her problems always so open and known by everyone? Why can everyone see what is going on when it doesn't even involve them?
She is thankful it was Izumi who spoke to her; anyone else would've been about as tactful as a brick in the back. She would say Izumi is the most tactful of all of them, including herself for sure - except for Rihito who is so tactful that sometimes even he doesn't seem to really feel or believe in the things he is trying to skirt around so delicately.
She knows how she feels, and just wishes she could be sure of him.