Maya had to wonder if all the tips she went through online in order to gain Eve's affection were void due to the way her lovely friend was all Bushido and joy to the world.
The tip to become more intimate was the least useful: Maya went about it so strategically, the transgression from soft touches to Eve's smooth shoulders to full out holding hands slow, consensual and thoughtful.
On her end, anyway, as Eve thought nothing of it other than the glow of her beautiful eyes and the whites of her teeth upon smiling that showed just how much she loved affection from any of her friends.
She was always the hugger in the group and while everyone accepted her ways nobody really spurred it on.
The fact that Maya was, that was probably enough to Make Eve's month!
So now they were full on cuddling at almost all times and Maya was still being called her best friend to everyone around.
It was as painful as it was sad.
Complimenting Eve was never a waste, she deserved to hear how beautiful she was at every turn she made and there was not a time that Maya ever hide how she recognized her ethereal presence.
So the extra compliments that came goaded by the interwebs was treated the same as any other. Kindly, of course, and given back freely.
Maya would never be able to agree with all the sweet things Eve said about her.
The gifts, acts of duty and everything else the forums and wikihows suggested went more or less the same.
It was frustrating.
The only thing she hadn't tried was the stupid 'just tell them' posts.
'All they can say is 'no' ' didn't exactly help her in this situation.
No was a lot deeper than a two letter word and for inspirational quotes to pretend it wasn't was misleading and patronising.
No was rejection and rejection SUCKED.
She was in a horrible place though. She had nowhere to go and at this point the crush would eat her from the inside out.
The pressure was building up and causing Maya to act in catastrophic manners.
As much as she tried to keep her stuff together any strain of normalcy she could still maintain was slipping away from her feet.
Literally, as Eve called for help in a quaint dressing room at their location in the mall and Maya face plants into the door when she rushes to be the first to get there, equal parts wanting to assist her and shamefully wanting a glimpse of the perfection that is Eve as she tried on a one piece swimsuit.
Chisato gives her a look.
Maya is sure it isn't disdain but it somehow teeters somewhere between that and blatant concern. Maybe the concern was only for her head though... Maya did whack it pretty hard. Hard enough for a confused Eve to call out wondering what just happened.
"Uh... nothing." Maya stammers out through the barrier before clumsily pushing the door open and squeezing through a small gap to keep Eve's modesty.
It only occurs to Maya that Eve is a model who wouldn't really struggle to put on such a simple piece of clothing when she's in the closed room and Eve is turning in the mirror with it already on, giving angles that Maya is sure she'd be a creep for viewing.
Her neck stiffens when she focuses very, very hard on keeping her head and gaze above Eve's shoulders.
That focus prevents her from remembering to speak so there's silence until Eve faces her.
"Maya-san, how do I look?"
"Hu-um-eh." Maya replies eloquently.
She didn't know how to answer the question because one, she hadn't looked down yet and two, she was an idiot.
Eve always looked good so why would it be any different now?
Maya slowly peers in the direction of her friend's outfit.
The color was a pale yellow that you'd expect to find on any of the other girls in the band more than Eve, it had thin straps and the cut was... obnoxiously high in the legs but modest at the top with a straight line design.
Maybe the color wasn't the best Maya tries to think critically... but fashion wasn't her strong suit and she was just kind of used to seeing Eve in other shades. Honestly, Eve just looked.... super good to her and every time Maya glanced at Eve's godly long legs, her own skin went into overdrive.
"I mean, I guess you look great- Not I guess! You do look great! Obviously! I'm just a bit biased you know? Not that anyone else wouldnt say it too!"
Eve pays no mind to her rambling, tagging onto one word in particular. "Biased? what do you mean Maya-san?"
"Well you're my best friend and I've always admired your beauty... inside and out! I can't really offer any advice because it'd be like judging an angel to me! Like you're everything a girl could want to be in my eyes and that shows whenever you put anything on."
Her clusterfuck of words and the awkward laugh that snuck in halfway through lights Eve's face up in a way Maya hadn't seen before. She'd studied Eve's face so often so she knew it was different and she wondered... why?
Had she finally managed to vocalize her emotions?
Eve was hugging her in a flash but it was a hug more gentle than the others the tall girl wrapping her arms around the middle of Maya's torso to pull her in.
"I didn't know that you felt that way about me." Eve spoke in voice only slightly above a whisper.
Maya didn't notice that her hands had already embraced Eve because the skin against hers had consumed all of her thoughts.
Then it dawned on her.
Eve didn't know? How was that possible?
Maya pulls away from a moment she'd usually want to last forever.
"What do you mean you didn't know?" She asked directly.
Her words take a while to register in Eve's mind.
"Oh." She replies afterwards. "I know that you care Maya-san and you always call me beautiful and that makes me super happy but I guess I didn't... I didn't know that you thought I was a role model. That kind of makes me want to cry!"
Maya nods slowly before dread casts a shadow over her.
Was she really that stupid? She plays over the memories of her and Eve from the last few weeks and tried to remember a single time she told Eve how wonderful she was aside from her appearance.
What the heck was I thinking? Maya asks herself when she realizes there was NONE that came to mind.
It wasn't like she loomed over Eve every second examining her long flowing hair and beautiful body and that's all she ever thought about.
Eve was the best human Maya thinks she'd ever meet.
It was just a lot easier to tell your friend she looks pretty when she walks into the room first thing come the morning than it was to come out and say things like 'You're a great person' or 'I love how you listen to me even when I ramble about things you don't understand.' and especially 'You're already the samurai you wish to be in my eyes because I've never met a braver, more selfless and strong person in my life.'
But Eve deserved all those words. Maya loved the internet as a reference for information as much as the next youth but realized she'd been too clueless to notice her shallow approach to the advice given.
Maya does perhaps the dumbest and gayest thing she could do at that moment like the spirit of her nerdy theater pals had possessed her nerdy tech body.
She bends to her knee and starts to apologize.
"I'm so sorry Eve-san. You probably get sick of hearing that you're pretty since you're a model and that's all I could say. You're so much more than that to me. I-"
No charm or suave oozes from Maya's voice and the end result would have probably been her spilling her feelings out to her best friend in the middle of a dressing room so it was a miracle really that Aya knocks on the door and asks if everything is okay.
Eve just gives her a strange look until Maya gets up and Maya realizes she's a true fool because if she managed to remove the smile from Eve's face she'd really messed up things after all.
Maya clicks through the online collection of all Eve's photoshoots and all her catalogue looks that a dedicated fan had put together. It had many comments and views all raving over Eve. Some pictures were her from a young age and then the majority were recent ones of the past few years. Maya stayed on the recent ones for a while soaking in the way they made her feel.
According to the details alongside each photoset Eve had worked with some absolutely amazing people even before she'd met anyone in PasuPare and she was just shy of making a 'most beautiful children in Finland' list when she was younger.
It was a very strange list to be made in the first place and also flawed since she didn't make it and only got an honourable mention Maya decided to herself before moving on.
She gets jumpscared by herself, not expecting to see a photo of her and Eve. It looked like a shot of the halloween event they'd done last year. It was pretty cool because for that one they'd gotten super glammed up since they were going to take professional pictures before filming. Maya was sure she'd never worn as much makeup before in her life and she hadn't done it again since.
Maya feels like a bit of a stalker reading the comments of her fans on this one and was shocked to see how many people were complimenting HER look when Eve was right there.
What surprised her most was what the shippers said.
The whole band knew about the shippers but they got a firm DO NOT INTERACT rule by the staff regarding them. Maya knew people liked her and Eve together but resisted looking any further into it because she was afraid before she knew it she'd be geeking out with them about WHAT A GOOD IDEA IT WAS.
'This looks like MayaEve future AU where they're still best friends but also super rich wives BUT who also decide to live in a cottage instead of a mansion'
Despite being rather specific many fans agreed with the top comment on the picture and Maya notices that while multiple seperate comments were similar to it there was one thing especially consistent in all of them that intrigued her.
In none of them did the fans mention Eve and her still being in PasuPare. In fact, one or two fans even said 'them after the band ends and they're out and proud' with a bunch of dramatic, unnecessary emojis following after it.
It puzzled Maya on one hand and scared her on the other.
If the band did end one day (something she hated to think about) and she never told Eve what she felt….what then? Their future picking grapes from a vine and collecting honey from their very own bees was never going to happen. They'd go on with their lives, split apart. It was reality and...
It was depressing. At least if she tried there was a possibility.
It all made sense to Maya then.
'All they can do is say no'
If Eve did say that the rejection would hurt and hurt for a long time too, months upon months she'd be heartbroken if she had to take an estimated guess but if Eve said yes - If she said yes it wasn't just a girlfriend Maya would be gaining. She'd be gaining a chance however small or big for a future with Eve. One where they marry and grow old together; blissful and happy.
By taking one step of courage the opportunities for a life she only dreamed of could arise. That life was every bit worth fighting for.
Maya didn't know if it was wise to let shippers rile her up so much but she was too inspired now. She had to do it. She had to confess!
Maya tells Eve that she wants to have babies with her and put flower crowns on their little baby heads.
It wasn't the eloquent speech she had planned nor did she do it at the dinner reservation she had scheduled in just that night for them both.
She may have also mentioned ever so briefly that she wanted her last moments on earth to be staring into Eve's eyes and that she'd worship the very ground Eve walked on for the rest of her life if she was given permission to.
Eve stood in the meeting room their friends had just been in and bless her loving, gentle heart her first response wasn't to run away from Maya's insanity.
Better yet....she embraced every inch of it and embraced Maya herself throwing herself onto her and asking through the fabric of Maya's jacket if she werenreally truly serious, muffled hope in her words.
"Definitely!" Maya rocked her back and forth, her heart racing at a million miles per hour. "I'm like - totally in love with you!"
She snapped away fast realising she should have said that looking at Eve, pulled away in time to see the shock on Eve's face.
And yeah, Maya should have been shocked too. She'd been calling this a crush for so long but the reality of what it was jumping out of her throat like the confession itself was only natural when the adrenaline in her body had taken control.
"I love you too, Maya-san!" Eve yells louder than she should considering where they were - but forget that, Maya didn't care. She only cared that she'd proclaimed the sweetest thing back to her.
She claims Eve's mouth and while the intensity she felt made the kiss rougher than intended causing Eve to fumble back, Maya's hand protects Eve's head from banging into the door as she pressed her to it, chasing her taste eagerly. Eve kept them there herself twirling one of her legs innocently around Maya's own and gripping onto Maya's hair to make sure she stayed firmly in place as their lips melded onto one each other playing around frantically.
When they finally pull apart Maya is out of breath but Eve? She was already on to the true subjects of importance!
"Can we teach our children to live by the sword? And can they can wear little yukatas too!" Eve rambles, completely over the moon. "They'll be so smart and pretty because of you!"
Maya listens to her ideas reveling in the fact that her one clumsy Maya-sized step had really been all it took in the end to start their beginning.
One step and now she was headed towards a beautiful future of warrior children, to the images Eve was painting out loud for them at present.
There would be many more steps taken to get there, maybe even obstacles in the way but Maya would be walking with Eve now so she knew nothing would stop them from getting to the point where they were putting their babies in onesies that said outrageously saccharine things like 'I think my moms are the bee's knees!' and even 'I'm as sweet as honey!!'
"Anything you want, Eve-san." She affirms and Eve exclaims back. "Let's start now then!"
Maya spent the rest of that hour reminding her that they were still in high school so maybe they should wait on that part but yes, she resigns that they could definitely come up with names now as a compromise and as a way to get that little pout off of Eve's pretty face.