The night breeze caressed her warm cheeks as if on a compliment. She sighed, feeling relaxed as minutes passed by. (Name) was at the beach. She had been invited by her friends for a swimming training camp – they belonged to the Iwatobi Swimming Club and this training camp was already a pattern for them. Nagisa, Rei, Haruka and Makoto were part of that team and she was one of the closest friends of them. Gou and Ama-sensei had come too, since they were also part of the team. Rin and a few other Samezuka High students had become part of the same training camp – she was glad that Rin and Haru were friends again. Rin was actually a good person and she considered him her friend.
She was glad they invited her for their training camp – it just proved that they liked her as much as she does, so when they invited her, she was really happy. Her parents didn’t want to let her come, but thanks to Nagisa, they end up allowing her. Because, she thought, how could someone say no when he acts all cute and does that face that you just can’t help but say yes? That was what happened with her parents. And now she was here. Enjoying her first trip with her best friends. Could this get any better? She even decided to join them on the training and swim with them. Of course, she didn’t want to be a nuisance, so she decided to swim at her own rhythm and let them do their training. Gou said she would go, too.
And now she couldn’t sleep because she was too excited. And the sound of the waves crushing on the sand was keeping her sleep away.
(Name) decided to stay outside the tent for some time to refresh a little. Since she was sharing a tent with Gou, she didn’t want to disturb her – contrary to (Name), she was sleeping pacifically. Playing with the sand without feeling any will to sleep, she decided to walk a little by the sea. As she rose, she heard the sound of a zip being pulled. She looked behind and saw that Makoto was getting out of his tent, looking a little surprised for seeing her up.
“(Name)…” He said and carefully closed the zip to not wake up Haru. “Can’t sleep too?”
She turned to him a little embarrassed. “Yes.” She answered and blushed a little. “You’re having troubles to sleep too?”
“Yeah, I guess so…” he answered and approached her.
So Makoto was also having troubles sleeping too, she thought. He was probably as excited as she was about this training camp. Under the moon light, she noticed his eyes looked rather tired. No wonder, she thought, because they had trained exhaustively all day and, not being able to sleep even when he was tired was too bad. If only she could take away his fatigue away…
“Were you going for a walk?”
“Yeah. Wanna come?”
They walked towards the ocean side by side. (Name) suddenly felt a chill run down her back. Maybe I should’ve bought a jacket, she thought. It was night, and even though it was summer, the nights were always a bit chilly. She glanced up at Makoto and noticed that even he wasn’t wearing a jacket above his shirt. Perhaps he didn’t feel the fresh night breeze, she thought. He was a man; perhaps the cold didn’t bother him. Contrary to her, who was sensible to temperatures slightly lower than normal… She gazed away, a little embarrassed at herself. She should be stronger. And even thought she tried to look like the cold didn’t affect her, her body started to tremble a little. (Name) hoped Makoto wouldn’t notice.
“So, ready for tomorrow’s training?” He asked, making her look at him.
“Of course!” (Name) answered, showing her best determined face. Then she giggled. “Actually, that’s why I can’t sleep.” She admitted and looked at the ocean in front of her.
Makoto gasped in surprise. “Really? Are you that happy for coming?” She noticed the surprise in his voice, which bought a smile to her lips. Perhaps he wasn’t expecting such a thing from her. But she felt the need to be honest, much more when it came to him.
“Yes.” She said, honestly. At the sound of the waves crushing, she continued: “But I’m not just happy I came here. I’m happy because I came with the best people I ever met.” (Name) brushed away a strand of hair from her eyes to behind her ear and gazed at Makoto. “I couldn’t be happier than be with you.”
And that was when it hit her as if a truck just had crushed into her. She said something embarrassing. And now she was blushing a million shades of red. (Name) covered her month in shock.
“Sorry, I said something embarrassing…” (Name) stepped away from him dying in embarrassment, leaving Makoto standing at least three meters distanced.
“Huh? What…” He muttered, confused. But then, even though she couldn’t see his face clearly, she noticed the big O his lips were forming. “Oh! N-No… Actually… No, it’s…” She looked at him, face still died in read, and saw him scratch his neck. “It’s okay.” He said and slowly walked to her. “You mean you’re happy you can be with us, right? Or… something like that…” as he came closer, she noticed the slight blush on his cheeks. Great, I made him blush! Seeing him like that only made her more embarrassed.
“I’m really sorry, Senpai…” she muttered, immediately regretting it. (Name) heard him sigh and she bite her tongue.
“You called me Senpai again, (Name)…” He said. She looked up at him feeling guilty but, what she saw wasn’t what she expected. He was wearing his usual kind smile.
“Sorry, it slipped…” (Name) said and smiled nervously. Makoto had asked her – more like ordered her – to not call him ‘senpai’ when they were so good and close friends. He said there was no need for such formalities between them; and he had asked her so sweetly, so gently… with that smile of his…
But his usual kind smile was soon gone and he was now glaring at her with brows furrowed.
“I’m going to punish you.” Even though his voice tone wasn’t serious at all, it was enough to make (Name) gasp in shock. Makoto didn’t even give her time to react properly and ask for mercy. “You better run.”
As she saw him walking behind her in big steps, (Name) started to run as fast as her legs allowed. Makoto was right on her tail, and of course he would soon catch her since his figure was much more athletic than hers, but even so, she run for her life.
(Name) run through the beach nonstop with Makoto chasing her. This is crazy, she thought. Her legs were already asking for a stop, but the boy behind her wouldn’t let her do so. Even though she was exhausted already, she couldn’t stop laughing. What exactly was his intention? What punishment was awaiting her? And then, when she was about to ask what he was planning, (Name) stepped on the sand and shrieked. Her reflexes were faster and she supported her weight on her hands.
“(Name), are you okay?” Makoto asked, stopping next to her. She rose up and cleaned the sand from her hands and knees.
“I’m fine.” (Name) said and gazed at him, not exactly sure if she should run again or simply wait for his reaction.
They were both panting. Looking behind, their tents were already too far to the point she could barely see them.
“Want to go back?” He asked; probably noticing she was looking back at their tents.
“Do you want to go already?” (Name) asked fixing her clothes. He didn’t answer right away and she suddenly remembered something. “By the way, why couldn’t you sleep? Is something wrong?” She thought that she should worry as much as he did with her.
“No, there’s nothing wrong. I guess I’m just excited as much as you are with this year’s training camp. After all, Rin came too, Haru is happy, and…” He trailed off, gazing at the ocean. There was something on his eyes that (Name) didn’t expect to see. Sadness. The light on his eyes wasn’t there for a fraction of second and that made her sad and worried.
“Makoto?” She approached him. Makoto gazed back at her in the eyes.
Seeing her looking worried, he gave her a reassuring smile. “It’s nothing, don’t worry.” He said and patted her head.
But she didn’t accept his answer. “If there’s something wrong, you can tell me, seriously. I know I’m not Haru-senpai, but you can trust me. I want to help you…” Her heart was squeezing thigh on her chest with the look on his face. (Name) just couldn’t handle seeing someone said; not her friends, and especially, not him. He had done so much for her, helped her so many, countless times that, whenever he looked rather down, she would always try to pull him up; bring his favorite Makoto Tachibana up. She didn’t want to replace Haru, she just cared too much for him.
Makoto smiled again and closed his eyes. He suddenly leaned down and laid his forehead on her own, making her blush. “Thank you.” He whispered and her heart skipped a beat.
He was so close and his forehead was so warm. (Name) soon forgot about the chill she felt before. She couldn’t feel it anymore when Makoto was keeping her from the cold. Seconds after, he withdrew his forehead and then held on her on a kind embrace. That was unexpected. She tried to relax, but she found herself unable to. Why was he embracing her? Without answers, only with the wind blowing against them, (Name) called for him, feeling rather alarmed. Her heart was beating like crazy.
“Let me hold you like this… Just for a little longer…” He said at her ear, making her gulp. She couldn’t calm down with the sudden approaching for two reasons: one, this was the first time they were having close contact like this and, despite the fact that they were friends, she was caught off of guard with such thing. He had never held her before, so why now? What was happening? Besides, she saw he was looking gloomy, but why? What had made you look like that? What was happening? The answer kept repeating on her head like an alarm. And the alarm kept ringing and ringing with no signal it would stop.
Just what was happening?
“Sorry.” He said; his voice muffled by her hair. “I guess I can’t let you go yet.”
Her eyes widened in shock. She could only ear her heartbeat on her ears. This wasn’t cool at all, but what should she do? (Name) was still in shock as her hands worked their way automatically to his back. She held him as gently as he was doing with her, even though her hands were shaking uncontrollably. What was happening? He was still sad. It could only be that. But why was he sad? (Name) had been so excited with the training camp that she didn’t pay attention to the little details that might have slipped her. Perhaps something happened on their team and he was feeling guilty? Something unpleasant must have definitely happened.
“Makoto?” she called for him, but no response. “You’re leaving me really worried. Tell me what happened. I want to help you.”
“It’s not really something to be worried. I’m just trying to recompose myself, that’s all.”
Recompose? “What do you mean it’s not something to be worried? Tell me what’s wrong, Makoto!” (Name) tried to look at his face but he didn’t move. “Wait, don’t tell me you were crying?”
“I wasn’t!” When she was about to cry with him (because that was the effect sadness had on her), he finally looked at her, but didn’t let her go. And her hands were still on his back. “I…”
“Makoto, I know you’re sad. I can tell just by looking at you. I can even feel it; my senses are tingling!” She said and he giggled a little. “What’s wrong? You know I hate to see you like that.” She sincerely said and he smiled.
“Sorry, I know how much you hate sadness…” He said and smiled sheepishly. “But don’t worry, I’m fine.”
“That’s what everyone says, but in the end they’re slowly breaking inside.” (Name) said with brows furrowed.
“You might be right there…”
“And I’m also right that you are indeed sad, am I?”
He didn’t answer. Makoto let her go and looked away. It was curious because, as soon as he separated from her, the cold came again.
“It’s nothing serious, really… It’s just…” He trailed off again, probably searching for words to explain himself. (Name) gave him time. “It’s my last year here.” He muttered.
(Name) didn’t know, but the ground seemed to suddenly slip away from her feet. Yes, it was true. Makoto was on his last year as an high school student. She would stay in Iwatobi one more year. Makoto would travel to another town to attend university. They would walk separate ways. (Name) could finally understand his sadness. It hurt. Thinking about him away from her, without being able to be with him every day. Without having him to help her in everything every day. It really hurt.
However, (Name) tried to cheer him up. “And? It’s not like we’re never going to see each other again, right? Unless you’re planning to abandon us; how dare you!” she teased him and she was finally able to see him smiling. Even though it was a smile deprived of happiness, he still smiled. Knowing him, probably to leave her less worried. “Come on, don’t be like that. We still have tons of time! And you still have to bear with me for some more time; I’m not even sorry!” She said and laughed, making him laugh with her. Something that satisfied her.
“I don’t mind at all.” Makoto said and shortened the distance between them. “You’re… really special to me. And you’ve been a great friend since we met.” (Name) didn’t know why, but her heart skipped a beat at his honest words. The way he said it… His voice was so gentle and his eyes looked so dazzling and sincere. She couldn’t see sadness reflected on them anymore. There was something else; something much more pleasant. It filled her heart with warm feelings. “(Name).” Makoto reached out and caressed her cheeks, making her eyes widen in surprise. “I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to see you once in a while. I don’t want to be away from you less than this.”
(Name) started panicking. What was he saying?! Why was his speech sounding like a… love confession?! She had the urge to remove his hands from her cheeks and run away to reorganize her brain. It was a mess! Makoto was saying something strange - something he wouldn’t usually say to her - and she was actually scared. He was extremely kind, that was a fact and no arguments against it were valid, but she was terrified. And also a little confused. Was he saying that because they were friends and he didn’t want to lose contact with her? Or it was really…
(Name) was shaking. “Wh-What are you… saying?” Her voice missed a note and she sounded extremely shocked.
“I’m saying I like you. Not as a friend, but more than that.” And he said it so calmly and passionately that… (Name) almost collapsed. So it really was what she feared. Literally. Even though she knew her reaction was too much, she couldn’t believe someone had actually fallen in love with her.
“Makoto, are you sure? I… I don’t know what to say, I wasn’t expecting this…” Oh no, saying it like that just sounded like a rejection! He withdrew his hands and smiled at her. “I’m sorry…”
“It’s okay, it’s not like I was expecting you to return my feelings.” He said and stepped back. “Thanks for hearing me, anyway.”
(Name)’s heart squeezed in pain for seeing him disappointed with her and she felt completely lost. He was turning his back ready to leave when she called for him. He stopped and looked at her, his serious gaze piercing her.
“You’re… You’re really special for me too and I don’t want to lose you no matter what… But this was totally unexpected… I…” Gosh, she was feeling like shit now. There was no way she could erase that sad look from his eyes now that the culprit was her. (Name) wanted to make up for him somehow, but what should she do?
“I’ll wait.” He muttered, the moonbeam shinning on his eyes. (Name) looked up at him as she noticed he was getting closer. “I’ll wait as long as necessary.” He leaned down and she gulped. This time, he didn’t lay his forehead on hers, as he did before. This time, she felt it. The softness and warmth of his lips. He kissed her softly, leaving her there, completely paralyzed. “I’ll wait.” He muttered again, his eyes piercing her soul, and then he extended one hand to her, which she took automatically.
They walked back in silence to their tents side by side. She couldn’t forget the kiss he gave her, much less his words before that. Every time she remembered his lips on hers her heart squeezed and she couldn’t stop the blushing from emerging on her cheeks. Gazing up at Makoto, she noticed that he was avoiding looking at her too, which made the situation much more embarrassing than what it seemed. But one thing she promised to herself: she would think about his feelings and give him an answer. As she said to him earlier, he was indeed special for her, and he didn’t deserve a rejection. But she was afraid of the outcome. What if they didn’t work out together? Then again, she was thinking too ahead of their relationship. (Name) decided to keep those thoughts away.
As they arrived at their tents, they gazed at one another in the eyes. They didn’t say a word, only looking at each other in the eyes. This is romantic, she admitted to herself. (Name) smiled awkwardly and brushed her hair away.
“Well… Go-good night…” She said and started to step away from him. Makoto reached a hand towards her but soon pulled away.
“Good night. Sweet dreams.” He said sweetly and then opened the zip of his tent.
“Sweet dreams for you too…” She said in a maze and started to carefully open the zip of her tent.
Peeking inside, she saw that Gou was still sleeping. (Name) sighed in relief. She entered and closed the zip again. Lying down on her improved bed, she stared at the ceiling. Her heart started to beat fast again and she remembered the moment they shared before. Feeling her cheeks burning again, she covered her entire self with her sheets.
She could only see his face every time she closed her eyes to sleep. His gaze at her. His voice. His kiss.
Great, how am I supposed to sleep now?!