Huh? What is this? A rose? Why would there be a rose in my locker?
"Hey, Kiku!" shouted my loud American friend, Alfred.
"A-ah. Alfred-san. Konnichiwa."
"Whatcha got there?" he said, referring to the mysterious rose in my hand.
"Oh, this? I am not sure. I just found it in my locker."
"Dude, you know what this means? It means that you got yourself a secret admirer."
My face flushed. "H-how a-are you so sure?"
"I don't know. But what else could it mean?" He had a point there. "Anyway, we should totally find out who she is!"
I wasn't against the idea, but I was not exactly for it. What if it was just a mistake? What if the rose was for someone else and they put it in the wrong locker? All the lockers looked the same. It would have been an easy mistake to make.
"LET'S GO!" Alfred grabbed my arm and began to drag me down the hall.
"Wait a moment Alfred-san!" The least he could do was respect my personal space.
A few hallways later, Alfred finally let me go to catch my breath, but only because we ran into Arthur. Literally.
"You bloody git! Watch where you're going!" he shouted at us.
"You don't have to be sorry, Kiku. Artie's just got his panties in a twist." Alfred glared at Arthur.
"You shouldn't be running in school in the first place, you idiot!" Arthur snapped back.
"Not my fault. Kiku here's got a secret admirer and we're trying to find out who it could be."
"Really now?" Arthur sounded intrigued. "Well, I am quite the detective and shall take your case," he said rather proudly.
"O-oh, Arthur-san, you don't hav-" I was interrupted.
"We don't need your help. Me and Kiku will do just fine without you," said Alfred.
"You bloody git! It's 'Kiku and I' and you have no say in the matter. Isn't that right, Kiku?"
"We'll be fine without him, right Kiku?"
"Stop interrupting him!"
"You're the one interrupting him!"
As Alfred and Arthur continued to bicker, I just stood there, confused and unsure as to how to stop their fighting and find out who put the rose in my locker. I had gone unnoticed. Seeing that any effort to stop the argument was fruitless, I left and went on my own way.
I turned a corner and sighed. I wasn't sure what I was going to do once I... if I find this 'secret admirer.' If the rose really was for me, what would I say? Could I return their feelings? It would be disgraceful of me if I didn't... but, then again, I wouldn't feel the same. My heart belonged to a certain girl that I've known for a long time, though, she didn't know it yet. I couldn't handle it if my admirer started to cry if I rejected her.
This inner conflict was starting to give me a headache. I had to find out.
"Ohonhonhon~" was what I heard as I passed by an open classroom door. "Bonjour Kiku~ How are you on this beautiful day? You look troubled." It was Francis, as well as Gilbert and Antonio sitting beside him. These three, also known as the Bad Touch Trio, usually meant trouble, but somehow, in my tired mind, I wanted their help.
"Hai. I have a little problem," I said, holding up the rose.
"A little love problem, oui?" I nodded. "Don't worry, we shall help you."
"You would do that for me?"
"Of course," said Antonio. "We wouldn't leave un amigo like you with half a heart."
"Ja. Ve might break rules, but not hearts (sometimes)," said Gilbert.
"Arigato." I bowed. "I am very grateful for your help."
The four of us went around the school, asking others if they knew anything. Obviously, Francis, Gilbert, and Antonio were asking girls outright if they were my admirer. It was quite embarrassing and I couldn't keep my face from heating up. On the other hand, they all denied putting the rose in my locker. After some time, the trio started flirting with the girls and had forgotten about my existence.
I looked at the rose that I had found. It was beginning to wither. Its petals were starting to droop; some of them were even falling off. I couldn't help but feel that this flower was reflecting my feelings at the moment. I was on my own once more, though, this time I was sitting on a bench with my head in my hands. I sighed.
"It's so lonely being forgotten," I said to no one in particular.
"I know that feeling." I turned my head and saw Matthew sitting next to me.
"Oh. I'm terribly sorry about that."
"It's okay. I'm use to it," he said quietly. "What's wrong, Kiku? I don't usually see you this upset."
"Oh, I've just been looking for someone. But I can't seem to find them." I sighed once more.
"I'm sorry to hear that.... If it makes you feel any better, I have a note to pass on to you."
"Oui." Matthew searched in his pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper and handed it to me. "I can't tell you who gave it to me simply because I don't know who gave it to me," he laughed lightly. "All I was told to do was to give you this note. Don't worry. I didn't read it," he smiled.
I took the note and opened it. It read: Meet me at the school gates. Curiosity took over me. I gave my thanks to Matthew and left, following the note's direction. As I approached the gates, I was disappointed when I didn't see anyone there. I did, however, find something even more odd. There was a trail of flower petals leading away from school grounds. I followed them and they lead me to (Last name)'s Floral Boutique.
I stared at the sign in a bit of shock and amazement. First, I didn't expect that the trail would lead from the school to a floral shop, or the other way around. Second, I didn't know _____'s family owned a flower shop. I had known _____ and her family since primary school. How did I not know about this?
Even more curious than I was earlier, I walked into the boutique. I was suddenly hit with a sweet and earthy fragrance. Taking in my surroundings, it was definitely a floral shop. There were pots with various flowers, big and small, lined up against the walls, hanging from the ceiling, and sitting on tables. Despite the small exterior of the store, it was quite large on the inside, or at least it appeared to be.
I walked further inside, aimlessly, since the trail of petals ended at the door.
"I'm glad you came, Kiku." I heard a familiar voice call me from behind. I turned around and my face flushed once again. I saw _____ standing before me, wearing (outfit description). Her (h/l)(h/c) was tied up in a way in which it suited her facial features perfectly. Especially her (e/c) eyes. Whenever I got the chance to look into them, they never failed to put me in a trance.
I would have been more than happy to tell her how beautiful I thought she was or how I loved her for some time now, but... I didn't want to risk our friendship; or make things more awkward between us, which I seemed to have a knack for every so often.
"Kiku? Hello? Anyone home?" I snapped back from my thoughts and realized that _____ was standing right in front of me, which didn't help my heated face. She giggled, probably taking notice of my blush. "Thank god. I thought I lost you there."
"I-I...eh.. um. K-konnichiwa, _-_____-san." I felt like such a fool as she giggled at me again. "S-so, you're family owns this boutique?" I said trying to change the subject.
"You can say that, but technically it's mine."
"Eh?" Seeing my confused state, _____ showed me paper, proving that the boutique was in her name. She also explained how her parents allowed her to open it, that is, if she can be responsible and manage the business of course.
"That's amazing _____-san. I can't believe that you are going to run this store by yourself."
"Thanks! But I wasn't hoping on running it all by myself. I would feel lonely that way. I was hoping...um," _____ was beginning to look flustered. "Well, I asked you here... er, I mean, I made the trail for you to follow, and find my boutique so that I could ask you if... you know, if you want to, maybe, run the business along side of me?" Her face was as red as my own. My heart beat was beginning to quicken with the idea of _____ and I working together.
"I-I-I w-would love too!" I spat out. I would have mentally slapped myself for acting so foolish again, but I had other things on my mind as _____ quickly gave me a hug. I was a little reluctant to hug her back since I was still in shock. _____'s embraces were rare, although, I think that it was just because she knew and respected my personal space. Her small arms tightly wrapped around my torso gave me a feeling of comfort and warmth. I was going to return it, but I missed my chance as she pulled away.
"I-I'm sorry, Kiku! I was just really happy that you agreed."
"O-oh," I said, a little saddened. "Of course _____-san." We were both silent for a moment, looking in different directions.
"Kiku...Do you feel lonely sometimes?"
"Eh? Um... I believe so. B-but it's not a concern-worthy matter, _____-san! So don't worry."
"But I am concerned! I worry about you whenever I see you all by yourself. A-and I feel bad when you get left behind..."
"I... I REALLY LIKE YOU, KIKU!" I was taken aback a little at _____'s sudden outburst. Did... did she just confess to me? I felt overjoyed and shocked at the same time. I couldn't believe that she felt the same way. Wait... was she-? Oh my salmon! _____ was crying!
"D-don't cry _____. I-I'm glad that you said that because... becauseIloveyoutoo!" I covered my mouth when I realized I had raised my voice AND confessed to her. What have I done...
"You... you do?" She wiped away a few tears.
I still felt terrible for making her cry, so I gathered enough courage to give her a light embrace. Her body tensed up from the sudden contact, but she adjusted quickly. She chuckled a bit. "I guess you really do mean it then."
"I do." I put my hand on her cheek and caressed it gently as I looked into her (e/c) eyes. I leaned in and did something I never thought in a million year I could do. I kissed her, and luckily for me she kissed me back. Her lips were soft and warm. The feeling I was experiencing was much more wonderful than I had imagined it. Sadly, our passionate kiss came to an end to take a moment to breath. _____ gave me a gentle smile and a quick peck on the cheek.
"I love you, Kiku. I hope that you'll never be lonely."
"I won't be as long as you stay by my side _____. Aishiteru." I leaned in once again for another kiss.