Summary: Honoka surprises Umi on her graduation day with a sudden photo.
"Umi-chan, say cheese!"
An arm drooped around my shoulders, and I looked up from my book for just a second before the sound of a shutter snapping reached my ears and the bright orange mini-camera in Honoka's hand flashed.
"H-Honoka!" I scolded, dropping my book so I could rub my eyes, the flash being too sudden for me to ready myself for. "I said no pictures!"
"B-But Umi-chaaaan…" she whined, pouting slightly at me. It was adorable of course, everything Honoka did was adorable (even when annoying me), but I'd specifically asked her to not take any pictures today. Especially without my permission. "You're graduating today! Don't you want any mementos?"
"I'll have my degree," I responded, poking her puffed out cheek and deflating it. Picking my book back up from the ground and dusting it off, I turned to look at my childhood friend turned girlfriend. "Besides I had so little notice I probably look awful."
"Nonsense!" And there was that smile again—that darned smile that could cheer anybody up, or make anyone forget they were annoyed with Honoka. It stopped working on me years ago, of course, but I still loved seeing how her face lit up with it. "Umi never looks awful! It's almost like she were an angel, fallen from the Heavens to live on Earth!"
Against my will I felt my cheeks light up with a blush. "H-Honoka…" Damn it, why was she so cute and sweet?
I may have gotten an immunity to her smile, but I was never immune to her words—something exacerbated when we started dating. Everything she'd said just seemed to hold that much more impact on me.
Honoka giggled and leaned over to peck my blushing cheeks, pulling me into her side and bringing up the display on the camera to show me the picture. The autumn leaves were glistening in the setting sun, the red and orange hues making the dying leaves pop just that much more. Honoka's smiling face was positioned right next to my own confused and slightly surprised visage, a dynamic difference that basically summed up Honoka and my relationship perfectly.
I was always more of an introverted loner, Honoka, Eli, and Kotori being my only friends when I was younger—I'd never managed to get close to any of the other kids, nor did I really want to. I was always dedicated to making sure Honoka was okay and happy, and was able to grow into the woman I felt she deserved to be—even into our junior high and high school years I always saw my purpose as making sure Honoka grew into the bright and smiling woman that she deserved to be.
"Mhmm! Mhmm! Like I said, Umi always looks beautiful~!"
…But unbeknownst to me, Honoka had always seen her purpose as making sure I was able to go as far as I could, unburdened by my inability to communicate or work with other people. If it weren't for her, I never would have become friends with Eli or Kotori, or even the rest of μ's—I probably would have willingly been homeschooled by my grandmother and older sister had Otonokizaka closed down. I owe so much to Honoka…
"Only because I have an adorable angel next to me at all times," I quipped, giving her a soft peck on her lips, giggling at her own shocked and slightly blushing face.
…And I love her all the more for it.