Looking from Afar

By CuteBubbles

Hey guys! This is my very first uploaded fanfic so please be gentle. I welcome any positive feedback or constructive criticisms. Hope you all like it! =)

Aya's POV:

I never saw so sweet a face

As that I stood before

My heart has left its dwelling place

and can return no more

-John Clare, First Love

The first falling leaves of autumn always brings me sweet memories. I remember the wonder I felt during my childhood, when a leaf seemed like such a magical object. And now, amidst this gentle floating down of leaves, I gaze upon his face.

"Rei," I whisper.

Slightly trembling, I stand up from under the tree. He's coming closer. Suddenly, my heart starts beating like a drum and I could feel the heat rising up my cheeks. How embarrassing! Stop it! I hope he doesn't notice.

I give a shy hello. He only stares blankly back at me with those chestnut brown eyes of his and gives a slight nod. I knew better than to expect more.

"Ran told me to fetch you here. We're going to the ice cream parlor."

And just like that, he turns on his heels and walks ahead of me, expecting me to just automatically follow him.

I know he is doing this because Ran told him to, but still, he's with me and I couldn't help but smile to myself. I mean, after all, I'm used to people ignoring me. I continue to observe his gleaming brown hair in the sunlight and the aloof but manly way he walks. His shoulders seem so relaxed, as if he doesn't care about anyone or anything in the world. Hmm… It isn't so bad looking at his head from behind. At least I can stare at him as much as I want.

You know, he would always act this way towards me, as if my existence was a bother to him. But I can't stop liking him. I really can't. I'm willing to endure it all, just to experience the rare moments when his icy shield melts and he lets me see his kindness. That's why I fell for him in the first place; because when I was in the darkness of despair, he rescued me with his wonderful smile and ramen. So now I'm hooked, acting like a stray puppy desperately following a stranger.

In the distance, I could see my friends joking around and laughing. Ran, as usual, is the center of attention. She is playfully punching Tatsuki. I smile to myself. This scene could be a painting. Sometimes I feel like I'm the silent observer in an art gallery, immersed in the strokes and the story but not part of the actual painting.

Yuuya turns toward our direction. His face breaks into a smile as he excitedly waves. Then Ran and Miyu start to run towards me. As they close the distance, I could imagine the painting coming alive and all the streaks of color extending out from the canvas to greet me. I smile as I become part of the painting.

"Aya!" Ran screams as she tackles me.

"Oomph! Not so hard, Ran, not so hard." As the both of us giggle, Miyu also gives me a hug.

"We haven't seen you in such a long time," Ran complains, her lip forming a pout.

"Sorry but it's only been a day. I had to study for a molecular orbital theory test. It was really hard. I'm not even sure I got a good grade" I nervously bite my lip as I thought about the horrible exam that I took earlier that day.

Miyu and Ran exchange confused glances as they mouth the words "molecular whatta." Even Yuuya and Tatsuki are dumbfounded.

Rei rolls his eyes as he says, "It's chemistry, you idiots."

Ran laughs it off as if Rei had not said a single thing. She says, "Well whatever your test was about, I'm sure you got an A. You always do! Now, who wants to buy me delicious, creamy rocky road candy?"

Tatsuki jumps up and down like a monkey. "Ooh I will I will!"

"I better follow them to prevent Ran from taking advantage of Tatsuki too much," Miyu tells me with a laugh.

I couldn't help but giggle at my silly but warm friends. I am so lucky to have them.

Wearing a curiously sly grin, Yuuya then makes his hasty exit. "Bye, you two!"

So now, it is just Rei and I again. All alone…. Silence… This is so awkward.

I steal a look from his handsome face but he isn't looking at me at all. He's just staring blankly at the ice cream parlor window. Maybe he's looking at something inside…

His head instantly turns, his eyes meeting mine. Those beautiful brown orbs again.

"We should probably go inside with the rest," he plainly stated.

" Right."

Gosh I feel stupid. Here I am staring at him like a fool and the rest are already inside. He must think I'm so dumb.

I put on a fake cheery smile to hide my embarrassment. "Let's go," I say. I don't even wait for him as I run inside the shop, scared that I'd appear even more stupid to him.

Rei's POV:

Geez this is hard to do. How much longer do I need to stare at her constantly blushing face?

Don't get me wrong, Aya is a nice girl, but she always makes me feel guilty. She stares at me with puppy dog eyes, as if silently chanting, "please ask me to be your girlfriend."

I know that she likes me. She confessed at the top of that one building. In fact, I can still recall her innocent eyes tearing up as I told her that I could not return her feelings. Any other girl would have been devastated and given up already but yet, here she is, smiling at me as if I had never said those words to her. As if I hadn't caused those tears.

That's the very reason she needs to stay away from me. A sweet, innocent girl like Aya doesn't know my past and she won't ever understand. I would only hurt her in the end, no matter how much I try not to. This darned love always leads to heartbreak anyway.

"There you guys are! Here you go, Aya! Here's your ice cream," Ran says excitedly.

Aya replies, "Thanks!" She flashes a bright smile as she takes her strawberry ice cream cone.

Ok fine I admit that sometimes, Aya can be really cute. I'm not blind, unlike what Yuuya says. I know how her smile can brighten up a room, and how her long, silky bluish black hair catches the light at just the right spots. It actually looks like a wave at times. I wonder how soft it feels if I run my hand through it…

Argh! What the heck am I doing?! Forget I even said any of that. I'm acting like some freaky stalker here.

" I saw that."

Agh! I jump in surprise. I whirl around to see the speaker.

Oh. It's only Yuuya.

"What are you talking about now? There was nothing for you to see," I hiss in reply.

"Ha! Yeah right. You kept staring at Aya. Dude, she already likes you. Why don't you just say you like her back? If you don't, someone might beat you to it."

"Because I don't like her back," I say defensively.

Yuuya shakes his head in disbelief.

Turning my back against my so-called best friend, I whisper," Well, at least I don't think I do."

Looking back at my companions, most especially at her, a strange surge of emotion comes over me. It is a feeling of courage and impulsiveness that is entirely new. I mean, what if Aya starts to like someone else? No, that can't happen. She likes me too much… Or does she?

I feel like walking up to her right now. Still, I have nagging thoughts that just won't go away. Is this right? What if I end up hurting her in the end? I could be making a very big mistake…

No matter what, I don't want to end up like him