Seiyo High School held nothing back when they put on school events, so Nagihiko had to admit that the dance was truly spectacular. But even though the decorations were good, the music was loud, and everyone was having a great time, he was not. Even dressing up didn't increase his mood, and he always loved to spend hours trying on different outfits.
Everything was perfect, except for the fact that Rima refused to even look his way.
Maybe he could just ignore her. He could pound a few glasses of punch (while strongly wishing they contained alcohol) and dance to the loud music. Maybe Kukai would come through with his promise of finding him a "babe" and he could dance with her. He wondered if Rima would be jealous a the sight of him gyrating against another girl, but quickly dismissed this; Rima didn't give a damn about him.
Nagihiko noted as he looked over at Rima (which he may or may not have been doing every few minutes for the past hour) that she looked absolutely bored. Amu was beside her, talking animatedly, but she looked indifferent to her surroundings, which was odd considering her surroundings included Amu. As he watched the two across the room, he heard Tadase sigh from beside him.
"You need to stop doing that to yourself," he muttered from where he stood next to Nagihiko, looking in the opposite direction and swaying slightly to the music.
"I'm not doing anything," Nagihiko muttered, refusing to look over at his friend. Tadase crossed his arms and shifted his weight to his opposite foot so that he was facing Nagihiko.
"Fujisaki-kun, don't lie. You know exactly what you're doing." Nagihiko glanced over and met Tadase's gaze briefly, before turning away.
"I know..." he muttered quietly, as Tadase stared at him expectantly, "I'll try to stop."
"Maybe you should take Souma-kun's advice and try to find someone new. I mean, I know you really love Rima and all but it couldn't hurt to see someone else in the meantime."
Nagihiko pondered this for a moment, before shaking his head."I'd much rather just hang out with you."
Tadase smiled at him weakly, wishing desperately that his friend was back to his normal self. It hurt to see him like this, but no matter how hard he tried there was nothing that he could do.
Well, perhaps there was something... would that really work, though? Or would it just make things worse?
Just as Tadase opened his mouth to say something, he felt someone jump onto his back.
"Ack! Souma-kun!" Tadase exclaimed, his eyes wide. Nagihiko chuckled a little bit, amused that Kukai did such a thing to him so often that Tadase could recognize him with no introduction whatsoever.
"Tadase! What's up, dude?" Kukai said loudly as he dropped off Tadase's back and wrapped an arm around his neck.
"Not much; I'm just talking to Fujisaki-kun," Tadase replied, smiling weakly up into the older boy's uncomfortably close face.
"Oh yeah, I forgot!" Kukai exclaimed, shooting his other arm to wrap around the other boy's neck. Nagihiko let out a small noise as his head was pulled in towards the other two. "I have to find you a girl!"
Suddenly another voice joined the conversation."Dude, you can barely find yourself a girlfriend; how do you expect to find him one?"
Kukai let go of the two boys' necks and the three turned around to see Utau, her hair tied up in an elaborate set of braids, with very peculiar makeup on her face and a pair of (presumably fake) glasses. In all honesty, Tadase didn't think even he would recognize her if he didn't know who it was. Frankly put she looked a little, well, unattractive. Well, he supposed her disguise (so as to not get mobbed by fans) was working.
"Harsh!" Kukai whined, sticking out his lip a little. Utau shook her head in exasperation before turning to Nagihiko.
"You want me to hook you up? I have some friends who would be interested; I gotta admit you're pretty hot so-"
"Whoa! I am right here!" Kukai yelled, his eyes wide with disbelief. Utau rolled her eyes and turned her back on him.
"So do you want me to set you up with someone? I know some models I could talk to."
Nagihiko shook his head. "No, its alright."
Utau turned to look at Tadase as she put her hands on her hips. "What about you?"
"Oh, no! I'm not interested in dating anyone right now!" Tadase insisted, shaking his head. Utau frowned.
"You two are the only guys I know who don't jump at the chance to date a model." Tadase shrugged.
"It's not so much as what's on the outside, versus what's on the inside; honestly, as long as I like the person I don't care at all what they look like. Someone's body is only trivial."
Kukai gave Tadase a look that plainly said, "what the fuck."
"When did you get so philosophical?"
"I noticed that too," Nagihiko noted, "lately you've been giving out quite romanticized speeches."
Tadase shrugged yet again. "I don't know."
As a small silence consumed the group a loud squeal was heard and across the room Amu was seen jumping up and down. She quickly grabbed Rima's arm and ran towards the group, eventually letting go of the blonde to wrap her arms around Utau's neck.
"I haven't seen you in so long!" Amu exclaimed, her face brightly lit. Utau scoffed.
"Why are you always so hyper about everything?" she asked while rolling her eyes, but Tadase and Kukai knew she was just playing her usual role of tsundere and was actually quite happy. Of course Rima knew this as well, which is why she usually shot a quite sour look in her direction during these times. Today, though, Rima didn't do this. In fact, she didn't look as though she cared at all.
Utau knew something was up right away, because it was the first time in her memory that Rima didn't look like she wanted to take her down when the two were in the immediate vicinity of Amu. She gave her a curious expression, and decided that she would talk to her about whatever was bothering her, because if there was one thing Utau knew, it was what that kind of look meant: boy problems.
And, more specifically, love
Nagihiko's heart felt as though it were about to explode right out of his chest. It was stupid, in so many ways, to be nervous about something so incredibly trivial.
All he was going to do was ask Rima to dance.
It took him over two hours to build up the courage to do this, though. Two long hours in which he would stand up then quickly sit back done, open his mouth and then close it, and jump about a foot in the air every time a guy walked anywhere near her. Every single time he did one of these things Tadase would sigh and give him an aggravated look.
"Just do it. If you don't, I'll do it for you."
So Nagihiko, after much pressure from his exasperated friend, finally went over. It wasn't like he was asking her out again, or having a serious conversation about anything, he was just asking her to dance. Friends danced together all the time; Amu and Tadase were dancing together right now (Tadase shooting his pressuring stares every time the opportunity arose).
He was just asking her to dance.
Why was his throat so dry? Why were his hands so sweaty?
Maybe because he had promised Tadase that if things didn't get better he would end it. Maybe because this really was his last chance with Rima.
No, he was just asking her to dance. This was by no means a big deal.
"You look awfully bored," he commented as he sat down next to the blonde girl. She glanced at him before turning forward once more.
"I hate dances." She said dully, staring straight at Amu and Tadase. "I only went for Amu."
"Is every single thing about Amu with you?" Nagihiko asked, but Rima just shrugged. Nagihiko wondered as he stared at her if maybe her feelings were more than friendship. Maybe the reason she didn't want to be with him was because she actually loved, in the special way, Amu. But no, Nagihiko knew this wasn't true; he was just looking for excuses for why she didn't like him. Rima was straight, or why else would she enter this kind of a relationship with a guy?
No, Rima just didn't love him.
It was silent for a long moment, and Nagihiko was suddenly consumed with a now-or-never sort of feeling. He had to ask Rima to dance, because he had to know if he meant anything at all to her. If she liked him, even just a little bit, she would say yes, right? No matter how grudgingly she did it, it would mean that she liked him to some extent.
It was just five little words; he could do this.
"Would you like to dance?"
Rima turned and stared straight at him, and for a moment Nagihiko felt as though she were sizing him up. She opened her mouth before closing it once more. She probably remained silent for five seconds at most, but to Nagihiko it felt like minutes, maybe even hours.
"I'm sorry, but I don't dance. Not with you, or anyone else. I'm not interested." There seemed to be a very prominent double meaning behind Rima's words, but maybe Nagihiko was the only one who caught it.
"It's fine..." Nagihiko smiled at her, but that was definitely not in any way what he was feeling. And for once, Rima could tell exactly what he was feeling, every last one of his emotions.
She could tell so very easily, because his eyes said it all. And maybe he was trying to hide it and his acting skills had worn off over the years, but Rima thought that this wasn't the case. She was pretty sure that he had just given up trying to hide the pain.
And she felt like shit for it, but what was she supposed to do?
Nagihiko walked off without another word, and Rima was once again filled with the feeling of guilt.
She wondered briefly what she was doing
Tadase had no idea what he could possibly say to Nagihiko that would make him feel any better. Rima had just turned him down once again; it honestly seemed as though the only time she wanted anything to do with him at all was when she wanted sex. Pointing this out would only make Nagihiko feel worse, though, so he definitely wouldn't mention it.
Where was Kukai when he needed him? Tadase was sure that talking to the carefree boy about sports or something would cheer Nagihiko up. What he needed right now was just to forget, but for some reason Tadase couldn't help him with this. Too bad Amu was busy dancing with Seiichiro, who looked as though he might either pass out or cry due to his excitement, because she was good at cheering Nagihiko up as well.
Tadase was about to point out Amu's really distressed expression at her current position to Nagihiko, but something made him stop as his mouth began to form words. His mouth fell open as a small sound left his lips.
Rima, who apparently didn't dance with anyone at all, was dancing with Fuyuki.
She hated Nagihiko, didn't she?
Rima was not lying when she told Nagihiko she didn't dance; she really hated dancing, especially in pairs. There was nobody that Rima knew that she dance with, even Amu. She hated it so much and she knew that she had hurt Nagihiko, but she was not going to dance.
Or so she thought.
But then Fuyuki had come over and when she turned him down as well he seemed to take it worse than Nagihiko did. He started whining and begging and it was all rather pathetic in Rima's opinion. She was going to tell him how stupid he was acting and then he started talking about how she was rejecting him after what they did and she had to shut him up or else other people would find out.
So she told him that she would dance with him.
Rima did not enjoy slow dancing with him one bit. Even though they had had sex together and in comparison this was nothing, she did not like that her body was pressed up so close against his. It made her feel sick to her stomach. She did not want to be dancing with Fuyuki, she would much rather be dancing with Nagihiko.
Wait, what? Did she really just think that? She frowned, furrowing her eyebrows as she tried to comprehend why in the world she would think something like that. She would rather dance with the stupid cross-dresser? Why did that thought cross her mind? It was because he wouldn't hold her so close, right? It was because he was more respectful than Fuyuki.
But somehow, Rima knew this wasn't right. She knew it wasn't right because there was a pounding in her chest, a pounding that couldn't be caused by something so trivial.
It couldn't be... could it?
When Tadase had seen Rima and Fuyuki dancing together he immediately knew he could not let Nagihiko see what was going on, but when he gasped Nagihiko's head began to turn, curious as to what Tadase had seen.
So Tadase had acted quickly, without thinking, grabbing Nagihiko's head firmly in his hands and pulling it towards his so there was no possible way that he could see Rima and Fuyuki.
"What are you doing?!" Nagihiko exclaimed, obviously incredibly surprised. For a second he had thought Tadase was going to kiss him, but there was still a few inches of space in between the two's faces.
Tadase, in a panic, said the first thing that popped into his mind. "Is there something in my teeth?"
Nagihiko blinked, his mouth dropping open in surprise. "No, I don't see anything."
Nagihiko tried to pull his head away, but found Tadase's grip tightening on his hair. His head was pulled even closer and Nagihiko was now slightly scared about Tadase's motives. "Hotori-kun, there's nothing in your teeth."
"Are you positive? One hundred percent positive?"
"Seriously, there is nothing-"
"Whoa! Dude, I knew you two were gay for each other!"
Tadase let go of Nagihiko's head as his cheeks turned red, obviously not earlier aware of the compromising position he had caused. Nagihiko gratefully leaned away, rubbing the sides of his head as he looked up to see Kukai standing there next to them, obviously trying hard not to burst into laughter.
"And nobody believed me earlier when I brought it up!"
"We're not gay for each- wait, when did you bring this up earlier?"
Kukai laughed and rubbed Nagihiko's head, not bothering to answer his question. "Dude, I would have bet a thousand bucks that you two were making out just now! You're faces were so close together!"
"Well, yeah, I'm not sure what just happened. Hotori-kun said there was something in his teeth and went crazy." Kukai gave Tadase a confused look, but the blonde just shook his head. Well, as least he had got what he wanted. Nagihiko was now distracted, and the song was almost over so he wouldn't have to worry about him seeing Rima.
Suddenly, Kukai's eyebrows furrowed as he looked out at the dance floor. As he opened his mouth Tadase followed where his eyes were looking and his heart stopped.
"Hey, that's weird-"
"Who would've thought that Rima-"
"Would dance together? Huh, now that's unexpected."
Tadase did not need to look at Nagihiko to see the expression on his face, but for some reason he looked at him anyway.
Tadase wished he hadn't.
He had never seen Nagihiko look so upset. His mouth was slightly open and his eyes were wide. He quickly stood up, spinning around to see what he was praying wasn't true. Tadase stood up slowly, opening his mouth but knowing nothing he could say would help anything.
Nagihiko just stared at Rima pressed up against Fuyuki and swaying back in forth to a song Nagihiko could no longer hear. For a second he thought he was going to pass out, as his vision was so blurred he couldn't see, but then he realized that it wasn't his eyes that were causing this, it was the tears filling them.
A dance maybe shouldn't have caused this kind of a reaction, especially when Nagihiko did not know what the reasoning for them dancing was, but yet Nagihiko felt as though this were it. He knew that Rima did not love him, he had known this for she had told him that it was true, but he hadn't thought that she had feelings for someone else.
He had never thought she would pick Fuyuki of all people over him.
How had he not been good enough for her? He had done everything she wanted, even when it hurt him. He had followed every single one of her wishes, he had put himself through so much pain for her sake. He hadn't been rude to her, he had dropped everything whenever she wanted him to come. He had put himself through hell.
But yet it wasn't good enough.
The two weren't together yet, Nagihiko knew because he hadn't seen her speak to him, much less look at him, for a few years, but it was only a matter of time, right? If Rima would dance with him, she would probably get together with him soon enough.
Oh, was Kukai talking to him? Nagihiko hadn't noticed. He turned around, opening his mouth as he tried desperately to make up some ambiguous answer that would make it seem as though he was still okay, but words couldn't form. Kukai's face was blurry, and so was Tadase's. He blinked a few times as Kukai said something else, something Nagihiko couldn't bring himself to hear. He was done.
Nagihiko turned and walked out of the room. He pushed open the large gymnasium doors, walking down the hall quickly. He passed the couples making out far from their teacher's eyes and a painful feeling rose in his stomach. Rima would never do this with him. In a few days, Rima would probably be doing this with Fuyuki.
Nagihiko turned around slowly as he heard his name being called. He watched as Tadase ran up to him, a pained expression on the blond's face. He stopped a foot or so away from him.
"You didn't want me to see that, right?"
Tadase froze for a second, before nodding his head. Nagihiko let out a small sigh before he spoke again. "Why him?"
"I don't know. He might have been really persistent or something. You know Mashiro-san doesn't like dealing with people; it probably didn't mean anything."
"She said she doesn't dance with anyone. She wouldn't dance with him if it meant nothing."
Tadase couldn't think of anything that would ease Nagihiko thoughts. There was nothing anyone could say to him that would make him feel better about any of this.
"I think I'm done."
"Done with what?" Tadase asked, confused by Nagihiko's sudden declaration.
''I'm done with Rima."
And even though Nagihiko said this, Tadase knew it wasn't true. He knew that Nagihiko would probably never be done with Rima. As he had said many times before now, Nagihiko was serious about love, and if he said he was in love then he was in love.
And as the tears fell from Nagihiko's eyes, Tadase definitely knew that it wasn't true.
He was useless though, so he simply wrapped his arms around his best friend and let him cry on his shoulder. What else could he do?
Only Rima could fix this now
Rima did not know why she was so annoyed. Was it Fuyuki's persistence to dance? Or was it because she had turned Nagihiko down?
…. Of course it was the first one! Why in the world would the second bother her at all?
"You're in love."
Rima froze for a second, worried that she was hearing voices, before she noticed that Utau was now sitting next to her.
"Of course I'm not in love!"
Utau laughed and shook her head. "I've been sitting here for like five minutes, and you didn't even notice until I said something. That kind of distraction only occurs when someone has boy problems."
"I was just thinking about-"
Rima froze, her mouth agape, wondering how in the world Utau would know something like that. But what, was she implying that she was in love with Nagihiko? "Why do you-"
"I heard from Kukai that Nagi was rejected by someone, and then I noticed that you didn't care about Amu sticking onto me earlier which means that you were obviously having boy problems of some sort, and then I took into account all of the sexual tension between the two of you so it was actually pretty easy."
"I... I may have been thinking about him," Rima muttered, her cheeks reddening slightly at being found out. Utau smirked.
"So, do you want to talk to me about it or do you want to be lost and confused for the unforeseeable future?"
Rima didn't know why, but she ended up telling Utau everything (after a little persuasion, of course). Maybe it was because she wanted to let it out, or maybe it was because she trusted Utau to give her good advice. She didn't know why, but she told her everything. And, when she was done retelling everything, Utau said something Rima didn't want to hear.
"You are definitely in love with Nagihiko."
And Rima's heart pounded at this, like it definitely shouldn't have
Nagihiko did not leave his house all weekend. Instead, he invested all of his time into his dancing. His mother was very confused by this, but she just respected his wishes and helped him as he worked many more hours than usual.
Nagihiko made sure he was always working on something during this weekend, because he did not want to have idle time in which thoughts of what had happened could form. He would force himself to forget Rima and everything that had happened between them.
And then he noticed something was wrong. He noticed he was having pain, and then he noticed something even worse.
His mom took him to the doctor and with this all of Nagihiko's sadness turned to anger. He was no longer upset that Rima didn't love him, he was mad that Rima used him. He was mad that she had lead him on. He was mad that she had had sex with someone else.
The cause of this anger?
A/N: Tsk Tsk, someone should have used protection. Let this be a lesson to you all~
I would have had this up two weeks ago, but missing school for a week right before finals really makes it so you have a lot of work to make up! T^T I'm now free from school as I just completed finals though, so I'll actually have time to write.
Thanks so much for reading, and everyone who reviewed last chapter I didn't get a chance to PM you but thank you ElricKeyblade, BuBuBoom, and Anon. :) So if you have a moment please review, and I'll just say that I do get more motivation to write quickly the more reviews I get, hint hint. XD