Smiling is One’s Greatest Weapon
Yuji has always been there for Hana. Hana felt as tough every time she wanted to leave he gave her another reason to stay. She was so grateful for every thing he had done for her. Even if she told him how she felt she had a feeling he wouldn’t understand how much she loved him. There was one problem, Hana herself wasn’t sure if she liked him as a brother or a lover or maybe even just a friend; however something inside Hana made her stay beside Yuji. “ Yuji, you don’t know how I feel about you but I’m hoping you’ll return my feelings,” Hana whispered covering her face with a pillow feeling embarrassed. It was after classes that she had decided to tell Yuji that he was special to her. “ Maybe I should have figured out my feelings before,” she thought to herself. Hana was taken out of her thoughts as she saw Yuji leave his last period on his way to volleyball practice. Hana knew that if she didn’t catch him she wouldn’t tell him how she felt until after the weekend. “Yuji,” Hana yelled in the hallway, people passing by looked at her and made a path to him. “Yuji!” She yelled again as he couldn’t hear because of his earphones. Maybe that was the foreshadowing of the outcome but Hana didn’t know it at the time. “Yuji!” Hana yelled so loud that Yuji turned around and saw her out of breath. He rushed towards you with both, concern and kindness in his eyes.
“Hana, are you okay?” Yuji asked offering his arm to Hana. She grabbed onto it feeling all the blood rush to her face. Hana was stunned because surely that was no feeling someone should feel about a friend.
“Actually Yuji, I was wonder if I could talk to you,” she paused and looked into his eyes, “before you're practice. Somewhere in private?”
Yuji nodded, “Lets go by the lunch tables.” Hana was still holding his arm making sure they didn’t get lost in the crowd. Her heart was beating so fast she thought for sure Yuji heard it, even over the sound of all the college students talking about the exciting weekend to come. When they arrived by the lunch tables they sat across each other.
“So, what do you want to talk about?” Yuji asked, once again with kindness in his eyes.
“I just wanted to let you know that you're special to me.” His eyed widened, it looked as if though he was going to speak but Hana cut him off. “Please let me finish before you say anything,” Yuji nodded and she continued, “Yuji you’ve been with me since elementary school, you’ve taught me so many things. You taught me be brave, how to talk in front people. How to say no. How to ask for what I want, but most of all you taught me how to be kind even through all of that. You taught me what it means to truly be a good friend, although I’m still working on it. If you asked first year me if I could present in front of the whole class I would probably would have passed out,” Hana paused wiping a tear form her eye. She wasn’t sure why she was crying, but probably it was because of all those feelings coming out all at once. “ I-I love you!” Hana looked down avoiding Yuji’s gaze, she didn’t want to look into his eyes, because she knew if she did, she would not like the result.
As Yuji heard what she had said he put his hands on Hana’s shoulder and she lifted her chin, “Hana there is a lot of meaning behind those words, and don’t get me wrong I love you too, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to return my feelings back to you.” Hana felt as though a knife had gone through her chest and directly intro her heart.
Surprisingly Hana didn’t cry, instead she smiled, “ Thank you for being there for me Yuji.”
Yuji smiled back, “Of course, I will always be there for you Hana.” After that day passed Hana made sure to smile even though she was dying inside. She had to continue smiling, that was the only way to trick people into believing she was okay. It was all because of what Yuji had taught her ‘Smiling is one of the greatest weapons’ and she was going to use it. A week had passed after Hana had told her feelings to Yuji, they didn’t talk to each other how they used to. Something inside Hana was holding her back, making her think that the more she talked to Yuji, the more he would hate her. “Did you sign up for art club again? I heard that it is starting next week.” Yuji asked, as they walked together from second to third period because they were in the same class.
Hana nodded her head, “Yeah, did you?”
Yuji sighed, “No, volleyball is extra busy this year, so I don’t think I can.” If Yuji had told Hana this last year she would have felt so devastated but at the moment she felt relieved. Hana believed that she needed to be away from Yuji but her heart was telling her to be as close to him as possible.
“That’s okay, I’m sure you can stop by.” Hana replied. There was hesitation in their words, like they wanted to say something but they were to scared to. They entered their third period classroom and that was all they said. As time went by even more days like that passed for both Hana and Yuji. It had begun to hurt so much for Hana that she thought that she hurt him too.
“What have I done? I ruined our friendship, what we had used to be good! Why was I so selfish! If I hadn’t said anything about my feelings we would still be talking, we would still be hanging out. I-I ruined it.” These feelings and thoughts would not leave Hana alone, she wasn’t okay at all. She was walking home from school one day when she saw Akira, the boys volleyball captain, and Yuji walk into a coffee shop. Hana wanted to join them as old times, but she knew it wasn’t her place therefore, she stood in the middle of the sidewalk looking towards the coffee shop as her heart sunk more.
“Hey! Hey! Is that Hana!” She heard a cheerful voice yell.
It was followed by a grunt, “Eiji dumb-ass, keep your voice down.”
Hana saw the blond, energetic underclassman run up to her, “I was right Will! It is Hana!” It had been a while since Hana had since that pair, she always saw them while she hung around Yuji but now that she had stopped, Hanna didn’t feel like she had the right to see them anymore.
“Hey Eiji, Will, it’s been a while hasn’t it?” said Hana with a fake smile plastered on her face as they both nodded.
“How have you been?” Will asked Hana, as he had a light blush on his face.
Hana keeping the same smile as before replied, “I’m good. Uh what about you guys?”
Eiji answered first “Busy! Busy! Busy! Coach gave us the day off today because we practiced so late yesterday.”
Will nodded, “I think the security guards who patrolled thought the gym was being robbed.” They all laughed. Hana missed that feeling, but when she was friends with Yuji it was different.
“Do you want to come and get some pastries with us? We are supposed to met the rest of the volleyball team there.” Eiji smiled as he pointed the coffee shop Hana had been staring at a moment ago. Eiji then grabbed on to Hana’s arm and dragged her there, as they got closer to the coffee shop Hana felt her chest tighten. Eiji still held her by the her arm and as they entered the energetic teen shouted, “Akira! Yuji! Glenn! Noya! Look who we found!” Hana along with Will and Eiji walked towards their table and the rest of the boys smiled and waved. They sat down near them and when they did they head heard a chorus of hellos.
Hana nodded back, “Hey guys.” Her heart was still beating so hard, as she kept looking at Yuji but he didn’t look back.
“Where is everyone else?” Akira asked looking at his cell phone. “It is already 3PM.”
Yuji was the only one to answer, “Maybe they got stuck cleaning up after school, or they had to go home.” He shrugged and continued to stir his tea.
“So Hana! How’s art club?” Akira asked as he smiled kindly at her.
“It’s starting up again soon so I’m quite excited. I heard from Eiji and Will the team has been staying late.” Hana answered returning his smile.
All Akira could do was nod, “Of course! If we want to do good in our upcoming tournament we have to practice really hard.”
Yuji sighed, “I always remind them not to push themselves, but I guess it can’t be helped with these crazy first years.” He gestured for the pair of first years with them.
Will barely looked up and Eiji jumped from his seat. “Volleyball is just bwaaahhh Yuji-San! I need to play it!” They all laughed at Eiji’s description of volleyball and his feelings. Time continued to pass by, Hana and Yuji still barely said very few words to each other. It seemed that everyone began to notice how unclose Hana and Yuji were and they started to pack up and leave saying that they had studying to do.
“I’ll walk home with you Akira.” Yuji said gathering his stuff.
“No, I am uh stopping at the grocery store so I’ll be there for a while,” said Akira. Then everyone followed and left Hana and Yuji alone. As awkward as Hana felt she continued to smile in front of Yuji.
“Well, I guess we should get going too, right?” Hana asked as he finished the last bit of her drink before getting up.
“Hana wait just a moment. Please.” Yuji said. Hana’s heart was already broken so she wondered what more Yuji wanted. However, she still had hope, hope in what she couldn’t express but he was so kind so Hana couldn’t leave without hearing him out first.
“What’s up Yuji?” She asked sitting back down.
“Us- ,” Yuji barely managed to say.
Hana stopped him before he could say anything else, at first she thought she could listen to him but not without apologizing first. “ Im sorry… for everything. I just couldn’t stand keeping everything to my self anymore. I needed to tell you how I felt … I couldn’t keep being just your friend.”
Yuji’s eyes softened, “I understand now … at first I didn’t know how much I needed you in my life. I always thought I’d be fine if a friend went away or left me… but when you told me you liked me I didn’t know how to react, I didn’t want things to change and I didn’t take into consideration your feelings and how hard it must have been to tell me. Hana, you deserve so much more than me. Im sorry I couldn’t accept your feelings at first but after realizing how much I care about you, I think I can try to love you the way you love me…because I’m not sure what these feeling are. I’ve never felt anything like it before, but I think its love.” Yuji sincerely laughed, “I never thought I would say that.”
Hana was speechless, “Yuji..”
“Can we please forget what happened these pas due days and start dating now?” Yuji asked as the smile that Hana almost forgot appeared on his face, for Hana it was the most beautiful smile that she has ever seen. Hana was so overjoyed to have Yuji back in her life.
Their lives continued like nothing happened but they both knew that it would take time to get back to where they were before. That it would take trust and time, both of which they had plenty of. Two months had passed after their mutual confession when they told their friends about their new relationship and they took it well, not that they were expecting anything different. “Wait! So you are telling me, I was the reason you two got together?” Eiji said after being told about the wonderful news.
Both Yuji and Hana looked at each other and laughed, “ In a way yes, if you hadn’t dragged me to the cafe none of that would have ever happened.”
Cheerful Eiji just jumped around and laughed, “Isn’t that great Will?”
Will just blushed and smiled a little bit, “Yeah it’s great, you did something good for once.” Will knew once he said that Eiji would just focus on his rudeness which would allow the couple to talk with each other.
“Mean will! Mean!” exclaimed Eiji, which Will found annoying, as they walked out of the gym towards their bikes after saying a quick goodbye to the others.
Akira walked up to Hana and Yuji, “Huh I knew something was happening between you two.” He smiled and put his hand on Yuji’s shoulder before going to talk with the couch.
The teams Ace, Jasper smiled as well, “ I’m glad everything worked out, it felt weird not having you around as often, Hana.”
“Well, we should get goin, right Hana?” Thy nodded and waved goodbye to the rest of the team. They were walking hime that day which was nice because that meant they could talk and hold hands the entire time.
“You know Hana,” Yuji smiled as he squeezed Hana’s hand tighter, “I am glad everything worked out between us, my life was missing something when we didn’t talk and lost connection. It was really sad, and that’s when I realized my feelings for you were greater than friendship. I thought I was to late to apologize so I kind of just smiled even though I was so sad. I was also mad at myself but that’s another story.”
Hana squeezed back, “That’s okay Yuji, everything is okay now, and if we are being honest I wasn’t hundred percent sure of my own feelings either when I first confessed to you. It was until when you were gone that it hit, but why would you be mad at yourself? How could you know you had feelings for me when you didn’t know they even existed.”
Yuji looked down as they were walking, “I was mad because I let you leave me and I couldn’t do anything to stop you. I was scared I would loose you more if I tried anything, but even then I was unsure about my feelings so I just felt really conflicted. I felt really dumb since I didn’t know what to do.”
Hana just smiled, “I love you Yuji.”
Yuji looked stunned, his eyes widened and his face flushed with pinkness, “I-I love you too, I love you so much!” He stoped in his tracks, let go of Hana’s hand and grabbed her waist. Then Yuji pulled Hana into a kiss. It was quick at first but after the first breath it became deep and passionate. Hana could feel a smile creep onto Yuji’s face when they were kissing. As Yuji and Hana continued the kiss, they felt the butterflies in their stomach exploded and together they felt ten times lighter. They felt it so amazing and wonderful, and when they finally pulled apart they both smiled. That’s when they knew that everything between them would be okay.
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