Chapter 11-

My classes were boring and lonely without Amiboshi. I’d look over at the chair next to me, and it’d be somebody else, not him. I hardly paid any attention and felt like crying the entire period.
I was in Orchestra and the teacher was working with the first violins, the girl who sits next to me, Haruto, turned to me and asked, “Hey, Nishiko, did you and Amiboshi break up?”
I looked at her, startled, “What? Oh,” I looked down sadly, “well, yeah, I guess so.”
The whole concept of ‘breaking up’ had hit me, and I now felt increasingly depressed.
“Drag,” she said, “yeah, ‘cause in first period, he and Akai were--”
“Second violins! Focus here! You’re wasting our time!” Mr. Genkun snapped, looking particularly at Haruto and me.
As we played, I realized Akai had been comforting Amiboshi a lot. About me. I’d have to thank her later, and talk to her about it. The poor girl. Now she had two guys on her hands.
The period ended and I headed off to the lunchroom. It would be so awkward with me and Amiboshi not together. I sighed, sitting down at the table with my lunch.
“Jeez, Nishiko,” Amui, a friend, said, who I’d barely noticed was sitting across from me, “ya look like you just watched your puppy get ran over. What’s wrong.”
I buried my head in my arms on the table, “Ugggghhh. This has to be the crappiest day of my life,” I muttered.
I jerked my head up at Tasuki’s alarmed voice to see him, not looking very happy.
He grabbed my wrist, pulling me to my feet, “Nishiko, I need to talk to you.”
“Tasuki-kun,” we both turned to see Akai and Amiboshi in front of us, “what’s wrong?”
Tasuki narrowed his eyes. He turned away from her, sitting down and pulling me down with him, “Nothin.’”
I looked back at Akai, who looked incredibly hurt. She seemed to control it and sat down, holding out his backpack, “Here, you forgot your--”
He grabbed it from her without a word, cutting her off.
“--bag...” she finished quietly, pulling out her lunch. She more confused than the rest of us. I’d have to talk to Tasuki, I thought, to see what was going on.
Akai turned to me, “How are you?”
Amiboshi sat down next to her, and I felt the pain...again. I sighed without thinking, then straightened up, “Uh, I just don’t feel good. Ya know, headache, sore throat...”
“Hopefully you get better by tonight,” Amui said, “’cause you two,” she pointed at Amiboshi and me, “are performing. Hope you haven’t forgot it’s opening night for Romeo and Juliet.”
I stared at her, my eyes huge. The play. I had absolutely forgotten about the play. After weeks of rehearsal, it was finally opening night, and the two lead roles were broken up and not speaking to each other! could I ever act out Romeo and Juliet with him now? And why now, when we were one day from sending them back. That had skipped my mind: Romeo would be gone after the first night. I don’t think I could go on playing Juliet after this. Good thing we had understudies.
“The play...” I choked out, my voice weak, “I...forgot. Well...” I turned and glanced at Amiboshi, avoiding his eyes, “you still up to it?”
I saw him shrug a little, but nod, “Yeah...”
Tasuki touched my arm lightly, “Nishiko, I really need to talk to you.”
“Uh, okay...” we both got up and Tasuki led me off by the wrist again. We went out of the cafeteria and to an almost empty hallway.
There, he turned to me, taking a hold of my arms and looking straight into my eyes, his voice serious, “Now, you and Amiboshi really did break up, right?”
I felt the urge to smack him for bringing it up, but sighed and replied quietly, “Yeah, it would see that way.”
“Yer sure?”
“!” I cried exasperatedly, “I don’t know! I’m pretty sure, but not sure, and then I’m sad and I just want everything to be solved,” I flopped down onto the ground, leaning against the wall, then looking up at him, “why?”
He was off in thought, but plopped down next to me, “Uh, I dunno. I think he’s goin’ out with Akai now.”
My jaw fell open, and I turned to him, my eyes huge, “Going out with Akai?!” I thought about this and laughed nervously, “that’s ridiculous, Tasuki! Akai’s going out with you, and they’re just friends, and Akai would never do that to me--”
“Nishiko, he kissed ‘er.”
I felt like I’d been punched. Kissed?! He kissed Akai ?! No, that couldn’t be it. They only liked each other as friends, and maybe he was wrong.
“Yeah right, Tasuki,” I went on, giving him a skeptical gaze, “he didn’t kiss her. You know how gossip gets started....”
“I saw it.”
My voice shook, “...maybe you saw wrong...”
“Nishiko...” he leaned his head against the wall next to me, silent for a moment, then got up and paced quietly for a moment, probably reviewing his thoughts. Suddenly, without warning, he delivered a lightening punch to the brick wall with his bare fist, shouting angrily, “I saw what I saw, Nishiko! I didn’t see wrong, and I have no reason to lie to you!!”
“Tasuki, you hand!” I exclaimed, scrambling to my knees and pulling him down next to me. I ignored his words. I examined his hand silently. It was bright red and blood now streamed over his knuckles down to his long fingers, “aw, Tasuki! You’re bleeding! And this is going to bruise really bad!”
He jerked his hand away, holding it and glaring at me, “Quit it, Nishiko. I know ya heard me. I’m sorry ta be the one ta tell ya,” he looked away, narrowing his eyes further, “the bastard took ‘er from me.”
It was beginning to sink in, and I felt like I was going to cry again. Amiboshi kissed Akai? Why? How? Just because I turned him down on a proposal...okay, that is bad. Maybe he doesn’t love me as much as I thought...the pain struck. I’m paying now for my cruelty.
I turned to Tasuki, feeling hot tears roll down my cheeks, “He...he didn’t really, did he?” I now felt desperate and grabbed his arm, shaking him, “he could have, could he? He...” taking in a loud sob, I closed my eyes and shouted painfully, “it’s a lie!!”
Breaking down into louder sobs, I wept bitterly, burying my face in my hands. was all too cruel...
I gasped a little as I felt Tasuki’s arms come around me, pulling me to him and holding me tightly against his chest. I blinked a moment, sniffing a little, then burst into tears once more, crying hard against his chest, clutching his shirt tightly. He gently ran a hand over my back, saying in a very soft voice, “It’s okay, Nishiko, I know how ya feel. We both don’t deserve this. We...we deserve...” he stopped, and I pulled away to look up at him. He stared down at me, his amber eyes sad. We stared at each other, a deep silence filling the hall1 . But he suddenly chuckled, a soft crooked grin on his face, “I’m sorry. I got blood on yer shirt.”
I laughed slightly though my tears, pulling around the back of my shirt to be a large, dark red stain on the back. I shook my head, not really caring, but suddenly took his injured hand up, “It hurts, doesn’t it?”
“What, that Akai and Amiboshi are goin’ out, or my hand?”
I smiled weakly, “Your hand.”
“Yeah, it does.”
I raised it slowly to my lips and kissed it softly, not bothering about the blood that I tasted through it. He stared at me strangely, his eyes a little larger and asked quietly, “What was that for?”
I smiled, “A kiss makes everything better. My mom told me that when I was little.”
“Oh,” he sighed, “I wish it was true.”
I watched him and realized how painful it must be for him too. He and Akai had just gotten together and were fine, and then this. It must be so sudden for the poor guy. I now wondered how Akai could be so cruel to do this to both of us. I didn’t like to assume bad things about people, but I usually do, and this was uncalled for. It made me mad that she could do this to us, especially Tasuki, and be okay with it.
Without a word, I leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek lightly, then leaned back and laughed at his confused expression.
“Nishiko...just ‘cause they’re together doesn’t mean we--” he started.
“Moron,” I hit him playfully, “it was to make you feel better. A friendly gesture.
He blushed a little, looking down, “Oh. Sorry.”
I chuckled, “You’re cute, Tasuki-kun. But...we’d better go back,” I got up, as did he. Feeling a sudden pang of affection2 for the chauvinist jerk in front of me, and I threw my arms around his neck in a tight hug, on my very tiptoes to reach the tall guy. I smiled weakly into the soft, flame-colored hair, “Thanks a lot, Tasuki. You

really cheered me up.”
“I made ya cry by tellin’ ya,” he pointed out, hugging me back hesitantly.
“I know, but you made me laugh,” I paused, grinning slightly, “by punching the wall.”
“Oh, thanks!” he cried, letting go of me.
“Speaking of which, we need to stop the bleeding. My shirt’s gonna be crimson by the time I go home,” I noted, pulling my shirt around to see another red stain, “damnit, Tasuki! There’s more blood.”
He looked ashamed and rather scared, a light blush in his cheeks, but I assured him I was joking and it was okay. We went to the sink and I pulled out some paper towel, wetting it down before very gently wiping it over his injured hand, “My, my, quite a shiner on your hand, boy.”
“Ow! Fuck! That hurts!” he cried, wincing in pain till I could see his sharp fangs.
I let up on the pressure, “Sorry! I’m just trying to stop the bleeding.”
I even gentler put it back on the many cuts and held it there, focusing on it. I glanced up, surprised to see him watching me closely. He smiled, and I could swear his cheeks were a little pink, “T-thanks fer doin’ this, Nishiko.”
I watched him, “Of course,” and then turned my gaze back to his hand, applying a little more pressure. I was silent, and then smiled softly, “I guess you think I’m gonna lecture you about thinking before using muscles, eh?”
He seemed startled, “No, I--”
I chuckled, “It’s okay. I wasn’t gonna say anything. I don’t blame you, actually. If I wouldn’t totally break my hand doing that, I’d probably do it too. You, you’re just strong. Musclely man,” I nodded inspirationally, and he rolled his eyes, “man, though, you probably put a dent in that brick wall!”
“Aw, shut up...”
“Oh ho! So he’d being modest for once!” I grinned at him. He rolled his eyes once more and then totally shocked the hell out of me by grinning crookedly and leaning over to give me a soft kiss on the cheek. He pulled back, and I stared at him silently, touching my cheek gently. He grinned at me, cocking and eyebrow, “Friendly gesture. As a thanks to you.”
I still stared at him, cracking a smile, then it was my turn to roll my eyes, and I went back to nursing his hand. I had nothing to bandage it in, so we headed back like it was.
We got back to the cafeteria to see Akai and Amiboshi with their arms around each other. I felt my heart absolutely sink, my heart breaking. Tasuki, on the other hand, looked as pissed as ever.
He stormed towards the table, me behind him and up to Amiboshi. With sharp speed and much vehemence, he yanked the younger boy from Akai and to his feet, practically holding him in the air by his collar.
“Tasuki!” I cried urgently, catching a glimpse of Amiboshi’s startled, alarmed face.
“You bastard!” Tasuki shouted, belting Amiboshi in the stomach and dropping him. Amiboshi fell hard to his knees, clutching his stomach, the wind knocked completely out of him. I cried out in alarm, my heart rate speeding up in fear for my poor Amiboshi, but Tasuki went on.
“Just because you and yer girlfriend broke up doesn’t mean ya can be all over mine!” he snapped through gritted teeth, his fangs shining brightly, “I’m sick of seein’ ya paw Akai all day right in front of my fuckin’ eyes!!”
Amiboshi looked up at the bandit with disbelieving eyes, and choked out, barely able to talk, “Tasuki....wha....”
“Tasuki, what the hell are you doing?!” Akai cried, running to him.
He looked at her with seething eyes, “And again, ya defend this asshole! If ya wanted to go out with ‘im, just fuckin’ break up with me first, Akai!!”
Akai stared at him for a moment, then narrowed her eyes and shouted, “You’re actually accusing me of cheating on you?! You actually think I would do that?! Do you have so little goddamn faith in me?! Holy shit, Tasuki! If you were so worried, why didn’t you ask me about it, instead of beating the shit out of Amiboshi?!”
Tasuki, instead of relenting to her shouting, said in a cool, pissed voice, “He fuckin’ kissed you.”
I tried to get through to Amiboshi to see if he was okay, but by now, quite a crowd had developed around the three, and all I could see was Tasuki and Akai.
“On the fuckin’ cheek! He’s my friend! I can’t believe you would think I would cheat on you! He was thanking me for helping him, you damned idiot!”
“Oh, sure, Akai! Why don’tcha just tell the goddamn fuckin’ truth?!”
“Fine, you wanna know the truth? The truth is if you don’t know the goddamn way I feel about you, then you probably never will! I would never cheat on you. Never. And if you don’t know that...then there isn’t any point to any of this.”
My thoughts raced back to the earlier statement. It was on the cheek? As a thank you? Like me and Tasuki? So...they weren’t going out?? I immediately felt relief flood through my body.
The next thing I heard was Tasuki saying coolly, “Maybe yer right. Because I don’t believe you.”
“Fine. Goodbye, Tasuki.”
Akai stalked out of the crowd, and I now desperately pushed my way through, making it to Tasuki.
“Tasuki!” I exclaimed, and he turned to me, “what the hell is going on?! You didn’t have to punch him!”
He rolled his eyes and looked seriously at me, “Nishiko, what do you care? He deserved it. He dumped ya fer yer best friend. He made you cry!!”
“That doesn’t give you any right to hurt him!” I cried, then shook my head before smacking him, “you damned idiot! He and Akai aren’t going out! We’re upset over nothing !!”
“Ya actually believe that two-timer?!” he exclaimed, outraged, “fine. Ask the jerk yerself.”
He gestured to Amiboshi,who was still on his knees, choking a little. He met my eyes, and they were large and full of confusion and hurt, and he stammered, “I...I’m sorry, Nishiko. For making you cry...”
I wanted to cry right there, my heart shattering. The pain was so great. Oh, only one kiss, one hug...I just wanted to be near him. A tear rolled down my cheek. I loved him so much. He stared at me, and I couldn’t do or say anything.
But, the bell rang, and Tasuki grabbed my hand, “C’mon, Nishiko, let’s go.”
I stared after them as the other kids helped Amiboshi to his feet and such. I wanted to be the one to fawn over him and be all worried. But, instead, I was being dragged to my algebra class by a tall, flame-haired moron.


Math class was, to say the least, uncomfortable. Akai and Amiboshi both sat alone, and Tasuki and I sat in the back together. Without saying so, he was hanging out with me to make up for Akai’s absence, probably. I never actually permitted him dragging me around, but I understood how he must feel (even if he was too thick skulled to realize the truth), and sympathized with him, so I basically let myself be the venting doll.
I noticed Amiboshi glancing over at us every now and then, and felt awful again. Not only had I broken his heart, I was hanging out with the guy that accused him of something completely askew and beat the crap out of him.
The bus ride home was just as awkward, especially since Tasuki hardly talked to me at all. I sat in the seat with him, after being pulled to sit next to him, just staring out the window and wishing he’d say something. And he finally did. Only, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear.
“You’re coming over to Akai’s, right?”
I looked at him and furrowed my brow, then leaned my forehead against the seat in front of me, “Ah, jeez. I don’t wanna be around...” I lowered my voice drastically, “...Amiboshi. It’d be too awkward.”
“Nishiko! You aren’t fuckin’ considerin’ leavin’ me alone with both of ‘em, are ya?!” he exclaimed, and I smacked him.
“Lower your voice, moron!” I snapped, and he glared at me, “Don’tcha even start hittin’ me, Nishiko! I had enough of it with Akai!”
“Oh, what?” I sighed moodily, frowing at him, “am I your new girlfriend or something?”
His eyes grew large and he blushed furiously, “Nishiko!”
I sighed softer, “Sorry, sorry,” I turned, shaking my head, “after today, I just wanna go home.”
“Then I’ll come to yer house.”
“Oh no!” I cried, “you’re not coming to my house! You’ll break something, or my dad’ll call home and hear a guy’s voice, plus you cussing and all in the background,” I shook my head definitely, “no way.”
He looked pissed about what I’d said, but seemed to let it pass and said, “Then come over to Akai’s.”
I sighed, “You like to make my life hell, don’t you?”
He blushed, shaking his head, “Er, I don’t like to...”
I got a glimpse of his face and gave in exasperatedly, “Oh, fine! I’ll come over. Just don’t ever say I never do anything nice for you.”
He nodded, smiling a bit, “Yeah, yeah, thanks, Nishi-chan.”
We got off the bus and walked to Akai’s house silently, Tasuki and I walking back behind everyone. We were pretty quiet, but Tasuki surprised me, asking softly, “What are you going to do about the play tonight?”
I looked up. I hadn’t thought he’d had much interest in Amiboshi and my affair, but looked down again, unsure myself, “I don’t really know. It’ll be...odd,” I chuckled coldly, “we won’t have our chemistry that Ms. Siton liked so much...”
“Why not? Ya both still love each other.”
I bit my lip, “It’s not the same. It’s not ‘love’ chemistry we have now. It’s ‘heart break’ chemistry.”
He sighed roughly, “I don’t get it. Why’d ya guys break up?”
“He...” I furrowed my brow. I’d refused Amiboshi’s marriage proposal, but Akai would be the only one to understand. She was the only one who knew about sending them back, “it’d hard to explain. Besides, I don’t really feel like talking about it...”
He sighed roughly again, bringing his hands up behind his head, “Fine. Whatever. He’s an asshole, so I dun blame ya.”
I jerked my head to him angrily, “He’s not an asshole! You don’ don’t know what happened!”
He looked at me startledly, “Jeez, sorry, Nishiko.”
I didn’t reply. We walked the rest of the way in silence, and reached Akai’s house. When we got to the house, after Tasuki and Amiboshi went in, Akai stopped me at the stairs. Tasuki looked back, wondering why I stopped, but when he saw Akai, his eyes narrowed and he kept walking.
Akai turned back to me, “Nishiko, I want you to know....I’m sorry about all of this. Nothing’s going on between Amiboshi and me,” she looked at the floor, “and tell Tasuki...tell him I’m sorry too...for yelling at him.”
I watched her, then smiled gently and put a comforting hand on her shoulder, “Don’t worry, I know. I believed you at lunch, unlike the brick over there,” I tossed my head in the room Tasuki’d gone, “but I’ll tell him. I tried to before, but...” I shrugged, “you know Tasuki. I doubt he listens to me anyway,” I hugged her lightly, “you’ll work things out. You always do.”
“Thank you, but...” she stepped away, “I don’t think so. I really screwed things up this time. Nishi-chan, I....” she trailed off and shook her head before walking off to her room. I watched her go sadly, wishing there was something I could do. Tasuki. I sighed, realizing I would have to talk to him about Akai. I wandered into the living room, where he was tossing a tennis ball in the air and catching it.
I walked over to him, and he turned his head to look at me, “Hi.”
I reached up and caught the ball in mid-air before he did and smiled, “Hi.”
He cocked an eyebrow at my taking his ball away from him and fell back on the couch, sighing loudly, “What’s up?”
I tossed the ball back to him and plopped down on the floor in front of him, “I dunno. The sky.”
He snorted, “Yer stupid.”
I laughed insultedly, “You’re mean! I never did anything to you!”
He shrugged, “Whatever.”
I suddenly felt like not even helping him. He made me mad and I didn’t see why Akai liked him at all. I got up, “Fine. I’ll just go home. I don’t see why I came over at all.”
I turned to leave, and he sat up on the couch, “Nishiko! Wait! Jeez, fine, I’ll be nice. I’m just not...feelin’ too hot.”
I came back and folded my arms over my chest, “Mentally or physically?”
He raised his chin in his hands, “Eh...mentally. Ya know.3
“Yeah, I know,” I said, sitting down next to him, nudging him, “so, go ahead, and tell your sissy, Nishiko what’s wrong.”
He raised an eyebrow, “Akai.”
I watched him silently, then asked quietly, “You don’t actually think Akai cheated on you, do you?”
He shot me a look, “You are so naive, Nishiko! You still believe what they--”
“This isn’t about me, Tasuki!” I cried, “this is about you! And Akai. Tasuki,” I sighed, “Akai’s not the type of person to do that. She doesn’t intentionally hurt people. She knows how much it hurts and would never do that to anyone.”
He stared at me, seemingly stuck. Finally, he said, “That doesn’t change the fact that he fuckin’ kissed ‘er!”
I smacked him, “It was on the cheek and a friendly gesture. They are friends. Hence the ‘friend’ in ‘friendly.’ Like me and you. We both kissed each other’s cheeks out in the hall, and it didn’t mean anything romantic!”
He shook his head, “Doesn’t matter now. We broke up.”
“Jeez, Tasuki, it’s not like it’s permanent! Go in there and kiss her. This is so easily repaired! Man, I wish Amiboshi and mine could be that easily repaired! She’s really sorry for yelling at you, and...” I shook my head, “Christ, Tasuki, she loves you! She wants you more than anything! Don’t let something like that go to waste. Treasure everyday...” I thought a moment, then finished quietly, “as if it were your last.”
He watched me, “That’s...true? She really does....she still...” he looked uncomfortable talking to me, “...loves me?”

“Gods, yes,” I sighed, “and what you need to do is tell her how you feel. ‘Carpe diem.’ Seize the day. Good saying,” I got up, “use it.” with that, I left.
I walked out into the family room, feeling satisfied that’d I’d done a pretty good job, but stopped short as I saw Amiboshi, sitting on the couch in front of me. I froze, struck with sudden pain.
He gazed up at me, “’re a good friend, Nishiko,” he looked away, blushing, “sorry, I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop.”
I didn’t answer, thinking of how sweet he was. I shook it off, “Uh, I’m going home. See you tonight,” I murmured, turning to go out the door. I stopped and called over my shoulder, “I’ll see you backstage.”
“Okay, he said softly, thoughtfully, “bye.”
But I’d already gone out the door, and held myself against it after it closed. After breathing heavy a moment, I turned and banged my head against the door hard.
“Stupid!” I hissed fiercely at myself. Why did I keep pushing him away? Why couldn’t I be with him the last day he was here?! It suddenly struck me. I would have to send him back tomorrow. I only had tonight and whatever much of tomorrow with him, and I was basically telling him I thought he was scum and I didn’t like him. And it couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I loved him more than anything or anyone. And I still had serious doubts that I’d be able to send him back.


Shortly after I got home, I had to leave again to go to the school. We all had to be there a couple hours before the performance, because we’d had so many rehearsals and dress rehearsals, it was like clockwork to us. I hurried into my dress, a beautiful blue Renaissance dress--a Juliet dress. I’d always wanted to wear something like this, but now, as I looked at myself in my mirror, all I could think about was how much it hurt to be hurting Amiboshi. What was I going to do? I was suppose to act out love scenes with him, and we were broken up! I bit my lip hastily, pulling lightly on my hair, up in a beautiful plait.
“Nishiko! Oh, you look so pretty!”
I turned to see Amenda walk in. She had been helping with set stuff and came in with a bunch of other cast members to the dressing room.
I looked at her, but didn’t answer, I only furrowed my brow further and glanced back at the mirror.
“Got stage fright, hon?” she smiled sweetly, “oh, don’t worry, you’ll be great,” she giggled delightedly, “Maruku and I are going to see it tonight.”
I nodded, forcing a smile. Taking in a deep breath, I left the dressing room to go on the stage.
I had become accustomed to being called that on stage and turned to Jino, who came up to me, “We’re gonna practice the balcony scene. That’s about all we need to go over, so,” he nudged me along, “head on up.”
With a heavy sigh, I headed to the balcony. The most famous scene in play history, and we needed to go over it. I hadn’t spotted Amiboshi anywhere yet, but I headed up the stairs carefully on my high heels, lifting my long skirt slightly. Once on the balcony, I boredly settled down and leaned over on the rail, watching the busy stage hands hurry by and around, Jino and Ms. Siton busing people along.
Suddenly, I felt Amiboshi’s presence and jerked my head up to see him off to the side of the stage, his eyes on me. He wore his adorable Romeo costume, tights and all, but nothing too fruity. He looked so wonderfully handsome, my breath was taken away. He stood, his eyes sad and worried, and I knew he’d been having the exact same thoughts as me.
Quickly averting my eyes, I suddenly found interest in a fake plant near me. Butterflies danced in my stomach. Why was I being like this? I supposed I was being like this because I knew I couldn’t...act like that to Amiboshi so soon before sending him back. It would be much, much harder to be together with him. It was better this way, and it would be easier on the both of us.
“We’re starting!!” Jino yelled in his loud voice, “get off the stage, people who don’t need to be there!!”
Stage hands and other cast members scooted off except for Amiboshi and I. Seats filled with the cast and crew, and Ms. Siton and Jino too their seats in the front row.
“We’re taking if from ‘Ay me!’ All right, Juliet?” she shouted to the stage.
I nodded quickly and waiting till Amiboshi’d gotten in his spot against the wall of the set castle, then got into character, resting my chin on my hand against the railing sadly, “Ay me!”
Amiboshi’s voice came softly, “She speaks. O, speak again, bright angel! For thou art as glorious to this night, being o’er my head as is a winged messenger of heaven unto the white up-turned wondering eyes of mortals that fall back and gaze on him when he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds and sails upon the bosom of the air.”
I heard the mellon chollie in his voice, but went on with the ever famous line, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not, but be sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.”
Again, came his voice, “Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?”
I went on, “Tis but thy name that is my enemy. Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s Montague? It is not hand, nor foot, nor face, nor arm...nor any other part belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee, take all myself.”
Amiboshi began to climb the built in steps on the wall, and reached the balcony where I stood. Hoisting himself over the railing, we stared at each other, silence hitting us. His eyes...the pain was unbearable to me. I could see all the emotions, all the suffering he endured. Gently, never taking his eyes away from me, he took my hands in his, his voice extremely soft, “Juliet...”
I could only stare back, “Romeo...”
He dropped his eyes suddenly, getting back on the script, actually, and going on with his lines, “I take thee at thy word. Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized. Henceforth, I will never be Romeo.”
“What the hell was that?!”
Breaking the moment, we jerked our heads to Jino, who had come onto the stage. Ms. Siton was shaking her head in the back, “You guys can mess with the script.”
I looked down at Amiboshi still holding my hands, and gently pulled them away, “Sorry....”
Amiboshi blushed, “It was my fault, really...”
“No! No, it was good!”
“Yeah, keep it in!”
“It adds the drama!”
There were shouts from the cast and crew in the audience, and Ms. Siton finally threw her hands in the air, “Fine, do whatever.”
Jino tapped his watch, “Only, do it tonight. We have to get outta here. They’ll be opening the doors in about a half an hour. Okay, people,” he clapped, turning to the audience, “let’s get going back stage!”
Amiboshi and I glanced at each other briefly once more, and looked away quickly, heading down the stairs after each other. Once off the stage, we went our separate ways, and I felt my heart ache more. That enough was so painful. How on earth could I go the whole play without bursting into tears? Sadly, I went to the band room, where the various people were, mostly cast and crew and some friends. The sound of piano music floated about the chit-chat. I wandered over to the piano to see, of course, Akio, fingers flying over the keys. I smiled, jealous at his exceptional playing, but I loved to hear him play so much too.
“Hey, Akio,” I said, leaning over the piano. He looked up at me, still playing and smiled back, “Hey. You look great.”
I glanced down at my Juliet dress and blushed slightly, having almost forgotten I was wearing it, “Oh, thanks. So, how’s it going?”
“Good. How about you? You ready for tonight?”
I sighed, shrugging, “I hope so. I hope it goes well.”
He watched me, still playing beautifully, and raised an eyebrow, “You and Amiboshi broke up, right?”
My smile faded and I looked down, “Uh, yeah.”
“I’m sorry,” he said sincerely, “are you okay?”
“Oh, yeah, I’m fine,” I smiled, lying through my teeth.
He raised an eyebrow again and said, “At least you guys are still friends.”
“Uh, er...” I bit my lip.
“You guys aren’t friends?”
“Well, it’s not that,” I ran my hand through my hair, “things are still just a little uncomfortable around us. You know, awkward.”
He nodded, “It’ll get better.”
I smiled and nodded, yet I didn’t know if there was any time to become friends with him before tomorrow.
Suddenly, Jino rushed in, hurrying up to me, “Juliet! You ready! It’s starting! You need to get backstage!”
Jitters flooded my stomach, but I nodded, “Yeah, I’m coming.”
Akio smiled at me before I turned to leave, “Break a leg.”
Rushing down the hall in my long skirts was no easy task, but I made it to the auditorium and crept backstage. I made it to the eves and peered out at what was going on onstage. Amiboshi was on, with the boy who played Benvolio.
“A right good mark-man! And she’s fair I love,” Amiboshi was saying.
“A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.”
Amiboshi turned, letting out a soft sigh, “Well, in that hit you miss. She’ll not be hit by Cupid’s arrow.”
I turned, walking silently to the other side of the stage behind the curtain.


It was already the Capulet ball. I’d only been onstage once, and hadn’t messed anything up, so I went on. The Capulet ball is where Amiboshi and I would have first contact, first kiss. Could I....could I kiss him? I couldn’t! It would break me and I would fall into his arms carelessly again, something I couldn’t do.
I stood to the side of the stage as a scene with Capulet and Tybalt was ending, when I suddenly felt a soft touch on my arm. I turned swiftly to see Amiboshi standing there, quietly a little ways back from me. I stared at him silently, wondering what he was going to say. Was he thinking exactly what I was?
“Nishiko...” his voice was a whisper as the scene beside us through the curtain went on, “...I need to ask you something,” when I didn’t reply, he went on, his voice trembling slightly, “ you really not love me?”
At this, I turned back around, my back to him. My lower lips trembled, and I felt tears come into my eyes. Don’t, Nishiko. I warned myself, push him away. It’ll be easier when you have to send him back. Just turn your head and walk away. Just walk away.
I didn’t turn around, didn’t reply a word, but walked onto the stage perfectly at my cue. I knew he was still standing there, but he’d soon be heading over to the other side of the stage to come in on his cue.
I talked to one of the party guests supposedly, and then turned my attention to the boy that played Paris. He turned to say something to someone over his shoulder, and I felt a hand grasp my own, pulling me gently back, still I stood near against Amiboshi. He held my hand with his, his large, warm hand, and said softly to me, “If I profane with my unworthiest hand, this holy shrine, the gentle fine is this,” he turned me slowly around to face him, and my heart sped up. We hadn’t been this close to each other since...since the night of his proposal. I could smell his wonderful scent, felt his warmth from his, look so deeply into the eyes which I so loved. The audience was silent, as wrapped into the moment as we were.
I went on with my lines, shakily, and we went through all of them, till the kiss.
He stared at me, very slowly drawing me closer, and I felt him trembling against me, “Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take. Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.”
My heart sped up further and my mind raced. He stared at me, then, taking only a deep breath I could hear, leaned closer to me. The audience’s breath was held in their throat. What can I do? What CAN I do?! I screamed in my mind, panic setting in. As his lips were about two inches from mine, I leaned to him also, but missed his lips purposefully, laying us cheek to cheek, barely. It was so close, it would look like a kiss to anyone but us. Shocked, he didn’t move and we stood there, me holding us there, not allowing a kiss. I felt the tears roll down my cheeks, wetting onto his own. It...I was so cruel. His hands shook harder on my waist, and our tears collided.
Suddenly, all I wanted to do was get off the stage. My heart was breaking, Amiboshi was hurt again, and there were hundreds of people watching us. Pulling away roughly, I stared into his eyes once more, and he murmured a soft, “Julie...”
Unable to take it, I turned and dashed off the stage, running backstage and out into the hall. Tears poured over my cheeks and I sobbed softly as I ran, not paying attention to the many people that called out my name and Juliet’s name. But one voice stopped me.
“Hey, Nishiko?”
I stopped cold, froze, my back to him, the tears rolling down my cheeks.
More tears fell, and I put a hand over my mouth to stifle the sobs. I could tell he was coming closer and he went on.
“I...I don’t mean to pester you. I understand that you gave me an answer, I just don’t understand why you gave it. I’m sorry...I’m really sorry, but...” he paused, “I love you! I’ll always love you! Just tell me the reason, if you would. Did you lose interest, is there another guy, did I not pay attention to you did I pay too much attention--”
He stopped abruptly as I fell to my knees, not able to take it anymore. This was wrong. All wrong. I couldn’t, shouldn’t tell him. The tears poured down my cheeks and I closed my eyes tightly, trying to stop crying.
I gasped and opened my eyes wide when I felt him drop to his knees behind me and wrap his arms around me from behind.
“I understand this may not be what you want. I’ll go away from you, if you want. If you tell me to let you go, I will. That’s it. I won’t bug you anymore. It’s done. But...”
He trailed off, and my mind raced. Tell him to let go! Do it, Nishiko! Tell him! Then it’ll be done. Nishiko! Two little words!!
The clock seemed to tick, and there was silence all through out the hall. It was all up to me. Tell him...just tell him--
I turned around slowly in his arms, and threw my arms around his neck, burying my face in his soft hair and crying more.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” I said between tears, “I’ve been so cruel and so...fake! None of what I said was true. You’re everything to me, Amiboshi. Even one day away from you is hell,” I sniffed softly, “it’s my fault, though. I’ve been so cruel. I can’t believe how cold I’ve been, and I know you must hate me for it. So, please, I...I don’t even deserve you! You push me away. That’s the way it should be. Go ahead and do it.4
I felt his arms encircle my waist and hold tight to me, laying his head against mine, “You didn’t listen to a word I said, did you? I love you, Nishiko. I said, I’ll always love you. And I should have pushed marriage on you.”
We pulled away to stare into each other’s eyes. This time, it wasn’t painful. It was love, all love.
“Aishiteru5” I whispered, a couple tears sliding down my cheeks. He smiled softly, and I cupped his face in my hands, bringing it to mine and kissing his lips sweetly. He kissed me back, holding me tight. It felt so wonderful to kiss him again, to feel the warmth of his lips against mine.
We had begun to make out, when applause broke out in the hallway, and I realized just how many kids had been watching our scene in the hallway. We both turned bright red, but laughed embarrassedly as we got up.
“We should probably get back out there,” Amiboshi said, taking my hand and entwining our fingers, “I think Ms. Siton’s going to have our heads.”
“Yeah, hurry,” I said, and we broke into a small run.
“Will you spend the night at Akai’s?” he asked as we hurried down the hall.
“Of course. Couldn’t stand to be away from you another minute,” I smiled, snuggling as much as I could to him. As we rushed to the auditorium, I heard a girl ask behind us to another girl, “Did he say marriage?”


1 I could SO turn this into a twisted plot where Tasuki and I get together. Ah, it’s so easy. Unfortunately, I have a slight feeling Yoku-chan would behead me. *sweat drop*

2 FRIENDLY affection, Inomi. ^_~

3 AGGHHH!! It’s the phrase!! Gomen, but if any of you have seen the FY dubbed, you know what I’m talking about. *shakes head* No, no, Tasuki is not dubbed Chichiri..... *pinches Tasuki*

4 Ah, my big, long, dramatic, mooshy speech. Feel free to puke now. *hands out doggie bags*

5 The only Japanese phrase/word I’ll allow in this fic. “Aishteru” just sounds SOO much better than “I love you!”

ProlougeChapter OneChapter Two
Chapter ThreeChapter Four Chapter Five
Chapter SixChapter SevenChapter Eight
Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve