Chapter 9: Spice Things Up

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Sometimes, I forget that we're going to different schools. We both chose out of state but in different directions. I always tell Akaashi that I would follow him wherever he went, but in reality, its not like I can do that. I want to forget that we're going to different schools so that I don't get swallowed up in the things we don't do at the end of the summer.

"You don't have to worry about how I get around." he continued, rolling his eyes as he put his arm on the table. "Just because I'm pretty doesn't mean I can't do other things." he smiled.

That was the first time he openly said something about it. Like I said before, Akaashi doesn't talk about his problems. He would rather internalize everything so no one knows about it. I wasn't okay with that because I've seen what it does to him. I don't like it.

I continued to chew on my straw.

Even if he was smiling, I just noticed that he wasn't happy.

He wasn't feeling okay today and it wasn't because of what I said to him. All the comments about him being pretty has been getting to him for months now and look at where its gotten him. Everyone just only knows that he's pretty. I hear it when his friends come around. In fact, that's all I hear. All his friends obsess over it. From the people I've met today, they think that its wildly crazy that Akaashi could be so cute. No one ever mentions his other qualities and I know he has them, but I just don't ever hear about them. I guess its getting old.

I reached for the bottom of his chair, and brought him closer to me so he could talk. The mall was just about empty, so that means there was no one at the food court. The loudest thing here was the chair screeching against the floor when I pulled him closer to where I was sitting. He knew I wanted him to talk about it, I didn't have to say anything to make him. I bit my straw and watched him as he played with his hands.

"For years, I was always known as the pretty boy." he said quietly, opening up. "I can do other things. I'm not just pretty." he hated it.

And that was the first time that he said how it was for him.

"You aren't." I said because I believe it.

"You and I both know that. But its not like other people do." he said. "I've been harassed so much that I've honestly gotten used to it. I can't tell the difference between someone taking it too far and someone just being nice anymore."

I could never think of what to do if I was in his position. How does he go on with it? What did he do before I came into the picture? It hurts me to know that people can pick on Akaashi sometimes and he never speaks up about it. Its not fair that this happens to him. 

I chewed on my straw as I watched him. 

He wasn't about to cry but I know he was getting there.

"I can't even believe this happened to me." he covered his face. "I don't think anything will change when I go to college." he groaned. Where he's going, I know they focus more on intellectual skills than appearance.

"You're pretty." I said. He moved his hands from his face and I know he was going to get mad because of all the things he just said. But I wasn't finished. "And smart, and funny, and kind, and talented." I listed. "You're good around people, you help others, you're a good leader, and you put effort into everything." I continued. "Don't worry about other people, even if they're being mean to you. All that matters is that you know that you're all those things, and pretty." I chewed on my straw again.

He leaned his head onto his hand and smiled at me. This time, it was a satisfied smile since his spirits were lifted. I bet he's wondering how he got so lucky to be with someone like me. I know I'm great. He doesn't have to tell me, but I like hearing it.

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