I You hurried down the hall of the school head down and in silence. Most students would be chatting with friends or sitting with a group enjoying their lunch period. But not you, school was what you dreaded, and you were thrust into this hell every day. All you wanted was to get out. Students picked on you mercilessly; you didn't bother trying to stop them. There was no use anymore. You were that girl. That girl who no one liked. That girl whose world was crashing down around her.
"Watch it freak!" a student yelled when you accidentally bumped into them.
You muttered apology before continuing on your way. The names were normal now. But still brought tears to your (e/c) eyes. Finally you reached the doors to the courtyard and quickly went out. Not many people came here. It was a safe haven. The one place that you weren't picked on. The sun's rays shone warmly and you let out a sigh of relief and relaxed for the first time that day. There was a sturdy oak in the center of the courtyard. Birds chirped cheerfully from its bows and flitted about. Setting your bag down beside you, you sat against the trunk and took out a book and lunch. Opening to the right page you began writing. Writing was an escape, you could create new worlds and show yourself. Literature was your passion, poems and stories alike. You, as you often did, became lost in your writing letting emotions flow to the paper.
"Hey freak vhat are you doing out here?" a familiar voice called across the yard.
So much for escape. It was Gilbert again. Flanked by the frenchman and spaniard. Everyone here would make fun of you but he was the worst. Ignoring him had no effect.
"I asked you a question frau," he said now standing in front of you.
"Nothing Gilbert. I can be out here if I want. Last time I checked you didn't make the rules," you shot back but your voice quivered.
He stooped down to your level with a glare, "Vatch vhat you say. Have you forgotten I practically rule the school?" he said, "Or do we have to teach you a lesson?"
"I-I get it... just leave me alone," fear was evident in your voice.
"Amigo lets go we'll be late...," Antonio interjected clearly not wanting to be there.
"Ohnhonhonhon why not have a bit of fun with the demoiselle?" Francis said taking your chin between his thumb and index finger.
You shoved him away, "Get away from me!" you yelled.
The three seemed shocked by the outburst.They would always do this, but you had had enough.
"Feisty one aren't you mon amour?" Francis ohnhonhoned and reached to brush a strand of (h/c) from your face.
You raised a hand to smack his away but were shocked when someone else did the job. Antonio had Francis's wrist grasped firmly and was glaring daggers. Gilbert watched in shock as Antonio shoved his friend back a few steps. The bad touch trio were best friends, so why was he acting this way?
"Vhat the hell are you doing Antonio?" he demanded.
"You two take it too far. What has ____ ever done to you?" he asked calmly but his anger remaining on his features.
You were shocked to say the least. No one ever stood up for you, and now Antonio of all people was? He had never directly made fun of you; but hadn't done anything to stop them. Truth be told you two had been friends back in grade school. Joined at the hip some would say. Did everything together but all that had changed when middle school began. Antonio had started hanging out with Gilbert and Francis; and had had drifted away. He had risen in social status while you sank miserably. He had been your only friend, and had deserted you.
"She's a freak! She has no friends and she doesn't belong here," Francis said and snatched up your notebook.
"Hey give that back!" you started but there wasn't a need.
"GIVE THAT BACK TO HER BONNEFOY!!!" Antonio yelled full of rage.
All eyes were on him and silence fell over four. Never had Antonio ever raised his voice. He was the happy carefree guy everyone liked. Just like when you used to hang out. But he was blind, what mattered was popularity instead of real friends. Girls practically threw themselves at him everywhere he went. Yet he turned them all down with politeness and sympathy. This was opposed to Francis and Gilbert who had different girlfriends week to week. His spanish flair left girls practically swooning but he didn't seem to care.
"A-antoni-" Francis stuttered in shock.
"I said give it back. Now," Antonio was dead serious and his eyes narrowed.
Gilbert merely laughed and smirked, "Vell then. Antonio you want to leave your only real friends for a loser like her? Face it. You need us. You're at the top of the school thanks to who?" he inquired.
Antonio's face fell, "Y-you..."
Francis caught on, "Who got all zhe girls to love you? How are you one of zhe most popular people here mon ami?"
"Us. Because of us Antonio. You can join the loser, become like her. Or you can stop this and come back vith us," Gilbert finished and started walking away.
You were speechless and waited. Antonio looked over eyes full of sorrow and then back to the others. Sighing he hung his head and jogged to catch up with Gilbert. Just like he always had, leaving just when he was needed. Francis nodded in approval at him before turning back to you. Without a word he tossed the notebook into a puddle and it quickly became soaked.
"Shit!" you cried and quickly grabbed it.
But the damage was done. Nearly all of your poems and stories were ruined. More than half were passed being able to dry. Tears pricked your eyes. All of your hard work gone. Everything that kept you going and gave you release gone. Your writing was literally all you had left. It was all that kept you going. The tears flowed freely down your cheeks now, not caring who saw. Clutching your book to your chest forgetting the bag you fled out the gates to the school and down the street. You would get detention but you didn't care. All that mattered was getting out.
-----Tomato induced time skip-----
Spain sat in his final class tapping his pencil periodically checking the clock. _____ hadn't been in class since lunch. You both had most classes together, and he immediately noticed your absence. Had he been wrong to leave? Should he have stood up for you more? Sighing he leaned his head in his hand frustrated. What Gilbert had said was true. If it weren't for the "Bad Touch Trio" he wouldn't be where he was. Certainly it had been the right choice, hadn't it? He was popular, had friends, girls who would do anything just to talk to him. Now what could he do? If he walked away then so did everyone. No one would talk to him and he would fall back to the bottom.
*"Qué se supone que tengo que hacer ..." he grumbled to himself as the bell rang.
"Hey Antonio! I'm throwing a party tonight you coming?" Gilbert asked on his way out followed by Francis and soon Antonio.
"I don't know... I'm not in the mood..." he replied solemnly.
Gilbert stopped and looked him in the eye, "Is this about that girl? You going soft?"
"That girl has a name. And no I am not," he replied not making eye contact.
"Oui you are. If you weren't zhen you would have agreed right away no?" Francis pointed out.
"I said it isn't! Fine! I'll be there!" he said storming off clenching his fists, "Adios."
He ended up being one of the last few out. There were a few stragglers here and there hurrying to the busses or their cars. Antonio was in no hurry and took his normal route through the courtyard. Something caught his eye as he walked down the path. Looking over there was your bag un still where the confrontation had taken place. You hadn't been in any classes since then, had you left school? The thought of you being so upset as to run caused Antonio's heart to ache. But, why did he care? The entire school said you were a freak, shouldn't he think so as well? But it wasn't right. Whenever Gilbert or Francis had picked on you he had stood on the sidelines. Not helping or getting involved. He didn't want to hurt you, his once best friend, but he didn't want to lose the friends he had now. Though as he thought more he began to realize things. Things that had been there just never noticed. He missed your smile that had lit up a room as a child. He missed it when you would tell him about your newest stories. He and only he knew about your passion. He had been the only one you trusted. The truth was, he missed you. Even after years he missed being your friend. The only one you could depend on, the one who you could tell anything, that was who he had been. Yet he had deserted you. He wanted to be the reason for your smiles again.
"I'm such an idiota! Why did I ever choose them?!"
Gilbert and Francis weren't his real friends. They just used him for their own gain. Why should his status matter? Real friends weren't based popularity. If only he had realized this sooner. He picked up your bag and slung it over his shoulder. When you came back he would return it personally.
-----PASTAAAAA induced time skip-----
Only you didn't come back. Days passed and he waited each day at lunch by the tree. You weren't in any classes. He was becoming increasingly worried about you. What if something had happened? He couldn't concentrate at all. All he wanted was to know you were safe. Saturday came and you still hadn't shown. Now he sat on the edge of his bed trying to think of what to do.
He could wait until Monday, but what if you still weren't back? This was driving him insane. All he wanted was to apologize. For everything; for deserting you when you needed him most, never standing up for you like a friend should, he just wanted you back. That was it, he wasn't waiting any longer. He needed to see you. Wasting no time he hopped into his car. Thankfully it wasn't a far drive, you were just down the road. All the lights were off and there was no car in the driveway. Maybe you weren't home. But he wasn't giving up just yet. Bag in hand he walked up to the door and knocked. No answer. Sighing he turned to leave when he noticed a light in the second story window. The curtains had been pulled back and quickly jerked shut.
He went back to the door and knocked again, "____ I know you're in there.... let me in per favor I just want to talk to you," he called earnestly.
No answer again. Though he had no doubt it would be locked he put a hand on the doorknob and turned it. To his surprised the door opened. Sighing he pushed it in all the way and closed it behind him. Quietly he managed to make his way upstairs and find your room, which was fairly easy because there was a sign with your name on it on the door. He knocked timidly. There was a stirring from within but then silence.
He sighed, "____... please... just let me in. We need to talk pequeno tomate," he said pleading and using his old nickname for you.
"Go away Antonio. I don't want to talk to you. Just leave me alone," you called through the door your voice quivering.
But as we all know, Antonio is stubborn. He opened your door slowly. You sat on your bed knees hugged to your chest head bowed. Guilt coursed through him at the sight of you. This was all his fault.
"_-___?" he sat on the edge of your bed, "Per favor... just talk to me... I can't tell you how sorry I am. For everything."
"You're lying Antonio," you said not looking up, "You don't care. You never have. You ditched me the first chance you got," tears pricked at your eyes and your voice hitched in your throat.
"No mi Amiga I-I-"
"Just stop it Antonio! Don't you get it?! I needed you and you weren't there for me!" tears flowed freely down your face as you looked straight at him, "When I needed a friend you left! You were all I had! And you just deserted me! For what?! Popularity? The Antonio I knew didnt care about that! The Antonio I loved-" you cut yourself off and froze.
Had you really just said that? Back then you had been friends, but had you really loved him? Perhaps the old him, but now; you had no idea. You moved to get away from the spaniard but found that you couldn't. He had wrapped his arms around you in a warm and loving embrace.
"I know... I'm an idiot for doing that. I know that now. I chose popularity and lost my best friend; and the girl I loved. I'm truly sorry. I'll say it however many times you want but please, give me another chance mi pequeno tomate," he pleaded hugging you tightly.
You were still and silent for a few moments. Knowing trying to navigate out of his grasp would be useless you leaned your head against his chest taking in his familiar scent of tomatoes and...was that churros? Well it was Antonio... who knows. He rested his head on yours and stroked your hair whispering soothing words in Spanish. This is what he had done back then. Whenever you were upset he never failed to cheer you up. You had missed this, moments like these where nothing else mattered except you and him.
"Y-you'll say it as many times as I want?" you asked a smile tugging at the corners of your mouth.
He held you at arms length, "Si! As many times as I have to! And I'll prove it! Lo siento lo siento lo siento lo siento lo siento lo siento lo sient-"
"Ok ok I get it! Shut up!" You said but smiled letting him know you we're teasing.
"Do you forgive me ____? Or do I have apologize more?" he took in a breath about to begin again.
Covering his mouth you giggled, "I'll put this nicely, shut the hell up and I'll think about it."
He laughed and hugged you tightly again, "Deal. And... what you were saying before...did you really mean that? That you..."
Pink dusted your cheeks and you stammered, "W-well...I-I..um...that was years ago and.." obviously a full sentence was physically impossible for you at the moment.
His face fell and he released you looking away. So you didn't like him. All because of his stupid mistake he had no chance with you.
"A-Antonio? Something wrong?"
Sighing he turned to face you, "Now or never," he thought to himself.
"Antoni-" you were cut off by his arms snaking around your waist and his lips meeting yours.
You were no doubt surprised but responded immediately. You shut your eyes and threw your arms around his neck pulling him closer. The kiss was sweet and gentle the feelings you had both been hiding for so long finally revealed.
"Te amo ____, I always have and I always will. I promise I will never leave you, I'll stay by your side," his eyes gazed deeply into yours, "if you'll let me."
The beautiful smile he had always adored appeared, "Gracias, Antonio. I-I love you too..."
Just then you heard the door open downstairs. Your " wonderful" parents chose just the right time to come.
"GAH crap they'll kill me when they see you!" You half whispered.
"No...I have a feeling they won't," he replied.
At that moment your mother walked passed the door looking in. She seemed to stop turn around and come back.
"Hola Señora (Last name)..."
You were shocked to say the least when instead of yelling she half glomped half hugged your Spanish friend.
"Antonio! I had a feeling we'd be hearing from you! Don't worry I'll hide her fathers gun wait here I'll get the pictures of you two as kids!" She said running from the room.