Feelings Unexpressed

Chapter 5

The day had been going smoothly so far. Chitose and Ayano had been hanging out together since the beginning of the afternoon and so far they've explored all throughout the shopping district, caught the latest Mirakurun movie and played around at the nearby arcade. Now the two were currently seated in a family restaurant, having decided to grab a bite to eat before ending their outing. Chitose took a moment to look over at Ayano, who was staring out the restaurant's front window. She still looked slightly depressed, which made Chitose feel as if she had kind of failed in trying to make her happy. She remembered Ayano looking genuinely curious about some clothes when they were window shopping, how she got a bit competitive when they were playing a fighting game at the arcade and how invested she was during the final showdown between Mirakurun and Team GigaGiga at the theater...but it just wasn't enough to get he back to acting like her usual, energetic and slightly spazzy self.

Chitose worried to herself silently. "Everything I thought of just didn't work in the end. I'm almost fresh out of ideas..."

Ayano sighed and rested her cheek on her hand. What Chitose didn't know was that the depression from hearing Kyouko's confession wasn't the only thing bothering her. "Nothing's working...I'm trying to have fun but it's like there's still a weight stuck inside my chest...Ugh, why do things have to turn out this way...?"

After a few more minutes of silence, the waitress arrived with their orders. She places a plate of hamburg steak with a side of sauteed vegetables in front of Ayano and for Chitose a plate of Italian-style spaghetti with meatballs. The girls refocused as the scent of the fresh food filled their noses.

"Ah, perfect timing! I was really starting to feel peckish." Chitose smiled as she took hold of her fork. Ayano did the same, cutting into the meat with a knife and taking a small bite. She usually always ordered hamburg steak from family restaurants cause it was the one thing she knew would be good no matter where she'd go, but she had to admit that Chitose's food looked pretty good as well.

Chitose took a bite of one of her meatballs before noticing Ayano's continual glance at her plate. She giggled lightly. Ayano was definitely making it unintentionally obvious that she wanted to try some of it. The ponytailed girl tilted her head a bit. "W-What's so funny...?"

"Eheh. If Ayano-chan wanted to try some of my food she could have just asked."

Ayano watched as Chitose speared a piece of meatball with her fork before twirling up a bit of pasta to go along with it, holding it up to her friend. "Here, say 'Aaaaah'..."

A bit of a blush appeared on Ayano's face. Being fed by someone in such a public place sounded somewhat embarrassing to her. Still...the food did look pretty tasty...

"Mn...A-Aaaaah..." She leaned over the table and opened her mouth. Chitose smiled and fed her the forkful. "Ayano-chan looks so cute! I bet she'd die if Toshino-san offered to feed her like this."

Ayano was able to get most of it in one bite, quickly slurping up a stray noodle dangling from her lips...and accidently splattering a bit of tomato sauce onto Chitose's glasses.

"Ah! Chitose, I'm sorry about that!"

"Nono, it's fine! A quick cleaning is all they need, no reason to worry." Chitose casually removed her glasses in order to wipe them off, but after a few seconds her vision began to twist and distort; the signs of an impending delusion.

"Eh?! W-Wait, my fantasies came back?! Are they really back?!"

Before her eyes, Chitose saw Ayano sitting at a candle-lit table, a single plate of pasta set upon it. Across from her was Kyouko, staring at Ayano seductively. Both girls were blushing slightly, but the smiles on their faces showed that the couple was feeling anything but embarrassed.

Kyouko's eyes glistened as Ayano fidgeted around nervously yet happily. "Ayano, my love...Let us share this plate of spaghetti as a symbol of our shared passion for one another..."

"Toshino Kyouko...Y-You say such embarrassing things sometimes...Such embarrassing, lovely things."

Chitose was ecstatic. Her delusions had returned after only a few days and it didn't take much to get them back. She let out a sigh of relief as a small trickle of blood ran down from her nose.

"Here you are, Ayano-chan. A forkful of love, from me to you."

"You're such a romantic...Chitose..."

Chitose's eyes suddenly snapped wide open. That last line didn't sound right. Not at all. She suddenly felt extremely confused. Ayano was taking to Kyouko, wasn't she? So why didn't she use her name? Chitose looked at the fantasy before her again and noticed something about Kyouko was different. She was wearing glasses and her hair was becoming slightly paler. It was as if it was slowly losing its color.

"It's only natural to act this way when I'm with you, Ayano-chan." As the fantasy Kyouko spoke, her hair suddenly became shorter, the bow on her head disappeared and finally her eye color changed. Chitose was no longer watching Kyouko romantically feed Ayano. Instead, she was now watching herself feed Ayano.

Chitose was speechless. Her delusions had always been between Ayano and Kyouko. To see herself in such a position instead...It caused her mind to go blank.

"Why...W-Why is it me?...It's supposed to be Toshino-san, isn't it?...This doesn't-...I-I don't-..."

"Chitose...? Is everything okay?" Back in reality Ayano tried to get Chitose's attention, but no matter how many times she called her name her friend just kept staring ahead, a concerned look on her face coupled with a small stream of blood running down to her chin.

Ayano looked down at her plate. "I guess she's occupied in her own world right now...I don't blame her...After trying so hard for me, I have no right to be mad at her for not paying attention..." She quietly played with what was left of her food as the two sat in silence for the rest of the meal.

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