When you care about someone, wouldn’t you want to stay by their side?
This ugly feeling…
Garry’s smile was stuck on his face from a surge of relief washing over him. He walked up to Ib, grinning like an idiot, happy from just the sight of her. Ib was in her school uniform: a cream-coloured button-up shirt, golden-brown necktie and check skirt. She wore a soft surprised look, eyebrows slightly raised, head curiously tilting in a fraction of an inch. The little gesture made her seem so adorable that he just wanted to squeal like a teenage girl.
“Hey, how was your school trip?” he asked, stooping down to her level. “Did you have fun sweetheart?”
“It was fun,” she answered, looking unsure. “But why are you here? We didn’t agree to meet.”
He pressed his lips together, averting his gaze for a moment. His departure has been utterly impulsive and spontaneous.
“Too see you.” Garry answered simply with a shrug.
“… Why?” Ib gave a small befuddled frown.
“Hey, I just thought I’d drop by and pick you up.” he stood up straight, placing both hands on his hips, and took on a mock chiding tone. “Don’t tell me I can’t see my favourite girl without a good reason. Aren’t you happy to see me?”
Little Ib continued to stared at him wordlessly with an expressionless look. However, before he could put in a word, her composed mask cracked. A faint blush gathered at her cheekbones as her irises darted in place. “I-I’m happy,” she admitted truthfully, stuttering in a daze. “Yeah, I’m happy,” she reiterated as though feeling more sure of herself.
She was smiling.
A small ghost of a smile that was very… her. The way her small pink lips daintily stretched, how her eyes crinkled in the slightest, it was the familiar smile that she showed only to him.
The notion brought a sudden jolt at his heart that made him look away, confused. What was that? In bewilderment, he placed a hand onto his chest, registering the violent beating against his palm. The thumping hurt in a warm, fuzzy way he had never felt before. It was strange in a refreshing way. Garry glanced down at her and met her dejected gaze. “Garry, are you mad?” she asked, tugging at his sleeve. The way her big round eyes stared up at him, practically begging for attention…
He slapped a hand to his face and abruptly turned away from her, hoping to hide the blush that was threatening to bloom on his face. Oblivious to his predicament, she continued to pull at his jacket plaintively. “Garry? Garry~”
“Just a minute, Ib.” Garry could feel his face heating up and was desperate to hide it from her curious gaze. However, Ib persisted, clinging firmly to him.
God. Why am I…
He swallowed. With a soft groan deep inside his throat, he bent down and scooped her up into his arms. Garry had to bend his neck a little to look up at her now. She has grown slightly taller than when they’d just met. Squeezing her tightly, he swooned. “Awwww gawd, why do you have to be sooo cute?”
Why am I like this?
Ib blinked at him in confusion but didn’t show any sign of discomfort at being crushed against him. Her lips were slightly pressed together as she quietly stared back at him. Her soft brown fall, her ruby orbs… Every one of her features was absolutely adorable in his eyes. “Geez, I could never be mad at you,” he amended. “I’m just a bit tired is all.”
She tilted her head, as though she was thinking hard about his words. Unexpectedly, she raised her hand and started patting his hair. He blinked laconically, having trouble understanding the situation. However, he couldn’t raise a single word about the matter as his mind had already been overwhelmed. He liked it. Her short, slender fingers were rustling his mussed mane with utmost gentleness; soft pads slightly grazing his scalp.
“… You see, when I feel bad, Garry always pats my head and I feel all better.” Ib started bashfully, breaking him from his fantasies. She continued to stroke his head as she spoke. “So I’ll pat your head when you’re unwell so that you can get better too.”
Ah, this child…
Garry smiled, craning up to touch his forehead with hers.
Why is she this loveable?
“Thanks, Ib.” He said, feeling the corners of his eyes stinging in the slightest. “I feel better already.”
I like her…
He snuggled his head into the crook of her neck, feeling her smooth locks against his cheek, taking in her familiar scent.
I really like her.
Ib could sense that something was off about Garry, but she wasn’t quite sure what. Garry was a very good friend of hers. He was always smiling, always teaching her new things. She didn’t want to see him sad. The little girl stayed still in her older friend’s embrace, trying her best to ignore the many gazes from her peers around them that made her very conscious. She turned her head to watch the back of Garry’s lavender head as his breath tickled her skin; letting the soft smell of his shampoo fill her nostrils.
Garry never told her anything, while she confided almost everything to him. Unfair. He always hid things from her, saying she didn’t need to know. Was that because she was only a child? How she wished she could become an adult soon.
“Ib!” A familiar voice called out to her, startling Garry. His hold around her tightened momentarily, pulling her away from her reverie. She gave Garry one last concerned glance before pivoting her head to see her classmate standing a few feet away from them. It was the nice boy that she’d been telling Garry about. The blond boy gestured for her to come close as she felt Garry’s warmth leaving her neck.
Garry detached himself from the hug and let her down on her feet.
“Sorry Garry, it’ll just take a minute.” She said hastily, taking a few steps back.
“Yeah sure hon, go go.” He smiled, waving her on.
He watched as Ib ran up to the boy, whom he could tell was her little crush. Not many brats would call her out in that friendly manner. The boy was… quite the looker for his age, no wonder Ib had her crush. Garry’s jaw tightened as he observed the kids from a distance. She clumsily received a notebook for the boy, her normally calm self nowhere to be seen. Instead she was blushing slightly as she went along with his banter.
Something is crumbling.
She was breaking from her shells, being more open, mingling with friends of her age. He should be glad, he really should.
What was this ugly sense of jealousy overtaking all of his reasoning?
I feel sick.
“Ib.” He called out to her, interrupting whatever conversation the two kids were having. “Let’s go, I need to buy some stuff.”
“Okay!” She answered, waving goodbye to her friend. The child put the notebook into her backpack and trotted towards him.
Garry held out his hand and waited for Ib to take it. She happily grabbed his extended hand, the pinkish tint still lingering on her cheeks.
“Hey Garry, can I come to your place today?”
“Of course you can.” He said, returning her smile. “How about we buy some macarons while we’re at it? My treat.”
“Okay.” She nodded enthusiastically. “I want the small ones.”
You know, I really like you.
It’d been two years. Being besides her had become the norm. He was meant to be there for her. Together always. If he couldn’t be with her, it just wouldn’t feel right, wouldn’t be right. No one was allowed, no one had the right to be besides her.
Garry gently squeezed Ib’s hand as they walked towards the door of his apartment, gaining her attention. He smiled at her, and she smiled back.
He unlocked the door and held it open for her. She carried the bag of groceries inside, already familiarized with his home. He followed after her and closed the door behind him.
I love you, Ib.
- Ib usually gets taken to and picked up from school by her family’s driver, Yuri
- Ib dismissed said driver to go with Garry, though author never said she did