- The sweetest thing he ever did for me was sneeze. I'll never forget that day.
I had just entered my first year in high school when I chose to take an art class. I always liked drawing, so I thought why not?
The teacher, Mrs. Xine, had told everyone to sit wherever they liked in tables wide enough for up to four people. I sat with my only friends in that class, Kairi, Xion and Sora. In our class, there was a perfect thirty two people, so nobody got left out from a table. That is, until a boy came late clutching a tardy slip in his hand. He had come bursting through the door. Odd number thirty three who had interrupted Mrs. Xine's lesson.
"You're late," the teacher said to the boy with crossed arms and narrowed eyes. She had been feeling sour after being cut off.
The boy tried explaining himself, but the teacher had kept talking while he was in mid sentence.
"I'm sorry I'm late, but it was because I was-"
"-Take a seat," she said while snatching the tardy slip away from his hand.
"Okay," the deflated boy finally said, looking ready to mope for a second. He walked around the classroom with one book bag strap around his shoulder, and his eyes scanned the room for an empty seat.
The teacher went on with her lesson, when, suddenly, the same boy that had interrupted her before called out, "There's no more seats!"
The teacher had flinched, annoyed with the boy's-what she had called-attitude.
That day, he-whose name I learned was Roxas-was allowed to sit in Mrs. Xine's desk. He sat shamefully and kept quiet the whole day. The attention he had gotten was more than he had wanted.
The following day, they had set up an extra desk alongside one of the tables, and Roxas sat there.
After that first day, Roxas didn't stick out as much.
Once, though, Roxas came up to me and looked like he desperately wanted to tell me something. But after a few stutters, he just gave up and walked back to his desk.
Sometimes, I would catch Roxas' wandering eyes looking my way. When I looked back to him, he would quickly pull away and pretend he was paying attention to something else.
When I told my table about him, they all insisted that he liked me.
"He's just shy!" Kairi said with a brief laugh.
I shifted about on my chair, uncomfortably. "I don't know," I said, in my voice that was usually quiet.
"Why don't you try talking to him instead of waiting for him to talk to you?" Xion asked, smiling hopefully.
I shook my head at the thought of it. "N-No," I argued. "I can't..."
"Don't say that, Naminé!" Sora, who had been smiling widely, exclaimed. "You can do it!"
Again, I shook my head and tried pushing the matter away from conversation. "What did we have to draw again?" I asked, grabbing hold of a colored pencil.
"We have to draw Roxas," Kairi said with a firm nod.
When she saw how hard I had blushed, she and the others laughed.
I suddenly regretted telling them about him.
A few weeks passed, and Roxas and I still hadn't exchanged a single word.
I looked to him one day, and I realized that I actually did like him... A little...
I wanted to try speaking with him, but for some reason, I just couldn't even say hello to him.
Some months passed, and we still hadn’t said a single word to each other...
Finally though, before our teacher could walk in, I had seen him whisper something into every single person's ear.
Everyone except me.
I felt a little down and left out, but I tried to pretend that I was unfazed and didn't notice.
I would ask Kairi and the others what he told them, I decided, still feeling very lonely.
Class had been five minutes in, and the teacher had still not arrived. Everyone was in their seats by then, but we all talked.
"Hey, guys...what...did Roxas tell you?" I asked, smiling softly for one full second.
"I dunnooooo," Sora said, grinning.
"I can't remember," Kairi told me-and I knew she was lying.
Xion only shrugged. "Nothing much."
Feeling more left out than ever before, I asked someone from another table.
"Tidus... what has Roxas been telling everyone?" I asked, using a quiet and innocent voice to get answers.
"NOTHING," he said with eyes noticeably wide.
Why wouldn't anyone tell me what he said to everyone except me?
Finally, from the door walked a tall man with fiery red hair and a large briefcase. He was always the substitute teacher for when the real teachers couldn't come for whatever reason. He always told us to call him just plain, AXEL instead of what he called "formal last names."
Before Axel could sit in the teacher's desk and begin teaching, Roxas scrambled to his feet and walked over swiftly.
And I felt even more left out when he whispered something into his ear. I frowned when Axel smiled dumbly and nodded to whatever it was he said.
Axel sent Roxas back to his desk afterwards and went on with the day's lesson.
"Okay! New plans everyone," he announced, aloofly. "Silent reading-ten minutes. Got it memorized?"
A hand immediately shot up into the air. "This is art class."
Axel crossed arms. "Words are art. Have fun." He sat lazily in his spinning chair.
Everyone, following instruction, took out their novels and comics and began to read.
After three minutes of absolute silence, out of nowhere there came something that sounded like a kazoo.
It looked as though I was the only one to have heard it, because I was the only one looking crazily around in the room instead of reading my book.
After deciding that I was only hearing things, I went back to reading.
But soon after, though, I heard the kazoo again.
Again, startled and confused I glanced to every spot in the room. I still couldn't find out where that brief toot came from.
I tried my best to ignore the sound I heard several more times.
After the fifth time I heard it, I realized that it wasn't a necessarily a kazoo.
It was a sneeze.
It had to be one of the most ridiculous sneezes I had ever heard, but it was still a sneeze.
I wondered why nobody had reacted to the sneezes in any way. Nobody had bothered to say "bless you". How rude were my classmates, exactly?
Out of nowhere, the kazoo sneeze sounded.
"Bless you," I said, lowering my head and in a timid mumble.
"Thank you," came another mumble, and I heard Roxas' voice for the first time speaking to me.
My eyes went wide and I looked in his direction for a long while.
Then, after a few seconds of quiet, he sneezed again.
"Bless you," I responded, slightly louder than I had before.
"Thanks," he mumbled, sniffing.
"Bless you," I said again with a tiny giggle.
How many times did he sneeze that day?
"Thanks, Naminé," he said, and I felt like cheering when I saw him smile as he said my name.
"Bless you!" I said, almost exasperated, yet still very amused.
"Thank you!" he exclaimed back, in the same tone I had used.
After fifteen minutes, Axel told us that silent reading time was over, and we had the rest of the period for whatever we wanted.
Roxas, still sniffling, walked over to our table. He was holding a bouquet of lilies and he was looking right at me. "U-Um, here, Naminé," he said, handing me the white flowers.
I was surprised, but with a nervous hand I accepted them. "T-thanks," I told him, offering a smile.
"Roxas! You sure were sneezing a lot!" Sora said, obviously trying to get something out of him.
"Allergies?" Kairi asked, smirking as Roxas' face went red.
"What's going on?" I asked, finally admitting out loud to the fact that I was feeling left out in everything.
"Roxas wanted you to talk to him, and he wanted to talk with you, so he brought those lilies to school," Xion explained as the shy Roxas hid his face behind his hands. "He's allergic to them... He told everyone, except you, Naminé, to ignore his sneezes so that you would HAVE to be the one to say 'Bless you'."
I saw him, looking back at me with a tiny smile. He nodded to Xion's rough explanation, as he had been too nervous to explain it himself.
It was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for me.
After that, Roxas brought me lilies everyday.
- "To make sure I hear your voice at least once everyday," he had told me. -