I didn’t exactly know when I began to like-like Ulrich, but it had been quite a while. Prior to that match in the gym I had seen him around school and wondered why he didn’t seem to have a girlfriend.
I don’t mean Sissi of course. She was a leech…not a girlfriend. Anyway, he caught my eye on more than one occasion but even then I knew he’d never be interested in me. After all he had everything: looks, popularity, and he could have any girl he wanted. I tried to forget about him but that became impossible. After that fateful pair-up, well, things went weird. Even weirder when he first introduced me to Lyoko and all it’s wondrous adventures.
Since then our friendship grew stronger. Very strong and often I’d wondered if he felt the same way about me as I felt about him. Of course that was answered over a year ago when he saved me from falling into the Digital Void…and we nearly kissed. We still haven’t mentioned that to either Odd or Jeremie or even Aelita for that matter.
So then, why hasn’t he made a move? Heck, why haven’t I made a move? It couldn’t have been because I questioned our relationship. I knew how he felt about me and vis versa. So why did I tell him that we could only be friends and that’s all?
I knew he didn’t understand my reasoning behind it…heck I didn’t either. Sure, I was getting sick of us getting jealous of each other but was there something more that is holding me back?
I’d thought about it for a while and I wasn’t able to come up with anything. That is until Hiroki brought it to my attention.
It was about a week after I broke the news to Ulrich about being friends. I was sitting down to dinner with my family when, once again, our peaceful meal was turned into a war of words between my parents. I can’t remember what the fight was about - I have learned, after so many years, to tune them out when they start their feuds since ninety-nine percent of the time they are about something petty.
Anyway, I got a call from Jeremie about a XANA attack during that meal. My parents didn’t notice…too busy arguing to worry about what I was doing so I excused myself and made my way up to my room (or so it seemed). Too bad Hiroki was right behind me.
"Was that Ulrich, you’re boyfriend?" he asked mischievously.
"I told you before, he’s not my boyfriend!" I shot back. "We’re just friends. That’s all."
"Why aren’t you two going out yet?" he questioned as I tried to get up the stairs. "You both like each other so what’s the problem?"
"Hiroki, leave me alone!"
"Is it ‘cause you don’t wanna end up like mom and dad?"
I stopped walking up the stairs to turn and look at him, completely flabbergasted. "H-you-why do you say that?"
"I dunno," he replied thoughtfully, no longer holding that teasing look. He shuffled his foot against the carpet, clearly upset about the recent argument…not that I could blame him. Three in one week was more than plenty. "’Cause you don’t want to constantly yell at each other?"
I shook my head. Since when did a mature thought float around in that tiny brain of his? I looked at him and managed a half-smile. "Dunno. Maybe. Don’t worry about mom and dad…they’ll get over it. They always do."
He managed to flash me a small smile and I thought that, at that moment, he actually wasn’t too bad for a little brother.
"Oh, and don’t try to sneak out or I’ll tell mom and dad on you!" he suddenly said.
Wrong. He was as bad as I thought.
"Arg!" I growled as I stormed up the stairs. So much for that. But, darn him, he got me thinking…is that why I keep pushing Ulrich away? Was I afraid that we’d end up like my parents; constantly fighting with one another? I had to admit, as of lately, we haven’t made a convincing argument against that. We fought as nearly as bad as my folks did; and nearly as often.
I’m pretty sure that he has his own share of troubles with his parents. While I don’t think that they constantly fought with each other like my parents, I know they didn’t get along as well as two people in love should. Was that why he was hesitant to tell me how he felt about me?
As I opened the door to my room, I glanced out at the full moon shining in the sky. It didn’t really register as my thoughts centered around my realization. Somehow, it seemed that I had always known that’s what was holding me back, and yet it was an eye-opening experience.
Suddenly, my cell phone rang again.
"Yumi!" came Jeremie’s voice on the other line. "Where are you?"
"Trying to get out of my house," I replied.
"Hurry!" he ushered. "Odd’s been devirtualized and Ulrich and Aelita hardly have any life points left. The first protective layer on the core already blew and XANA still has a large army firing at it."
"I’m on my way."
I knew I’d have to think about this later. At that moment, the safety of the world was resting in the palm of my hands.
Ulrich and I would have to wait.