Chapter 1:

When the Hydrangeas Bloom, Asakura Withers.

When My Ex-Girlfriend Came For a Visit, It Was Raining.

“Mind if I sit by your side?”Bookmark here

If my earphones had not fallen to the puddle earlier, I wouldn’t have been able to hear such an irrational question. It was a heavy downpour, of course. Yet, there were many seats available for this person to choose from to sit down. However, they decided to ask me, a soaked like an abandoned old dog in the rain guy who had his school uniform covered in dirt. Bookmark here

“Excuse me, can you hear me?”Bookmark here

Yes, I can, unfortunately.Bookmark here

I was pretty sure it was a girl but one cannot be sure nowadays. Watching TV has taught me that boys my age can still have a high pitched tone when talking. You can never judge a book by its cover or, in this case, a person by their voice. It was really hard to avoid their gaze as well, I could feel how slowly they kept on approaching me. It was at that moment that I understood why my little sister had a whistle with her all the time. Father sure was smart with that.Bookmark here

“I suppose I can, then.”Bookmark here

Once the aforementioned person placed their butt on the seat, I scooted right over. There were three of them, so if they came any closer I would have to resort to standing up which in the end would strike a conversation. Bookmark here

Can’t this bus come any time soon? It's way behind schedule!Bookmark here

“My, I didn’t think you were so shy.”Bookmark here

Okay, that’s the last straw.Bookmark here

“Excuse me, but—”Bookmark here

Finally facing the person, my breath was taken away.Bookmark here

A beautiful woman was curiously looking at me, her bright amethyst eyes sparkling with joy after being acknowledged by me. Her round glasses accentuated her cute well-rounded face, as well as her light green short hair. It made me remember a clear, pure meadow. Her smile was captivating and her sweet aroma of apples accentuated her mystical appearance, kinda like a fairy from fantasy books.Bookmark here

“Hi, there! It’s good to see you again!”Bookmark here

Pardon me?Bookmark here

“I-I mean, it’s good to see you paid attention to me again!” The girl bit her tongue. “Wait, no that isn’t correct either. Um, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance!” Bookmark here

I definitely don’t want to get involved with this person.Bookmark here

“First of all, your manner of speech is all over the place. Secondly, I don’t know you. Thirdly, I don’t want to get to know you. Finally, excuse my rudeness but please find another seat.” I bluntly said, expecting a response full of anger and annoyance.Bookmark here

Still, it was nothing of the sort.Bookmark here

“Why are you covered in mud?”Bookmark here

“H-Huh?” I blinked, speechless.Bookmark here

“I doubt it’s raining mud.” Bookmark here

“Mud would never fall from the sky,” I argued.Bookmark here

“Fair point.”Bookmark here

“Unless someone throws it at you from the third floor.”Bookmark here

“So that’s what happened!”Bookmark here

Crap, I was trying to be ironic and see where that got me.Bookmark here

Yes, that was the story. Sort of.Bookmark here

The rain began as a whisper in the air. The day had been beautiful and the sky was like a dome of eternal blue. The clouds had looked like airy anvils drifting under the gleaming sun. A huffing wind rose up then, stirring the trees outside the school. A tinkling sound came to every student’s ears as the first pearls of rain dropped onto the leaves. The sound was like the glassy clinking of a champagne glass, lilting and clear. A sheet of rain passed over the school building and the sound intensified. Bookmark here

The sky was now tar-black and the large clouds were moving towards the town. I heard a tapping on the window and then it became a pitter-patter. Puddles began plinking as the rainfall became heavier. It sounded like the buzzing of angry bees.Bookmark here

After everyone gathered their belongings and ran towards the exit of the school and opened their umbrellas, the clouds spat out their beads of water. Since it was summer, the rain was to be expected. However, the weather forecast had not mentioned a thing about a sudden change of climate. Especially in this quaint town out in the middle of nowhere. We only had one middle school, and a few elementary ones. All of them were not in pristine condition, so when rain happened, the students that were in charge of cleaning the classrooms had to always manage the leaks from the roofs.Bookmark here

I was one of those unlucky students that had forgotten to bring an umbrella. I mean, I brought it almost every single day due to my little sister being so pushy about it and my old man making me feel bad about saying no to her but no, today I just had to give her my umbrella since hers broke the other day. Apparently, some kids broke it as a prank. I understand why I’m a target of harassment but she has done nothing wrong.Bookmark here

She’s just a little bit odd when it comes to her senses. Call it having a high sixth sense. She always says cryptic stuff and in her school, she’s called ugly nicknames and… in any case, this is irrelevant right now.Bookmark here

Rushing under the rain, I ran below the sixth grader’s window. You see, since it’s only one middle school, we have first and second grade on the first floor, third and fourth on the second and fifth and sixth on the third. I’m a bit of a special case, which means I’m a target of bullying I guess.Bookmark here

No, I don’t have heterochromia or any unusual characteristics. I’m just a year older than everyone else. You’d think they would respect me at least a tiny bit since I’m their upperclassman but, you know how rumors work. Old ladies spreading lies about me being a problem child and such. I just got sick on the day the entrance exams were due to some circumstances the day before, that is all, and that made me be one year behind. Why must everything be so dramatic in their minds?Bookmark here

Today the prank was pretty basic and annoying. My classmates had the brilliant idea of throwing the muddy water they collected from the rain that filtered through the roof while I was running underneath the window. What angered me the most was not the fact of not having an umbrella to at least avoid some of the water but, the fact that my little sister would want to clean this mess since she would blame herself for it.Bookmark here

Now that I think about it, why did they find the prank so funny? It must’ve been super annoying to carry those buckets and throw them. I’ll never understand stupid people… like this lady over here.Bookmark here

She was still staring curiously at me, her brown dress wrinkling while she approached her face towards me. Bookmark here

Wait a second, her face towards me?Bookmark here

There they were, those pure as amethyst eyes, just like the gemstone reflecting my image in her irises. The generic appearance of a generic student. Nothing more, nothing less.Bookmark here

“You’re too close.”Bookmark here

“Sorry, I just couldn’t help it.”Bookmark here

“Anything I can help you with, ma’am?” I dared to ask. Bookmark here

Maybe she was new to the town or lost. Although it is a very small rural town. Impossible to lose your way if you ask around for directions. Bookmark here

“Ma’am? I’m a young and refined lady, I’ll have you know. I’m still at my prime being eighteen years old!” She scowled.Bookmark here

“What would an eighteen-year-old woman want from a thirteen-year-old child?” I asked when suddenly a looming thought made its way to my head. “Hold on a minute, are you into minors or something? Are you hitting on me?”Bookmark here

“Heavens no!”Bookmark here

But a massive blush overcame her face. She was lying. Blatantly so. That just raised more red flags for me to get the heck out of there, and fast. I had no other choice but to run home and for my life this time.Bookmark here

I stood up abruptly, just for her to throw herself into my abdomen.Bookmark here

“Get off me, you perverted old woman!”Bookmark here

“I’m not an old woman!!!”Bookmark here

“That’s what you're clarifying!?”Bookmark here

I managed to walk a bit, she dragging on the floor. From an outsider's perspective, we would be seen as a weird duo and labeled for life by the gossiping housewives. Luckily, since it was raining, after all, they were probably waiting for it to stop and go grocery shopping. The 4 PM special hour was quite popular.Bookmark here

“Let me go!” I kept on struggling, reaching the end of the bus station.Bookmark here

“No, I have to talk with you!” She insisted, her voice getting fiercer.Bookmark here

Still, I did not care in the slightest. She was clearly a menace. In what way? Well, she might be someone who just escaped a psychiatric hospital and confuses people or just a very, very dangerous lady who swoons minors. To be honest, the second scenario scared me the most.Bookmark here

“Well, I don’t!” I kept on going, but now she grabbed my ankle as well, making me lose my footing for a second.Bookmark here

“Asakura-kun, please listen to me!” Bookmark here

I fell.Bookmark here

I fell towards the flowerbed where all the hydrangeas, in their pretty white and pink colors, had bloomed just a few weeks ago. A flowerbed my little sister always enjoyed to come and see. Between the rain and the petals, there I laid. The suspicious woman was on top of me, and for a second there, I was unable to discern if she was crying or it was the rain.Bookmark here

After all, we had just left the small roof of the bus stop.Bookmark here

“How… I mean… how do you…?”Bookmark here

A mixture between embarrassment and seriousness overwhelmed her. Apparently, she had said something she shouldn’t have. There was no way back now.Bookmark here

“I know you. I know who you are.” She confessed, almost as a whisper.Bookmark here

“But how… I mean, it’s impossible for us to know each other. The age gap is way too much.” Trying to keep my cool, my mind searched for the most logical explanation while my heart was about to burst.Bookmark here

She took a deep breath.Bookmark here

And dropped a bomb.Bookmark here

“I am your ex-girlfriend.”Bookmark here

What?Bookmark here

“From the future.”Bookmark here

What?Bookmark here

“From another world.”Bookmark here

WHAT?Bookmark here

And thus, when hydrangeas bloom, I wither.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.