Chapter 3:

This Romance I Yearn For.

A Reverie for Another Eternity

"If love truly comes in all shapes and sizes, then why is mine so empty?"

- Miyori

In an abandoned classroom overlooked by bustling crowds, four girls sat around each other.

The girls were spread out; some sat at their desks, while others stood around and assumed other postures.

It was their usual routine, a meetup that had persisted throughout the long years at the academy. Sometimes, it ended without a single word, with only the taps and vibrations from their phones making any sound in the otherwise desolate classroom. Yet, merely having each others’ presence in the vicinity was comforting and enjoyable.

A tall brunette with a casual side braid spoke up, interrupting the silence.

“Hey, so are any of you guys a masochist by chance?”



“What’s that?”

The three girls slowly turned their heads towards the innocent blonde, looking at her with unsure eyes that questioned if they should explain the logistics of what they meant.

“Are you joking right now?”

“I forgot that was her character.”

“Sheesh Miyori, you really don’t know huh. That’s hilarious.”

Suddenly, the brunette had shot up from her seat, with an evil grin attached to her narrow face.

She walked over with an intentionally stupid gait and put her lips next to the innocent girl's ear.

Miyori obliged by extending her neck towards her; her right hand cupped around her ear.

“It’s when… Some like to… It’s just a play in bed really.”

The latter half of the explanation was unheard, as Miyori's ears steamed with embarrassment. She slid even lower onto her desk, face down on her desk without so much as a peep.

“I think you just killed her, Akari. You know how prude she is.”

“Yeah, it’s always cute seeing her like this.”

“Pretty sure we’re just a bad influence.”

The girl with a small slender build, a rough bob cut of black hair with green streaks, and menacing yellow eyes got up and started snuggling up against Miyori's back after seeing her wholesome embarrassment.

With Miyori short-circuited, she didn't - or rather couldn’t - respond in her usual manner to the unsolicited touching. So, the girl, unsatisfied with not getting a reaction, reached under Miyori's armpits and started fondling her c-cup breasts.

“Oh, you’re definitely getting bigger alright.”

Miyori's relaxed arms clamped down onto her sides in surprise; the ticklish sensations from her chest region serving as a warning of the situation.

“Stop mhmph!”

"Hai hai. Don't be so dramatic over a little tease."

The assailant's hands shot out under, as she innocently whistled soon after. Her eyes looked away as Miyori took a mock offense to her action, covering her arms across her chest.

“That’s what we call sexual harassment, Kaoru.”

Kaoru let out a mild chuckle in response.

A girl with auburn curls, who lazily laid sideways on the teacher's desk in front, formulated a question of her own. “Anyways, have you confessed to him yet?”

Her dark eyes penetrated Miyori's, as life suddenly returned to her eyes full force.

The duo of loosely clothed girls huddled over a dazed blonde-haired girl with the same question in mind. In lieu of steam, bubbles now seemingly came out of her ears. It wasn’t often that she thought about something other than herself and her friends, but for once she did.

For someone like her, who was neither the smartest nor the dumbest, someone who had what would be called average talent, it was the only dream she secretly avoided and revered in silence.

At the mention of him, her cheeks turned bright pink. Once again, her friends began to question her; not that it was inherently a bad thing of course. She usually participated in almost every conversation that went down: romances that others had talked about, and dreams of the future. But, she did not want to participate in the ones involving her ideal romance. However, the very notion of wanting to hide it away was stupid since it was already obvious to everyone. Besides, they were her close friends; they had the right to tease and know her dreams just as much as she did.

But, Miyori didn’t want to talk about this particular topic about herself today. She simply wanted to continue on with the bland and uninteresting days she lived for; the topics of others' romantic interests, their futures, and academia were all of which comforted her. Maybe if she replied coolly they’d let down their pursuit.

She lowered her gaze as she pretended to be unaffected by the question.

“I think I just have to find the timing for these kinds of things.”

She had hoped that her response would’ve ended the conversation, but in a world where love was as plentiful as the untouched nature sceneries left on this earth, it was obvious that their romance-starved nagging would press on.

Akari started pulling on Miyori’s pinkened cheek as she let out a surprised yelp.

“Oh come on, you’ve been saying that for the past three years!”

“Damn chicken, tomorrow is the perfect time to confess!”

Kaoru pointed to the holographic school newspaper in the hallway, which listed the showings of the academy and its events. One of which was a bright orange infographic presenting the annual showcasing of fireworks, using live gunpowder, from last year. It was an archaic tradition from a time before hers, but the situation could possibly be romantic given the chance.

That idea was one they all shared once they got the gist of what Kaoru meant.

“It definitely could be a thing!”

“Imagine how romantic it’d be with someone as pure as her. Makes me feel squeamish.”

“Maybe it's time for us to find someone to go with besides ourselves.”

The two girls chortled at this thought.

The gang’s idea of romance was heavily influenced by the manga and Japanese light novels buried within the archives of the physical library. It was painful to search by genre for decent reads since those were lost beneath mountains of scientific articles and mass-produced journalism. Good entertainment involving romance was a rare sight in this day and age.

Miyori sighed heavily, her head lolling on her desk. It wasn’t as simple as not being able to confront one about their love from embarrassment, but rather a fear of destroying the trust and relationship that was built up prior. Even in the past when they attended the showing, all the pair did was admire the various explosions in the sky that illuminated the ground with shifty shadows. She had only realized these feelings three years into their six-year relationship after all. It was probably - no, most definitely - too late to profess her feelings. And, it was honestly discouraging that he hadn’t reciprocated her weak attempts from before.

She sighed even more deeply, her forehead in full contact with the desk, and her mind swirling with the cringe memories of these so-called attempts. She wanted to disappear like the holographic leaves who aimlessly danced in the artificial winds, disappearing at the height of its journey before hitting the ground.

Maybe this love is just meant to burn without requiting.

“Guys stop pestering her about it. She’ll do it sooner or later.”

The trio turns back to the girl with auburn-colored curls, now cockily sucking on a fat lollipop.

“Mitchii, you’re not supposed to eat indoors.”

“Yes yes, but let's not get off-topic here.”

She took a pause from sucking; the strand of spit glistened as a loud popping sound echoed throughout the classroom. Her knitted eyebrows formed a sadistic expression at the thought of her next words.

“But seriously Miyori, if you don’t do it, then some other girl is gonna snatch him up.” Miyori gulped at the horrifying prospect. “Maybe someone like me~” She gave a sarcastic wink at the obviously agitated Miyori. “I kid, I kid.”

A pause ensued as Miyori realized how defenseless she was. “I-it's not like I care or anything.”

She could feel her friends smirk at this tease as her face became flushed with embarrassment.

But, there was an ounce of truth to what she said. If Miyori were to never go past the notion of family in exchange for her ideal love and relationship, then she’d never be able to fulfill that longing wish of hers. 

“You know what, fine. I will do it today. I’ll ask him out for the fireworks viewing tomorrow.”

Her friends stopped in surprise, soon filling the room with loud cheers and nods of agreement.

“You totally got this!”

“Took you long enough.”

The bell interrupted their celebration, a reminder to go to their next class.

“Don’t screw it up”

“Don’t forget about the fireworks show.”

One after another, they left the class, until it was only Michiru and Miyori who remained.

Michiru stopped in the doorway, her right hand pressed firmly against the right side, seemingly lamenting about something.

Miyori, however, was too caught up in her own thoughts to properly observe her friend's conspicuously erratic behavior.

For a few moments, nothing happened; the classroom was dead silent.

As her hand slowly slid down, Michiru let out a melancholic sigh. “You know. I really am happy for you."

"Hope everything goes well.”

Unhearing of Michiru's defeated words and brisk departure, Miyori's eyes were glazed in a unison of fear, panic, and excitement for what was to come.

I will do it. I WILL DO IT.

Those were the thoughts that screamed repeatedly in her mind, blocking out anything she might've learned in the day as the last period began to wrap up with the usual questioning from its usual students.

Usually, she was never concerned with what her friends said about her and her feelings, but as the period went on, she thought more and more about the validity of that rash decision; as if her feelings were only speaking out in pure limerence without a drop of genuine, agape love. Her emotional turmoil was comparable to typical textbook romances.

Let's see… Asking him out for the fireworks viewing and for someone to tell him to meet me back here today.

She remembered asking Takeshi after the end of the second to last period to fetch Takumi for her. The three of them were very good friends who hung out every day till a year ago, when he had suddenly stopped coming to mess around with the two. Despite this hiatus, she harbored no ill-will or suspicion of Takeshi and his reasons for doing so.

After all, it only meant more time for the two to spend alone

Only one thing left to do...

The bell rang ominously once more, indicating the end of school.

The crowds that spewed onto the hallways outside grew even more lively, as every class on the floor rushed out of their classes to the extracurriculars and other important events. Everyone headed towards their expected destinations, paving the way to the things they needed to do.

Miyori sighed again, wishing she'd never made such a commitment.

In the end, she wanted to stay in that stagnant reality of hers. Never-changing, and never-moving, she would've happily continued to spend her days riding behind his back, eating the same rations under a common roof, and to live in a blissful world she could label as familiar. It was a solace she wanted to call home.

Wasn't it me who decided to live for a newer tomorrow?

Her frame leaned back against the seat, the lower back of her head hung over the top rim of the chair as her chest faced the ceiling. There, she sat alone, the thoughts of her potential rejection and ruining her current relationship being everso heart-wrenching.

Maybe it's just not meant to be...

No no no no. It must be. it would simply have to be.

Furious at her pessimism, she violently rocked her chair back and forth, wishing that her confession wouldn't go wrong.

Stop thinking so negatively, cmon. Be more optimistic. You got decent looks and a nice… body.

Miyori quickly stood up and stuck her head out through the open windows; an attempt to avoid the embarrassment that came as a form of self-preservation.

The insincere winds blew softly on her face, mocking her as she stared off into the distant cyan skies, littered with the fluttering holograms and the oddly-shaped metal structures that gazed down from above.

Though it was only a late afternoon, Miyori already knew that the blue and green hues of the familiar sky would fade to black.

She quickly snapped out of her thoughts upon hearing the encroaching footsteps to the classroom door.

Take a deep breath. Be as cool as a cucumber. You got this.

She stood strong amongst the maelstrom of emotions that cut into her emotions and nerves, waiting to be called on by him.

The footsteps in the distance became louder with each step taken towards the classroom, sending out what felt like magnitude eight earthquakes until, finally, she felt a firm presence behind her.

Or not.

“Why didn’t you meet up with me?”

The tensions that held her up throughout the day sent a jolt of electricity that coursed through every fiber of her being.

Her legs weakened, she turned around; not knowing what face she should've been making.

“Weeeeeeeell, I kinda wanted to talk about something in private y’know?”

Takumi looked slightly annoyed - scratch that - he looked very annoyed at this response.

His disappointed and degrading looks sent shivers up and down her spine. But, in a comforting way that sent pleasurable chills. Maybe she was a masochist.

Takumi sighed in annoyance.

“Wait till we go home, yeah?”

“It's urgent so… no.”

“Well? Go on.”

He suddenly started to look uncomfortable; maybe it was because of the hopeless surge that coursed throughout her body at his question.

Maybe it was because she just needed a breather.

“Would you mind walking around a bit with me?”

“I thought this was urgent?”

“It can wait.”

Seeing that he was about to complain yet again, she instinctively shot her finger up to his lips, much to the bewilderment of both him and her. Nevertheless, she didn't drop her facade and pressed onward.

“I won’t take a no for an answer~”

She did her best to put on a convincing smile.