Chapter 1:

Iwasaki Hitoshi

Commonplace Within

“So, do you have anyone you like?”Bookmark here

Being a highschool student, it’s inevitable for people to talk about romance. While romance may start anytime, it’s usually when you’re highschool that it starts to bloom. Bookmark here

It can’t be helped if one were to be curious about it. Who does your friend like? And for you, who do you like? Who does your crush like? It may seem simple, but the path is filled with endless zigs and zags that ultimately makes romance unpredictable. Bookmark here

Of course, I'm one of those highschool teens who are currently diving into this challenge. Bookmark here

It started during our entrance ceremony. I'm no one but an average person, lost within the way. Since I transferred to this area for my highschool, I'm still a fresh green leaf, just about wandering where I am supposed to go. Bookmark here

"Ah, I think I'm lost." Bookmark here

It should be easy to go towards the school, but given the many streets and tall buildings around, I can't navigate it that simply. Bookmark here

"I really should install maps next time." Bookmark here

I was about to ask a stranger when suddenly, someone approached me. Bookmark here

"Are you okay?" Bookmark here

She was by herself, but she seemed way more composed than I do. Her blouse had a blue collar, indicating that she's a first-year student like me, so she must be new at this school as well. However, she seemed like she's already familiar with the place.Bookmark here

"She must be well-prepared.", I thought to myself. Bookmark here

No, wait. I'm just a dumbass for not preparing. However, when you go from one place to another, events like this aren't really unusual. More than her calm demeanor, I was brought in by her kind aura and smooth voice. She had a purple hair color, same as the color of her eyes. Bookmark here

"Uhm, I'm actually lost." Bookmark here

Being the awkward airhead I am, I simply admitted to her my difficulty. Bookmark here

She gave me a warm smile. Bookmark here

"Oh, it's okay. We’re both first-years, right? Let’s go together then.”Bookmark here

Immediately recognizing that I’m at the same school as her, she offered to guide me instead.Bookmark here

“Thank you very much.”Bookmark here

I gave a polite bow and walked alongside her. We didn’t really talk to each other aside from the simple greeting we did. We passed by some students who were on their way to TK Academy as well, and one thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people were staring at her.Bookmark here

Given her beauty and figure, that’s just obvious. It’d be no brainer why these people would stare at her. I don’t really know what her overall personality is like, aside from the kindness she has shown, but I can tell that she’ll be a popular person right away.Bookmark here

When that happens, I probably won’t be able to converse with her, much more greet her like what happened today. I won’t be able to approach her.Bookmark here

I think that I started to become interested at her from that time, but the more I thought about her, I realized that I ended up wanting to see her everyday, checking what she’s doing, looking out for her when I walk through the hallway. Not the stalker kind, of course, but just when I pass by her. We ended up in the same class. Class 1-1, and the school year progressed without me being able to approach her.Bookmark here

I was gonna ask her name before we parted ways on the gym, but to my surprise, we were classmates. Because of that, I became even more hesitant, and just found out her name on the class introductions.Bookmark here

Hironaka Kazumi. A name I will remember. A simple gesture shown, yet a thousand words introduced itself which I wasn’t able to convey.Bookmark here

That was a year ago.Bookmark here

Now, I’m a second-year student, and it was time for us to check what respective class we are in.Bookmark here

My friends, Asato Toshio and Funai Akio were with me.Bookmark here

“Ahhh, do you think we’ll be in the same class again? I’d really hate to be separated with you guysss~”Bookmark here

Toshio is the glue of our group, the cheerful person who always introduces topics and funny things to talk about. Akio is a reserved person like me, but he can speak his thoughts without restraint. As for me, I can converse normally, but hesitant to speak for myself because I’m afraid that people may judge me. I’m still working on being able to improve on that.Bookmark here

“Just chill, Toshio. We’ll see shortly.”Bookmark here

There were a lot of people in front of us, so we had to squeeze in just to get to the front and see the list on the bulletin board. Toshio was anxious about the three of us being separated. I was also anxious about it, but in the back of my head, I was anxious about one more thing. That is, ‘her’ being on a different class. It’s selfish, but it’s a crystal-clear thought that I’m aware of. I hope she’s in the same class as me this school year. Bookmark here

Fortunately—Bookmark here

“Oh, would you look at that. There’s my name, there’s Hitoshi, then where are you? Oh, you might be on Class 2.”Bookmark here

“Nooo!”Bookmark here

Hitoshi, that is me. Iwasaki Hitoshi.Bookmark here

It turns out, I’m in the same class as Akio. As for Toshio, I already saw his name on the list. His name is located a bit below. Akio’s just making fun of him.Bookmark here

“Ah, there! I saw my name! Ha!”Bookmark here

“Well, that’s it then.”Bookmark here

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“What do you mean “that’s it”? You were totally jinxing me!”Bookmark here

They continued on their banter while I was searching for the name of the girl I’m looking forward to seeing again.Bookmark here

“Hironaka Kazumi”.Bookmark here

Akio and my name were around the middle, while Toshio was way below it. Hironaka-san meanwhile, was at the third spot. To clarify, this wasn’t arranged according to school rankings. Some of my classmates last year were transferred to different classes. That means, we were just incredibly lucky that we weren’t separated. This is the best-case scenario for me and them.Bookmark here

“Oh, Hironaka-san and Yano-san are also in the same class.”Bookmark here

Toshio was surprised to see that Hironaka-san, the girl that you could say I have a crush on, and Yano Haruka-san, her childhood friend, were also in the same class as ours.Bookmark here

However, the same dilemma will simply present itself. It’s simply unrequited. Wait, why am I already thinking that? I haven’t even confessed yet, so there’s no way it’s unrequited. Also, what am I even saying, there’s no chance that she’ll even be attracted to someone like me.Bookmark here

What am I supposed to do from here?Bookmark here

Talk to her?Bookmark here

Approach her?Bookmark here

Start a conversation with her?Bookmark here

Toshio is good friends with Yano and Hironaka-san because of his cheeky attitude that lets him socialize with anyone. Of course, Akio and I were with him almost all of the time, so you could say that we’re also part of the circle. However, despite the short distance that’s present, I never had the courage to talk to Hironaka-san. You don’t even need to say it. I’ll admit it myself. I’m a coward.Bookmark here

I don’t know if both of them know that I like Hironaka-san, but even if they do, I think it won’t be a problem since I trust the both of them. Perhaps they’ll even support me. However, come on, how can reaching a conclusion where I’m with her even be realistic? I’m just a person who’s not within the sights of people. For someone as academically inclined and popular as her to notice me, I can’t even imagine how that will work.Bookmark here

The three of us walked towards our assigned classroom labeled “Class 2-1”.Bookmark here

It was time for homeroom, as well as for our seating arrangement to be finalized by our adviser.Bookmark here

A lot of my classmates, particularly the boys, were mumbling about who’ll get seated alongside Hironaka-san. Meanwhile, the girls were also mumbling about the same thing, but with a different purpose than the boys.Bookmark here

The boys wanted to be closer with her because like me, they probably have a crush on her as well, or they’re just simply attracted to her. I don’t really know what the line is between the two, but anyways, as for the girls, they want to seat closer to her simply to befriend her, as well as to sponge off her knowledge and notes. Well, I didn’t mean that in a bad way.Bookmark here

Given that she’s a diligent student, and being the first-ranked almost all of the time in our monthly exam last school year, her popularity skyrocketed. You see, what people call ‘beauty’ isn’t the only thing that attracts a person. Personally, I think it would be more from their personality, as well as perception of life. Included in there is the ‘intelligence’ of the person.Bookmark here

So, with her being the Top 1, she immediately garnered fans from boys and girls alike. In my opinion, there are other girls who are also or if not, prettier than her, and they have a lot of people pining over them as well. However, that doesn’t really matter for me. Bookmark here

Simply put, some girls want to get closer to her because they want to be able to learn more so that they’ll be able to show-off in exams as well. Definitely, they also want to be popular and for boys to like them. As for the reason why, I have no idea.Bookmark here

“I hope I’ll be able to seat with her.”, said one boy.Bookmark here

I share the same sentiment, of course. There are a total of 30 students in each class, and for our particular class 2-1, we have 16 boys and 14 girls. Since boys and girls alike can be seated beside each other, that means that I have ‘1 out of 29’ chances for me to be seated beside her. I’d say, I wouldn’t even pin my hopes in winning since I can’t even expect I’ll win with the given probability. Bookmark here

…..Bookmark here

Then, her turn came up.Bookmark here

“Hironaka.”Bookmark here

That means, the next name that will be called will be the person that will seat next to her. I kept hoping the name that would be called is me, but I also wanted to cover my ears over how nervous I was.Bookmark here

“Iwasaki.”Bookmark here

I was like, “What?”Bookmark here

My name was called. Everything felt unreal at the moment. I know I’m exaggerating. It’s just the seating arrangement, but do you have any idea how it feels to be seated with the person you like? I actually have no idea. Even I can’t explain why I feel this way at all. I heard the boys’ sigh of exasperation as I went on to my seat.Bookmark here

I took a glance at her, and she glanced right back at me. Our eyes had contact, and suddenly, I couldn’t contain my embarrassment over what kind of expression I might be making, so I immediately looked the other way. I might be beet red right now. I can’t let her see that!Bookmark here

I’m sure romance is in a lot of these people’s minds as well, just like how the unsuspecting me suddenly got infected with it. Inexperienced as I may be, this is my story on how I’ll tread this path that’s unknown to me yet.Bookmark here

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Because I was all shy last year, despite the fact that we were classmates and that Toshio was able to converse with her and Yano-san, I never approached her. It was just luck that we were classmates again this year, but more than that, we even became seatmates. If I let this chance slip by, I might never have the chance again. That’s why, given how fate arranged it, I must do my best.Bookmark here

Takahashi  Eien
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