Chapter 4:

Not So Alone (Nemura)

Escaping Void


I followed him into the restaurant and watch him ordering lunch. I did the same, but only ordered some light meals (a couple of sandwiches and green tea) while continue to watch him. Nearly fifteen minutes later, the waitress arrived with a tray of food. He begin to eat it with gusto.

“So, he likes curry rice, huh? That’s very normal. I thought a rich kid would only eat extravagant food.” I said to myself. I quickly make a mental note of what I just saw. A few minutes after he's done, he organized the cutlery on the plate before heading to counter. There's literally no spillage of food or droplets of water left on his table. I see that he have good table manners. 

As he walk out from the restaurant – I immediately hides behind the bushes. I didn’t think he really sees me, but I was careful nevertheless. The truth is - I been doing this all day long and he barely even noticed. There’s no way I wanted to get caught now. 

I wonder where he’s going next?

After restaurant, Ayato Hanai continue to wonder aimlessly on the street. He suddenly stopped and make a quick turn into a bookstore. He stayed there for a couples of minutes to look at a few self-improvement books and manga. He stayed in there for about half an hour before leaving without buying anything. Then, he enters to another store. This time it's a clothing store. Another half an hour passed by and he left without buying anything again. This is the second time he did this.

Is he’s bored, perhaps?

As I was thinking to myself, Ayato already went inside a convenient store. He pick up a couple of things before heading to the counter. He and the cashier talk for a few minutes and from the looks of it; they seem to know each other. I wonder if they're friends? As I ponder with that question, he suddenly left the store and begin to walk towards the beach pier.

I followed him silently and watch him sitting on the stone. He’s looking at the sea.

I don’t know why did I start to follow Ayato, but once I started - I just couldn't help myself. Because we’re classmate and distant neighbors, I long to talk to him again. But, I also didn’t want to become a bothersome. What if he sees me and thinks I’m annoying?

But he doesn’t seem to be too preoccupied right now. Should I go and say hello to him now?

As our distance becoming closer, my heart started to beat a little faster. Ah, this is annoying... He’s just some dude from my class. Sure, Ayato had saved me a couple of times before, but it's no reason to be nervous. This is a rare chance for me to get to know him. But, what if he ignores me?  

I was about to turn my back again when I suddenly heard a voice coming from behind me.

“So, you finally came...”

I immediately turned my head around. It’s Ayato Hanai. He’s looking at me with one hand on his hip. I laugh nervously.

“He... Hello...” I said, almost inaudible. He give me a little smirk.

“How long are you gonna keep following me around?” he asked. I scratch my head and laugh again. I had been caught. What should I do now? Should I lie or just tell him the truth? I don’t want to look more suspicious to Ayato than I already am. Honestly seems like a better option.

“I’m sorry. I just wanted come by and say ‘hello’. But I missed my chance the first time. Right before I know it - I started following you all around the town. I’m really sorry for bothering you.” I said sheepishly and touches my hair. I heard Ayato left out a little sigh. I have no idea what he might think of me now, but it doesn't matter. After a moment of silence, he finally soften his expression and left out a little chuckle.

“So, you’re a stalker then?” he ask without blinking. I take a gulp down my throat.

“What? No... No I’m not. I’m sorry, Ayato-san. I don’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.” I said. He sighs.

“I was just joking... You should have come up to me earlier, you know? It’s not like I’ll bite or anything.” He added. I smiled. Of course, I know that. I was afraid he’s just going to ignore me, that's all. The embarrassment would be too much too bear.

“I’m having a little party by the rocks there. Care to join?” he eventually says. I noticed that he already open up the snacks and drinks that he purchased earlier. Considering that my mother is coming home late again and I don’t have much thing to do at home - I accepted. As soon as I sit down, Ayato quickly handed me a drink. I realize it’s a strawberry milk. I am aware by now that Ayato-san only prefers black coffee. Something tells me that this is not an accident.

“Do you come here often?” I ask him after a long silence. He nodded.

“Yeah. I come here during my off-day.”


“Oh, sorry. I guess I never mention this, huh? I work at the convenience store across the street.”

“I see... Is that why you’re friendly with the cashier guy earlier?” I ask. It’s just a simple question, but somehow it made me sound like a jealous lover. I hope Ayato didn’t see it that way though.

“You saw that, huh?” he asks calmly. I take a gulp down my throat.

“Y...yes... But, I don’t meant anything by it! I just... err... Forget I said anything.” I said and look down at my feet. I heard a faint chuckles coming from my right side.

“You’re funny.” He replied. I waited for the next line but he already turned quiet. Ah, I don’t like this... Please talk to me some more, Ayato-san. Anything to keep the conversation going.

“Do you like working there?” I finally ask him. He take another sip from his can and nodded.

“Yes. It's an honest job. The pay is not bad too."

"Did they treat you nicely? Are you friendly to all of them?" I continue to ask. Ayato look at me for a split second. Ah, darn it... So what if he is friendly to them? They are Ayato's co-workers. Why does that got to do with me?

I can't believe that I just ask him a stupid questions.

"I tried to be friendly with people that I work with. Most of them are very nice. The manager doesn’t seem too like me that much, though.”

“Oh, and why is that?”

“Well, for one thing – he didn’t think I can do the job. It's probably because I am young. He just didn't think I was that serious to work. Haha, I think he only hired me because of my height. But to be fair, he’s the manager. So, it’s only natural for him to want a person who can work properly. 

"Is that so?" I said. Ayato shakes his head before laughing.

"Sorry, I didn’t know why I’m telling you all of these things. You just look like someone who’s very easy to talk too.”

“Oh, no... You can tell me anything. I like to hear you talk, Ayato-san. Your voice... it's very cool.”

“Eh? Cool? My voice?” he ask while pointed at himself. I look down at my feet. Idiot me. Even if it's true, why did I say that? I think, cursing at myself.

“Err... Forget I just say that.” I said and quickly try to poke the straw inside of my drink. I can’t seem to do it right, so Ayato had to do it for me.

“Here.” He says. I took the drink from his hand, slightly embarrassed.

“Thank you, Ayato-san.” I said and take a sip. He leaned his back on the rock and look at the sky.

“You know... Aside from my co-worker at the store, you’re the first person I really get to talk to about these stuff. Thank you, Nemura-san.”

“Ah... please don’t mention it. Thank you talking to me too.” I said. It felt awkward as soon as I said that. Then, I heard him left out another chuckle.

“What's the matter?” I ask. He’s shaking his head.

“Sorry, I was just thinking about your name.” he replied. I frown. My name? What about it, I wonder?

“I can’t help but thinking.... It sounds like ‘sleeping’, right?” he added. My face immediately went red.

“That’s not what it meant, but yeah... I guess my name does sound like that.”

“Who gave you that name?”

“It’s was my father. I was always a sleepy baby. He thought it would be funny.”

“Is he a funny man, Nemura-san?”

“How would I know? I haven’t seen him in years.” I said, a little hostile. I look at Ayato. He seems a little taken aback. But, his eyes soften as he force a smile.

Father’s, right? Tell me about it.” He added. Then, he closes his eyes. He looks so comfortable sleeping like that. His peaceful sleeping face somehow made me feel a little warm and happy inside. Eh, wait a minute... What am I saying? What was I thinking?? Cut it out Nemura! You're going to gross this guy out!!

But his sleeping face though...  If only you could see it.

How he looks so comfortable and unaware. 

It's truly a crime, to have a face as cute and handsome as this guy. 

"Ayato-san?” I try to call him out silently. He didn’t move. Is he already asleep? I left out a little sigh. It’s so peaceful here, I really don't want to go anywhere. I also lay down besides Ayato on the rock quietly. Then, I slowly closed my eyes.

The breeze, the smell of a salty sea, and the hard rock surface... everything get mixed into one. I can feel everything happening around me, but also - nothing. For a moment, just a moment there - my mind feels free. Then suddenly, a warm and light breeze on my face. Unlike the cool sea breeze, this one feel warm and consistent. I slowly opened up my eyes...

“Ayato... san?” I said without blinking. Ayato Hanai is looking at me with faraway expression. We stay like that for a few more seconds. Suddenly, without any warning – he slowly leaned in and give me a kiss on the lips. My body felt paralyzed! All I can do is closed my eyes again and silently enjoy our first kiss together.

Ayato unexpected kiss is gentle and warm. His breath reeks of coffee he just drank, but that doesn’t bother me in a slightest. Half of my mind can’t believe that this is really happening. Ayato Hanai, the new handsome and mysterious transfer kid had just kiss me on this rock! There's no way that that could be true, right?

When I open my eyes again, I see Ayato’s eyes looking back at me.

“Did we just....” I couldn’t bring myself to say it. My body is still pinned downby Ayato-san, so I couldn’t move. He’s giving me that look again. I blink a couple more times, unsure what to say or do next.

“Can I kiss you, again?” he ask in a low voice. What a polite thing to say, especially since he didn’t ask the first time. I slowly nodded my head. My heart is going crazy inside and I probably should've said no, but I couldn't help myself. When I look at Ayato’s face, my doubt quickly melted away. Through our locked gaze, I can feel that both of us really wanted this. This isn’t a dream. Ayato Hanai really did kissed me. And he’s a very good kisser too.

So good...

As we continue to kiss, I suddenly remember where we at. I immediately pushed his body away.

“What wrong?” he ask me. I shake my head.

“We can’t do this.” I said. He looks a bit taken back.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t forced myself on you. That’s very wrong of me.”

“No... That’s not what I meant. It’s just that... We’re in a public place. Someone might sees us.”

“And... that’s a problem?”

“Well, I don't know how things are in Tokyo, but in here – what we’re doing can be considered unusual. People might talk.”

“Perhaps you’re right.” He said and put one of his hand on his knees. He’s silent again. This sucks. I don’t really want us to stop, but what else am I going too? A small town like this didn't take long for a rumor to spread. It's best if we control ourselves and didn't get too carried away.


“Yes, Nemura-san?”

“Are you perhaps... gay?” I said. I feel like wanna die when I ask him that. He looks at me for the longest time. Then, I suddenly heard him laugh. It’s probably the first time I heard it. Ayato’s laugh is loud, but also charming and had a child-like quality in it. I really like it.

“No. Why did you ask?”

“I’m just asking because... I am.”

“You what?”

“I am gay.” I said. Before he could even answer to that, a big splash of sea water suddenly hits towards our direction. Unfortunately, I am the only one who get wet. 

"What the..." I said, unable to finish my words. Ayato quickly stands up.

"Are you alright?" he asks and offered his hand to me. I nodded and take his hand. As I was inspecting my wet shirt, Ayato's looking at me.

“Your hair is wet.” he says. He is wearing a hoodie, so his hair is protected. I left out a little sigh.

“Let’s get you dry up.” he added.

“But there no towel.” I quickly replied.. He immediately removed his hoodie and give it to me.

“Here, you can use this.” He said. I take his hoodie and noticed the logo. My jaw dropped.

“But, this is.... Gucci.”

“So what?”

“So, what? So, I can’t wipe down my dirty hair with this. My hair is not worth it.”

“You’re funny, Nemura-san. It doesn’t matter what brand it is... At the end of the day, it’s just a piece of clothing. Besides,  I can always wash it again if it gets dirty. No big deal.” He said calmly. That’s bold statement coming from a rich kid. But... is it really okay if I use it this way?

“It's okay, Ayato-san... I...I'll just wear it then.” I said and put the hoodie on myself. It's almost surprising that we’re the same size. I can smell Ayato’s scent lingering on his expensive hoodie. My cheek feel hot all of the sudden.

“Huh? Why would you do that? No, you need to dry your hair now or you’ll get sick.”

“No, I won’t. I promise.”

Idiot. How can you promise something like that?” he said and left another sigh. While still wearing his hoodie, Ayato and I begin to clean up our trash. I look around and notice that the beach is pretty empty. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all for us to continue kissing. Barely anyone is here.

“I’m going home after this.” He says after we finished throwing the last trash into the recycling bin. I paused. So soon? But I still wanted to hang out with him a little more. 

No.  I shouldn't be greedy. We already talked and had snacks together. We even get far by kissing on the rock too. I’ll be greedy if I wanted more of his time.

Too greedy. 

Noticing that I had grown awfully quiet, he turned his head and look at me.

“Are you coming?” he asks. I lifted up my chin. I smile at him and nodded.

- End of Chapter 4 -

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