Chapter 8:


Skipped a Beat

Aaah, I don't know what to do, watch anime or prepare for the exams, because exams are coming next month, on 8th July.

It's 3rd June, Monday. I'm on my way to school, on foot. I normally walk to school because I don't like riding a bike but, I have to use it when I'm late.

Lately, I haven't been able to watch much anime because the thought of Sachi outrivalling me in exams is bugging me. Because she's the only one that could top me in class.

I have to study but I want to watch anime too. But I shouldn't think about it that much because I always study and get 1st position anyway when the exams are really near.

I'm here at 08: 18, and as usual, Eiji and Sachi are there. And surprisingly, Hina too… she must have stayed up all night watching anime again.

"Yo! Eiji, Sachi, Hina"

"Good morning Takahashi"

"How's Hina here this early?"

"She watched anime" (Sachi)

"Another all-nighter?"

"No, it was a movie"

"So how…?"

"I… couldn't sleep after watching that movie" (Hina)

"What? Why?"

"The ending was so sad…" (Hina)

"And… "

"She was crying all night, she couldn't sleep." (Sachi)


"Ha ha…. Yes..." (Hina)

"Why? Who would cry on anime?"

"Hey, it is a pretty emotional movie you know." (Sachi)

"Well, if you know that it's an emotional movie, then Don't recommend it to her"

"I didn't recommend, we watched it together, last night"


"It was my second time though..."

"Where did you watch it?"

"At my house, I asked her to come so that she could help me with studies, and watching that movie was the reward of solving a number of questions without her help" (Hina)

"Ok… come to think of it, exams are nearby. How are you guys at studies? I mean, I Know that Sachi's really good, can even surpass me, and that Hina sucks A LOT (Hina says out loud: HEY!) And Eiji's pretty average. But I have never seen your test scores. How are they?"

"98 out of 100 in the last Maths test" (Sachi)

"74 in that test" (Eiji)

"And…. Hina?"

"Aa… haha… it's really bad..."

"How bad?"

"33" (Sachi)

"HEY!" (Hina)

"Oh… how do you plan to pass the first term exams?"

"With the help of Sachi, that's why I asked her to help me study"

"But she can't learn anything… she's too hopeless"

"Hey! Don't say that. It will take time, but I can get better. I did solve those questions you know"

"Yeah, but not totally by yourself"

"Hey…. Don't tell them that..."

"Wasn't the condition to watch a movie if she solved some questions without your help Sachi?"

"Yeah, but when I said that you couldn't solve them on your own… she begged me to____"

"WHY are you telling them everything? Stop!"

"Because I wanted to ask for help, I want to see if you can study better if Takahashi teaches you"

"Huh..." (Hina and Takahashi)

"Yes, Takahashi. You can teach her, can't you?"

"No, I'm not going to have another girl over for studies"

"who told you she's coming to your house idiot. You'll help her after school today, in the library. Here at school"

"Oh… but Hina? Is she ok with that?"

"Yeah… I guess. I don't know but it might help, getting someone else to teach me" (Hina)

"So, it's settled then. I'll be going home after school ends then, YES!" (Sachi)

"No! Sachi, you'll help Eiji" (Takahashi)


"Yes, Takahashi was supposed to help me with some topics I can't understand. But now that he's going to be helping Hina. You should help me." (Eiji)

"Oh… ok… I guess. I can't deny it then..."

"Yes, you can't. So don't try to run off on your own to watch anime. I'm stuck, so you should be too… we are friends after all right? Friends help each other in need " (Takahashi)

"Yes, we are friends… Haha..."

"It's settled then, I'll help Hina and Sachi will help Eiji after school"

"Ughh… yes..."

Hours have passed and it's 15: 30 now, we are all heading towards the library. It's my first time helping someone with studies after a long time. I hope I don't get nervous or anything. Yeah, I won't. We are just friends. And it's not weird to help a friend. Everything's going to be just fine
"DAMN IT HINA! the formula I just told you, two minutes ago. How can you forget that? And you just used it in the previous question. It's on the same page. You can't even look at that? Sachi's a real bastard, handing me over this dolt..."

"Hey, I told you I'll get better. And I didn't know if I could use the same formula or not..."

"What did you do in the previous question?"

"Convert Degree into radian..."

"Yes, what does this question ask you to do?"

"Convert Degree Into rad… oh I got it… wait I'll solve it. I can do it now"

"Ah… ok. An elementary school student could do these questions if I tell them the formula, it's that simple. How did you graduate middle school anyway?"

"I don't know, luck I guess?"

"Ah… why do cliché characters like you have to exist in real life?"

"Huh… what's that?"

"I mean, in anime. Ok. But in real life why?"

"Not everyone's supposed to be a genius like you."

"And I haven't seen anyone like you ever before either"


"Just focus on the book."

"Yes senpai!"

"...aaaah. how's Eiji doing Sachi?"

"Better than Hina" (Sachi)

"Well, that was obvious"

"He picks up really fast, I don't need to explain anything that much, I just point, and he studies and understand"

"Lucky you… I'm stuck with her"

"You can't let her fail, can you?"

"I knoooooow!"

"Good! (grin)"

18: 00. We are heading back to our homes. 

Sigh… I didn't think Hina was that dumb. Next time, Sachi's helping her. I'm not going to tutor her ever again...

14th June, Friday. it’s recess right now. We are outside the school building right now
Test results came today, and as expected, Sachi got 96, I got 99, Eiji 83, and Hina…. failed… 47, but it was an improvement so I’m not that mad at her. And besides, she's not my problem now. Because Sachi's going to help her in studies from now on anyway. And Sachi's mad at Hina for failing…

"But I improved, and it's really close to passing too, next time I'll definitely pass, so just help me, ok?"

"Do you know how hard it is to teach you, I don't want to go through any of that ever again" (Sachi)

"Yeah, me neither" (Takahashi)

“But I have to give the retest, who’s going to help me with that?”

“Ask Eiji”

“Eiji, will you?”

“… (Eiji looks away)”

“Nooooo, how am I supposed to pass… Sachi, please”

“ughh… no”


“Umm, only if you buy me ice cream”



“Really? you are going to make her pay for helping her with studies…” (Takahashi)

“it’s ice cream, and she agreed to it”

“Its fine, at least she’s helping, you didn’t even bother” (Hina)



“When’s the retest?” (Sachi)

“Next week, Tuesday”

“Then you have a lot of time to study for it, I’ll be coming over Tomorrow”

“Why not tonight? You can stay over if you want”

“You probably just want to watch movies with me”


“Nope, I’ll come over on Saturday”

“Ugh…Fine, I was thinking of studying too you know”

“Yeah yeah”

“Recess is about to end, let’s go back to our class” (Eiji)

“Yeah” (Everyone)

(After school, Eiji and Takahasi talking while on their way to the store)

“Hey, Takahashi”


“I’m pretty sure Hina didn’t notice this yet, but her retest is on the same day as her birthday”

“What… really. On 18th June?”


“Does Sachi know?”

“I don’t know, you can ask her if she knows her birthday”

“I’ll message her”

To Sachi: Hey, did you know that Hina’s birthday is on 18th, her retest day? “Sent it”

“I wonder what Sachi’s reaction will be” (Eiji)

“Yeah… oh she’s calling”

*Picks up the call*


“Aaaaahh, DON’T shout in the mic, idiot. Felt like my ear was going to blow up” (Takahashi)

“Sorry sorry, but yeah, I didn’t know her birthday was on 18th, and the funny thing is, she didn’t notice that either, even though it’s her birthday”

(Takahashi switches to speaker call)

“Hey! It’s not a big deal, stop laughing so much, I just didn’t pay much attention to the retest date” (Hina)

“Yeah, but you’ll be studying, no celebration haha…” (Sachi)

“it’s fine, we can do that later”

“Ohhh, Hina’s serious about studies” (Eiji)

“of course, I would be, don’t want to fail first term exams”


“What’s your age Hina?” (Takahashi)

“I’m… 15”

“So young, in second year? Maybe that’s why you can’t study well, it’s too hard for you”

“No, she just doesn’t really want to study. Playing around reading manga and watching anime is what interests her more” (Eiji)

“But you started watching anime recently, your grades have been bad since way long” (Takahashi)

“No, I used to read some manga and play video games before” (Hina)

“Oh, I see” (Takahashi)

“Well, I’ll be hanging up, thanks for telling me this” (Sachi)

“Yeah, bye” (Takahashi)

“By the way, did you know or Eiji told you” (Sachi)

“Eiji told me, and he did say that she probably hasn’t even noticed yet”

“Haha, she didn’t”

“Ughhhh, hang up already” (Hina)


*Call ended*

That was nice, I think first time we talked on the phone.

Now, I hope she does study for the test and doesn’t fail again. The store’s here. Let’s just see what happens on Tuesday.

(17th June, Monday. Takahashi enters the class)

“Hi Sachi… what’s wrong? You don’t look ok…”

“Spent last night helping her, ate a lot of ice creams… she still is nowhere near passing”

“Oh, and the test is tomorrow”

“Yeah… and now, she doesn’t want my help anymore”

“Huh… why?”

“She ran out of money…”

“What… just help her, stop eating ice cream from her money”

“Nah, no ice cream. No helping her. Plus, she said that she’ll try her best on her own. Doesn’t want to bother me anymore”

“Oh… I see”

“Yeah, and here she comes”

“Good morning everyone” (Hina)

“Good morning!” (Sachi, Takahashi, Eiji)

“How’s you preparation for the test Hina?” (Takahashi)

“Its… not that good”

“Want me to help you with anything?” (Takahashi)

“No, its fine, I’ll do something about it, by myself. Don’t want to bother you guys anymore, you get annoyed by me anyways”

“No, it’s fine. I don’t mind helping right now, I don’t want you to fail”

“Don’t worry, I won’t”

“How?” (Sachi)

“I’ll focus only on my books. Won’t watch anime today”

“Can you? Because last night when I went out, I heard you started watching anime… it was loud” (Hina)

“Oh… I was relaxing. Got tired of studying”

“It was 12 at midnight… you should have gone to sleep”

“I did, after a little while”

“Well, if she says she can focus, maybe she will.” (Eiji)

“I will, don’t worry” (Hina)

“Homerooms about to start” (Takahashi)

it’s been some days since Hina took the test, today’s 24th. I am on my way to school on foot right now. Exams are two weeks from now. I have also been studying for the exams and I’m confident that I can pass easily, but I have to stay sharp because Sachi can also get better marks than me. I wonder how others are doing. Oh, that’s Eiji

“Eiji, Good morning”

“Good morning!”

“What do you think, will she pass or not?”

“I don’t know really, but I hope she passes. Exams are near too. She needs to study for that too”

“Yeah, I was thinking of a study group sometimes next weekend, Exam’s on 8th.”

“Yeah, that sounds nice, we’ll discuss it with others and see what they have to say”


“Want to bet whether Hina is in class or not?”

“I say she isn’t”

“Yeah, same”

“What’s the point of the bet, she is mostly late in the class anyways”

“I know, but let’s just see if she is here or not”

“You… hiding something?”

“Haha, no, I’m not”

“We are here”

“Yeah… and Sachi’s not here either”

“Weird, normally she’s early”


“Well, let’s just wait… they’ll come.”

It’s been 30 minutes, and they are both not here yet, wonder if they were watching anime till late again. Homerooms almost finished now.

“Takahashi, look. They came”

“So late, they are out of breath, must have run all the way to the class”

“So, I guess they overslept”

“What do you mean?”

“They’ll explain”

“Morning guys!” (Sachi and Hina panting)

“Good morning, what happened?” (Takahashi)

“Nothing, just couldn’t get up at time because we slept late last night” (Sachi)


“No, helping hina for the exams and anime”

“She’s going to run out of money again…”

“No, not this time, she’s helping me free of cost, no charges” (Hina)

“Wow, really?”

“Yeah, and didn’t want her to feel like left behind in studies, so I offered to help myself” (Sachi)

“That’s nice”

“Yeah, I feel like I can pass the exams easily like this” (Hina)

“Not now, you still have a lot to learn” (Sachi)

“I know, but I will, by the time exams come”

“Takahashi was thinking of group studying somewhere” (Eiji)

“Oh, really? That would be awesome!”

“Yeah, next weekend. But where?” (Eiji)

“What about at your place, Takahashi?” (Sachi)

“No… you know why”

“But it will be fine if it’s with us.”

“What’s wrong?” (Eiji)

“Oh, nothing. Just something that happened in the past”

“What?” (Eiji and Hina curious)

“It was nothing, don’t want to talk about it now, maybe sometime later”

“Okay…” (Eiji)

“So, at your house?” (Sachi)

“It doesn’t have to be a house; we can go to a library too you know” (Eiji)

“No, it’s fine, you guys can come over for studying”

“Yayyyy!” (Sachi)

“What’s with the excitement…”

“Nothing… hehe”

“When are you getting your retest result back Hina?” (Takahashi)

“I don’t know, probably today”

“I see”

(After school)

“Another day gone, just like that” (Sachi)

“Yeah, and who knew Hina was going to pass that test, and with average marks” (Takahashi)

“Yeah, first time I got 73 in Maths”

“That’s amazing” (Eiji)

“What do you think, are you prepared for the exams?” (Sachi)

“Now, I feel more confident, like I can do it, I can pass easily, with Sachi’s help of course”

“You passed this one almost by yourself”

“I know right, I’m surprised by myself too”

“If you put more effort into studying, you might surpass me Hina” (Eiji)

“Yeah, maybe I will”

"I’m joking though, I’m not going to let you get more marks than me, I’m going to hard work too”

“Whatever, I’ll win”

“we’ll see”

“Eiji’s still better” (Sachi and Takahashi said in unison)

“Heyyy!!!” (Hina)

“Haha” (Eiji, Sachi and Takahashi chuckle)

“We should get going now, or we’ll be late for work” (Eiji)

“Yeah, See you tomorrow” (Sachi)

“Bye” (Takahashi)

Everyone’s really hyped for the exams. Oh, I forgot to ask Eiji how he knew about them being late, he must have talked with Hina or Sachi

“Hey Eiji”


“How did you know about them staying over and studying?”

“Hina told me”

“I knew it”

“There’s something else too”


“Why Hina is so focused on studying”

“Oh yeah, I did notice she’s a lil better than before, probably because Sachi’s helping her”

“Yes, but no”


“Sachi told Hina that if she gets average 70 plus marks in all subjects, she’ll treat her to all the ice cream she ate off of her money”

“hahaha, That’s nice, so that’s what is driving Hina to study better”


“What about you?”


“Your preparation for exams, how is it?”

“Oh, it’s fine”

“I see, tell me if you need help with anything, I’ll help you”

“Ok, thanks”

(6th July, Saturday)

*Bell rings

Huh… what time is it? 9: 30… who would be here this early in the morning. Oh wait… I invited them to study over at my house. And I completely forgot about it…
They are here, what do I do, I’m still in my sleeping suite and my rooms a mess. I think, not that messy. Maybe all high school student’s room is like this… yeah, its fine. I should go down

What the…

“Takahashi, which one these two is your girlfriend?” (Takahashi’s mom asking with a smile)

“It’s me” (Sachi)


“Oh, you should have told me, you have such a beautiful girlfriend” (Takahashi’s mom)

“No, she isn’t my girlfriend. Sachi, you don’t have to pretend here…”

“Why not… it’s fun. And look, your moms happy that someone like me is your girlfriend”

“You aren’t…” (Takahashi pissed)

“And who are you two?”

“Good morning Takahashi’s mom, I’m Eiji”


“Lovers?” (Takahashi’s mom)

“NO NO, just friends” (Hina and Eiji reply)

“Haha, I see”

“Mom! Stop asking embarrassing questions”

“Ok ok… you guys go upstairs; I’ll bring something to eat later”

“Okay” (Hina, Eiji and Sachi)

Takahashi: they must be thinking that I have a weird mom. She really likes to joke about that stuff. Well, whatever. My room’s going to be more of a big surprise. Let’s see what they think

“Aah, It’s so messy” (Hina)

“You think this is messy? You should have checked mine, this is nothing” (Sachi)

“Haha, I’m sure you both can’t win against me, mine’s probably a more mess than yours” (Eiji)

“Mine’s always clean…” (Hina)

“You guys are seriously competing over who’s room is messier *facepalm” (Takahashi)

“Whatever, you still lose” (Sachi)

“I don’t care. Let me just clean it up a lil” (Takahashi)

“we’ll help”

“No, it’s fine, you guys sit there”

These guys are unbelievable…

“What do you want to start with first?” (Takahashi)

“Maths” “History” “Whatever you guys decide on” (Sachi, Takahashi and Eiji)

“Why not History? It’s History’s exam on Monday” (Takahashi)

“Yeah, but Hina needs to study Maths more”

“I guess, maths then.”

“yeah” (Sachi)

“Yeah, I’m fine with that too” (Eiji)


Just like that, the whole day passes by. And surprisingly, instead of wasting time, we actually got somewhere. Like, Hina’s bases are really good now, in Maths. Though, I noticed that Eiji was struggling with a lot of questions we have studied a long time ago. It was like he hasn’t been practicing. I should have asked but didn’t give it a second thought. I’ll ask sometime later. For now, I got to sleep.

(8th July, Monday)

I couldn’t get much sleep because I had to stay up late preparing and now, I feel like sleeping. I’m in class right now. Every one’s here. Not as much sleepy as me though. They are about to distribute the paper. I hope everything goes well today.

(19th July, Friday)

“Mannnn! That was something” (Sachi)

“Yeah, now summer vacations” (Eiji)

“Yes, so don’t talk about exams, I need to relax and watch anime now” (Hina)

“I think you have improved a lot in this term, you seem confident about what you attempted in exams” (Takahashi)

“Yeah, I did improve a lot. Thanks to Sachi”

“And if you get 70 above, I have to pay back for the ice cream” (Sachi)

“I will, don’t worry, Hehe”

“Now that the summer vacations have started, what do you guys say, when we should go meet Aoi?” (Takahashi)

“What about next week?” (Sachi)

“Not during the week, who knows if she has school or not”

“Hina can ask her” (Sachi)

“Yeah, I’ll contact her” (Hina)

“For now, let’s just go home, we can talk about this over the phones on weekend” (Eiji)

Takahashi: Eiji has been weird lately, I wonder what’s bothering him, I quit around the time exams started and Eiji doesn't have to go to the store. Maybe I should ask him now

“Yeah, we should be going now” (Sachi)

“You guys go, I’ll come back later, I have something to talk about with Eiji” (Takahashi)

“You do?” (Eiji)

“Yeah, come with me, Bye guys” (Takahashi)

“Bye…” (Hina and Sachi)

Sachi: What was that? Wonder what they want to talk about…

Sachi and Hina walk away on the way to their homes. And I start walking with Eiji

“Hey, you are going the opposite way from your house…” (Eiji)

“Yeah, I know. But tell me, something is wrong, isn’t it?”

“Nothing’s wrong, really”

“You feel different, something’s bothering you”

“It was just the exam’s stress. Really, I’m fine”



“Then tell me, how you did on your exams?”

“…Not that good actually”


“Something’s been on my mind from sometime now”

“What is it?”


“What about her?”

“Ever since you decided to go meet her in summer vacation, I have been thinking about whether I should or shouldn't talk about my feelings, and even if I do confess, how?”

“Hina told you?”


“Why are you worrying about that. You’ll know what to do when the time comes”

“I don’t know though. I don’t want to confess because I’m afraid of rejection. But I want to tell her about these feelings because maybe she felt a little bit same? I don’t know what I’m hoping for. She just broke up with you. Thinking that I can confess now, I shouldn’t. but…”

“I understand but thinking like this won’t get you anywhere. Have you talked about this with anyone else?”

“No, I haven’t”

“I see. Well, it’s totally up to you what you want to do. But don’t do something you’ll regret later”

“Whether I decide to confess or not, I won’t regret my decision. It’s what I decided. I have to live with it”

“Yeah. Though I think it’s better not to now. Maybe sometime later. Next year or something”

“Yeah, I’m thinking the same, now is not the right time”

“Yeah… Well, I’ll be going now. Don’t think much about it, ok?”

“Ok… I won’t”

“Good… Bye”


I never really thought Eiji was this type of guy. I guess everyone has their ups and downs. No one’s perfect after all. I should hurry back, maybe they are still on their way bac... huh… what are those two doing here… wait… they were following me?!

“Hi…” (Sachi)

“Heard?” (Takahashi)

“Yeah…” (Sachi and Hina)

“What’s wrong with you…”

“Not my fault, Hina couldn’t hear well so she got too close, and I went to her too”

“Not that… why were you guys even eavesdropping?”

“Got Curious…”

“But It’s wrong”

“We know…”

“But he shouldn’t” (Hina)

“What?” (Takahashi)

“Confess his feelings” (Hina)

“Yeah, I know. But no point in thinking about it. He’ll do what he thinks is best for him. We don’t have a say in it”

“Yeah, its best we leave it to him” (Sachi)

“I know…” (Hina)

“Hina, are you fine?” (Takahashi)

“Yeah, I’m fine”


After this, no one talked with each other on our way home. Hina was acting weird after she overheard my conversation with Eiji. Maybe she likes him or something. Well, I need to relax, exams ended. There’s a lot of time to worry about other stuff. Going back to my usual routine of watching anime till I fall asleep. Though I should change it, it’s a bad habit.

Real Aire