‘Look there! It’s shining like gold amidst red water surrounded by mountains, isn’t it miraculous?’
Huh? What is this? where am I? it’s so bright. I think it’s evening, or is it morning? I know this place, I’ve been here before. Why can’t I remember it?
‘What’s miraculous about it? It’s just normal.’
‘These ordinary things, mountains and water, and sunlight. When put together, it gives birth to such a divine sight. Just glancing at it calms your soul.’
Who is that? A girl? She looks familiar. Have I met her before? I don’t remember. And what is she talking about?
‘Calms my soul, huh?’
‘If you feel empty, depressed, or stressed, you shouldn’t stay cooped up in your room, you should come out and see the world. The vast skies, the endless oceans, dense forests, and giant lakes, there’s so much to see, the world’s so big if you look, there has to be a solution to your problems, you just have to look hard enough. If you just try to see, there are so many wonders in this world that no one could be empty. No one could be alone.’
I feel like I’ve heard all of this before, but why can’t I remember, where is this place? What am I doing here? What’s happened to me? And who is this girl? I can’t see her face clearly, looks about seven to eight years old, has short shoulder-length brown hair. Where have I seen her before? Why do I feel like I know her? What is this?
My eyes open, a familiar celling, I’m in my room, on the bed. I look at my alarm clock to see the time, it's 7 in the morning. I raise my torso and sit on the bed. My head feels heavy, heavier than usual.
It feels like I’ve been in a deep sleep. And I was having a dream, what was it about? I can’t remember. I think I saw someone, someone I knew, who was it? Who did I see? I can’t remember at all.
Still trying to recall my dream, I walk to the washroom. I fresh up, then go down to the living room for breakfast. It’s the 28th of July, and the trip starts today. We leave at 9 O clock. Everyone going on the trip is supposed to meet at the station. The third years do not get to go on school trips, they have their cram schools and extra classes at school, so sis is staying at home. I decided to go on this trip and confess my feelings to Yukawa. So, I’ll be leaving for the station after breakfast.
‘Have you packed everything you need?’
‘Yeah, I did.’
‘Good! I wish I could come too.’
‘No, you should focus on your studies, you’re in your third year.’
Yeah right, who am I advising? The topper of her class, the topper of the entire school? She might even get the best rank even if she skipped school till exams. How ridiculous. A second rank, no, now a fourth rank advising on studying to the top ranker of the whole school. She must feel the same way, why someone as pathetic as me is lecturing her to study.
‘Yeah, you’re right, but you still have time. So, enjoy your time, ok?’
‘Yeah, sure Sis.’
‘Kenzo is going too, right?’
‘Yeah, he is. He was actually pretty excited for it.’
‘Wow, that’s good to hear.’
‘Ok, I’ll be off then Sis.’
‘Ok, have fun there, all right?’
Oddly enough, even I’m excited about this trip. Although I can’t tell her that, nor can I reveal the reason for my excitement. After lecturing her to study, to her who is far superior to me. I can’t just say that I’m going on this trip to confess my love to someone. I don’t think I could tell her even if it wasn’t for that, I’d be too embarrassed.
I leave home and head for the station. The day is clear and sunny. An ideal setting for a trip. After reaching the station we’ll board shinkansen to Kyoto. Yes, our trip is to Kyoto, nothing fancy, just a normal school trip. Although I’ve been told that the hotel, we’ll be staying, however, is pretty fancy, it’s some five-star hotel with all the premium services. Not something anyone would expect from a high school trip. Well, St. Stephen’s gotta maintain its image as a premium school somehow or the other, and it’s not like they are paying for it themselves. We had to pay to be here. I don’t know what the amount was, because Dad paid it via the internet, but I assume it must have covered all the expenses. No school is so kind enough to pay for all its student’s fun time.
I decided I’d walk to the station, as it’d give my body a little morning exercise as well, like a warm-up for the coming trip. I haven’t been to Kyoto before, but I assume there’ll be a lot of places for side seeing, so I assume we’ll be walking quite a bit on this trip.
The station isn’t too far from my home, it’s within a kilometer so I reached there within about thirty minutes. Upon arrival, I found Nozomi and Tomonaga already standing there. There were other students as well but I noticed those two first. Nozomi saw me approaching and waved her hand and called out to me.
‘Hey! Akio, over here!’
‘Yeah! I’m coming!’
I walked to them, ‘Good morning both of you!’
BOTH- ‘Good Morning.’
TOMONAGA- ‘I’m surprised you’re going on the trip. Nozomi told me but I couldn’t believe it. What is wrong with you dude? After your big blunder in the exams, you’re still going on the trip. I assumed you’d be home, locked in your room, studying through the whole vacation…’
Before he could finish Nozomi smacked him in the head. Really, if it wasn’t for her, I could and would never tolerate him. I only hang around him only because he hangs around Nozomi. I kinda wished he wouldn’t go on the trip; so, I could have some peace for once. And enjoy my time with the people I like.
‘Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you.’
NOZOMI- ‘What are you talking about? Don’t listen to this dumbass! Why won’t you go on the trip? It’s your choice how you’d wanna spend your holidays.’
TOMONAGA- ‘Yeah, I mean sure buddy, spend it however you want, I was just giving a logical assumption.’
KENZO- ‘Then, your logic is retarded Tomonaga, my friend.’
Kenzo said as he walked right between us from behind. None of us noticed him until he opened his mouth.
TOMONAGA- ‘Ishiguro? When did you get here?’
KENZO- ‘Just as you were sharing your unwanted opinion.’
TOMONAGA- ‘Wha… What do you mean? I was just stating the obvious.’
KENZO- ‘That nobody asked for, hence unwanted opinion.’
TOMONAGA- ‘Wh… Why do you care, anyway? This is between Takase and me, and he doesn’t mind!’
KENZO- ‘That may be true, but I couldn’t help it, cause I can’t stand hypocrisy.’
TOMONAGA- ‘Hypocrisy? How am I being hypocritical.’
KENZO- ‘You can’t even see that? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, Afterall you are only rank six, right? Or did you advance?’
TOMONAGA- ‘Tsk... No, I’m still rank six, but so what?’
KENZO- ‘That’s exactly it! A rank six lecturing rank four about studying and going on trips? What would you call it if not hypocrisy? If you know so much, why didn’t you stayed at home studying the whole vacation?’
TOMONAGA- ‘Because… Because I’m still where I started! I may not have improved but unlike him, I didn’t deteriorate either.’
KENZO- ‘Still, he is two ranks above you. Meaning he is still ahead of you. You’re showing concern for him falling two ranks while you are still stuck on that same spot you started on. He is competing with toppers while you are still bickering among the bottom feeders. Despite that, you’re still going on the trip, and you are lecturing someone who is ahead of you, someone who’s better than you about staying at home and studying. That’s hypocrisy!’
TOMONAGA- ‘He’s not better than me!’
KENZO- ‘The results beg to differ.’
NOZOMI- ‘Enough you guys, stop fighting! Hmm… I think we should go in or the train will leave.’
KENZO- ‘Oh, don’t you worry Nozomi, we’re not fighting, besides he doesn’t mind! Right? Buddy.’
Tomonaga didn’t say a word. We all just started moving inside the station. The look on Tomonaga’s face, I’ve never seen him like this before. He was serious, every word he said he believed it to be true. This is why when he couldn’t defend his beliefs, he got angry. I know that feeling all too well anger at yourself because you can’t prove you’re right in face of facts. Tomonaga’s beliefs, that he isn’t inferior to me, he doesn’t want to accept he’s wrong. I guess that was the reason he belittled me again and again. He always believed that he was superior to me. He was not comparing me to anyone else, but himself. And he saw himself at a higher spot than me. So, when that belief was challenged, it hurt him like he always hurts me.
I’m not a sadist, I don’t feel any pleasure out of hurting people, but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy some of it at least. I didn’t expect Kenzo to take a stand for me. Just like the old days. Guess nothing’s changed, I’m still me and he’s still him. I will trust him. To boost my relationship with Yukawa.
Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen Yukawa since we came here. We are all supposed to board the same train, but I can’t see her.
We boarded the shinkansen, all four of us, yeah right four of us. Sasaki didn’t come, he decided to stay home and study. Kenzo and I sat together and Nozomi and Tomonaga sat in front of us. After what happened our usual conversation starter, Tomonaga didn’t say anything, so Nozomi decided to kick start.
NOZOMI- ‘So, are you guys excited? It’s been so long since I went on a school trip! So, I’m very excited.’
KENZO- ‘Oh yeah, I’m so excited if could I would’ve run to Kyoto five days ago.’
NOZOMI- ‘But the trip was announced before the exams, why did you pick five days specifically?’
Is that a serious question Nozomi? If he’d ran as soon as it was announced, how would he have given the exams? And if anything, even five days is too early.
KENZO- ‘Well, would you happen to know that Akio here has fallen in love.’
‘Hey! Keep it to yourself, will ya?’
NOZOMI- ‘Is that so, huh? So, your thing for Chizuru has become official now, it is?’
Both of them were looking at me with creepy smiles. It’s so embarrassing, I want to die!
TOMONAGA- ‘Seriously? You’re still going on about that? When are you gonna face reality?’
TOMONAGA- ‘Someone like you has no chance with Yukawa.’
Just what is this guy’s problem? He opens his mouth after all that time and that’s the first thing he has to say?
KENZO- ‘Oh, I didn’t know Mr. Hypocrite was still with us.’
TOMONAGA- ‘No one’s talking to you! So shut up!’
KENZO- ‘I’m afraid you’re wrong there. It’s you no one was talking to, we three were chatting amongst ourselves, then why did you open your mouth? And in case you didn’t notice, you’re interrupting our discussion.’
TOMONAGA- ‘Fine then! I’ll leave you to it. Let’s sit somewhere else Nozomi.’
NOZOMI- ‘I’m not coming with you.’
TOMONAGA- ‘What? You’re choosing him over me? Were childhood friends!’
NOZOMI- ‘You’re the one who’s in the wrong here. If you must leave, do it by yourself!’
TOMONAGA- ‘Alright then, if that’s how it is, I’ll leave you to it.’
Tomonaga left the seat and went to sit somewhere else. I know his personality, and how he always tries to make me look inferior, but this time it seemed like he was serious. Serious and hurt, even more than last time as he left, I could see it on his face. It looked like he losing something important.
KENZO- ‘You sure you’re ok with that?’
NOZOMI- ‘Yeah, it’s his own fault. I didn’t question it before because I expected he would give it up eventually. But I’m aware how he bullies Akio.’
‘No, it’s fine.’
KENZO- ‘Well, we’ll include him later when we arrive at our destination.’
NOZOMI- ‘Yeah! But never mind him, what’s the plan?’
KENZO- ‘I haven’t thought of anything yet, we’ll just have to get them some time alone, right? Can you think of a nice setting?’
NOZOMI- ‘How about a horror house? Classic!’
KENZO- ‘Nah, it’s way too overused and I think Akio will be the first one to jump out in fear.’
NOZOMI- ‘Then how about in a ride in an amusement park.’
KENZO- ‘He has motion sickness, if he puked on her face, she’ll never show her it to him or anyone else again.’
NOZOMI- ‘Could Karaoke be possible?’
KENZO- ‘The guy is from the stone age, I would be surprised if he could even name five common days albums.’
NOZOMI- ‘Damn it! Is there anything he can do?’
They both looked at me simultaneously. The look in their eyes was as if they were looking at a pitiful creature. What the hell? Is this how incompetent they think I’m. Although I can’t argue with most of what he said, still…
They continued their discussion until we arrived at our destination. Upon arriving we left the train and started to move outside the station to regroup. I didn’t see Tomonaga, maybe he went off by himself. And didn’t I see the one for whom I came here, and these two spent the last two and a half hours discussing either, I didn’t see Yukawa. I hope she came, or my coming here would be for nothing.
We regrouped outside the station and boarded buses. While standing outside, I caught a glimpse of Tomonaga. He was standing at the side amongst our other classmates. I don’t think he’s friends with them, they weren’t talking with him. But he didn’t approach us. It seems he was really hurt, but neither Nozomi nor Kenzo called for him, so I left him alone as well.
Just as I was entering the bus, I saw Yukawa. She entered after me and sat a few seats ahead of me. The bus started to move and we headed towards our hotel. On this trip, we are allowed to form groups and research whatever we like. So naturally, Nozomi, Kenzo, and I are in one group. Before we had Tomonaga as well, but now that he’s left us, I’m thinking of inviting Yukawa. The groups are supposed to consist of four to five people, so even if Tomonaga decides to join us, it won’t be a problem.
NOZOMI- ‘So, have you guys decided what we should research?’
KENZO- ‘I think we should first find out what Yukawa is planning to research, cause we need her to join our group after all.’
NOZOMI- ‘Ok, so once we arrive at the hotel, I’ll ask her?’
KENZO- ‘No, I think the initiative shouldn’t come from any of the two of us.’
Oh, shit. I don’t like where this is going.
KENZO- ‘I shouldn’t have to say this, but if you can’t even ask her something so simple, you can forget about asking her out.’
‘I can definitely ask her something so simple, how much of a wuss do you think I am.’
KENZO- ‘Is that so? Then tell me, in all the time you have talked with her, have you ever asked her anything at all?’
‘Of course, I have!’
KENZO- ‘Oh yeah, what exactly?’
‘Huh… When she walked into my room, I asked her what did she want.’
KENZO- ‘That’s it?’
NOZOMI- ‘That’s it?’
‘No… I’ve also asked her many other questions.’
KENZO- ‘I’m sure those questions must be somewhere around ‘What do you need?’, ‘What are you doing here?’, ‘What do I have to do?’ etc.’
‘Maybe yeah, but they are questions.’
KENZO- ‘Ok, since you say you’ve already done it, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to ask her right?’
Crap he got me! He lured me into a trap in which he was sure to get what he wanted.
‘Well, I don’t have problems but wouldn’t it be better if Nozomi asked her, you know girl to girl.’
NOZOMI- ‘No way, I’m with Ishiguro it has to be you.’
KENZO- ‘No buts, once we are at the hotel, you’re gonna ask her for her research topic.’
I can’t escape now, they’ve got me trapped. I’ll have to ask her. But why am I so hesitant. I mean they are right, if I can’t even ask her something so simple, I have no chance at asking her out. I have to do it, no I’ll do it.
Our conversation went on as we traveled towards our hotel. I could see a town I’ve never visited before going across through the window. It was sometime in the afternoon, the sun was on top of our heads, the mild breeze now faster thanks to the bus’s speed felt soothing on my face. It was exciting. The thought of visiting a new place excited me. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve felt this way. It’s good, it feels good.
We reached our hotel and were given our keys. I, Kenzo, Tomonaga, and another student were in room 181, and Nozomi, Yukawa, and two other girls were in room 054, one floor below us. The ground floor of the hotel was a restaurant and lodging start from the first floor. Girls were given rooms on the first floor and boys on the second.
After what had happened, I assumed Tomonaga won’t stay in the same room as us, but he did. He didn’t try talking to us, we didn’t either, He just came in, put his stuff down, and left. I didn’t know if we were still going to be in a group, but none of us said anything, so I assumed we were.
Our room was fairly decent. Four futons were laid on the ground. It had an attached bathroom and toilet. There were shelves to put our belongings on. Both I and Kenzo placed our luggage there and headed out for our tours. The teachers had allowed us to travel in the city according to our research requirements but report back before 7 P.M at the hotel.
We headed out and contacted Nozomi on the phone. Since she was in the same room as Yukawa, she was able to confirm both her location and group members. Lucky for us she wasn’t in any group yet. She told me that they were down in the restaurant having some coffee. So, we headed there as well.
When we arrived in the restaurant, I noticed Nozomi sitting at a table at a little distance in front of us with Yukawa. She noticed me as well and left her seat. I assumed she presented she has to go to the bathroom. And then she approached us.
NOZOMI- ‘Ok, you’re in the clear. She hasn’t joined any group yet, so go ask her for her research subject and invite her to join our group.’
‘Ok… but how am I supposed to ask her? Should I just say ‘What are you researching? Whatever it is come join us.’?’
KENZO- ‘Figure that out yourself, dummy! Now go there, and break a leg!’
He gave a push, as both he and Nozomi gave me a thump’s up. It’s nerve-racking. This is my first time approaching her by myself. I need to think of something right now. Because once I’m in her presence my brain will stop working again. But how should I start the conversation? All my life I’ve mostly avoided conversations, so starting one is completely out of my imagination. It’s not like I ever thought I’d need to. Why does something so simple be so frightening? Anyway, calm yourself down Akio, you can do this! Ok, I’ll start by asking her what her research topic is. But that’s exactly what I had to do from the beginning! Damn it!
With all anxiety and nervousness, I approached the girl I liked. She was having a sip of coffee as I arrived in front of her.
‘Mind if I join you?’
‘Not at all, have a seat.’
I sat down in front of her, next to the seat Nozomi had acquired previously. Now that I was in this spot, I noticed that this time more than ever before, my mental state was much calmer. I have no idea why it was, but I couldn’t be thankful enough. Now in a better state of mind, this conversation will be easier. I was still freaked out, just not as much as normal cases.
‘It’s a nice hotel they booked, huh?’
‘Yeah, it’s great!’
Ok… what now? I started a conversation but now I need to take it to the point where I can ask her my question.
‘Kyoto is a nice place, isn’t it? I’ve heard a lot about it.’
‘Sure, you did, who hasn’t?’
Yeah, I guess that was way too general.
‘Yeah, I mean, there are some really nice places to visit here.’
‘Yeah… everyone knows that. And is something wrong with you?’
‘You’re behaving a little different.’
What? Am I being this obvious? Crap gotta handle it somehow. Just try to act normally Akio, normally.
‘Different? Of course, not. I’m totally normal.’
‘Yeah, that’s more like you.’
Huh? Did I do something different? What does she mean?
‘Freaking out over little things. That’s so like you.’
What? Is that what she thinks of me?
‘What are you talking about? I don’t freak out, I mean I’m not freaking out.’
‘Yeah, right. Anyway, will you have something?’
‘Ah, no I’m fine.’
‘My coffee’s finished, wanna head out?’
‘Wait just a little while. I’m waiting for Nozomi, I wonder what’s taking her so long.’
I bet she’s thinking the same thing about me, right about now.
‘By the way what topic are you guys researching, Takase?’
Wha? She just went out asked me. It was so easy. Just like that. And I was thinking so much into it.
‘Huh… we haven’t decided yet. What are you researching?’
Was that too direct? I hope it wasn’t. This is so difficult, how do people do this so normally.
‘I plan to research the museums of Kyoto. Though I might have to change that depending on whichever group I end up in.’
‘Museums, huh? Ah… how about our group?’
‘I mean we haven’t decided our subject yet, and you’re not in any group, so if you like you could join our group and we can research museums.’
‘Really? Thanks, I’d be happy to join your group.’
She is smiling. My god, this is too much. I feel like my heart will burst. I’m flustered, I’m definitely flustered. I might even be blushing. Oh, shit gotta hide my face. But if I do, she’ll know I’m blushing. Plus, it’d be a really embarrassing thing to do in itself. Where are those two? I’ve done my part, they should come here now.
‘Is something the matter? Your face looks red.’
‘Huh? No, what are you talking about? It’s not red, it’s not even close to red. It’s not red at all. Yeah, definitely not red. It could be any color, it’s doesn’t have to be red…’
‘Ah… You’re freaking out again. What is Nozomi doing?’
As I kept my mouth running out of panic. Kenzo and Nozomi arrived at the scene.
KENZO- ‘Yo, what are you babbling about?’
‘Nothing! Nothing at all!’
YUKAWA- ‘Where were you, Nozomi? I thought you went to the bathroom. You were with Ishiguro?’
NOZOMI- ‘I stumbled across him, while I was returning. What were you two talking about?’
YUKAWA- ‘Oh, Takase had asked me to join your group, is that ok?’
NOZOMI- ‘Yeah, sure. We’ll love to have you.’
While those two were talking amongst themselves, Kenzo and I exchanged whispers.
KENZO- ‘Wow, you asked her to join our group? I never thought you had it in you.’
‘What do you mean by that? Of course, I did!’
KENZO- ‘Good for you, man! Really.’
I told them about the research topic we agreed upon and when we were done chatting. We left the restaurant and headed out. At the exit I spotted Tomonaga, already waiting for us. He still had the grumpy look on his face. What is with this guy? He’s a sore loser. He kept belittling me, but did I go grumpy about it? The same happens to him just once and this is how he reacts. Pathetic. But no one argued about him still being part of the group, so he stayed. Which meant he’ll also research the same thing as us.
TOMONAGA- ‘So, what are we researching?’
NOZOMI- ‘We’ve decided that we’d research museums.’
TOMONAGA- ‘Ok. So wanna head out now.’
NOZOMI- ‘Sure, let’s get going. And one more thing, Chizuru will also be part of our group. okay?’
TOMONAGA- ‘So you guys are dead set on going with this farse, huh?’
YUKAWA- ‘Farse? What farse?’
KENZO- ‘Oh, don’t mind him. Tomonaga here is a bit shy around girls. That’s why he’s being a little grumpy.’
TOMONAGA- ‘Keep your hands off of me, Ishiguro.’
KENZO- ‘And you keep your annoying loud mouth shut, Tomonaga.’
NOZOMI- ‘Enough guys! Let’s just get going.’
We went out. We visited several different museums, that day. I was mostly with Kenzo, while Yukawa was mostly with Nozomi. Reaching out to her myself is scarier than I thought. Kenzo and Nozomi did try many times to get us to talk. But most of them ended up being pretty casual.
When the time for the day was almost up, we were about to leave Kyoto national museum. As they tried almost the whole time, Kenzo and Nozomi had left me and Yukawa alone, they even managed to take Tomonaga with them. In their absence, I and Yukawa alone were in the art gallery looking at some paintings.
‘Look at this one Takase!’
‘It’s called Shaka Rising from the Golden Coffin.’
‘Is that so?’
‘It depicts the scene of the resurrection of the historical Buddha Sakyamuni as described in the Mahamaya Sutra.’
‘You sure know a lot of stuff.’
‘I just read it from down there.’
That’s so anti-climatic!
‘I think we should leave now, or we’ll be late.’
‘Yeah, you’re right. Let’s go.’
We called Kenzo and the others who were looking at sculptures. And returned to the hotel. All of us were supposed to have dinner in the restaurant together. So, before that, Kenzo, Tomonaga, and I took a bath one by one. And then left for dinner.
In the restaurant, several seats were reversed for the students. So, our group of five sat at the same table.
YUKAWA- ‘Today was great! I had so much fun.’
NOZOMI- ‘Yeah so did we. So where are we going tomorrow?’
YUKAWA- ‘Hmm… we visited Kyoto national museum today, so how about, how about the Kyoto university museum?’
KENZO- ‘Sounds good to me.’
NOZOMI- ‘Alright it’s settled then, tomorrow we’ll go to Kyoto university museum.’
After finishing our dinner, we headed back to our rooms. Tomonaga went straight to bed after dinner. And I was planning to do the same if it wasn’t for the crazy friend I’ve got, who sunk out of the room and went to the first floor to get into the girls’ room. What’s worse he forced me to come along with him.
‘I don’t think this is a good idea.’
‘Oh, shut up. Don’t be such a wuss.’
‘It’s reckless! What if we got caught?’
‘We’ll say we got lost.’
‘We’re not in kindergarten, you know.’
When we arrived at the door of room no. 054, Kenzo gave Nozomi a call to get the door open. When she did Fukuda, one of the other girls, who were in there with them got a little shocked to see boys at the door. But Nozomi and Aoki the fourth girl staying there, calmed her down.
AOKI- ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’m in the presence of four of the five toppers! I can almost feel the wisdom flowing through the air.’
FUKUDA- ‘Seriously, how do you guys do it? Do you like to study all the time, day and night?’
KENZO- ‘Well, we aren’t studying right now. So of course not.’
AOKI- ‘Now, don’t lie Ishiguro, you’re no.1 in the whole school. You have to have some kind of a secret.’
FUKUDA- ‘What do you do, Takase?’
‘Huh? Nothing special really. I just remember things and understand them quickly. And what are we doing exactly?’
I whispered the last part only to Kenzo, but I think it was loud enough that others heard me as well.
NOZOMI- ‘Akio is a bit shy around girls. So, gets flustered around them.’
‘What are you talking about? I talk with you all the time. And I gave them a straight answer. When was I flustered?’
YUKAWA- ‘But you never give me an answer to almost anything I ask.’
‘Tha… That’s because you ask stupid questions.’
YUKAWA- ‘Huh? What do you mean by stupid questions? I ask completely normal questions.’
NOZOMI- ‘See? Flustered.’
AOKI- ‘Oh, that’s cute! Even one of the toppers is vulnerable to female charm.’
‘Hey, I’m still only human. And I’m not flustered.’
KENZO- ‘Your two statements contradict each other.’
‘What? How so?’
KENZO- ‘you say you’re only human as to admit that you were flustered cause that’s a very human thing to do. And then you say you weren’t. That’s how.’
‘I didn’t admit to the fluster part, just to the charm one.’
NOZOMI- ‘So, you’re attracted to a girl?’
Crap they got me again. These two together make a really formidable team. I got caught in yet another one of their wordplay trap.
AOKI- ‘Is that true, Takase?’
FUKUDA- ‘You like someone?’
KENZO- ‘We want answers, Akio.’
Crap! What do I do now? I can’t just say it with her here. And all these people too. I can’t confess in front of them all. Damn Kenzo and Nozomi, this is too much. How do you expect me to pull this off here? But I have to say something. A vague answer, I can try that. But knowing these two, they’ll keep digging until they finally make me say something, but it’s not like I have any choice, I have to do this… Hhh… My head is spinning, I can’t focus what the hell is happening? It’s like an overdose of the Yukawa effect.
YUKAWA- ‘Footsteps, I hear footsteps.’
FUKUDA- ‘A teacher?’
NOZOMI- ‘Both of you hide in the bathroom, quick!’
KENZO- ‘Don’t ‘huh’ me idiot, hurry!’
He dragged me into the bathroom with him. My mind slowly came back to its senses. As soon as we got in there, the girls turned off the lights and went under their futons. The teacher was probably surveying the rooms. If he’d heard any sound coming from the room, he would’ve entered to check it. Teachers are staying on the first floor and they have a master key to all the rooms. If we were to get caught, we’d face punishment for sure.
After the footsteps went further away, the girls gave us a signal and we came out.
NOZOMI- ‘If he was surveying the rooms, then he’ll head to the second floor next. You should go back to your room.’
KENZO- ‘Agreed! Good night ladies! Later.’
GIRLS- ‘Good night.’
‘Ah, good night.’
We rushed to our room and went straight to bed to avoid getting caught. As excepted Tomonaga was already sound asleep. I fell asleep soon after as well. But this experience was really nerve-racking. And with that the first day of the trip came to an end.