Chapter 30:

Seems What It Doesn't Seem

Good Luck in the Golden Classroom: The Golden Waltz

 It didn’t seem what it seemed. At first, I thought everything would go smoothly, but life never ceased to oppose me——to make an enemy of me. What I should have learned—what I should have realized that life wasn’t what my mind imagined it to be. Being in my little world made me callous to the possibility of the unexpected. I thought they were anomalies—deviations from the actual truths that propel the most logical events, but it wasn’t so, because things have begun since the very beginning——the beginning I wanted to place far behind and forget forever.

I should have been aware that unsettled things had consequences whether I thought they were settled or not.

But, I was ignorant at that time, and so are you; things didn’t seem what they seemed.

It was our turn on stage to present the flag; I holding the microphone stepped beside the flag and explained its random details. Everyone clapped out of courtesy, but everyone thought their flag was amazing and hoped to win; our group was no exception.

Alas, we weren’t victorious. The group that took both the awards was Group Red. Their flag was like a painting. It had red colors as its main theme——a red desert, a red flag, and a red sky. No one could refuse to compliment it positively. But their explanation was lackluster.

“Ah… you see,” their presenter pointed, “this red sun signifies Japan, a—and the red sky symbolizes unity. The intention for the creation…” The words didn’t attach to the details at all. However, they still won both titles. Their simple but exquisite flag carried the burden of the sloppy explanation.

There was no time to mope over a loss. Instead, we should say our victory balanced it out, and prepare for the next event.

“Please fall in line to receive your room assignments. Please check if you’re the room leader and please gather your fellow roommates. After that, please lead them to the room. Your luggage will be delivered shortly.”

And the next event will be held tomorrow.

Even the room assignments were random according to gender, so no males shall be mingling with females tonight. Strict rules and severe punishments were in place to prevent inappropriate acts.

After receiving a plastic card with my assigned room number on it, I returned to the table, waiting for my singular luggage to arrive.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” My mind was vigilant to such words, automatically churning a response. When I was about to answer her, I realized it wasn’t her.

“You’re sitting here now?” Surprisingly, she wasn’t Chinatsu, but Azuki Miyazono.

“This seat isn’t reserved, isn’t it? Unless you reserved it for her.”

“Ha,” I looked away, searching for Chinatsu, but I failed to find her. How weird. I thought she would pester me for my room number. “I’m better off without her.”

“Hm? Are you saying you prefer me beside you than her?”

I faced her with an irked face, “Speak any more, then I’ll consider you as another Chinatsu.”

“Ouch,” she feigned, holding her chest, “how mean!”

I stood up, having determined that the luggage had arrived——it also has served as an escape. I had a distance to maintain from everyone. People like her who close themselves and invade personal space made me uncomfortable——it triggered needless thoughts. Even if she wasn’t like Chinatsu, I should remain skeptical.

“Hoy.” I felt a tug on my shirt. It was brief but strong. I looked around at whoever stopped me. “It’s rude to leave in the middle of a conversation.

I thought it was finished. Was there a requirement to end a conversation? And was there a conversation in the first place? Why do we need to continue this conversation?

“Do you need something?”

“Not really.

I inwardly groaned. I cannot believe she was delaying me for nothing. As I turned to leave, she continued.

“Instead, you need something.”

My head has turned three times in a short period, making me a little dizzy. Moreover, it was getting difficult to maintain patient composure.

I raised a brow, “Whatever do you mean?” Has she started her advance? Did she have a hold of something I cherish, or has she figured me, using that to her advantage? Even if it were not, her ambiguous words sounded like a threat, intimidating superiority.

She handed me a card, “You forgot this.” It was my room assignment card.

Instead of taking it, however, I patted my pockets and found them empty. I believed that I pocketed that card, but I must have subconsciously assumed I did so. So, I dandily took the card, ashamed of my shocking maladroitness. I never thought I’d forget an action so simple, therefore, I didn’t believe that this was the same card.

I meticulously inspected it, front and back. I did it quickly to not reveal my thoughts. Indeed it was the same card. I should accept that I must have forgotten it. After I pocketed the card, I patted my pants to make sure I did.

I looked at her, unable to thank her. I didn’t feel grateful to her anyway. When she acknowledged my gesture with a smile, I walked away to the baggage counter, thinking about her smile——it was suspicious like it was taunting me. Azuki Miyazono was a shady lady.

It was faster to bring my bag to the room rather than to have it delivered. The thought of convenience was enticing, but considering my small baggage, it was pointless. Besides, I cannot fully trust the resort staff here.

It wasn’t necessary to delay myself with a group of people. Besides, there were no instructions to the non-leaders concerning the room, and I didn’t need the room leader to lead me to the room and open it for me, or so I thought.

I reckoned the security system of the door was similar to my room. But, when I tapped, swiped, and slipped the card against the handle, I produced no results. I foolishly thought the slim space between the door and the frame had something to do with the lock, so my card has gone ahead and entered the room.

I have only inconvenienced and perhaps delayed myself at the task of entering the room. Perhaps, I was getting old and clumsy. I resolved my mind to not make any more clumsy mistakes.

They were slow in arriving, whoever my roommates were. I saw groups of people pass by and enter their rooms. Many have passed me in the other way, having settled their things in the room, and I stood here like a lost fool, waiting for the hailed room leader.

At last, I heard a chattering group heading in my direction; their room leader lead them to the room I waited for. And to my disappointment, the room leader was—

“Ugh, you?” Yuuto Yoshimura made a disgusted face, meant to mock me, to which I was positively mocked.

I had nothing to retort; my energy was dwindling, and now I faced another tiring problem. I could only sigh and make way for him to the door.

But, he deferred unlocking the room to insult me first. “Out of all the students, it had to be someone from Gold, and worse yet, you!”

The group behind him laugh, remarking how unlucky Yoshimura was to have someone like me in the same space.

“Don’t worry, President Yoshimura, we’re still here.”

“We’ll balance the rankings out with ours if you’re worried about that!”

Again, they laughed, throwing very creative jokes with the sole reason of insult.

I sighed again and attempted to sound brightly polite, “If you want, you can exchange me for another.”

He pointed vulgarly at me, “Do not try to tell me what to do.”

I showed both of my palms in concession. I had no will and intention to argue, and I wouldn’t want to fight lest I get beaten up again, this time with no witnesses. Who knew what dangers this entailed? Thankfully, he unlocked the door and opened it——an unexpected and considerate gesture. Now, I thought we were at peace and that tensions relaxed. But he blocked me, letting the group behind him enter first.

“You line up; you’ve made us wait, you idiot. Who do you think you are? A special VIP? I won’t let you delay our roommates for your selfishness.” He turned his back and entered the room.

He had a point. Maybe I was a little too selfish. I should have followed the unspoken instruction to gather. I had my pride ahead of me. Even if they weren’t my groupmates or my classmates——much more, my enemies——I should cooperate for their consideration, as they shall be considerate for me, I hoped.

Reflecting on my actions, I waited until the distance between us was acceptable, considering the mood, then, I entered last when suddenly he turned around and pushed me out.

“Where’s your room card, huh? Were you trying to get in a room, not your assignment? I will report this to the teachers.”

My patience was cracking, prompting me to swing my fist at his face, and I did so.

I wasn’t the only one who was shocked at my sudden attack. Yoshimura reacted late to dodge my punch, but that was what he thought.

It wasn’t a punch. I only swung my arm around and walked past him, picked up the card, and showed him. He was glaring at me, not taking a look at the card, but he now knew he had no reason to halt my entry.

And I went inside without delay and picked a bunk bed that was in the corner.

The room wasn’t huge. It was only enough for ten of us roommates. There was no bathroom or a restroom. We would have to use the common shower for our hygiene. It was especially odd since the fee for this field trip was expensive. I felt scammed having served such disappointment. But, I should be thankful to have a bed to sleep in. Now, I should sleep, worrying about the future——that was taking the first bath early in the morning.

I intended to settle down and rest, but they had a process that impeded my plan.

“Hey, where are you going?” One of the roommates grabbed my arm when I was passing him. No matter how tired I was, I had no choice but to heed. “Don’t go picking a bed on your own. The room leader will assign them.”

I hadn’t heard anything of the sort, but I guessed that orderliness was the responsibility of the room leader. But, if that was the instruction, I should abide no matter how sleepy I was.

One by one, Yoshimura assigned our roommates their beds. Whoever wanted the bottom will give his pair the top, but if both desired the same, they’d switch him to another pair so everyone had what they wanted. As for me, I didn’t care; I’d sleep anywhere if I wanted to.

It was obvious that he left me for last. Yoshimura was unwilling to pair himself with me, so he chose an unfortunate roommate to pair with me.

“Eh? Am I really sleeping with this guy?”

“The way you said that makes you sound gay.”

“Come on man! You know what I mean. Still, why am I the one chosen?”

“You lost the rock-paper-scissors, so you should endure,” said Yoshimura.

Everyone was in high spirits, insulting me once in a while, but I still haven’t gotten my bed. Things were about to escalate.

“Hey, President, how about he just sleep on the floor?” proposed my pair.

“Oh,” his face brightened as if it were a novel idea. “Okay, you golden boy, you are to sleep on the floor.”

I can sleep anywhere if I wanted to——if I wanted to, that is. It seemed that I had to rid of my sleepiness to defend my dignity and comfort. No sane human will agree to such a harsh assignment when an option is available. I could argue, but I was powerless. I couldn’t force them into a fight lest they accuse me of lying. And, unfortunately for me, I hadn’t claimed my phone to record this cruelty. Yoshimura had me cornered, forcing me to accept my fate.

So, I had to consider other options.

Sleeping in a room with my assaulter was a stupid idea in the first place——I ignored such a fact because I wanted to sleep soon. Now, that I’ve awakened my mind, I realized the detriment and future peril of being assigned to this room. I couldn’t just request for a change of assignment because they’d think it unfair. Besides, it was the Camping Council who decided such things, and with Yoshimura being the head, there was no possibility of success. And I had little connection with the faculty. Teacher Jitan, no matter how kind he was, has proven to be powerless to the Student Council and seemed to have an unhealthy relationship with his peers. I could ask Principal Miyu, but I would be using up a precious favor. To waste my cards on a simple thing would be foolish. So, I had no choice but to waste a little of my blood.

“Fine,” I wore my backpack again, which I just set on the ground. “I’ll follow what you wish in this room.”

“Oh? That’s very surprising of you. I didn’t expect you to submit so—hey, where are you going?”

“I forgot my phone,” I said as I passed by him. Once I left the room, I hastened my steps so they wouldn’t follow, and I could get my sleep earlier.

It was the second day, and I had a good night’s sleep and a bath as well. We were supposed to assemble early in the morning for attendance. I was at the group’s table alone since I couldn’t rid of my habit of waking up early. So, I decided to wander around the large resort.

I arrived at a hedge maze and had the smart idea to solve it since I was confident I could finish it in an hour.

Thirty minutes later, I reached the end. There had been no clues or hints that lead me to the exit. I simply used the ‘wall’ method where I stick to the right side of the wall and follow it. I could have done it in fifteen minutes, but I didn’t want to sweat and wanted to enjoy the ambiance of the maze.

During my stroll through the maze, I admired the even trims of the leaves at the sparsely planted flowers on the side of the ground.

On the ground, I noticed something. There was a red stone on the gravel path. I knelt and picked it up to inspect it. It wasn’t painted red but was tainted red, as if a person carelessly carried a bucket of red paint. When that thought came to mind, I deemed it to be blood, but it didn’t have the properties of blood and was truly paint. It was an odd decision to stripe it red instead of covering it.

I would have bothered to investigate further to quench my curiosity, but I didn’t have time. So, returned the stone to its place and continued the ‘wall’ method. I didn’t see another tainted stone again. It seemed that it wasn’t meant to lead to the exit.

It was forty minutes until the appointed time when I returned. I found some people were seated at their tables. I noticed Eriki Miyazono at Violet’s table before I went to mine. There, I saw another Miyazono seating where she sat yesterday, not in Chinatsu’s seat.

I sat down without greeting or giving her another look.

“Not very friendly now, aren’t you?”

I only glanced.

“What will the other members think of you when you don’t greet them?”

“I would have greeted you if you didn’t bother me much. The fact that you’re Azuki Miyazono strips you from my eye’s interest.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“It means that I don’t know you, thus I shouldn’t involve myself with you.”

“You can’t avoid your involvement being groupmates with me.”

Fair, but I didn’t care.

“I understand. I’ll greet you.”

She looked at me, expecting a ‘good morning.’

“But first, you should tell me who you truly are.”

She looked away, “That I cannot do.”

“Why not?”

“Because if I do, then you will use it to your advantage, won’t you?”

This was a smarter, more terrifying, and more annoying Miyazono. She wasn’t terrifying because of her appearance but because of her mysteriousness, and she was annoying because she spoke like Eriki Miyazono. Truly, a Miyazono.

“Then, a greeting shall be a trivial matter.”

She glanced at me and exhaled sharply. I hoped she was annoyed because I can’t be the only one.

Speaking of annoyance, Chinatsu arrived and started to complain.

“Why weren’t you in your room?” I tried to parry her prodding, but she was very persistent. She knew I couldn’t force her away, so she pushed herself into me.

Wait, how did she know my room? “What do you mean ‘in your room?’”

“Oh,” she pursed her lips and looked away. She accidentally revealed what she wasn’t supposed to know. I knew something would happen; Good thing I switched rooms. “I mean, I just overheard you left your room last night.”

So, I was rumored quickly. “It’s none of your business.” A lie, I realized. It was unlikely my absence would produce rumors; it was only a trivial thing. So she lied to avoid suspicion. I did not need to confirm it. I only had to know why.

“It’s totally my business! Do you know how worried I was about you? I wanted to meet you—have a secret encounter, you know?” she winked.

“Do not cause me trouble.”

She groaned, “You’re so cold!” and then pouted. This was her tactic; that was her pattern.

I grew accustomed to her chafing. All her kind actions towards me were a farce. From the beginning, I suspected her overly-kind actions, and now I was certain. She had a goal behind her smile. It was all shallow and calculated. There was a foreseeable trap, that was for certain. I must her goal——her motive.

“Room 403, ” a voice beside Chinatsu spoke, reminding me of my forgetfulness.

I have forgotten that there sat a person who bothered me earlier.

“Miyazono, you…”

“Huh?” While Chinatsu turned to Miyazono, I saw her face shift slowly to a scowl. “How do you know that?” and her tone changed too. Her sudden change gave me shivers. Two-sidedness was what I hated, and she was a hypocrite.

“I’m just helping you here,” Miyazono appeased, “don’t be mad at me.”

“Oh, it’s you, the one who interrupted from before.”

“I’m sorry for that time; I’ve changed now.”

“Do not gather information about Akko again, you creep.”

‘Hypocrite,’ I dared say but didn’t bother.

“Hey now, settle down your kind words,” Miyazono weakly laughed.

“As long as you understand.” Then, she quickly faced me, and her attitude changed just as quickly. “So, where did you go? Since you left your room, where did you sleep? Are you alright?” she barraged questions. If a gun hurt, her mouth irritated.

“Didn’t I tell you it was none of your business?” I said. It seemed like Miyazono has fallen into silent observation, sighing with a surly face.

“Don’t be like that! You must have had a bad sleep seeing the crease on your forehead.” She attempted at closure, but I pulled away. “Geez, I just wanted to look closer if you had eyebags.”

I slept soundly; thanks for your concern.

“You must have slept on a bench or something. Poor you. How about you come over to my room tonight?”

She must have winked, but she did not. Her eyes did flutter as she proposed an enticing offer. Unfortunately for her, I wasn’t a simple man, vulnerable to fall into such cheap seduction. In any case, I was to refuse.


“That was too fast! Did you even consider it?”

I ignored her, looking for something productive; none yet was in sight, what a shame.

“Come on, you don’t want to sleep on the cold, hard bench again, do you?”

I wasn’t sleeping on the cold, hard bench last night.

“You don’t want to sleep outside during the cold, lonely night, do you?”

She liked the word ‘cold’ very much.

“Here, I’ll let you feel what I can offer.”

Since I was facing the other way, I couldn’t know what she was about to do, though I sensed movement. I felt her come close—close enough to feel her atmosphere—warmth, and presence. Then, I felt a soft feeling behind my back——as soft as a pillow akin to a human. Wait—

I tried to look back, but I couldn’t. It was because I was restricted in movement; she had wrapped her arms around my chest.

“Chinatsu, what are you doing!?” I shook as I realized.

She spoke into my ear, almost like a whisper, “I’m only showing you what I can do.”

“Get off—” I observed my surroundings. It was about time for attendance. To raise my voice would attract unwanted attention. If I continued my complaint, people would misinterpret the situation. Once again, Chinatsu trapped me. No matter how wary I was, she constricted me into her snare. “Chinatsu, I’ll give you this one, but I’m not giving you any more.”

“Don’t be so sure about that. I will make you realize my irresistible worth,” then, she released me.

I glared at her, thinking about how to avoid her in the future. She expected me to get back at her, but I won’t fulfill her expectations because she had a trap prepared.

It was the second day of the field trip. The events that were assigned for today were more physically intensive, but nothing too tedious. The events——relay races, find the items, hide and seek, turf wars, flag capture——were strangely named, but their mechanics were simple.

But, there was this one game that was more challenging than the other events so far.

This was called, ‘HypoCampus.’ In this game, we were supposed to compete for ‘resources’ which were large, white cardboard boxes. With these boxes, we were to create the highest tower of boxes. The game spanned forty-five minutes. Every five minutes, we could rush to the center to get boxes, or boxes that were scattered around the resort, or we could attack and steal a competitor’s boxes. There were two winners——the one who had the most boxes, and the one who had the tallest ‘Camp.’ After five minutes of gathering, there would be five minutes of a cease-fire, where no one can attack or gather boxes outside their area. During this time, they could plan and build for their ‘Camp,’ and the boxes in the center would be replenished.

This was one of the new games Yoshimura had made, and everyone was to participate, except for the council.

I divided the group into four teams——defender, attacker, center-rushers, and scavengers. Center-rushers and scavengers would work together in the first two minutes. Then, center-rushers would become defenders while scavengers would roam around for boxes. The attackers were ordered to attack, achieving the most damage possible. It was the most we could do with the team of twenty.

I was part of the scavengers, having been recommended to avoid injury by my groupmates. Chinatsu was with me, and Miyazono was a center-rushers.

This was a strength game, not much of a mind game, but a strategy was needed. So, the fast runners were assigned to the center-rushers; the strongest defenders. Attacks and scavenging were less prioritized——a strategy with the least risk of loss. We could only hope that we would win, but it proved to be difficult, perhaps a little unfair.

The Blue team had many of our academy’s athletes; the Red team proved to be smart, though it didn’t help much; Green had the balance of both. Our group was able to keep up because of teamwork but the others were far behind in the competition.

It was the second half of the game. During peacetime, I had everyone gather closely. “I hate to say this, but we aren’t winning. We cannot have both titles, but we have a chance to win one.”

Everyone looked at each other, confused, surprised, and saddened, but all expected me.

“Do you know the saying, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too?’”

So, the plan commenced. We devoted our efforts to attacking——stealing boxes——and center-rushing. When cease-fire came, we didn’t build a tower. Rather, we made a flat, star-shaped structure. Instead of building up, we expanded, making the star’s arms longer and keeping the star’s size to a minimum.

The groups around us thought we had fewer boxes than we had since we didn’t stand out with a tower. So, they attacked groups with the tallest tower in that round.

It was the ninth and final round of the game, and it wasn’t peacetime. There were no boxes in the center; most of the boxes outside were taken. It was a complete group war over boxes. The group which had the tallest tower at that time was Green, and Blue had their eyes on them. Green knew this, so they defended with all their members while Blue could attack half.

Fortunately, all seemed to ignore us. Only Indigo dared small skirmishes with us. Then, I spectated Red ambushing Blue. Blue had their strongest members attacking at that time, so, Red was able to steal a sizeable number of boxes with ten members. I saw the renowned Hina Katejima valorously defend the boxes until she fell onto her knees with depressing defeat. It was too late when the attackers arrived, who arrived with nothing, having rushed back in panic.

Now, the results have been deliberated, and the winner announced.

“The team with the tallest tower is… Team Blue!!”

They didn’t celebrate as much. It was like they knew they’d win, or they expected more——like a title for the most boxes. So, they waited——all waited, but we anticipated most of all.

“The team with the tallest tower is… It was a surprise to us too—Team Orange!”

Many shouted in surprise. They didn’t expect that we had the most boxes. All of Blue looked at us in surprise, agony, and jealousy. They were caught off guard by our group’s strategy having fortified themselves with the ‘wisest minds’——they made a downfall—a fool of themselves.

“This is impossible! I demand a recount!” one shouted, but they didn’t answer the request, having deliberated finally, or they were too lazy to count the boxes again.

They couldn’t continue embarrassing themselves with their kvetching. They resolved themselves in silence, keeping an eye on us from now on.

Despite our best efforts, we didn’t achieve first place in the events point category. Red came in first; Blue second; Green third; Orange fourth——a respectable place considering the heightened efforts of Red against us.

In all of this, I have to thank someone.

This was a time in my junior year. The weather was the most despicable it could be, interrupting an appointment I had in the open space. We were forced to relocate to another place.

She was all wet, but she wasn’t gloomy. Even with the hidden disappointment on her face, she smiled brightly at me. I couldn’t tell if she was crying because of her bangs; the water made look like she was crying. She probably was, or probably wasn’t——I’ll never know. But all I knew was that I hurt her after the rain frustrated her.

“I know you don’t know me, but, would you go out with me?” spoke a meek, weak voice. She shivered in cold and refused to change her clothes because of urgency. I did not understand why or what she meant at that moment, but I thought that she was a bother.

“Go home. You’ll get sick,” I left her, still shaking in cold. I did not want to associate with my rowdy, disgraceful classmates. Besides, she might have been asked to do this; she would lead me somewhere, and I would be taught a lesson by one of their social leaders. A dangerous thought, indeed. I couldn’t trust anyone because of my situation at that time, though, I still couldn’t now.

But, she called out to me, “Wait…” I didn’t hear her, so she tried again. “Wait!” I ignored her and carried on. “Wait!!” she shouted with all her might; she used up all her strength that she couldn’t run to me. “You haven’t answered me…” her voice lost confidence, and I heard her collapse. She was unconscious.

I looked around. If I were to leave her, people would call me heartless, but that wasn’t what I was concerned about. I approached her, carried her on my dry shoulders, like a corpse, and set her inside our empty classroom.

There she lay on the chair, stricken with fever. Her clothes stuck to her, showing her skin. Her condition was none of my concern, but now I considered the moral consequences.

So, I took off my school coat and hers, leaving her top alone. I helped her don my clothing while she slept and squeezed and folded hers, leaving it on her table. I went to the lockers and took my PE pants for her to wear. After I was done undressing and dressing her, drying her clothes, and placing an antipyretic on her head, I left her alone.

I saw that in her——Chinatsu. She seemed lost, cold, and bewildered, but her eyes that looked intently at me had a goal, directness, and persistence. Then, there was desperation. Above all, it was humble——evidence of her humble beginnings.

It was the third day of the field trip, which seemed to be an outing more than anything. On a field trip, students were led around educational sights, teaching and giving them something valuable, but here, I learned nothing at all, except for one thing.

What if my suspicions were unfounded? That question was planted in the beginning and grew during this outing. What if I was being paranoid——which I was and remain to be, but perhaps this could be an exemption? What if she was genuine? What if what I was experiencing now wasn’t an effect of her actions but herself? What if this thing called love was real—never to be faked? If I threw all my reasons against her, it wouldn’t hurt to try—to accept.

That I should try, and that I tried behind some large rock not from afar from the resort.

We had just finished the trek which took too long that dinner had to be pushed back to make time for the last events. The sun had set, and it was evening.

“What made you call me out here… in this time of night?” Between that pause, she averted her eyes. She had her legs closed as she tightly held her hands. The angle her head faced revealed her blushing cheeks. I thought for a second that it was sunset, but it was only the sparkle of twilight.

“There was something I realized.” She attentively stared at me, expectation in her eyes and a hint of apprehension. Yet again, my habit of suspicion slipped. This time was an exception; it was time to throw my reason out of the window because that didn’t apply here; I haven’t yet understood, so I must not assume.

“W—what was it?” That stutter… I shouldn’t think of it.

Only for this time, I should release my stiff self. I lightly hit my forehead. “You see, this is the first time I’m experiencing this. I do not know if this is real or not, but I must understand; I must know, so I should tell you this and know.”

She gasped. “Do you mean…”

“Hold still and listen,” was what I should say to myself, but I told her to calm myself. She was squirming in excitement. “Chinatsu, it may not be real—but I think it’s real. If you would—no, it’s my responsibility, thus I should answer.”

“Akko… I’ll accept anything you say.”

“I… in more ways or less, in one thing or another—unexplainable…”

She made her final mannerism, then she froze.

“…like you…” In that meaning or another, in your interpretation or mine—inexplicable.

This feeling of expectation. It felt good but intense. In one second, I thought if she positively responded, I would feel an overwhelming feeling of acceptance and satisfaction. Then, I shall leap into the thrilling void of the unknown. I felt like I would find happiness and joy, and I shall rejoice with her.

But in another second, I feared the negative outcome. I wouldn’t know what to do the moment after I hear those words. I wouldn’t know what to do after I spilled my feelings and revealed my vulnerable self——this was the only time I opened myself this much to anybody.

I have opened the door to my core; if I receive a caring hand, then I shall be transformed, but if I receive a sword, then I shall be broken forever.

I was waiting for too long, but it was only mere seconds. The anxious waiting threatened to make me break to my knees and beg her for her answer, but I kept my composure. I shouldn’t break at this moment lest I shame myself.

I realized I was looking at the ground for so long, so I looked up, struggling to look into her eyes; I settled on her mouth.

And her smiling mouth opened.

“I gotcha.”

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