Chapter 1:

Chapter 1


Just like any other kid my age, my middle school life began at the age of twelve. It's not terrible, but I have a confession to make. As much as I don't want to admit it, I think I like my childhood friend. Just hear me out.

It's Matsuzaki, the guy that sits diagonally behind me in class. He isn't a special guy, but rather basic. Matsuzaki has brownish-black hair, average height, and a mole next to his right eye. I only know this because I have seen him almost every day since age of five. You see, our parents are very close, so we didn't have a choice. But I don't think Matsuzaki likes me the way I like him. Of course, he is incredibly nice and friendly, so he is quite popular despite being average-looking.On the other hand, I prefer to stay home with my cats all day. All I could do was stare behind him at a small crowd of girls swirling around him. But I am not jealous, definitely not. Being as friendly and pleasant as him, anyone could have many friends. Even with all those friends, he still takes time to help at my parents' restaurant. I am jealous of him; more or so, I admire him.Before you think I'm a loner, I want to clarify that I have other friends. My best friend Eri is also a really fantastic person. She is really good at basketball and painting. What a talented girl, but every time I compliment her, she rejects it, which annoys me. I guess I really admire the people around me.

Every day at 6 pm, I would hear a knock on my room door. It has always been Matsuzaki, but since I met Eri, she has also shown up a lot. One day in the middle of the 2nd year of middle school, Eri asked me in my room. "Nako, do you have a crush?" A little image of Matsuzaki appeared in my head, but I shook it away. "No, I don't," I responded clearly. Then Eri asked me, "What do you think of Matsuzaki?" I froze for a second, thinking of an answer. Eri still doesn't know that Matsuzaki is my childhood friend, and if I replied incorrectly, it would do harm. "So?" I didn't know I was thinking silently for over 5 minutes. "Um, anyways…" Phew, Eri changed the topic. I really wanted to tell Eri about my feelings for him. She has been such a loyal friend ever since the start of middle school; she deserves to know.

This sounds stereotypical, but Matsuzaki gets along with my parents exceptionally well. It's scary because he could easily replace me as the Ishikawa family's son. My mom calls him by his nickname Matsu, a shorter version of his name. Matsu usually helps out with washing and cutting the veggies; that's what he is best at. That's what I am worst at. Once, I washed and cut veggies so horribly that my parents had to eat carrots with dirt still on them. Unfortunately, my parent's passion for cooking was not passed down to me. I remember clearly that when Matsu and I were six, we had a cooking competition. The result was obvious, so I'll skip it. The cooking competition was to see who would cook the best tamagoyaki for my parents. Six-year-old me thought it would be a good idea to add two tablespoons of salt to a single tamagoyaki.As expected, Matsu won the competition, and I was devastated for days. I had yet to learn the difference between salt/sugar and tablespoon/teaspoon. Matsu's tamagoyaki was ordinary looking; I think this is what they mean when they say "simple is best." Those ordinary-tasting tamagoyaki made me tear up even more from the loss. Matsu ran to the table, snatched a tissue, and ran over to me. Silently, he gently dabbed the tears off my chubby round face. He smiled at me and said, "I'll help you next time." 

That's probably when my feelings for him blossomed.

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