Chapter 1:

Pianist of the Dream

Spring Flower on the Sidewalk

On the night before my first day on high school, I dreamt of something weird...Bookmark here

I was playing a grand piano as its melodies resounded in a large hall. All the eyes of everyone in the crowd was on me. I felt no pressure while all I can think was how skillful my hands touch the keys producing beautiful notes that I've never heard before. I don't know why, but while listening to the music, a part of me felt nostalgic, I fell in love with the sound.Bookmark here

After I performed, I looked above and the shining lights was making my heart pumped in enjoyment... Having played that piano made me really happy.Bookmark here

For the closing, I stood up and bowed gracefully in front of the crowd. On my peripherals, I saw someone standing on the same stage as me and bowing also in the crowd.Bookmark here

But then...Bookmark here

I woke up with the blinding light passing through the window of my room, it hurts my eyes to be honest. This leaves me no choice but to get up and prepare for school.Bookmark here

When I turned to look at the clock, my eyes widened in pure shock and left me frozen for a millisecond.Bookmark here

'I'm gonna be freaking late!'Bookmark here

Doing my best running around here and there preparing quickly for my first day in high school may not be really enough.Bookmark here

This is the point of my life where I truly wish that I can stop time. If I can really do that I might not be in a gigantic hurry and prepare my first day normally without any worries.Bookmark here

"Oba-san! Why didn't you wake me up? I'm already late!" I hurriedly said while trying to wear my shoes as fast as I could.Bookmark here

I'm just living with my oba-san in a simple apartment here in Tokyo. She's the only relative I have and I'm thankful for that. But there are times that things don't go as planned just like today.Bookmark here

"Eh? But Tsu-chan, you said that you can wake up by yourself now that you're in high school." Oba-san responded and stuffed a piece of toast in my mouth. "Here, have some. Don't forget to eat breakfast even if you're in a hurry."Bookmark here

She did that to me with a sweet smile on her face. But still, I can hardly call this a breakfast itself, I just deadpanned at her. What a carefree oba-san.Bookmark here

"Ittekimasu!" I waved goodbye as I opened the door.Bookmark here

"Itterasshai!" She waved back.Bookmark here

I'm not really the kind of student that is always running late in class, it's shameful for me! Really shameful! I don't want to be late for my entrance ceremony of high school.Bookmark here

I'm Harada Tsubaki, and today was supposed to be my 'normal' first day of high school! As you can all tell, I was running late for school and it's to be blame in that stupid dream!Bookmark here

As you might think, it's normal for people to have dreams. Yeah, I know that. That's already given for crying out loud! So to explain my confusion and utter remorse for that dream, this is my explanation.Bookmark here

I'm not interested in music! Period!Bookmark here

Listen here, that dream was odd because I've never once played a piano as far as I remember and also, I'm not a least bit of curious about music.Bookmark here

I don't particularly hate it but maybe I can think twice of hating it now.Bookmark here

I reached the gate of school as it was about to be close by the gatekeeper. I ran past it with the speed of light, just kidding, maybe around 35km/h at best.Bookmark here

I headed towards my destruction end, head on---- I mean, I headed towards the school gymnasium and at least I can barely thank fate for making it a millisecond just in time.Bookmark here

_*_Bookmark here

"Good morning class, I'm your homeroom teacher, Ichinose Hiro, you can call me Hiro-sensei." The cheerful man around his twenties introduced himself to us as our homeroom teacher.Bookmark here

Well, he's not bad for a teacher. Judging from his appearance, maybe he's a fresh graduate or has been already working here for a year or two.Bookmark here

"As you can say, I just started working here last year." Hiro-sensei said with an awkward laugh.Bookmark here

Most of the girls in this class already admired him. Can't help I guess, since Hiro-sensei was a good-looking guy and all. On the contrary, the guys was obviously emitting a dark aura behind them. Bookmark here

I honestly want to laugh at my class' setup right now. Poor sensei, the guys already marked you as threat that they must eliminate.Bookmark here

Sensei proceeded with the normal homeroom introductions as usual, he wrote the class schedule in detail. I took my notebook and write a copy of the schedule for myself.Bookmark here

"That's all for the homeroom! I'll see you later for our music class." He left the room as the students waved goodbye to him.Bookmark here

I stopped on writing when what he said sank on my mind. I even broke the lead of my mechanical pencil.Bookmark here

Oh cool! *Insert sarcasm* Wow, he's also our music teacher? Just great!Bookmark here

It reminded me of that hateful dream of mine. I finished writing the schedule and after that, I didn't mingle with any of my classmates while waiting for the next class.Bookmark here

I played with my mechanical pencil as my mind wanders on that dream last night. For some reasons, even if how much I can say that I don't like having that dream for almost making me late today, a part of me was confuse on why I have that dream.Bookmark here

This is weird... Really weird...Bookmark here

I slumped my face on my desk in frustration. Bookmark here

I can't forget the feeling when I played that piano in my dream, and also the other mysterious person on the same stage as me.Bookmark here

I don't know about technicalities on music so this occurence of dream really bugs me.Bookmark here

Some people say that the meaning of dreams can be considered in three types. Bookmark here

First one was a memory from the past. Well, heck, this is clearly unrelated. This is impossible for me because as I've said earlier, I've never played a piano before, moreover, as a professional. So this possibility is a null.Bookmark here

The second explanation was because it is what you desire. But seriously, like the first explanation, it is also a no-go. I also said it earlier, I'm not a bit interested in music.Bookmark here

Well, for the last one it was said to be a vision. Whether it was a premonition of the future or a recollection of past life. Let's see... I think I'll go with premonition of future. You see, it even started! My homeroom teacher was also my music teacher.Bookmark here

That must only mean that there's something going to happen in Music Class! Bookmark here

Should I skip it now? Wait! What are you thinking Tsubaki?! This is the first day of high school, neglecting classes is unforgivable!Bookmark here

In my frustration, I break the lead of the mechanical pencil again. This sucks...Bookmark here

_*_Bookmark here

In the end, I just ignored that dream for good. It was a thing of the past now. All's well that ends well. It's not like that dream was threat, after all it wasn't a nightmare. At least for that, I'm thankful.Bookmark here

Now, our class, 1-B, was going to the Music Room in orderly fashion. And very orderly I must say because it was arranged alphabetically. Bookmark here

Speaking of our seating arrangement, it was also in alphabetical order. And my seatmate was the one in front of me now. He's a gloomy guy with glasses. I don't know his name but I think it was close to my last name or something of the sort.Bookmark here

I'm not really in the mood to care so let's leave it like that...Bookmark here

The lesson entirely focuses on how to read music sheets and sensei was explaining as clearly as he can but no matter how hard I listen, I can't really get what he's saying.Bookmark here

I personally also can't read music sheets perfectly but I get the basics, besides I don't really plan to be a musician so I don't show that much interest now.Bookmark here

"Now, let's try applying those in instruments. Hmmm, let's do it with piano." Sensei said as he lift the cover of the grand piano here in music room.Bookmark here

"Let's see... Hachisaki." Sensei called one of the students and I was shocked when the gloomy guy beside me raised his hand.Bookmark here

"Hai!" He responded.Bookmark here

So he was Hachisaki-kun. Okay, I better remember that. He was not the type to stand out but since he was my seatmate, we will most likely become acquaintances in the future.Bookmark here

You know that thing? When you need to work with your seatmate or whatnot, I better prepare myself for that.Bookmark here

Hachisaki-kun took a step forward and sensei asked him something.Bookmark here

"Can you point out where the middle C is?" Bookmark here

Hachisaki-kun pressed something on keys and it produce a sound. I'm not really familiar if he got it right but maybe he got it because he's calm and somehow emitting a confident aura.Bookmark here

"Very good, you can go back." Sensei said and Hachisaki-kun go back standing beside me. Bookmark here

The guy beside me was very quiet, is he giving me a cold shoulder? He seems very serious and somehow intimidating. I just really wish that he's not gonna eat me alive.Bookmark here

"Middle C is a very important thing in playing the piano. As you can see, everyone, this is where treble clef and bass clef met when playing. I presume since I already discussed how to read the music sheet, we can have some demonstration..." He looks at his records and look for some names.Bookmark here

Well, I can say that I have pretty good fortune with this kind of drawing lots. I can say that there is only around 4% chance that Hiro-sensei will pick me. Bookmark here

How absurd was that when I will be picked! Just 4%, okay?! There's no way!Bookmark here

As I was saying...Bookmark here

"Harada."Bookmark here

I froze in an instant, it feels like the heaven just fall on my head and I ran out of luck. Crap! I'm just gonna embarass myself! Ah, stupid Tsubaki!Bookmark here

"H-hai, sensei?" I stuttered as I raised my hand and took a step forward.Bookmark here

"Oh, you're Harada?" He fell in deep thinking and took a music sheet from the pile he brought here earlier. "Let's go with an easy one since we only just have five minutes before the dismissal."Bookmark here

If it was five minutes only, why don't you dismiss us now! It won't hurt to let me escape in five minutes, right?Bookmark here

I secretly ranted on my mind but it was no use. As if he's gonna hear me, right?Bookmark here

I sighed in frustration as I took a seat in front of the piano. Bookmark here

"Okay, Harada-san, I would like to ask you playing this part." He said as he put the music sheet in front of me and pointed out what he wants me to play.Bookmark here

It was Little Star. Bookmark here

"It was the do-do-so-so-la-la-so part." He hummed.Bookmark here

I sighed in frustration because I don't really know what I'm doing. I tried pressing some keys but it didn't produce any sound.Bookmark here

"Uhmm... Harada-san, you're supposed to step on the pedals." Sensei awkwardly said.Bookmark here

My classmates started muffling laughter and some started whispering on their friends. One person stood out, he was glaring at me.Bookmark here

It was Hachisaki-kun.Bookmark here

I feel like I want to shrink on the ground right now.Bookmark here

I'm sorry, okay? I don't really know how to freaking play a piano!Bookmark here

"I-I'm sorry..." I whispered in embarrassment.Bookmark here

Okay, let's try this. I pressed something and stepped on the pedals at the same time.Bookmark here

"Harada-san, that was 'mi' not 'do'." Sensei scolded me calmly with a hint of disappointment. "Are you listening to me earlier?"Bookmark here

"I'm really sorry sensei..." I lowered my head.Bookmark here

"Okay, one last time. If you still can't get it, I'll have you stay here." He sighed.Bookmark here

Noooooo! I don't want to stay here in front of this piano!Bookmark here

I really need to think of something! Quick!Bookmark here

In my search for answers... Bookmark here

I remembered the dream. Bookmark here

If that dream was some kind of premonition, it must be pertaining to this. Bookmark here

I took a deep sigh to gather determination. I need to take this seriously.Bookmark here

I think about how the Little Star sounded in my mind. I just need to make that sound with this piano in front of me.Bookmark here

As I touched a key...Bookmark here

I can't remember what happened after. It was like, I unconsciously played the piece. Bookmark here

I got back in my senses when I heard the dismissal bell. My hands stopped playing at that moment and the sounds suddenly stopped.Bookmark here

Everyone was silent. I can't hear the muffled laughter nor the whispering. What's going on?Bookmark here

Uhm..Bookmark here

Hmm...Bookmark here

Oh...Bookmark here

Waaaaaah!Bookmark here

When I realized what I just did, I hurriedly stood up and bows at them.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry! I messed up the piano!" I shouted in embarassment as I ran for the door to leave this place.Bookmark here

I don't want to stay here anymore!Bookmark here

That was enough embarrassment for this day.Bookmark here

I was about to sped off when someone caught my wrist, making me stop on my tracks.Bookmark here

When I turned around, it was Hachisaki-kun.Bookmark here

"Hachisaki-kun..."Bookmark here

"Where..." He mumbled as he was looking down.Bookmark here

"Eh?"Bookmark here

"Where did you learn that playing style...?" He continued mumbling.Bookmark here

I gave him a confused look. He's honestly scaring me now.Bookmark here

I swallowed the lump on my throat, "Etto... Uhm..." I tried thinking of excuse when his grip on my wrist tightened.Bookmark here

It hurts now... I seriously want to punch his face now, if it isn't for his glare that intimidated me more than I expected.Bookmark here

"Answer me!!" He yelled at me with a glare that can kill me any minute now.Bookmark here

I can feel chills running in my spine and beads of sweat forming on my forehead.Bookmark here

"How did you learn that playing style? It's not possible for someone like you, you're a fraud pianist!" He yelled at me furiously now.Bookmark here

I can feel blood rushing to my face in anger right now. I'm really pissed!Bookmark here

I don't know why I'm getting annoyed at his words but I can't let myself being belittled in front of this class.Bookmark here

And that's why...Bookmark here

I've said something I shouldn't have...Bookmark here

"No, I'm not! I'll show you what I can do! And when that time comes, I'll have you take back your words!"Bookmark here

Hachisaki-kun was taken aback but he gained his composure eventually.Bookmark here

"I'd like to see you try!" He fumed at me. "This Friday on our last subject, music class, prove yourself!"Bookmark here

"Fine!" I retorted in rage. "Is that okay sensei?!"Bookmark here

"Uhmm... Okay..." Sensei said timidly, probably afraid to the two of us.Bookmark here

Hachisaki-kun took his leave while banging the door close and made me come back to my senses.Bookmark here

I covered my mouth when I realized what have I done. I just declared a war against Hachisaki-kun on my first day. Bookmark here

This is the worst!Bookmark here

"Uhm... Harada-san, are you okay?" Sensei asked me worriedly.Bookmark here

"Waaaah, I'm sorry sensei!" I cried. "I don't know what I said! I'm really sorryyy!"Bookmark here

"Now, now, Harada-san, calm down." He said with a smile.Bookmark here

I calmed down a little when I started talking to sensei. "I really don't understand what got into me and I said those things." I tried my best to explain.Bookmark here

"That's okay, Harada-san, it's good that Haruki-kun got a taste of his own medicine sometimes." A girl classmate of mine butted in as she cling on my side.Bookmark here

I was shocked for a second but I managed to snap out of it quickly.Bookmark here

"Akane-san, it's not good butting in while others are talking." Sensei scolded her.Bookmark here

"Ahehehe, sorry." She chuckled in a carefree manner. "I'm Akane Mitsuki, nice to meet you Harada-san. You played really great!"Bookmark here

"Huh?"Bookmark here

"Akane-san is right. Harada-san, you played really well on that piano. I honestly thought that you're a pro pianist." Sensei said with a smile.Bookmark here

What are they saying? I played well? Okay, maybe that was a coincidence.Bookmark here

"But... Why did Hachisaki-kun hates it?" I asked curiously. Bookmark here

Akane-san was about to speak when all of my classmates gathered around us.Bookmark here

"That was amazing Harada-san!"Bookmark here

"Teach me sometimes!"Bookmark here

"We're looking forward on Friday!"Bookmark here

"Yes, yes, we're really excited!"Bookmark here

Comments after comments are making my head hurts. I'm not really used to this swarm of people.Bookmark here

"Ah... Uhm... Thank you... I need to go!" Bookmark here

I tried my best to escape and run as quickly as I can to get my things and go home.Bookmark here

I'm just going to say sorry to Hachisaki-kun tomorrow and I will just say that a demon was possessing my body that time.Bookmark here

Will he believe it?Bookmark here

I took a sigh and changed my shoes. I'm preparing to go home now. I just really wants to go home.Bookmark here

"Harada-san! Wait for me!" Bookmark here

It was Akane-san. She's running towards my direction.Bookmark here

"Gotcha! Let's walk together!" She said as she changed her shoes and closed her locker real quick.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry I didn't answer your question earlier." She apologizes. "Haruki-kun was not a bad person, I swear!"Bookmark here

"Haruki-kun?" I asked her while we started walking home.Bookmark here

"It was Hachisaki, Hachisaki Haruki-kun."Bookmark here

"Oh..."Bookmark here

"I think it was because..."Bookmark here

"Thank you very much, Akane-san, but I don't think I'll be needing that. I'm just going to say sorry to him tomorrow." I explained to her.Bookmark here

"But... You didn't do anything wrong."Bookmark here

"I appreciate your help, Akane-san but I'm not really that good like you guys are saying."Bookmark here

"Whaaaat? But that's not true! You're really great! I bet Haruki-kun think of the same!" Akane-san tried to cheer me up.Bookmark here

What she said made me think of it deeper.Bookmark here

"Hachisaki-kun did?"Bookmark here

"Of course! I bet you're gonna be a great musician! Oh look, this is my street. See you tomorrow, Harada-san!" Akane-san waved goodbye to me with a wide smile on her face.Bookmark here

Looking up at the sky and watching the sakura fluttering in the air, I sighed in frustration...Bookmark here

'A great musician, huh... That's not like me at all, it was impossible for me...'Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.