Chapter 1:

I. thank you

to be red and yellow like a cloud

I knew I wasn’t supposed to, yet I still offered her an umbrella. It didn’t look like it’d stop raining anytime soon. Besides, this gave me a good excuse to stop skipping club activities.

From the corners of her eyes, she leered at me. 

“Take it.”

Her fall from grace occurred the day before summer vacations began. Had this not happened and she would’ve been swarmed by other guys trying to help her. Had this not happened, I would’ve just walked by.

Oh, well. This was for naught anyway. She didn’t take it, didn’t budge; thus, I closed the umbrella. Too bad. Heaven knew I tried. Destiny itself told me to avoid club practice again, and who was I to defy it?


Or not.

When I looked at her, I caught her coiling a hand she’d extended my way. It was kind of funny, but laughing didn’t seem to be a sensible approach. “Ah,” I echoed. “Seriously, take it. It’s fine.”

She used said hand to smooth a strand of strawberry blond hair falling over her shoulder, which had begun to frizz. After she tried, and failed, to fix this, she mumbled, “@#%$,” then, “%&*!” then, finally loud enough for me to decipher the gibberish: “But you’ll get wet.”

Or maybe she told me to die, but I chose to remain optimistic. “Not really. I’ve been skipping drama club a lot, so you’d be doing me a favor. You can just give it back tomorrow.”

Thunder boomed somewhere, loud and gold. Rain poured, soft and silver. It’d probably stay this way for a while. The thing was, I had friends to share an umbrella with, not she. Not anymore. Slowly, she let her hair go. Her shoulders drooped, and when she took the umbrella, our fingers brushed. I half-expected her to flinch then, but she didn’t.

“%&… #$@!”

She took off.

She ran past me, past the door, past the school gates, until the downpour swallowed her. Meanwhile, I sighed. The scolding awaiting me would devour me too.

Still, I could’ve minded less.

After all, from the way her expressions changed, I’d been able to give her last gibberish a meaning:

Thank you.

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