This chapter is from Konya's POV.
I asked myself one question, "Why was Kiyoshi acting like this?" The longer his 'child of Eros' nature didn't show, and I was sure he would eventually take control of him, the more hopeful I got. I knew that with each day of waiting when he would finally look at me with hatred, the pain would be even more acute. However, I was selfish and demanded at least these few moments of happiness for myself. I plunged into it more and more, and I didn't regret it, especially since everything was going so well, I couldn't waste it.
Still, I didn't know what to do at school. I felt I couldn't approach him openly, it would only cause nasty gossip, and besides, I had two pretty serious obstacles: Alice and Hamada. I preferred to avoid Cupid girl so as not to show my forced nature in front of Kiyoshi, and the other one just started to hang around him more. It led me to a decision to see if there was something more to it. I had the impression that Kiyoshi liked her, but he did not react to her presence as enthusiastically as I had once noticed.
I wanted to watch him all the time, especially now that I could do it without interruption, and every day I noticed a new detail. How often he tucks a pencil behind his ear and then panics and searches for it on the floor. The perfect opportunity to tease him a bit. He peculiarly adjusted his glasses, with his wrist, probably used to not getting paint on them. I often saw when he was bored in class that he had a small sketchbook hidden behind his notebook.
I would catch him staring at me sometimes too and looking from me to other people, I wondered if it was somehow related to his skills. Furthermore, I often found myself rubbing the place where he grabbed my hand for the second time and still had the feeling that the electrifying heat that spread over my skin then did not go out.
During one of the breaks, the fans caught up with me and I noticed a girl from my previous class among them, I knew she liked me and I associated that she always knew the latest gossip.
"Yasui, I have a question for you?" I said in a whisper, to which she happily approached me. "Any new rumours about Tachibana?"
"And why are you interested?" she asked, hoping our conversation would last longer.
"Just answer the question," I murmured, nipping her hopes in the bud.
"Everyone thought Hamada from your class had the best chance of being his girlfriend, she confessed her feelings to him on Valentine's Day, but he politely rejected her, and it turned out he had a girlfriend from another school for a long time, but she doesn't look broken in my opinion," Yasui finally replied waiting for my reaction.
I frowned, could Kiyoshi be her lifeline? Always the second but worse on the list of boys she liked. I tapped my fingers nervously on the glass, I didn't like it, I couldn't have him after all, but she didn't deserve him then. The question was, could I challenge her in a real way?
Yasui was still staring at me with her eyes in love and I wanted to get rid of her, luckily I found one Cupid right in time. I grabbed Alice by the shoulders and put her in front of the surprised girl.
"Find her boyfriend," I demanded, and Eros' daughter glared at me.
"Konya?" Yasui looked at me despairingly, as if asking why I was rejecting her.
"I have never been, am not, and will never be interested in you, so I leave you in good hands." I smiled maliciously.
"What's that supposed to mean?!" Alice hissed in a whisper, furious.
"I gain something immediately, you in the long run," I replied. "Even with the advantage in number, you're not a real threat, so I need to help you out a bit."
She pursed her lips, hugged the weeping girl, and led her to the bathroom. The others looked at me uneasily, they thought I had rejected her cruelly, but at the next break, they would still be fighting for my attention. I glanced at the keychain, the strap already half full.
I sighed heavily and leaned my head against the window, the weekend was approaching inexorably, so I had Kiyoshi's offer to help me all the time. My first instinct was to almost drop the engraved metal ashtray I was trying to restore to its former glory when I was startled by the sound of an incoming message. I immediately replied that I agreed, and only later did it dawn on me that I might have come off as desperate. We didn't talk about it at school, and we didn't talk about anything else, and I envied anyone who could freely talk to someone they liked, like Hamada.
I leaned over and looked into the classroom, the girl rejected by Tachibana was standing next to Kiyoshi and apparently asking him to explain some issues before the lesson. But he refused to be drawn into the casual conversation and shook his head as if denying her something. I smiled and watched as she returned to her seat with a displeased expression. I jumped off the sill and came up behind her, leaning in just enough to whisper in her ear.
"Was it rejection again?" I asked, feigning a polite tone.
"What nonsense are you talking about Konya?" She tried to stall it with a laugh, but her clenched hand on the bench indicated otherwise.
"I can see you're hanging around him, won't you deny it?"
"And what's wrong with that?" she snapped back. "Is something or someone preventing me from getting close to him?" She turned around with a confident smile as if she knew she was in a winning position since he had liked her for years.
"Maybe I have something against it." I leaned against her bench to put more pressure on her.
She swallowed nervously, and I looked up to see the Cupids watching us. Alice was about to intervene, but Daisuke and Kiyoshi held her back. I know, no one was on my side, everyone prefers his long-time love. So why isn't he standing up for her?
"You're not interested in him that way," she emphasized the last words in a contemptuous tone.
"But what if I am? Do you really want to be my rival?"
She narrowed her eyes and watched me go until I sat nonchalantly in my seat. I raised an eyebrow, still expecting an answer, but she just pursed her lips and turned away, offended. The bar must have been full by now, so I leaned back in my chair contentedly, avoiding Kiyoshi's gaze. He didn't need to know that our discussion was about him, and I was fooled by my selfishness.
In the evening at home, I joined my dad, who was doing a marathon of his favourite dramas with new episodes from the previous week. He watched them obsessively, always having a box of tissues ready, I just joined once, then twice, I didn't even know when I became a fan and would never admit it to anyone.
However, I couldn't focus too much on the plot because I wondered if I had done the right thing by challenging Hamada openly. After all, I was at a loss, even if Kiyoshi was kind to me for a while, it didn't mean that he would be interested in me in any way. I scratched my head in frustration, love sucks.
I focused on the TV, watching how the main character, in the clichéd scene, pins his beloved to the wall and leans against her. My imagination gave me my version of events, I wondered how Kiyoshi would react in such a situation. Would he have snapped back, or he would have reacted more innocently? I don't know which version I like better, but I sure wish it didn't end up with just a soft kiss like in the drama we watched.
My dad looked at me a bit surprised, seeing how I probably smiled goofily. I made up my mind quickly and apologized to him for not watching carefully. I tried to hide my flushed cheeks by resting my hand on the arm of the couch. He just shook his head in amusement, the man seemed so impossible sometimes.
"I just wanted to say I'm glad you're going to visit someone tomorrow. Just remember not to go empty-handed," he said and patted my hand.
I reached for my phone and texted Kiyoshi if his mum would prefer flowers or something sweet. He made me wait a long time for an answer, I managed to have a bath and lie down, but I knew that they would not sleep until he wrote back. When I finally realized what he'd written, I knew it wasn't going to be easy for me to close my eyes that night.