Chapter 1:

Awakening Melodies

The Sound of Love

The gentle sunlight, with its golden hue, painted the walls with a cozy warmth. A soft breeze danced through the classroom, carrying the freshness of the afternoon and gently stirring the curtains of the open windows. The sound of bells reverberated through the air, filling the space with its familiar melody and marking the long-awaited end of classes.

After greeting the teacher, the students began to prepare to leave, creating a noise of desks and chairs being moved, mixed with the lively chatter of conversations among friends.

Seated beside me was my friend Haruto, or Haru as we called him. With an imposing stature and broad shoulders, his carefully styled dark hair enhanced his confident appearance. His friendly smile and sparkling eyes revealed his fun and amiable nature.

As he packed his belongings into his backpack, he couldn't stop making jokes and teasing our friend who sat in front of him.

"You kept poking me with that pen throughout the class, I couldn't concentrate at all. If I do poorly on the next test, it will be all your fault!" she said, lightly hitting Haru.

Airi radiated a joyful, outgoing, and vibrant energy. Her golden hair, styled in twin tails, cascaded gently over her shoulders, and her sparkling eyes enhanced her innocent charm, revealing her kind and captivating soul.

Haru and Airi often teased each other, creating a relaxed atmosphere around them. It was nearly impossible to be near them with a serious face.

As we finished packing our things, we discussed choosing an easier song for our upcoming weekend gathering.

"How about we choose a slightly easier song this time? In the last one, no matter how much we practiced, I didn't feel confident in the end," Airi spoke, visibly disappointed.

Haru and I had the habit since we were children, of gathering at his house every weekend to practice a song of our choice and, at the end of the month, give a small performance. It was a challenge we set for ourselves to encourage improvement. Our vivid imagination made us believe we were playing for an audience of thousands, although most of the time it was just the two of us.

Airi played the piano and joined our practice sessions a few years ago when we met her at the beginning of the school year.

"I don't know why you complain so much. Our last choices were so simple that I didn't have a chance to stand out," Haru provocatively replied to Airi.

"The only thing you do is hit drums. What's so special about that?"

The two exchanged challenging looks.

"Well, why don't you choose a song this time, Airi?" I suggested. "It's been a while since you last proposed something."

"And can I sing too?" Airi asked, with a hopeful expression.

Me and Haru exchanged glances. We knew she was a great pianist, but a terrible singer. Despite that, we always encouraged her because her enthusiasm made us excited.

"If you really want to, it's fine by me," I replied, noticing the sadness in Haru's eyes as he agreed. "Alright then. I need to go to my part-time job. Let me know which song you choose so we can start practicing this weekend."

As I bid farewell to my friends and walked towards the classroom door, I felt a push on my back. Turning around, I realized I had accidentally bumped into a girl from the class who was also leaving.

"Sorry, Kurokawa. I didn't see you. I should have paid more attention," I said, concerned.

"No problem," she replied, adjusting her hair. "Well, I have to go. Goodbye!"

After composing herself, she quickly left the classroom.

Kurokawa was a stunning girl with long black hair and a fringe that accentuated her face. Her eyes were mesmerizingly blue, and her skin was delicate as silk.

She was so beautiful that she worked as a model, and her photos were often found in magazines or billboards. Despite her stunning appearance, Kurokawa had a reserved aura.

"You should watch where you're going, Yuuji. What if you end up hurting someone?" Airi said, making negative gestures.

"And she seemed to be in a hurry. I didn't even see her pass behind you," Haru remarked, indicating that he had also failed to notice her presence.

"Anyway, I have to go so I won't be late. See you tomorrow," I said, waving as I left the classroom.

♪ ♫ ♪

Currently, I work at a musical instrument store.

It's not a complicated job, I simply assist with sales, recommending the right instruments and answering customers' questions.

It's a job I enjoy, especially because I'm familiar with most of the instruments we sell, whether they're wind, string, or percussion.

The store is simple but very well organized and welcoming. Soft music is always playing, reminiscent of elevator melodies like jazz and bossa nova, creating a serene and pleasant atmosphere.

The store items are carefully arranged and visible from every angle. The soft, yellow light reflects on the trombones and tubas' finishes, creating a cheerful and cozy ambiance. The details of the wooden furniture match the greenish wallpaper with diamond patterns.

The sound of the doors opening announced my arrival, and soon the store owner, a friendly old lady with white hair, turned her attention to me.

"Hello, Yuuji, come quickly. I need you to take care of the store for a while. I need to go to the bank, but it's almost closing time, and I have to go today. That lazy husband of mine never does what I ask. He should have paid this days ago, but today I found out he didn't," she said, shaking a paper in her hand and heading towards the door I entered through.

"Can you handle staying here alone while I go there?"

"No problem, Mrs. Yamazaki. Don't worry."

"I hope you don't turn out like my husband when you grow up, that good-for-nothing."

She left, and the brief commotion dissipated.

I went to the dressing room in the back and put on my employee uniform. Returning to the lobby, I began checking the displayed instruments, removing any visible dust or marks.

After confirming everything was in order, I approached the cashier counter and started flipping through a magazine that was on top, intending to pass the time since there was no one else in the store.

It didn't take long, and I heard the door opening noise. As usual, I welcomed the person.


I said without looking up, but as I did, I realized it was my classmate Kurokawa. She entered the store a bit shyly and only gave a slight bow in response.

I wondered why she would come to a store like this since she was known to be busy with work.

In the end, I didn't pay much attention and continued what I was doing, only occasionally glancing to see if she needed any help.

Time passed, and I noticed she was pacing around the store, from one side to the other, observing all kinds of instruments. Perhaps she was undecided or needed assistance.

I stepped out from behind the counter and approached her.

"Do you need any help?"

She was slightly startled.

"Oh, sorry. I wanted to buy an instrument, but I don't understand anything about them."

"Do you already play something, or are you planning to start?"

"I plan to start, but I have no idea what to play. There are so many options."

"Maybe it's good to start with something simpler, to see if you like it, and then move on to something more specific. How about a keyboard or a guitar?"

"Um, I'm not sure. What would you choose?"

She seemed indecisive, so I decided to ask her more about herself to get a better idea of what to recommend.

"I would choose the guitar because it suits me better and the type of music I listen to. What kind of music do you usually listen to?"

"Lately, pop music, but I end up exploring new things almost always..." she replied, looking up as if making an effort to remember.

"Do you have enough time to practice?"

"Um, sometimes yes, sometimes no. It varies a lot."

"Hmm... I understand. I think a guitar could be a good instrument. It's versatile and easy to learn. Plus, it's cheaper compared to the others."

"Thank you! Can I try one before buying?"

I just nodded and led her to the section of the store where the guitars were displayed. I picked one that was on display and checked its tuning.

Then, I decided to quickly teach her a chord so she could get a feel for the sound.

I handed her the guitar and began showing her the hand and finger positions.

"Now, you just need to strum the top strings down three times and then one up from the bottom."

She followed my instructions correctly, and I could see her expression brightening as she played. It brought a smile to my face as well.

"So, did you like it?"

She turned to me with a big smile and sparkling eyes, saying, "Yes, yes, I really liked it. Can you show me something else?"

I had only shown her one chord, so there wasn't much more I could do without a proper lesson. That's what I explained to her.

Her demeanor shifted from excitement to a slight sadness. To cheer her up again, I wanted to play something on the guitar for her to listen to.

"What music have you been listening to lately?" She seemed a bit confused, so I added. "I can try playing something for you."

She grabbed her phone and started searching for something. After choosing a song, she showed it to me.

I had a knack for playing a song just by listening to it a few times, so I asked for a moment to learn it and then started playing it on the guitar.

As I played, she watched me attentively, seeming impressed.

"Wow! I wish I could do that someday!"

Kurokawa's eyes sparkled intensely, and the light from her smile nearly blinded me.

"Well, it's just a matter of practice. You can learn it too."

After talking a bit more and exchanging some information, she decided to buy the guitar.

I helped her choose the right model and the necessary accessories, as well as giving some tips on how to start learning to play.

In the end, she was radiant with her purchase and thanked me for the help.

After all of this, I couldn't help but notice the clear difference between the Kurokawa who had been with me during this time and the Kurokawa that everyone knew at school. It was as if a new person had emerged, someone more communicative and interesting.

"I didn't know about this side of you, Kurokawa. If people saw how captivating you can be, I'm sure there would be a line of people interested in getting to know you," I said without much thinking.

She simply smiled, slightly embarrassed. I noticed her cheeks turning slightly red.

"Oh, and I'm sorry about the bump earlier today. Sometimes I'm a bit absent-minded," I said with a sheepish smile, hiding my embarrassment.

"It's alright, it was nothing. Thanks again for the help."

Kurokawa left the store like a rocket as if she was running away from someone.

I couldn't help but notice that Kurokawa seemed enchanting. She didn't even resemble the introverted girl whom everyone at school knew.

Assisting her and witnessing her happiness also brought me joy, in a way.

A few minutes later, as I was organizing some guitars, I saw the store door open again. It was Kurokawa. She seemed reluctant and timid, yet determined.

"Sorry to come back like this, but... would you teach me how to play the guitar?"

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