Chapter 7:

Unplanned Invitation

The Sound of Love

"Ah... Finally, some time to rest my mind!" sighed Haru, stretching his arms up and letting out a big yawn, relieving the tension in his body. His face showed a mix of satisfaction and relief after the end of the first classes.

"I didn't even know you used your brain for anything," teased Airi, with a slight smile on her face, poking Haru as if it were something natural for her.

"Today, I won't let your provocations get to me."

"That's nice, but I don't even plan to stay here. I'm going to have lunch with Kurokawa."

As she left, Haru and I watched her with interest, exchanging curious glances.

"Airi has been treating me with indifference lately. She no longer responds to my messages quickly... It seems like Kurokawa wants to steal another one of my friends," joked Haru, but his facial expressions betrayed his frustration and uncertainty about Airi's change in behavior.

"How about we spy on what she's up to?" he suggested, and I could see a mischievous glint in his eyes.

"Now you've become a detective? Are you going to follow everyone around?"

My response was lighthearted, but deep down, I was also curious to know more about their relationship.

"And you're going to say you're not curious too? She won't even notice, we'll just take a quick peek and come back."

Haru made a sad face, appealing to my compassion and making it clear that he wouldn't rest until his curiosity was satisfied.

"Alright, but let's be cautious so she doesn't notice."

As we stealthily followed Airi, I couldn't help but observe Haru sneaking through the corridors as if he were a ninja on an ultra-secret mission. His movements were exaggerated and theatrical as if he were playing a role in a play. On one hand, I admired his dedication to trying to be sneaky while following Airi, but at the same time, I felt a growing sense of embarrassment for being friends with this guy.

"Haru, don't you think you're exaggerating a bit?"

I whispered to him as we avoided a group of students passing by.

"On a mission like this, discretion is essential, Yuuji!"

As we walked, I noticed judgmental looks from people passing by. It was an embarrassing situation, especially because Haru wasn't exactly being discreet with his espionage tactics. Seeing him act that way made me want to shrink so as not to be seen with him.

When we arrived at the rooftop, he started making hand signals, instructing me on how to hide behind the door.

And there was Airi, sitting alone with her lunchbox on her lap, looking out into the distance. We whispered our speculations, fearing that she might overhear us.

"Why is she alone?"

"Hasn't Kurokawa arrived yet?"

"If Kurokawa isn't here yet, it means..."

Before we could finish our speculations, we were surprised by a voice coming from behind us.

"Excuse me, are you two having lunch here too?"

We quickly turned to see Kurokawa, who had caught us in our attempt to spy on them. While I tried to maintain a calm and relaxed expression, Haru was clearly in shock, with his mouth open and speechless.

"Oh, yeah... um... we were planning to have lunch somewhere else today..."

The words came out a bit shaky from my mouth, but I tried to stay calm so as not to draw more attention. Kurokawa looked at us with a sweet smile, as if she knew that we were trying to spy on them.

"I knew you couldn't resist and would come to spy on what I was doing."

Airi identified us, not surprised by our curiosity, as if she already knew we would do something like that.

"I was planning to have lunch with Kurokawa, but since you're here, why don't you join us too? It's not a problem, right, Kurokawa?"

"Of course not!"

Kurokawa smiled gently, agreeing with Airi.

After accepting their invitation, Haru and I went back to the classroom to grab our lunchboxes before joining them. As we approached, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, with Airi and Kurokawa chatting animatedly about the latest episode of a drama they had watched together.

There was harmony between Airi and Kurokawa, who seemed very at ease with each other. Kurokawa's face was flushed, and her eyes sparkled as she shared her opinions about the celebrities and laughed at Airi's jokes.

"I didn't know you were like this, Kurokawa."

Haru seemed surprised to see Kurokawa being so communicative, a side of her that people normally didn't see. The common idea people had of her was that she kept to herself a lot and that people didn't get close to her.

"Kurokawa is a lot of fun, isn't she?"

Airi cheerfully added, happy to have someone else who could see her true side.

Kurokawa's face became even redder as she massaged her own hands, embarrassed.

"I rarely get the chance to talk like this with others. For some reason, people hesitate to approach me..."

"They must be intimidated by your appearance."

Haru confidently chimed in, suggesting that he had found the right answer.

Airi nodded in agreement.

"And what made Yuuji get close to you, then?"

She looked at me, as if looking at me made her remember how it all started.

"I think it was because he treated me like any other person. That day at the music store, I didn't feel like he wanted to avoid me. On the contrary, he did everything to make me feel comfortable."

Was treating her like that really so special? Before I started talking to her, I had the idea that Kurokawa's lack of relationships with people was mostly her choice, but it was only through spending time with her that I realized it was exactly the opposite.

As I watched my friends interact with Kurokawa, it was evident that they wanted to create a welcoming environment for her to feel included.

Airi, despite her playful teasing, sought to create a warm atmosphere where Kurokawa could be herself without fear of judgment.

As for Haru, he had always been a captivating figure, capable of breaking barriers and bringing a lighter and more relaxed atmosphere to any situation. At that moment, his charisma was directed towards Kurokawa, trying to win her trust and encourage her to open up more.

As I saw my friends' efforts, I also felt joy in noticing Kurokawa's transformation. She was gradually allowing herself to reveal her true self, without masks or pretensions. Unlike the girl who used to hide in her shell, she now showed her true essence, and we all welcomed her with open arms.

The time we spent during the break was a lot of fun, and our group of friends, which used to consist only of me, Airi, and Haru, now seemed to gain a new dimension with the addition of Kurokawa. It was as if we had found a missing piece in the puzzle of our friendship.

As we prepared to return to the classroom, Airi and Haru walked a little ahead, absorbed in an animated conversation about a new game that had been released. Their faces were lit up with excitement, and their eyes sparkled with emotion.

Meanwhile, I remained with Kurokawa on the rooftop. The midday sun bathed the surroundings in a golden light, and a gentle breeze blew, making our hair dance in the air. The sound of laughter and voices from other people around created a lively and energetic atmosphere.

"Why don't you come and watch our rehearsal this weekend? It could be an opportunity to learn some new things."

Kurokawa hesitated for a moment, her expression showing a mix of interest and insecurity. Maybe it was an unexpected invitation, but I believed it could be a way for her to feel more integrated, besides helping with her guitar studies.

"I think that could be nice..." she replied, still a bit uncertain.

"I'll be waiting for you, alright?"

With a feeling of excitement, we walked back to the classroom, and I couldn't help but think about how amazing it would be to have her join us in our rehearsals. The anticipation of sharing that moment with Kurokawa made me eager for the weekend.

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