This chapter is from Konya's POV.
As usual, we sat on the roof, avoiding confrontation because we were together. Admittedly, the worst was in the first few days, until the news spread throughout the school. People thought we couldn't hear them gossiping behind our backs and pointing fingers. The teachers were not happy and tried to intervene with Goda-sensei, who unfortunately had to call us to on the carpet a few more times, but he always assured us of his support. He only kept up appearances, so no one could accuse him of not trying to talk to us. So the rest of the staff just started limiting themselves to contemptuous looks directed mostly at me.
I already had a bad reputation, so they probably assumed that I was dragging Kiyoshi, admittedly not particularly outstanding in grades, but a gifted student, into the abyss. I tried to bear it calmly, especially since ignoring my duties was getting a little easier each day.
However, I definitely made up for it when I noticed once how a group of my admirers, whom I obviously started to ignore, cornered Kiyoshi once. They even broke his glasses. He had to hold me to keep from fighting. I didn't want to be the Konya that the whole school was afraid of anymore, I didn't care that they stuck with me just to secure their position. Now I was finally hoping to regain my old self since even Daisuke's friendship came back into my life, but it was easiest around Kiyoshi anyway. When I was done with them, I knew they wouldn't recover mentally for a while.
"Look." My boyfriend shoved a piece of paper under my nose, snapping me out of my thoughts. "Choose, I won't surprise you in its entirety."
I went through a long list of potential date spots and couldn't decide, with fewer options it would be a bit easier. Kiyoshi stared at me expectantly, sometimes I missed the moments when I had a bit more of an edge in confidence. I was just waiting for the right occasion to remind him. Daisuke suddenly appeared on the roof, throwing us cold drinks and complaining about how hot it was. He made us aware that the summer holidays were slowly approaching, and thus we had to prepare for the upcoming tests.
"You spoiled the whole atmosphere," Kiyoshi accused him.
"What did you do?" our friend asked suspiciously. "Nothing inappropriate, I suppose."
"We were just planning a date," I replied, seeing that my bespectacled man blushed at this remark and handed him a piece of paper. "And we can't decide what it should be."
"Simple," Daisuke muttered.
He unceremoniously tore the list into strips and folded them, then mixed up the pile that had gathered around his feet. He looked at his work with appreciation, ignoring Kiyoshi's angry glare for destroying his work.
"Pick one each, agree on the order, and a few other things, but don't give away the details, and get your parts ready." We looked at him surprised, but gladly agreed to the idea. "Come on?" he sneered. "I'm waiting for someone to admit I'm a genius."
"Forget it," Kiyoshi muttered, hiding the drawn piece of paper.
I stretched out my hand and read what preparation awaited me, a walk, well simple, but giving a field to show off. I smiled at it, next weekend will be wonderful. Daisuke did have great ideas, but he didn't need to know it yet.
I tried not to behave differently at home, but I guess it was inevitable. I saw my father watching me a little more carefully, especially when I started watching dramas in the evenings and taking notes while doing so. Of course, I felt some competitive breath down my neck, since each of us was responsible for part of the date. Everything had to be perfect because my plan was relatively simple. My father looked curiously over his shoulder.
"There seems to be a lot going on in your life lately," he said, sitting down next to me on the couch. "I know you probably don't want to talk to your old man about this, but I'm glad you look happier lately. I've been worried about you for so many years, but I see I needn't have."
"Were you worried about me?" I asked, handing him the notebook to evaluate my ideas.
I've never seen him go out on dates, but I'd bet he's got more experience than me anyway, and certainly a lot more dramas to his credit. Besides, I always wanted to make it up to him somehow for the fact that I caused a lot of problems, especially after Her genes were activated, and that he heard so many words from me that hurt him severely. I loved him and this was how I could show it to him.
"I don't know what happened that you changed so suddenly a few years ago. I wanted to help you, but I didn't know how to reach you, I just watched you suddenly withdraw from everyone and lose the joy of life that you had so much inside of you. Of course, I was afraid I'd failed as a father all the way, but now I see that maybe you'll be yourself again." He laughed but surreptitiously wiped away a tear. "Maybe give her flowers, it's a sure-fire classic, and don't forget the compliments. Can you tell me about this lucky girl? She must be really special."
"It's not a girl, it's a boy," I announced, concentrating on writing his comments. It took me a while to realize what I had said, and I didn't know what to expect from my father.
"As long as you're happy, who it is, doesn't matter to me." He smiled genuinely, then exclaimed in mock despair. "So I have to forget about grandchildren."
The long-awaited Saturday finally came, Kiyoshi's part was the first in the plan, and fortunately, it was nothing that required an elegant outfit. After all, who would want to go for a romantic walk in a suit afterwards? Although I can't speak for the girls, maybe they had comfortable enough heels and dresses to enjoy such an outing. I still managed to refresh the highlights in my hair on Friday evening.
We agreed to meet at the station in the early noon, this time Kiyoshi was the first, he didn't look like he had an encounter with the ground on the way. He was wiping his glasses, and I stopped a little farther away, just to enjoy the view for a moment. As if he sensed my presence, he turned to me after a moment and smiled charmingly. I replied the same and walked over.
"You look good." I watched Kiyoshi blush at the compliment, probably used to people praising his work rather than his looks.
"You too." He looked at me intently. "I see that highlights are back in favour. Are we going?"
"Where are you taking me?" I asked curiously. "Surprise," he whispered mysteriously.
We went to another part of town, sitting on the train with our shoulders touching. I wanted to grab his hand, but I wasn't sure if it was a good idea in the crowd of people. We were in love, right? I put my hand on my knee and didn't notice that Kiyoshi was watching me. He put his hand palm up on his leg and gestured for me to hurry up, then quickly covered our joined hands with the bag. So at first glance, no one would know. Even now, the feeling was still so electrifying and pleasurable, increasingly addictive.
"You can be a bit more verbal in expressing what you want," he teased, which only made me squeeze his hand tighter.
"I always get it anyway," I replied. "Only you weren't that easy."
He rolled his eyes and said we were getting off at the next station. Kiyoshi was so focused on following the route on his phone to see if we were heading in the right direction, so I had to make sure he didn't bump into a lamp or sign now and then, pulling him closer by his shirt. I found out we were going bowling. I asked why we didn't go to a bowling alley a bit closer to our neighbourhood, he explained that that one was geared towards larger groups and this one had several lanes that were good for smaller numbers of players. And I played maybe once or twice, so I was afraid of losing, and of course, I wanted to win, I liked the competition, but I had no one to compete with because no one would dare to challenge me in recent years.
We started to play, fortunately, our experience and skills were at an equally pathetic level, so instead of fighting for points, it was a battle of overtime and taunting each other. Here Kiyoshi turned out to be an equal opponent. I had a great time and couldn't stop smiling. I don't remember laughing so much in the last few years, either.
My boyfriend, as I loved to think of him, tossed the ball and stared at it with a displeased expression, as if he was sure he had made a perfect move this time. I stood nearby, ready for my turn and thought how to comfort him. Turning around, he suddenly lost his balance and stretched out his arms to keep himself from falling. I lunged to grab it, but in the end, we both landed on the floor.
"I'm having déjà vu," I laughed. "That's how we met." I reached for his glasses, which had fallen, luckily in one piece, nearby. "Only you weren't wearing glasses then, but you still need rescuing."
"I don't need to be rescued," Kiyoshi announced, getting up.
"Just admit that you like being rescued."
"I don't like it," he murmured and held out his hand to help me up. "But I like you," he whispered when his face was inches from mine.
"I like you too, more and more every day."