Chapter 21:


Be Yourself, Ayane-chan!

“Am I not enough for you?”

How the hell did she come to that conclusion? Whatever, I gotta treat this seriously. Doing so, I kneeled to her and grabbed her shoulders.

“You’re more than enough for me, Ayane.”


“Yes, really. You don’t need to believe me right away, but I’ll make that more than clear with time.”

Ayane turned her face away from mine before she could respond.

“In that case, you’re forgiven. For now, at least.”

Kneeling back up, I began walking again as I kept the conversation going.

“I’ll try to make it more obvious when I’m joking next time. I’ll actually tell you what I think.”


As she smiled, I attempted to transition to my next point.

“I actually have something else that I need to tell you, Ayane-chan.”

“What is it?”

“While I agree that your mom’s overbearing, I can still tell she’s a good person. Both Aka and Aya love you a lot. It pisses me off how you can’t see that.”

I couldn’t bring myself to look at her as I went about this, although I still had to listen to what she’d say next.

“What’s sprouting this?”

“Well, I told you about my life at home. I rarely see my dad.”

“At least he leaves you alone.”

Hearing this, I turned my head toward her again and shook my hand out of hers.

“I don’t want to be left alone! How the hell do you not understand that!” I yelled.

Well, yelling was an understatement. My growly tone wasn’t only loud, but it also intimidated Ayane like nothing else. She looked down at the floor, fidgeting with her fingers to distract herself from her distress. I couldn’t help but release the tension in my face when I saw this. I wanted to let out my hand to her, but I stopped. I couldn’t bring myself to comfort her here. It didn’t feel right. I had no excuse.

“I’m so sorry,” I mumbled.

Ayane didn’t respond in the way I thought. Instead of accepting my apology, she chose not to move on, changing nothing about her body language.

“I- I- wasn’t expecting this from you…”

I took a deep breath.

“I didn’t either. I always thought I was content being alone. I thought I had fun staying home while ignoring and belittling the few friends I had.”

She finally looked at me again, although this time I looked down at the ground. Ayane changed that, though, when she grabbed my cheeks and asked me a question.

“What changed that?”

I still tried to look away from her, with my cheeks firing up thinking about what I’d say next.

“Isn’t it obvious? It was you.”

I mumbled that, but I couldn’t say the next thing quietly, grabbing her shoulders tightly as I yelled my next sentence.

“I need you, Ayane-chan! I’m nothing without you!”

She let go of her hands on me and moved her head to the side. My guess was that she felt uncomfortable seeing my desperation, but I couldn’t stop myself from talking anyway. Letting out a crazed laugh, I went on.

“It’s pathetic, isn’t it… I thought you’d need me if I started dating you. I didn’t want someone who could abandon me!”

I now shook her as I spoke.

I thought the more I’d speak, the more I’d drift her away from me. I may have said that I wanted a real connection, but my tendency to be consumed by the fear of abandonment tended to ensure that no one would want to stick by me. This, being the first time I’d ever been truly vulnerable, left me worried I could drift her away like everyone else.

Why would I risk it on her? The one I love.

All of that worry washed away, though, as Ayane pushed me down to her level.

Before I could react, our lips met. My eyes widened, unable to understand what even happened. My heart beat like a knife being stabbed through my chest. As the sweat in my body dropped, I realized that I couldn’t even feel the cold anymore. I didn’t know what to feel at first, but it soon became clear.

Everything about this moment was perfect.

I wanted it to last forever, closing my eyes as I finally found my footing on the ground.

With this new sense of comfort, I wrapped my arms around her. Thin and small, she could break in an instant. In her position, I wouldn’t let any man touch such a body, but she trusted me with it. Realizing that was when I finally knew what the purpose of this kiss was.

With this new understanding, our lips let go. The natural course of action would, of course, be to look at each other after this, but we couldn’t. Being on opposite sides, I could feel the red on my face even more than the beating of my heart. Hell, I think I even heard steam coming from the heat of Ayane’s face. Surprisingly too, she got over it faster than I did, when she turned toward my back and gripped a part of my blazer with her hands.

“I will never abandon you Yuuki-kun… because I love you too! I always want to be by your side!”

With quiet tears now dropping from my eyes, there was only one thing I could say.

“Thank you, Ayane-chan.”

For just a bit, we went silent as we basked in the joy of this moment. Eventually, though, my emotions got the better of me. My tears, growing more swift and ferocious, could no longer be vocally concealed. When Ayane noticed this, she turned toward me, only to see me covering my face while attempting to wash away the tears with my arm. Instead of belittling me, Ayane instead came in for a hug. It took time to speak again, and I still cried as I did, but I did say something.

“I’m so happy to be with you, Ayane-chan!”

“I am too," she quietly said, with me finally dropping my tears to hear what she said.

I guess our love only grew stronger after this, although I couldn’t say anything else as our silence dominated the space between us. Despite this, I think I was happy to finally be loved by someone. The embarrassment I should’ve felt didn’t take me over. It instead got washed away by how much I wanted to stay with Ayane.

All good things come to an end, though, as when we arrived at the school, she had this to say.

“Yuuki-kun… I would walk you the rest of the way, but I don’t think it would be safe to.”

“I can see that.”

“So, will you accept my phone number… I want to hear your voice every day.”

As she let out her phone with one hand, she used the other to hide her face. I guess this took her some serious guts to say. As such, I tried to box away my thoughts of how cute she was to give her a genuine answer.

“I’m glad you feel the same. I’ll call you once I’m done talking to my dad.”

“I’m glad!”

Ayane, seeing me type in her number on my phone, smiled more brightly than I’d ever seen. It was so cute that I had to reward her with a head pat upon seeing it. Unlike every other time I’d do it too, where she’d show some level of discomfort, she instead kept smiling. It was so cute that I couldn’t help but smile.

“See ya, Ayane-chan!” were my last words as I parted ways to see my dad.

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