Chapter 37:


The Day I Forgot About You

Neo didn't believe in Saya's answer.

"Really?" he asked, completely surprised.

"Yes!" she replied, smiling.

Hearing her "yes" made him very happy, so happy that he felt like shouting and jumping, but he held himself back from making a scene, even though his face already showed his happiness.

"So, when?" she said, interrupting his deeper thoughts.

Another thing he hadn't thought about, "when". He wanted to go out with her so much that he forgot the most important details.

"How about tomorrow, at 2:30 PM?" he asked hopefully, wishing she could make it.

Saya thought for a moment before responding, and the delay was killing the boy; she was probably contemplating whether there was anything scheduled for the next day.

"Alright. Where do we meet?" she replied.

Neo tried to think of a special place to go, but he had no ideas. Inogura's Ramen wouldn't be a good option. Especially if the baseball crew showed up, it would ruin the atmosphere.

"You choose," he said, letting her pick the place.

She chuckled softly. "You ask me out, and I choose the place? Interesting... How well do you know the Union neighborhood?"

"A bit, I've been there several times with the baseball team."

"Great, can you meet me by the clock in the central square?"

"Yes, that works."

Neo didn't remember where it was exactly, but he was confident it would be easy to find.

They stared at each other for a while, hoping one of them would have something more to say. The boy remembered he had to go to practice and hastily said as he left,

"Sorry, I just remembered I'm running late, I have to go."

"Alright, see you tomorrow," she said excitedly.

When Neo arrived at practice, his happiness was visibly evident. Takeshi knew something different had happened. At the end of practice, suspicion proved true when Neo mentioned he wouldn't be showing up the next day.

"Why? Huh? What are you doing tomorrow?" Takeshi asked curiously.

"I'm going to downtown Union."

"Going alone?"


"Maybe nothing! You asked someone, didn't you?"

"I didn't invite anyone."

That night, Neo was working at Inogura's Ramen, and it was close to closing time when the baseball team showed up in force. Lenner and Apolo were there too.

"We brought pizza for everyone," Takeshi said, holding a bunch of boxes.

The owner closed the restaurant; he was a bit sad not to cook for the boys. But Takeshi and Tadashi explained it wouldn't be fair for him to work more; this moment was for celebration.

"And what are we celebrating?" Neo innocently asked.

They gathered around Neo.

"The growth of my boy, Neo!" Takeshi replied enthusiastically.

"My boy!" Maeda said, putting his arm around Neo's neck.

"My boy!" Pietro said, raising a bag full of sodas.

"My boy!" Nagoya said, messing up Neo's hair.

"My boy!" Apolo said, a bit lost in the situation.

"My boy!" Lenner said absentmindedly.

"My boy!" Shike said, jumping onto Neo.

"My boy!" Tadashi said calmly.

"Why all this?" Neo asked, still confused.

"Stop lying, we know you're going out with Saya tomorrow, you rascal," Takeshi explained.

Neo was embarrassed instantly. "How?"

"It's the only thing that makes sense!" Shike complained.

"Do you think you can hide things from us?" Tadashi challenged.

"Who else would you invite? Sunny?" Pietro asked.

"It makes sense," Neo said, disbelieving.

They all gathered at the table to eat.

Ryu seemed a bit disappointed. "I could've sworn Neo wasn't straight."

"Better luck next time," Maeda told him.

The group teased Neo quite a bit, giving him love advice on what to do, how to walk her home, and a bunch of things that anyone would surely forget later.

The party was filled with laughter and jokes, with games brought by Pietro. They were enjoying themselves. The owner's energy ran out early, and he went to sleep, leaving the boys to play and joke around with each other.

The next day, Neo woke up and momentarily forgot he had a date with Saya. He went to the bathroom, took a shower, and brushed his teeth. It was only then that he remembered. He chose his nicest outfit, a white t-shirt and black pants; he liked the contrast between the very dark and very light colors.

It was getting close to the time, so he mentally prepared himself to meet her. He would be alone with her and couldn't afford to get nervous and say nothing.

Already in the Union neighborhood, he noticed something he hadn't before during his previous visits. A map clearly showing the division between cardinal zones and a center that Neo assumed was where he and Saya had agreed to meet.

In the middle of the square was a clock that seemed to be a point of reference for many people, as several were gathered there, many of them waiting. The clock read 2:20 PM, ten minutes earlier than planned.

There were four benches around the clock tower, and since he had arrived early, he knew he would have to wait. He chose to sit on the one that offered a view to the north.

While seated, he observed the activity in front of him, people coming and going. If there was one thing he often wondered, it was: Where were they going? What were they going to do?

Neo fell silent, hoping for an answer, but there was only silence.

His thoughts distracted him from the anxiety and nervousness he had felt earlier, but some time had passed, so he looked at the clock to see the time.

Turning around and looking up, it was 2:35 PM, five minutes past the agreed time.

Nervousness started to creep in; had she forgotten? What could have happened to her? Was she really going to show up?

Despite this, he didn't want her to come; just the thought of how she might be dressed and how she was as a person made him nervous, and he might end up doing something wrong. That's why he didn't want her to appear.

His thoughts soon shifted with the passage of time, considering she still hadn't arrived. The truth was that deep in his heart, he wanted her to come. Even if he got nervous and didn't know what to do, he wanted to be there, better than being alone and thinking she wouldn't show up.

Neo was so engrossed in his thoughts that he wasn't paying attention to his surroundings anymore. Only when he felt a hand on his right hand did he snap back to reality, realizing Saya was already sitting beside him.

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