Chapter 1:

Toshiro Okumori wakes up.


I slowly opened my eyes, groaning and facing the alarm that had been beeping relentlessly in front of me. I desired to sleep, but I knew I couldn’t, or else I’d feel the wrath of my mother as well as the school. I reached my alarm wearily, clicking the Turn Off button, but as soon as I had managed to turn it off, it ended up falling to the ground, clattering. I stood up, stumbling over to the bathroom. Every few seconds, I’d almost fall over while my eyes were still a little blurry. Bookmark here

Rubbing my right eye with my knuckle, I entered my bathroom sluggishly. I reached the sink, twirling the knob of the water. I’d wait for it to get a little warm, then cupped my hands to get some water. I bent over and splashed it all over my face. I was awakened immediately once the water had hit my pores. I quickly grabbed the towel beside the sink and dried my face leaning slightly backward and letting out a relieved sigh. I continued to take my toothbrush and added some toothpaste, inserting it inside my mouth and brushing. I started to multitask now, blow drying my hair while brushing my teeth in unison.Bookmark here

Once I had finished, I walked back into my room and got a hold of my school outfit. In a matter of minutes, I had worn everything. I grabbed my school bag and headed downstairs, catching sight of my mom.Bookmark here

“Good morning, Toshiro!” She waved.Bookmark here

I nodded, proceeding to walk to the table. I was met with some breakfast my mom had prepared, as well my lunch for the school alongside it. I clasped my hands together. Bookmark here

Time to eat. Bookmark here

“Toshiro, someone moved into the house in front of us. And guess what?"Bookmark here

I opened my eyes and intriguingly looked at her.Bookmark here

"The girl is beautiful. Too beautiful!" She stood up, her hands slamming on the table.Bookmark here

I paused, startled by her immediate change of tone. Why are you so excited about that?Bookmark here

"I just want to caress her hair! No, her body! No, anything will do!"Bookmark here

Since she worked for a fashion design company, I understood where she came from, but I also didn't understand. Did they always boast about their model's looks? Just hearing my mom yell out those perverted words made me question her innocence. Bookmark here

"You have to bring her here! You definitely have to! I need you as bait! You can walk up to her house, knock-"Bookmark here

I didn’t heed any attention to her rambling, as I wasn’t interested. The perception I had of beautiful girls was that they were all graceful on the outside but dreadful on the inside. Being friends with them could be signing your emotional death contract due to toxicity, and the sheer thought of mental abuse made me quiver. But that was my notion, and maybe I’d be proven wrong in the future.Bookmark here

“You should make friends with her! I think it’d work out! No, it will totally work out! She's like an angel, I doubt she'd refuse!” She raised her fist.Bookmark here

I let out a stern glare directed at her in return. Finishing my meal rather quickly, I shoved my mom's lunch she had prepared for me inside my bag. I walked over to my mom, only to realize that she had been completely knocked out on the table.Bookmark here

I froze, looking at her in confusion. She was just yelling out bizarre words, wasn't she? I approached her cautiously, slowly reaching out my hand to tap her.Bookmark here

"Sorry, I stayed up late last night." A weary voice came out of her.Bookmark here

I pulled my arm away, taking what she said into my mind. I guess I couldn't blame her, all-nighters were indeed very tiring. That didn't excuse what she was just spouting out earlier, though. The main reason I retracted my arm was that I feared that it was a trap for her to grab my wrist, pull me in close, and yell more crazy words at me.Bookmark here

“Have a good day at school, Toshiro.” She raised her hand, waving it around lazily. I could tell what she was trying to do, letting my guard down with ease. Annoyed, I casually lowered myself to her height. She smiled, petting my head.Bookmark here

I grumbled in response. This was another thing she liked doing. Did she just like patting my head? Was my head nice to caress? Maybe I'll try it out later on. She eventually stopped, letting me leave.Bookmark here

I grabbed my bag and slinging it over my shoulder, sauntering out of the house, and made my way to school. I had my hands in my pockets, still feeling fatigued from waking up so early. Bookmark here

I grabbed my earbuds and my phone that were inside my pockets, plugging in the jack inside my phone, then sliding them in my ears while I looked at music to listen to. I scrolled for a few seconds before finding an ordinary playlist named ‘relaxing.’ I clicked play, putting the phone back inside my pocket.Bookmark here

The music was low-beat and relaxing and filled my ears, making me feel at ease, blocking out the sounds of flowing winds. It was like the weariness feeling I had withered away. The petals of blossom trees gleamed in the sunlight as they settled down on my head and shoes. The wind that was flying towards me was chilly and felt incredibly calm. My hair flew back, my forehead feeling the gust of coldness. I took a breath of relaxation, taking in the fulfilling weather that came before me as I walked at a slow pace towards the school.Bookmark here

I caught sight of a trio of birds sitting on a powerline, their heads moving around rapidly in different directions. One flew off, while the two that remained sat next to each other, watching the view of blossom trees and cars. I observed them as I walked. Pink petals flew across my sight as I did so. I was envious of them. Being able to sit on a powerline in tranquility and examine the surroundings below you with no interruptions just seemed heavenly. Though, other than that, I had also coveted landing abhorrent white bombs on random civilians whenever and wherever I wanted to without any punishment. Bookmark here

I’m a psychopath for desiring that, aren’t I?Bookmark here

Soon enough, I spotted some kids with my school uniform who were on their way to the school. While I followed them, the chatter that used to be hush started to get louder as more kids began heading in the same direction, but something felt odd. Everyone was quieter than usual, and I could sense the nervousness that came from each of them. I decided to ignore it, not wanting to waste my time theorizing as to why the atmosphere was abnormally stiff.Bookmark here

I walked through the school doors, and the sight I encountered made me realize what day it was.Bookmark here

It was February 14th. Every few steps I took, I caught sight of people giving other people chocolates. I didn’t have enough time to see most couples’ aftermath as I walked past them without a second thought. Seriously, how much of a lazy person am I? I had completely forgotten that Valentine's was today. That didn't mean that I anticipated this day, in fact, it was slightly the opposite. Who knows, maybe I'll reject another girl today? Bookmark here

When I reached my class, I opened the door and saw multiple people talking to each other or using their smartphones. I scanned the room, then started to walk towards my assigned table. I would reach my table, which was spotless and shiny. I set down my bag beside the table, grasping the chair and pulling it back, and propping myself down. I rested my right elbow onto the table, placing my palm over to my cheek and leaning forwards as I stared at the blank and spotless blackboard.Bookmark here

The teacher finally entered the room with some papers attached to a clipboard, making his way to the front of the class. I slid my earbuds in my pocket once he had adjusted his papers in his hands.Bookmark here

“Take your seats.” The teacher bellowed.Bookmark here

The laughing and talking ceased, followed by rumbling of desks and chairs moving around. In a matter of seconds, everyone was already sitting down. I looked over to my left to see the seat that was always empty since no one sat there. Bookmark here

We had an indistinguishable and undeniable trait: We were invisible to everyone, which is why I appreciated it. I stared at it before the teacher called out to everyone.
“Everyone! We have a new student. Treat her with respect, please.” His loud and demanding voice caught everyone’s attention.Bookmark here

“Miyake, introduce yourself.” He nodded respectfully towards the doorway.Bookmark here

A girl walked through the door, and once she fully faced the whole class, my eyes widened drastically. What was before my eyes stunned me.Bookmark here

She was beautiful. Too beautiful. Every attribute from head to toe was glamorous. Jeez, even her boobs were perfect. They weren’t too big or too small and were practically the perfect size. I shook my head, stopping my indecent self from ogling her. I then spotted her blonde hair that only reached her shoulders, then looking at her delicate facial features. But, the thing that caught my attention the most was her eyes. Her bright orange irises were quite literally sparkling in the sunlight, a rare eye color that I haven't seen in anyone at all. She also didn’t seem to have makeup, which meant her looks were raw and authentic. I gazed at her beauty with aweBookmark here

I then looked down to see her school outfit. It fit her too well. Combined with her looks, it made me think she was a goddess of some sort.Bookmark here

“Hello, everyone!” The girl waved.Bookmark here

Judging from her tone alone, I could see that she was outgoing and a straightforward type of person.Bookmark here

“My name is Youko Miyake. Please call me Miyake! My dad is American, while my mom is Japanese, so I am biracial! I like to communicate with people a lot, so I’d like to talk to you all soon. Nice to meet you all!”Bookmark here

I took a gaze around the room to see the other classmates' reactions.Bookmark here

I caught sight of the guys. All their faces were bright red at the presence of the stunning girl in their class. Some of them had their jaws dropped, some of them hiding their blushing faces under their hands, and some others whispering with the other guys about Miyake.Bookmark here

I then looked at the girls. It was a mix of jealousy and happiness. Some of the girls had sparkling eyes and surprised expressions, while the others had jealous expressions across their faces. Very, very jealous. They stared at her with jaundiced eyes. Bookmark here

I turned back around and set my eyes back to Miyake once more, who seemed to have a lovely smile on her face. While everyone was busy gossiping about her, she took the time to find her seat. I watched her, not knowing where she was heading until she started to walk towards me. I glanced to the left at the seat beside me. Bookmark here

No. Miyake isn’t sitting there, is she? Each step she took made me blink and my heartbeat rapidly. The floor felt like it shook as she made her way over. She eventually reached the table, pulled back the chair, and sat down, setting her bag in front of her.Bookmark here

I looked away painfully. I let out a silent, displeased sigh, accepting defeat. As I looked back at her, her eyes met with mine. I still couldn't believe her prepossessing eyes that she inherited, and since she was closer to me than she was at the front of the room, I could see her true beauty.Bookmark here

“I hope we get along!” Miyake broke the silence.Bookmark here

Her smile was unbelievably cute and made me gulp. I nodded hesitantly.Bookmark here

She then paused, staring at me attentively. Bookmark here

“You know, you’d look pretty cute if you had a small makeover.” She said as if she was a logical thing to say.Bookmark here

I glanced at her with a confusing look. She isn’t flirting with me, is she? Already? How low can you get? I felt repulsive. Hearing what she said plainly made me bewildered. Was that a win or a loss for me? It felt like a little bit of both. You’re ugly, but you can manage. Were how those words were interpreted to me.Bookmark here

“Wait- Sorry!” She bowed her head rapidly. “I’m uh, not used to conversing with guys!” Bookmark here

She let out an awkward laugh, scratching the back of her head. I didn't know whether to believe her or take it as her making an excuse. She was hard to read.Bookmark here

“Um, class is starting soon! Y-yeah! We can talk later on!” Miyake pointed out.Bookmark here

I sighed, looking away and directing my focus towards the teacher.Bookmark here

Miyake’s confidence made me somewhat green-eyed. She reminded me of my Junior high days, but I would probably be made fun of if I talked like that again. Thankfully, I wasn’t in such a desperate situation. I was, well, quite literally invisible to everyone. Most teachers don’t even recognize me, even after being in their class for weeks mainly because I detested talking to anyone at all. I didn’t care, though. No one could interrupt me or my space at all. The only downside was that it was just dull to sit around at school, but I could deal with that minimal con.Bookmark here

I then looked at the teacher, who was startled by Miyake’s formidable aura that spread throughout the room. It seemed like he wasn’t expecting such an unusual reaction from the kids.Bookmark here

“Erm, take out your books, please.” He called out, trying to catch the attention of the chattering kids. After a few minutes, everyone quieted down and was ready.Bookmark here

The class consisted of writing and me daydreaming repeatedly. I was gazing outside the window, watching the bright white clouds slowly float by. Just watching them fly past was satisfying, and I had no idea as to why. Normally, you'd think that clouds were slow, correct? But when you watch them intently, you'll realize that they move faster than you had initially thought them to be. Maybe that's just me, though.Bookmark here

My musing would soon be interrupted by a hand that lightly touched my left shoulder. I looked over, befuddled. Miyake was in front of me, inclining over her seat and closer than usual. Once I had perceived her distance, I leaned backward, not feeling comfortable.Bookmark here

“Hey, did you write down the notes from earlier? He went over it too fast.” She whispered to me.Bookmark here

I shook my head in a victimized way, mainly because I was hating how close she was and because the stares from the guys in class had been piercing my spine.Bookmark here

“Please!” Miyake begged, holding her hands together.Bookmark here

"Hey, quiet down!" The teacher spotted us.Bookmark here

We both froze, then nodding instantaneously. Miyake didn't give up yet, though. Bookmark here

"Help me!" She whispered more quietly now.Bookmark here

I didn't want to risk us getting yelled at any longer, so I sighed, knowing that she wasn't going to shut up. I tiredly grabbed my notes and handed them over to her.Bookmark here

“Thanks!” She grabbed the book. She smiled more joyously now before leaning back. I watched her intently from my seat, noticing how quickly she had diverted her attention to my notebook. Well, she still looks cute when she’s focused. Maybe even cuter, I don’t know. I realized I was gawking at her for too long, so I ended up facing my table again so she wouldn't notice. I started to look down at my mechanical pencil and twirled it around my thumb due to boredom. A few minutes after, the notebook appeared right in front of me. I glanced to my left and saw Miyake giving me a thumbs up. I didn’t bother to respond, looking back and starting to write down the new notes on the board. After a few hours, the lunch period had started.Bookmark here

As usual, I scanned the room before I met with Miyake’s eyes again, standing by the door. She seemed to be looking at me, waving. I had the side of my head placed on the palm of my right hand, my head slightly tilted while I simply stared at her expressionlessly, eyeing her smile.Bookmark here

I looked away quickly, followed by a small hmph that breathed out of my mouth, ignoring her as I shut my eyes. I realized that I was going to sit beside that gregarious girl every day with a peeved feeling in my heart. I don't think I'd be able to survive the upcoming days.Bookmark here

I then opened my eyes, meeting Miyake’s face right in front of me. I was startled for a few seconds and very uncomfortable. How did she get there so swiftly? I recoiled backward to put distance between us two. I regained my focus and simply stared at her back. Bookmark here

“Hi.” Her voice beamed with excitement.Bookmark here

I replied with a light glare. Why was she this close?Bookmark here

“I’m sitting next to you again.” Bookmark here

She placed her eyes over the seat next to me, then looking back at me. I did the same. It seemed that the chair and table were a little closer than usual. I sighed, too tiresome to even attempt to argue against it.Bookmark here

“You don’t talk much, do you?” Miyake asked in a questionable tone.Bookmark here

I looked away, not willing to respond.Bookmark here

“Mm, okay!” She lifted her palm upwards and patted my head, rubbing it a little as my hair got a little ruined.Bookmark here

I was stunned at what she was currently doing, instantly slapping her hand away out of reflex. I scowled at her in discomfort. Oddly enough, it reminded me of my mom whenever she patted my head. They felt eerily similar. Bookmark here

I shook my head, signaling her not to do it again. Bookmark here

“Okay, okay... Sorry, I just found it funny.” She giggled. Bookmark here

It was at this point where I slowly thought that she had the maturity of a child. I raised my left hand and fixed my hair by ruffling my fingers through it, having a displeased expression splayed across my face. Bookmark here

I then took out my lunch, seeing that it was comprised of rice, fish, vegetables, and some meat. I took out my chopsticks and started to eat slowly. Bookmark here

I decided to glance over to what Miyake had, and once she pulled out her lunch, it purely felt like her food was shining in my eyes. Once my vision cleared up after being blinded by the light, I eyed it once again. There was sushi that looked extraordinary, some meat that looked juicy and flavorful, and some cooked vegetables bright in color and looked ravishing.Bookmark here

I assume Miyake had caught me staring at her food since she let out a small laugh.Bookmark here

“My mom’s just a good cook, nothing too special.” Bookmark here

I blinked at her words. I was a little envious of her mom; having a mouthwatering lunch almost every day would be a delight and paradise. Don't get me wrong, my mother's food was also high in quality, but unless she put all her effort into it, I doubt that she could compete with Miyake's mom. I nodded, averting my gaze and staring at the empty board while eating my lunch. Bookmark here

“Do you want some sushi?” Miyake questioned out of the blue.Bookmark here

I looked at her, appalled. I shook my head. I didn't want food from anyone, especially her.Bookmark here

“Are you sure?” Bookmark here

She grabbed her sushi and raised it with her chopsticks.Bookmark here

If she kept doing this, I, and notably the other guys would get the wrong idea. I already felt their scowls directed at me, which felt more horrific than before. I shook my head rapidly.Bookmark here

“Hmm. Okay!” She chomped, chewing it happily.Bookmark here

I didn't know whether to feel disgusted or delighted upon seeing how she ate her food. It was endearing, yet childish to watch.Bookmark here

“By the way, what’s your name? I never got the chance to hear it earlier.”Bookmark here

I was already getting exhausted from her. Just her standing or even sitting next to me made me vexed. I wasn’t willing to give her my name in the slightest. Not even a hint.Bookmark here

“No fun.” Miyake jokingly retorted.Bookmark here

Cry about it.Bookmark here

“You can call me Miyake-san, by the way.”Bookmark here

I didn’t bother to call her name, disregarding her introduction.Bookmark here

“You don’t have to be shy, you know. I won’t do anything to you.” Bookmark here

I ignored her once more.Bookmark here

“What about your contact info?”Bookmark here

I paused. Generally, you'd lower the bar when something doesn't go your way, right? So why is she RAISING the bar? If she couldn't get my name, what made her think that it was even feasible to get my contacts?Bookmark here

“Don’t worry. I won’t send you weird texts or anything. You’re the first person I talked to, so I just wanted to be friends with you. Besides, you’re the only one not ogling at me.” Bookmark here

Well, she was fairly wrong. I was eyeing her when she first entered the class, so I couldn’t agree nor deny her statement. If I said I was indeed staring at her, I’d most likely end up being bashed by Miyake with her yelling Pervert! or Die! towards me. If I denied staring at her then I’d only feel guilty. I presumed that not replying was the best course of action.Bookmark here

“That didn’t work either? Hm…” Miyake placed her finger on her chin. “Okay!” She squeezed her fist and struck the table. “It seems that you’ve cornered me to use this method…”Bookmark here

I instantly braced myself, gripping the table and expecting her to slap me or something alike. Bookmark here

“How was your day?” Miyake vehemently asked.Bookmark here

What?Bookmark here

My grip on the table loosened as I realized her question. I stared at her bemusedly.Bookmark here

“That didn’t work either.” She noted.Bookmark here

Miyake slammed her head on the table jadedly. She then decided to ask the most unrelated and moronic question: “How many girls have confessed to you?”Bookmark here

I almost dropped my lunch.Bookmark here

“You see, a lot of guys ask me out, and I’m not good with rejections. I was just asking to see if you knew how guys felt after being rejected.”Bookmark here

In a way, I understood her complaint. But there’s a place and time for those types of questions! She barely even knew me! Disregarding my fussing, I could only imagine how many guys had asked her out already. I had a feeling that she had confessions almost every day.Bookmark here

Miyake, seeing how I was completely silent, groaned in her seat.Bookmark here

“What if I touch you? Like this? Will that get your attention?"Bookmark here

She reached over, her index finger attempting to make contact with my uniform. In response, I promptly frowned at her. She stopped, a small whimper erupting from her mouth. Miyake retracted her arm, sitting back down.Bookmark here

“U-Um, you know, your glare is pretty scary.”Bookmark here

I looked away, peering at the blackboard once more.Bookmark here

“You already knew that, huh..” Her tone dropped to more of a miffed one.Bookmark here

I nodded at her remark. Lunch then ended after our conversation, to which Miyake was silent in the remainder of our last classes. Assuming she had finally given up, I had felt relieved that I wouldn't be bombarded with her constant talking anymore. Bookmark here

After another hour or so, school ended. I had my head buried in my arms, already half-asleep. Once I heard everyone starting to converse and walk around, I rose from my seat and crammed my belongings inside my messy school bag, not having a tendency to clean it any time soon. Triumph flowed in my body when I finally stood, letting out a content sigh. I grabbed my bag and started to walk.Bookmark here

But, as if my day wasn’t anymore draining, I ended up accidentally hitting something. I felt someone's face had bumped into my chest, combined with a quiet oomph! that came out of the person’s mouth. I apologetically looked downwards.Bookmark here

Upon seeing their blonde hair, it dawned upon me who it was. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel so remorseful anymore. Miyake gazed up at me, a shade of red on her cheeks while doing so. It was vague what she was thinking, but I started to perceive the supposed reason. We were only an inch or two away from each other, and once I had comprehended that I instantly retreated in a flash. I attempted to exit the class hastily.Bookmark here

“Wait! I need to give you something.” She blurted out.Bookmark here

I turned around in slight curiosity. What could Miyake give me? When I turned around, there were approximately five chocolate bars on her palms.Bookmark here

“I’m er, giving everyone in the class chocolates, especially since it’s valentine... As an introduction, of course, though some guys already thought I was hitting on them.” She had a stiff smile.Bookmark here

Before I could jump to conclusions, she had confirmed that they were already obligatory. I was glad about that. I didn’t know what I’d do if they were actual valentines chocolates. Bookmark here

“You can take two, by the way.”Bookmark here

I halted from grabbing the two chocolates from her hands. Why two?Bookmark here

“What’s wrong?” Miyake was perplexed.Bookmark here

I hesitated, then timidly grabbed two of them hurriedly, inserting them in my left pocket. I then turned around, exiting the classroom promptly.Bookmark here

“Um, bye!” Bookmark here

I glanced behind me and saw Miyake waving at me with a smile before I had finally withdrawn from the room. She was a peculiar girl—a heavenly girl with overflowing confidence that made me partially envious but also harrowing when she had spoken to me. Bookmark here

I took the earbuds out of my pocket and inserted them inside my ears, playing music to block out the sounds of a mass amount of people chattering in the hallway. I left the gate of the school, enjoying my stride home with ease, which would take around fifteen or so minutes.Bookmark here

Around eleven minutes had passed, and I seemed to be starving a little. I did have the chocolate that Miyake had given me, but I doubted that it’d be enough to satisfy my needs. Spending a few minutes contemplating on where I should go, the convenience store had won the debate in my head. I changed my course of direction, heading towards my desired destination. Bookmark here

I’d reach the store, arriving inside while the bell that occasionally rang whenever someone entered played, as well as the smell of coffee, bread, and sugar, filling my nostrils. I made my way over to the food section, inspecting what would be fulfilling to my stomach. Bookmark here

I caught a glimpse of some corn dogs, starting to ponder. After looking around a little more, I found some rice balls, egg sandwiches, and even coffee cream treats. The initial thoughts that go through everyone's brain when deciding on what to choose such as: This one seems nice… But this one also looks tasty! And: I won’t be able to eat this if I choose this. As well as: I might have to wing it and just hope for the best. Ran through my head frequently.Bookmark here

I ended up picking up some pork buns as well as a raspberry iced tea. Convinced with my selections, I approached the cashier and placed them on the counterBookmark here

“Oh, hello, Okumori.” The cashier spoke, an old feminine voice directed at me.Bookmark here

I glanced up, instantly recognizing who it was. It was an old lady who had worked here for years. Apparently, my mom had told me her parents used to own it so she ended up taking care of the store after they had passed.Bookmark here

I nodded with a smile, pulling out some yen from my wallet.Bookmark here

I revered her since she always greeted me whenever I had entered the store ever since I was a little kid. I was also grateful to her, as she occasionally secretly gave me food whenever I didn’t have enough money. She didn’t make it a habit though and eventually made me pay her back after a few days. Bookmark here

“You’re still quiet, huh?” She chuckled.Bookmark here

I placed my yen on the table, acknowledging her remark. I watched her grab the money and place it inside the cashier, then grabbing a plastic bag under the counter and starting to put my food inside.Bookmark here

“His name is Okumori?!” Someone exclaimed behind me.Bookmark here

I turned around, seeing who had called out my name. It was a girl with blonde hair pointing at me in disbelief. I stared at her, perplexed. Of course, I knew exactly who she was, but maybe if I acted like I didn't, she might leave me alone.Bookmark here

“You never told me your name! And the cashier here just casually says it like it isn’t of any importance!” She declared.Bookmark here

“It isn’t important, though.” The old lady muttered.Bookmark here

I wanted to turn around and yell Right?! But, I'd probably be deemed immature by the childish high school girl in front of me. First impressions are everything.Bookmark here

Already irritated at the girl's boisterous tone, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I took a deep breath, then forced a polite smile.Bookmark here

“Who are you?” Bookmark here

She paused, choking on her breath. She lowered her arm, dropping to her knees.Bookmark here

“He doesn’t even remember me. And those were his first words…” The girl whimpered.Bookmark here

I watched her in complete puzzlement. Why was she treating me as if I was her newborn child? She then rose up and grabbed a hold of my shoulders.Bookmark here

“I’m Youko Miyake! You don’t remember me?!” She cried.Bookmark here

No, I certainly remember you. I grabbed her wrist, pulling it away from my shirt and pulling it away. I stepped back, turning right back around, and grabbed the bag that contained the items I had bought. I gave an assuring nod to the cashier. You can handle this, right? You’re good with kids, right? I exited right after.Bookmark here

“Wait! Hey! Don’t leave me here!”Bookmark here

I could hear her rapidly checking out her things in the cashier. I started to fasten my walking pace. My house was only a few minutes from here, and I was eager to enter it already. I won’t have to deal with her anymore once I enter that safe haven. I walked hastily on the road, tightening the grip on my plastic bag as it swayed back and forth.Bookmark here

“Okumori!” Bookmark here

Oh no. She’s already engraved my name in her head. I glanced behind and caught a glimpse of Miyake running towards me. Horrified at her immense speed, I went from walking to straight-on sprinting.Bookmark here

“Wait for me!”Bookmark here

I started to run faster, but before I could fully wing it, she had grabbed my shirt and pulled me backward. I ended up falling, feeling Miyake's hand against my back with a futile attempt to stop my fall. I closed my eyes, bracing myself as I slammed onto concrete. I let out a loud grunt as I landed. I gradually opened my eyes, noticing a shadow on top of me. I could smell the strawberry scent that protruded from their hair. Bookmark here

"S-Sorry."Bookmark here

I immediately recognized who it was. I was frozen and speechless, not knowing what to do in the slightest. Bookmark here

"I-I'll get off right away!" Miyake rapidly said.Bookmark here

She quickly rose, stepping away from me. I slowly stood up, grabbing my plastic bag. Bookmark here

"I'm sorry about that! I'm really, really sorry!" Miyake repeatedly bowed.Bookmark here

Still awkward from what had just happened earlier, I waved my hand around shakily as if I was saying: Don’t mind.Bookmark here

“I just wanted to talk to you!” She exclaimed, still bowing. “But, it seems that you have no interest in doing so..." Her tone lowered.Bookmark here

Well, she was right. I had no intentions of conversing with her or anyone in that matter. I looked around, and it seemed that we had been catching the attention of multiple strangers. I could hear them mutter words such as A confession? She’s gorgeous! How could he reject her?Bookmark here

Of course, it was valentine's day today, so I couldn't necessarily blame the speculations they threw out. I quickly glanced back towards Miyake, both my hands now fluttering around due to embarrassment.Bookmark here

"It was the first impression I gave, wasn't it?!" She then leaned forwards.Bookmark here

Miyake had a desperate look on her face, holding her hands together. Speechless to her disregard of public humiliation, I didn’t respond in any way.Bookmark here

“I’m a nice girl, I promise! Be my friend!”Bookmark here

I had no idea what to do. I was completely motionless, and the eyes from the strangers only made matters worse. Miyake took a step, then another. Seeing her do so, I backed up. Was this her plan? To use the civilians and make me uncomfortable and use that to her own personal advantage? She was definitely eviler than I had assessed her to be.Bookmark here

“Please, be mine!” Miyake yelled now.Bookmark here

She had hunched her head down once more. Bookmark here

Please stop! I beg of you! I completely understand what you’re trying to say, but please choose better wordings! I’m going to have a heart attack from your lack of vocabulary!Bookmark here

"My friend! Be my friend!" She was quick to fix her poor choice of words.Bookmark here

I saw her bright red ears that hid behind her blonde hair. They only made me more uncomfortable. Aside from that, I didn't know how to respond to her demand. If we were in a normal circumstance, such as in a classroom or a house, or even if it was just two of us, or anywhere at all where I can deny her request without a second thought, I would gladly say no But, unfortunately, that wasn't the case. We were on the sidewalk with multiple people staring at us, as well as an awkward atmosphere. Bookmark here

I groaned, mentally bracing myself for the outcome I'd be met with after what I'm about to say. Bookmark here

"No." I said nonchalantly. Bookmark here

She squealed, dropping to her knees just like earlier, and clutched her chest.Bookmark here

"It definitely was the first impression, wasn't it..?" She muttered.Bookmark here

Not feeling satisfied with the sad mood I had brought upon everyone, I turned around and started to walk away. Instantly, a gentle grip was set on my shoulder, causing me to stop in my tracks.Bookmark here

"D-Don't worry, Okumori, I'll be your friend soon!"Bookmark here

She gave me a thumbs-up, her voice mixed in with uncertainty and embarrassment. Bookmark here

I sighed, throwing her hand away from me. Thankfully, I was able to exit freely with no interruptions. Though, it also intrigued me how Miyake would achieve that unrealistic goal of hers. What was she going to do?Bookmark here

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