First of all, Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone.
Here’s your Christmas present, haahahha.
From somewhere far, the girl heard a voice calling her name. “What?” she asked, not bothering to take her eyes from her phone.
“Tsukiko!” the voice screamed next to her ear. A second later, a hand grabbed her phone and pulled from her fingers.
“Hey…” Tsukiko blinked and turned her head. When she saw Yui holding the phone, she stretched her arm without leaving her seat. “Give it back.”
Her friend raised her arm, taking the phone out of the owner’s reach. “So you’re finally paying attention, huh? I’ve been calling you for ages.”
Tsukiko pressed her lips and sighed. “Sorry,” she said, lowering hand. “I’m waiting for a text and—”
“From that kid?” Yui handed the phone back. “Taichi-kun?”
“It’s Taiyou-kun, and no. I’m waiting for a text from his aunt,” she said, her eyes already back to the screen. Rin-nee should’ve sent by now, Tsukiko thought. She checked if there was a signal, clicking her tongue when she saw all the bars. What’s taking so long? Did something happen? It’s been days since I talked to him…
Taiyou-kun had gone back to his hometown to spend the rest of the school break with his grandparents. It hadn’t even been a week since he left, but after spending almost the entire recess with him, it was weird not having the boy by her side. Even just reading manga isn’t as fun without him reading something else in the room.
And I wanted to see him in his school uniform. The moment Taiyou-kun told her he would be attending Teikou Private Academy, Tsukiko wanted to see. All because she knew the Teikou’s uniform was a gakuran.
It doesn’t seem like him at all… I’ll bet he’s gonna look super cute wearing it, all out of place and embarrassed, she thought, a sly smile on her lips. Too bad he refused to wear for me. Did he realize I wanted to tease him?
With a smile on her lips and the picture of him wearing the black uniform in her heart, Tsukiko knocked on his door that morning. You’re not gonna leave to school without me seeing you first, she thought, holding her grin.
Rin-nee opened the door. “Morning, Tsukiko-chan. Come in, come in,” the woman said with a yawn, going back inside. “If you’re here for Taiyou, I’m sorry, but he isn’t back.”
“What?” Tsukiko felt all the excitement leaving her body, along with her smile. She followed the woman and sat on the stool. “Wasn’t he supposed to be back yesterday?”
Rin-nee had an awkward smile on her lips as she poured herself a cup of coffee. “Yeah… He and my dad went fishing yesterday, and apparently they lost track of time. Dad called yesterday night saying Taiyou was tired and that he’d be sending him back first thing in the morning.” The doctor chuckled when she saw the girl’s shocked face. “My sister had the same the same expression before she started lecturing dad. I’m telling you, never get on nee-san’s bad side,” she said, a tremor running through her body. “Anyway, she went to get him at the station. I’m gonna meet them at school.”
Tsukiko looked at the floor.
“Oh, come on. Don’t look so down,” Rin-nee said. “It’s only been five days since you saw each other. You can’t be missing him that much.”
The girl sighed and showed a tiny smile. “It’s not that. It’s just that I wanted to…” Tsukiko trailed off, blushing.
“To see him in his uniform?” Rin-nee completed the girl’s sentence, grinning.
Tsukiko opened her mouth and then chuckled. “Yes,” she admitted. “He refused every time I asked him to wear it.”
“Yeah… he did the same with me when I asked. Don’t know why.” They both laughed this time. “Only when sister asked he put it on. I’ll tell you this. He looks super cute and super hard not to tease.”
The girl lied down on the table. “I wanna see him,” she whispered.
“Don’t worry, you’ll see him today. But, in order to tease my nephew, I’ll take many photos and send it to you.”
Tsukiko lifted her head and beamed to the woman.
Rin-nee said that… and there’s nothing so far! Not even a damn text, she thought, unlocking her phone and updating her emails. She had lost count how many times she had done that.
“Taiyou this, Taiyou that,” Yui said, rolling her eyes. “You know you talked about this boy the entire break?”
Tsukiko turned to her and blinked. “I did not,” she protested, though a weak one. She knew deep down her friend was right.
“Yeah, you did. You talked so much that I thought for a second he was your boyfriend or at least you liked him or something.”
Tsukiko paused for a moment to let the idea sunk in her mind. Then laughed and waved her free hand to dismiss the thought. “He’s a friend. A great friend, but he’s just a kid.”
Though I have to admit I’d like to see his reaction during his first kiss. I bet he’ll be all red and trembling. She closed her eyes and tried imagining for a moment. Taiyou-kun, with his entire face an alarming shade of red and eyes wide, leaning in to kiss a shadow with his lips puckered. But when Tsukiko’s mind placed a cute girl’s face on the shadow, it annoyed her. Then her mind turned to her and Taiyou-kun kissing. She shook her head to dismiss the image, her cheeks slightly hot and a shade of pink.
“Isn’t he a middle schooler like us starting today?”
“What?” It took a moment for the girl to understand her friend’s words. When she did, Tsukiko waved her hand again. “Two different things. He’s pure, innocent and must remain like that.”
Her friend rolled her eyes again. “If you say so. I still think you’re in denial though.” Yui turned her head around a few times. “Instead of talking about that boy, we should be talking about the people in our class. Did you see who’s in our class?”
Tsukiko thought for a moment. “We are…” She remembered seeing her name and her closest friends’ name. She also remembered the relief she felt for staying in the same class as them. That was all.
Yui sighed, closed her eyes and shook her head. “There’s no saving for you, is there?” She placed both hands on Tsukiko’s head and forced the girl to look at the opposite side. “He’s in our class too.”
Tsukiko blinked and looked, but on the crowded gymnasium where the opening ceremony would happen, she only saw the rest of the students, and no face stood out among the masses. The girl had no idea who her friend was talking about in particular.
“Ah… so he’s in our class, huh? That’s good,” she said, pretending to understand. Yui let go of her head, but the girl didn’t turn to face her. “Things gonna be fun and interesting this year. Yay.” Her voice contained so little enthusiasm even Tsukiko felt an urge to laugh.
“You really suck at lying, you know that?” Yui sighed loudly. “I’m talking about Kobayashi.”
“Oh…” Tsukiko said, now it was for real, turning her head again. The boy in question was two rows behind them, talking with a friend.
Everyone in school knew Kobayashi. Despite his grades far from the best, the ace of the soccer club had a charisma even the teachers liked. And with his impish charm, most girls had a crush on him. Even Tsukiko thought he was cute on a few occasions, though she would rather never admit to her friends.
As she watched the boy laughing with his friends, Tsukiko remember who else was in their class, and couldn’t help but smile. “Hey… Isn’t Uihara in our class too?” she asked to confirm, turning back to Yui.
“Yeah,’ the girl said, also smiling. “There’ll be lots of drama with them in the same class. I heard their breakup was ugly. Something about him caring more about soccer than her.”
“Was that the reason? For real?” Tsukiko had forgotten about most gossips during the school break, but she faintly remembered some. If memory serves me, it was just before the end of the semester. “He always said soccer was the priority for him. He’s aiming a sports scholarship since the first year.”
“Yeah, and everyone thinks he’ll get one. Thanks to Kobayashi, our soccer team made it to the nationals. Though they lost on the first match, it was the best result our school had in years.”
Tsukiko hummed impressed, sneaking a glance at the boy again. Suddenly something popped into her mind. “Hey, is Teikou strong?”
Yui rubbed her temples. “Could you stop thinking about that kid for a while? You should be thinking about Kobayashi”
“Huh? Why should I?”
Her friend looked around. When she made sure no one was listening to them, she leaned in closer and covered her mouth with a hand. “Because I know he’s interested in you,” she whispered and then pressed her lips together, her face full of enthusiasm.
Tsukiko opened her mouth and closed it, turning around to look at the boy again. “For real?” Yui nodded her head, still pressing her lips to hide the smile. Tsukiko couldn’t suppress hers though, her cheeks a shade of pink. “How do you know?”
“Kobayashi was talking with his friends and his little sister overheard. She’s in the literature club with me and told me everything.” Yui had a smug someone telling the biggest secret of the century.
Tsukiko turned around to look at the boy again. Kobayashi-kun was looking forward, and suddenly their eyes met. Time moved slower to the girl as the boy smiled to her. Tsukiko smiled back, and before she realized, she was waving her hand, her cheeks a shade of red.
“See? I told you!” Yui’s voice brought her back. “You should talk to him before homeroom.”
Tsukiko opened and closed her mouth, finally lowering her hands. She played with her fingers. “I don’t even know what to say,” she mumbled.
“Ask him about soccer. You can even ask about Teikou’s soccer club or whatever, but you have to take the opportunity right away. Otherwise you’ll lose him to the club, just like Uihara.”
Tsukiko opened her mouth, but before she could think of anything, the stage’s lights turned on. As the gymnasium grew quiet, the principal walked to the center of the stage and the opening ceremony started.
“So that’s all the information you need for now,” the teacher said, his voice full of enthusiasm. As he organized his papers, his eyes swept the classroom. “Remember you’re in the third year now and should all be thinking about the future. Discuss with your families and bring those papers by the end of the week. We need to direct your studies from now on.”
The moment their math teacher left the room, Tsukiko laid on her desk and let out a sigh. “I could swear Fujiwara-sensei would be different with the baby and all. But I think his enthusiasm has gotten worse.”
“What did you expect? He’s being talking about the baby ever since he knew his wife was pregnant. There’s no way he’d be down or something.”
“Maybe. But shouldn’t he at least be a little tired? I mean, taking care of a baby must be tiresome, let alone twins. How much energy does that man have?”
“The day that man gets tired, it will be a cold day in this school,” Yui said, nodding her head.
Tsukiko couldn’t help but wince as she imagined. Yeah… that would be weird, she thought, turning her attention to the paper Fujiwara-sensei mentioned. Breathing out a few times, the girl put her hands inside the desk and pulled the sheet out, taking her time before turning it around.
The first blank spaces Tsukiko could fill without giving much thought; her name, class, clubs and other school activities the student participated. But the biggest one, almost thrice the size of the others, she had no idea what to write. What are your goals for the future? Has it changed from last year? she read in her mind. Guess I can’t write nothing in particular this time… can I? It’s the truth…
“Still no idea what to write?” Yui asked in a low voice.
Tsukiko stared her friend and sighed. “No.” She buried her head in her arms. “How about you?”
“I…” Her friend’s hesitation made Tsukiko raised her head. Yui looked everywhere but at her. “I wanna go to Endou High,” she mumbled, her cheeks bright red.
Tsukiko opened her mouth, but closed it, the smile on her lips. “The famous literary high school?” Even if she had no interested in the famous schools, even she knew about Endou High.
A few authors I like studied there, she thought, remembering the author’s corner on the magazines. She kept that part to herself though. Yui nodded her head slightly, her cheeks somehow reddening a bit more.
“So you wanna be a writer, huh?” It was more of an affirmation than a question.
“That’s the first time I hear about this,” Tsukiko said, raising her enthusiasm. “I knew you liked reading, but you never told me you wrote.”
“Actually I’ve been writing only for a year. But I never had the courage to tell anyone…not until now…”
“When you finish, let me read it,” Tsukiko said beaming. “I wanna be your first fan!”
“Okay…” Yui said, finally looking Tsukiko on the eyes despite her embarrassment.
“I’m so jealous,” she said, closing her eyes and placing a hand on her chin. “You know what you want. You can fill the paper easily. ”
“Tsukiko.” The sudden change in her friend’s voice made the girl open her eyes. Yui had stopped smiling, her face back to its normal color. “You should talk with your dad. In person.”
Tsukiko pressed her lips. I knew she’d say that, she thought, scratching her cheek with a finger. Her best friend was probably the only person, apart from Taiyou-kun, who knew about her circumstances. Though Tsukiko and her father talked a lot, it was mostly phone call and text messages, and superficial. But this is a serious and face to face conversation, she thought, staring the paper.
“You already know what you have to do about this,” Yui said after a while, taking the paper from Tsukiko’s hand. “Now you should be thinking about him.”
Tsukiko didn’t need to turn her head to know whom her friend was talking. The paper might have taken Kobayashi-kun from her head for a moment, but thanks to Yui, the boy was back to her mind. “Why did you have to bring him now?” she asked, her cheeks flushing.
“Because he’s coming this way right now,” she whispered in a hurry and threw the paper back to Tsukiko. “Hi, Kobayashi-kun.”
“Hey, Shirosaki,” the boy greeted them.
“Hey, Kobayashi-kun, I have to go now, but could you do me a favor? Tsukiko’s feeling down because of the orientation paper. Could you cheer her up?”
The boy looked between the girls, a surprised expression on his face. It only lasted for a second though, the impish smile popping on his lips the next instant. “Sure, no problem.”
Tsukiko stared Yui, her eyes wide and her cheeks blushing. Her friend smiled and mouthed the words talk to him as she grabbed her bag on her way out of the classroom.
Kobayashi turned to Tsukiko and smiled. The girl forced a smile back, but suddenly felt aware that her hair was a mess and her uniform not straight. Damn… I needed some time to prepare myself, she thought.
“So you don’t know what to write, huh?” the boy asked, staring the paper on her hands.
Tsukiko opened her mouth, but instead of words, she let out a sigh. “Yeah. I’d like to say they should give us more time, but they’ve been handing this since the first year.”
“Yeah, I get what you’re saying. We’re not even in high school and they’re telling us to choose what we’re gonna do for the next forty years.”
“You’re the last person I want to hear that,” Tsukiko said, chuckling. “You’re one of the lucky few who already knows what you want.”
Kobayashi-kun laughed. “Yeah. I’m one of the lucky few.”
“You think you’ll get the scholarship?”
“My chances are getting better and better. Not to brag, but I was the main reason we made it to the nationals,” he said, running a hand through his hair, the impish smile back. “And I’ve been working out like crazy. I’m in way better shape than last year.” Kobayashi-kun pulled his sleeves and flexed his arm. “If everything works out, and normally they do with me, I can be the top scorer this season.”
“That’s… amazing…” Tsukiko managed to say, the awkward smile on her lips. “Hey, is Teikou school strong?” she asked when she suddenly remembered.
“Teikou?” He put his sleeves down and closed his eyes. “I know their basket club is amazing, but they’re just average in soccer,” he answered shrugging. “I don’t even thing they aim the national. Why do you ask?”
“I’m just curious. A friend of mine is gonna try out for Teikou’s soccer club,” she said, her hands pulling her phone from her pocket before she realized. Still no messages, Tsukiko thought, staring the screen and pressing her lips.
“Do you wanna exchange numbers?” Kobayashi-kun asked, already pulling out his phone.
Tsukiko blinked, opening and closing her mouth a couple times. “I…”
Before she could answer, two boys from another class opened the door. “Hey, captain,” one of them said to Kobayashi-kun. “We kinda need you, you know?”
“I’m coming,” he screamed back. He raised his phone to Tsukiko and smiled. Without any excuse in mind, she exchanged emails with him. “I gotta got. I’m the new captain now, so I’m needed a lot. We’ll talk later,” he said, walking away.
Tsukiko sighed and looked around. She half-expected Yui come running to her, but if not for the girls talking at the corner near the window, the class would be empty. They glanced at her for a second and then got back to their conversation.
Wah… It’s gonna spread like fire, Tsukiko thought as she grabbed her bag and left the room. I’ll bet Uihara’s gonna find out before I step outside the gates. Midway to the train station, her phone vibrated. With her heart beating faster, she quickly unlocked her phone. Is it Rin-nee?
How did it go? Yui wrote, and for some reason Tsukiko imagined her friend with a smug right now. I know it went well, but I want the details.
All her enthusiasm was back to normal. I’ll tell you all later, but we exchange emails, Tsukiko replied.
I told you, didn’t I? If everything works out, you could be dating the most popular boy at school in like no time!
Aren’t you skipping a few steps? It was just one conversation, she wrote back.
Dating Kobayashi-kun… The idea didn’t seem bad, but it didn’t make her heart race as it did before. Tsukiko stood with the people waiting to climb aboard the train. When the doors were about to close, a kid wearing gakuran came running in. If this were a couple months ago, I bet I’d be jumping for joy, she thought as she watched the student taking deep breaths.
The moment she got home, she knocked on the neighbor’s door. When there was no answer, Tsukiko raced to her apartment, to her bedroom and threw herself on the bed. Rin-nee hasn’t sent any photos, Taiyou-kun isn’t back yet and I’ve got to tell the details of the talk with Kobayashi-kun to Yui. This sucks!
With her arms around her pillow, Tsukiko stared the ceiling. Kobayashi-kun seems nice. A bit full of himself, but I can see why. She tossed around the bed. Actually, he’s a lot nicer than I thought he’d be, but he does seem to care more about soccer than anything else. Dating him would be around it. The face of Uihara appeared on the girl’s mind. I doubt it’ll be as interesting as talking to Taiyou-kun…
Taiyou-kun…why aren’t you back yet? You idiot… I wanna talk to you… I wanna play games with you… I wanna tease you! Tsukiko waved her pillow around to take some of her frustration. If not for the faint sound of the doorbell, the girl would still be waving the pillow.
With a sigh, she threw the pillow to the bed and dragged her feet to the entrance. Who could be at this hour? She asked herself sourly, but when she opened the door and saw Taiyou-kun standing there, Tsukiko beamed.
“Taiyou-kun!” Before she realized, she had her arms around the boy. When she stopped, she pinched his cheeks. “Why didn’t you answer any of my texts?”
“Sorry,” he said when the girl let go off him. The boy rubbed his, now red, cheeks and looked down. “My charger broke. My mom mail a new one, but I…” he trailed off.
“…was having too much fun and forgot to use it?” Tsukiko finished his sentence with a smile.
The boy nodded his head a few times, his cheeks a bit redder, and not because of her. The girl sighed as she stared him with his head low. Whenever he talked about his grandparents, he stops being the over polite kid and becomes a normal one, she thought, messing his hair.
“Fine. Out of the goodness of my heart, I’ll forgive you,” she said, her arms crossed and a stern look on her face. The boy raised his head and smiled. “But for that, you’ll have to do something for me.” There was a sly smile on her lips.
Taiyou-kun narrowed his eyes. “What…?”
“You must… wear your uniform in front of me!” She tried keeping a straight face, barely containing her smile now.
The boy widened his eyes and his cheeks went an alarming shade of red. “You’ll see it tomorrow,” he mumbled in his low voice, not meeting her in the eyes.
“Eh?” Tsukiko walked around the boy to looking him face to face. “That’s too long. I’ve been waiting all week to see you in a gakuran.”
Looking into her eyes, Taiyou-kun opened his mouth, his cheeks somehow redder. But before he said anything, the apartment next door opening and closing took them from their world.
“Are you coming, Tsukiko-chan?” Rin-nee asked.
The girl looked between the woman and her nephew. “What?”
“I came here to invite you to lunch with us,” Taiyou-kun said in his low voice.
Tsukiko’s mouth stayed open for a second, then she smiled. “Of course! Let me grab my jacket,” she said, racing inside her apartment.
“So how was the first day? Bet they hammered you about being a third year and all,” Rin-nee said when the girl was back. “It was like that for me.”
“It was pretty much all my teacher talked about during homeroom,” Tsukiko complained, shaking her head. “I mean, I know choosing what high school we want, or if we want trade school, but to start from day one…”
The woman chuckled. “They haven’t changed it at all. Though I don’t remember that ‘what do you want for your future’ paper Sawako was talking.”
Tsukiko froze for a moment. When the woman and the boy looked at her, the girl laughed and scratched her head. “I got that…”
“Talk about pressure,” she said, laughing again. Rin-nee patted Taiyou-kun on the head. “He got one too.”
“Really? A first grader on the first day? Guess things change in a couple years. Or maybe the school’s in another level,” Tsukiko said and suddenly widened her eyes. “That’s right! I almost forgot! Rin-nee, where the photos?”
The women turned to Taiyou-kun with a smile. Though the boy lowered his head, it wasn’t fast enough to hide his face flushing. “I’m sorry, but he made me promise not send you any pictures.”
Tsukiko opened her mouth, pretending to be too shocked to speak. “I knew the photos were for Tsukiko,” Taiyou-kun mumbled.
The girl held the urge to laugh and hugged him. “Oh, come on. I’ve been dying to see you wearing your uniform all week. Just one photo…” The girl turned to the woman.
“Sorry, Tsukiko-chan. A promise is a promise,” she said, shaking her head. “Luckily Taiyou never said anything about videos. I’ll send those to you later.”
With her arms still wrapped around him, they both turned to the doctor; Tsukiko’s face beaming with a smile and Taiyou-kun’ too shocked to say anything.
“Thanks, Rin-nee! You’re the best!”
I shouldn’t have eaten so much… but the meat was so good, Tsukiko thought, lying face down on her bed. So he’s just like me… she smiled when she remembered Taiyou-kun’ face.
Most of Tsukiko’s friends had some idea what they wanted to do for the future. Even it was just pursuing a hobby or doing something because of their parents said so, they had some sort of direction. Since there were many kids like her, it didn’t bother Tsukiko that much, though it always stayed in the back of her mind.
I guess since Taiyou-kun seems so mature at first I thought he had already something in mind. But he said it so strongly, Tsukiko thought, remembering, her heart beating a little faster.
“I bet Taiyou-kun already know what he wants, right?” she asked with a smile, twirling her hair with a finger, watching the boy intently. “You wanna be a soccer player, right?”
“No,” he said right away, staring forward. “I like soccer a lot, and I do wanna play for as long as I can. But I don’t see myself playing professionally. Dad…” he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them, he stared Tsukiko, his eyes full of determination. “My dad used to say he never knew what he wanted. Doing what you like is an option. It’s a path that might lead to what you truly want.”
Tsukiko had no reaction to his words. He… looks so cool now, she thought and suddenly the image of them kissing jumped in her head. The girl blushed and looked away.
Thank goodness Rin-nee spoke at the time, otherwise he would’ve seen my face, Tsukiko thought, tossing around her bed. But he’s right. She stood up and grabbed her phone on the desk. Breathing deep a couple of times, she stared the screen. It took a while, but her fingers finally moved. When are you free?
She rested her phone back where it was and laid on the bed. How long will it take him to answer? Tsukiko wondered as she stared the ceiling and hugged her pillow. He’s busy and all… A few minutes later, her phone ringed. Already? She thought, standing up right away. Taking deep breaths, she picked up her phone and read the text.
There’s a problem with the project and it might take all week to solve, her father wrote back. What’s the matter?
So he’s busy, she thought, a tiny smile on her lips. If you’re busy, then never mind. We can talk when you’re free, she wrote back.
Talk about what?
The girl gulped, the sweat coming down her brow. Why am I nervous? The thought crossed her mind as she cleaned the sweat with the free hand. It’s about school… we received this paper about out future plans and goal. The teacher told us to talk with our parents, but we can do this when your project is over. I know how important it is…
This time her father didn’t reply right away. Tsukiko waited, her stomach tightening and her throat drying. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to the girl, the screen flashed and the phone ringed with a new reply.
Are you free tomorrow night? We can discuss this during dinner.
Tsukiko widened her eyes and forgot to breathe. She swallowed her saliva as her fingers moved. We can talk later. You must be busy and all…
Seven o’clock at the family restaurant you like. I have to go now, but I’ll see you tomorrow.
Though part of her felt guilty for worrying her father during his work, the girl couldn’t help but smile while writing the final reply. Okay, see you tomorrow, she wrote and then placed her phone on the desk.
Tsukiko threw herself on the bed and before she realized, her mind was racing through her wardrobe, already picking her clothe for tomorrow. It’s been over a week since I saw dad. Hope he’s taking care of himself. Every time he jumps on a new project, he loses weight.
The phone ringing brought Tsukiko’s mind back with a jolt. It’s dad again…? Suddenly she had trouble breathing, her heart beating so fast it pained her a little. Is he gonna cancel?
With shaking legs and fingers, Tsukiko stood up and reached out for her phone. Before she grabbed it, the doorbell ranged. She looked at the door as her hand closed around the device. Without looking at the screen, Tsukiko dragged her feet to the entrance. Taking deep breaths, she looked her phone and unlocked it
Did something happen today? Taiyou-kun texted her, she breathed out in relief.
With a smile now, she wrote back, opening the door at the same time. Yeah. Why you’re asking?
“Because you seemed down,” the person at the door spoke.
Tsukiko almost dropped her phone when she saw Taiyou-kun standing there, wearing his school uniform. She opened and closed her mouth many times, but it took a while for her to form any sentence. “Why are you wearing…?”
Taiyou-kun blushed and looked away. “You seemed down,” he said again. “And since you wanted to see me… I thought…”
Tsukiko beamed and jumped to hug him. “You’re the best!” she said, kissing him on the cheek.
The boy didn’t push nor avoid her. When the girl stopped and looked him from head to toe, Taiyou-kun’ hand went his cheeks, on the exact place where she kissed him.
Tsukiko walked around the boy, nodding her head in approval. “Hum, hum. I thought you’d look out of place with a gakuran, but I was wrong. It fits you perfectly. You seem so cool now,” she said, beaming again.
Taiyou-kun blushed even more. He looked away, but not fast enough to hide the smile on his lips.
“You did this all for me,” she said, hugging him again, this time gently. “Thanks.” The boy didn’t move at first, but then his arms wrapped around her. “Come on, tell me all about your week with your grandparents. I wanna hear everything.”
Tsukiko broke the hug and went inside her apartment.
Taiyou-kun smiled and went after her, closing the door.