The first Sunday of the month means a new chapter of Tsukiko-chan and Taiyou-kun.
Hope you like it
Tsukiko-chan and Taiyou-kun 7
“Come on, Yui. Hurry up,” Tsukiko complained, fighting against the urge to pull her friend.
“What’s the rush?” The girl yawned and rubbed her closed eyes. “It’s not like he’s playing.”
“I know, but still…” Tsukiko pressed her lips as she remembered Taiyou-kun’ face when he told her about his team’s first match.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to go,” he said with a smile after Tsukiko told she wouldn’t miss it for anything. “It’s just the first match and there’s little chance for me to play…”
That was the first time Tsukiko hated seeing his smile. She knew right away he was forcing it. He didn’t lie to me, she could tell. But didn’t we promise we wouldn’t hide anything from each other? The girl breathed out through her nose. I know he wanted his mother or Rin-nee there to watch him, but he could’ve ask me…
Tsukiko shook her head, stopped and turned to Yui with a serious expression. “I want to be there for him.”
Yui looked at her with a blank expression and then sighed. “Fine, fine. I get it it’s important for you to be there,” she said, walking a bit faster. “What?” she asked when she saw Tsukiko hadn’t moved.
“It’s just… I thought you’d argue some more.”
Yui chuckled and flashed a roguish smile. “Oh, please. I’m not in the mood for that. I already gave up arguing with you about your relationship with Taiyou-kun a long time ago,” she said, shrugging.
Tsukiko blushed and raced after her friend. “I told you we’re just friends. Why do you keep insisting on that?”
“’cause you keep reacting like that.” Yui laughed. “But for real now. You talk so much about the boy I’m surprised Kobayashi hasn’t complained. Or do you have some common sense to not mention the boy to him?”
Tsukiko winced before she realized it. “I’m sad by your lack of faith in me. If you must know, I don’t mention Taiyou-kun… that much,” she added in a low voice.
“I heard that,” Yui said and Tsukiko avoided her eyes. Her friend sighed. “At least it’s some progress, I guess.”
“Actually, it’s more like he talks and I listen,” she said, shaking her head. If anyone asked, Tsukiko could tell Kobayashi-kun’ team. Also his favorite players. And his favorite football boot brand. And the boy’s five top best goals, according to him.
“Is that so? Even if you two are on that level yet, people already consider you two as a couple.”
“What?” Tsukiko halted and grabbed Yui’s arm, forcing her friend to look her. “Who’s saying that? Kobayashi-kun?”
“He’s too busy with soccer to go around saying that.” Yui scratched her cheek and averted her eyes. “I think it’s Uihara who’s spreading these rumors.”
Tsukiko shook her head in denial. “And here I was trying to avoid troublesome thing.”
“Why it’s troublesome? I mean, it might become true soon, right?” Yui suddenly seemed eager.
This time Tsukiko averted her eyes and walked away. “I… don’t know about that…”
“Do you think you can hide anything from me?” Yui went after her friend. “I know he invited you to watch his first match.”
Urg, how do you know that? I thought no one was around when he asked me. “Yeah, it’s true he invited me…” Tsukiko trailed off.
“You’re going, right?” Yui insisted. “If you’re going to your neighbor’s game, who might not even play, you’re going to your potential boyfriend’s game.”
“Boyfriend, boyfriend. Could you please not call him that so easily? We’re not nowhere near…” Tsukiko’s cheek felt hot. “Why do you keep insisting on him so much?”
“’cause I remember the way you looked at him last year. I remember how every time you saw him with Uihara you stopped smiling,” Yui said, staring Tsukiko right in the eyes. “I know you like him. At least you did until that kid showed up.”
Her friend walked away. “I just don’t wanna see you regretting, that’s all. Suffering for love sucks, you know?”
Tsukiko stared at Yui’s back and suddenly realized. She’s talking about herself too… I had no idea Yui liked someone, she thought. I remembered she avoided the question even when we were slightly drunk on New Year’s Eve… I can tell she doesn’t want to talk about it now, though. Tsukiko raced until she was side by side with her friend.
“Thanks for looking out for me,” she said, hugging Yui. “I promise I won’t do anything that I might regret, okay?”
“Knowing you, I doubt that,” Yui said, patting Tsukiko on the head like a kid. Before the girl could get mad, they arrived at the field. “I think they’re about to start.”
“What?” Tsukiko let go of her friend and raced between the few spectators to find the best seats. “We’re late ‘cause of you.”
“Don’t blame this on me.” Yui sat on Tsukiko’s side. “And it’s not like he’s a starter, so you there’s no chance of you missing any of his moments.”
Tsukiko pressed her lips to hold her immediate answer. “Where is he?” she mumbled, looking for Taiyou-kun.
“Probably on the bench. If he doesn’t suck enough, that is,” Yui said uninterested, pulling with her phone.
Tsukiko squinted her eyes. “Ah! There he is,” she said, pointing. “He’s the seventeen.”
“Oh, really? Thanks for pointing that out. I’d never recognize him. I mean, you only showed like dozens of photos of him. How could I recognize him with only that?”
“Your sarcasm wasn’t requested.”
“But necessary.” Yui laughed seeing Tsukiko’s annoyed face. “I’m impressed he’s on the bench though. It’s not that easy for a first year.”
“So you think he’ll play today?” Tsukiko turned to Yui, her face bright with a smile.
“Being on the bench and play are two different things. The coach has only three substitutions,” Yui reminded Tsukiko as the girl observed Taiyou-kun in silence. “Hey, is that their manager? She’s cute. Are you gonna get jealous?”
Yui’s voice brought Tsukiko back. The girl rolled her eyes, but when her friend turned her attention back to the phone, she glanced at the only girl in Teikou’s bench. She’s cute, Tsukiko thought. Taiyou-kun mentioned about her, but never said she was this cute. But when she moved her gaze a bit, she saw the boy and forgot about the manager.
“Hey Yui, look how nervous he looks,” Tsukiko said, giggling. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen him like that.
“Wow, that’s great. Amazing,” her friend said in a monotone, playing her phone. But before Tsukiko could complain she wasn’t even looking, Yui raised her eyes. “The game’s about to start.”
The players from both teams were in their respective sides and Teikou would have the kickoff. The referee blew the whistle and the game started.
“Teikou isn’t half-bad,” Yui mentioned after thirty minutes.
“I told you! They’re not a strong school, but they have a chance to reach the national,” Tsukiko said with a smile.
“I wouldn’t go that far,” Yui said, finally putting her phone away. “Besides, even if they’re good, it means nothing if they lose today.”
“What?” Tsukiko turned to her friend, pressing the guardrail harder. “You think they can lose?”
“Teikou’s too nervous. Look.”
Tsukiko turned back to the field. Teikou was in the middle of an attack. They exchanged passes, though a bit too stiff, and finally the ball ended with the number nine, who was free to score. He raised his head and kicked the ball, but it hit the post and went out.
“That’s the third time he has a chance to score, but he rushed it and lost the chance. If he just waited a few seconds, he could’ve scored.”
Tsukiko pressed her lips. Yui’s right. Even an amateur like me call tell, she thought. In comparison, Seiyo’s team had barely passed the midfield line, but in the few times they risked, their attack was dangerous. If not for Teikou’s goalkeeper, the scoreboard would have changed twice already.
“Ah! They wasted another chance!” The groans of lament echoed around the bleachers. Tsukiko joined them, but soon the lament became concern. There was no time for sorrow, as Seiyo counter-attacked.
“That’s bad,” Yui voice what Tsukiko was thinking.
Teikou’s players had advanced too much and now their defense was caught in disarray. It was three against four. The players from both teams raced after the ball, but most were too far and too late.
Tsukiko was already standing up, just like Teikou’s entire bench. Even Yui raised her neck, her hand pulling Tsukiko’s arm who blocked her view.
Even with the disadvantage, the three defenders tried their best to keep up, but the ball ended up with Seiyo’s number eleven inside the penalty area, and there was no way any of Teikou’s player would reach him before he kicked the ball.
The goalkeeper ran towards him, spreading his arms and legs to make himself as big as he could.
The forward closed his eyes and kicked. His shot hit the goalkeeper’s shoulder and went up. Everyone watched, too stunned to run, as the ball fell slowly towards the goal.
The goalkeeper was the first to recover. He raced back and in the last moment, he grabbed the ball before it crossed the goal line. But before his teammates cheered, he turned around, his eyes running the field, and he kicked the ball to the other side.
Once again both teams raced towards the ball, but this time, it was Seiyo’s team who was at disadvantage. Teikou’s Nine and Eleven exchanged quick passes. Yes! Tsukiko screamed in her mind when Eleven dribbled and had no one in his path to the goal. “Shoot!”
The bleachers grew frantic as the player raised his head, his eyes fixed on the goal. He kicked the ball, and when it went underneath the goalkeeper, the scream stuck on the Teikou’s players, the bench and on the spectators echoed through the field and bleachers.
“GOAL!” Tsukiko screamed at the top of her lungs, but she doubted anyone heard her. Even Yui smiled when Tsukiko hugged her.
The girl turned to the bench and when she saw Taiyou-kun cheering with his teammates with a huge smile, Tsukiko couldn’t help but feel smile too, a strange happiness filling her. She pulled her phone and snapped a photo. I’ll frame this one.
The spectators started sitting as Seiyo brought the ball from the end of the net to the center of the field and started the game again.
“If Teikou can stand the next ten minutes, they’ll win,” Yui said, sitting down too.
“It the other team scores before half time, they’ll have a great boost in morale for the second half and—”
“Teikou will have trouble containing their enthusiasm…” Tsukiko finished Yui’s thought.
“Yeah… If Teikou goes to half time winning, I doubt they’ll have any more trouble.”
Tsukiko pressed her lips and turned to the field again. It was just as her friend said. The other team had given up the caution. If before they barely had three players beyond the midfield line, now they attacked with six, sometimes seven.
Teikou’s defense wasn’t reacting as fast as before. They’re still thinking about the goal, Tsukiko realized as one of the defenders missed a two meters pass and the ball ended up crossing the line, giving a corner kick to Seiyo. Ah, how could he do that right now?
“Hey, is that normal?” Tsukiko asked Yui, almost shaking her friend for the answer. “He can do that?” She pointed to Seiyo’s goalkeeper, who ran across the field, positioning himself around the players near the penalty mark.
“It’s not that uncommon. In the last minute, they have to try everything,” Yui said, pushing Tsukiko away. “Especially if he’s that tall.”
“I’ve never seen that! It’s not fair! He’s in middle school like us, but he’s like two meters tall!”
“Will you keep it down? Everyone’s looking at us,” Yui whispered and forced Tsukiko to sit. “If you watched a real match instead of just playing video games, you’d know. Now shut up and watch.”
She bit her nail as the referee blew the whistle. The field and the bleachers grew quiet as Seiyo’s number ten prepared to cross. Tsukiko could hear her own heart beating as the ball flew over the area. Everything moved in slow motion as the two meters goalkeeper jumped above everyone else and smashed the ball hard with his head.
No one moved or screamed as the ball fell at the bottom of the net. Only when the referee blew the whistle, pointing to the center of the field, and the assistant referee ran to the center, the world seemed to move again.
The scream from Seiyo’s players and their few supporters on the bleachers filled the field. The players hugged each other and cheered as Teikou’s students got the ball and brought to the center slowly, their faces down.
The referee blew the whistle, but when Nine passed the ball, he blew it again. It was the end of the first half.
Even though the scoreboard showed a draw, the difference in the semblances between the teams was incredible. While Seiyo’s team went to the lockers with huge smiles and congratulating each other, no one from Teikou said anything as they exited the field.
Tsukiko felt a pain in her heart as she saw Taiyou-kun’ face. “It was just like you said,” she said in a low voice.
“Yeah,” Yui said, though the girl noticed her tone wasn’t indifferent anymore. “Now Teikou must rise up to the challenge, otherwise it’s over for them this year.”
“Don’t say that.”
“Wouldn’t be better for you?” Yui suddenly seemed serious. “I mean, if they lose, Taiyou won’t be as busy with the club activities anymore. This way you two can spend more time doing whatever you two do. You want that, don’t you?”
Tsukiko pressed her lips. “I’d be lying if I said no, but…” she trailed off. It was true she felt somewhat alone after his club’s activities started. Taiyou-kun left early in the morning and came back home almost at dinnertime every day. Even though they still played games and read manga together, she could tell he was tired. But even so, Tsukiko didn’t get mad at him or at the club. Because every time he talks about it, his face light up with a smile. A smile that Tsukiko wanted to see more and more. “I like see him working hard and I want to support him as much as I can. What kind of friend I’d be if I wanted him to lose?”
Yui chuckled and smile. “Friend, huh?” Before Tsukiko could ask what she meant, her friend stood up. “Then I’ll support you support him. And for that, I’ll get us some drinks.”
Her friend’s words made Tsukiko feel better. Yes. I’ll cheer for Teikou and for Taiyou-kun, she thought. By the time Yui came back and they finished the drinks, the players returned to the field.
“Uwa, look at their faces,” Yui mentioned. “Even with those two substitutions, they don’t look ready…”
Tsukiko could tell by herself. Teikou’s player seemed more nervous than they started. Seiyo’s team, on the other hand, seemed determined to score.
The beginning of the second time was almost a replay from the first half’s last five minutes. Even though Seiyo lacked the quality, they pressed forward, and if not for the goalkeeper, would be winning by now.
Teikou, on the other hand, couldn’t exchange more than three passes without losing the ball. And the worst was that the players were starting to feel the pressure. They made more fouls in the first twenty minutes of the second time than the entire first half.
“They’ll end up finishing the game with a player short like this,” Yui voiced Tsukiko’s worried and the girl bit her nails again.
Barely two minutes had passed when Teikou’s number six made another foul. When the referee showed him a yellow card, no one from the team protested.
“Hey, Teikou’s making the last substitution,” someone from the bleachers said.
Tsukiko turned to the bench. The coach talked with someone, but she couldn’t see who it was. Her breathing was short and rapid, but when the player walked to the sidelines, the girl beamed when she saw the number seventeen on his back.
“It’s Taiyou-kun!” She pulled Yui’s sleeve.
“You’re right. For a first year to enter now… I’ll bet he’s more nervous than the rest of the team put together.”
Yui was right. Even from this distance, Tsukiko could see the boy’s legs trembling. He walked to the sideline, so stiff the girl thought he would trip at any moment. Before she realized it, Tsukiko to get as close as she could to him.
“Good luck, Taiyou-kun!” she screamed at the top of her lungs.
Taiyou-kun, along with everyone else, turned to her. The boy’s face became an alarming shade of red, but he smiled, though stiffed, and nodded his head, barely moving his neck.
As Number Six walked to Taiyou-kun, Tsukiko sat on her seat. Though her face was red, she smiled. Yui looked at her and sighed without saying a word.
A little more than ten minutes had passed and the situation had changed. Though they were still not playing as good as the first half, Teikou seemed to loosen up a bit. But they weren’t close to scoring.
“They got better after Taiyou entered,” Tsukiko said, a note of pride in her voice.
“Yeah,” Yui agreed. “Guess the third and second years realized if a first year’s playing, they were too awful.”
“So that’s why he entered?” Tsukiko snapped at Yui, suddenly angry. Even though she herself realized it, the thought of the coach using Taiyou-kun like that annoyed her.
“Don’t get mad at me,” Yui said calmly. “The boy isn’t the main character. He’s not gonna score the winning goal. He’s not playing to make up for the team’s nervousness, but even so, he’s helping. There’s no reason to get angry when he’s playing his part.”
Tsukiko bit her lips and turned back to the field. It was true Taiyou-kun hadn’t made much difference so far. The few times he touched the ball, did his job as left back and cross it, though ended up being useless. One was too high and the other the defense intercepted, but the third one was just perfect. If that Nine wasn’t so late, he would’ve scored thanks to Taiyou-kun, Tsukiko complained in her head.
“Run, Seventeen!” one of the spectators screamed.
The ball ended up with Taiyou-kun again, but this time there was no one around him to stop him and he ran. When he was almost near the corner, the boy prepared to cross the ball… but Seiyo’s defender appeared out of nowhere and intercepted him with a sliding tackle.
Tsukiko held her breath as she watched Taiyou-kun fall forward and laid down on the grass.
“Foul!” Yui and the spectators screamed almost in unison. The referee blew the whistle and showed the yellow card again.
Time seemed to stop for her. Only when Taiyou-kun pushed himself up, Tsukiko breathed out in relief. “Thank goodness he’s okay.”
After checking if Taiyou-kun was okay, Teikou’s number eight went to complain to Seiyo’s number four. His teammates had to contain him, but no matter how much they tried, he screamed as he grabbed Four’s shirt. Eight only let go when the referee showed him the yellow card.
“He needs to calm down,” Yui said and Tsukiko agreed.
It took a while, but everyone calmed down. The players positioned themselves inside the penalty area.
“Seventeen’s gonna cross it?” a spectator said. “Isn’t he a first year?”
“Yeah. It should be Eight. He’s the best, but…”
Tsukiko didn’t need to listen. Number eight had been in charge of the free kicks, but he was so nervous everyone made him get away from the ball.
Taiyou-kun was the only one near the ball. Except for his chest moving up and down slowly, he was a statue. Even after the referee blew the whistle, the boy didn’t move. After what felt like an eternity, he ran.
The play seemed surreal to Tsukiko. The ball flew in the air and number eleven jumped above everyone else. With his back against the goal, he smashed the ball with an amazing bicycle kick. The goalkeeper stretched as much as his body allowed, but even with his entire wingspan, he could do nothing beyond watch the ball stretch the net.
Tsukiko didn’t join Yui and the others celebrating the goal. The girl only had eyes for the boy. Taiyou-kun had a blank expression on his face, almost as if he couldn’t believe himself. But when his teammates joined to hug him, he showed a smile the girl had only seen a few times.
“He looks so cool,” Tsukiko whispered with a gentle smile on her lips.
“Yeah, even I can’t disagree with that,” Yui said.
Tsukiko looked at her friend and blinked. “Did I just…”
“Yeah. You just said that to everyone to hear.” Yui laughed and Tsukiko blushed, but she didn’t look away.
“It’s not a lie,” she mumbled
Yui chuckled. “Let’s just hope they can keep the score this time.”
“Don’t say that!” Tsukiko placed both hands on her ears. “You’re giving room to bad luck!”
Before her friend replied, the referee blew the whistle. Seiyo’s team ran towards Teikou’s goal with almost every player.
Teikou reacted with the same manner, defending with every single player. Seiyo tried and tried, but the defenders didn’t let the ball inside the area, kicking it any side far from their goal. In the last five minutes, Seiyo had over four corner kicks.
“What? Three minutes?” A spectator screamed at the referee.
Tsukiko turned and saw the referee holding up three. “Why so much extra time?” the girl pulled Yui’s sleeve again.
“That free kick took some time,” Yui said, crossing her arms, her face serious.
“Ah, damn it!” Tsukiko messed her hair and turned to the field. Three minutes is nothing! It’ll go by just like this, she said to herself, hoping it would happen like that.
It didn’t. Time moved so slowly it seemed it had stopped altogether. Every time Tsukiko pulled her phone, the hour never changed. Never three minutes felt so long, not even in school, not even waiting to respawn in a game!
Tsukiko didn’t think it would come, but finally, the game was in the last minute. Seiyo still attacked, but Teikou resisted with everything they had. Even Taiyou-kun panted, but he too didn’t stop running for a second.
“It’s the last play.” Tsukiko heard someone saying.
Seiyo had a corner kick again. Their goalkeeper ran to the other area. The players from Teikou surrounded him, but the tallest one barely reached the chest. Seiyo’s Ten sweated and panted just as everyone else, but he still kicked the ball on the same strength as before.
It was hard to understand what happened. All Tsukiko could see was everyone pushing each other and suddenly three players fell. The girl pressed her hand so hard it became white when she saw Taiyou-kun was one of them. The ball hit the boy’s elbow and in the next instant, Teikou’s Nine kicked as far as his tired legs allowed him.
The referee’s whistle resounded over the field and Teikou’s players and supporters celebrated. But suddenly everything grew silent as everyone realized referee wasn’t pointing to the center of the field. His hand pointed to the center of the area, to the little round mark.
Almost like a wave, angry yells replaced the silence. “What? It was a foul from Seiyo!”
“Are you blind?”
“What’s happening?” Tsukiko asked Yui.
“Penalty kick,” her friend answered with a heavy voice, her breathing hard and slow.
Tsukiko widened her eyes and looked at Taiyou-kun the next instant. The boy bit his lips and looked down. His teammates surrounded the referee, yelling and pointing to Taiyou-kun, but the man in yellow shirt shook his head. He ignored the players, got the ball and put on penalty mark.
The spectators lamented. “Now it’s up to Agaha-kun.”
Tsukiko knew what would happen if Seiyo tied the game now. It would go to overtime and even though both teams were exhausted, it would probably be as the beginning of the second half. Come on, goalkeeper-kun, come on, she prayed in her heart.
After Teikou’s player stopped complaining, Number ten stood a few steps from the ball. Between him and the goal, there was only Agaha-kun. Tsukiko brought her hand to the mouth to bite the nails, but there were no nails left to bite.
The referee blew the whistle. Ten stood where still, staring between the ball and Agaha-kun.
Tsukiko held her breath when Ten ran and kicked the ball. The goalkeeper chose the right side, but he wouldn’t make in time.
Agaha-kun stretched his hands and his fingers touched the ball lightly. The ball hit the post and went to the sideline.
Taiyou-kun ran, faster than anyone. He got the ball and kicked as far as he could. The ball was still in the air when the whistle echoed again. Everyone turned to the referee. The man in yellow shirt pointed to the center of the field.
Only then, everyone cheered. Tsukiko hugged her friend, jumping in happiness.
“That was a great game,” Yui said by her side, but the girl barely heard her friend.
She had eyes only to Taiyou-kun. The boy panted as he stared the ball with a blank expression Only when his teammates congratulated him, he managed a smile. But Tsukiko noticed he was forcing.
“It’s your job to take care of that. You know, as a friend,” Yui whispered to Tsukiko. She stood up and stretched her arms. “It ended up being more interesting than I thought, thanks for dragging me here. But the rest is up to you.”
Tsukiko watched her friend walked away. After the enthusiasm left, she found herself drained. Everyone started to leave the bleachers, but she still hadn’t found strength to stand. I wonder if I’d feel like this cheering for Kobayashi-kun? She thought for a while, but soon shook her head. I doubt it, she told herself as she forced herself up.
The teams had already greeted each other and now exited the field. Taiyou-kun talked with a teammate. Though he smiled, Tsukiko could tell he felt more relief than happy. Instead of celebrating, he’ll think only about the penalty and what could’ve happened.
Hope no one complains, Tsukiko thought, standing near Teikou’s locker room.
“It wasn’t our best, but we showed we can handle pressure,” she heard someone inside screaming. Probably the coach. “And great game, Agaha. You too, Fuyuzora. Now, remember to rest tomorrow. Monday we’ll start training for our next adversary.”
Tsukiko waited as the players left the locker room. Some of the boys looked at her and blushed when she met their eyes, but most were too tired to notice her. She waved at Mitobe-kun and Kazama-kun. And as she expected, the boy was the last one.
“Hey Taiyou-kun. Great game,” she said with a smile.
“Thanks,” he said in his low and polite tone. The boy looked at her and smile, but it was so thin it might as well not be there at all.
Even though it would suck to me, he should celebrate with his teammates, she thought, walking by his side. But I know he’s not in the mood to that.
“Hey, how about a hamburger? My treat,” she invited him and offered her hand.
“Hm,” Taiyou-kun mumbled. With his head down, he grabbed her hand and squeezed it.
Tsukiko saw the tears coming down his face and immediately raised her eyes. “Hey, it’s raining,” she said, looking at the clear and sunny sky. “We should pick up the pace.”
“Hm,” he mumbled again.
Tsukiko kept quiet. He wants to say, she knew, so she waited.
“I almost ruined everything,” he said after a while, squeezing her hand tighter.
Tsukiko wanted to say everything worked in the end, but she knew those words wouldn’t work with him. She stopped and forced him to look at her face. “You should stop thinking about what could be. Yes, you made a mistake that could’ve cost the game,” she said, cleaning his tears with her thumbs gently. “But no one blamed you. That’s the great thing about soccer. You have your teammates to cover up for your mistakes.”
“But…” Tsukiko placed a finger over his lips. She already knew what he would say.
“Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, learn with them.” She rested her forehead on his and smiled. “And make sure you never make them again.”
When she leaned back, Taiyou-kun placed his hand on his forehead, right where she touched him. After a second, his face relaxed and he smiled like the Taiyou-kun Tsukiko loved to hang out. “Thanks.”
Tsukiko blushed as they started walking again. Suddenly she felt an urge to tease him and leaned closer. “You looked so cool during that free kick it made my heart beat faster,” she whispered in his ear. “If you keep showing that side to me, I’m gonna end up falling for you.”
Taiyou-kun blushed and looked down, but Tsukiko saw the smile on his lips. A real one that did make her heart beat faster.