A little over a month later, here’s Tsukiko-chan and Taiyou-kun chapter 10.
Tsukiko-chan and Taiyou-kun 10
“Go Taiyou-kun!” Tsukiko and Rin-nee screamed in unison, their voices so loud it drowned the others around them. Even from this distance, the girl saw the boy reddening and knew that had nothing to do with the race.
“I can’t believe you two enjoy embarrassing my son that much,” Shigure-nee said, shaking her head. Despite her words, however, there was a smile on her lips she didn’t bother to hide.
“It’s not that, sis… I mean, only that.” Rin-nee waved her hand as she laughed under her sister stern look. “Our cheers are helping him. Look!”
Taiyou-kun was in fourth almost the entire race, but on the last lap, when Tsukiko and Rin-nee began screaming louder, he managed to close the gap.
“Go, Taiyou-kun!” Tsukiko screamed at the top of her lungs and in the last few meters, the boy managed to cross the finish line in second. “Taiyou-kun is cool and awesome!”
He bended his back and supported himself on his knees to recover his breath, but when he looked over his shoulder in their direction, the girl could swear he got redder. “He’s so lucky to have this many cute women cheering for him,” Rin-nee said, the sly smile on her lips.
“You can’t really call yourself a girl, can you? You’re too old for that.” Shigure-nee flashed the gentle smile that hid the wickedness of her words.
“Sis! I…” Rin-nee tried, but she couldn’t come up with anything to say to her older sister.
All Tsukiko did was laugh. Rin-nee was still red by the time Taiyou-kun walked up to them. “That was so awesome Taiyou-kun! To think passed two people from the track club.”
“How did you know that?” the boy asked, taking the bottle of tea his mother offered.
“Don’t underestimate us,” Rin-nee said, crossing her arms and raising her chin. “We know many things, my dear nephew.”
“Or maybe we overheard their mothers talking about it right before the race started. They’re sitting together right there.” Shigure-nee indicated with her head gracefully, flashing her usual smile again. “They were boasting about the fact that both their sons might join the regular team, but for some reason, they stopped. I wonder why?”
Both Tsukiko and Rin-nee laughed and quickly tried to disguise as a cough when the boy’s parent glanced at them. Taiyou-kun did the same, but he choked on the tea, getting more laughed from Rin-nee, who couldn’t hide this time. “What are the next events?” she asked, her face red.
Shigure-nee pulled a handout with the Teikou’s logo from her bag. “Let me see… it’s the first year’s girl’s 400 meters race next, the third year’s boy’s obstacle race, then the girl’s and the all grade treasure hunt before lunch.”
“Are you gonna participate in any of them, Taiyou-kun?”
“Yeah. The treasure hunt,” he said after cleaning his mouth with the back of his hand, his voice hoarse.
“You’re in so many events. If you keep in the top three like this, the green team will win thanks to you,” Tsukiko said with a bright smile.
“I don’t know about that,” he replied, his cheeks a shade of pink. The bell announcing the next event rang. “I gotta go.”
He finished his drink and left before they could say anything. They watched as he joined with his classmates and sat on the green team side.
“Look at him… he’s like the hero,” Rin-nee commented when most boys and girls joined around him and congratulated him.
“Who’s that kid?” Tsukiko asked after one girl in particular sat next to Taiyou-kun, talking to him with a smile and her cheeks slightly red.
“I think it’s Akane-chan. She’s the most popular girl in Taiyou’s year and from what I heard, she gentle, a great cook and even some older boys have even confessed to her,” Rin-nee answered.
“How do you know all that?” She asked without taking her eyes from the girl. Even from this distance, Tsukiko could see her smiling at anything Taiyou-kun said.
“My nephew didn’t tell you that?” Rin-nee watched her, her sly smile appearing. “So he’s at the age where he’s already keeping secrets from you… hey, Tsukiko-chan, are you perhaps jealous?”
“No!” Tsukiko said too quickly. The doctor’s smile broadened and the girl avoided looking at her.
With her face hot, she sat on the blanket and watched the girls from the first year getting ready for the event. The race started and she cheered for the green team with Rin-nee, but soon she caught herself glancing at Taiyou-kun and the girl, who was still blushing and smiling. He never mentioned her to me, she thought.
The morning events came and went, but Tsukiko didn’t pay attention as she cheered half-heartedly. Only when the announcer called for the participants for the last even before lunch, she started paying attention again.
A boy and a girl from every class from all years lined up, waiting for the teacher to pull the gun. Taiyou-kun stood almost in the middle, next to a third-year boy and a girl from his class. She said something to him, but Tsukiko knew from the way he nodded his head that he wasn’t paying much attention. His eyes went from the scoreboard to the table with the papers for the treasure hunt.
After the events, the blue team had a slight advantage over the others. If Taiyou-kun or the other green team members didn’t get at least a second and third place, they would go to the lunch break too far behind. Since he’s in so many events, I’ll bet Taiyou-kun will blame himself, saying if he only had worked a little more, Tsukiko thought, getting ready to cheer for him again with Rin-nee.
Kaminashi-sensei raised the ceremonial gun and all the participants stopped talking, their eyes fixed on the table. She pulled the trigger and they all ran towards the papers. Most third years got to the table first, but Taiyou-kun wasn’t far behind.
He got the paper furthest on the left and unfolded, so fast he almost ripped it. As the other participants got to the table and picked up their papers, Taiyou-kun stared his, his cheeks turning red. He raised his head and looked directly at where his family and Tsukiko were.
“What do you think it is?” Rin-nee asked, rubbing her hands, not bothering to hide her excitement as he came racing towards them. She had already opened her purse, ready to provide anything he might need as treasure.
“Come,” he said breathless, grabbing Tsukiko’s wrist with his face bright red. Without wasting any second, the girl nodded, took off her heels in a hurry and raced back to the table with him. “Here!” he screamed at one of the people, handing her the paper with a quick look at Tsukiko. But when she smiled at him, he looked away.
“Are you a middle schooler,” the girl asked to Tsukiko, eyeing her with a suspicious glance.
“Me? Ah, yes. Third year,” she answered a bit confused.
The girl read the paper again and looked at Taiyou-kun, biting her lips. “We have the first place,” she announced in an empty voice as the others competitors came rushing to the table with many different objects or dragging some family member.
“Way to go, Taiyou!” Rin-nee screamed and jumped to hug him after they got back.
“Congratulations, son. Thanks to your efforts, the green team has taken the lead,” Shigure-nee said with a gentle smile. Then she flashed her wicked one the next second. “By the way, what was written on the card? For you to grab Tsukiko-chan so forcefully like that… Even I have to admit it made me blush a little.” She placed a palm on her red cheek and averted her eyes.
“Yes! I had forgotten about that.” Rin-nee turned to her nephew. “What was it?”
Taiyou-kun widened his eyes and blushed at once. He glanced up at Tsukiko, who kept her mouth shut and discreetly went to Rin-nee’ side, turning towards him. “I wanna know too,” she mumbled, her cheeks pink. She tried taking a look, but the girl who got the paper quickly put it away before Tsukiko could read.
Under their eyes, the boy blushed even more. “It was… a middle school girl…” he mumbled and averted his gaze.
“Ha! There’s something more!” Rin-nee exclaimed, barely containing her grin. “He’s hiding something. Let’s make him talk.”
“Little sister of mine, do you doubt my son?” Shigure-nee turned her wicked smile that hid her true intentions towards Rin-nee. The doctor gulped and mumbled something unintelligible as she looked away.
Ah, damn… that was a great chance to find out, Tsukiko thought, trying hard to let go of the subject. Too bad Shigure-nee prefers teasing her Rin-nee than Taiyou-kun…
“Let’s eat,” Rin-nee said suddenly to change the topic. Her sister was still smiling at her. “I’m starving.”
Rin-nee sat on the blanket next to her sister, still not meeting her eyes. Tsukiko was about to step on the blanket and sit next to Taiyou-kun when she halted. Her feet were still dirty from running without shoes. “Let me clean myself first.”
“Sorry,” Taiyou-kun said, standing up. “I’ll go—”
“It’s okay. I know where the tap is,” she said. If I’m alone with him, I won’t be able to stop myself from asking what else was on the card, Tsukiko knew. She also knew the boy needed to keep his focus on the competition. I’ll tease him about it later, she thought, smiling.
“Just hurry,” Rin-nee’ voice reached her.
“Yes,” she said, running with her heels in hand.
“Who is that girl?” Tsukiko had finish cleaning her feet and was about to head back when she heard a girl speaking around the corner. “She was here on Parents’ day too… Is she is his cousin or something?”
“She’s Tai-kun’ neighbor,” another girl spoke. “I heard it from Mitobe-kun.”
“Neighbor… Do you think… there’s something between them? For Tai-kun’ mom ask her to come in her place… It means they must be close, right?” the first voice sounded anxious.
Neighbor? Mitobe-kun? Tai-kun? Are they talking about Taiyou-kun and me? Tsukiko hadn’t realized it, but she had stopped near the corner to eavesdrop. So he’s known as Tai-kun here… the thought put a smile on her lips, but it soon vanished. It’s that girl, Akane, I’m sure, Tsukiko knew even without seeing who spoke.
“I don’t know,” the second voice seemed to console the first girl. “I thought for sure he’d pick you on the treasure hunt. I mean, I even made sure he got the cute middle school girl card as we planned.”
Eh? So that what was written? Tsukiko blushed and closed her mouth with her hand to stop her surprised voice from leaking. But even so, she couldn’t stop smiling.
“Me too. Is she really a middle schooler? She looks so mature…”
Eh? Me? Still blushing, Tsukiko did her best to hold her laugh. That’s the last thing that I feel.
“Are you still gonna confess to him?”
After those words, Tsukiko stopped laughing and stopped blushing. She leaned closer, afraid to miss anything.
“Yes,” the first girl said after a long time. “If our team wins, I’ll confess to him.”
Tsukiko heard them walking back to the track field. Someone’s gonna confess to Taiyou-kun, she thought. The idea seemed to hollow her. She didn’t know what to feel. He’s a just a kid… but so is she… and he has already kissed someone… it wasn’t that girl… he’s just an innocent boy… But there’s a side of him I don’t know… Tai-kun…
“What took you so look?” Rin-nee asked the moment she saw the girl.
“Sorry,” she said with a thin smile. She sat down next to Taiyou-kun, but didn’t look at his direction.
Shigure-nee unwrapped the lunch boxes one by one and arranged the food in the middle of them. “Thanks for the food,” they all said together.
They had barely spoken when Rin-nee’ hand grabbed the dumplings, eating with a satisfied expression. That put a real smile on Tsukiko. Even if he’s Tai-kun here, he’s still my Taiyou-kun.
“Son, eat this,” Shigure-nee said, handing him the egg rolls. Tsukiko’s cheek went a shade of red as she stared at his mother. The woman looked at her and showed the gentle smile with an almost imperceptible nod.
Holding her breath, Tsukiko watched as Taiyou-kun picked up one of the egg rolls and brought to his mouth. With a blank expression, he chewed it. Not even after he swallowed the food Tsukiko breathed again.
“How was it?” she asked in a low voice, glad he had noticed her cheeks.
“It’s a bit different than usual, but it’s good,” he said, picking another one, not noticing Tsukiko smiling from ear to ear. Before she could stop it, Tsukiko sighed in relief.
“Isn’t that great, Tsukiko-chan?” Shigure-nee said, her smile turning wicked again. “I told you, you didn’t need to worry.
“Shigure-nee!” Tsukiko blushed. “You said you’d not tell him.”
“But I haven’t said anything.”
“What are you talking?” Taiyou-kun asked, looking between them.
“Eh…” Tsukiko widened her eyes and opened her mouth without any idea how to explain without embarrassing her.
“Tsukiko-chan was a little nervous, son.” Shigure-nee spared the girl the effort. “You see, she was the one who cooked that. Just for you.”
When the boy turned to her, Tsukiko’s face went an alarming shade of red.
“I… I know it’s not as good as your mother’s… nor yours,” she mumbled, not looking him in the eyes. She knew she couldn’t handle his face at the moment. “But since I promised myself I’d cook for you once… Your mother has been teaching me whenever she could…”
“You don’t have to be embarrassed, Tsukiko-chan. My son is glad to have a cute girl like you cooking for him. Aren’t you, son?” Shigure-nee turned to him with the same expression while Rin-nee rolled around with her face red from laughing.
Taiyou-kun went as red as her as he ate another egg roll in silence with his eyes fixed on his food.
“You’re so luck, nephew of mine. It’s great to have a cute girl making food for you,” Rin-nee said when she finally stopped laughing. But her smile sly hadn’t left her face as she turned to them.
“And yet you can’t cook anything for Sawako-chan,” Shigure-nee commented, her smile never leaving her face.
“Damn… Walked right into that!”
Tsukiko and Taiyou-kun laughed and smiled, but whenever their eyes met, they both looked away, blushing.
They finished eating and talked until the sound system announced the afternoon events would start in ten minutes. Taiyou-kun stood up with a surprised expression, said see you later to them and raced to join the green team.
It’s like he forgot about all about today’s event, Tsukiko thought, smiling as she watched his back.
According to him, Taiyou-kun would participate in only two events on the afternoon; pole topping and relay race. So he would mostly be cheering for the green team along with his classmates and the third and second year students from the same team.
Rin-nee cheered for the green team, though the doctor wasn’t being as loud as she was when her nephew participated. Tsukiko joined her, but she barely watched the events. Whenever she stopped paying attention, her eyes went to Taiyou-kun.
The boy talked happily with his classmates, boys and girls alike, but even so, it was easy to spot Akane. He’s popular… Even seeing how he interacted with the rest of his classmates, it was hard for her to believe.
He was so shy when we met… I know for sure they don’t know half about him. I know him a lot more than any of them… but they know a part of him which I have no idea. Here he’s not Taiyou-kun, he’s Tai-kun, the popular boy, with a girl who’s about to confess to him…
“Look! Taiyou’s the last runner!” Rin-nee shout brought Tsukiko’s mind back to the Teikou’s Sports Festival. “He hid that from us, sis!”
“Because he knew you’d make a scandal,” Shigure-nee said. “But I don’t disapprove of your attitude. He deserves a great, loud and embarrassing cheer from us.”
“Then let’s cheer until he’s as red the baton, Tsukiko!” Rin-nee grinned at the girl.
Before Tsukiko noticed, it was the last event of the festival, the first year relay race, and Taiyou-kun was the last runner. The girl looked at the scoreboard and realized, with some surprise, the green team had managed to keep the advantage, if barely. If Taiyou-kun gets second place, his team will win, she thought after adding the points.
She couldn’t stop smiling, ready to cheer for him with all she had. But suddenly a jolt crossed her heart. If his team win, it means that girl will confess to him… Once again Tsukiko glanced at the green team’s area. Akane was watching the race with great attention, her cheeks a shade of red.
The teacher pulled the trigger and Rin-nee and almost everyone cheered for whomever they supported. Tsukiko joined in, cheering for the green team half-heartedly.
Once again she glanced, and then she noticed. Despite staring at the track field, Akane never looked at the race. She only had eyes for Taiyou-kun. Only now Tsukiko really took a look at her. With long brown hair tied in a ponytail and small features, she seemed like a doll.
If a girl that cute confesses to him… Tsukiko felt another pang in her heart. She took her eyes off the girl and focused on Taiyou-kun, who waited for the baton with his lips pressed. I know he wants to win but… but… then, that girl…
The baton was almost reaching Taiyou-kun. Only two more runners and it would be his duty to bring it to the finish line. Suddenly Tsukiko wanted to race to the doll girl and tell her that Taiyou-kun belonged to her. He wasn’t their Tai-kun, but her Taiyou-kun.
When she realized what she was thinking, Tsukiko’s face burned up. Using her hands, she hid her face, but still watched Taiyou-kun through her fingers. To her luck, the spectators grew louder and not even Rin-nee noticed, too busy shouting, smiling and clapping her hands.
It was almost his turn and then, deep in Tsukiko’s heart, she wished Taiyou-kun would lose. No… I can’t wish for that… what kind of friend would I be…
The baton was finally with him. He ran towards the finish line along with the others, running near where Tsukiko and his family were. Despite how fast the boy was, he couldn’t surpass the track club members, even if they were first years like him.
Tsukiko looked between Taiyou-kun and the girl, her heart torn between Taiyou-kun and the girl. When he passed right in front of her, the words exploded out of her. “Taiyou-kun! If you win, I’ll go on a date with you again!” she screamed at the top of her lungs and lost her breath afterward.
Through the cheers, it was impossible to know if the boy had heard. But when Tsukiko noticed Akane looking at her in disbelief, she knew Taiyou-kun had heard her too.
In the last meters, Taiyou-kun gave his all and right inches away from the tape, he surpassed the track club member and got second place.
With a smile from the deeps of her heart, Tsukiko jumped and cheered with Rin-nee while Shigure-nee beamed and applauded, turning her head back to glance and the track club member’s parents.
The boy bended his back to recover his breath. But when he looked at them with his face bright red, Tsukiko knew the color wasn’t because of the race. Her face became an alarming shade of red, but stopped herself from averting her eyes. When he flashed her contempt smile, she showed a bright one despite her embarrassment.
“Congratulations, Taiyou-kun,” Tsukiko said as she twirled a lock of her hair.
“Thanks,” he said, not looking her directly in the eyes.
“So did you hear what I said?”
“Yes.” This time he averted his eyes, but there was a smile on his lips.
“I’ll keep my promise and give you the best date I can,” she said, her cheeks bright red, but with a smile.