Translated and Edited by: luccayn.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
We left Imataka behind to walk home together, just the two of us.
I honestly never imagined we’d end up brawling like that. Still, it feels like we both fought together and won that scuffle, though the teacher came in clutch. High on that excitement, we got off the train and reached the point where we usually parted ways. But for some reason, I felt reluctant to separate.
“Hey, wanna make a little detour?” I suggested.
“Mhm! Where to?” She bobbed her head up and down. I just wanted us to be together for longer, so I had no specific plans.
“Hmm. How about a café or a McDonald’s? Something around here.”
“Oh, Karaoke might be best, I think.”
“Haha! It’s fine even if you suck at it.”
She was indeed at the forefront of extroverts. Our sense of scale when it came to detours was fundamentally different. However, as it was getting close to dusk, we ended up just staying at the largest park in town.
Arriving there, I took in the fantastic view due to it being located at the top of a small hill. Leaning on the white railing, I gazed at the scenery which stretched further than what I could ever see from the school rooftop. There were small mountains and rivers dotting the outskirts, and the buildings lined up to just the right height so as to not spoil the natural horizon. Welp, that’s the countryside for ya. Meanwhile, Fuuka stood beside me, gazing at the scenery with eyes as clear as the cloudless spots in the sky.
Taking note of the almost scorching heat, I left her side for a second to get two cans of cold juice. We then clinked our cans and took chunky swigs together. The cold of the juice seeped into my body, and my parched lips felt rejuvenated for what seemed like the first time today.
“Hey, so… we’re, like, dating now or something, hm?”
“Pfft! W-What’s up with this all of a sudden?”
Her cut into the topic was so out of left field, that I ended up spitting whatever was in my mouth.
“Ew, gross!” I hadn’t spit at her, thankfully. “Are you flustered?”
“I-I’m not…” I stammered.
I hated the fact I couldn’t come up with any words after this. Of course, I was flustered. After all, she was someone I’d admired from afar for years now. It was only natural I reacted like this. Still, the fact my dream lay right in front of me, and might — just might — be within reach was surreal enough. My heart leaped at the mere thought.
“I call BS,” she continued after my awkward pause. “Still, it was the first time I lied like that. I was so nervous.”
“I was too. Though it felt kinda refreshing, in a way.”
“For sure. It looked like it felt great when you scolded Imataka,” she noticed my subtle giddiness back then.
“No, not really.”
“Huh? Then what made you happy?”
It was just a whim. Honest. But after going through such a hard time, I had one more thing I had to do. Maybe, I thought to myself, it was a good idea to gather my courage one more time.
However, what I felt welling up from the depths of my heart wasn’t anger at him. It was completely different.
Still, this would be a risky gamble for me. Maybe this would be the last time I would be walking home with her again, and perhaps, just like two-odd months ago, she wouldn’t be smiling at me anymore. I knew that. But while bound by all the uncertainties and doubts of words yet unsaid, I couldn’t give up on a dream that seemed so close to my grasp.
With a heavy breath, I made up my mind. In Fuuka’s brown eyes, tinted by the setting sun, I saw a reflection of a man I knew well. He had a better look on his face than usual.
“Being able to say I love you. That’s what I really enjoyed most.”
Have I ever felt my mind short-circuit this much in my entire life? Truth be told, I felt that if I couldn’t lay it all out right at this moment, I would continue being a slave to my own cowardice to the end of time. That’s how I truly felt, and it had to be done now. There was no better time.
“Kakeru… Could it be…?” Her words caught stuck in her lips. Still, I couldn’t let my weak heart overwhelm me here. Absolutely not.
“Y’know, I’ve actually known it for a long time now. You and I were in the same junior high after all, so I’ve seen you with Imataka every once in a while. And I’ve always been curious about you… No, not curious. To be honest—”
I let go of the railing and turned to face Fuuka directly. She looked straight into my eyes as I did hers. The smile she had a moment ago vanished from her small face, replaced by an amalgam of various emotions I couldn’t really read. I noticed her slight anxiety though.
A second passed. I can say it — No, I have to. I can’t keep making excuses forever and miss a moment as critical as this!
“I’ve liked you for a long time. I do even more now than I did then. I… I love you!”
My emotions burst out and I accidentally raised my voice. Still, I watched her eyes widen as she tightly grabbed at her chest with her small hands.
“Would you… Would you go out with me?”
I should’ve probably conveyed it in a quieter tone, I realized. However, due to my extreme nervousness, I completely lost control of my volume and ended up hearing echoes coming from the edges of the park.
There were some people around, and normally, this would’ve been extremely embarrassing for me. Unbearably so. But I didn’t have the luxury to care. This was my first adventure, after all. There might not be another girl in the future I’d like more than Fuuka. No, there certainly wouldn’t be.
Meanwhile, she couldn’t hide her surprise. A few moments passed before I noticed a tinge of red seep through her cheeks, noticeable even under the waning sun. Her brown eyes seemed to sparkle, and her smile gradually reappeared. There wasn’t a single hint of sadness there.
“Do you… feel the same?” I asked.
“…Mm,” a single word escaped her pale pink lips. This time, it was my turn to be surprised. “I like you too.”
Receiving these words for the first time was enough to spill light into my world, and every crevice of it felt like it was shining. Was hearing these three simple words enough to change the world this much? I spent my life not knowing until I heard it myself, and I couldn’t be happier about this shift.
God, was it for this moment that you allowed me to get into this high school? I kept thanking Him over, over, and over again until her face and the scenery began to blur. I couldn’t hold back the tears from mudding my vision, and I’m sure she felt the same.
After a few moments of this touching silence, we both turned silly together.
“Fuuka, Fuuka! Fuukaaaaaa!”
We embraced each other so strongly it felt like we were merging. Our joy was less of a bomb and more of a nuke, and it was hard to make sense of things anymore. But that was okay. What we were feeling right now was probably beyond what our immature minds could comprehend.
“I’ve liked you for a while now, too. Probably even a bit before we were classmates,” she admitted.
“Hic!” I stifled a sob. “And I’ve liked you for over four years now! I love you, Fuuka! I do, I really do!”
“Me too! I love you!”
I don’t remember how I went home after that, but I do remember my parents and my sister worrying about my constant grin the whole time.
A little time had passed since then, and the end-of-term ceremony for the end of our first semester had arrived. We were supposed to walk home together as soon as that ceremony was over with; her beside me as usual, of course.
Unfortunately, it was raining. Again. This year’s rainy season seemed unusually long, for one. However, even though the weather would usually be enough for me to complain about, it didn’t bother me now.
We left through the school gates as usual, walking our usual route back home, and took the train to reach the Kitamachi Station. I was actually grateful for the rainy season, as I shared her light blue umbrella.
“Hey! How ’bout we make a little detour?” She asked me with a beaming smile she’d been donning frequently lately.
“Sure! Where to?” I readily agreed as well. After all, I didn’t want to part ways.
“Maybe a clothing store? I want you to choose.”
“Hmm, I’m not too hot on my fashion sense. What kinda clothes are you looking for, though?”
“Not clothes. A swimsuit.”
“Huh, a swimsuit?! You want me to choose?!”
Seeing me almost jump off my skin was enough to almost kill her with laughter.
“Hahaha! Just kidding. But, well, I am thinking about getting a new swimsuit. Ah, let’s go to the beach this year.”
“Really? Hmm, sure. I’m down.”
“I also wanna go to a summer festival.”
“Oh, right. These were a thing after all.”
“If you let me get bored during summer vacation, I won’t forgive you,” she threatened softly.
“Leave it to me! I’ll do my best! …Probably.”
I had no real confidence. Truth be told, I wouldn’t get bored. Would she though? Regardless of how I felt, when it came to these things, it was essential to start with the right attitude. I’d handle any event that came our way.
As I was thinking this, I suddenly noticed the rain had stopped.
“Really, now? So, Kakeru, I’ll make your heart race a lil’.”
“Huh? What are you…”
There was no need for me to complete my question. On a sparsely populated road, she leaned into the shade of the trees, and I knew exactly what she wanted. I mean, it was also what I wanted.
I gently held her small, pale shoulders, and didn’t waste another moment before leaning into a kiss. “Mmm…” Relishing in this dreamy sensation, her breathy voice, almost a bewitched sigh, made my heart race more than it ever had.
How many seconds had it been? Just the touch of our lips had the power to melt my soul into a puddle.
After the kiss, we gazed at each other for a moment and locked hands before continuing on our way. Fuuka had this mischievous smile afterward, though I could see a tinge of awkwardness in it. After all, her cheeks and ears had a rosy tint to them, adding delicacy to her small figure.
The girl who’d been wearing a grouchy expression a few months back now exuded a brighter aura than any light and was more beautiful than any flower. Her lively smile was now ever-present.
“Then… Let’s go get that swimsuit.”
“Ahh, you ruined the mood, Kakeru. You dummy-dum-dum,” she bleeped her tongue at me before jogging away.
“I-I couldn’t help it! Hey, wait for me!” Laughing, I chased after her.
Lately, we’ve been switching between acting mature and acting like little giddy kids. The range of our interactions felt somehow comfortable, even when it was awkward.
Before we knew it, the sky had completely cleared, and a refreshing breeze began to caress our cheeks. The lengthy rainy season had finally ended, and at last, our summer began.
T/N: This is the end!
Honestly, this was a decent short read, not more, not less. I give it a genuine 6/10 and feel it’s much better than some series that just drag on forever.
Still, I feel like it could use more chapters to flesh out the characters. Maybe triple the current size it has to make it happen. Welp, that’s it. Thank you for reading, and see you on the next one!
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