Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-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.
T/N: It’s Katayama’s POV, though it’s apparent from the previous chapter and the way this is all phrased.
It was summer vacation. I can still hear the newsperson announcing that the hottest period of the year had arrived. Well, it wasn’t a surprise since the internet is tracking such things daily.
Anyway, I was in Harajuku that day for an exhibit of a fresh-off-the-oven brand. As I left the ticket gates of the train and reached the exit, I spotted a crowd of people so large it seemed like every soul in the world was crammed in there, in Harajuku.
Each one of them aimed for a different place, but for some reason, they all seemed to be moving for a single purpose despite being strangers to one another. Maybe they were just enjoying summer vacation by walking around or something, that’s my best guess. That, combined with the boiling heat, was like a wave of exhaustion crashed over me. I had done nothing tiring, though.
I had to be a needle threading through the crowd to get to the expo, but that didn’t stop me. There was no point in going back now that I’m this far in. So I kept walking ahead, feeling that one misstep could cause my death amidst the crowd.
After what felt like half an hour, I finally caught sight of my objective. Instead of the overwhelming exhaustion, I was washed over with a sense of accomplishment. With lighter steps, I approached a waiting line and became part of it. There were about 15 others in front, which was more than I expected since the brand hadn’t hit the mainstream yet.
As my eyes scurried along the people in front, something caught my eye with a snap. What the—?
Once again, my eyes went back to the person right in front of me and followed along to the first in line. I saw a man in denim wearing a black hoodie, probably a college student. I also caught a glimpse of a tall man wearing a hat, even though we are smack dab in the middle of summer. Well, it’s said that fashion is a matter of patience, so it wasn’t that hard to understand.
But in front of a couple of others, stood a girl wearing black wide pants, a white t-shirt, and a black gilet on top—it’s sort of like a vest.
…This is the one.
It’s true that her fashion sense was right up my alley, but I felt in my gut that wasn’t the only thing that made me fall for her. Her lustrous raven hair barely touched her shoulders, and each strand was a happy dancer in the wind. She looked rather shorter than average, but her outfit gave her an impression of being taller and imposing.
No girl I know wears clothes like that. If they did, I would never forget it. Hmm… But I think I’ve seen her somewhere before, and I’m not saying that because of the outfit. It’s that hair. Where have I seen such luster before?
I could only see her back from where I stood, but she was probably reading a book since her back was a bit hunched. If she would just turn my way for a second, I would be able to answer this question burning in the crevices of my heart.
As the itch to know almost became uncontrollable, a breeze wafted over everyone. A reminder we were, indeed, in summer.
That breeze could be taken as the breath of God, for it flowed through her well-defined strands of hair. She then turns her head away, perhaps not wanting her hair to hang over her mouth, and it was only the natural thing to do. However, her small action was a gut punch to my heart. Finally, the whole mystery was unveiled.
…Isn’t she Iwashiro, my classmate?
Unlike at school, she didn’t wear glasses, which made me unsure. However, I’m positive it’s that face I saw every day in the corner of my eye. Twins, maybe? No… I don’t know what her family tree looks like, but such a cliché development would only happen in fiction.
I had no idea someone in my class shared the same interests as me. She was even dressed in clothes generally hard for women to wear, but she still pulled it off with elegant poise. Although the monotone colors tended to look drab, the white shirt enhanced the presence of the vest in a contrast, creating a three-dimensional effect to her whole outfit.
To avoid looking too formal, she even wore thick pants, perfectly neutralizing whatever businessman look she would pull off otherwise.
I wanna talk to her. That was the only thing running through my mind. A venom, coursing through my veins. I wanted to be friends, or we could even skip that and go further… This is what they must call love at first sight.
However, perhaps to prevent overcrowding, the expo was extremely organized and we unfortunately never crossed paths. I could only watch from behind as the clerk urged me to go inside.
Just before I was led away, I miraculously passed her coming out of a changing room. I looked straight into her eyes, hoping she’d notice her classmate walking by as a trigger. My wish was granted, and lo and behold, her eyes landed on mine. However, what washed over her eyes wasn’t the familiarity of a classmate, but rather cold-stricken fear, as if their worst nightmare had come true.
She averted her gaze vehemently and left two steps for one. Unable to follow her, I entered the room the clerk urged me to, and from there I couldn’t think of anything other than Iwashiro.
Maybe she wants to hide her hobby? Well, I know the feeling too. If I told her I dabbled in trendy domestic brands as a high schooler, she might think I’m being too chic and arrogant, or maybe even a bit too uptight.
That’s why I wanted to talk to her. How valuable it was to have an interest in fashion in this day and age. With all that said, I was happy to find someone who finally understood me, and my heart kept stepping on the accelerator.
She wasn’t a part of the extroverts at school. Yamauchi and Takasaki, my two friends, are both far more careful about their appearance than most other students, but they still don’t study as diligently as I do. Of course, I was never angry or disappointed in them for it. I always knew I was a minority in regard to that, and I really thought I could just keep enjoying myself alone.
A dream remains a dream, not something to be sought excessively.
However, as soon as I had that zing, I could no longer think of stopping. All I wanted was to know more about that girl, so I decided to tell her.
As soon as summer vacation ended, I tried many times to talk to Iwashiro, but every single time I went near her, she’d scurry away as if avoiding me. Even when I called out her name, she acted deaf.
How can I possibly get rid of her fear of me?
While wondering about those thoughts, another person who really understood who I was showed up in my life.
“So… That’s how we got here.”
“No way, I never thought Iwashiro-san would have such a side.”
Excuse me for thinking this, Katayama, but it’s unthinkable to just walk up and talk to her right in the middle of the classroom. Maybe she just wanted to avoid standing out as much as possible in school. Oh, and she was probably wearing contacts then, hence her not wearing glasses that day.
Individuality, for better or worse, was eye-catching and a start for many things. Maybe Makabe’s one-sided feelings for Asakawa were an example of that. With that being said, I could still sense that Katayama was dead-serious about his every word, and as his friend, I just wish I could help him in some way…
“Is there anything I can do…? Hmm…” I pondered.
“In that case, why don’t you ask your acquaintances for their opinions? If she ends up not liking me back, I’ll just give up on her for good.”
“Gotcha. I’ll ask around and see what’s up.”
We can’t guess girls’ feelings down to the tiniest branch, so we decided to seek out people with similar sensitivities and ask them what they thought of the whole thing.
Will Katayama be able to open the heart of Iwashiro, who sat there by the corner, reading a book alone?
T/N: Well, the dude just wants to give a shot, even saying he’ll just give up if he can’t clear the whole fear spiel. So far so good, hope it all goes well for both of them.
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