Author: Mizuki Nomura
–Asada-kun, please leave the house three minutes earlier.
Kensuke was precisely three minutes late, “I’m sorryyyy!!” and he apologized profusely as he dashed into the classroom with sweat dripping from his back. The teacher-in-charge, a young female teacher continued to chide him with a reproachful look.
Every morning, Kensuke would be late by three minutes.
He would sleep till the last moment, and then stuff the natto and salted salmon along with rice into his mouth.
“I’m going off!”
After saying that, he had rushed out of the house energetically. “Damn it, I’m going to be late again.” he mumbled as he bolted approximately six hundred meters to the Takara no Hara High School gate.
Compared to the track team, his speed should be enough for him to earn a starting position.
He had been repeating this same routine for over a month, ever since the opening ceremony in April.
“Please leave your house three minutes earlier.”
And it was no wonder he was told off by that pretty female teacher ,with glasses as her charm point.
Thus, on that morning, Kensuke woke up three minutes earlier.
“Looks like I can do it if I want to.”
Kensuke felt a feeling of accomplishment for waking up with the assistance of three clocks, and was really refreshed.
After finishing the breakfast of tofu and seaweed soup, along with Shishamo Fish Rice,
“I’m heading out!”
Kensuke left home with more energy than usual.
Just those three minutes of excess provided such a refreshing vibe, and the world seemed so dazzling.
That particular morning was clear, with nary a cloud in sight.
The air seemed really clear, probably because it had been raining till the day before.
Kensuke breathed in the fresh air as much as he could, and headed down the road with apartments on both sides of the road.
“This is the air three minutes before! This is the road three minutes before! The sky three minutes before! The crows three minutes before! Oh! The trash collection three minutes before! The trash is still in there!”
Kensuke was impressed by every single thing.
That Kensuke Asada was just a simple, straightforward boy.
“This world three minutes before is really wonderful!”
It was just three minutes. However, it was three minutes.
These mere three minutes gave respite to the heart, and he was able to spot the scenery he had never seen before.
Besides, the people around Kensuke had noted “You’re a simpleton. Are you born in January?” As he enjoyed that fresh world of three minutes before, he continued to advance forward in exhilaration.
But, at that moment,
A girl appeared in front of Kensuke’s eyes.
A white shirt, along with a blue checkered miniskirt.
She was wearing the uniform of Takara no Hara High School.
She had short hair, her prim face was somewhat aloof, and she looked like a pretty girl.
However, with the stiff look on her face, the way she stared attentively at the top of the wall was more concerning than her appearance.
There was a spotted cat there. The right eye was patched like a panda, and it continued to give an uppity look.
For some reason, she was glaring at the spotted cat with a heinous look.
I’ve found you after a hundred years–so I could hear such a phrase in my head (but why hundred years? Have you lived that long?)
And on the other hand, the spotted cat narrowed its eyes warily.
As a cackling tension lingered between a person and a cat, Kensuke’s feet naturally came to a stop.
A somewhat pretty girl with short hair was blushing, slowly reaching her right hand out.
It seemed that she wanted to pat the back of that spotted cat.
Her arm was languid, apparently hesitating, timid, and her sidelong face was showing apprehension.
She bit her pink lips hard, seemingly trying to sweep aside the doubt in her heart.
For a moment, she showed a timid look, only for her eyebrows and shoulders to tense up with determination as she slowly reached her hand forward
Ah, you can’t pet it that way.
Kensuke had three cats at home, and was sweating at her unnatural hand motion.
That’s not it. A little more–anyway, her fingers are trembling, right?
And in the morning air, a hoarse voice echoes quietly.
“Please, let me pet you.”
It was a tender voice, younger than her appearance would imply, and it struck Kensuke’s eardrums, causing his heart to skip a beat.
The cute white hand would be able to touch the fluffy spotty fur, just a little more.
Her eyes showed a glint of hope.
The spotted cat easily evaded her hand.
Ah! She showed a look of shock.
And at the next moment, the spotted cat leaped lightly over the fence, in a manner that was unbefitting of its oafish appearance.
The hand that was reaching into the sky fell down.
And her slender shoulders too dropped.
He could basically hear a sigh in that ‘dejected’ scene. The girls tense face had loosened up before his eyes, and there were some tears in her eyes.
Having seen how feeble she looked, Kensuke felt an electric jolt strike him from the heavens.
Who’s that girl? She’s so cute! Unbelievably cute! She was frowning away a moment ago, and now she’s teary like a little kid. This gap moe is really unbearable. Really unbelievable! So cute! Auuuu!! Teary faces are awesome! So moe moe!
She lowered her head dejectedly, and turned away to leave. Kensuke’s mouth remained wide open as he remained rooted there.
By the time he realized it, it was already too late.
On that day, Kensuke was late by another three minutes.
And he was smittened with love.
◇ ◇ ◇
“I’m looking for a pretty girl with short hair and teary eyes!”
“Huh?” And his friends asked.
“So I say, she has short heart, and that stiff expression of hers is unbelievably cute. She’s a student from our school, and it’s love at first sight. I wanna go out with that girl!”
“We got a lot of girls with short hair in this school.”
“She doesn’t know how to interact with cats. Her teary face is so cute! Extremely cute!”
“No way you can figure that out just by looking, right?”
While the friends looked on, stunned,
“Whaatt, just go look around every single classroom and it’ll work out, right?”
And he merely guffawed as he said that,
“Ack, all twenty four classes?”
“Do your best, Kensuke (monotone).”
Surely that was fate.
With his friends cheering him on, he would look around every classroom during the break time, whether it was the first year, second year, or third year.
The seniors’ classrooms in particular had a rumor going that a first year brat was fooling around.
“I fell in love with a girl on first sight, but I don’t know her name and class. I’m looking for her.”
And they would simply give blank looks, followed by,
“Really. Well, good for you, first year. Energetic and innocent.”
Saying that, they would pat him on the shoulder,
That continued on for another five days.
“Ahhhhhh, twenty four classes. I’ve looked through all of them.”
During noon break, in the classroom.
Kensuke faced his lunch, the cup ramen (the big 1.5 times upsize), as he landed his chin on the table, groaning.
“Uuu, why can’t I find her? Where is she hiding? Or was the one I met the last time a ghost who has a longing for the school? That’s why she’s hated by cats, right?”
“That’s way too much of a stretch there.”
“But I searched through all twenty four classes three times already.”
“Three times!? In only five days?”
Kensuke’s friends were left speechless by his stubbornness.
That guy might turn into a stalker in the future, so his friends thought. Isn’t that a bad thing? They looked at him with some uneasiness.
With an anguished, grim look, Kensuke looked outside the window.
Ahh, the sky is so clear, yet my heart is so cloudy.
That pretty girl with teary eyes I spend liking for three minutes, where is she eating at right now…?
Suddenly, Kensuke opened his eyes wide.
With a thud, he stood up, and the chair fell back.
“Hey, what’s with you, Kensuke?”
Kensuke opened the window.
She was over there.
She was walking by the flower bed at the field.
“Hey! Wait for me! Eh–”
Kensuke yelled at her from the window on the second floor, but he couldn’t call out her name.
Or rather, he didn’t know her name.
She too was probably thinking of something, and did not seem to have heard his voice. With a melancholic voice, she was about to enter the school building.
If he lost sight of her, he wouldn’t be able to meet her again.
“Ehhh, this is really troublesome.”
“Wah! Kensuke! This is the second floor!”
Kensuke stepped on the window frame, and leapt down.
There was an instant commotion in the classroom.
It had been three minutes since the hot water was poured into the cup ramen, time to eat, but at that moment, Kensuke had already forgotten all about it.
He went straight towards her.
He kept falling.
He couldn’t stop.
With a heavy impact on his feet, Kensuke’s knees went weak, and he fell on his backside. He managed to land safely, at least.
She, who encountered someone suddenly falling from above, suddenly stopped in her tracks, and remained dumbfounded as she stood still.
Ah, it’s the girl from back then after all.
The girl he spent three minutes liking, having wanted to meet her again, the cute short hair girl with the stiff look on her face.
His legs were shaking.
It was the result of his recklessness, but Kensuke felt that he was shaking due to emotion.
“PLEASE GO OUT WITH ME!”
Kensuke yelled with all his might.
The girl’s eyes widened increasingly.
“I’m Kensuke Asada from class 1-1, student number 1! I like you! I fell in love with you on first look! Please be my girlfriend!”
With a teeny-weeny voice, the girl finally eked those words out. She was about to leave, as though unwilling to get involved with him.
“May I know why?”
Kensuke continued to give chase, not giving up.
‘I-I don’t know you.”
“Didn’t I just introduce myself?”
“I hate people without common sense, jumping down from above.”
“I’ve been looking for you for five days! I just jumped without thinking.”
“Eh, yo-you were looking for me?”
“That Monday morning, when you wanted to pet that spotted cat, but it ran away, and you cried, didn’t you? I found you to be very cute back then.”
“! Y-you saw that!?”
The girl’s face immediately went beetroot.
“Unbelievable. Why did it end up this way?”
She put her hands on her face, looking flustered. She was cute here too.
“You like cats? I really do.”
“No, I-I I don’t like them.”
The girl glared at Kensuke, and refuted,
And with a reddened face, she averted her eyes,
“B-bu-but…the one dad remarried really likes cats. She had been raising cats, and they were basically kin to her, so…she wanted to bring her cats back…if I continue to hate them, the atmosphere in the house would worsen…but it seems that I was hated by cats ever since I was born…that stupid cat. It didn’t want to let me touch it at all…ahh this is annoying! W-why am I telling you this now?”
Her face beetroot, the girl kept shaking her head from side to side.
“So, I don’t like cats, and I don’t feel like I’ll get along with you. Also, why have you been trembling there? It’s scary.”
“I’m more infatuated with you now.”
“I see, so that’s how it was. You tried liking the cats you don’t like, for the sake of the new member in your family. Aren’t you really amazing?”
“Th-thanks for the compliments.”
She felt a little gaudy.
“To be honest, just three minutes ago, I liked only your appearance! Now I really like how you are inside too. I really do! Ah damn it, how much are you going to make me infatuated with you man?”
“W-wait, it-it’s my fault here? Th-this is so awkward—no other boy said such things, and I’m not too familiar with this–so, hey, why do I have to say such things to you? I got to go. Goodbye.”
The girl was huffing away, wanting to get away no matter what. Kensuke then grabbed her by the arm.
Stunned, she widened her eyes.
“Ah, erm, please let go.”
“Tell me your class and name.”
“Then I’ll keep following you, and stand at the entrance of your class, shouting ‘Please tell me this girl’s name’.”
The girl shouted, “Uuu”, and let out a little groan as she lifted her eyes at Kensuke. The skin under her eyes were reddened, and she turned away furiously, muttering,
“…Class 1-5, Mayuka Mizunashi.”
Kensuke’s face immediately cleared up,
The delighted look on his face caused a stupefied look on her face.
“Do-don’t call my name out so loudly.”
“Such a cute name.”
Mizunashi waved off Kensuke’s hand,
“Is it fine for me to call you Mayuka?”
“Then, Mizunashi. Come with me to a cat cafe this Sunday.”
Kensuke continued with vigor,
That decisiveness and honest attack left Mizunashi speechless.
“Mizunashi, don’t you want to change your own nature? To make cats like you? I’ll help you. I’m always popular with cats, even called a cat master, a moving Cat Powder. I can get whichever cat you want.”
Mizunashi’s mouth was left half-agape, and she let out an impressed voice.
“Y-yo-yo-you say so, but I never thought of becoming a cat master…and, aren’t there, lots of cats everywhere in the cafe?”
“It’s fine! I’ll remain by your side at all times!”
“That sounds disgusting.”
“So then, I’ll be waiting outside the clock tower at the station on Sunday, at 11.”
“I never said I wanted to go.”
“I’ll keep waiting for you, whether it’s one hour, two hours, or twenty four hour, a year, or even a hundred years, until you show up, Mizunashi!”
“Ahhh, you’re threatening me.”
She looked really cute, flailing her hands about as she looked all teary. Kensuke was riveted, “I’ll see you on Sunday.” and said these words before running off.
Kensuke was called by Mizunashi, and he turned around.
She immediately gasped, looking gaudy, and then, with a teeny-weeny voice,
“Asada’s fine! I’m so happy! The girl I like called me by name! Call me Kensuke next time!”
With a blushing face, Mizunashi was speechless.
Kensuke waved at her, and turned to the classroom.
The cup ramen was completely soggy, but he didn’t mind.
I’m going to the cat cafe with Mizunashi on Sunday!
◇ ◇ ◇
Since I said that I’ll wait for you no longer how long it took, I couldn’t be late here.
Kensuke increased the number of clocks he had bought from the convenience store to five, and at the fourth bell, he woke up.
On that morning, he had a western breakfast of omelette, salad and cheese toast. He brushed his teeth till they were sparkly, and left home.
He planned to reach the clock tower three minutes before the appointed time.
Just as I planned! Perfectl
All I have to do next was to wait for Mizunashi to arrive,
So he thought, but the short hair girl with the fluffy skirt was already fidgeting there, standing at the place.
Kensuke never expected her to arrive earlier, and stopped in shock.
Mizunashi curled her lips hard, looking really displeased and annoyed as she looked to the side.
From time to time, she would lift her eyes, and suddenly blush, pout, look teary; she remained restless.
Kensuke was really emotional as he watched her.
Ahh, so cute.
He really liked Mizunashi.
He really wanted to put her in his embrace.
That sweet feeling caused his body to shiver.
If possible, I hope Mizunashi will really likes me, so he thought.
He watched her actions for three straight minutes, and went there right at the given time.
Once she saw Asada, Mizunashi showed a momentary smile.
The love that started within three minutes of that morning thus started.
- Those special three minutes continued to cause the hearts to flutter; surely he would like Mizunashi all the more.