[Hello X3] Chapter 1 – Contact 92

Except in our hearts.

Contact.92  – The Promise that Existed Nowhere

“It’s sudden, but can I request something from you?”

I was approached by a girl I never met.

It happened when I was on the way home from school.

I heard a delightful voice, one unforgettable after hearing the first time.

“Well, I want you to bring me to the movies.”

I was at the old bus stop I was acquainted with since young; the faded zinc sheets, the wooden bench continually exposed to the weather.

Standing next to them was an unfamiliar girl.

The street lights were not exactly orange or yellow, draping the girl’s nice body in gold, bringing her out from the darkness. Even the somewhat old lights made her out to be some kind of sacred being when shining upon her.

She tilted her head cutely, probably because I remained silent.

“You didn’t hear me?”

Before I knew it, the me reflected in the girl’s eyes looked a lot larger than before. They’re close, real close. Why’s she able to just approach me so casually. Feeling disturbed, I gulped, the saliva drenching my thirst.

“No, I heard you.”

My voice was a lot softer than I wanted, hoarse even.

This time, it was I who was worried if she did hear me.

Really? That’s good. This time however, it was the girl who said that,  patting down on her ample breasts. It appeared my message did reach her.

“I’m Shiina Yuki. Nice to meet you, Haruyoshi-kun.”

“Huh? Hello. Erm, Shiina-san?”

“Call me Yuki.”

Shiina Yuki beamed. She’s really a shockingly cute girl.

The hair reaching her shoulders seemed ironed, a little curly. Her skin’s white as snow. Because of this, her fine, bloody red lips looked alluring despite her not having any accessories on.

When the gust blew, so her hair fluttered. I unwittingly scented upon a fragrance. What is this scent? After thinking for a moment, I had an answer. Yeah, it’s the fragrance of the cherry blossoms.

The moment I found this answer, what struck my heart was a sudden torrent of emotions: pain, agony, searing heat. My heart tightened.

I put my hand on the left chest of my uniform, and at the same time, called out her name as she had wished. Yes, I really am trying to bluff my way out of things I should be doing.

“Yuki, you said you want me to bring you to the movies. What’s going on?”

“You’ll be going to watch a movie  tomorrow, right?”

“……Tomorrow’s a working day.”

“Yes, I know. But your high school will be closed tomorrow to celebrate its founding?”

She, no, Yuki spoke in a matter of fact. Tomorrow’s set lunch is curry, it’s written on the menu. That’s the manner in which she replied.

“You’ll use this vacation to watch a movie, right? You have two tickets. Or have you asked someone out?”

“How do you know, Yuki? I never mentioned it to anyone.”

I recalled back to a few days ago, when my friends invited me out. I rejected them, saying that I had something important. Akane in particular fervently questioned why; since you’re going out alone, bring me along. Nevertheless, I never mentioned the reason.

I didn’t want any acquaintance to notice us together, and watching a movie with her would just be an interrogation. Obviously, I’ll be teased about this matter years later.

The girl before my eyes seemingly failed to comprehend my emotions as she smiled.

“Uu, hmm. I’ll keep this a secret then.”

“Why?”

“Because, a girl with secrets should be more attractive, right?”

It appeared she had no intention of answering me directly.

I tried waiting for a while, but I didn’t get a decent answer. Yuki merely stood there, smiling, knowing that I was waiting for her reply, but choosing to remain silent.

In this battle of patience, I lost.

“I didn’t ask anyone out. Got two tickets on hand.”

“Then bring me along.”

“Why do you want to see the movie?”

“……I promised to watch it.”

“With who?”

Yuki continued to smile. I didn’t know if it’s just me, but her smile seemed a little sadder than before.

I looked up at the sky, and so did Yuki.

Unknowingly, the darkness in the sky had become very deep.

The clouds in the night skies were thin and few, and the many stars sparkled. It’ll be really cool if I’m able to find just one constellation here. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of such knowledge.

I found nothing in the vast, endless night sky.

“I see. So you promised.”

“Yes.”

“Since it’s a promise, I can only go along with that.”

I tried saying this instead of talking about the constellations. It’s embarrassing, but I was spent just from saying this line.

“Got it. Let’s go together then.”

“Really? Thank you.”

“I remember there’s a train ride at 10.10. Shall we meet up at the gantry?”

“Mn, no problems. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow!”

We waved hands, bidding each other goodbye.

Yuki went off in the opposite direction of this street, the only one. Soon, her petite silhouette vanished.

I watched her until she vanished, before moving on.

My mind was filled with the girl I had just met, and it lingered for a long, long time.

The fragrance of Spring, the slender body, the fine fingers moving through the hair fluttering with the wind, resembling a piece of glass art. The long, narrow eyebrows, the pitch black eyes, the nicely shaped red lips. So I recalled, and then——

The moment Yuki’s voice echoed in my mind, I stopped.

For a question clearly floated in my mind.

Hm? Did I tell my name?

Of course, nobody would answer. Yuki’s pleased smile as she sidestepped the issue remained in my mind.

That happened in Autumn, during my first year of High School.

This was how I encountered Shiina Yuki.

I arrived at the station 30 minutes early, but it was Yuki who arrived earlier. We probably could ride on an earlier train.

But my legs, wanting to run towards Yuki, hesitated if they should approach her anymore.

Her back was leaning on the pillar, looking into an empty void. Her sidelong face had the disposition of an artistic masterpiece, giving her an unapproachable vibe.

On a closer look, many peeked towards her from time to time, but none dared to speak to her. It takes a lot of courage to go up and talk to her.

I gulped, rubbed my sweaty palms off my pants, forced my legs to move towards her when they couldn’t, slowly raised my hand, and finally managed to talk to her.

“Good morning. You’re really early.”

Yuki noticed me due to my voice. Her palms pushed off the pillar, and she hurried towards me.

“Have you waited for long?”

“No. I just arrived.”

Ehehe, Yuki giggled.

The thorns around her vanished before I knew it. I heaved a sigh of relief, and the heat rising from the bottom of my lungs seemingly merged into the clear air.

“Sorry, I’ll take note of it next time. It’s not good to keep a girl waiting.”

“You don’t have to worry. You’re really sincere there, Yoshi-kun.”

“Yoshi-kun?”

“Yes. Haruyoshi, so Yoshi-kun. Can’t I call you that?”

“Not that you can’t but I never had anyone call me that before.”

Normally, I’m either called Segawa or Haru.

My little sister Natsuna and my parents call me Haru. I’m a little uneasy to be called something different for the first time.

“Then this is my personal way of addressing you.”

Yuki smiled, barely her white teeth, and pulled my arm towards her.

I barely managed to maintain my balance, and avoid falling forward. The distance between us decreased by a step or so.

Yuki’s small, cold hand seemingly robbed me of my warmth as she grabbed onto my wrist. I felt hot just from being grabbed. I was unable to look up, and merely continued to stare at the dirty tips of my shoes..

“Okay, let’s go then, Yoshi-kun.”

The moment she said this, I thought of something I forgot to ask yesterday.

“Anyway, do you know where we’re going today?”

The movie I was going to see on this day was different . To describe it, well, it’s different from those movies heavily featured on the TV ads, and it’s not aired at a cinema either.

But Yuki ignored all of my concerns.

“That’s a weird question. We’re going to Yasaka University, right?”

There’s a town two stations from where I’m living, with lots of slopes. Yasaka University’s located at the longest slope in that town.

In fact, we have to take the bus after alighting from the station.

“Ah, it’s there, right, Yoshi-kun? Here, have a look?”

Yuki said. We were almost ten minutes into our bus ride.

There was a large gate at where she was pointing, and a large sign.

The sign contained colourful popup words “60th Aksho Festival’.

This Yasaka University began holding this one week festival since Sunday. The tickets I had are for the ‘movie club self-produced film’ airing during this culture festival.

I forgot if it happened a year ago, or at least half, but due to a certain incident, I so happened to obtain these two tickets.

The moment I entered the school gates, I felt a sudden change in the atmosphere around me.

There was an infrequent sight of the leaves colored in Autumn, and beneath them,

There were many stalls on display in the school, along with the intense riff of guitars from afar. For a YOSAKOI, the clappers sounded delightful. It really seemed like a real festival.

I received a pamphlet from a big sister, and immediately flipped through it, intending to check the schedule of the movie. It’s a 30 minute short film, and including break time, it airs once every one and a half hours.

There’s ten minutes until the next airing. If we hurry, we should be able to make it. I checked the location on the map, and if we hurry, we might be able to make it. I continued to flip through, wanting to check the location on the map, but my pamphlet got snatched away.

I lifted my hands, and found Yuki holding a pamphlet in each hand.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m asking you that, Yoshi-kun. What are you doing?”

“Doing what…looking for where the movie screening is, of course?.”

Haa. Yuki sighed, shaking her head as she gave a ‘you don’t understand’ look.

“You can look around and find that place. More importantly, this is a rare festival. Stalls, performing bands, and haunted houses. If you ignore them all and go straight to your destination, it’ll be a waste. Karma will strike you, know?”

“I don’t want to be hit by karma.”

“Then let’s walk around. It’ll be fun. Come on, let’s go!”

That’s how we started walking around the festival.

Yuki sniffed around the stalls corner with her little nose, and was finally tempted by the fragrance as she queued at the crepes shop. She hesitated over whether she should add strawberries or chocolate bananas, but she chose both. I personally chose chestnut to fit with the autumn theme.

“It’s amazing that you’re able to eat two.”

“Seed dubs do into abrother starbucks.”

Yuki’s mouth was stuffed with crepes, her cheeks puffed. What she said sounded alien, though I never met an alien myself.

“What are you saying?”

This time, she began to close her mouth, and chew carefully. However, she seemed reluctant as she slowly swallowed the crepes, and with cream still on the side of her lips, she emphasized once again,

“Sweets do go into another stomach.”

“Yuki, you got cream on your lips.

“Ah, sorry. This side?”

“The other.”

“This side huh?”

Yuki tried wiping hard with her palm, but she did not wipe the cream.

“Hold on.”

I took a piece of pocket tissue, and wiped her mouth. She let me do so without resistance, but she was always eyeing more the next opportunity to take a bite. I had to remind her “It’s not off yet. Wait.” Seriously, girls are such creatures. I do like sweets myself, but their passionate easily exceeds the like I have.

“Alright, done..”

“Thanks, Yoshi-kun. You’re well prepared..”

“It’s fine, just a tissue. I think high school students normally have them around.”

“I’m almost 17, but I never brought any before.”

“So you’re older than me by a year, Yuki?”

“Yes. I’m your senior, so you have to respect me.”

“There’s no respect to speak of when you still have cream on your mouth.”

“You’re lying! There’s still more.?”

I saw Yuki rub her mouth flusteredly, and chuckled. Her white skin reddened slightly, probably because she panicked and rubbed too hard. Even the cheeks, which were not rubbed, were a little red.

“Kuku, it’s gone..”

“Uu. You’re so mean, Yoshi-kun. Really mean..”

Yuki pouted as she walked before me.

She had a slender back, fluffy hair, and thin legs reaching out from her skirt. I tailed Yuki from a little distance, wanting to eye them a little more.

But Yuki went straight for the library, and began to marvel at the exhibits of the photography club, and I had to chase after her in an instant.

We marvelled at the many monochrome photos lined together—talking about the work we both liked.

I chose a photo of a man jumping on a beach, while Yuki chose a photo of a girl alone on the shopping street.

The lonely girl was cut away from the vast world, looking so helpless. It’s definitely a nice picture wanting to convey something, but it didn’t match my impression of Yuki. I thought she’ll be like me, and would choose a photo filled with life.

“Really?”

Yuki’s soft voice in the library sparsely filled with people.

“But this is definitely me.”

We went to the arts club store, bought a few doujins, and read them together while next to each other. Our tastes in novels are similar, and we like the same works.

Then, Yuki noticed something, and approached it without hesitation. Before I realized, we’re at furthest end of the school, far away from the noise. There’s an old building deep inside, and Yuki eyed at the building that appeared to be secretly built, muttering, “what’s that building for?”

The originally white building had changed colors due to the many years of weathering, and on the walls, there were plants whose names I didn’t know of. The green stuff’s probably moss. Anyway, the building such seem so unapproachable.

I wanted to call for Yuki to return, but at this moment,

“Ah, the boy there. Hold on a moment.”

I was called out by this slightly familiar voice, by this familiar sounding line.

Even after a long time, I could recognize that muscular body.

He had a messy 3 days stubble, his hair was tied behind his head, and he was showing childish, dazzling eyes between his long bangs.

It’s been at least a year since we met, but he’s the same as usual.

It’s the director.

The director of the movie we’re going to see today.

And the person who gave me these two tickets.

I first met the director in winter break, while I was still in middle school.

Club activities were suspended, and I was alone, with nothing to do, so I went strolling in the park nearby.

There would be many visitors at the park during the vacation and the evening, but it’s very quiet on a normal workday. It made me a little lonely.

Breaking this silence was an exceptionally gruff voice.

“Ah, the boy there. Hold on a moment.”

“Eh?”

I was called out, and turned to the voice. I saw a muscular uncle running towards me. I could hear the frantic sound effects of a person running. I knew he was in a fix, so I stopped without thinking——that was a wrong choice.

That man was huffing so hard, he was almost dying. He went behind me, and suddenly grabbed me by the elbow.

“Ahh——I’m saved. Please come along with us.”

“Wh-what’s going on?

“We’re filming a movie, but we don’t have enough actors at the last moment. It’s causing us lots of trouble.”

“No no no, hold on. I don’t get what you mean.”

“Don’t get, what I mean?”

The uncle turned towards me with bewilderment. I had a closeup look of his face, and found him to be still somewhat young. He’s probably in his twenties, at the phase when I’m still somewhat able to call him a big brother.

“I don’t.”

“So I say, you’ll be a temporary actor for a movie.”

“That’s not what I don’t understand. I’m saying that I don’t know why I have to come along with you.”

“Didn’t I just say why? If you don’t come along, I’ll be in real trouble..”

“…Huh?”

“That’s how it is. Let’s go.”

“No, I say,”

Just like that, I was dragged off by him.

Everything I said thereafter was a waste of effort. There was an overwhelming difference in strength, and no matter how I resisted, I couldn’t escape. Three minutes into my struggle, I gave up.

I was left at his whim, either to be roasted or fried.

It appeared the man who called me was the director of this work, called the director. He showed a different expression from what I had seen, the aura around him changing drastically. I felt really annoyed to think that he was a little cool.

The filming scene was at the bench in the park.

I was assigned the role of passer-by A.

All I had to do was to follow behind the protagonist. I had no lines or actions. Even so, I was instructed to do a series of actions, where I should look at what time, how fast I should be walking.

We were filming a single scene, so I carelessly thought I could go home once I was done, but the reality was that I was caught in a four hour deadlock, due to the many retakes.

The sky was dark blue when they started collecting the equipment. In another 10 minutes or so, the world will be plunged into darkness, more even in a blink of an eye. See, night is coming.

“So you’re here. Good work there..”

I looked towards the voice and found the director walking towards me. It seemed he had been looking for me for quite a while.

“It’s a lot of time.”

“You really helped me out. Well, you only appeared for like 10 seconds or so, but I really didn’t want to compromise on the quality, so I dragged it out. Oh yeah, this is for you. As a gift of thanks.”

Saying that, the director took out a can of corn soup. The weather’s cold after the sunset, so I accepted gratefully. The soup’s still warm. As I held the can with both hands, I felt the warmth spreading in my palms.

“Thank you very much.”

“Also, these tickets are for you. There’ll be a public screening during the culture festival next Autumn, so do come by to watch”

“Next year? Not this year?”

“The production’s probably won’t be finished this year. Once this is done next year, I’ll be graduating.”

The rectangular color paper had the words “60th Akiho Festival Movie Screening Ticket”. The ‘59th had two strikethroughs over them, and the ‘60th’ written above were larger than the other words, as though conveying the director’s determination.

By the side of the words was the name of the university and the crest. The rectangular red words ‘Yasaka University’ were a little blurry. I did hear of rumors about the school, like it’s built on a demonic slope or something.

“But there are two tickets..”

“It’s a romance film. If you have a girl you like, invite her along..”

Just like this, I had two tickets and a can of corn soup. It’s a cheap payout compared to the four hours of work. But well, it’s a valuable experience, so whatever.

I saw the director wave as he left with his back facing me, drinking the soup. For this cat-tongued me, the warm soup was just right. It flowed past my throat, and immediately after, I felt a gentle warmness spreading through my belly.

The brightest star was sparkling in the sky.

It seemed to be the leading star.

So I started walking towards the little light of Venus.

“You’re here, boy.”

The director called for us, his muscular body taking up two thirds of the bench or so. There were a dozen or so tickets messily laid out on the table, along with a promotional pamphlet for the Akiho Festival, and so. There’s a movie magazine, probably flipped through lots of times as the actress’ face on the cover was disfigured.

“It’s been a while. Is the movie airing here?”

“Yeah. The innermost room of this clubroom building is our clubroom. It’s on the second floor. Hm?”

At this moment, the director finally noticed Yuki, it seemed. Like a man possessed, he sized her up several times. Then, he averted his eyes, and called out to me.

“Boy, a word.”

“Huh?”

I went towards the director as he said, and he dragged me to the end of the building.

We’re some distance away from Yuki, so even at normal volume, our voices probably wouldn’t reach her. However, “What’s with that girl? Isn’t she super cute?” the director whispered softer than a mosquito.

“What’s her relationship with you?”

“Friends, I guess. She seems like she wants to see this movie no matter what. I didn’t know when she got wind of me having two tickets, so I brought her along.”

“A fan of mine?”

The director eyed sideways, smirking.

“Guess not. I heard that she promised someone that she’ll see this movie.”

I had enough of the director’s leery face, so I had to insistently deny.

“With who?”

“Who knows?”

Both of us looked towards Yuki in unison.

Yuki was flipping through the magazine on the bench. She’s probably not reading, just flipping through. Probably enjoying the feeling of paper and the sound.

“She’s like a painting.”

The director marvelled as he appraised her, muttering,

“Such girls are rare. She’s not just cute or pretty, she has a certain charm that attracts attention. It’s a really rare thin. So boy, might negotiating for her to appear in a movie?”

“I’m not going to. Can’t you just ask her yourself?”

“Well, after all,”

What do you mean, after all?”

“…I’ll be hurt if such a cute girl rejects me.”

“Huh?”

I really, seriously did show an outraged look.

Hold on a moment. What’s this guy saying? And what happened to the crazy guy who dragged me away that year?

“Aren’t guys such creatures? We become weak in the face of beauties.”

“Why are you saying it like it’s a motto?”

I couldn’t help but retort, and the large eyes of the director stared at me intently.

“You’ve changed, boy.”

“Eh? Really?”

“Yeah, you’ve changed. The old you, well, how do I put it? Easy to deal with. It’s like if I begged you, you’ll agree to do anything. You’re a little different now. You’re able to express yourself..”

“Is that a good thing?”

“That’s definitely a good thing. Those that go with the flow can’t catch anything. If you want something, you need to grab it with your hands, even if it’s by force. That’s how it is, so please. I’ll get down on my knees and beg if you continue to refuse. But you’re just going to refuse me again, so.”

Why be so forceful to me? Can’t you do that to Yuki?

Well, I’m a guy. Can’t say that I don’t understand what the director’s feeling.

“Well, so be it. I’ll introduce her to you, but you will have to ask her yourself.”

“Tch, got it.”

“Yuki.”

I called for Yuki’s name, and she closed the magazine, her body swaying side by side as she approached us.

“Finished whispering?”

“Yeah, basically, he gave me the tickets, and he’s the director of this movie we’re going to see. Seems like he wants to ask for something from you.”

“Ask me?”

“Speak up, director.”

“Oh, yeah.”

I nudged hard at his large back.

It’s like a rock, hard, solid, and unmoving. Even so, my little nudge might have motivated him to move forward.

“Th-th-thank you very much for coming to see this movie today!”

“Yes. I’m looking forward to today’s movie.”

Yuki smiled, and the director blushed, his body shaking. He’s already at his mental limit, huh? Never expected that.

Feeling that he was helpless, I was about to speak up for the director, only for him to tsay,

“And erm, erm, if it’s okay, can I get you to act in my movie next time?”

He reached his massive hand out towards Yuki.

“Please?”

“Uh huh.”

“No can do?”

“Uh huh.”

“So is it a yes?”

Yuki smiled impishly.

“Anyway, I can decide after watching the movie, right?”

That was the smile of a little devil.

There were twelve chairs in the room large enough for twenty. Four chairs a row, three rows. We were seated at the second row, and the chairs were wobbly, probably because the floor was old. Other than us, there were another three people. When the movie began screening, the lights in the room were switched off.

Then, aired on the screen commonly used during lessons was a visual.

The movie depicts a typical daily life, the encounter of a boy and a girl, their breakup, and their encounter again. It was simply a common story.

There was no alien invasion, no monster destroying the world. The world was’t in any crisis, but there was clearly something in the movie.

The scene I appeared in was the important one, when the duo , after having a huge argument, regretted their actions, and reunited at the bench in the park. I was far into the background, but I realized it was me, just passing by.

Yuki might have noticed my appearance, and she poked at my flank.

I grabbed her mischievous finger, and glanced towards her discreetly.

Yuki, next to me, next looked towards me, her eyes staring at the screen, looking really serious.

It’s pretty rude per se, but it’s just an amateur movie for a culture festival, not something meant to be watched so seriously. Why’s she being that serious?

In the darkness, her sidelong face brightened by the movie lights looked really beautiful. For the last five minutes, I was just staring at her, mesmerized.

We arrived at the bus stop at the main entrance , only to see it turn around a corner. The red taillights slowly got smaller, and finally vanished.

It seemed the next ride would arrive 10 minutes later.

I was seated alongside Yuki, on the plastic seats. We were the only ones here.

“Yoshi-kun, the movie really left me nervous.”

Yuki beamed, “But the movie’s really interesting.”, so she said.

“The part where the protagonist confessed was really good. I want to be confessed passionately like that for once..”

Yuki delightedly told me what she thought, but I never listened to them. There’s one thing I was more interested in than the review, and I kept thinking about it. Should I ask? Or not? After much deliberation, I couldn’t help but ask.

“In that case, why did you refuse the director?”

It happened at least ten minutes ago.

The director had been outside the room, waiting for our exit.

“How’s the movie?”

“Yes, it’s really nice.”

“Really?”

He probably felt nervous before getting this answer, and he heaved a huge sigh of relief. I’m guessing he’s clenching his right fist in victory, the smile on his face dazzling.

Yuki too nodded with a smile.

“I guess the miracle never happened after all.” So she said.

“So as promised, I think I shall refuse.”

“Eh?”

Both I, who was next to her, and the smiling director never understood what Yuki was saying, and neither did we remember the reason for her saying so.

From our faces, she probably understood what we were thinking.

Yuki repeated herself, emphasizing that there’s no mistake on anyone’s part,

“Sorry, I can’t appear in your movie.”

She bowed, and hastily left the club building.

I looked back and forth between Yuki’s back and the dumbfounded director, and finally bowed towards the director as Yuki had done, before giving chase after her.

“Because I promised.” So Yuki answered my answer.

“Hey, Yoshi-kun, do you think there’s a scene that looks out of sorts?”

“…No.”

“In that case, I shouldn’t appear in the movie. It’s a promise after all.”

“I don’t get what you mean at all. Who did you make a promise with, and what’s the promise?”

Yuki’s eyes looked towards the slightly worn out tips of her red shoes. They touched and broke away like over and over again, like a kiss.

“Anyway, now that we’re talking about this, I’ll ask again, Yuki? Who did you promise to watch this movie with?”

Yuki took a deep breath, and breathed out towards the sky. She stopped her shaking legs, and stood up.

I immediately looked up towards her without thinking. Her back was facing the setting sun, so I couldn’t tell what expression she was making.

“We made a promise that existed nowhere. Nowhere in the past, present or future.”

“What’s going on? You had a promise, didn’t you, Yuki?”

“I did, but it no longer exists. Even the part about us making that promise never existed.”

“I don’t really get you, but in that case, it’s fine for you not to go with the promise, right?”

“No. that’s because it’s still very important to me.”

There was clearly something in Yuki’s voice, something stubborn. It’s not something I could settle just because I want to, and that’s the only thing I got.

Finally, the bus arrived.

Nn, Yuki reached her hand towards me, and I did my best to hold it as gently as possible, standing up from the seat. Her hand was delicate, cold, weak and fleeting. It’s so weak that if I exerted a little too much strength, I might break it.

“If possible, can I meet you tomorrow?”

“Will have to be after school though, if you’re fine with that.”

“Of course.”

“See you tomorrow then.”

So we promised.

We made a promise that really existed on this world.

We were together the next day, and the following day.

We visited the bookstore, and studied at the library.

Yuki’s great at studies, and patiently explained the solutions to the questions I couldn’t solve.

Before I knew it, a week passed from the moment I met Yuki.

“You’re a good kid, Yoshi-kun.”

“Look, even if you say that, I’m not treating you to tea..”

As thanks for having her check my work, I bought a meat bun for her at the convenience store.

“Tch, you’re not treating me?”

Yuki clumsily sang, “it’s cold, it’s cold.” And we walked down the town while the lights started to brighten. “I’m scared of the cold.” So she said as she rubbed her little hands, breathing out on her fingertips. Winter was coming, and surely the tomorrow would be colder than this day.

We passed by the post office, and arrived at a place a little distant from the station. With a gentle, correcting tone, Yuki said .

“Hey, Yoshi-kun. You shouldn’t be too trusting of me, you know?”

“Why?”

“Because I want to do something cruel to you.”

Saying that, Yuki shook her head. She closed her eyes hard, and three seconds passed. She opened her eyes again, and there was a mysterious glint to them. What’s that? Confusion? Fear? Rage? Rugged determination? Finally, that light too vanished.

“No. It’s nothing. Forget about it.”

Yuki ran towards me, step by step, trying to hide her face, it seemed.

“Can we meet again tomorrow?”

It feels like Yuki will vanish, so I shouted at her back.

At that moment, Yuki quickly turned towards me. Her skirt fluttered slightly due to the turn, Her hair rose slightly, and she appeared to be dancing. Just like the day when we first met, my heart pounded tremendously, so much that it was aching.

“Ehehe. It’s the first you you started a promise with me, Yoshi-kun.”

“If that’ll make you happy, I’ll keep inviting you starting tomorrow.”

“Really?”

“I promise you.”

“I’m happy.”

Like before, I bade farewell with Yuki before the train station.

She waved hard at me, so hard that I was worried if her arm would rip off. I waved hard at her in response. The distance between was was increasing, little by little.

After some distance, Yuki put her hand down, and shouted my name,

“Yoshi-kun.”

At that moment, my body froze.

Yuki’s expression changed, and I had the impression that her smile was a lie. At the same time, she muttered something.

That delightful voice was immediately buried in the noise, and did not reach my ears.

But through the movements of her lips, I understood what she said.

At the last moment, Yuki said with an anguished look.

“――Liar.”

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