Drop a Wish, Upon the Stars and Beyond

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Chapter 6: Heroine Elevation

It was another odious day where the sky was decorated with a greyish-nauseous tone. The sound of Arata’s pitch crashing into the catcher’s mitt was echoing in my eardrums. Thump. Thump. The melody of the pitches was repeatedly reverberating in the lifeless world. Under the obnoxious sky, the resonation of the pitches brought me back to life. I was sitting on the benches behind the fence, secretly hoping that one day, maybe one day, someday, I could play the ball instead of letting the ball play me. I know it deep down in my heart that Time was never the one to blame. The contaminated air trapped in the oppressive heat was toasting me alive. I was impulsive enough to be the only one sitting on the bench, receiving multiple incredulous stares as students walked past me. The most frightening thing was that when Amber walked past me, she didn’t give me a wave, smile, wink, or anything. The fact that Amber and I were not on speaking terms gave me cold chills. She could destroy my reputation any time that she felt like it. I watched Amber walk past me with a pair of wide, googled-eye filled with animosity and loathe. That was the only thing that someone ever wanted.

Oliver, the tan center-fielder that was around my height, gave me a shock by tapping my shoulder. “What the heck!” These were the only words that I was capable of saying.

“You wanna play catch with us,” Oliver invited me, confused.

“Umm. Sure?” I replied, stunned. How long has it been since someone invited me to join them? The first time in a decade and a half, someone spontaneously invited me.

“Lemme go grab the mitt real fast, oh and also, you want me to grab one for you?” He offered.

“No, thank you. I have my own,” replied I. The golden mitt that I ‘stole’ carries the kids’ and Mae Mae’s hope. On behalf of Mae Mae, I will fight for my dreams and never let them down. I pulled out the nicely stored mitt in my backpack. I did not deserve it.

“Wow! Wow! Bro, what the… Look at that! Nice mitt ya got there. Bro, it must have cost ya a ton of money huh!” Oliver commented.

“You bet. Should I take that as a compliment? Cuz it surely did cost a ton of money. You wouldn’t even guess it.” Of course Oliver wouldn’t have guessed it, no one would. Even if they had, they wouldn’t understand the value and pieces of broken sentiments engraved in the mitt.

“No, you shouldn’t,” he teased.

“Imma go grab the mitt. Might take some time cuz the school’s mitts sucks. Ya go first,” Oliver added.

“But...wait…” Too late, Oliver pushed me on the field then ran towards the ‘club room’, the place where we keep our equipment.

I didn’t like being in the spotlight.

I was positive that Arata and Ren were thinking what the hell was I doing there. They must be secretly wanting me to leave the mound. I was very positive that they will gossip about me right after I leave.

“Hey, Mitsuki, come here. I remember you telling me the other day about pitching a curve and two-seamer, right? So actually, the other day I saw a youtube video that teaches you how to pitch a curve. Imma show you the curve that I learned,” Arata gushed. The awkwardness in the air was eating me alive.

“Wait, my face is too pretty to be destroyed, wait!” Ren exclaimed.

Too late, Arata was already in the ready position to murder someone with his sharp curve balls. The curve was the knife that pierced through the strings of destiny. I forgot to blink when Ren hurtled away from the home plate.

“Ren, catch that!” Arata yelled.

“Wait a sec. Mistsuki, how bout you go catch? I want to try this new spin,” he continued. I could sense the murderous intent from his misty eyes.

“But…” I was left speechless. I was both happy and intimidated at the same time.

Arata placed his hand on my shoulder and started pushing me towards the home plate. That annoying smile on his face displayed murderous intentions that scared the crap out of me.

“Ren, get out!”

“Okay, okay. Chill. I’m gonna go get water,” Ren claimed. He purposely made that excuse to escape from Arata.

“Shooo. Go do whatever you want,” Arata responded.

That left me and Arata alone on the mound. The tension in the atmosphere angered gravity. Gravity became more eager to attract innocent creatures like me towards his domain. My poor legs were affected by the magnificent attraction of gravity. The attraction of gravity was so strong that it prohibited my feet from moving. Gravity mixed with a taste of heavy air caused my body to quiver nonstop.

“I’m not trying to kill you, don’t worry,” Arata added as he noticed the tension that gravity created.

For the first time in my life, I had decided my first proclamation that may cause my life. I nodded to Arata, telling him that I was prepared for the unknown and minacious consequences that may or may not cause my life.

“Look and learn, Mitsuki! This is what you call a curve!”

Arata located his right arm in the crossfire position, ready to murder someone. In a blink of an eye, the ball flew in my golden mitt, I could see the smoke coming out of the ball.

“I thought I was a goner,” I murmured.

“See, you’re not half bad! Now I’m gonna pitch with my full strength, watch and learn, Mitsuki!” Arata bantered.

With all the smoke coming out of the ball, I could have sworn that the curve that I caught was pitched at Arata’s full strength. If I were him, I would go aim for the tryout of the Majors. There were times that I confused my feelings with the truth. If only half of his strength belonged to me...

I was exploring the lovely views of my daydreams where the sun was gleaming bright, where fragile flowers flourish, and where prosperous women with short hair are laying on the emerald-green grass. When I was intoxicated by the thought of living in my own ‘Neverland’, I felt a sting on my left leg. Thudddd. I looked up only to see Arata frowning.

“Mitsuki, oh gawd. Are you alright? I’m so sorry, I didn’t know that you couldn’t catch it. Look, I’m sorry, I’ll never do it again, promise,” Arata’s obnoxious tone annoyed me. He dashed towards me and reached out his hands.

Without a second thought, I pushed his hands away. The sorry-but-not-sorry expression that he was wearing on his pretty face irritated me. My leg was burning hot, yet, I refused to get help. The bystanders must have thought that I was pathetic. Maybe I really was. The fire in my leg refused to cease burning, I could feel a million daggers stabbing my left leg. I writhed in agony as my breathing came out in shallow rasps. My ashen face let out a grimace that even idiots could understand.

“Mitsuki, I’m sorry. I should have known better,” Arata repeated.

I curled my body on the mound as I seized the tormenting agony. Arata’s unapologetic words hit my heart remorsefully. I started groaning when the heat in my leg was eating up my brain cells. My voice echoed in the eerie, empty mound. Bumbling footsteps were approaching the mound. I was sure that those footsteps did not belong to Arata. He couldn’t care less.

Ba-dump. Badump. Ba-dump. I felt a warm hand placed on my stiff shoulder, who could that be. Someone was patting my back as if I was a kid that was about to lose herself.

“Hey, it’s okay. Everything will be fine. Trust me, you are brave… and everything will be alright.” The enigmatic yet soothing voice was the cool air that extinguished the flaring fire in my leg. I was convinced that I could rest.

“See, it’s okay. It’s fine. Everything’s fine. You are just perfectly fine…” The voice hypnotized me. When my eyesight was getting buried, the world was spinning in front of me. The deep yet pretty voice stole my consciousness. It was the first time that I rest assured and let someone mess with my consciousness.

The glistening white walls were shrieking in the empty room. I could almost forget the pain in my leg if the bandage were not exaggeratedly wrapped around my leg. The vermillion stained bandage matched the colour of the lifeless walls perfectly as if the bandage was giving life to this empty room. I tried to sit up on the bed but the left leg didn’t allow me to. When I looked out the window, the sun had almost reached the horizon. Even the small ball of hope had disappeared. The vermillion bandage will soon no longer be able to light up this despondent room once the hope has sunk into the horizon. The only thing that was allowed to remain was despair.

I reached into my pocket to grab my phone. The 15 missed calls from Arata and Ren delayed the sun from sinking into the horizon. Before I clicked on the ‘call’ button to report what had happened to Arata, he pushed open the door of desperation and darted into the room. The lifeless crestfallen room was no longer empty.

“Don’t apologize,” I groused.

“Aight. Ren and I were running around campus looking for you, how did you even end up here?” Arata panted.

“Huh? Weren’t you there beside me?”

“No, I was getting water for you. Then… When I came back, you disappeared. Did you walk yourself to the nurse or something? I thought I got you hard by the curve, but hey, guess what, you’re still looking great,” he blathered.

“Wait, what? Did my legs move here? Unbelievable. You sure about that?” I continued being skeptical.

“I’m sor- I really didn’t see anything. I’m glad you’re ok. No worries, you are great as a woman,” he added.

His words were a knife that ripped my heart into two separate pieces. If he were to be kinder, he could have reorganized his sentence into this: ‘of course you didn’t catch that, no wonder that you’re just a girl.’

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Arata’s phone generated a small earthquake in the room.

“Oh hey Ren, what’s up. I found Mitsuki, she’s at the nurse. Come!” Arata answered Ren’s call with a greasy smile. He must have been wondering how lame and pathetic I could be.

“Yea yea kay. Got ya. Cya,” Arata finished the call within a minute.

He sat down on the floor beside me, avoiding having any eye contact with me. The tension in the air created distance between Arata and I. Still, I wanted no apology from him.

Before the tension in the air ate me alive, Ren pushed through the heavy door and broke the tension. Yet again, the perspiration on his wearied face delayed the sun from sinking into the horizon.

He pulled his long hair backwards and yelped, “Mitsuki, so you’re here huh? I was looking for you! Glad you’re ok.”

“Arata, why didn’t you tell me sooner! I was worried sick. You better not miss the game tomorrow, or else, I’m gonna murder you,” Ren turned to face Arata and continued.

“I know, I’m pitching. You don’t have to remind me,” Arata blurted.

“A game? Tomorrow? What?” I gushed, surprised that no one, even the coach, didn’t inform me about the upcoming game.

“Yea, game tomorrow! We’re leaving 2.30 straight, might be skipping a little class time, who cares anyway,” Ren announced.

It hurt a little when I noticed that they were not surprised about the fact that I was not invited to participate in the game tomorrow. It wasn’t like their feelings mattered to me anyway.

“I don’t care. I’m going and I’m playing,” I snapped.

Ren and Arata forced out a smile on their lips that discouraged me. When I looked out the window again, the sun had already sunk into the deep horizon without even leaving a single trace of its presence. The snow white walls turned grey at the second glance. The fire of the vermillion bandage was no longer able to keep the dispirited room lit. Life had existed.

“Mitsuki, it’s late. We’re leaving, okay? If you need anything just call us,” Arata insisted as he picked up his backpack and moved towards the ponderous door of life. Ren pushed the door open as he mumbled, “Take care, Mitsuki.”

“You too, take care,” I muttered.

Together with the sun, Arata and Ren took their leave as if they were all playing a game of hide and seek with me. It was funny that I was looking at them from the other side. I was laying on the bed hoping that I was over there too, with Arata and Ren. It was so quiet, too quiet, that I started to ponder about my existence. It was almost as if I was invisible. Or maybe I was transparent to all the living creatures in this mundane world. I placed my hand softly on my left leg to realize that it was still burning hot; yet, the power of the flame was not enough to bring life to this room.

When I looked out the window the third time, the skyline had already vanished. The stolen melody of the speechless room reminded me of the undone chores and work. If I wanted to arrive home alive, I had to move it. I placed both of my hands on my burning leg, praying that the flame could burn brighter and hotter, so that I could earn some sympathy from my mum for skipping work. It was pointless, but I prayed anyway.

I pressed my hands on the cumbersome doorway and departed from the soulless, lifeless room. I felt the room’s watery, puppy eyes begging me to not go. I told the room that he could still see me by looking out of the window. Unmistakeable, I haven’t given up in life, not yet.

I was sauntering on the walkway as I procrastinated. As expected, the night sky was as lonely as the room, even the stars and moon went into hiding. Why did I let myself believe that miracles were slowly happening? I should have believed my mom that dreams were meant only for sleeping. I hugged my golden mitt and pulled my eyes shut. It has been confirmed that wishes on the star will never come true. Behind the mist of outcast clouds, the stars were crying as they hoped that soon enough, someday, their voice would be heard and their appearance could be acknowledged. Despite the preference of those around the stars, becoming a proud hero was their own volition. They had been burning the candles at both ends trying to score some goals. Yet, the favour will never be reciprocated since the sky was the stars’ limit.

The fire in my left leg did not manage to stop me from dragging myself down the roads. There were small pieces of stone stuck in my sneakers but I was too afraid to look down. Despite the fire burning matter in my body, my body felt heavier than ever.

I felt a sense of imminent danger once I reached the place where they call it ‘home’. Just by looking, the place was surrounded by a menacing aura.

“It is what it is,” I complained to myself as I turned the doorknob. I tried turning the doorknob around and clockwise a couple of times to figure out that it was locked.

“Hey! Mom! I can’t get in! MOM! MOM! HEY!” I roared. The echo of my voice was all that I could hear in this unspeaking neighbourhood.

I waited. There was no response.

“GOSH! LET ME IN! MOM, YOU CAN’T ABANDON YOUR CHILD IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!” I continued yelling with my elevated voice.

I waited. There was no response.

“Accept the fact that I’m not the kind of kid that you want. Why? You’re sad huh? You’re doing this to me just cuz I’m crazy? So what? Huh! You tell me!”

Smash. Crack. Tink. A glass plate suddenly flew down from the window on the second floor. Mom ignored the fact that the glass missed my face by an inch. She stomped down the stairs, let out a sigh, and began screaming. Lightning was flashing in her ferocious eyes as her face turned purple and smoke started to exit from her hair. Instead of asking what happened to my left leg, she escalated the argument as she added some heat to it.

“Look who here? If you not come home then just go,” She sneered as she gave me a death stare.

“Stuffs happen,” I mumbled.

“You know money I spend on you and yet you still this do to me, you disrespectful creature!” She spatted. I saw smoke coming out of her mouth and nostrils, it was quite a scene.

Mom did a ‘passenger check’ before opening the door to let me in. But unfortunately, I did not pass that ‘passenger check’.

“Mitsuki, what that? You know it scar leave right? How dare you? Scar, you never get married. It make ugly you!” Mom screeched at the moment she saw my burning left leg. If her piercing eyes were a weapon, my left leg would have been cutted in half.

“So? It’s my own business. It’s not like I wanted to get married or anything. I’d rather live on my own than be with some old dude. Oh mom, I should have said this first but- I have a game tomorrow. AND I”M GOING,” I returned her death stare.

“Don’t talk, don’t want hear. Go your room and study. Go away ugly,” She hissed. I was glad that she did not try to stretch out the argument. Still, her death stares sent chills down my spine when I walked past her.

It took me a decade to climb up the painful spiral of staircases, especially with the fire burning in my left leg. Once I reached my bedroom, the fire had already spread itself towards every part of my body. I was burned out. I crashed myself into the bed. The fire burning in my body was then wiped out when I was left unconscious.

It was another tedious morning with loads of undone work plus a throbbing injured leg. The nurse contacted me yesterday to inform me about the pricings. The price of burning my left leg was certainly worth more than the fiat cash. It was so unkind of them for not giving me a discount for all I had been through. Similar to my mom, the nurse was not generous.

The thought of the once-in-a-while vigorous Mitsuki entering the lonely room scared me. I didn’t want to risk myself from losing all the built up energy to a room full of blank, friendless walls. I needed no sympathy from them. Still, I entered the room of solitude to get my leg treated. The gate was as lonely as the room. Once I pulled the gate of seclusion wide open, a skinny nurse in a white dress was waiting for me. Her delicate white dress allowed her to camouflage herself among the walls. She was almost transparent. At the moment I decided to join the journey of despair, she lifted her snowy, white, dress towards the window and waved at me. Unlike her, the dynamic instinct to carry on my ambition made me a misfit. I did not belong in this lifeless room filled with perplexing, white mazes.

The nurse gently removed the tightened bandage on my left leg without saying a word. She shook her head several times before I noticed the disappointment in her eyes. I didn’t feel bad for her since she was doing her job. However, I would feel bad for her if she started to comfort me. It takes a lot of courage for anyone to switch sides with society or to stand along my side. Clearly, the nurse didn’t have it in her. I did not dare to say a word when she lit the fire with iodide, instead, I looked out the window to conserve my energy. Again, the room was brought to life. I heard the white walls complaining to my face. It must have been scary enough for them to step out of their tiny comfort tone. Just like the nurse, she was afraid of stepping on a new path.

As soon as the vermillion bandage was removed from my leg, I sprinted out of the apathetic room before it could consume the energy in me that was purposefully saved up for the game today.

“Hey you! NO-” The nurse screamed from inside the room.

That was when the fire lost its control and pushed me to the ground. All of my belongings rained down the ground, spreading themselves into different piles. I tried to stand up but my leg wouldn’t let me.

“You dropped these,” a resonant whisper prohibited me from thinking about the fire in my leg.

His grizzled silver hair glistened like a thousand magical crystals that belonged to those cataclysmic caves. His eyes were magical windows to the soul that when I looked into them, I felt lost. Different from Arata, his mysterious eyes were honest and loyal. He gave me a heartwarming smile that melted my heart. His smile was my only weakness. Rather than trying to comfort me or placing his hands on my shoulder, he lent me his hand and waited for me to reach out for him. I had said to myself that I would never rely on someone, not again, but this time it was extremely difficult.

“There you go. Let’s go, we don’t wanna be late,” he declared. There was no hesitation when I reached out my hands to this mystical stranger. Just as soon as I grabbed his huge steady hands, he wrapped my arms around his shoulders. The dried off knuckles on his hands resembled mine.

“Did coach ask you to come and get me or something?” I asked, despite knowing that coach totally forgot about me.

“Ummm. You deserve to be a part of the team’s success, because you are the reason for our success. Still, don’t push yourself too much. Trust me, I know,” the acquaintance-stranger consoled. His baritone, pretty voice made the argument unfair.

Suddenly, he stopped walking and patted me on the head like I was his dog. He added with an affectionate smile, “Don’t stress about it, little kid.”

He was being unfair to me. I disliked the fact that he was at least 15cm taller than me because whenever he talked to me, he was looking down at me. For an instant, I developed ambivalent feelings about him.

“You’re going to the game too?” I questioned.

“What else do you think I’m doing here then? Of course I’m going,” he replied with a reassuring tone.

“Oh. I haven’t seen you in practice before. Or, have I?” I queried.

“C’on I’m new here. I’m not familiar with the rules yet so I sub for left field,” he answered confidently. His confidence in playing left field was deplorable. Coach did not like having subs on the field, especially outfield.

“You’re a great pitcher by the way. Your form is good, and the pitches are sharp, it’s just that...maybe work on your speed? It must be tough getting hit by one of Arata’s curves.” He broke the flow of my queries and left me speechless.

“Yes, indeed. How did you know that I was hit by his pitch? Why are you here anyway? I don’t take ‘I’m here to see you’ or ‘you’re a part of the team’s success’ as an answer,” I continued being dubious.

“I was watching Arata pitching at the corner of the mound yesterday. Maybe they saw me? Idk. But your injury seemed serious. Sometimes, just so you know, pushing yourself too hard does not do you any good. Just saying, don’t take it personal. So, yesterday, I couldn’t watch you take the pain anymore, so I decided to take you to the nurse. Hope, you’re doing fine,” he uttered softly, instead of apologizing or saying stuff like ‘I’m glad you’re fine’ or ‘take care’.

“I admire you as a pitcher, you know. I didn’t expect both you and myself to be a part of the team. You’re amazing, the way you are,” he continued. His saturated personality and the practised adulation added some extra bonus points to my first impression of Takao.

“Such flattery, haha. Well, I couldn’t deny it. Thank you, ummm-”

“Takao,” he broke the flow of the conversion again. Surprisingly, the reason that I appeared in the nurse was not because of Arata or Ren. The truth added some heat to my energy.

“Umm, okay. Thank you, Takao,” I uttered as the butterflies in my stomach started flapping their wings. The adrenaline was flushed towards my whole body that painted my face in the tone of bright pink. I hurried to the school bus without turning back.

Coach’s deviant wave startled me. I thought I wasn’t invited here. The coach that I remember never waved to anyone and he always had that scowl on his face. The alternatives of his aberrant behavior today prognosticated a queasy premonition.

“GUYS WE GOTTA WIN THIS OR WE AINT GOING HOME!” Coach yelled with the loudest voice ever that damaged my eardrums.

“We are the CHAMPIONS!” The team cheered.

I took a snitch look at Arata and Ren. They were totally a part of the team. Contrastingly, I was sitting in the back of the bus, listening to both Yoasobi and the ongoing conversation that I was unable to participate in.

“We’re winning this,” Jack exclaimed as he placed his arm around my shoulders. At that straight second, I relocated myself in another seat as I brushed his arms off my shoulders.

“Awwww. Don’t be this cold, Mitsuki,” Jack teased. I gave him a grimacing scowl and put headphones on.

“Vee-or-de-qianmpyons-vee*-or-de-qianmpyons…” The chant turned into a repeating song and I was off beat tempo that failed to blend in.

Jack repeatedly tried building a conversation with me but he never succeeded. It was such a waste to ignore such an opportunity given to be in line with the team, but I wasn’t in the mood to do it. No, I was never in the mood to participate in a superficial conversation. I turned to face the window as I rested my mitt on my lap.

“Yo, talk about how sick that mitt is!” Jack giggled.

“Umm, yea,” I replied while shovelling the mitt in my bag, afraid that his dirty hands might land on my mitt.

“We gotta win this game!” Jack’s exclamation came out of nowhere.

“Yes! We will win!” I laughed, for the first time in a while.

“沈むように 溶けてゆくように。。。二人だけの空が広がる夜に。。。” Someone started playing Yoasobi’s 夜に駆ける. My eyes lit up once the beat made my emotions dance. The song melted the wall built between my teammates and I.

“Takao, what the heck? What’s that weird song?” Oliver snapped, looking a bit po-faced. How dare he affront ‘the’ Yoasobi? Before I started an argument, Tako interrupted me.

“Oliver, no. How dare you affront ‘the’ Yoasobi? The song is literally a masterpiece! You know how many awards this song won, huh? So shut the f,” Takao lashed out. I started to wonder if Takao could read minds. “沈むように 溶けてゆくように。。。染み付いた霧が晴れる。。。忘れてしまいたくて 閉じ込めた日々に” The tempo continued dancing.

“Oliver, just go with it, you’re being annoying,” Liam complained.

“Aight, Aight. I’ll shut my mouth,” Oliver ended the conversation.

I took a glimpse of what the other teammates were doing while humming the song. The song that Takao played, “夜に駆ける,” demonstrated the artists’ yearn to dance on someone’s grave, though, the beat was filled with life. Being sepulchered keeps someone away from their concerns and the deplorable community. was in love with the invigorating lyrics. The song itself wanted to continue breathing, though the lyrics were screaming about death. “「終わりにしたい」だなんてさ,” I sang along.

Takao stared at me with wide-open eyes. It seemed that he was astounded by my ugly singing voice, or perhaps, he didn’t want me singing along to his favourite masterpiece. He stood up from his seat and began walking towards me. I squeezed my golden mitt, praying for him to not knock me out. The superstition that my golden mitt was my lucky charm dominated me since the first day I received the mitt. Takao sauntered past Arata and Ren as he had his riveting eyes set on me. I was apprehensive about both Takao’s undetermined action and his iridescent eyes.

The golden mitt still served as my superstition. I was still holding on to it when Takao unexpectedly patted my head. When I decided to turn my back around to face him, he was already sitting beside me.

“Mitsuki, you’re a Yoasobi fan too?” He sought. The flames of euphoria in his eyes that were lit up by the song resembled mine.


“Why didn’t you tell me? You’re the only one that I know that listens to Yoasobi! I should have known sooner!” He squealed.

“Umm, well, I didn’t know that either. But, okay, umm, so, yea,” I was trying my best to keep up with him. It was such a rare phenomenon that someone actually shared my interest. It was always me, who had to conform to fit in. But, this time was different.

“You listen to Yuuri and King Gnu too?” Takao continued, trying to not kill the hardly built conversation.

“Yes! Yuuri’s Dry flower is one of my favs. But, I like Ado and Yoasobi more. Yoasobi’s always my number 1,” I muttered, appreciating his effort to not kill the conversation.

“I love Yoasobi too, just so you know. But, Ado, who’s that?”

I gently placed my golden mitt aside to pull out my phone hidden under it. I hit pause on my Spotify only to show him the lyrics of the song that I was listening to. “はぁ?うっせぇうっせぇうっせぇわ。。。くせぇ口塞げや限界です,” I pronounced.

Despite other members of the team displaying a strong condemnation of my weird music taste, Takao turned to me and smiled.

“Ta-ka-o, you wimpy cheater,” Jack snarled, looking at me.

“Yee. Takao, y ya doing this,” Oliver added.

I had not an iota of clue of what was going on. But, I was certain that the conversation between Takao and I had just died. Takao reached out to turn on the Yoasobi playing on his speaker.

Takao shook his head, “Mind your own business, Shoo!” Despite the dead conversation, Takao was still looking at me. I wanted to dig a hole and bury myself in it.

While I was planning on constructing a new plan to build a new conversation, Takao pulled out a side of my earphones and started listening to Ado with me.

“丸々と肉付いたその顔面にバツ。。。うっせぇうっせぇうっせぇわ。。。” The song continued playing.

“Such an intensive song huh? At least no one’s dying in this song, haha,” He joked. It was such a dark joke that it made me laugh.

“I mean, Ado’s songs are always intensive in another way. The うっせぇわ lyrics is stuck in my head right now, hahahahaha!” I laughed.

“It’s the first time seeing you laugh…”

“Is it?”

“When you smile, you look a thousand times prettier,” he added.

“What the heck are you talking about…” I whispered as I started playing with my hair. The adrenaline rushing through my face painted my chubby cheeks in a pinkish tone. My lips remained in their upturned position.

“Are there any songs that you want to listen to?” He asked politely.

“Hmm?” I need a repeat of the question since I wasn’t able to focus on anything he was saying.

“So I was asking if you have any song requests? Or nah.”

“Oh, not really,” I answered, with my head facing down. Unconsciously, I was trying my best to avoid making any unnecessary eye contact with him. Because whenever my eyes meet his, I could feel the butterflies attacking the muscles of my abdomen.

He set the song 夜に駆ける in loop before laying his head on my shoulder. The fragrance of his hair was rather relaxing and delightful. The odor of a little bit of lavender mixed with aroma calmed my thoughts. As the lyrics of 夜に駆けるwent viral, the song mimicked the effects of a lullaby and put me to some good rest. The consolation that I longed for was granted by Takao.

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