This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
“Tsurumi-san, can I have a minute?” Minako, her classmate stood next to her desk, back straight and chin upwards.
Tsurumi was not impressed by Minako’s tough, intimidating facade. Already, she predicted the topic of their conversation. Minako would never approached Tsuruko unless it concerned a certain someone.
Matsuyuki had gone home early that day. He had rushed out of their classroom after speaking briefly to Tsurumi. Minako was no fool. She had chosen this moment to confront Tsurumi directly precisely because her friend, aka Minako’s crush wasn’t here.
“What’s the point of asking my permission if you’ll ask anyway?” Tsurumi said, squaring her books on the table before putting them into her bag.
An angry look flashed through Minako’s eyes. She slammed her hand on Tsurumi’s desk. The cold girl didn’t flinch at the display, neither did her expression change.
“Good try, Tsurumi-san. But I know you’re just cocky because you act like you’re the only one who knows Matsuyuki-kun.”
“Why don’t you find out about him yourself then?”
They must have taken Tsurumi to be a fool, if they thought she hadn’t seen this far ahead. Of course it would be about Yukiatsu. Minako’s obsession with that idiot was almost admirable... not.
“I’d like you to take back what you said yesterday.” Minako said, eyes flashing.
“Don’t pretend, Tsurumi-san. You’ve been badmouthing Matsuyuki-kun. You called him a crossdresser! Now take it back!” Minako’s voice hitched up in anger. Beside her, her best friend was also nodding vigorously in support, sending Tsurumi an equally accusing gaze.
“Why should I?” She replied. “If you’re so convinced I was lying, why don’t you ask Matsuyuki yourself?”
“I want to hear it from YOU.” Minako hissed. But ignoring her display of anger, Tsurumi got up from her seat and calmly strode to the door. “Oi, Tsurumi-san! Don’t you dare walk away from this!”
At this, Tsurumi turned her head and gave them a blank, icy stare. “If you’re so insecure about such a trivial fact, maybe you should rethink exactly how strong your feelings for him really are.”
Before Minako could regain her speech, Tsurumi had already exited the room.
This was the fate of an outcast such as her. The only people she could call her friends are so far away.
Her mind wandered back to Minako and her obvious crush on Yukiatsu. Contrary to the girl's belief, Tsurumi did not view her as a rival. She had the oddest feeling of sympathy towards Minako, despite her hassling her over and over again. Weren’t they in the same situation? Chasing this one impossible thing, yet failing because of one obstacle they could never overcome. The only difference is that Minako couldn’t see any hurdle beyond Tsurumi herself, but the latter can.
As she walked past an accessories store, she noticed a familiar face. His eyebrows were all scrunched together in deep search for something.
She entered the store with small, purposeful steps. She didn’t want him to notice her presence until she was standing next to him.
“Found anything?” She asked sarcastically.
She could see him visibly jump when he was startled by her.
“Tsurumi! Why-why are you here?” He asked, bewildered.
“I just happened to walk past. Don’t worry, I wasn’t stalking.” She said, smirking lightlu.
He seemed to calm down a bit, but he still looked at her nervously.
“Do you need something?” He asked.
“I should be asking you. Looking something for your ‘girlfriend’ again, Yukiatsu? If so, I think that hair clip over there really suits you.”
He looked taken aback. “I wasn’t buying anything for myself.” He said defensively.
Tsurumi tilted her head. Her gaze was piercing Yukiatsu, making him nervous. Her countenance didn’t change, but she appeared to accept that he was telling the truth.
“I see. For Anaru then?”
“What? No!” He denied again. But Tsurumi could tell he was hiding something from her.
“But you’re sure it’s for a real girl?” She asked.
Yukiatsu seemed both happy and relieved that she seemed to trust him. Tsurumi’s ability to see through anyone could come in handy sometimes.
“She’s real, alright. Very, very real.” Yukiatsu’s gaze softened as he looked in her eyes. He looked incredibly gentle then, that Tsurumi knew immediately that this girl was someone Yukiatsu was very fond of.
And that could only be one person.
And that person couldn’t be her, no matter how she longed for it to be.
Tsurumi could feel her lips tighten, and her chest even more so. It hurts. He’s breaking her heart again.
Hadn’t she confessed to him a while ago, on that same night when their darkest secrets were thrown open for all to see? The same night before they said farewell to Menma? He knew of her feelings, and he was still willing to hurt her like this.
“I see. Good luck, then. I mean it when I said that hair clip would look suit Menma very much.”
Yukiatsu seemed shocked at her reply. She supposed it he never expected her to guess it so easily. She wasn’t trying to hint at his crossdressing habit. She knew he had abandoned it long ago when he accepted Menma’s death and learnt of her wish. But she’d remembered Meiko and her radiant smile that morning, the same morning after their confessions were sounded.
How could I compare to a smile like that?
Even now, after she’s gone, I still can’t compete. I can’t ever compete.
Tsurumi found it unbearable to stay next to Yukiatsu any longer. She spoke something to him very quickly and then exited the shop, not hearing how he called after her. Once outside, she ran straight towards the station and never looked back.
Tsurumi, it’s time for you to move on...
aeratheninja: Interestingly enough, this story touches on different psychological states and was very informing, on top of being a solid story. Although somewhat predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this; I could feel the fear and the frustration of the characters, and was happy when they were happy.Even ...
PurpleInkling: Hippocrite is spelt hypocrite.Also it is an awesome story! A good one after so long. I was hoping someone would write a good fanficiton playing off what Ron said at the station. You are doing a remarkable job. It would have been interesting if Albus had also ended up in Ravenclaw though that mig...
LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...
Toria Danielle: I must congratulate Erin Swan on completing such a beautiful work. The Rising Sun is well rounded and leaves nothing to be wanted. ALL of the characters and their development are beautifully written. The plot is extremely well thought out. Creating a whole different type of universe is difficult ...
Prasino45: Hi! I happen to see your updated chapter on FF.NET!It happened to be about you coming onto Inkitt with this story! I've been a fan for a while! I'm a scqualphie writer myself. I ship them HARD! Love this story! I'm gonna do a reread as you said you changed some things! Glad we both made the switc...
MavisMcQueen: "To Live Again" is a well crafted, highly engaging, heart vibrating tale surrounding our favorite Elven King. The author will keep you engrossed until the very end and by that time you will feel so strongly for Clara and the other characters that you will never want it to end...like ever. Thrandu...
Jade Jez: What a wonderful, immersive book from Eliott McKay. It starts with an air of mystery, introducing main character Michaela, the clumsy teenager. From there, it whisks you off your feet and dumps you into a beautifully written world where you can almost smell and hear everything happening. I go...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."