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Chapter 1

I have always been admiring him from afar. Whenever I pass by the hallway, I could always catch a glimpse of him lying under a tree outside and I can't help but look at him from the window. I stared and I stared and I stared. My heart kept beating like crazy.

I rested my hand on the window, as if trying to reach him. He was leaning his back on the trunk, sleeping soundly. The rays of the sun peeping through the leaves of the tree made the scene as if it were in a painting—so bright and so warm.

His chocolate-kissed hair danced with the wind, his eyelashes seemed to have glittered from the sun's rays, his perfectly shaped nose, his lips shut in a tight line—everything. My head tends to absorb every little detail about him. Whether it's his face or in the way he dresses or the way he walks, I can't help but remember all of it. Even though, I still can't seem to reach him. Even if this window is the only thing that prevents me from touching him, I don't think it makes any difference. I don't think it will. My feelings for him are so strong I don't think I can utter a single word when he's around.

Sighing, I close my eyes and rest my forehead on the window. Why'd I have to be so timid? Why'd I have to be such a coward? I could always greet him just like all the other girls yet I can't bring myself to. I'm afraid that if I'd speak to him, the feelings that I've been keeping in a bottle for two years might spill. That would be embarrassing.


Heh. I must really be crazy about him. I can even faintly hear his soft, gentle voice calling me from afar. Could this be my mind's way of comforting me?


Yes. It must be.

Sighing, I opened my eyes and decided to have one last look at him before going back to the classroom. Little did I know that what I saw would make my heart bang wildly, almost breaking out from my rib cage. On the other side of the wall—of the window, he was standing several centimeters away from me. Near enough for me to see his face up close and hear that soft, gentle voice he has. His hair was being gently blown by the wind.

"Akane?" he repeats, leaning closer. I felt my cheeks heating up that I immediately looked down and took a step backwards. I don't have any idea what I'm supposed to do. Why is he calling me? Why is he talking to me? Am I dreaming? Am I hallucinating?

Then I heard the window sliding open. The wind immediately burst in that I tucked my hair behind my ear as I raised my head. Cherry blossoms were making their way in and he was standing in the middle of all these, blocking the light from the sun. His green eyes looked like they were sparkling from here. Slowly, he leans his arms on the window sill and gives me one sweet smile—that smile that always knocks girls out. Well I just did, mentally.

"Do you want to come outside?" his gentle voice immediately flowed right into my ears that I felt my cheeks heating up again that I looked down, clipping my tightly closed fists closer to my chest. My heart is ringing in my ears and I'm afraid he might hear it. "Hey, I think I know why your parents named you 'Akane,' Akane."

Does he really have to repeat my name twice!? One more push, Minoru Naoki-senpai and my heart will really explode!

"Hehe." I looked at him when I heard him chuckle childishly and was breathless because of how innocent and bright his smile looked, "It's because of your cheeks. They glow red really fast like wham!" And he even demonstrated it by swinging his fist playfully, like a little kid.


His fist froze in mid-air as he looked at me with wide eyes. I just looked back at him, clueless of what I'm supposed to say. Seconds after, he broke the silence, "Y-You..."

I took a step back, preparing for what he's going to tell me. Judging from his wide-eyed expression (which made him look adorable), I bet he's going to tell me something really scary or whatever. Like, my chest hurts right now. I'm feeling nervous and excited and scared and everything.

"You just spoke..." he began, almost breathlessly. Then his face lit up as he smiled and leaned his hands on the window sill, leaning a bit towards me, "You just spoke to me! You answered me!"

Unable to absorb anymore of his attractiveness, I covered my mouth and then my shoes squeaked. That's right, I ran away. My face is burning. My chest feels tight. I feel really numb. I could still hear the beating of my heart. I could still hear his gentle voice. I could still see the smile he wore. I deeply regret that I ran away without saying anything but seriously, I can't take all of that anymore. My heart's not strong enough to tolerate his smile, his charm, his voice, his features—his everything. That was our first encounter. That was our first talk! I'm so happy right now that I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight!

Still, little did I know that our first encounter would be the start of everything. Yes, behind me, the hallway stretched narrowly and the narrower it got, the darker it became. And amidst the darkness, he was sitting on the windowsill. He was looking at me with impure eyes. A maliciously dark smile broke out from his lips and with his deep, icy voice he spoke, "Guess I couldn't catch her this time, either."

As that voice chimed in the dark corners of the hallway, the cherry blossoms swirled, and swirled, until it rested on the ground.

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