First of all, thank you for the patience!
Secondly, this chapter turned out longer than planned (two chapters' worth, I'd say), hence the delayed release. Apologies for that!
Thirdly - hope you'll enjoy this chapter and please let me know if you do?
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Minato smirked at the look on Aya’s face. “How exactly did you think I was going to make it up to you? Were you imagining something else?”
Aya’s face flared with color. “N-Not at all.” But because this was actually a big, fat lie, she was unable to meet her gaze and concentrated instead on digging into the omu-rice he had personally prepared in the library’s kitchen. The dish was how Minato meant to make it up to her and –
Her eyes went wide as saucers at her first taste.
Her gaze flew to him in shock. “It’s so good!” And because she couldn’t help it, she took another spoonful, and another, and another –
“Wow.” It was Minato who said it this time, his tone impressed. For someone so petite, Aya had finished that plate rather quickly.
Aya was horrified. “I…I…”
“Would you like another plate?” he asked politely.
“Umm.” Resist it, resist the temptation, remember you’re part of The Resistance…
Minato pushed his chair back. “I can get you one right now if you’d like…”
Her mouth started to water, and that was it, and she heard herself succumb to the evil wills of her stomach as she said in a small voice, “Okay.”
And that was how the rest of their lunch break went, with Aya forgetting how quickly time flew as she found herself using Minato’s delicious omu-rice to hide her nervousness. She could feel him watching her all the time, which then made her keep feeding herself – anything to avoid thinking about the still-surreal fact that she and Minato were going out now.
When she told Raven this in one of their free periods, her friend couldn’t stop laughing. “So basically, you gave yourself diarrhea just to avoid having to talk to your boyfriend.”
Aya covered her face in absolute mortification. “I just…it just…suddenly hit me, everything that’s happened---”
Flashes of memory blitzed past Aya’s mind.
Minato and her kissing at the rooftop garden, his large hands squeezing her ass…
Minato making her come in one of the shower stalls…
Raven’s jaw dropped open at Aya’s heightened color. “Don’t tell me---”
Aya started fanning herself. “Something’s seriously wrong with the school’s AC. It’s just gotten so…”
“Fucking hot?” Raven asked dryly.
But guilt was written all over Aya’s face, and Raven sat back in her seat, shaking her head in sheer disbelief. Unbelievable. That Wyndham guy sure moved fast, and although this made her worry a little for her endearingly naïve friend, one look at Aya’s adorably happy expression told Raven it was better to keep her worries to herself.
When classes ended for the day, Aya went straight to the library and planted herself next to the windows at the far back, which afforded her the best views of Minato playing soccer.
Karin, having just come out of the library office, smiled to herself when she saw Aya standing by the windows, a mesmerized look on her face. This girl who didn’t know how to keep a single thought to herself, she thought fondly, was exactly what her son needed.
After taking a quick snap of Aya, she moved forward and just before reaching the windows, she let out a small cry as if suddenly finding out something distressful. “Oh my.”
Aya started in surprise, and turning to the librarian, she saw the older woman gazing at her in dismay. “What is it, Ms. Grant?”
“You’re, umm, drooling.”
Oh my, indeed!
Aya went through her pockets in a panic, wanting to wipe any horrible evidence before Minato could –
She heard the librarian burst into laughter, and her fingers stilled.
Karin flashed the girl a peace sign when Aya looked up. “I was just kidding.”
“I couldn’t resist it. You were just too cute.”
“You weren’t like this before,” Aya grumbled.
“You weren’t dating my son before,” Karin retorted.
One second passed –
And then Aya let out the tiniest squeal of pure bliss. “Oh Ms. Grant, please don’t stop embarrassing stuff.” And yet her sparkling eyes were begging Karin to do the opposite. Say it again. Tell me more. Call me the future Mrs. Wnydham, please!
When Minato got to the library after soccer practice, it was to find his mother and girlfriend giggling with each other in one corner, and for one moment he simply stood still, watching them.
It was one of the most beautiful sights in his life.
Deciding it was best not to interrupt them for now, he silently laid his bag on the corner and took off his shirt to change. But just as he was about to reach for the new one he had in his bag, he noticed Karin swiping on her phone –
Karin and Aya visibly started in their seats.
“Oh, you’re here.” Karin’s was utterly casual.
Aya, however, was frozen.
Minato. Sweating. Half-naked.
The librarian turned back to Aya. “Now where were we…”
Knowing better than to try swiping the phone out of his mother’s hand, Minato did the next best thing by coming up behind Aya and covering her eyes with his hands. “Stop showing her that!”
“It’s just baby pictures,” the librarian protested.
“It’s child abuse,” he snapped.
“Oh, come on. You can’t tell me you don’t look cute.”
“You dressed me like a girl until I was two,” he growled in exasperation. “What the hell’s cute about that?”
“A lot,” she said with a sniff, “but right now I think you have something else to worry about…”
Seeing the pointed look she directed at Aya, Minato looked down, puzzled, and almost jumped back in shock when he saw Aya frozen like a statue. Taking his hands off her eyes, he crouched down, asking urgently, “What is it?”
But Aya refused to meet his gaze, and his worry grew. “What’s wrong?” He rose up, moving forward, and this seemed to make her panic, causing her to back away –
The chair toppled backwards, and Aya would have fallen if not for Minato snatching her to safety and pulling her close.
She slammed against his body that was all too hard, all too sweaty, all too EVERYTHING!
Minato felt Aya slowly grow heavier in his arms, and he looked down at her with genuine alarm. “What the fuck, Aya---”
“It’s because you’re too sexy,” she mumbled in shame-faced admission.
Seconds passed –
And then Karin burst into laughter, having seen the way her son struggled to keep his composure even as color stained his cheeks. Oh, you lovely boy. How reassuringly immature Minato acted wherever his girlfriend was concerned!
Aya only started breathing normally again when the librarian forced Minato to get to the private room at the back to change. When he returned, he looked gorgeous as ever, but it was also slightly saddening to see him all covered up in shirt and jeans.
Seeing the look on Aya’s face, Minato asked, “Want me to take my shirt off again?”
Aya let out a horrified gasp, but with her flaming cheeks all too easy to read, this only made mother and son chuckle. Guess it’s official, Aya thought glumly. Sadism was definitely a genetic thing with these two.
With Karin refusing to go out for dinner with them because “she didn’t want to play third wheel”, Aya once again found herself walking out of the library with just, well…
The thought nearly had her swooning, and she couldn’t help but steal a look at Minato, needing to assure herself that this was indeed real.
Minato raised a brow when he saw Aya peeking at him. “What is it?”
She hurriedly looked away, mumbling, “Nothing.” But actually, it was everything and she had a hard time not pinching herself. Why was it, the longer she was with Minato, the harder it was to believe that they were truly going out?
When Minato noticed Aya walking so stiffly next to him, he tried to make her relax by casually asking her how her day went.
“Just the usual,” Aya answered rather shyly. “I went straight to the library as soon as classes ended. I wanted to watch you---” Oops.
He grinned. “So you were watching me play?”
Gaze resolutely fixed on the path ahead, Aya gave him a small nod, all the while praying that Minato didn’t end up thinking she was such a stalker.
But then she heard him murmur in satisfaction, “Good.”
Aya’s head snapped back to Minato. “It is?”
He shot her an odd look. “Do you think I’d rather you watch another guy?”
Her mouth opened and closed. Didn’t that make it seem like he was…possessive of her?
With the school parking lot empty save for a few cars, Minato waited until he had helped Aya into the passenger seat before bending down to steal a quick, deep kiss, his tongue prying her lips open to have a sweeping taste of her mouth.
When Minato lifted his head, Aya was dazed, her eyes clouded with desire, and when she spoke, she could barely manage to be coherent as she stammered, “What if – s-someone – I t-thought – c-careful?”
Minato laughed. “Relax. There’s no one around.”
But he was wrong.
As Minato got behind the wheel and pulled Aya close for another kiss, neither of them noticed a girl watching them from the shadows, her eyes dark with hatred and envy.
And we're back again (in more ways than one)!
Firstly, I hope you enjoyed this newest chapter for Minato and Aya. :) As always, they're just too cute that it makes me all giggly and giddy whenever I write about them. I hope you guys feel the same way, too. :D
Secondly, ICYMI - I have a new book out. I was supposed to release Andreus: Part 2 but due to unforeseen circumstances (a.k.a. social anxiety, which has made it near impossible to write), I ended up putting that one aside temporarily and writing RAYYAN instead. And I actually finished it!
So if you haven't grabbed a copy yet, please do so! Just click here for an excerpt and all the download links. :)
Anyway, that's it on my end. See you on the next chapter!
Please click THIS LINK to read the chapter.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter - it's just my little way of saying THANK YOU for everyone's understanding and patience.
“I hope everything’s clear now, Aya.”
“Y-Yes, very much so, Ms. Grant.”
The older woman’s eyes twinkled. “Oh, please, call me Mom---”
“Karin!” A flush stained Minato’s handsome face.
“Since someone is stubbornly against doing so,” the librarian finished with a telltale look at her son.
“I’m being careful, not stubborn,” Minato growled.
“So you say,” the librarian huffed. “Anyway, I’ll leave you two alone, I’m sure you guys have much to talk about.”
Minato waited until Karin was well out of earshot before turning to Aya, and the first thing he noticed was the odd look on her face. “Aya?”
“She told me to call her Mom,” she whispered.
His lips twitched. So that was why she looked dumbstruck . “You can if you want to, you know.” As expected, the words had her blushing, and Minato then added with a straight face, “After all, we’ll eventually get to that point---”
Aya looked like she was literally about to melt now, and Minato realized he might have been teasing her too much. “I’m just kidding,” he said hastily.
“I, um, knew that.” She tried to laugh it off but only ended up sounding like a witch about to have a nervous breakdown, and her cheeks turned red. How un-cool can you get, Aya?!
Noticing how stiff and awkward Aya was beside him, Minato asked gently, “Will you come with me for a sec? There’s something I want to show you.”
Ten minutes later, and Aya couldn’t believe her eyes. How in the world did she and perhaps the entire student body not realize that the school had a rooftop garden next to the library?
Minato chuckled at the awestruck expression on Aya’s face when she turned his way. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
“It’s incredible,” she breathed. There was a white picnic table with matching chairs under an ornately designed arbor, and across it was a two-person cushioned swing underneath well-trimmed trees. There were also flowers all around – lots and lots of them, and in just about every color of the rainbow.
As Aya continued to gaze at her surroundings in silent pleasure, Minato walked towards her and stopped only when he was right behind Aya. The way she immediately tensed made him smirk, but it also made him want to do more. Normally, he had no patience with inexperienced women, but apparently Aya was different in that sense, too.
With this girl, the more nervous he was, the harder he got. He supposed it only meant one thing, and to test his theory –
Aya let out a squeak of surprise when Minato’s arms suddenly went around her from behind, and another squeak escaped her when he pulled her back against him – hard.
“I was right,” she heard him murmur, his voice underscored by audible satisfaction. “There’s something about you that brings out the sadist in me.”
Err – what?
Her whimper was the sexiest little sound, and Minato made sure to bend his head as he let out a low, husky chuckle. The sound caressed her ear as planned, and Aya let out another whimper.
“Are you disappointed?” Minato asked under his breath.
“About w-what you said?”
Aya couldn’t help blushing even as she slowly shook her head. It was such an embarrassing thing to admit, but after all the misunderstandings between them, just the thought of having to lie to Minato made her feel sick.
Aya almost jumped out of her skin. “Please stop whispering into my ear,” she half-wailed.
There was a long moment of silence –
And then Minato said simply, “No.” Even worse, he added insult to injury, with Minato punctuating his answer with a swift lick of her ear. It was just too much, and Aya’s knees completely gave out.
But of course Minato was able to catch her before she could fall. Oh dear God. How was she going to survive this guy? He was just too sexy! Everything he did made her feel hot, bothered, and breathless, and she didn’t even think of resisting as he spun her around to face him.
Jade-green eyes stared down at her, and she could literally feel herself drowning in his intense gaze.
Oh God, the way he was looking at her –
Her fingers curled involuntarily against his shirt, and her heart banged against her chest at the muscular hardness of his body.
She felt his hands tighten around her waist, and her breathing quickened. She saw his gaze move down, drawn to the rapid rise and fall of her chest, and Aya bit her lip. Oh no. It was happening again.
Minato’s jaw clenched as he watched her sweet breasts start to swell.
“Aya.” His voice was hoarse. There were still so many things they had to talk about, dammit. Karin might have explained the gist of their family situation to Aya earlier, but he needed to make sure that she completely understood what it meant – what she had to sacrifice – if she still wanted to date him. He also wanted to know what the fuck Wind meant to her because no way in hell was he going to share –
Minato noticed the way her nipples prickled against the thin fabric of her school blouse.
Talking was overrated. Right now, there was a better way for them to communicate.
Aya’s heart jumped to her throat at the sudden glint in Minato’s gaze. “M-Minato?”
Instead of responding, he simply cupped her face, and his head started to lower.
Oh. My. Gooooooooooooooosh.
His mouth crushed hers in a sweet, hard, no-holds-barred kiss, and it was exactly the way she wanted it.
Maybe she was just like him, Aya thought dazedly. If something about her brought out the sadist in him, then something about Minato brought out the masochist in her.
Her lips parted in surrender at the first thrust of his tongue, its movement bold and forceful, but also exquisitely possessive. It made his kiss all the more intoxicating, and sanity was completely forgotten as her toes curled and her body turned soft and pliant against his powerfully rigid form. All she could do was wind her arms around his neck and kiss him back, thinking that she never ever wanted this to end. It was just too good, so, so good, and oh –
His name slipped past her lips in a helpless little moan, and hearing the unconscious plea in her voice made Minato’s control snap.
“Aya, dammit.” His hands moved down, squeezing the plump cheeks of her bottom hard, and he bit back a groan when Aya pressed her body closer to his, so damn close he could feel her pussy throbbing as his own engorged cock pulse against its soft, swollen folds.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
They were moving too damn fast. If it were any other woman, he wouldn’t have minded getting from first kiss to first fuck in the first fifteen minutes, but not with her. Never with his Aya.
Aya was stunned and confused when Minato practically sprung away from her like he had just learned she was a carrier of some contagious disease. “M-Minato?” Her bemused gaze took in the way he was obviously still breathing hard and the equally unmistakable bulge behind his school pants.
So what was wrong?
“If I hadn’t stopped now, I wouldn’t have been able to stop at all.” He would’ve laughed at the look of shock on Aya’s face if he could, but right now he was still too busy looking for ways to keep his arousal in check. What was it about this girl that always made him act out of character? Before Aya, he had never experienced any trouble controlling himself sexually, but this girl only had to kiss him and he had the craziest urge to flip her skirt up so he could sink his cock into her pussy.
Aya’s throat felt tight as she watched Minato draw a hard deep breath. It just felt too surreal, seeing him actually struggle to control his desire for her, and the knowledge made her heart feel fit to burst.
Was this real? Was this truly happening?
Minato saw Aya start pinching herself, and the sight turned out to be exactly what he needed. The urge to laugh didn’t exactly make his hard-on disappear, but at least he was now reasonably certain he could manage to keep him from throwing her on the ground and have his way with her.
Aya jumped in surprise when a shadow fell over her, and she belatedly realized that Minato had already closed the distance between them. “You’re, umm, alright now?” she asked nervously.
“I still want to fuck you,” he said easily, “if that’s what you’re asking.”
A strangled gasp escaped her.
“But I won’t,” he assured her with a smirk.
She started to relax.
Her face went up in flames. “Minato!”
But Minato only shrugged. He didn’t see any reason why he should apologize since he hadn’t been lying anyway. If they had been somewhere private tonight, she wouldn’t have been able to leave his arms with her virginity intact.
When Minato and Aya returned to the library, Karin took one look at the young couple – Aya’s face was burning with color while her son’s hand on the small of Aya’s back was distinctively possessive – and a sly smile appeared on her face. She got to you, didn’t she?
Minato scowled. Mind your own business.
Karin coughed to cover her laughter. She loved her son, but she wasn’t blind to his imperfections. He might look like an angel on the outside, but she knew just as well as anyone he was more a demon than a saint. As much as it pained her to admit it, Karin knew that Minato was no green boy when it came to sex. They might never have talked about such things, but they didn’t really have to. She had seen him with other girls, and it was enough. Use ‘em and leave ‘em had been his attitude with all the other girls.
But with Aya…
Karin was determined to keep her mouth shut for as long as Aya was around, but she almost lost it when they made it to Aya’s place and she saw the look on her son’s face. In the few times she had seen him part ways with girls he dated, he had always been polite and well-mannered, but because she knew him well, she had been able to see past his façade and recognize his impatience and desire to get rid of them the quickest way possible.
Tonight, however, was the exact opposite. It was so obvious that Minato hated the very idea of letting her go, and just as obvious was how Aya appeared perfectly unaware of the torment she was subjecting Minato to.
Karin burst into laughter as soon as her son returned to the car. “My poor little boy.”
“Grow up, Karin.”
“I know it’s hard,” she said solemnly, “but there’s no need to cry.”
Don’t rise to the bait, Minato warned himself.
“Aww, it’s so cute that you want to pretend you’re not missing her already---”
“Will you please act like your age?” Minato’s tone might be exasperated, but the stain of color on his chiseled features completely gave him away, and Karin started laughing again.
Thank you, Aya, she thought with an inner sigh of contentment. Her son had it all wrong. It was him – not her – who had to remember to act like his age. It wasn’t right that he was so serious and cold, wasn’t right that he didn’t have time to laugh and enjoy life as a young man.
So many things that weren’t right with Minato’s life because of Karin and her ex-husband, but thankfully, a sweet, innocent girl like Aya might be the key to change all that.
Phew! Hot scene between Minato and Aya, right? And that's just the start.
You don’t want to let her get too close because you’re afraid she might not love you enough to fight for you.
The words kept repeating itself in Minato’s mind no matter how hard he tried to exorcise them from his memory, and by the time he headed back to school the next day, his mood had drastically deteriorated to the point that he was unable to hide behind his usual mask of politeness. Instead, Minato’s true nature came to the fore, and the combination of his impatience and acid tongue caused even his own teachers to alternately stammer and mumble at his presence.
Why the hell did Karin have to say that, anyway?
His mother meant the world to him, but he wished just this once she had kept her mouth shut instead.
All that talk about Aya was pointless.
It was as if everyone and their cousin had seen Aya and Wind on one of their dates during Thanksgiving break, and ever since classes resumed, it was all everyone could talk about. If he heard one more person talk about how Wind did this or that to Aya, honest to God, but Minato might just end up committing murder – whoever that unlucky person might be.
Karin lifted a brow when she saw her son. “Someone certainly woke up the wrong side of the bed,” she said dryly.
“Whose fault do you think that is?” he snapped.
Karin wasn’t at all insulted and she doubted she could feel so no matter how much she tried. Right now, she was just too stunned – and pleased – that Minato, for the first time ever, was acting his age and talking back to her.
She took a deep breath, intending to congratulate him for finally acting like a normal eighteen year old rather than holding himself back like a noble, selfless samurai of old, but just as she opened her mouth, her son beat her to speaking.
Karin pressed her lips together to prevent herself from smiling ruefully. Oh well. It was good while it lasted.
“I didn’t mean to snap at you,” Minato apologized tautly.
“You’ve obviously had a bad day,” she observed sympathetically.
He answered her with a shrug, which Karin wisely interpreted as a ‘yeah, I did, but I don’t want to talk about it’.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
Footsteps that suddenly halted by the doorway had both of them looking up.
It was Aya, pale-faced, clutching a pile of books.
“Aya!” The librarian was the first one to speak, her pretty face breaking into a smile of genuine welcome. “It’s been so long since I last saw you.”
Aya felt her heart starting to crack. The older woman obviously meant every word, and the only way she could feel like that was if she was a thousand percent secure of Minato’s feelings for her.
“Sorry I interrupted you guys.” She kept her gaze glued to the librarian, knowing that if she let her look at Minato, it would be the end of her.
“You did no such thing,” Karin protested.
And of course the other woman would say that, Aya thought.
“Mr. Landers told me he’d give me plus points on the next quiz if I dropped these off for him---” In the corner of her eye, she saw Minato start to walk towards her, and Aya’s heart skipped a beat. “So, umm, anyway…” Panic started to spiral out of control inside of her as she sensed him approaching, and she anxiously looked around, hoping for some nearby table or chair she could dump the books and be on her way –
“Let me help you with that.”
Minato’s deep voice struck her like lightning, and Aya almost lost her hold on the books as the sound made her literally jump back.
A moment later, the reality of her situation hit her, with Minato standing so close the scent of his aftershave once again teased her nostrils, and her body began to ache and burn at his presence. Another moment, and he was reaching for the books, his fingers accidentally brushing her skin –
As the books fell to the floor, Minato caught a glimpse of the horror on Aya’s face, and his lips tightened.
Did he disgust her now that she and Wind were going out?
When she started to turn away, his brain told him to let her go, but even so his hand was moving at the same time, his fingers wrapping around her wrist – and then he was forcing her to turn around as he demanded, “Why are you avoiding me?”
Aya kept her gaze to the floor. “Please let go of me.”
“Not until you answer my question.”
Aya couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “How can you even ask such a thing when she’s here?”
Minato was perplexed and frustrated. “What do you mean she?”
Her head shot up at the way he was pretending to be obtuse about everything. “You really want me to spell it out?” she asked shakily.
“Spell what out?”
“I’m talking about Ms. Grant,” she cried out.
Aya saw the way the librarian stiffened at Minato’s slip, and the crack in her heart grew larger. “My what, Minato?” She saw the older woman pale and even Minato looked thrown off, but she no longer cared. She was suddenly sick and tired of having to tiptoe around the tissue, and just this once she wanted everything out in the open.
“No,” Aya whispered. “We both know I didn’t.” And when she saw Minato stiffen, she said wearily, “There’s no need to lie. I know everything.”
Minato’s face turned impassive, and his voice was very much controlled when he asked, “What exactly are you saying, Aya?”
“I’ve almost known from the very start. It was…impossible not to notice, the relationship you and Ms. Grant---” She broke off at the older woman’s gasp. A moment later, the librarian had hurriedly left her counter to join them, a look of tremendous worry on her face.
“What do you mean it’s impossible not to notice, Aya?”
Because I love Minato, Aya thought sadly, and so it’s impossible not to see how much he loves you.
“Aya?” The librarian’s voice was anxious. “I just want to know how you could’ve possibly figured things out on your own.”
Aya started to shake her head, but Minato then said in a steely voice, “This isn’t a game. We need to know how you found out---”
It hurt to hear Minato speak of him and the librarian as part of a ‘we’, and so she hastily cut him off, saying, “I promise I won’t breathe a word to anyone.”
“That’s not enough,” Minato said coldly.
“Please, Aya,” the librarian said quietly. “This is so important to me and my son.”
“I know. And I---”
What was that Ms. Grant had just said?
Had she just referred to Minato as her…son?
“What is it?” Minato asked sharply.
Aya seemed to start hyperventilating, and alarmed at her increasingly deathlike pallor, Minato took hold of her shoulders to give her a swift, hard shake. “Breathe, Aya.”
Instinctively reacting to the commanding note of Minato’s voice, Aya’s breath whooshed out of her, and color started to return to her cheeks.
And she blurted out, “I thought you were lovers!”
At this point in Aya and Minato's story, I wonder if you're asking the same question I asked myself when I first started writing It Started With A Secret.
“You, umm, got a crumb there.” Aya pointed to the corner of Wind’s lip.
It was the second to the last day of their Thanksgiving break, and she and Wind were out on their third date. They had watched a movie earlier – aka another way for Wind to torture her – and now, they were having dinner at an Italian restaurant that was so fancy it made pasta sound utterly complicated.
Wind’s fingers touched the spot Aya had pointed at. “Here?”
“Umm, yeah, but just a little to the left…no, a little…”
“How about you do it for me instead, like a sweet, loving girlfriend would?”
Aya tentatively reached across the table to brush the offending crumb off him.
Once again, Wind had managed to take her completely by surprise, this time by capturing her wrist with a firm grip while he took a quick bite of her fingers. It didn’t hurt at all, and it happened so fast that by the time she realized what he had just done, Aya’s fingers were free of his lips and only her wrist remained captive in his hold.
“Y-you---” Shock made her incoherent, and in the end all Aya could do was glare at him as she tried to yank her hand out of his hold. But, as it had been in all their dates, Wind still managed to get his way by pressing a quick kiss to her knuckles before finally letting go.
Their first “date”, he had bent down to kiss her on the cheek, but with his lips so dangerously close to the corner of her lips it had almost given her a heart attack. Their second date, he had gifted her with a cute necklace and insisted that he be the one to put it on her. He had asked her to lift her hair up, and as soon as she had, Aya had ended up almost breaking her neck when Wind took the chance to slowly run his fingers down her nape.
And now this!
Aya could only shake her head at Wind, torn between dismay and exasperation. “Is this really how boyfriends are?”
Wind’s broad shoulders moved in a negligent shrug. “It’s the only kind I know how to be.”
“You make me feel more like a toy than a girlfriend,” she protested.
Wind raised a brow. “Funny you should say that, since a toy is exactly how I think a girlfriend should be.”
Her mouth opened and closed, but in the end, she said finally, “I think I’m starting to worry about the kind of visual novel I’ll end up designing.”
Wind threw his head back with a laugh. While he was not in love or even sexually attracted to Aya in any way, he almost wish he was, if only for the fact that she was the only girl he knew who could make him laugh so damn effortlessly.
He could always try seducing her, and he knew exactly which buttons he would need to push to get her to fall for him. Even though she had never said a word about it, Wind knew Aya had a thing for Minato Wyndham – just as he knew that the other guy had turned her down. That kind of heartbreak turned innocent girls like Aya into lambs for the slaughter – and it used to be, Wind wouldn’t have had any second thoughts about devouring her like the wolf he was.
But with Aya, he found himself having a conscience – and damn if he knew why that was so.
On their way out of the restaurant, Wind brought up the topic of their “scheduled” breakup, and when he saw how Aya start to fidget, visibly uneasy at the thought of having to dump him even though it was all pretend, Wind could only shake his head at how soft-hearted she was.
“You know you’ll always end up hurt if you’re too nice, right?”
Aya frowned. “Are you saying I should be less nice to be happy?”
“You know what I mean.” Wind’s tone was impatient.
“Actually, I---” Aya suddenly stopped speaking, her face turning pale.
He pulled his gaze away from her to follow her line of sight, and that was when he saw Minato together with an older woman. Wind’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. What the hell? That was the librarian, wasn’t it? The school librarian was Aya’s rival?
Aya fought to keep herself from crying. Did she really need anymore proof than this, she wondered almost hysterically. Even though he had already turned her down, a part of her had kept on foolishly hoping that he had done so for different reasons – any reason except this, which was the truth.
For one painful moment, she allowed herself to gaze at him, and her heart ached at the cold, hardened expression on Minato’s gorgeous face. It was almost as if he hated her, Aya thought numbly. What in the world had she done to make him hate her?
Wind’s arm suddenly went around her shoulders, and his sudden touch gave her the strength to finally look away from Minato. But when her gaze accidentally clashed with the librarian’s and she saw that the older woman was about to speak –
Terrified that she would end up bursting into tears if she heard the librarian speak a single word, she mustered a smile and a nod, and then she quickly looked up at Wind, saying in desperate cheer, “Let’s go?”
“Sure, babe.” The words made Minato flinch, but only Wind saw this, and more interestingly, he noticed how the older woman’s gaze was filled with concern as she looked at Aya.
When they were inside his car, Wind asked levelly, “You okay?”
Aya smiled brightly. “Of course.”
After a moment, he said slowly, “If you want me to make it clear to him that there’s nothing going on---” He stopped speaking at the vehement way Aya started shaking her head.
“It’s not like that between us, and if it’s okay with you, I’d rather not speak about it.” Because if she did, Aya thought painfully, then she might start crying. And never be able to stop.
Classes resumed Monday the following week, and Minato once again headed straight to the library as soon as the school bell rang for the last time. The library felt empty without Aya in it, but he ruthlessly shoved the thought to the back of his mind. The library had always been his place and Karin’s. So why the fuck should Aya’s absence have any kind of impact on how he felt about the place?
“I have a message for you,” Karin said as soon as he came up to the counter.
“A message?”“Aya dropped by at lunch.”
“She asked me to thank you for helping her with her lessons, but that it’s no longer necessary to continue since she and her friends have decided to form a study group.”
Minato only nodded at this, but Karin wasn’t fooled at all.
“You’re hurting yourself unnecessarily with this, Minato. And more importantly, you’re being unfair to that lovely girl---”
“I’m doing this for her,” Minato interrupted in a low, furious hiss, “and you know it.”
“I do know that, which is why I’ve been telling you from the start it’s unnecessary.” She saw Minato struggle with his emotions in silence, and Karin’s heart ached for him. “Do you know, you’re doing exactly what your father did back when we first started dating – and look where we are now.”
Minato was stunned at what he was hearing. When Karin had made it clear she didn’t want any mention of his father – who was also her ex-husband – he had respected this, and yet now…
“We were so unbelievably in love, but in the end, he sent me away because he thought it was the right thing to do. He never gave me---” Karin had to stop speaking as bitterness threatened to make her choke, and she had to take a deep breath before she could speak again. “He never gave me the chance to fight for us. No matter how much I begged him to believe I could face any kind of hardship your grandmother would put in our way – he never believed me, and I…I can never forgive him for it.” And she meant every word. She could never forgive Minato’s dad, just as she could never stop loving him.
Her eyes stinging with unshed tears, she looked at her son, this beautiful young boy whom she had been forced to give up because of one woman’s narrow view of the world. No doubt he had been raised to hate her, and yet somehow he had still ended up loving her just as if he had grown up with a mother’s love.
Minato was perfect, Karin thought with a motherly rush of tenderness, and as he was the very best son any mom could ever hope for…
What kind of mother would she be if she were to allow him to repeat his father’s mistakes?
“I don’t think you’re pushing Aya away because you want to protect her, Minato. I think it’s the other way around, and you’re pushing her away to protect yourself. You don’t want to let her get too close because you’re afraid she might not love you enough to fight for you.”
Hi everyone. Sorry for being so quiet the past few weeks. The truth is, I've been struggling again. In my world, with the way I was raised (as someone who's Filipino-Chinese), things like 'anxiety' don't exist, and so it's taken me this long to finally start accepting that it's what's been holding me back and keeping me from writing and working.
When her test day finally came, Aya felt she was prepared enough for it. She was nervous, yes, but she also felt a certain sense of confidence that she had never in her life felt when it came to taking any science test.
After reciting her prayer in her mind, she took her pen, turned her exam sheet to the first page, and almost gasped. Oh my gosh! Her gaze ran the length of the page, and her jaw dropped. She and Minato had tackled all of these questions in their review session!
She wrote her answers down as quickly as she could, fearing she’d end up forgetting something if she let too much time pass by.
“How was it?” Raven whispered as soon as their test papers were passed to the front.
Aya flashed her a thumb’s up sign with a grin, and Raven almost laughed. Her friend usually came out a zombie after any science test, so this was definitely good news.
The tests for the rest of the week were more or less okay for Aya. If there was one thing she ended up worrying about, then it was how she had begun to suffer withdrawal symptoms for not being able to meet with Minato for so many days. As it was already periodical week, Minato believed it was best she concentrated on reviewing for her other subjects, and she had agreed, not realizing just how much she would end up missing him.
And she did, badly, which was why come Friday, she found herself slowly making her way to the library, Raven’s words echoing in her head.
Just get it over with.
Just get it over with.
Just get it over with.
Aya hovered in the doorway when she reached the library. As she both expected and feared, Minato was indeed at the library, talking to Ms. Grant. The air of intimacy between them was unmistakable, and the sight was achingly bittersweet.
His blazer was on the counter while his shirt was rolled up to his sleeves, revealing the lean, hard muscles of his arms. He had also loosened his tie, and somehow, this made him a hundred times sexier.
Minato was so beautiful, she thought helplessly.
So, so beautiful…and he wasn’t hers.
“Aya!” It was the librarian who noticed her first, and her heart suffered another pang of ache at seeing the two swiftly distance themselves from each other.
“I was hoping to s-speak with Minato,” she stammered, and when said person raised a brow at her, she could feel herself turning red as she mumbled, “In private.”
Ms. Grant’s gaze turned curious, but there was nothing in her manner that hinted of jealousy as she excused herself and went inside the staff room behind the counter.
She nearly jumped at the sound of Minato’s deep voice, she was just so nervous, and her heart beating so loud that it completely drowned the sound of her thoughts.
Minato frowned. “Is something wrong?” When she only shook her head, he gazed at her in contemplative silence for a few seconds before saying quietly, “How about we go to our usual table?”
Aya could only manage a nod. Oh gosh, oh gosh, was she really going to do this?
They started to walk, Minato matching his pace with hers, both of them silent. Oh gosh, oh gosh, what if this turned out to be the biggest mistake of her life?
Half of her wanted to run while other half wanted to do exactly what Raven advised and just get it over with. And when she saw Minato move ahead of her to pull a chair out for her, she found herself doing…the latter.
He turned to face her. “Yeah?”
Her gaze falling to her feet, she asked in a rush, “W-Would you go out with me?” She didn’t let herself think it over, knowing that her fear would get the best of her if she did.
And so now all she had to do was…wait.
“What about Wind?”
Her head snapped up. “W-Wind?” Aya was genuinely bewildered.
Minato had an indecipherable look on his face. “Aren’t you going out with him?”
Oh! He had heard the rumors, too?!
“It’s not what you think,” Aya protested feelingly.
“It’s not.” She quickly told him the truth about her arrangement with Wind, all the while watching his gorgeous face, and Aya couldn’t help feeling just a little bit hopeful when she saw the way his blue eyes glinted. That meant…he had been jealous of Wind. Didn’t it?
When she was done explaining, she couldn’t help but steal a look at Minato one more time, hoping against hope that she would find what she was looking for –
But she did not.
Instead, all Aya saw was…remorse.
She flinched at the sound of his voice, and Minato’s lips tightened.
She took a painful step back, and Minato’s jaw clenched hard.
“I’m sorry,” he grated out. “If I could---”
Tears stung her eyes, and she cut him off in a tremulous voice, “It’s okay.” And then she turned away, not caring if she was being rude. All she cared for at that moment was for Minato never to see her tears –
Aya heard Minato swear behind her, and her eyes stung even more painfully. She had never heard him swear in any way before, and that she did so now…
She didn’t even know what to think of it.
Did he find her a bother?
Was that it?
It took everything of her not to run away, but the moment she got inside the ladies, she locked herself inside one of the stalls, and burst into silent tears.
She had gotten it over with, alright…and now it was definitely over between them.
And that's it for this week. We'll be taking a quick break from this as I wrap things up with Andreus: Part 2, and then we'll go back to regular programming for ISWAS.
Wind: Have you finished planning for our dates yet?
Oh, drat. Aya quickly put her phone down. “Sorry,” she quickly apologized to Minato. It was weird, but she couldn't help feeling guilty at having to text Wind while Minato was tutoring her. It wasn’t like she was being unfaithful to either guy.
“I think we need one more reference book,” Minato murmured. “Could you go and ask my – could you ask the librarian if they’ve a new one for physics?”
“Sure.” Aya tried not to let her sadness show at Minato’s slip of the tongue.
As Aya walked away, Minato glanced at her phone, and his face darkened when the unlocked screen showed the exchange of texts between Aya and Wind.
Aya returned to their table. “Here you go.” The book was immensely thick, and she couldn’t help eyeing it warily. “Please don’t say you want me to read all that?”
“Just half of it.”
Minato’s lips twitched at the look of genuine horror on Aya’s face. The other guy was right, he thought. Aya was cute.
And if he didn’t do something about it, then Karin was probably right, too. It was only a matter of time before someone took her away from him.
Aya tried to keep her fascination under control as she watched Minato begin flipping the pages. He made everything look so elegant, and even just his side profile was enough to take her breath away.
He smelled amazingly good, too, always, and Aya blushed unceremoniously at the thought.
Minato, seeing the color that blossomed in Aya’s soft cheeks, thought it had something to do with Wind, and his jaw clenched. “So…” His tone was deceptively pleasant. “Anything new happened lately?”
Aya could feel herself paling even though she knew she had nothing to feel guilty about. “Not much.”
“I haven’t seen Luc around lately.”
She relaxed just a bit. If this were just about Luc, then she would have no problem answering Minato’s questions. “He’s in the same study group with Raven.”
“Are Luc and Raven the only ones you usually hang out with?”
“Umm, most of the time.” Aya hurriedly changed the subject. “What do you think about my answer here?”
Minato ignored it completely, asking, “What about the other times? Is there anyone else you go out with?”
Aya tried not to fidget in her seat. Why was he so interested? Had the stories about her and Wind reached him, too, and he was worried that the time he spent with her might cause a misunderstanding?
“It’s nothing serious,” Aya finally said in a mumble.
Minato leaned back. “So there is someone else.” His tone was perfectly controlled.
“It’s not like that,” she protested.
“Who is it? Maybe I know him.”
Aya mumbled her answer.
“Sorry, what was that?”
She reluctantly raised her voice as she repeated her answer. “It’s, umm, Wind.”
Minato cocked his head to the side. “Wind?”
Aya found herself babbling as she told Minato about her connection to Wind. She told him everything except for the fact that she and Wind were “dating” for the sake of her project. That would just make her a total loser, and she was already pathetic enough as she was.
There were no more questions after that, which was a relief although she did find it curious that Minato’s blue eyes had a tendency to turn frosty every time she mentioned Wind’s name. She remembered him being like this with Luc, too. Maybe it was a guy thing? More specifically, maybe it was a “handsome guy thing”, and beautiful people simply didn’t warm up to each other right away?
Wind joined Aya and her friends at lunch the next day, and Aya couldn’t help cringing at the horribly sly looks that went their way.
“Just ignore them,” Wind advised calmly.
“That’s easy for you to say,” she mumbled. “You’re probably used to getting stared at, but I’m not.”
Raven’s mouth opened and closed. Actually…a lot of boys in school liked Aya, and her friend got stared at all the time. Aya was just too dense to realize it.
A shadow suddenly fell over them, and Aya glanced up curiously –
Aya jerked at seeing Minato standing right in front of her, and in the corner of her eye she could see that she wasn’t the only one grappling with shock. Practically the whole cafeteria had gone silent, and they were all staring at Minato and Aya like they couldn’t believe their eyes. What in the world was someone like Minato doing with someone like Aya?
Seeing that Aya was too shell-shocked for words, Raven quickly intervened, saying cheerfully, “Hi.” Luc nodded in greeting while Wind’s face turned expressionless.
What was he doing here? The question echoed endlessly in her mind, and she grew even more troubled when she realized that Wind and Minato hadn’t been officially introduced to each other yet.
Should I introduce him then, Aya wondered worriedly.
But what if Wind didn’t want to be introduced? What if Minato didn’t care to know Wind?
The silence at the table became increasingly awkward, but Aya, too busy worrying herself to a panic, didn’t notice this at all until Raven kicked her under the table.
Oh my gosh!
Face flaming, she blurted out the first thing that came to her mind. “Do you, umm, need anything?”
“Not particularly. Should I need a reason just to come over to say hi?”
Aya knew Minato could only be joking, but even so she still felt horrified that there was the slightest chance she had offended him. “I…I…” But it was too late for her to apologize.
“See you around.” And then Minato was walking away.
“I have a feeling I pissed him off somehow,” Wind commented as soon as Minato was safely out of earshot.
Aya shook her head quickly. “I’m sure that’s not the case.” She meant every word. Minato did seem slightly irritated, and if he were, she was glumly aware that it could only be her fault.
Aya spent the rest of the day feeling restless and impatient in her seat, and as soon as the dismissal bell rang, she bolted out of the classroom and rushed straight to the library. Minato was already at their usual table when she arrived rather breathlessly, and as soon as their gazes met, she blurted out, “I’m sorry.”
“I’m the one who should be sorry,” Minato said mildly. “I seemed to have made everyone awkward---”
“No, you didn’t!”
“In any case, it’s all water under the bridge now. Don’t give it another thought, okay?”
Minato’s voice was wonderfully gentle. Normally, this would make her toes curl but at that moment, it just made her want to cry.
Something was wrong, Aya thought anxiously.
And so there was.
Throughout their tutoring session, Minato was friendly but polite – he didn’t tease her the way he often did, and there was absolutely no warmth in his eyes. Usually, he remained in the table while Aya worked on answering his review questions but this time he left her to her own devices and headed off to chat with the librarian.
Seeing them together hurt, and the sound of their shared laughter cut her to the quick.
The pair appeared oblivious as she walked towards them, with their heads bent close and their voices barely audible.
Aya cleared her throat and the two broke apart, with the librarian looking like she had just been caught doing something illicit. The might made her tummy hurt, and Aya’s cheeks felt like they were about to crack under the strain as she forced herself to smile, saying, “I’m, umm, done.”
“Give me a minute,” Minato said pleasantly, “then I’ll be right with you.”
A minute to what, Aya wondered. Finish flirting with Ms. Grant?
But out loud, the only thing she said was ‘sure’.
Aya tried her best not to let her misery show as Minato reclaimed his place next to her and they started going over her answers. When her iPhone started buzzing midway in Minato’s explanation, Minato reached for it before she could, saying lightly, “No distractions for now.”
“But what if it’s an emergency?”
Minato glanced at the screen of her phone. “It’s from Wind. Is that an emergency?”
She shook her head mutely.
“Then you can read it later, when we’re done.”
Her phone buzzed again ten minutes later.
“It’s still from Wind,” Minato said briefly.
Their tutoring session ended half past seven, and Aya’s tummy hurting for an entirely different reason. Studying Physics always made her hungry.
“You guys go out and eat,” Karin urged, and turning to Minato, she said, “I’ll just see you later.”
Pain squeezed Aya’s heart at the blatant proof of the pair’s closeness to each other. “It’s okay. I can just eat at home.”
In the past, Minato would typically argue against this, but this time he only said, “I’ll just drive you home then,” and the pain in Aya’s heart worsened.
Later, Aya could barely look at Minato as she thanked him for driving her home, and she burst into tears as soon as she made it to her room. Raven called her an hour later, and with Aya still crying, it took a bit of time before Raven was able to piece everything together.
"Why not just risk telling him how you feel?" Raven urged. "If it doesn't work out then it doesn't and you can let Wind comfort you.”
“It’s not like that between Wind and me,” she said listlessly.
It actually was, Raven thought, but Aya was once again simply being dense about it. “Just get it over with, Aya. You’ll never be able to move on until you’re a hundred percent certain Minato doesn’t like you back.”
“I already know he doesn’t.”
“Then like I said – just get it over with. There’s nothing as cathartic as hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth.”
“I don’t know if I can ever…” Aya bit her lip. “You know how shy I am!”
“Then you’ll be waiting forever for nothing,” Raven countered ruthlessly.
I can NEVER get enough of Minato acting jealous and possessive. I can probably write dozens of chapters of just him going out of his mind with it, and I still won't find it boring.
Aya excused herself from having lunch with her friends to head up to Computer Lab 4, which was exclusively reserved for the use of the Game Design and Development Club. The room was already crowded when she arrived, with applicants like herself waiting for results to show up. As applications had been done entirely online, it was the first time for everyone to see each other, and Aya was surprised to find applicants evenly divided between girls and boys.
“Hi,” she said with a friendly smile to the girls standing next to her. “What position are you applying for?”
“Very funny,” one of the girls said with a laugh.
Huh? But before she could ask what that meant, a loud ringing bell sounded out from the speakers, and the huge screen mounted on the wall suddenly switched on. The first thing they saw was a bright white screen, and then the words ‘PR TEAM’ suddenly showed up.
All of the girls – including those next to Aya – squealed and rushed forward, and the last thing Aya saw was a list of names slowly rolling up on the screen.
“Thank you to everyone who applied for a position in our club’s PR team. If your name shows up on the screen, then it means you’ve passed our screening.”
Out of the thirty or so girls that had been around earlier, only five remained, with the rest leaving with dejected expressions on their faces. Those staying behind chatted among themselves loudly, with the club president’s name continually popping up in their conversation.
One of the boys noticed Aya’s visible confusion, and he gave her a sympathetic smile. “You’ve no idea, do you?” He gave a discreet nod in the girls’ direction. “The only ‘easy’ position in the club is PR, so that’s what all the girls go after. It’s the quickest way for them to get close to Wind.”
And that was it? She knew Wind by name and by face because he was in the same year she was. He was tall, blond, and good-looking, and he was almost as popular as Minato. She supposed he was a nice guy overall, but…wasn’t it such a waste that those girls applied for the club just to be close to the president?
The boy chuckled at the look of horror on Aya’s face. “I take it you’re not a fan of Wind?”
The door to the officers’ lounge suddenly opened before Aya could answer, and the club’s vice president stuck his head out of the doorway. “Is there a fourth-year named Aya among you?”
And then Aya slowly, reluctantly raised her hand.
“Wind wants to talk to you.”
Aya cringed as the announcement had the other girls throwing dirty looks her way, and the boy next to her chuckled. “Good luck, onee-san.”
Stepping inside the officers’ lounge, she saw that there was another room inside it, with a silver plate on top of its door. President’s Office, she read with a gulp. Oh no. This suddenly felt so serious. Was she in trouble?
The vice-president gave Aya an odd look. “Go on. He’s waiting for you inside.”
Wind rose to his feet as soon as Aya entered his office and went to meet her halfway. “Aya Thornton?”
His voice was deep and clear, and he sounded very businesslike that she couldn’t help but straighten her back as she answered respectfully, “Yes, sir.”
The club president’s lips twitched. “We’re the same age,” he reminded her, “so you can just call me Wind.”
With his tone turning approachable, Aya found herself relaxing just a bit, and she even managed a sheepish smile for him. “Sorry, I’m just nervous.”
Easier said than done, she thought. He had her called in to his office. How could that not make her nervous?
“I read your application,” Wind told her casually.
Aya tried not to fidget.
“You applied for visual novel games.”
“You’re aware that this club doesn’t actually have an opening for that position?”
“Actually, the club has never had any activity related to visual novel games before – and I think you know that. Don’t you?”
Busted. Aya gave Wind a weak smile. “I just thought it wouldn’t hurt to try.”
A smile briefly crossed Wind’s lips. “Your risk paid off.”
Oh thank God!
“The other officers and I have talked about it, and we’ve decided that we can take you in as a member but only on a probationary basis---”
“That’s okay,” Aya said eagerly.
“And it will be dependent on several conditions.”
“I’ll do anything,” she blubbered.
Wind’s eyes gleamed. “I’m glad to hear that – since I’m not letting you take it back.”
Aya’s mouth opened and closed. Was it just her or did that sound distinctly like a threat?
“Firstly, you cannot speak to anyone about this. If others were to know, they might ask the club to take them on probation, too, and we’d rather not deal with that kind of hassle.”
“I won’t breathe a word, I promise.”
“Secondly…” Wind named an amount that had Aya’s eyes widening. “We’re willing to invest that much in the game you’re proposing to develop, but we expect a daily accounting for all your expenses.”
“Of course.” Aya’s voice was just a tiny bit breathless. This felt so surreal. If there were anything she loved in this world as much as she loved Minato, then it would be her beloved visual novel games. Making one of her own was her greatest dream – and now it was about to come true thanks to the club!
“Thirdly – have you ever had a boyfriend?”
“Of course---” Aya stopped speaking. Wait a minute. Had she really heard Wind right? “Umm, w-what was that again?”
“A boyfriend,” Wind repeated patiently. “Have you ever had a boyfriend?”
She slowly shook her head.
Wind frowned. “Well, that’s a problem.”
It was? Aya cleared her throat. “Are you, umm, saying I can’t be a member if I don’t have a boyfriend?”
Wind gave her an odd look. “Of course not.”
Oh. Okay. Then what was this about?
“But you do understand how this impacts your game, don’t you?”
Aya shook her head again.
“The title of your game is High School Love,” Wind reminded her dryly. “Don’t you think you’d be able to make the game more realistic if you had a boyfriend? Or any dating experience?”
So that’s what this was about.
“I don’t think---”
“That’s okay,” Wind interrupted her.
“I think I’ve found a solution to your problem.”
But wait…what was her problem in the first place?
“I’m so lost,” Aya blurted out.
“You and I will date for a week,” Wind told her.
“It should give you enough real-life experience to draw from, and after a week, you’ll pretend to dump me, and that way your reputation in school is saved.” Before Aya could recover from shock, Wind walked to the door and opened it, saying, “Listen up, everyone. Aya’s my girl now---”
The announcement had almost everyone gasping, Aya included.
“So ount me out if the club has any scheduled events during Thanksgiving break.”
Aya almost crumpled to the floor. OH MY GOSH!
Since it was so rare for Wind to show interest in a girl, the news of Wind and Aya’s Thanksgiving plans spread faster than a computer virus throughout the school. Certainly, it reached Karin, too, which was why she wasn’t at all surprised when Minato came to the library looking like he was raring for a fistfight.
“Why don’t you just ask her out yourself?” she asked, exasperated.
“Because I don’t have a right to,” Minato said bitterly. “My life’s a mess. You know that. And it’s only going to get worse when they find out I’m in contact with you.”
Karin’s heart broke for the young man. It wasn’t right that he was being so mature about this. “You don’t have to worry about me or anyone else. It’s your life, do what you want – and quickly, too, before someone snatches her away from you.”
Oh dear. This looks like the start of a reverse harem for Aya, which means Minato has A LOT to worry and be jealous about! (And isn't that fun? :D)
“And that’s it?” Raven exclaimed under her breath the next day as they rushed down the stairs. “Nothing happened? As in nothing?”
The look of disbelief on her friend’s lovely face was comical, and Aya couldn’t help giggling despite her own frustrations. “To be honest,” she confided in a whisper, “I’m not even sure if I feel disappointed or relieved.” The one thing she was very sure, however, was that she had dreamt about Minato last night. She couldn’t remember what that dream was, but it had to be about him since had woken up embarrassingly wet.
“Aya? Are you alright?” Raven was slightly perplexed at the sudden flush covering her friend’s face.
“Umm, y-yup.” She had a hard time meeting Raven’s gaze. It was so hard for her to lie, but no way was she going to tell her friends about her wet dreams.
“I don’t believe you. You look worried, and I don’t blame you. The damn guy’s---”
Luc frowned. “Language.”
Raven made a face. “Sorry. It’s just that you-know-who seems so good at sending out mixed signals, and I’m not used to not being able to figure things out.”
“Maybe there’s nothing to figure out. Maybe---”
“I mean, it’s obvious he likes you---”
Aya forgot all about having nothing to figure out. “Really?”
“I’ve asked around – discreetly, of course – and there hasn’t been any other girl he’s spent as much time with as he has with you.”
Luc noticed the way Aya’s eyes started shining. Maybe he should caution Raven against getting their friend’s hopes up?
“Then again, they don’t know about the librarian, do they?”
Luc winced at the sight of Aya visibly drooping like a wilted flower.
“He’s known the librarian much longer. That much is obvious. And as you said, they live in the same building.” Raven, oblivious to the way her every word trampled Aya’s heart, continued airing her musings out loud. “So another possibility is that he’s only fond of you because Ms. Grant is fond of you. Maybe he even thinks of you as a baby sister---”
And that was the killing blow, Luc thought as Aya’s face lost all color. When he saw Raven about to say something else, he swiftly intervened before a cardiac murder could be committed before his eyes. “Raven?”
He nodded at their traumatized friend’s direction. “You’re killing her.”
Raven nearly let out a shriek when she saw the look on Aya’s face. Too late, she realized how tactless she had been, and she said in a rush, “Please don’t mind me. You know how I like to think things over and entertain a thousand what-ifs. That’s all it is. But after thinking things through, I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t think he sees you as his sister at all---”
“Really,” Raven said feelingly.
Luc mentally shook his head. Raven normally despised dishonesty in every form, but when it came to Aya, she could probably lie to the Pope’s face without even blinking.
“I think he’s secretly in love with you.”
Aya was slowly gaining her color back. “You t-think so?”
“I know so,” Raven averred with a straight face.
And there it was, Luc thought in amusement – and then he almost choked right after as Raven painfully nudged his side with her elbow.
“You think so, too, right?” She glared at Luc. “Don’t you, Luc?”
Aya threw her arms around both her friends. “I’m so happy, you guys!”
Luc smirked at Raven over their friend’s head. If that guy ends up breaking her heart, you know it would be partly your fault, right?
Raven glared at him. Shut up. What else was I supposed to say?
I can’t! It would kill her!
So you’ll let Minato kill her instead?
Raven was saved from making any lame excuse when Aya suddenly jumped away. “Oh my gosh, he’s here.”
The two friends looked at each other as Aya hurried away to do her usual stalking.
“Unbelievable, isn’t it?” Raven said with a sigh. “I don’t think I know anyone as emotionally resilient as she is.”
Luc shot her a dry look. “You mean naïve, right?”
Ignoring that because Raven couldn’t bear hearing a single word spoken against Aya, she said pointedly, “It’s what makes her irresistibly cute, and she’s only gotten a lot cuter ever since she started spending time with you-know-ho.” She gestured to a group of guys hanging out next to the stairs. “See that?”
Luc was startled to find all the other boys watching Aya with foolish looks of infatuation on all of their faces. His gaze turned to Aya, who was so busy stealing looks at Minato over her notebook she didn’t appear aware at all that she had also become the object of other people’s attention.
Minato, on the other hand, still seemed to be in the process of making his mind up on what drink to buy from the vendo. That’s new, Luc mused. The guy was normally decisive as hell –
Minato’s face appeared as a faint reflection on the vending machine’s glass window, and through it Luc realized that the other man was staring very coldly at…
“I think I’m in love,” one of the boys declared.
Minato’s face hardened, and Luc stilled in surprise. He turned to Raven and saw her face mirroring his own shock.
“So…” Raven’s voice was uncertain. “Does he like her then?”
“Who likes who?” This was from Aya, having caught the tail end of their conversation as she returned to their side with a still-dreamy smile lingering on her lips.
Luc left Raven to do all the explaining and lying while he continued to watch Minato with great interest. As Minato headed back up to his class, he stopped at the foot of the stairs drink the rest of his soda and then very casually glanced over his shoulder before throwing the bottle – straight at the face of the boy who had earlier declared his affections for Aya.
“What the hell?” the boy exclaimed.
“Apologies,” Minato said mildly. “I was aiming for the garbage bin.”
The boy’s jaw dropped. “But that’s in the other direction!”
“I’ve got really bad aim, I guess. Sorry about that.”
Luc coughed back a laugh as Minato walked away, leaving behind him a boy scratching his head in confusion. How could a guy who won last year’s MVP in the interschool basketball championship have such bad aim?
Hope you're enjoying the story so far. And if you're feeling restless and frustrated that they haven't kissed yet...that's how shoujo manga usually are. It's rarely wham-bam, thank-you ma'am even with insta-love couples. But don't worry - anticipation just makes things more exciting! Just imagine how sparks would fly once these two finally...f*cks?