Wind: Have you finished planning for our dates yet?
Aya: Stop pressuring me! > . <
Wind: You’re such a baby. It’s cute. **smirk**
Aya: And stop flirting with me, too!
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.
> . <