Let’s just call him X - the first and only guy I’ve ever loved – also the first and only guy who’s broken my heart. I used to think that trauma caused by ugly breakups was only a thing in books, movies – and yes, manga – until of course it happened to me.
On hindsight, I really should have known better. He had so many issues it was only a matter of time before one of them drove us apart. And even if that hadn’t happened, we still wouldn’t have worked out. He was this perfect, gorgeous guy who had everything going for him while I…well, let’s just say I didn’t turn out to be this super-smart girl everyone thought me to be.
I hate him as much as I fear him, so much so that even in my dreams I can’t make myself think of his name, much less say it. It’s like my mind’s completely blocked the sound of it, and now his name works like a breakdown trigger. If I let myself say his name, that’s it, and believe me – what happens after isn’t pretty.
So yeah, it’s that bad between us, but I’m determined to put it all behind me now. I’ve moved to another country, doing my best to get my shite together. I’ve even made myself attend a goukon (a group dating thing) in hopes of finding love again.
Everything’s going well…
Until I bumped into him.
Bloody. Bloody. Bloody hell.
The sight of him has my world spinning out of its axis, my face draining of color, my throat locking oxygen out---
I can’t remember feeling more terrified than I was at that moment. But the worst thing is – I can’t remember when the last time I felt so alive either.
2nd Floor is the Reference Section, and I immediately start searching for the shelves where the newest I.T. books are. He’s always where the super techie books are, and even though several years have passed since we last visited a bookstore together, my instincts prove me right.
I catch a glimpse of him through the narrow gap of space between the books and its shelves. Just a brief, partial glimpse, but it’s still enough to have my heart ba-thumping like it used to.
He’s in jeans again, but this time matched with a thin checked jacket worn over a white shirt. He has a book in his hands, and his brows are slightly pleated as he reads whatever it is he’s reading. He turns around to walk out of the aisle, and I hurriedly move in parallel, not wanting to lose sight of him.
I hide behind one of the shelves when he pays at the cashier, and I count until five before I deem it safe to start following him again. I check the elevator first, but the display tells me that it’s still on standby. I quickly bend over the rails to check the escalator, but I don’t see him either.
Where could he possibly be?
I whirl around---
Yuki is standing right in front of me, and he does not look happy.
It’s been thirty-seven days since I last got this close to him. Not that I’ve been consciously counting. My point is that it’s been a really long time, and every second of it hadn’t been wasted. Because I had done what he asked.
I got out of his life. I also thought things through. And that’s why I’m here.
“Hisashiburi.” My voice comes out a croak.
Yuki’s beautiful face remains unsmiling. “Why are you following me?”
I start to answer, but then I notice the bookstore clerk behind me giving me a suspicious look. It’s obvious he heard what Yuki said just as it’s obvious he thinks I’m stalking Yuki. Turning red, I stammer to the clerk, “Sutōka ja nai.” I’m not a stalker. And honestly, I know Yuki’s the gorgeous one between us, but do I really look that desperate?
The bookstore clerk tells Yuki in Japanese, “If you’re having problems, please do not hesitate to let any of the staff know.”
Okaaaay. I guess that answers my question.
Yuki’s face is stony, but I’m not fooled.
“It’s not funny,” I grumble.
“I’m not laughing.”
“You so are, inside.”
He only shrugs, but the way his blue eyes is gleaming –
Is it too sappy if I say that the look in his eyes makes me want to cry buckets? I know it sounds mortifyingly cheesy, but you have to understand. That little light in his baby blues means the world to me. It used to be the way he looked at me all the time, and then we broke up, and I honestly thought I’d never see it again.
And yet here we are.
Clearing my throat, I ask, “Can we talk? Just talk,” I stress hastily, in case he thinks it’s some kind of emotional trap. When he still doesn’t speak, I take a deep breath. “Please?” It’s another gamble. I’ve never been the betting type, but I guess that’s just how love is. It makes you take all sorts of risks---
Yuki breathes hard.
Because if it pays off, the reward is always more than you can ever imagine---
“Thank you.” I’m proud at how casual my voice comes out. It’s the polar opposite with how my heart’s doing all kinds of somersaults inside of me, just like it used to, when we were going out. Yuki is stiff as he falls into step beside me, and when we get on the escalator he stays a good three feet away from me.
If he thinks the deliberate distance he’s placing between us would hurt me, he’s so, so wrong. It only confirms all my hopes – even the ones I can’t make myself speak out loud because they seem too good to be true.
“How did you know where to find me?”
I bite my lip. “Well…” I was hoping he wouldn't ask this, but I should’ve known better. Giving him a sheepish smile, I confess, “I asked Momo and she made Seiji ask you.” I check his expression worriedly. “Are you mad? If you are, please be mad with me and not Seiji---”
“I probably should be,” Yuki murmurs, “but I’m not. I know how persuasive Momo can be.”
I flash him a relieved smile. “Thank you.”
He steps back to let me get on the escalator first, and I feel his gaze on me as the stairs descend to the lower floor. It’s making me nervous for all kinds of reasons, but even so I wouldn’t trade it for the world. When we get off, I turn to face him but almost bump into his chest.
The contact is all too brief, but it’s enough to have my face burn as I rear back.
Yuki frowns. “Are you alright?”
“Umm, yes, I’m fine, sorry.” But it’s not exactly the truth. I am fine, but the feel of his chest has also sent my heart racing faster than ever now. I point to the café across the street. “How about we talk there?”
Yuki gives me a clipped nod. I’m thinking he remembered that he’s not supposed to be talking too much with me. He probably even thinks he’s successfully pushing me away with it, but he’s wrong. He’s so, so wrong, and I can barely contain my sheer happiness as we cross the street. He’s acting exactly the way I---
Yuki suddenly stops before we reach the café, and I stumble to a halt next to him.
“What is it?” I ask, startled.
“You skipped.” His voice is grim.
“I d-did not.” But it’s a lie. Now that he’s pointed it out, I realize that it’s true, and that my excitement has gotten so out of hand I had started skipping like a kid heading home after the last day of school.
Control, KC. And stick to the plan.
Pretending I don’t notice the grim expression on his face, I say, “We’re already here. Can’t we hash it out inside?”
Yuki doesn’t answer right away.
His gaze locks with mine.
Come on, Yuki. You know you want to do this. You know you do---
There’s another long moment, and then Yuki slowly nods.
---because you love me.
“T-Thank you.” This time around, I can’t just keep everything bottled up inside me and my voice becomes gruff with emotion. In the corner of my eye, I see him starting to frown again, and I quickly duck my head, not wanting him to see my face. One look at it and he’d know just how happy I am---
And that won’t do, or at least not just yet.
Looking around, I realize that the place is almost full, leaving us with two choices: the bar stools facing the windows, and the couch in the corner that could work as a tight squeeze for two.
My eyes light up. “Let’s sit---”
But Yuki’s already strolled towards the bar stools.
It’s disappointing, but I tell myself not to be greedy and take things one at a time.
Stick to the plan, you must. Too important to wing, this is.
I know my inner Yoda is right, but oh – is the fact that I just miss him so, so much a valid excuse? Every time I look at him, I have this urge to throw my arms around him.
Yuki raises a brow when I finally take my seat next to him. “What took you so long? Having second thoughts about talking?”
Yuki blinks. “Excuse me?”
Oh, shite. Did I say that out loud?
“I said I, umm, took a piss.”
“Anyway.” I hurriedly change the subject. “What would you like to order? Since I invited you, it should be my treat---”
Yuki’s blue eyes are boring through me.
“Or not?” I do my best to sound like I’m second guessing myself, but actually he’s still doing the exact thing I predicted. It really is just like before. Yuki had always insisted on being the one to pay, and even after Sascha stealing the family fortune, he had made sure things wouldn’t change. He had started working after school instead, still wanting to be the one to take care of things.
“I’ll order for us,” Yuki says.
I nod obediently. “Okay.”
“So?” His tone is impatient. “What do you want?”
I blink at him. “You really don’t know?”
I enjoyed it a lot. There was a tantalizing reveal every other chapter, and I loved it...Definitely recommended if you love anime, manga and that good Korean drama because this reminded me of it a lot, being a fan and all. Those who don't know those things may not get or appreciate the humor and intentions, which is a major shame, but yes. Check it out. ~ Amazon 5-star verified review