Nene knew Fuji-kun was just using her for his school chores. But she couldn’t say no to a cute boy. How could she? And what if it did turn into something more—what if he realizes he truly does like her? That she’s always so kind and willing to help—and maybe see her as more than a girl with radish legs—what if…
“Need some help?”
Nene jolted, nearly dropping all the papers she had to sort. She looked up, stunned to see Amane standing beside her in the little club room. He was a grade below her, and somehow, someway, her heart always fluttered when she’s alone with him. But he’s so not my type, she mentally chastised herself. He was on the shorter side, and his eyes were so strange; big and bug-like. He was so unlike the princely type she drooled over.
But despite this—despite him not being her type, her heart skipped. “Amane…kun?” She blinked.
She thought back to last weekend where she sat alone with Amane on the school’s rooftop, while waiting for the others. He’d sat so close to her, she could feel the heat of his body warm against her bare arms as he pointed out the constellations and names of stars. Nene tried to listen—she really did, but all she could think about was Amane’s hand resting so close to her own. An inch closer and they would have been holding hands.
Her heart raced at the mere memory.
“Aoi told me that boy asked you to do his work again,” he said, hands in his pockets, he turned away. “So I figured you might want some help?
She ducked her head, shame crept through her waves of heat. “S-sure,” she stammered. And she carefully split the work up between them. But there was only one stapler to share, set at the center of the table, with Amane sitting directly across.
And as she reached for the stapler—she grabbed Amane’s hand. It was warm, and he pulled back fast. “Sorry!” she squeaked, her cheeks flushing. Was her hand that repulsive to touch? Why did it send a strange pang of disappointment inside her?
“Why do you do it?”
Nene startled and looked up. “Do what?”
“Let Fuji-kun use you like that?”
She gasped. “I-I don’t—and he’s not using me! He needed help—and I agreed—and it’s nice to help others!”
“He’s totally using you,” Amane said flatly, pinching the bridge of his nose, sighing.
Nene looked away from his piercing gaze, and bundled up a bunch of paper from her stack. “Here’s some more work! You look like you’re almost done—ow!” Paper cut. She shook her hand out, wincing; why did something so small hurt so much? And blood slowly dribbled from her index finger.
His shoulders sagged. “Yashiro…”
Her breath caught in her throat, and her eyes widened. He called her Yashiro without any honorifics. It was such a strange feeling—both a shock and a thrill that made her stomach flutter. And it was almost enough to distract her from the sharp pain of the tiny cut.
Amane leaned over and grabbed her hand. Her pulse jumped, and her cheeks flushed. “What—what are you doing?”
“Relax, relax,” he said, his hold tightened—and Nene was reminded of the time he’d gently placed his hand over hers, guiding her fingers to the focal points of the telescope, showing her how the mechanics of it worked. It was then, and maybe now, she realized she would let Amane do whatever he wanted with her hands.
Or with her.
He’s not my type, but…
He pulled a bandage out of his messenger bag. And he relaxed his grip on her, and delicately rested her hand in his own—as though he were afraid to touch her more than necessary.
Nene felt like it was her entire undoing.
He was meticulous, placing the bandage at what he deemed was the precise point, and she felt mesmerized by the intensity in his bug-like eyes. But looking at him—really looking at him, Nene realized his eyes weren’t bug-like—but instead, his eyes were like the moon, a beautiful glow that seemed almost inhuman.
And as he finished placing the bandage, she couldn’t help but notice how much bigger his hand was compared to her own—and so warm, too.
“There,” he said, finished, but his hand lingered on hers. And she couldn’t help but notice how much bigger his hand was compared to her own. And just as warm as when she’d accidentally touched him before.
To her chagrin, he let go. And she instantly wanted to take his hand back. The feeling unnerved her, and her pulse became erratic. What is this strange feeling?
“So why?” he asked, lips pursed.
“Why do you let him use you?”
Nene absently toyed with the bandaged. It had cute little bunnies on it. “Because,” her body warmed by several degrees, “when a pretty person talks to me…I don’t know how to say no.” She hung her head in defeat.
He chuckled lightly and patted her head. “If it were me, I’d treat you a lot better than that guy.” His hand brushed down to the nape of her neck, and goosebumps dotted her skin, and she felt her breath catch again. No one had ever said such words to her. And Amane of all people. The only boy to truly make her heart race.
He’s not my type, but…
“Y-yeah?” She struggled to form words. Her mouth felt dry, and her palms turned clammy. And she wasn’t sure if it were just a shadow in the dim light, but she could have sworn Amane’s cheeks dusted pink.
Something hung in the air as they quietly went back to work. Nene wasn’t sure what it was—almost like the air was electrically charged—charged with her newfound thoughts on Amane. And the time passed too quickly for her liking and with not nearly enough accidental hand touches.
“Thanks for helping me, Amane-kun,” she said, beaming.
And his moonlit eyes widened for just a moment, and then he scratched the back of his head as he looked away. His cheeks stained red. “Anytime, Yashiro.”
“Yashiro-san,” said Fuji, standing beside her locker the next morning. A cheeky grin on his boyish face—the type of grin that would have sent her heart racing a million miles per minute, and yet…
“Would you be able to help me out again? You did such a great job yesterday and—”
Nene barely heard him. Her eyes were focused on something else—someone else—a boy with dark hair and eyes the size of the moon.
And he was talking to his twin—completely identical, but Amane stood out to her, the way he carried himself, the moon keychain dangling from his pen in his pocket. The way he looked at his brother as though he were utterly exasperated. She knew Tsukasa was a lot to handle, and the idea of Amane being the responsible one made her giggle.
“Yashiro-san?” Fuji called out again, tilting his head.
“Sorry, I can’t,” she brushed him off. And thought of how she’d catch Amane’s attention. Maybe she’d drop her books in front of him—and it would be like a fated encounter! They’d reach for the same book—bump hands, awkwardly laugh—
“Nene-chan, you’re drooling,” said Aoi, smirking. “Which boy caught your eye today?”
“Don’t be silly, Aoi!” Nene rushed past her. No, she couldn’t talk about her feelings for Amane. Aoi would tease her to no end, especially since she was convinced that Nene was already in love with him.
Nene sighed, her finger brushing against her bunny bandage. She was pathetic. There was no way Amane could like her in that way. He was kind, and it was as simple as that.
She looked back over at Amane and saw that he was talking to a beautiful senpai—Sakura. Slender legs and beautiful hair, and the way Amane grinned at her. Nene felt a sting in her chest. That’s probably the type of girl he likes. Someone who radiates beauty. Not a girl with radish legs.
Besides, Amane probably saw her as a hopeless romantic desperate for love.
And pitied her.
For letting herself be used like that.
If it were me, I’d treat you a lot better than that guy.
“Oh well,” she murmured to herself. “He was never my type anyway.”
And yet, her eyes prickled.
In class, she felt hyperaware of everything Amane. From the moment he walked into class, to the moment he took his usual seat behind her. (Because he was so smart at science, they put him in Nene’s class). She couldn’t get the way he smiled at Sakura out of her mind. Would he ever smile at her like that? She gnawed on her bottom lip.
She wanted to talk to him so badly. It was as though he had his own gravitational pull—and resisting was futile. She turned slowly, and studied him. His hair was a bit mussed, and his amber eyes were intently focused on whatever he was drawing in his notebook with his pen that had a moon pendant swinging from it.
She tapped her own pen on his desk, and she exclaimed, “Amane-kun! Good morning!”
He jolted and his hand drew off the page. “Yashiro—Uh, good morning.” She stared down at his notebook and saw that he’d been drawing out the stages of the moon. It made her smile. “You seem happy today,” he commented.
“I told Fuji-kun no when he asked me to help him again,” she confided, dropping her voice low enough just for him to hear.
“Oh,” he said, and a smile grew on his face. His amber eyes softened. “Glad to hear it.”
Nene’s heart slammed against her ribcage as she turned back to face forward in her seat. Her heart surged.
He smiled at me.
It felt like a small victory, and as she jotted down the notes from today’s lesson, unable to get his smile and his eyes out of her mind—she felt giddy and excited, and almost anxious for the next chance they’d get to talk. And she wondered if she’d imagined it, but the smile seemed different than the one he’d given Sakura—like a certain glint of Amane’s eyes that made Nene feel as though it were meant just for her.
He’s not my type, and yet…
And as class came to an end, Nene gathered up her stuff, ready to head out—
“Hey, Yashiro—wait!” Amane grabbed her hand and she froze.
His hand felt warm against her own, and she noted how short his nails were compared to her own—a fact so trivial, and yet she loved it—loved knowing something about him that others probably don’t.
But then he let go, again, to her disappointment. And he leaned nonchalantly back against his desk, hands in his pockets. “Since you aren’t busy with Fuji. Maybe you want to meet up later and feed the bunnies?”
And Nene swore, for just a moment, the world stood utterly still. Go feed bunnies…together? Alone? Just the two of them?
“Like a…date?” Her cheeks flamed.
“Not like a date,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck, his face swirled pink. “But a date-date…”
And Nene’s brain turned to jelly.
“Yashiro?” He waved his hand in front of her face.
“Yes!” She grabbed Amane’s hand, and clutched it tightly like a promise, hoping he wouldn’t notice how sweaty her palms were. “It’s a date!”
He stared down at her hands on his, mouth agape, and the pink on his face turned a deep scarlet. He looked away for a moment, and swallowed.
And slowly, he looked back up at her. “Great, then It’s a date.” And he smiled again—the same smile as before, and yet, it felt full of more warmth. And his eyes were so soft, she nearly melted on the spot.
He is exactly my type.