"To be loved by someone feels great"
Mitsuru is sitting in the living room, munching away a toast with marmalade.
A thumping sound quickly approaches the living room and Nozomi runs into the kitchen.
"I'm going to visit Shinji."
She snatches a toast from Mitsuru's plate.
"Hey! Can't you ask?"
"Sorry, I'm in a hurry." She takes a bite and puts it back with a horrible face.
Mitsuru looks surprised at Nozomi "It's marmalade."
"Neh, it's just a little bitter."
"Well, I don't like that taste."
Nozomi walks to the kitchen part of the living room, takes a cup and pours some milk in it. She drinks it up, trying to negate the taste of marmalade. Then she runs out the kitchen, to the closet, takes her shoes and closes it. She puts her shoes on and opens the door.
Before Mitsuru can answer her, he hears her closing the door.
The sun shines brightly, slowly warming the foggy air on this Sunday morning. The morning is still chilly, but the sunrays compensate a lot. There are not many people on the street.
Nozomi walks down the street, looking at the few cars passing by. It's only four streets away from Mitsuru's home.
As she walks on, she stretches her arms up and inhales the cool air. The air refreshes her, taking away the last bits of sleepy feeling.
Nozomi notices a flash of shadow passing over her. It's a dove flying over. She notices a feather falling towards her and catches it. It's white and very soft. She wonders how great it would be to be free as a bird and fly to any place she wants.
She finally arrives at Shinji's house.
It's a two-store house with a small garden on the front.
She walks to the door. There is a name plate saying "Takemori residence". She pushes the button of doorbell and hears familiar "ding-dong" sound. Not long after this sound she hears some foot steps and the door opens. A face of a middle-aged woman appears. "Good morning. Is there something I can help you?"
"Good morning, I'm looking for Takemori Shinji."
"Oh, please come in. I'll call him."
The woman invites Nozomi to enter the house. Then she turns her head to call Shinji.
"Shinji, there's a girl looking for you!"
"Yes, mom!", a voice from above replies.
From above the stairs stumbling are approaching.
Shinji appears on the stairs.
"Good morning, Nozomi-chan."
Nozomi removes her shoes and rearranges it. Shinji's mother gives her a pair of slippers and smiles. Nozomi thanks her and puts those on.
"Well, why don't you introduce me to this cute girl?"
"Oh, I totally forgot that. This is my mother."
Before Shinji's got the chance to introduce her, Nozomi does that herself.
"I'm Sewano Nozomi, nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you.", Shinji's mother replies, than she leans towards her son and whispers loudly "She's your girlfriend?"
"Mo--om!" Shinji answers, "We're only friends!"
All what Nozomi could do is smile while blushing slightly. "(If only she knew who I really am)"
Shinji's mother laughs. "All right, all right! Why don't you invite her to your room? I'll bring you some drinks and snacks."
She walks to the kitchen.
Shinji gestures at Nozomi to follow him. Nozomi follows him, the stairs up.
On the end of the stairs he points at the door on his left.
"That's my parent's room. The one in front us is the storage room and the right one is my room."
Shinji opens the door of his room.
Nozomi enters the room, followed by Shinji.
Right in front of her, on the other end of the room there is a big window with in front of it a desk. Next to the bed, on the right side of the room, there is a bed placed against the wall, with the cushions on the window side of the bed. On the left side there are book shelves full of manga pockets. On the top shelf there are CDs with games or music. Next to the shelf, in the near corner there is a television and a game console.
Nozomi sits down on the chair.
Shinji sits on the bed. He's not used to getting in a situation like this.
"You're the first girl who's got invited into my room."
"It's my first time I got invited by a boy into his room." Nozomi replied, smiling.
There was a moment of silence.
Then someone knocks on the door.
"Can I come in?"
Shinji's mother enters the room with a plate and two glasses soda. She walks to Nozomi and offers her the plate. On the plate are cookies in different shapes.
Shinji's mother looks at Nozomi and smiles.
"These are self-baked cookies. I hope you like them."
Nozomi takes a cookie and takes a bite from it. She smiles happily.
"It really taste great!"
"Really? Then you should come over to our house more often. I can teach you how to make them. Maybe you can make some yourself and give them to Shinji. He likes these cookies very much."
Shinji's face gets red.
"Mo--om, you're embaressing us!"
Shinji's mother laughs and walks over to the desk to put the plate and the glasses down.
"Sorry that I'm embaressing you." She replies laughing.
Nozomi can barely suppress laughing and tries to smile politely.
"I'll stop bothering and leave you two alone. Just call me when you need anything."
With that, she leaves the room and gets downstairs.
"Sorry for my mom's behavior, she's always like that. It's the first time she sees a girl visit me."
"It's okay, she's just concerned about you. She must be a great mother."
Then Shinji lays on the bed, his face on the pillow.
Nozomi moves her chair to the bed.
"Well, as usual. Not much happened."
"What about the girl of your interest?"
"Meiko? She's smiling again, so I think she's fine now."
"That's a good sign. Did you try to talk to her?"
"I think you should do that."
"Well, I don't know..."
"How's Mitsuru's doing at school?"
"He's fine, except the fact that the girls are trying to get his attention. Speaking about Mitsuru, his birthday is tomorrow."
"Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
"He doesn't do much on his birthday, so -"
"At least we have a day to prepare. Let's go out and buy a present for him!"
" I really don't know..."
Nozomi doesn't care about his reply and drags him downstairs.
"Let's go shopping!"
The fog has disappeared and the street is getting more crowded.
Nozomi and Shinji walk past the various shops and food facilities.
"What shall we buy for Mitsuru?"
"Don't you mean 'What shall Shinji buy for Mitsuru?'"
"Don't be so grumpy, it's only once a year."
Nozomi raises her nose as she catches some nice scent. It derived from the bakery.
"Hm... smells great..."
As they arrive in front of the bakery, Nozomi stops and looks at all those loafs of bread, various cakes and cookies on the other side of the window.
"Wow, they look very delicious."
Then she points at a white cake covered with strawberry and cream.
"What do you think about that as a birthday cake?"
"It looks nice-"
Shinji sees someone familiar on the reflection of the shopping window. In an instance he was silent while trying to ignore everything on the street.
Nozomi notices his change of behavior.
"Is there something wrong?"
"Um, nothing... It's just that I saw Meiko..."
Nozomi turns and looks around. She sees a girl in front of a toy store on the other side of the street.
"So that's Meiko."
Nozomi pulls Shinji from the shop window.
"Come on, get all your guts together and talk to her!"
"What do I say to her?"
"Just be yourself and ask her for a date!"
Nozomi pushes Shinji at the direction of Meiko. He tries to crawl back, but at the sight of Nozomi's angry face, he stops.
Nozomi points her finger towards Meiko.
Shinji takes a deep breath. Slowly, step by step, Shinji approaches Meiko.
It feels like the time was ticking slower and slower.
He finally arrives at the shop where Mieko is standing and stands next to her. She's looking at the cute little teddy bears inside the shop.
Meiko looks at her right side and recognizes Shinji.
Shinji's cheeks slowly turns red.
"Um... how are you doing?"
"I'm fine, thank you."
Shinji looks at the ground.
Shinji looks up.
Meiko is looking at the teddy bears again.
"Those teddy bears."
They both look at the bears for a while.
Meiko smiles and leaves the shop window.
That's the only thing Shinji could say. He looks at Meiko as she walks away.
"And, did you say it?"
Nozomi was standing behind Shinji.
Shinji prepares himself for a load of angry words from Nozomi, but she doesn't look angry at all. She smiles.
"Just wait here for a minute."
Nozomi runs after Meiko.
Nozomi taps Meiko on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, you're Meiko, right?"
"I'm a friend of Shinji. Can we talk?"
"I want to ask you whether you've got time next Saturday afternoon."
"That's perfect! Would you like to go on a date with Shinji?"
Meiko looks puzzled.
Nozomi bows in front of Meiko.
"Please give him a chance. He's a very nice boy."
Meiko smiles softly.
Nozomi is still looking puzzled at Meiko. She never expected that it would be this easy.
"When is this date?" Meiko replies.
"The date with Shinji."
"Ah, yes. How about next Saturday, at two in the afternoon?"
"Two o'clock is fine."
"Two o'clock, at the K2R coffee shop?"
"Thank you very much."
"It's only a small thing."
"No, I'm really grateful. Goodbye."
Nozomi runs back to Shinji.
"She said yes."
"Yes, next Saturday, Two 'o clock."
Shinji takes Nozomi hands.
"Oh, that's great news! Thank you very much!"
Shinji then lets her hands go and runs to the bakery.
"Let's go buy a birthday cake for Mitsuru and go home. I'm very happy!"
Nozomi smiles and follows Shinji.