Chapter One


"Sachie! Did you see? He smiled at us!" Chiko squealed excitedly into my ear. "Fuji actually smiled at us!"

"He passed us in the corridor and he smiled at us. Uh huh. That should be headline news," I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes, thought I do confess I had been excited too. It's just that I didn't tell the world, like Chiko did.

I normally didn't admit that I'd had a crush on Fuji since seventh grade. It would have just been embarrassing, because he obviously didn't like me back. Besides, my friend Chiko could get pretty wild if anything made her mad, so I kept my secret, well, secret. Most of the time, anyway. Though I wondered why Chiko hadn't guessed the truth, me having gone to every one of his games, just like she had.

"Do you think he actually remembers us? I mean, ok, we only spoke to him once and that was to borrow his dictionary, but still!" She just wouldn't shut up about it. I don't think I need to tell you, but she's way more obsessed with him than I am.

"Maybe," I answered vaguely. Sure, be probably remembered her, since she pounced on every chance to make him look her way, but me? I wasn't so sure. "Hurry up; it's nearly time for class. I think we have Math now."

It started off like every other Math class. We took our usual seats at the back, so that the chances of Chiko being asked a question would be minimal. She was hopeless at Math, partly because she spent the whole time watching Fuji. I actually listened to the teacher, which explained my better grades.

There was an empty seat in front of each of us, which was normal. I and Chiko kept to ourselves. You can imagine my surprise when someone sat down in the seat in front of me. I looked up and saw the one person who could make my heart race: Fuji had settled himself down in the chair. The funny thing was, he had come from Chiko's side of the room. That made me think.

"Fuji! How nice to see you!" Trust Chiko to try and get his attention. She was looked at him with this simpering smile plastered on her face.

"Saa, good" I should've known he wouldn't remember.

"Chiko," my friend told him brightly.

I cocked an eyebrow at her. Giving him your first name so soon? She, however, remained oblivious to my attempts to catch her eye.

"That last test was really hard, wasn't it? I'm terrible at Math. I totally need someone to teach me." Chiko was so embarrassingly obvious sometimes.

"Yes, it was quite difficult. What is it that you don't understand?" But he seemed to fall for it.

I shook my head as Fuji explained a random question Chiko had plucked out of the book. Knowing her, she probably was too mesmerized by his calm voice to understand a word of it.

She batted her long lashes at him between sentences. Another reason why I never let on that I liked Fuji; next to the outgoing Chiko with her thick, wavy brown hair, baby blue eyes and incredible figure, who would even take a second look at me? My eyes were a deep green, not bright like hers, and my long black hair was neat but kind of plain.

"And who is your friend?" I suddenly heard Fuji say.

Chiko nudged me. What? He meant me? "Oh, hi, I'm Tezumi Sachie." I tried to sound casual while I was sure he could hear my heart hammering away.

"I hope you're good at Math, Tezumi, because your friend here really needs your help," he said jokingly.

"I never understand anything she tries to teach me, but give her credit, she definitely tries," Chiko joined in.

I shot her a look. She was making fun of me in front of my crush, after all.

Fuji just chuckled softly.

And so the lesson began. This time, both I and Chiko couldn't keep still. Chiko was ecstatic at being in such close proximity with Fuji. Me, I just couldn't see the board with him in front.

I could've sworn he had eyes on the back of his head when he glanced back, saw me craning my neck to one side, and silently moved over to the seat in front of Chiko, thrilling her very much. I didn't really think much of it though, and managed to keep my mind on my work until Fuji abruptly turned around and whispered, "Sorry to bother you, but I've forgotten to bring my calculator and we need it for this chapter. Could I share with you?"

Again, I was perplexed as to why he didn't ask Chiko, who was directly behind him and much closer. But it didn't bother me at all, of course. So we ended up passing my calculator back and forth through half a lesson. I'd pick it up right after he had returned it to my desk, feeling the fading warmth his hand had left on it.

Eventually we both realized that if he kept on turning back in his seat, we'd both get into trouble. So he came up with the wonderful idea of me moving up to sit beside him. "Sorry, but I really can't do Math in my head," he said apologetically.

Oh, but there really isn't any reason to be sorry, I thought giddily.

I finally found out what it was like to be Chiko. His face, so close to mine, with his brow furrowed in concentration, tore my eyes from my book. I had taken it for granted that he had never noticed me, but I began to wonder.