For me, friendship was never the world, as it is for most of the teenagers. Nor did I ever have the so-called 'best friend', the kind who knows you in and out .Friends were those people with whom I spent some time in school and after. Friends were those people with whom I spent time in chatting, hanging out at various places and all other things that an average teenager would do. No one had bothered to know the real me and I was fine with that. In the first place, I wouldn't allow anyone to do that anyway…

But there was someone who could clearly look beyond that self imposed mask of mine and according to what I feel, bothered to know the real me…

My face always had a calm, serene look. I had steeled myself not to give into strong emotions unless absolutely necessary, thus retaining the neutral expression. For a person who had never been close and intimate with others, the thought of overwhelming others with my own problems never crossed my mind.

Not that I had any problems as such. I had painstakingly based my life on a near perfect base.

I was born and brought up in a loving household; my parents were always there for me. I never had problems in coping with my studies or interacting with my classmates. I had never tried my hand at dancing or sports, but was more inclined towards writing. Apart from a few friends, I never cared about what others were up to.

Then how was it that the person with a famous reputation and a sociable personality ended up being my friend? He had so many to choose from, why was it that he chose to befriend a person who was so easily forgettable?

Was it because that he actually saw me as someone entirely different as I saw him?

It was he who could read me like a book. I had no need of pretending in front of him. The years spent perfecting my image wouldn't matter when I would be with him; I would be my own self, a person who had flaws as every other human being has.

In due course of time, he revealed his real self to me. For once I was able to look beyond that mask of neutrality, that smile that was there for the sole reason of making things easy, never for a genuine reason. Behind that facade, there lied an extremely intense personality, so deep that it astonished me at first.

We both were connected by a reason, an insecurity of always living up to others' expectations. We knew the reason behind the fact that we were in some way betraying others, even if it was for their own sake. We knew what was it to live with the knowledge of the fact that it would be of no use of revealing ourselves to others and continue living with that mask, for the former action would bring nothing but disaster……

Was that the reason behind our closeness? As a matter of fact, I would never know…

But then those were reasons that I pondered upon in the early stages of our relationship. That was long ago…it has been a year since we met each other. Why think of it now? Whatever the reasons might have been, we were there for each other. Call it destiny…I really feel it was all fated…

Thinking of last year, the third year of junior high, it brings back so many memories…The good old times as the phrase goes, they certainly helped me with so many issues I faced at that time. It was as if I had rediscovered myself…

I cannot take away the credit from that person who helped me in understanding what I really wanted from life.

In return, I don't know if I'll ever be able to repay that favour…

Maybe someday, someday when I'll fully understand him…I could do more than just being there for him…

For now, I feel contented, contented that I have found such a good friend…

It amuses me, when I recall the first time we met. It wasn't that we actually saw each other for the first time, but on that particular day in the park we had a one to one conversation. The fact that he was the one to notice me still continues to be quite puzzling…

It was a pleasant evening, the sun still away from setting. A warm wind ensued, strong at times, but soon becoming nothing more than a breeze. Few people were out there in the park, some going for walks or some just there to enjoy the languid evening. Except for the occasional rustling of leaves or the flutter of birds, it was quiet.

"Isn't it just perfect for a day like this?" Misaki murmured, as she leaned across the tree, with a book in her hand. It had been just two weeks since her third year at Seishun Academy had started and it was already tiring her out. Thank goodness I was able to get away, she thought, recalling her friends who would pull her along for some activity or the other. It's all routine now, nothing ever happens, she whispered, sighing. If only something interesting happens this time, but then, I've a feeling something might change…

No sooner did she consider those words than something really happened, enough to startle her the next moment…

"You are Nishino Misaki, aren't you? You happen to be my classmate…"

That soft voice took Misaki by surprise as she turned to see who it was. It took her less than a moment to take in to account the medium built brunette, a slight smile gracing his somewhat feminine features.

Fuji Syuusuke, she thought. Just when I was thinking of something interesting to happen then I get to meet the resident tensai of Seigaku. What sheer luck.

"It's a surprise seeing you here, Fuji-san." Misaki began, still dazed from the initial surprise of him being here.

"The same holds true for you, Nishino-san" came the easy reply.

Misaki was at a loss of words. "I really don't know what to say."

"Well I thought that for a while you were unable to recognize me."

"Recognize you?" Misaki said incredulously." Who can't recognize the tensai of Seigaku?" And also the one who happens to be a favorite topic of discussion among girls, Misaki thought darkly, recalling the everyday conversations she heard, although she refrained from saying that. She took the cue, "How was it that you recognized me? I don't think we meet each other everyday."

Fuji chuckled, "Ah Nishino-san, you don't have to be so defensive. It's just that I happened to notice you here, and I thought of greeting you. It's as simple as that."

Misaki was slightly flustered, "I apologize for what I said. Your greeting kind of startled me, that's all." She still didn't get an answer for her main question, but she pushed it aside and continued. "By the way, what brings you here?" she asked non-chalantly, but soon glanced at the camera in his hands and spoke. "Oh I see. Photography, isn't it?"

"That's right." Fuji replied. "It's one of my favorite places."

Misaki walked over to the parapet, leaning against it as she glanced at the people descending the steps to lower levels. "Do you really have time for other hobbies, since tennis takes up most of the time?"

"Now it's not like we practice tennis all the time. We do have time for ourselves."

"Oh right, I never thought that way." Misaki concluded. Finding nothing else to ask about, she turned to the thing they had in common. "My, the school has just started and it's already getting hectic. I suppose it must be double the work for you- for dealing with both the school and tennis routines."

"Well, not exactly, although your question clearly explains the reason you are here."

Misaki looked on with surprise, "You are quite insightful, I take it…" She quickly went on to add, "Oh, who am I kidding…the person in question is after all a genius…"

Fuji shook his head, "Aren't you taking this 'genius' tag a little too further? Being a genius doesn't give you the ability to read people. Anyway, that was just a wild guess."

"Fine, fine, we could say you read me correctly." She turned to glance at Fuji, and spoke. "Isn't it time we head home?"

"I thought you would never ask…"

"Why so?"

"Because I live in your locality, so we can walk back together…"

Misaki was taken aback. "You live near my house?"

Fuji only smiled in reply. "Why, is there any problem?"

"No…it's nothing… It is another shock altogether." Misaki managed to say, before catching up with Fuji, who was already ahead.

The two fell in an easy conversation on their way back home. They talked of common things like school and other events that were taking place. It so happened, that Misaki's house came first, so the two parted ways.

"It was nice meeting you, if not quite surprising." Misaki greeted; happiness evident on her face.

"I could say the same. You are quite an interesting person." Fuji responded. "Anyway, see you tomorrow. Good night."

"See you too." Misaki called, waving as he turned round the corner. She still stood by the gate, smiling to herself. Well, that was quite good enough to qualify as 'interesting', but I doubt it would be of any significance in future. Time will tell for sure. Still, what an encounter, I must say…


: The prologue clearly indicates in what way I plan to write this story ahead. I wanted to do something different from the usual cheesy romantic stories that are found on this site. Therefore I need to know your thoughts on this, before I write the next part. Reviews and constructive criticism are appreciated.