For what seemed to be flashbacks, here's what happened now…

Y: I'm here in a Korean Restaurant with him. I'm wearing a pink mini-dress, my hair's still in two jinkies {that's my way of protecting my identity, you know} and wearing light make up, as always. Shiratori-sensei had told me once that wearing pink increases my chances for love. So I tried it. And why not? It's as if I believed in that superstition anyway. He's wearing a plaid polo shirt tucked in a black hair was, as usual, so anime-ish and all that. He even wore the watch I gave him! But he looked really presentable tonight. Am I really looking at my student? Or am I looking at a possible boyfriend candidate? Baka! I'm daydreaming again. Quit it!


T: My! She looks like a kindergarten with her attire. But she looked fabulous. She just takes my breath away. I'm so glad I was able to ask her out tonight. And she didn't mind eating in a Korean restaurant. She had a knack for foreign appetite. We're the same in that aspect. Does that mean that we're soul mates? I mean, we have the same likes and dislikes {hey, I'm starting to sound like an autograph book or a scrapbook or something like that, jeez…}. And since it's my graduation, I don't mind spending, especially for her. It'll probably be the last time we'll be seeing each other since she resigned from Kurogin. Maybe she'll apply in other schools in other prefectures too. If I don't act now, I'll surely miss the chance to say it.


R: Today is the last day of school. With the exams and the concours over, there'll be no more things to be done. It's summer time. But then, she decided to take a summer job to sustain her lessons in playing the violin. I never questioned her why she was that good; then her playing became so bad just before the fourth selection. It's not my right to judge her at all. Maybe she was just so downtrodden with the snapping of the violin's strings that she just wanted to stop playing it altogether. But I urged her to stay. Part of me wanted to compete with her. Yet part of me wanted to see her every time we have meetings or practices.

Now, we are in a cake shop. I wanted to give her a cake just like I gave one to my ex. In our custom here, if a guy gives a cake to a girl, it means that he likes her. And I really do like her. I wonder if she realized that custom. Oh wow, here's the cake I ordered now. I wish I could tell her tonight how I felt about her. I wish she wouldn't turn me down. Good Lord, please help me…


H: The second year of my high school life ended at last. I'm so happy that it is vacation time already. I could get a summer job and study violin at the same time.

What could get better than be with him? We're in a cake shop my friends and I discovered months ago, and which he and I frequented. I wondered why he didn't let me order cake. I had wanted to order my favorite Tiramisu. Well, maybe he planned on eating alone. Stingy. Wait, he ordered two black forest cake? Wow! That's also my favorite…wait…could it be that he like it too? Eh, how much am I gonna pay him. Sheesh!

Chapter 5: Revelation

When Yankumi and Tsuchiya went out of the Korean Restaurant, they walked towards the park. The fountain area was unusually deserted, yet people come and go or pass by there.

"Samui…" Yankumi said as she kept rubbing her hands. Samui means cold.

"Here, Yankumi, you can take my jacket."


When Yankumi had worn Tsuchiya's jacket, she sat down on the bench. She urged her student to sit down too.

"The night is quite quiet, yet many people pass this way, ne, Yankumi? They only talk in whispers and are in a hurry. Their stomachs must be grumbling so hard," Tsuchiya joked to start a conversation. Yankumi just nodded her head, still feeling chilly even with that jacket around her. So Tsuchiya held her close, his hand on top of hers.

"You sure didn't feel cold at all, Tsuchiya. I envy you…"

"Yeah, right. Feeling in love gives warmth to my heart—"

"Say it again, young man?" Yankumi's eyes widened as she turned to look at him, stupefied. Tsuchiya realized his error. He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes, like on guilty after being caught red-handed. And yet, that was what he felt. He then breathed hard, resigning to the fact that he had uttered something alarming.

Turning to Yankumi, she held her hand again.

"Hai, you heard it right."


"I never thought that I'd feel this way for you, Yankumi , since I didn't like you from the start. I always thought that you were like the other teachers, like Ishikawa even. But you were different. You even proved yourself different from other girls. I suddenly was drawn to your 'background', yet, I didn't fear you at all. You showed me that you're one extraordinary girl, one who would forget herself and fight for us. You showed me that appearance didn't matter. I was drawn to your wit and to what you taught me. Most especially, I was drawn to your smile. The reason why I wanted to go to you to that takoyaki stand was that I wanted to see the other side of you I do not know, yet you still showed that same mien to us, especially now that I know about your family. That gave me more reasons to like—no, to love you more. I always thought that you were pretentious, but you weren't. You showed us that sometimes, you have to protect something by bowing down to the enemies. You protected your 'background' by blending in with the crowd. It takes much courage to do that. And I like courageous women, women who know what is important for them. I wanted that kind of girl who would stand up for what is right. Especially when I wanted a family of my own, I wanted that girl to know how to protect her household. That's what I like about you, Yankumi.

"Honestly, it also took me this much courage to say it. I just blundered by blurting it out unnecessarily. But my feelings are honest, believe me. It's not easy hiding all these for so long a time that I decided that once I graduated, apart from thanking you for letting me graduate, I would like you to know how I really feel about you."

Yankumi smiled. She gazed at her student with such misty eyes she felt that she would cry. Suddenly, she hugged Tsuchiya. She had had many unrequited loves before, yet this came unexpectedly. She never thought that her student would think of her that way. Tsuchiya had always been close to her, his gang being her favorite among a bunch of crooks. He was her favorite. And this graduation ceremony, one that she had been looking forward to, has its reward of love. Now, she knew the answer to her ojisan's riddle. Arigato, Ojisan…

"Thank you, Tsuchiya. I'm glad you felt that way for me {Sniff, sniff}. To tell you honestly, I don't know how I feel about you right now, but don't be down. I'm glad that I've met you. In fact, you are my most favorite student. Don't worry, we'll just keep in touch, okay? You have my mobile phone number. We could set up a meeting together. I'm not making you hope, but who knows? I might, you know…since you're also a good-looking young man…"

"You don't have to flatter me, Yankumi. It's all right. I can wait. I'll study hard so that you'll become proud of me. That's my promise to you," Tsuchiya said, smiling.

"Deal," was Yankumi's laconic reply.

"FIGHT-O, OH!" They both shouted.


"Black forest cake? You like it too, Tsuchiura-kun?"

The green-haired guy didn't answer. Instead, he smiled and nodded. To Hino's surprise, Tsuchiura got a fork and took a small portion of his cake. He then urged her to eat that piece like he was feeding a baby. So not like him. When Hino took that piece, she smiled. She really liked this cake. And most especially, her best friend fed her with it. What could get more romantic than that?

Tsuchiura observed Hino chewing the cake in her mouth. She looked so kawaii that he wanted to tell her now of his feelings for her.

Suddenly, the waiter arrived, bringing their drinks. He noticed the cakes since he himself had brought those same orders. He smiled at Hino, winking at her.

"You're very lucky, miss. This man just gave out to you his heart tonight," he said before he moved away.

Hino was puzzled. What does he mean by that? Her gaze suddenly shifted to Tsuchiura's silent stare at her. There was something in his eyes that she didn't understand. Or did she? Could it be that…he likes her?

Tsuchiura looked at Hino gaze away, blushing. Then he reached out his hand to hold hers. He was even more surprised that Hino's hand felt hot, and shivering.

"Yes, Hino, he was right. I had waited all this time to tell you what you needed to know. You know that every guy in the concours like you, I'm sure you're not dense about these things. But then, I was drawn to you from the first time I saw you. And since then, no matter how I tried hiding these feelings, I can't keep them hidden from you. Even if Hihara-senpai, maybe even Yunoki-senpai and Tsukimori had their eyes on you, I wanted you to notice me. You have no idea how you spun our worlds upside down. You seem to me the most beautiful girl in school, and I never wanted each second to pass without seeing you. This, of course is impossible since we aren't classmates, are we? I suddenly came to realize Tsuchiya-senpai's joke as…the truth. Really, Hino, I had longed wished for this day that I would already reveal to you…that I like you…"

Hino blinked. So he did also believe what Tsuchiya said! She just kept quiet, about to also answer and tell him all that Tsuchiura neede to know. Yet, the guy continued.

"But since you were so quiet, I presumed that…maybe…you couldn't take what I had just said. I'm sorry if I've offended you. It may seem embarrassing, me asking your forgiveness—"

"Iie, Tsuchiura-kun…I…I thank you for being honest with me. And I thank you for feeling that way for me…because…"

"Because what?"

"Because…" Hino suddenly blushed. Then she stood up, pulled Tsuchiura closed to her and kissed him full on the lips. The pianist's eyes widened at her boldness. Even the other costumers were taken aback by her courage. The waiter just smiled and shook his head. Just as I expected, he muttered.

When Hino broke this kiss, she saw him blush. Even she was shocked at her boldness. But she couldn't fight it any longer.

"I like you too, Tsuchiura-kun. You…were that other guy I told you once. And since Tsukimori-kun never said anything at all, I decided that is shouldn't make the mistake of telling him, he who was ever so cold to me. I had wanted something like this to come up. This is a dream-come-true date. I wanted things to e so perfect. And I felt ashamed for being so bold, doing that to you without your consent, but I can't take it any longer…I like—no, love you, Ryotaro!"

"Kahoko…I love you too…" he whispered. And he then bent down and hugged her.

"Thank you, Kahoko. This is the best year-end gift I've ever received."

"Me too…"

And they continued hugging each other, unmindful of the cold zephyr that suddenly blew. The night was perfect indeed, and so was the moment.