Hana ran into the school gates, grinning. Life was good now. She no longer had to hide behind her braids and her black rimmed glasses which served no other purpose than a prop to create a 'goody two-shoes' image. Shinagawa Daichi and Izumi Gaku were still allowed to stay in the same school and she felt extremely glad of that fact. The Student Council still stood and her classmates accepted her for who she was.
She had to admit though, when she confessed to the whole school through the speaker system, she had given up on her place as a student at the school, and to find out her classmates were still standing by her, she realised she'd been too absorbed in the negative version what would be the outcome of uncovering her true identity that she'd pushed away any optimistic predictions.
She giggled when she took a glance at her best friend, Himeji Rinka as they raced towards the school, and Rinka imitated the action back to her. They spotted the blond haired boy some ways away from them, sandwiched in the middle by two other classmates, and standing in what one would call a slouch.
"Shinagawa-kun!" Rinka and Hana called out as they sped up to him. He turned around and gaped, dropping his replacement breakfast, the onigiri.
Hana and Rinka dashed past him, flashing a smile at the boy.
Hana had to stop running when Daichi called out, and Rinka slithered away, feeling like the third wheel.
Hana wondered what Shinagawa Daichi would want from her, so she waited until he so rudely shoved a pencil in her line of vision. A pink pencil no less. When was the last time she liked pink?
"I don't remember this..." Hana added honestly as she peered at the pencil when he said it was hers. She took it from him and inspected it closely.
"I've been ... a long time..." Hana was too absorbed in her fantasy of being free, imagining herself running through grassy fields with her classmates hand in hand. She was jerked back to reality when she heard "I like you." for the second time.
She looked up to find Daichi watching her seriously. "Really?" her voice sounding hopeful.
Images of her and Daichi at the top of a grassless hill, standing back to back, arms crossed in front of them as they glared down the hill while wearing Yankee fighting gear popped into her mind.
"Um... What's your name?" Daichi asked, slapping her out of her daydream.
They've spent months together yet he didn't know her name? Blasphemy!
"Adachi Hana!" She piped up.
"Eh?" Daichi gaped.
"Adachi Hana!" She piped again. She didn't fail to notice his tremendous shock. Did he think she was someone else?
Hana was easily taken of course when her classmates surrounded her and greeted her warmly. She suddenly felt happiness bubbling from the pit of her stomach and out of her mouth. A few minutes later she finally broke free and went on ahead. The minute she stepped out of the throng she was reminded of Daichi's confession.
Whether she should or should not take it seriously, it didn't matter, because she knows now how people in dramas felt when they were confessed to.
The other members of the Student Council caught up to her.
When asked how she felt about Daichi, she inspected him, crossing her arms and glowering.
I'm not going to say anything. It wasn't a real confession! She concluded and was about to say it when her teacher interrupted. So luck is on my side today~
"Good morning!" The teacher greeted with a slight waver in his voice. Everyone repeated back to him and Hana took this as a chance to escape.
"Good morning! Guess what! Shinagawa confessed!"
"He did? Isn't that a good thing?"
"Yes!" Hana grinned before an imaginary boulder dropped from the sky and collided with her head. She mentally cursed herself, the corner of her lip twitching. The teacher saw it and ran off. She skipped away, desperate to hide the little outburst.
Daichi ran up and stopped her from walking any further. "Is yes your answer?"
"Huh?" She felt the luck float away from her, hearing the shred of luck cackling as it did so. He repeated what he said and she hissed, "I don't know!"
Of course it was a bad thing. He confused her with someone else. And also, she didn't know how she felt about him. As far as she knew. He was just a friend and classmate.
How the heck did he confuse her with someone else? Hana's mind screamed. I don't look that differently! Then she realised her hair was down and she was not wearing the fake glasses she often wore.
Later that night, Daichi was in his room, pondering on the day's event. How could he be so stupid to have confused the girl of his dreams with Hana?
He lay down on his floor, gritting his teeth as he tried to read his manga. After minutes of not grasping anything from the storyline, he propped himself onto his elbows.
What now? What should he do to fix up this mess?
He let his mind go on a trip down memory lane, and skidded to an abrupt halt when he remembered the field trip. No wonder Hana turned up at the waterfall after he arrived, disappointed.
It made sense now.
But he didn't know how he should feel about it now. Should he be upset that the girl of his dreams turned out to be Hana, or elated that he had ended his search for that girl? Such thoughts twirled around in his mind.
"Annoying..." He hissed.
A thought popped in his mind. He'd been searching for the 'mystery' girl, claiming to like her even though he didn't know her, yet he didn't know, in perfect detail, what she looked like or even her name. Had he been tangled up in an unrealistic fantasy? It was silly to fall in love with someone who just handed him a pencil. If it was a guy who did the same thing, he wouldn't be obsessed over him. How stupid was he?
He came to the conclusion that he should stop reading manga after all. They were to blame for his stupid dreams.
But what about Adachi Hana?
She was there for him all this time. She encouraged him, pushed him forward, been a source of undying energy and acted like a mother, a sister and a best friend all this time.
They were so alike, yet not so. Hana used to be a Yankee and knew how he felt about being labelled as one. She was a great fighter though he was embarrassed to admit she was better than him. They were both alone in a sense, and had each other to fill that void before Rinka and Gaku appeared.
Aside from all that, he appreciated her devotion, her optimism, her bubbliness, her friendship and her tendency to overlook anyone's flaws.
He'd come to get used to her presence and be grateful for her place in his life.
He chuckled wryly to himself at the numerous times he wondered whether she would confess when they were sharing a moment alone. He remembered being hopeful and giddy, then feeling shattered when it wasn't so.
Was that it then? Was Nerima right? Was he in love with that Megane-chan?
It would definitely explain how he tried to come to her aid twice recently, the first one being somewhat successful though not quite since he ruined the school festival in the process. The second time, he'd been too late to stop her from disclosing who she was over the school's announcement system. He ran for several minutes, concerned and frightened. He had the feeling she would also do something stupid in the meantime and he had to stop that at all costs.
He couldn't even stop her from facing the delinquents.
So that was it.
Somewhere along the way, he developed feelings for the former Yankee, only that he was so dense to make sense of it.
"Adachi-san!" A voice echoed from outside the house, frightening the two girls who were seated on the sofa, watching a drama on the T.V. Set. The two girls looked at each other with fear written on their faces.
"Not another one..." Hana muttered. Rinka nodded, frowning. They stood up and dusted themselves off from crumbs of crackers and biscuits. "Why won't anyone understand that I've put my past behind me?"
"Don't worry. I'll be there for you," Rinka patted her best friend on the shoulder in understanding.
"ADACHI-SAN!" the voice called out abruptly, startling the girls.
"Wait here, I'll get the stick."
Hana nodded and fetched a jacket from where it sat on the floor and slipped into it. Rinka reappeared with her trademark weapon and together they stormed to the window that faced the street.
"Eh?" Hana gaped when they recognised the figure standing near the window. It was dark outside, but the boy's figure was easily identified.
"What does he want with you?" Rinka asked. Hana shrugged in response.
"Jeez, I thought it was someone else." Hana sighed in relief. She moved away from the window and headed outside.
"Shinagawa-kun!" Hana barked. The person in question turned to face her with a scowl.
"Noisy... You're too loud!" he hissed.
"Me? I'm not the one that screamed like a banshee in the middle of the street at a time like this!"
"Forget about it." he shuffled his foot on the pavement and looked for a distraction then something stopped him. When was the last time he ever saw Hana out of her uniform? She looked surprisingly cute in her Capri pants and yellow shirt, topped with a white bomber jacket. He also noticed she had her hair down and was glasses-free.
Never. He'd never seen her out of uniform.
He pursed his lips, skirting around the edges of what he planned to do. Should he be upfront instead?
"Um... I did some thinking today and I came to a conclusion. You know how I gave you the pencil this morning?"
"Hnn." Hana nodded.
"Well back when we sat for entrance exams for High School, I sat behind you."
"OH! You were? Wow, it must be fate to be friends like now!" Hana chipped in. Daichi resisted the urge to roll his eyes and storm out of there.
"Yes, well. You gave me a pencil when none of my writing tools worked."
"OH!" Hana jumped and pointed at him. He clenched his teeth together. Was he being serious? She pissed him off all the time. "Now I remember!"
So it was her. He thought bitterly.
"So when I said that there was someone I liked, it was her, well, you, but I didn't know. So I came to the conclusion that the actual reason I wanted to meet her... You, was because I wanted to thank her... Argh! So confusing" He looked around, scowling. "You know what? Let's just forget about that day. The thing is... I like you, not her."
That was not straight to the point. At all.
"Really?" Hana's eyes glinted with happiness. He nodded "Hmm..."
He rolled his eyes and stepped towards her, looking down to meet her gaze.
"Annoying." He muttered, but he grasped her shoulders softly and drew her closer, closing her lips with his own in an awkward but somewhat pleasant kiss. Blushing, he broke apart, watching her. Hana blinked slowly, smirking slightly.
"Will you go out with me?" He asked. She nodded with certainty. He grinned the same way he did when she inflicted a tickle attack to his sides.