It was nearly midnight in the Western Osaka District and the suburban area was silent. Despite this silence, Jun Suzuki stirred in her bed. She had laid there for more than an hour now, but she couldn't get herself to sleep.
"Damn it..." she mumbled
Countless thoughts filled her mind that night, keeping her from drifting into sleep. She could see the face of that boy that she hated so very, very much. Frustration welled up deep within her heart and she held a pillow tightly in her arms. Her eyes were open, watching the blackness of her darkened room.
Jun didn't want to close her eyes. If she closed her eyes, she would only see him again – that person she hated so much. The more she didn't want to think about him, though, the more she thought about him. Thinking about that, she realized how tightly she was hugging that pillow of hers.
She hugged that pillow so tightly that it was almost as if she was squeezing the life out of it with sheer strength. However, it just showed her how much she didn't want to let go of it. This made her even more frustrated. Thus, the vicious cycle of her insomnia continued.
As Jun wrestled with her thoughts, she heard a tapping sound coming from her window. It sounded like something struck the glass. Skeptically, Jun picked herself up from her bed and made her way to the window. She put aside the curtains that covered it and let the moonlight flood her room.
Just as Jun was about to throw herself back on her bed, another tapping sound came from the window.
"What is it now?"
Jun returned to the window and slid it to the side. It was at this time that a pebble sailed into her room through the opening.
"Whoa! What the hell?" Jun poked her head out of her window and gave a suppressed cuss. "What was that for?"
The girl then gasped as she saw a young man dressed well standing outside at her house's front yard. It was that same young man who she hated so much.
Jun wanted to shout at him and shoo him off her family's property, but no sharp words would come to her mouth. Instead, she watched this boy standing there at the front yard.
Satoshi was panting heavily, looking absolutely wild. He looked like he had run there from somewhere far away. He was well dressed, but his shirt was unkempt and his hair was messy from running. He was rushing to get here – he came to their house in a hurry. Why did he do that?
Suddenly, the sound of a dull thud reached Jun's ears. The rock that Satoshi had tossed into the room had sailed through and knocked the picture frame off Jun's nightstand. The picture frame now lay face down on the floor.
Jun pursed her lips and ignored the picture frame. She then poked her head out of her window again with a disdainful look.
"What the hell do you want?" Jun asked coldly, as per usual. "If you were looking for my brother, then his room is…"
"No…" Satoshi cut her off and shook his head, panting as he fought to catch his breath, "You… I wanted to talk to you, Jun-chan."
Was this guy joking? When Jun looked Satoshi in the eyes, though, he didn't seem to be joking. He didn't give even the faintest hints of doubt. He really wanted to talk to her. Jun's heart raced at the thought, but she kept her cool.
"What the hell do you want to talk about?"
"Apologize…" Satoshi said in between a breath, "I… I wanted to apologize to you."
"That's…" Jun was left speechless. She then turned to the fallen picture frame that lay on her floor, then back to Satoshi. "Tch… Just wait down there – don't you even think about leaving!"
Jun closed her window, picked up the picture frame and returned it to her nightstand. She caught a glimpse of that photograph again and the words she had spoken were deftly warped in her mind.
'Don't leave me.'
Was that what she really meant? Her face grew red as blood rushed to her cheeks.
"C'mon, keep it together…" Jun patted her face as she headed out of her room then out of the house. She opened the front door and saw Satoshi there waiting for her. Her heart beat even faster now as they stood there face to face.
"You look like shit." Jun said, looking at Satoshi from head to toe, "What the hell happened to you?"
"It's a long story." Satoshi replied, wiping the sweat on his brow as he spoke. "Ui-chan… she told me to be honest with myself and what I truly feel. That's why I'm here to apologize."
"I s-see…" Jun turned away from Satoshi's eyes. She couldn't look straight back at him without being embarrassed now.
"What I said back then in elementary… and everything I've said afterwards… those words hurt you, didn't they?" Satoshi now spoke with growing resolve, "I didn't mean to hurt you, Jun-chan."
"Then, about this 'bushy-haired devil' thing…" Jun asked, "Why did you keep calling me that?"
"I didn't want to admit that I was wrong…" Satoshi spoke honestly, "I was the jerk and I was the one demanding to be right… I really dug myself into a hole there, huh?"
'No kidding.' Jun thought. All these years, the two of them had been at odds because of that.
"But if I were to make one thing clear…" Satoshi started to blush, "That bushy-haired thing… I didn't say that to insult you or anything. I actually thought that you looked cute."
"C-cute!?" Jun gasped.
"Yeah…" Satoshi smiled, "Back then, you would smile so happily and we got along so well. When you smiled like that, I thought you were cute. It's why… it's why I want to stop making you frown. I want to see your smile again!"
"S-Satoshi-kun…" Jun's defenses were breached.
"You know, Jun-chan..." Satoshi continued, "My sister Ritsu told me this once: the more you think about a person, the more you care about him or her. If you truly disliked the person, then it'd be easy to erase them from your thoughts. If you really didn't care about them, they would just disappear into nothing, no?"
Jun's heart skipped a beat. She was thinking the exact same thing.
"So Jun-chan…" Satoshi took a deep breath. "I want to let my bare feelings out, right here and now."
The boy put his hand on his chest and looked at Jun straight in the eyes,
"I like you Jun-chan! I liked you then, and I like you now!"
Jun's face was flushed red again. She was happy to hear these words from this boy – the boy that frustrated her so much. She too remembered those good days when they were on good terms. She too wanted to return to those good time, but things were different now.
"Satoshi-kun…" Jun then gave her reply, "You really think I'd give in to a confession like that after all the crap you put me through?"
"… huh?" Satoshi was shocked.
"No, no…" Jun then wore a crafty grin, "You're going to have to make up for every single day before that can happen. You're going to have to make up for the time we've lost – and that'll take some work and time."
"So… it's impossible then?" Satoshi looked devastated.
"I didn't say that." Jun shook her head. "It's not impossible."
She then wore a bright smile – one that she had not shown Satoshi since the first day they met. "After all, Satoshi-kun… I like you too."