Chapter 1: Seeds

It was a beautiful summer morning, with the sun shining and clouds scattered around the sky. I was walking to school with my best friend, Arisa Tanaka.

"Suminon!" called Arisa, who was waiting for me to hurry up.

"Don't worry Arisa-san, I'll catch up!" I yelled back.

I'm Hikage Sumino, 8th grader. I used to be invisible, but thanks to the support of my now best friends, I overcame that shyness and stepped into the sun.

And now I have to thank them. The sunflower I have taken so much care of has wilted, and I've decided to give out its seeds to everyone. Two big bags are reserved for Mega Pig, who was there from the beginning posting on my blog, and the other is a forgiveness present for Aya-san, who's only friend I unknowingly stole. She didn't seem to accept her state of mind when I last talked to her but I hope she'll come around. I don't want her to end up like my former self.

I walked up to the front gate and skipped down the path to my class.

"Hi Sumino-san!" came lots of energetic greetings towards me. A few months ago no one would have noticed me walk in. I skipped up the stairway and through the halls, looking out the windows at the lovely morning sky. As I approached my classroom I saw Hinata and Teru-kun talking, looking concerned.

"Hinata-kun, what's wrong?" I asked. We had only been going out for a few weeks but we had already learnt to trust each other with important information.

"Oh, hey Sumino!" Hinata replied. "Umm, listen… you know Aya?"

"Yeah?"

"Well, we heard this crying and then out of nowhere, we saw her dash down the corridoor, crying. She looked really depressed."

"What!" I shouted. Aya's not the person who would usually do that sort of thing. I had better go check on her, as I feel as if I have something to do with it.

"Hinata, do you know where she went?" I asked quickly, as I thought something bad may happen if I didn't hurry.

"No she didn't sa…"

"She went down to the sunflower, I saw her running in that direction so I figured she'd be going there," cut in Teru. I guess he would know if someone needed to go to the sunflower, as he was Black rabbit, the calm, friendly one of the two commenters on my blog. He knew about my struggles and

"Thanks Teru-kun, I appreciate it!" I shouted behind me, as I made a dash for the spot where the flower was planted.

"That better not have been an attempt to make her like you," I heard Hinata say as I reached the stairs. Sometimes he's too overprotective. But I've alredy told him I'm not going to leave him for Teru. In fact, I think that Hinata's overprotectiveness may have caused Teru to like me. If he hadn't been telling Teru to back off when Teru wasn't even trying to get me to like him, Teru may have not considered that he may have been interested in me.

But I couldn't let arguments like that get in the way of our friendship.

Just before I reached the plant, I saw a figure on their knees, trying to nurture the almost dead sunflower back to health. I stopped running so as to not disturb them and observe. It was Aya. I guess she needsthis plant to, just as much as I did when I was alone.

After I stole Hinata, she became jealous of me and started bullying me. However, everyone else realised that she was wrong about me forcing Hinata on a date, which she had made up. In fact, she almost broke this poor sunflower apart. But I found the strength to stop her, only damaging the plant a little In the process. I'll never forget that day, because she opened up to me about her lonliness and how everyone abandoned her when she bullied me. I had told her that she could become like me if she tried.

But she wouldn't accept that she was broken, bent, lonely. She ran off and we haven't talked since.

"What are you doing here, Sumino-san, trying toget me to be your friend again?" said Aya, in her usaul bored tone, waking me up from my memories. I could see the tear marks on her cheeks and she was still trying to stifle a sob.

"Uh, no actually. I heard that you had been crying and I came over to see if you were okay. I also came to give you this." I said, holding out the bag of seeds I had carefully wrapped for her. "It's an apology present. I'm sorry if I caused your life to be miserable, and if you need anything, please tell me."

Aya just stared at me for a second but then snatched the bag off me and said, " Well, I'm fine as you can see, I don't need help, and if you kept out of my life, I might just become a little happier!"

"But the sunflower, I just saw you taking care of it…"

"NO! I was just, umm…," she said a little flustered, " Oh, I give up! Yes, I need the flowerbecause I have no one to talk to! Yes, I need help! But you aren't making it any better, so just stop your stupid act and leave! She screamed and ran off outside th school, still holding the bag of seeds.

"Wait, Aya…! I'm not acting…don't go…" I cried. Why did she have to be so stubborn? I'm only doing what's best for her… yet she thinks she can do it herself. I need to prove to her that we all still want to be friends with her. But how?

I sulked back to class and thought about nothing else for the whole day. Arisa, Hinata, Teru and the others were puzzled by this but kept away from me.

"Umm, excuse me Sumikawa-san, do want to come to our sleepover party tonight?" asked one of the other Yr 8 girls. I thought about it and almost said no but I realised that this could be the chance I need to get everyone on board with helping Aya.

"Sure! And it's Sumino, by the way."

"Great! Everyone, Sumina-san is joining us as well!"

I guess a part of me will always be forgotten. Some people can just never remember.