Gradually it OpensMature

The day Shina had confessed to me honestly that she wanted us to be only friends I was slightly grateful but also disappointed. I was happy that she still wanted to interact with me, but sad that she could only consider us friends. However, it was a fact that she still wanted to talk to me. If possible, I didn't want to force her to accept me. I also want to do what I can for her. Am I being too conceited? I don't know, but I feel if I stay with her something interesting will happen and surely I'll find out the reason as to why she said we were similar.

After that day, I had been going to school regularly and for a while, after a week had passed since the day she said for us to be just friends she had greeted me in the morning.

The morning sun was as always bright and unbearably annoying and the breeze of the wind had become colder. The winter season was approaching. The cherry blossom trees have also withered away all their leaves and blossoms onto the floor, so they were now nothing more than lifeless trees waiting for the next spring. The air smelled like pine cones as winter was becoming more dominant.

When I arrived at the school as usual the teachers were patrolling the front for any uniform violations. This time around as the season was beginning to get colder, the students were to change their uniforms into longer-sleeved shirts for the winter, although the girls were still forced to wear skirts. Sometimes, I feel as though the girls suffer the most in winter with having to cope with wearing a skirt even in winter.

Since I was warm inside of my long-sleeved shirt I was happily strutting towards the shoe cupboards. As I slipped on my shoes as usual, I walked into the hall area of the shoe cupboards to see if Shina had arrived as well. Looking towards the area where her shoes were, she was standing there holding her shoes.

Shina was getting ready to put on her shoes as well. I waved towards Shina to see if she would respond to my greeting. Shina gave me a strange look as if she was hesitating towards whether or not to greet me. Seeing as how she didn't really have any intention of returning my greeting I felt it would be fine of me to just lay back and at least walk with her to the classroom.

I lean my back to the side of the cupboards that were closed and wait for Shina to finish putting on her shoes. After Shina slipped on her shoes she turned to look at me. I gave her a greeting as she continued to stare at me with her emerald eyes.

"Morning, Shina."

Shina stares at me intensely as if contemplating to greet me. After a few moments, her eyes stare straight into mine and I can't help but freeze and stare straight back at her.

"Good morning, Kazuki!"

It was the first time she had ever greeted me since we became "friends". My heart began to skip around rapidly at her very first greeting to me. I was beyond myself with happiness for absolutely no good reason, but still I was without a doubt happy as words can describe. 

"Y-yeah... Morning, Shina. Let's walk to class together?"

"Yeah..." Shina mumbled quietly.

Shina's face was beginning to turn bright red from embarrassment as the other students around began whispering amongst themselves. Another batch of rumors is sure to spread again now, that will be troublesome, but I suppose I can deal with it if it's for Shina. Shina followed beside me as we walked to the classroom. I'm happy that she is willing open up a bit more to me. 

I feel as though my original personality is slowly fading away... This isn't good at all, I'm becoming more and more in love with Shina. It's becoming harder to suppress myself from acting out of character.

As me and Shina enter the classroom together the other students all turn their gaze towards us. The students of our class stare intently at us and begin observing us as if we were zoo animals. I turned up the volume on my music player a bit as the students continued to stare at us, some even began to start gossiping. We both walk quietly towards our desk and seat ourselves in our chairs and set our bags down as well. The students in the classroom were gossiping obviously as if they wanted us to hear whatever they were saying.

I turned to look at how Shina was doing and she seemed to be making a complicated expression, which I found slightly funny. I suppressed a laugh and laid my head on the desk as the music continued to play from my music player. The sounds of the students were being drowned out by the music playing I closed my eyes as I laid my head down on the desk. I listened intently onto the music so that I wouldn't hear any gossip nonsense. The world isn't a beautiful place after all...

Busying myself with music I hadn't noticed that Shina was staring at me until I opened my eyes. She was showing me a pouting expression, the same one she showed me when I didn't call her, Shina. It had been such a long time since I had seen that face so I was slightly surprised and bewildered. I wanted to laugh but it would make Shina angry. Although it didn't matter to me whether Shina was pouting or angry at me as either expression was equally cute. If I told her she was cute she would probably be blushing like mad. I kinda, would love to see that...

It took a while before classes finally began as the teacher had been late. Shina was no longer bullied so it was nice that she was beginning to open up to me little by little and showing more expressions in public. However, truthfully, inside of my heart I wanted to keep all of Shina's expressions to myself and show them to no one else. I've become greedy without realizing it. 

Although Shina was more open with her emotions now and wasn't being bullied like before, she still didn't associate with anyone but me, so rumors about us being a couple began to spread. Not that I mind anyway, in fact, I actually liked that rumor. Sometimes, I feel as though that rumor may affect me in terms of being conceited with myself. I should be careful...

When lunch finally came around, me and Shina headed together towards the library's private room to eat our lunch. Shina had stopped refusing my invitations to go together since she greeted me this morning. How strange... I wonder, what made her change her mnd? Could it be because she said we would be friends officially that she is now being more open towards me? Shina is still a mystery to me.

I let Shina into the private room of the library first as she carried the extra bento box that I've been bringing for her. She sets the bento box on the usual table and takes a seat on the chair. After she enters, I follow behind after locking the door of the private room. I do the same steps as Shina had done and seat myself on the chair opposite of hers. 

The bento boxes laid on the table alongside my music player and our two books. Shina looks at me and smiles happily. It seems as though she can only ever smile so freely when we are in the library's private room. Other areas it feels as though Shina tries her best to hide her full smile.

"Let's eat, Kazuki!" yells Shina excitedly.

"Mmm, yeah."

I pick up my bento box and we open it at the same time. The contents of the bento is that of various vegetables and fruits with a little bit of meat her and there. Since I made both bento boxes, the contents were the same for myself and Shina.

Shina takes the first bite. She puts her hand to her cheek as she begins to moan in delight.


My heart flutters happily to her comment. Calm down heart! I don't need that kind of thing, right now!

I also begin to eat after Shina had started. We eat the bento boxes in delight. As I chewed the food in my mouth, I began to think about things I knew about Shina.

Come to think of it... I don't know much about Shina's family life.

I began to get curious, however it would certainly be rude of me to suddenly ask about Shina's family not to mention we haven't even known each other for very long. I decided to not ask her, but it would be nice if she tells me. As I was contemplating, Shina called out to me. 


"Hmm...?" I responded.

"Kazuki, are you thinking about me?" asked Shina.

I hadn't noticed it but Shina was extremely close to my face. When did she? 

"S-Shina...? Y-your face is too close..." I try to push Shina's face away but she doesn't budge an inch. "S-Shina, t-too close..."

"Kazuki, do you want to know about me?" Shina asks me with her emerald eyes staring deep into my blue eyes. 

I was feeling pressure from Shina's eyes. It was as if Shina was reading deep into my soul and I didn't know how to deal with her strong gaze. I couldn't look away.  What is this felling in my chest? I feel as though I'm being sucked in.

"Do you?" asks Shina again.

"I-I don't know..." I reply. I couldn't put any power into my words as I responded to Shina's question. I honestly didn't know. I didn't know how to feel about Shina Hayashi. I also didn't know why she was asking me with such a pressuring voice.

No... I could definitely feel it from within her words... Shina was implying something from her words. As if she was saying, "If you wish to know, you must be prepared."

Shina looked at me and then smiled. All the tension that was in the air suddenly disappeared, then she spoke in a sweet voice, different to the one that was threatening me a minute ago.

"Class is starting. Let's go, Kazuki."

Shina turns to leave for the classroom. I hadn't even realized the bell had rung. Still, what was that just now? It was so strange, I've never felt such a strong pressure before... Perhaps, I should consult KoiBane-Sensei later, although I don't really want to rely on that eccentric teacher too much...

Scratching my head in confusion I head out the library door and go back to class.

The End

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