When a book he doesn’t recognise is lying just outside of the gate of his house, what do you think Tamamori would do?
A book, more like a journal or a diary. It looks important, it could be someone’s agenda, too. Someone must’ve dropped it at some point between last night and this morning. Who it belongs to, Tamamori doesn’t know.
He looks to his left side, then right. The road’s empty.
Okay, so back to the question.
What would Tamamori do in this situation?
Option one; ignore it. If it’s important, the owner will retrace their steps and eventually finds it. And even if the owner doesn’t get it back, he wouldn’t care who it belongs to.
Option two; take a peek. There should be a name written somewhere on it. If it’s someone who uses this road every day, he may even know who it belongs to.
Option three; take it for himself, read it.
And of course, Tamamori being Tamamori, he’d take option three no doubt.
Tamamori is curious about the content. On top of it, it looks like a personal diary; so maybe he’ll even get inspiration from reading it.
The notebook is the size of twice his palm, about the same size for the ones primary students use for their notebooks. It seems like it’s still brand new, but when he flips through the book; all the pages have been used. There’s no more empty page.
The owner’s name isn’t written anywhere on the cover nor the first page. So it’s not Tamamori’s fault for peeking.
As he reads the content, there’s one thing he notices; it’s Minakami’s handwriting.
He concludes that this is just another one of Minakami’s notebook where he writes his impressions on the books he read. He might have dropped it just as he was leaving this morning.
It’s a shame that this isn’t someone’s personal diary like he hoped and just Minakami’s notebook. He was so sure it’d be his new source of inspiration.
But this notebook; it’s a bit bigger than the usual ones Minakami use, that’s why he hadn’t thought about the possibility of it being Minakami’s.
But, whose work is he writing about? The first page doesn’t specify any title or author.
So, he continues reading. As he turns the pages, it refreshes his memory.
The passages Minakami mentioned. The characters. The story.
It was Tamamori’s.
More precisely, it was Tamamori’s first manuscript.
More than ten years ago, on a piece of paper he ripped from his school notebook. It was the first time he put his story on a piece of paper. He recalled running to Minakami’s class as soon as the bell rang and gave it to Minakami.
He turns the page again, and Minakami keeps talking about his impressions. They are long, so long. So, so … so long. Even longer than the impression he wrote on Kyuusaku’s works.
The story itself wasn’t even that long, it’s just a short story he made in class. It’s a six-year old boy’s story, created on a whim with the intention of impressing his friend.
Eventually, Minakami’s writing ended, at the last page of the book. Together with Tamamori’s name and the title of the short story.
He doesn’t even realise his face has gotten this warm.
Minakami … doesn’t really use a lot of difficult words to tell his impressions. Actually, he just keeps repeating the same words.
I love Tamamori’s characters, they are all so unique.
Tamamori hides the main character’s true purpose which I didn’t realise, but I love it.
This ending is making me love it even more.
I love the way Tamamori—
The book shuts with a loud snap.
Tamamori can’t take more of this.
It’s way too embarrassing.
When Tamamori said Minakami’s written thoughts are like a love letter to each work, he meant it.
Each word describes the lines he loves. How it resonates with him. His interpretation on the scenes and how he loves the twists.
But, when he writes a whole book just to express his love for Tamamori’s short story which was only written under twenty minutes in class, of course Tamamori would get embarrassed.
Instead of a love letter for his work.
It feels more like—
It’s a love letter for him.
He takes the book with him and runs. To Minakami’s house.
There, Minakami is sitting on the bench under roof shade. Onigiri in hand and his body covered in sweat. He still has two more onigiris on his bamboo leaves so it seems he has only just taken his break.
Minakami sees him approaching and smiles brightly.
“Tamamori! Is there anything y—”
“What. Is. This.” Tamamori shoves the book in front of Minakami’s face. He almost drops his onigiri from something being shoved so close to his face, and so suddenly.
Minakami fakes a surprised face, then laughs nervously. His head is lowered and he scratches his cheek with his other hand, “oh, it’s with you. I lost it this morning.”
“Lost it?” He glares at Minakami.
Minakami visibly swallows, “… I pretended … I lost it.”
“Pretended!?” Tamamori stomps his feet and takes a seat on Minakami’s side. It’s annoying how Minakami could just drop a book in front of his gate, then knows exactly Tamamori would even pick it up and read it without a doubt.
“It almost got stolen by a cat,” he adds, his arms crossed.
“Eh!?” this time, Minakami’s shocked face isn’t fake. “I’m glad you picked it up on time then. Tamamori told me to write what I think about your works, so it’d be a shame if I actually lost it.”
“D-don’t just take what I said on face value!”
“S-sorry.” Minakami chuckles and takes another bite of his lunch. “I actually have the second and third book with me. I don’t know if I should give them to you altogether or one by one, so I’m still bringing it with me. Do you want to read them now?”
“Second and—what? Just—h-how many are there!?”
“Huh? I don’t know, the second and third are actually my impression on your second manuscript. It didn’t fit in one book so I’m using two. I’m using a bigger notebook for your third story and I think it’ll fit this time.”
“… Are you planning on writing impressions for all my manuscripts?”
There are probably hundreds of them.
And Minakami is planning on what?
Minakami nods excitedly. “Yeah, that’s what I’m planning.”
Tamamori looks at the book in his hand.
Even his ears feel warm now. And his heart has been beating loud since he reads the book. Is it even safe for his heart to be beating at this speed rate?
Is Minakami planning on murder, by making his heart beats too quick and die?
Only reading one of Minakami’s notebook is embarrassing enough, and he’s saying he has to read more of them? For each of his manuscripts?
Reading all those compliments Minakami is going to give him. All the praises, then about his adoration with the story. And Minakami is just going to keep repeating words like love to the scenes he finds beautiful.
About what passages he loves.
About how he loves—
Tamamori is starting to regret ever being jealous of the authors in Minakami’s notebook. He’s even mentally apologising to Kyuusaku.
Why did he even suggest Minakami to write his impressions on his works?
He lifts Minakami’s notebook and hides his face behind it. He wishes the book had been bigger so he can hide himself better with it, but then realises the next second that he wouldn’t want that.
It’s probably not going to do a good job at hiding his flushed face, but he only wishes at least Minakami won’t notice them.
How many more of these love letters will he need to read?
“Please, give me a break, Minakami.”