They make their way, feet bare, down the shoreline of a deserted beach. Families, groups of students, other couples, remain visible same as the white sails leading out to the blue horizon But this tiny space of sand and dying waves is theirs.
"I've never been before."
That actually surprises Akiyama. "Never? Not even on a field trip?"
"I've been but…" Words elude Nao. She makes do with a stick-drawn shape in a wet patch of sand. "This is new."
The heart—empty, incomplete—beacons him. He makes his contribution: A. S. + K. N. and realizes vividly what she means.