'Saaaaaajoooou~' I hear Kusakabe's bored voice. He's sitting next to me, his head lying on the desk, his dreamy eyes fixing me.
'Just one more page,' I reply, not looking up.
'You're doing it for hoooooours,' he yammers. 'This is so boring...'
'I know.' I adjust my glasses and continue writing; my wrists already hurt as I haven’t stopped filling those empty pages for so long. I've been doing my math homework for summer school for two hours and Kusakabe sat by my side. We were alone in our classroom; some blurred and quiet noises came in from outside but it didn’t bother us. I didn't force him to be with me, he did it without asking.
And, to be honest, I liked the fact I wasn’t alone. (Even though it meant that he made attempts to distract me from my task with sweet kisses.)
We have an unusually and unbearably hot summer day, and he got bored so easily. I risk a quick glance at him. Kusakabe is playing with the bracelet he always wears on his wrist; those honey-like strands of his are falling into his forehead and disheveled and I suddenly find myself feeling the urge to touch his fluffy hair.
'If you let me finish, I'll be ready soon.' I say instead.
'I hope so.' He sighs. 'Hey, what would you like to do later? Maybe we could buy some ice cream. Man, it's so hot today... What's your favourite taste? I personally love lemon ice cream.'
'Kusakabe.' I kindly remind him that I can only work in silence.
'Ah, okay, okay, just finish it already,' he replies like an obedient child and lays his head down on the desk again.
Some moments of silence pass by. Outside the classroom I can hear the birds singing; a light breeze keeps stirring the leaves on the trees. The golden rays of sunshine illuminate every corner of the room. Kusakabe starts humming a quiet melody as I'm solving the math tasks, the curtains of the classroom are slowly waving in the light breeze, drawing cheeky shadows on the floor that are joyfully chasing each other. I love this idyll.
It's really hot today, I'm getting tired but the thought Kusakabe is with me gives me the extra power I need to finish.
'Would you like to go to the park?’ He breaks the silence. A mischievous smile appears on his lips. ‘We could bath in the fountain together~'
'Kusakabe!' My face is already red.
'Got it.’ His laugh makes me feel the butterflies in my stomach. ‘I let you work.'
A continuous stream of numbers written with black ink on snow white paper, this is all I can see. I only have three tasks to do, thanks God. I feel thirsty but the bottle in front of me on the desk is already empty.
‘You have another one in your bag, right?’ Kusakabe asks as he guesses what I was thinking about. ‘Let me look for it.’
I don’t even say a word as he leans down to my bag that is carefully placed on the floor beside my chair. I continue solving the task while he opens my bag.
'Oh, what do we have here?' I hear his surprised voice abruptly. I look up immediately and I see him taking a packet out of my bag. Shock paints my cheeks red. My eyes widen. The pen falls out of the loosened hold of my fingers; it reaches the floor with a loud thud.
'What is it?' He asks gently, looking at the object wrapped in deep blue packing paper, tied with a sunny yellow ribbon. I try to take it from him but he lifts it up so that I can't reach it.
'Kusakabe, please,' I whine desperately; embarrassment paints crimson red stains on my cheeks.
'Tell me what it is!'
I blush even deeper, not looking at him. I don’t want to say it. Not like this. Not now. I am not even prepared! But Kusakabe is waiting; the packet is laying on his palm, floating in the air, so I take a deep breath and say:
'A... a present.'
I don't answer.
‘For Hara-sen maybe?’ He asks; his voice is dubious.
‘No!’ I stand up because I really want to take it from his hand, I really want to finish it, ah, it went all wrong, I didn’t want it to happen like this.
I stand on my tiptoe to grab it and take it away from him but he doesn't let me. He's too tall, I can't reach the present.
'Sajou~' He leans down to kiss my cheek, giggling. 'Ne, tell me. Who's it for?'
I can't help it, my face turns ruby red. Okay then. Tell it. I keep looking at the floor as I mumble:
Kusakabe gets silent. The present is still laying on his palm and he takes a look at it again. Several minutes pass by like this, the sound of the birds outside the school is the only one we can hear.
'For me?' He whispers finally, and lets his arm down. 'Why?'
I don't say anything. Why do I feel so embarrassed? Why do I have to turn red every time he’s that close to me?
'For your birthday.'
'I know it's on Sunday but I won't be at home as we are going to visit my grandparents. They live far away so I guess we’ll be away for a week, at least. So I thought I would give it to you today.' I’m speaking too fast, as if I was pleading as an excuse.
Those horrible, empty moments when he doesn’t say a word…
I messed it up, right?
'You bought something for my birthday?' He asks me quietly. I can’t tell what the feeling his eyes are reflecting is. Surprise? Love? I have to shut my own eyes as it is too much for me.
'I... I actually made it myself.'
'Can I open it?'
He carefully unties the yellow ribbon and opens the present. He has to unroll the paper, his motions are careful and slow. I know my present is something sentimental but Kusakabe likes romantic gestures so it is fine.
It is a painting of him and me, sitting in the garden of the school. We’re surrounded by millions of emerald leaves and the golden rays of the sun paints light lines into our hair. I did my best to paint it; it took a whole afternoon to do it but I was pretty sure Kusakabe would like it.
And so does he.
He's smiling as he's gazing at my painting. As if it was the most beautiful thing he has seen in his life. I almost lose my balance and fall as he grabs my hand abruptly and pulls me closer till I found myself sitting on his lap; his arms are wildly embracing me.
'Thank you,' he whispers. 'Thank you very much, Sajou.'
'Not at all.' I blush deeply. How is it possible to blush even deeper?! 'Happy birthday, Kusakabe.'
‘Ne, Sajou. We’re alone. Can I kiss you?’
He leans closer to reach my lips. My exercise book with the math homework is still there but I don’t care. Golden rays of sunshine make our figures glowing; emerald green leaves are dancing in the breeze, watching us silently while we’re kissing.