I stare at Hajime-san. I'm not lying. He's cute. Really cute. A regular Asian, of course. So... black hair, brown eyes. Yeah. His hair's long, but not too long. It's the perfect length! Although he looks like he just woke up. But the bed head look suits him. Definitely suits him.
He's tall, looks about 18 or 19ish, has a few earrings in both ears, and looks nice enough too. And of course, his string. Tying him to our current client.
"Friends of yours?" Hajime-san asks, curiously looking at me and Mitsuki.
"Oh! Um... yes, I... I guess you could say that," Miyano-san replies, almost nervously. Yup. She's totally a girl in love. Her personality completely changed and everything. But, somehow, I have a feeling this is what she's really like.
A tap on my shoulder. Mitsuki's desperately trying to get my attention. "What?" I whisper, turning my head towards her only slightly. I'm busy watching Miyano-san and Hajime-san interact with each other.
"Is that him?" she whispers back.
I nod. "It's him all right," I reply.
Looking at him a second time, I try to analyze. Obviously, he's not rich. He has a slight but still noticeable slouch. Rich people, I've found out, don't really slouch. Especially when they stand. His hair isn't as healthy as Miyano-san's, so I'm guessing he probably doesn't care much about how he looks. I've also found that extremely rich people like to pay attention to their appearance. Although, Hajime-san looks perfectly fine without caring for his appearance.
"Oh... I better get back to work," Hajime-san says all of a sudden, looking behind him, towards the door.
"Oh! I'm sorry... I must have kept you from your work again," Miyano-san says with a small, apologetic smile.
Hajime-san smiles back, then with a small bow of his head, replies, "Well then, I'll see you later Shizuka-chan." He gives us a smile and a nod and leaves.
Miyano-san slowly turns back towards us, keeping her eyes down towards the table. We sit in silence for a few moments, each waiting for the other to begin talking. I would like for Miyano-san to start the conversation, but after a few minutes, I see that wasn't going to be the case. Her eyes were still glued to the table, and she was only taking small sips from her tea.
"Uhh... that... Hajime-kun..." I say cautiously. "Is he the one that–"
"Yes," Miyano-san replies automatically. She looks up at me with a sad smile. "Yes. He's the one I truly wanted to talk to you about."
I sat quietly, trying to figure out how to start. The plans we'd come up with had completely disappeared from my mind.
Luckily, Mitsuki remembered a bit better than I did. "When did you two meet?" she asked me, and elbowed me (lightly... luckily), signaling me to take out the notebook. I quickly scrambled to do so.
"About two months ago," Miyano-san replied softly. "Around the same time my marriage was announced..." At the mention of her marriage, her gaze visibly darkened. She obviously did not like Mr. Only-Cute-When-He's-Quiet.
"It was here... actually. When I first met him."
"But this pastry shop opened only a month ago," I can't help but comment. She gives me a bit of a dirty look but, seriously! I couldn't help it...
She sighs. "The shop owner is a friend of my dad's. She invited us to try her pastries before she opened the store to the public. Hajime-kun was already hired by then and was working there for the day," she snaps impatiently. Jeez. The moment her little lover boy walked away, she went right back to normal (well, at least normal for us).
So I sigh and nod. "All right... sorry for interrupting..." I mutter, as she had stopped talking, giving me expectant looks instead. Of course Miyano-san would expect an apology.
"We decided to come here because we were going to have Matsura-san make my wedding cake. So... of course, Kawashima-san came with us." (Oh, Matsura-san? The owner of this pastry shop. KawashimaCute When Quiet) Miyano-san gives a small, distant smile. I was surprised. I'd figured she'd frown again at the mention of her fiancé.
"He spilled water all over me," Miyano-san says with a laugh. "I remember I was so pissed. And then... I got a good look at him and..." she stopped, but we knew without her having to explain. Love at first sight. A popular thing that occurs between soul mates. (Or so I've heard. Although to tell you the truth, most of the people who say they fell in love at first sight aren't actually tied together. So it was really just lust at first sight. But it does really happen. It just really has to be between soul mates. Does that make sense?)
Miyano-san took a sip of her tea, then continued. "So then... I started to come here more often. Of course, Kawashima-san noticed. But it wasn't like I was seeing Hajime-kun outside of this pastry shop. If I did, it was purely accidental." Her eyes were on the table. "I don't think Kawashima-san knows it's Hajime-kun, but..."
"But he knows he's not the... er, love of your life?" Mitsuki asks cautiously (and a bit awkwardly). But Miyano-san nodded. Quite easily, in fact.
"Not that he, of course, minds," she says, almost bitterly. "We're both only in this marriage agreement for status, not because we're in love."
I stay quiet. I hate it. The word status, I mean. It's such an ugly word. I really truly despise it... who cares about status.
I looked at Miyano-san. She used to care about status. That's why she'd been able to look pleased when her marriage was announced. I kind of wondered... if I wasn't here, how far into the future would they end up together? Maybe the Cute Jerk would die. Oh, I probably shouldn't be thinking that...
We asked a few more questions... got an understanding of where Hajime-san came from. For instance, my notes looked something like this:
1. Is an artist/has some work on display small art... place... thing in Kanagawa (go later!)
2. Small art place display place owned by friend
3. 18 y.o., 5ft7in, cuuuuuute/nice/good w/kids (!)
5. Owns a dog (bumped into client once while walking through park)
6. Seems to enjoy comedy routines... other than art
7. Owner of pastry shopmother of person that owns that small art place
And then, we noticed that a lot of time had passed, so we said our goodbyes and left it at phase: gather background information for the day. (I really should come up with better phase names... and operation names and such. They're all too literal...)
"What do you think?" Mitsuki asked me as we walked home from the train station.
"About everyone's relationships?" I reply. She nods. I stay silent for a few seconds before replying. "Well, obviously, Miynao-san likes Hajime-san. And Kawashima-san and Miyano-san don't like each other. Kawashima-san doesn't know about Hajime-san... and we still don't know how Hajime-san feels about Miyano-san." I look back at Mitsuki. "Still too many unknowns for us to be sure about anything," I conclude.
"So then our next step is..." Mitsuki asks.
I smile at her. "Well, obviously... find out more about the other side of the equation."
Of course, the plan was to go to Kanagawa, to view the artwork Hajime-san had up on display.
That weekend, we did some research (we found out about the art display from the pastry shop owner, of course) and were off.
Now... Miyano-san had never been to this art display place, because it was a small place. If she was seen there, it'd be waaaaay too suspicious. She could only go to art galleries. She wanted to go though. You could tell.
Luckily, Miyano-san now has me and Mitsuki on her side. And... luckily, she gave us train money (we're still only getting allowances from our parents, ok?).
We got there a little past noon, so we ate before we left for the art gallery.
"I'm actually kind of nervous..." I say as I take a bite out of the sandwich I was eating.
"About what?" Mitsuki replies.
I shrug. "About whether or not he likes her. I'm always nervous beforehand," I reply.
Mitsuki looks at me questioningly. "I don't get it," she says. "If they're meant to be together, doesn't it mean that they'll automatically like each other?"
I sigh and put my sandwich down. "Well... it can get pretty complicated," I say thoughtfully. Mitsuki nods and looks at me expectantly. "Well, for example, it can be that one side likes the other side, but the other side doesn't feel that way about that person quite yet and just needs that extra push. After that extra push is given, then they can immediately come to terms with their feelings," I say, trying to make it as simple as possible.
As I was going through my explanation, however, I couldn't help but think... "Just like you, Mitsuki."
We finished eating soon afterwards and so we quickly made our way towards the art gallery. When we got there, we were surprised to see that the art gallery was actually quite crowded.
"Looks like it's actually pretty popular..." I note. Mitsuki quietly nods as we make our way inside.
Once inside, we were even more surprised to see the amount of artwork that was on display. There were paintings, sketches, photos, and... well, basically everything. "How are we supposed to find Hajime-san's work?" I whisper to Mitsuki.
"Are you two friends of Hajime?"
Both of us whip around to see a crazy cute guy (long, messy, black hair... but it totally fit him) standing behind us. I kind of stand there, not sure what to do, but luckily, Mitsuki is a bit better when it comes to talking to people we don't know.
"Uhh somewhat. Why do you ask?" she questions the guy.
The guy smiles and chuckles a bit. "Well, you came in here looking for a particular person's artwork. In a small gallery like this, you come because you know the person," is his simple reply. He holds out a hand. "I'm Tamio Matsura. Owner of this place."
Aaaaah. I see. I shake his hand. "Aya Kobayashi," I state. I nod towards Mitsuki. "And this is my best friend, Mitsuki Watanabe."
She gives a little half-bow and a small smile. "Nice to meet you..." she says.
"So... how do you know Hajime?" Tamio-san asks us.
I just say the first thing that comes to mind. "We saw him working! At your mom's pastry shop!" Crap. Now we sound weird. "Um... this girl..." I say, pushing Mitsuki a bit. "Saw him and uh... was immediately interested. So we... just wanted to go and see... his artwork."
Tamio-san laughed while Mitsuki glared at me. But at least he didn't think we were weird anymore. Just stalkerish high school girls in love. Ok, so maybe not. If he's laughing... "Well," Tamio-san finally is able to say. "Hajime's always been popular... but he's never liked anyone." Tamio-san pauses and looks up, almost thoughtfully. "Actually, you know what, now that I think about it... he's been talking about some girl for a while now." Mitsuki and I exchange glances. Tamio-san frowns, concentrating. "Her name is like... Shi-Shi..."
"Shizuka? Miyano Shizuka?" I immediately blurt out. Mitsuki smacks me. "Ow..."
"Yeah! That's her!" Tamio-san exclaims. But then he stares at me, a suspicious look on his face. "How'd you know?"
I gulp, looking towards Mitsuki for help. If we don't say something, he'll definitely think we're stalkers! Mitsuki has a serious look on her face. "Are you positive that Hajime-san likes Miyano-san?" she asks Tamio-san.
After a moment's pause, Tamio-san nods, then begins to walk away. He turned back to us, and said, "Follow me."
He ends up leading us to a corner filled with Hajime-san's art. But he wouldn't let us look at any of them, and finally stopped in front of a particular painting.
"Look at this. You should get your answer."
Mitsuki and I lean forwards to get a better look at the painting. At first glance, it's a painting of a park. It's the park where all the couples get together. The one I hate (ch. 1!). There's only one person. A woman, standing by a tree. She's not looking towards the painter, so you can only see the side of her face. And we recognize it.
"Ah." Mitsuki and I both say. "It's Miyano-san!"
Tamio-san nods. "He saw her when he was walking his dog..." Oh. Just like Miyano-san said... "He brought the painting here as soon as he finished and begged me to put it on display." Tamio-san looks at us. "Why are you so interested in who he likes?"
I look towards Mitsuki. She nods. I take a deep breath and turn towards Tamio-san. "We're from Angel's Psychic Matchmaking Services. We're currently investigating on behalf of Miyano Shizuka-san."
Tamio-san looks confused. "Angel's... Psychic...? Oh!" He grins. "You're from that one matchmaking psychic! The one that's always managed to match the right people up? And is never wrong?"
I nod. Ok. I'll admit it. It felt great to be complimented. And it made me really happy... that everyone knew that we were out there.
"So wait." Tamio-san looks at the two of us intently. "This... Shizuka-chan... likes Hajime?" Mitsuki and I exchange glances again, then nod. "So... they feel the same way about each other?"
"Apparently..." I reply.
Tamio-san nods slowly. "So wait. Who exactly is Shizuka Miyano?" he asks us. "Why is Hajime freaking out about liking her? He won't tell me."
"Well, considering the fact that Miyano-san is from an extremely rich family and is currently in an arranged marriage for the status upgrade... yeah. I can kinda see why Hajime-san is freaked," I reply bluntly.
Tamio-san can only nod slowly.
We got permission to take a picture of the painting using my cell phone... just so that we could show Miyano-san later. Tamio-san swore he wouldn't tell Hajime-san anything until we had the chance to talk to both Miyano-san and Hajime-san first. Then, I pointed out a girl (who was apparently a regular customer at the café that Tamio-san worked at) and told Tamio-san that he should go talk to her, because I thought they'd be a great match. He was a bit surprised, but looked pleased immediately after, and went to go talk to her.
Outside the art gallery, I took out my cell phone and looked at the painting again. "Well..." I said to Mitsuki. "Time to go back to Tokyo."
Mitsuki nods. "I have band practice soon..."
I smile. "I can't wait for tomorrow."
Mitsuki grins. "So then we..."
We were able to get into the back just fine this time. Our plan was to split up. I would take Miyano-san, Mitsuki would take Hajime-san.
I sat down at the table Miyano-san was sitting at. "Hello Miyano-san," I say pleasantly.
"Why'd you call me out today?" she asks, annoyed. "I have to try on my wedding dress after this."
Of course, her annoyance is an act. I can tell she's trying hard not to show her excitement. "Well... here. Take a look at this," is ay, and shove my cell phone towards her.
Miyano-san looks confused. But she picked up my cell phone anyways and looks at the screen. When she looks at the picture, she looks surprised, yet still confused.
"What is this?" she asks me.
I decide to ignore her question and go on. "Miyano-san, I think you should talk to your parents about Hajime-san. And... about breaking off your engagement."
Miyano-san looks shocked. "But... I can't do that!"
"Then why'd you call me here the very first time?"
She looks away. "Well... I... I... do want to be with him..." At least she's being honest now. She looks back at me now. "But I don't even know how he feels about me! And what if we end up not being right for each other?"
I stare at Miyano-san. "Do you think I'd be helping you if you two weren't meant to be with each other?" I ask her quietly. She looks a bit surprised. "There's one thing I hate, and that's couples that aren't meant to be together. You and Hajime-san are meant to be together." I smile. "So I decided to help you."
She stays silent. "But... even if we are meant to be together, I still don't know how he feels about me–"
"The only thing keeping you two apart is the fear of difference in class." I nod towards my cell phone. "Hajime-san drew that."
"What?" Miyano-san says and grabs for the cell phone again. "But... but this is me right?"
Uh... I didn't say that.
We both turn to find Hajime-san standing to the side of our table. Looking past him, I see Mitsuki, standing in the doorway, giving me a thumbs up.
Grinning, I grab for my cell phone and stand up. "Have fun," I whisper to Miyano-san, and walk quickly towards the door. Turning back around, I see Hajime-san taking my seat, and the both of them looking quite embarrassed.
"Come on, let's go," I whisper to Mitsuki. She nodded and we left.
"Did you hear! Shizuka Miyano broke off her engagement!"
"Are you serious! Why!"
I can't help but grin. Miyano-san breaking off her engagement had been the big news of the morning. She had called me last night, to update me.
She had went straight home after talking to Hajime-san, and told her parents straight out that she didn't want to marry Kawashima-san. She said quite bluntly that she was in love with a "common" artist.
Of course, her dad was furious. Apparently, her mom was understanding and had suspected something for sometime, and stood by her daughter. Then, Kawashima-san came and stated that he too, actually, wanted to break off the engagement, much to everyone's surprise. As it turned out, he was actually already dating someone else in secret. Yeah, I know... I know. What a bastard, right? Not really. The girl he's dating is the girl he's been meant to be with. She's not poor... in fact, she's just as rich as he is, and they're at about the same rank. But he actually loves her and she loves him. So this time, he's not just in it for the status. Hence why I'm not calling him names anymore.
Ahem. Anyways, he seemed to have been trying to figure out how to break his whole relationship with another girl to the Miyano family... as well as his own. In the end, everything worked out... and Miyano-san was even able to convince her dad to sponsor Tamio-san's gallery!
Miyano-san sounded more than happy on the phone. Apparently, if her parents had disagreed, she and Hajime-san were prepared to elope. But now that they didn't have to, they're planning on dating each other. And getting to really know each other. Miyano-san is even planning on getting a part-time job!
Of course, at the pastry store, where it all began.
Oh, and another thing. To express her gratitude, Miyano-san said I had access to the back room in the pastry store, as well as access to any of the pastries... all on her and her family. Of course, to become the main meeting place for ourselves and clients.
That... shocked me. Yet pleased me, of course. Another couple... happily together.
"Why didn't you tell me!" I almost fall out of my chair as Mitsuki runs up to me, shouting... that.
I immediately know what she's talking about. "Well... y-you were at band practice, right? I... didn't... want... to bother... you?" I smile sheepishly.
Mitsuki sighs and shakes her head. Then, her head snaps up as she looks at me, an excited look in her eyes. "Oh! By the way! Did you hear?"
"Hear what?" I ask curiously.
"Ok... so obviously you haven't..." Mitsuki mumbles. I roll my eyes. "Well anyways, we have a new student! A guy... and he's going to be in our class!"
I nod slowly. "Ok..." I say. I'm not the type to get all excited about new students. Even after starting up this business, I'm still not all that great at dealing with people (although I personally believe I'm a bit better than I had been before). Basically, new students more people to deal with. And that's not exactly something I look forwards to.
The door slides open and Takahashi-san walks in (still matching, thank goodness... although he is living with Inoue-san now, so I'm sure that she would stop him if he didn't match). "Good morning class," he says, shutting the door behind him. Luckily, he's lost the whole stuttering thing, but he's still the saaaaame Takahashi-san. Great teacher, nice guy.
"Good morning Takahashi-sensei," we all reply. I, of course, almost, once again, say -san. Stupid habit...
"Well, as some of you may know," Takahashi-san says while straightening papers on his podium. "We have a new students." As people began to whisper excitedly, he turned towards the door. "You can come in now."
We all turned our heads to take a look at our new classmate. He stepped in, and the first thing I thought was... wow. He's cute. I don't think too many of the other girls thought so, thought. He wasn't the "type" that many of them liked. Their "types" were the obvious haha-funny-hot guys. This guy was more the... sarcastic-rebel-hot type. Or... at least that was my first thought... based off of the fact that his tie was loosened, the top button of his shirt unbuttoned, his (obviously dyed) brown hair (spiked... good, not long... long wouldn't have looked good on him), scowl on his face, piercing on his ears and one on his eyebrow, so on.
But, you know, you can't judge a book by its cover. So who knows. Maybe he's a huuuuge comedian and decided to make people think he's the sarcastic-rebel-hot type and then reveal later that he's the haha-funny-hot type... just to make us laugh. Ok so that's unreasonable...
He was totally amazingly cute though. In my opinion. But...I have a strict policy of not dating guys, since I'm basically 100 percent sure I have no fated person, and it's not right to interfere with other people's fates.
"Class, this is Kyo Tamura," Takahashi-san stated as he wrote Tamura...-kun's name on the board. "Tamura, sit down at the empty seat in front of Kobayashi." Eh! Me! Well... I suppose the seat in front of mine is the only open seat... "Kobayashi?"
I slowly raise my hand, and Tamura...-kun makes his way towards the empty seat in front of me. I couldn't help myself. I looked down towards his hand, which was gripped tightly around his school bag.
Aww. How cute. He was actually nervous! ...was my initial thought. But then my attention went to his pinky as he walked closer and closer.
What I saw severely shocked me. Why? I didn't get it. I'd never seen it before... what did it mean? Mitsuki tapped my shoulder, noticing that I'd all of a sudden stiffened. "Aya... what's wrong? Is he connected to someone in this class or something?"
As Tamura-kun sat down in front of me, I managed to turn around, knowing that Takahashi-san wouldn't reprimand me, and I whispered back, "I wouldn't know who he's connected to, Mitsuki. His string is broken. Not attached... not gone... just... broken."
I felt it was going to be the start of a very confusing relationship.