After school, we took the long way home so no one would see us together. We walked along the empty railroad line, a narrow lane with fences and brick walls on both sides.
Hayasaka-san says as she walks beside me. She is wearing an impeccable summer uniform, her hair is short with a shy expression on her face.
Hayasaka-san said before taking a sip of the tea she had just bought from the vending machine.
– Do you also want some, Kirishima-kun?
-Are you sure?
She hands me the bottle with the greatest of ease. I already have a drink in my bag, but with the hot weather, I’m in the mood for something a little cooler. But is this a good idea?
I can’t help but notice Hayasaka-san’s cool lips, since she’d just take a sip. If I drank it, then it would be an indirect kiss.
But Hayasaka-san was not thinking about it at all and had a pure smile on her face. If I hesitate here, I will be letting her know that I am aware of this situation. So I proceeded to drink the tea without worrying about anything.
-That’s an indirect kiss.
As soon as she said that, I started coughing.
-…You’ve got to be kidding me, Hayasaka-san.
Hayasaka-san makes a peace sign, though her expression is rather bashful and her cheeks are flushed.
-Don’t be embarrassed about something you just said.
-I’m not ashamed.
Hayasaka-san is clearly embarrassed despite her denial, so she tries to deflect the conversation.
-During the break, you were talking very enthusiastically with your friends.
-Yes, he seems to be in love.
-What? Kirishima-kun giving advice to his friends about love situations?
-Yes, although I don’t look like that kind of guy. I’m a bit simple and I wear glasses.
-But I like the way Kirishima-kun looks. You’re like a manga character who is a good student.
-You still don’t get it.
-So, what advice did you give to this friend?
-I explained the simple contact effect.
When I said that, Hayasaka-san, whose eyes were shining, suddenly became droopy and said, «Ah, yes.»
-Why that name? It sounds like it was created by Kirishima-kun.
-That’s definitely not a compliment.
The single contact effect is a psychological effect that is explained as follows; «It is easy to have a favorable impression of what you see and hear often».
This explains why we buy things we have seen in advertisements, and why we like people who are close to us more than those who are far away.
-People like what they know. So I advised him to see the girl he liked every day. To say hello to her, to interact with her every day, to do his best to like her.
-I see, so that’s how it works.
Nodding, Hayasaka-san’s expression changed to a mischievous look.
-…Well, let’s do it too.
He then proceeds to place the back of her hand on the back of mine little by little.
-L-Let’s hold hands.
-I’m not talking about that kind of contact. I’m talking about perceptual contact, like seeing and hearing….
-But, if the contact is direct, doesn’t that mean it would have more effect?
She shifts the bag on her shoulder to the opposite side from me and moves closer to my side. She’s so close that I can’t help but get nervous.
…Certainly, if direct contact is achieved, it can become more effective. Although Hayasaka-san said it very casually, it could carry a lot of weight in the face of that point of view.
We men are weak before women. If a girl touches your shoulder, it is inevitable that you get nervous, and if she hugs you in a place where you are alone, falling in love with her is inevitable.
Perhaps it is a mechanism of the heart that cannot be controlled by the mind. There is a special power in the act of touching.
What would happen if I were to shake hands with Hayasaka-san here? I might fall in love with Hayasaka-san more than I think in my head.
Or I may end up liking it more than I think I will.
Hayasaka-san puts the back of her hand on mine again.
She is getting closer and closer that my arm almost touches her breasts. Hayasaka-san has the face of a young girl, but her body is quite mature.
I was suddenly embarrassed and turned my face away.
-Holding hands goes against all logic. It is inappropriate for examining the psychological effects of…
-It’s a bad habit to try to escape by reasoning like that, Kirishima-kun.
Hayasaka-san tried to hold my hand, but I quickly hid it in my pants pocket.
-Hmph, I guess I’ll link arms with you then.
When Hayasaka-san made a gesture to hug my arm, I hurriedly moved out of the way.
As I walked away from her, my eyes naturally fell on her white blouse and chest since she said she would link arms.
-Hehehehe, I’m beginning to understand why Kirishima-kun is embarrassed.
-I don’t know what you mean.
-If we touch each other a lot, we might get to know each other even better, right?
Hayasaka-san’s expression turns mischievous and she tries to stick to me. It was completely unavoidable to start running, and I ended up being chased by her through an alley.
Hayasaka-san, she looks like a child in both her facial expressions and in what she does, but her arms and legs extending from her uniform do nothing but reflect the high school student that she is. She has beautiful skin, and her cheeks are strangely sexy whenever she takes a breath and turns red.
I’m still not ready to touch Hayasaka-san’s skin, so I just ran away. I’m not an athletic person, so I tripped over my feet and fell to the ground, while Hayasaka-san overtakes me and stretches out at the end of the path.
-Haah… You leave me no choice.
She steps in the middle of the alley as if trying to prevent me from leaving the place. I got up and headed towards her as I tried to break through the wall that is her body.
-You’ve gone too far, Kirishima-kun!
Hayasaka-san collides with me using her body, and pushes my shoulder back with great force.
-Stop, it’s too early for us!
-It’s time to take the next step.
Wait a minute… What do you mean by taking the next step? I thought this was all about the simple contact effect. What do you want to do with me?
-W-What are you doing?
This is quite exhilarating! But still…
-Hayasaka-san, you’ve never had contact with a man. You should be ashamed of yourself. Don’t pretend to be an experienced woman!
After I said those words, Hayasaka-san’s eyes began to fill with tears, after all, my words were right.
-W-W-W-What are you trying to say, Kirishima-kun?
-You’re too shy to want to do something like this.
-I-I-It’s Kirishima-kun’s fault!
And as if a malevolent idea began to germinate in her head, she continued speaking while making a mischievous expression with her face.
-It’s been a long time since you shook my hand!
She is too strong a girl. Despite her cute face, and her innocent good girl attitude, it’s impossible to beat her in physical ability. But, even so, I tried to face her and push Hayasaka-san back, but it was impossible. Every time I managed to get rid of her, she clung to me again.
-Hey, don’t push yourself too hard, your face is too red.
-I’m not pushing myself, this is just a fever I got this morning!
-What’s that got to do with it?
It seems that she still felt embarrassed, or maybe she was telling the truth…
The next morning, the whole classroom followed Hayasaka-san with their eyes. She unfolded her textbook and began to prepare for class.
She writes something in her notebook and says; «Good morning» every time someone greets her.
She has always been a very sociable person, but today she has a very unusual energy. I think she’s pushing herself too hard.
-Good morning, Hayasaka!
A boy from the other class came in with a rather relaxed attitude, and spoke to her in a very casual manner.
-Tonight we have band rehearsal in the studio. Do you want to come and listen?
-I’m sorry… I can’t go at night. They don’t let me leave the house so late.
-I see. Well, I’ll call you later.
As the boy leaves the classroom, he says to himself; «damn, I didn’t get it». The kids in the class who were watching the situation start talking to each other.
-Hayasaka-san’s still very sheltered.
-Don’t you get it? That’s what’s good about her. She’s perfect. Her feelings, her purity, the way she treats people. She is the reflection of a girl who is being well educated by her parents.
-According to my own research, rumor has it that her father is the only man in her phone contacts.
The boys’ conversation is taking place right behind me, but I don’t plan to join in. I don’t plan to comment on Hayasaka-san.
-She is so shy that even if you could talk to her, it would be difficult.
-And that makes it even more perfect. I wish Hayasaka would tell me; «Um… It’s embarrassing to walk hand in hand with you».
-I’ve heard that Hayasaka-san has received many confessions, but she has never been with anyone. In other words, she is a very naive girl in relationships.
Their voices are so loud that Hayasaka-san looks at her textbook and buries her head in it in embarrassment.
-Hey, you guys, don’t have weird fantasies about Akane-chan.
One of the girls nearby exclaimed. Akane is Hayasaka-san’s first name.
-I have zero tolerance for that kind of talk!
Finally, the bell rings and everyone returns to their seats. The boys look at Hayasaka-san with regret, and the girls cast threatening glances to protect her.
Through all the conflict generated, I saw her raise her face from the book little by little, and she rested her gaze on the boys in curiosity.
«Don’t look too much, or people will notice.» I said in my mind at the same time as I signaled her with my eyes.
Her gaze was gentle, and her cheeks were slightly red. I wish I was with her, but I turned my gaze to the board and turned my attention to the class. The relationship between her and me is a secret to everyone.
And this same pattern of behavior between the two of us takes place again even at lunchtime.
I’m eating alone, and Hayasaka-san is talking to a boy sitting next to her. They were talking about the survey on future careers that the teacher explained today.
-Will you study liberal arts or science, Hayasaka-san?
-You’d look good in a literature department-a literary girl reading a novel on a campus bench!
The other students join the conversation.
-Why not study English literature? It goes more with your style and personality.
-Or even Home Economics!
While everyone was talking very devoutly, Hayasaka-san said in a reserved manner.
-I would like to study nursing.
For a moment, they all stare at each other with a confused expression on their faces. That is not the image Hayasaka-san was conveying to them.
-Oh, I see!
exclaimed one of the boys who seemed to be a genius at reading the atmosphere of the place.
-So you’re going to be a nurse! I’d really like the angelic Hayasaka-san to take care of me!
Suddenly, the mood of the people around them returned to normal.
Hayasaka-san watches me slyly and smiles faintly.
These people are disgusting. They see her as a symbol or an object. A fashion icon that can only represent seriousness, innocence and beauty.
Although it is inevitable that they will see it that way.
Taking notes in class, writing notes for classmates who forgot to ask about the scope of the exam, and helping the professor with materials even when he or she is not on duty.
She is a little uncomfortable with physical activity, but strives to jump the hurdles, and overcome all obstacles.
As for her career, Hayasaka-san wants to go to veterinary school because she wants to spend all her time with furry animals, so she’s not too far from that image.
Everyone loves her. But sometimes that love seems to be the same as that of a pretty doll. They only see her as a symbol.
Because of that, everyone is not aware that Hayasaka-san’s behavior is different from usual. I was so worried that I couldn’t bear to look at her, so I got up and went to her seat.
Hayasaka-san expressed great confusion. It was something normal, since we have never crossed paths like this during classes.
-Hayasaka-san, why is your face red?
It was then that everyone realized that Hayasaka-san had not been feeling well all day.
You’re asking too much of yourself, Hayasaka-san. You said so yourself yesterday.
-You have a fever, don’t you?
Just before fifth period started, I slipped out of class.
I saw Hayasaka-san through the window, leaving early to go home. After a while, I caught up with her as she trudged through the school gate.
-Kirishima-kun, what’s wrong?
-let me walk you home. I’ll hold your bag.
-…I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb you.
-Hayasaka-san, you are trying too hard.
-… Yeah. But, you know, when I’m in front of everybody, I tend to act like a good girl. Even if the truth is otherwise.
She said as she lowered her head, and continued speaking.
-I’m worse than people think.
She looked like she was about to collapse, and I couldn’t help but hold her hand.
Hayasaka-san’s eyes widen when she sees our hands together.
-Well… I thought I’d try the single contact effect with you.
-Um, so… Does it work?
-I don’t know. I’m starting to feel hot. It’s like I have a fever…
-I think I like it a lot.
Hayasaka-san squeezes my hand even tighter and pulls his body closer to mine.
-Maybe there is an effect.
The weight supported and the heat transmitted. It makes its presence even stronger than unusual.
-People at the school would be very surprised to know that I’m doing this with you….
-It would be a scandal.
Hayasaka-san now has a sweet expression that she never shows in the classroom.
-I have always wanted to touch Kirishima-kun.
After saying that, she clings to me happily with a flushed face. It’s as if she enjoys being with me.
-I think I’ll try catching a fever more often.
-Because Kirishima-kun is kind to me when I do.
Hayasaka-san clings to me with her face and body much closer and tighter than necessary.
-You’re doing this on purpose.
-When I feel better, we’ll do more and more pranks!
-Yes, after all, I’m not a good girl.
I took Hayasaka-san by the arm and walked her home. Her appearance reflected how very sick she was, but she smiled contentedly as she said; «Hehehe».
If someone saw us, they would think that a girl as pretty as her ended up dating a boring looking guy like me out of pity. But in a way, she and I are lovers, so that thought wouldn’t be so wrong.
But we have a secret that we can’t tell anyone. I like someone other than Hayasaka-san.
And Hayasaka-san has someone she likes other than me. In other words…
We are dating even though we have other people we like.