Snow Falling – Chapter 2
“Hey! Your sister is in senior year, right?” Kenta asked Shiniji. The 4 friends, Kenta, Airi, Tatsuya, and Nanako, with the extra of Shiniji are having lunch together. Normally, Kenta would have gone to some girls’ lap but today is not normal.
“Shiho?” he drains his coffee can before answering “She’s actually 2 years older, but she has to repeat the year. So yeah, she’s a senior”
“Repeat the year?” Nanako asked bluntly “Is she stupid or what?”
“Nanako-chan” Airi hissed.
“It’s alright” Shiniji brushed it off coolly “If you really need to know. She got into some trouble last year, so she has to repeat it” he turned to the other two boys “You like her?”
“Well, she’s pretty hot” Kenta admitted, but Tatsuya didn’t say a word.
Shiniji smirked “Everyone thinks so, including her. Anyway, she likes younger boys. So I guess you two have a chance. Speaking of which…”
Airi looked after his gaze to see the most beautiful girl she has ever seen. This family sure has great genes. If she didn’t know already that they are siblings, Airi would think they are a beautiful couple. Ichizawa Shiho has nothing in common to her younger brother. Shiniji has the facial and body structure that is half-Asian half-European. He has almond-shaped amber eyes, silky black hair and masculine yet lean body. Shiho, on the other hand, is an exotic Japanese beauty. Her eyes are big and round, they fit her small face perfectly. She has black waist-length hair and a fragile body that any men would want to hold.
Airi felt herself sank lower being next to her. She can see clearly why Kenta likes this girl. Shiho is every men’s ideal. Actually, Airi’s quite surprised that there is no heap of men trailing behind her like a queen bee.
Shiho chatted with her brother before greeting them. And when she was leaving, as Airi has expected, Kenta and Tatsuya got up and walked with her. Nanako somehow disappeared, leaving her and Shiniji in the awkward atmosphere. Though she has seen it countless time and always expected it, it’s always been painful for Airi to see the person she loved have an interest in others. She faces the sky and closes her eyes.
“What are you doing?” Shiniji curiously asked.
“Resting” with both eyes close, she can still hear his chuckle.
“If you wanna rest, you can lie down.” He told her “No one is around. You can sleep here if you want”
“Shiniji… call me Shiniji”
“Well, Shiniji. Thanks for the advice. But no, thanks.” But at that moment, Airi started to think, Shiniji is not as dark as he seems to be.
They sit there in silent until the bell rings.
~ After School ~
“Ken-chan” it has become her habit since they were 5. Every time he called her name, she just had to call his.
“You don’t have to wait for me today. I wouldn’t have to bother you now.”
“Eh? Why?” Airi confused. When it comes to study, Ken is never irresponsible. He may seem astray as Nanako pointed, but he still cares about his study. “You know it’s not bothering me at all. I’ll help you”
“It’s not that” he blushed “Shiho said she can teach me.”
Airi was quick to put up a smile to cover her sadness
“She’s coming to my house tonight. So you go ahead. Don’t wait for me.”
“Ok.” Airi pressed her lips “You sure are fast.”
“What can I say? I’m a hottie” his smile is so bright and so wide that it almost reaches his ears. It’s the rare smile that she only sees when Ken is really happy. The smile that she wants to keep to herself only. But it already has become someone else’s.
~ 5.00 pm. – rooftop ~
Airi leans her head and her body on the usual spot Ken lies on when he skips classes. She thought back to the time when Ken had his first girlfriend. It’s in their second-year of middle school. At that time, Airi still didn’t understand her feeling towards him. And neither did Kenta. It had always been the two of them. She didn’t understand it when she felt so upset and so jealous when Kenta brought another girl along. But once they broke up because according to Ken – “It’s too boring”, Airi couldn’t help but to be happy. It would be just Kenta and her again.
But ever since then, things are running in circle. Kenta never has long steady with anyone. He even said once that he treasures their relationship above all other girls he hangs out with. But still it pains Airi every time she sees it. Coz she knows she may never be someone more important to him than just a friend… or a sister.
It’s not that there were no men pursuing her. Airi may not be the popular beauty, but she has her own charm. Once in a while, young men who can see through her cold upright exterior would ask her out. But knowing where her heart lies, Airi has never accepted any of them. She has been waiting…
This time with Shiho, Airi can sense the difference. No one ever replace her as his tutor and his closest friend. He has never brought any girls home as he used to say “I’ll only bring home my wife-to-be”.
“Hey! We meet again” a voice interrupts her thinking.
Airi opened her eyes. A silhouette of a man is towering over her. And there is also something Airi didn’t notice earlier… it’s snowing right now.
“Were you sleeping?”
Too dazed to come up with other lies, Airi nodded “Yes”
“You know you were crying in your sleep”
“I was having a bad dream” she said, getting up and prepare to leave.
“Then you should go home. It’s snowing right now.”
“I know” she replied “I’m leaving” but at that moment, Airi heard the familiar laughter and giggles. At this quiet time of school, it’s not hard to hear people from down there. Both Airi and Shiniji poke their head out to see Kenta and Shiho walking home together. The familiar sharp pain creeps up and Airi is too weak to hide it.
“I see he works real fast” he paused, looking thoughtfully at Airi “But he’s a jerk”
“What?” she was surprised to hear Shiniji bashed someone he just met today.
“He fails to see what’s right in front of him” Airi blushed. The guy knows. He knows she loves Kenta. “You were looking like you were about to cry at lunch time and earlier this evening. It’s not that hard for me to figure out.”
Airi laughed, not at his remark, but at her pathetic self. “If I were that obvious, I wonder why he still doesn’t realize it”
“As I told you” Shiniji took a step closer to her “He’s a jerk” and put his coat on Airi’s shivering body. She didn’t even notice how cold her body is. Probably because her heart is so numb, it couldn’t feel anything. The falling snow is making both of them soaking wet.
“Take it back. I’m alright. You’re going to catch a cold if you don’t wear a coat” she tries to give it back to him.
“I’m from Hokkaido, remember?” he put it back on her shoulder “This is just breezing for me. But you are shivering cold. I guess we’d better go home now before it snow heavier”
“You know I was here the other day when you firstly came” she randomly said. He glanced back at her.
“I know… and I guess the other one must be Takano Kenta”
“How did you know it’s me?” when they reached the steep stair, Shiniji just naturally grab her hand and help her climb down.
“I can remember your eyes” he easily said before letting go of her hands.
They were walking in silence for almost 15 minutes. Airi guess he’s going to walk her home because she’s wearing his coat but she didn’t complain. The only other person who ever walks her home is Kenta. But since he’s occupied today, it’s not bad having someone walking with her.
“Where is your house, Shiniji?” he told her his address. “Oh, mine’s just 2 blocks away. We can stop by your house first, so you don’t have to go back and forth”
“I’m a gentleman. I couldn’t let a girl walked home under the heavy snow”
“But…” seeing his eyes, she swallowed her deny “okay…”
Once they reached Airi’s house. She takes off his coat and handed it back. “Here you go” Shiniji put it on “Wait here a little. I’ll get you an umbrella.” But before she can enter the house, Shiniji grabs her by the arm and lowers his hand to clasp hers. His hand is so warm.
“Airi” that’s the first time she hear him call her name. It sounds so pretty coming out of his mouth “Don’t cry any more. The tears don’t suit your beautiful eyes. I’d prefer seeing it sparkling with joy”
Airi is speechless.
“Takano fails to see how cute you are, but I’m not” he continued “If I was the one you look at with those eyes, I would never make you cry”
“Shiniji” Airi just found her voice.
“Can you please go out with me?”