The blood rises to my face. It’s as if there is another heart inside of my head which is causing my bloodstream to panic. Just like the chaos of my blood flow, my reasoning was also in disarray.
“I’m glad. So you like me too.”
Like. The word make my shoulders jump.
“Ssssshut up! Sh….ut up, you idiot!”
I chastised him as a reflex, but I was hardly coherent.
This was bad. I could tell that it wasn’t just my face, my neck was becoming red as well. The sound of my furiously beating heart was incredibly aggravating. I was about to fly into a panic over this new feeling. But it was not possible for me to be calm.
What was this?
My feelings had changed as if I had been reborn. I could barely keep up with it.
And now Charles’ angry face came right up to mine.
“Chris? Why did you call me an idiot!”
His face was so close.
Aware of this distance, I avert my eyes quickly.
But it was useless. We were even holding hands. We were dancing, our bodies were practically joined. Now that I thought of it, I could feel his breath on my neck. Also, wait. My hands were sweating. No. Charles would notice and–
I thrust a foot out and throw him to the ground. Of course, we were holding hands, and so I lose my balance as well. But that was my aim. Our bodies were now separated. Just like I had planned. And then, together, we both fall into the flower bed like we did once long ago.
Charles immediately got back up to hit feet.
“What!? What was that, Chris!? You scared me!”
“Shut up! I can’t. I just can’t!!”
Unlike Charles, who was now standing, I rolled onto my stomach, covered my face and kicked with my feet.
“Can’t what!? What is it, Chris!”
“There is a saying about three thousand worlds and keeping boys and girls separate from seven! I am a lady! I can’t!”
“I’ve never heard such a saying. What are you even talking about!?”
“There is! There just is!”
Though, it was knowledge from my past life!
I am not lying!
I am not deceiving!
I am not confusing!
After all, I am a genius!
“Really now, Charles. Don’t you have anything to say…?”
I force the words out, all the while laying on my stomach and covering my face.
I am, you know…
I hadn’t realized it at first, but I had practically made a confession of love.
The leaves and stems tickled me. But I didn’t want to raise my face. I couldn’t face him just now. I would rather lie here in this uncomfortable position.
Yes, I know that Charles liked me. I knew that we both liked each other. I knew that Charles was happy about this.
But, even then.
Didn’t he have a little more to give after my confession?
His timing was so good that it was almost as if he had read my mind.
The words echoed from his mouth without hesitation.
“It’s not that I don’t. I’ve been waiting so long for you to say that. All this time, I’ve been thinking about how I didn’t want to lose to Mishuli.”
I didn’t know what his face looked like now. I didn’t know what I looked like right now. I was a coward who had fallen to the ground and hid. Charles was surely the honest one as he faced me. The straightforward words he continued to speak smoothly entered my ears.
“It’s the second happiest thing to happen to me, after first meeting with you, Chris.”
Ah, this boy. Really.
“…You are really honest.”
I said with a groan that was practically a declaration of defeat.
I was a coward.
He was able to say it so naturally, and here I was, shamefully being tossed around by my own heart.
My head was overloaded as I clumsily got back to my feet. It was strange. I had come here to take a break, but I was ten thousand times more tired than when I had come.
“I’m going back…”
He was not happy about it, but I couldn’t continue this. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to don my ladies disguise properly when I returned… But, I didn’t feel like I would last any longer if I stayed.
“What is it, Chris? You’re strange, you know? Is it your third form?”
“Shut up. I said that I am leaving. …Ah, yes.”
I realize suddenly and turn to face him.
“Charles. I will take off some of this dirt for you.”
“I don’t mind… But, what will we do about these flowers? It’s your fault, but I have a feeling that I’m the one who will get in trouble for it.”
“When the times comes, stay quiet and take the punishment and protect me.”
“What, that’s not fair.”
The only way I could continue to fool myself was by saying such things
I was incredibly nervous about what I was about to do. Even as I brushed off the dirt from his clothes, I could not look at his face. I pretended to be sulking and looked the other way to avoid his gaze.
“I suppose that is enough then… I’ll do your hair now, so close your eyes.”
I saw that he had closed his blue eyes, then I sighed. It would be a lot easier without those straightforward eyes looking back at me. Now that I had calmed down a little, I look at his face. Seven years old. It was two years since we first met. He had grown, but his face was still chubby and cute. But I was sure that he would grow into a manly person. I recall an image from my past life of his future, and I can see the similarities.
For a while, I did nothing but look at him.
A strange voice came from my mouth at Charles’ sudden voice.
“I was just a little surprised! So, what is it!?”
“No! Wait a little longer!”
I couldn’t tell him that I was so captivated by his face that I had forgotten to do anything. With a hoarse voice, I frantically tell him to stay put. I see that he continues to close his eyes obediently, and I catch my breath.
First, I brush off the leaves from his hair just like I had said. I don’t know how many times I’ve touched it now, but it was as golden and soft to the touch as ever.
Small things that I had never noticed before were now the cause of embarrassment. But I didn’t hate this feeling. It tickled. This softness was comfortable. It was a different feeling than the one I got brushing Mishuli’s hair.
I slowly raise his bangs. His soft forehead was now exposed, and an odd thought enters my mind.
Charles had said earlier that he had done his best. Then I must praise him.
Just like Mariwa had praised me, I needed to give him a reward. That was all. There was no other motive to what I was about to do.
But…I wondered if he would mind.
A little uncertainty entered my heart then, but my mind brushed it away. It was fine. It was me and Charles. We both liked each other. So it was nothing. …Probably!
I brought out the excuses to rid myself of reason. Then I softly kissed his forehead.
What was I doing? Somewhere in the back of my head, I was thinking about it as if I were someone else. But I couldn’t stop.
For a brief moment I was arrested by a mysterious sensation, and when my lips left his forehead, there was a small sound.
I realized that Charles’ eyes were opened with surprise, and I jumped back.
It was as if he wasn’t quite sure what it was that had been pressed against his forehead. His hand felt the spot as his eyes blinked rapidly.
“…Chris? Just now–”
I said my farewells and ran as fast as I could. There were no manners here. What a monumental failure for one who aspired to be a lady.
I was dizzy with embarrassment. But my heart was flying with happiness. My body was pulsing with excitement. The balance of everything was so off, my blood was overheating and ready to simmer.
What was I doing?
I knew that I was not normal. I was incoherent to a level not worthy of a genius, I was being controlled by my emotions.
But, I couldn’t stop it.
As soon as I was away from the garden, I looked up.
The full moon was still bright in the night sky, reflecting my own heart.
My feelings were jumping up high, unreachable like the full moon.
But even so, my heart was fulfilled in a way that flying through the air could never match.