‘It’s almost 7 ‘o clock pm’; Asumi glanced at the watch hanging above the teacher’s table. Tick Tock Tick Tock, the only sound accompanying her inside the classroom. Most of her classmates had probably gone home. The student council meeting took longer than it used to. After the long meeting of debating and discussing for the upcoming event for the third year students, everyone was glad that they were able to agree and settle on things. Members of the Student Council had already went home. Asumi decided to stay; she still has to finish drafting the budget plan for the school’s field trip.
‘Argh!, Why did I ever agree to be the Student Council’s treasurer?’ Asumi silently complained as she was shifting though the list of activities suggested by the students. It would have been easier if she was just one of the ‘students’. She would have been home by now.
‘This is all Aki’s fault! I shouldn’t have let him made me agree to this!’ she frowned looking at the long list of things to buy and prepare.
Asumi Hoshina, a third year student, was known to her friends to be good at budgeting and organizing. Akihiro Nagatso, also a third year and her best friend, knows this too well. During the 3rd week of planning for the third year’s school trip, the current Student Council Treasurer transferred to another school. It was then that Aki suggested that Asumi fills up the seat. Her classmates pleaded to her to accept the job. With a hesitant feeling, she accepted. How can she refuse when all her classmates are depending on her?
The silence was deafening. “I have to finish this and give this for approval tomorrow” she told herself as she continued with her work.
The clock’s hand is nearing half pass seven. “This will do…” Asumi smiled. She collected all the papers and filed it neatly on the desk. She stretched her arms and neck to relax her muscles. ‘This has been a long day,’ she thought silently. She studied the room’s ceiling, feeling the empty seats around her. The state of the room right now was in complete opposite with when during the day.
“Hey, you’re still here, I thought everyone’s gone home already?” Sei walked towards her. Startled, Asumi just stared at him. He snatched the filed papers on her desk and gradually flipped through it.
‘His stance is strong. Ah, his fingers are long and slender as well’ she continued to stare at him.
“Hmmm, this is good Asumi, this way we can accommodate everyone’s chosen activities and still within our budget range” Sei said, still flipping through the pages.
“Thanks!’’, is all she could reply. ‘His eyes are so beautiful. His hair… it’s ash- black. It matches the color of his eyes;’ Asumi watched him silently as he was still reading the budget report.
‘Hmmm, it would have been nice if he cuts his hair a little shorter. The front is almost covering the eyes.’ Sei’s hair swayed gently to the breeze of the ceiling fan above them. ‘I’ve never seen him this close before’; True, she only saw him at the hallway when she changed classes. Or at a distant during lunch break at the cafeteria. And across the room during the Student Council meeting she attended recently.
Sei Yuushin was a fourth year student at BNC High. He was also the student body president for 2 consecutive years now. Tall and handsome, he was adored by the girls of this school. Being the top of his class, he was well-liked by the teachers. He walked with dignity and his presence commands respect. He was the grandson of the school director as well.
“Stop doing that” Sei said calmly, without moving his eyes away from the budget report that he was still reading.
‘‘Huh?!?!” Surprised, Asumi could feel her cheeks burning. Her heart was racing as she does have a clue of what he was implying. ‘Stop it! Calm down!’ she silently instructed herself. ‘He might think I’m weird’
She forced a smile when Sei turned his attention to her. Slowly, he placed the papers back on the table and leaned towards her, his left hand supporting him on the desk. He gently touched her chin with his right finger and said “Stop doing that…”
His mouth curved into a mischievous smile. Leaning more closely, he whispered to her ear, “Or I might melt into your gaze”.
Before she could respond, he got up and walked out of the room. ‘What the hell was that!’ Asumi’s heart would not stop pounding. Her face now matches the color of her red bag.
It took her several minutes to gather the strength to stand up. She walked slowly out of the room, feeling her heart with her hand. It still won’t stop pounding. She has never been embarrassed like that before. She stopped midway through the hallway and exhaled loudly. Her breathing somewhat echoed through the empty corridors. She inhaled and exhaled again, thus calming her racing heart. She hurriedly walked to the schools main entrance. She glanced at her watched. ‘It’s almost 8, mom might get worried.’
She greeted and said good bye to the security guard and janitress walking on the school ground.
Clutching her bag, she walked to the streets thinking of what Sei said, ‘Or I might melt into your gaze’. By just thinking about it, her face suddenly turned red again. She shook her head as she tried to erase that image out of her mind.
“If you keep doing that, people might think that something’s wrong with you”, someone said.
Asumi abruptly found her composure and looked at who the voice belong to, “Ah Sei, something was caught in my hair.” She laughed sheepishly and started walking again.
“Get in. I’ll drop you off.” Sei opened the passenger’s door gesturing her to get in.
“Ah, it’s ok...” Asumi waved her hands ‘No’.
“I live nearby”, she declined and politely smiled. She started walking again with Sei’s car following her pace.
“Seriously, get in. It’s not safe for you to walk here by yourself.” He gestured her to get in again.
“Really, its ok. I also love walking at night because it’s refreshing. Thanks anyways.” Asumi started walking again. This time she quickens her pace.
‘I can’t face him right now.’ She told herself. ’What happened at the classroom is too embarrassing.’ She could feel that her face is burning up again. She picked up her speed looking ahead, trying not to look back.
“Jeez!” Irritated, Sei got out of the car and started walking towards Asumi. With just a few steps, he was able to reach her. He grabbed hold of her left arm and almost like dragging her, walked back to his car.
“Wait!” Asumi stammered.
“Don’t be an idiot and just get in” He gently but firmly pushed her to the passenger’s side of the car.
They drove off in silence. The only words uttered are the polite conversation for the direction to Asumi’s house.
“This is me.” Asumi unbuckled her seatbelt and reached for the door.
“Thanks for the ride.” She looked at him briefly. Their eyes met for a while and Sei smiled at her gently. Her heart betrayed her again. She hurriedly got out of the car and closed the door. She neither said goodbye nor looked at him again.
When she was already inside the gate, she could hear the engine of Sei’s car moving away. She turned around just enough to see the glimpse of the dark blue car turning to the corner.
"Mom, I'm home." Asumi placed her bag on the couch and walked to the kitchen door.
"Asumi!" Her mom's teary eyed faced glanced up at her. She found her mother crying on the kitchen floor. Already cut vegetables were left lying on the floor and the nearby sink.
"Mom! What happend?" She hurriedly went to her's mother side, consoling her.
Riko Hoshina gently untangled herself from her daughter's embrace. Looking at Asumi’s confused face, she didn't know on what best way to explain the situation but to say it straight forward.
"Your father's assistant called. Your father's dig site in Cairo collapsed. They said that all the men inside are trapped and they are having a hard time digging them out. Your father is trapped inside as well" Riko cried again looking at her daughter's strickened face.
"Dad, he is..." Asumi was lost for words. Afraid that she might have lost her father.
Ahimura Hoshino was an archeologist. He was currently working on a dig on one of the pharaoh's grave site in Cairo. Though he was always away all the time, he maintained a close connection with his daughter. He saw to it that he was always there to celebrate special occasions with his family.
Asumi and Riko sat silently at the dinner table. Foods barely touched.
"I'm planning to fly to Cairo tomorrow. Will you be ok by yourself here for a few days?" Riko asked her daughter.
"Yes mom. I will be fine. Go find dad and bring him home" Asumi's smile reassured her mother.
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