At the same time, without the lost girl knowing, a pair of emerald eyes glued on the lost girl from far as if entertaining himself with the reaction of his lost prey.
The puzzled expression and the gluttony action broadened his lips unconsciously.
As she stepped to the direction that her intuition navigated, a firm grasp on her wrist widened her eyes and stopped her step.
"Oi... Where are you going?" the familiar voice dashed into her ears as she turned around.
Good-looking face framed with silverish-grey hair entered into her vision.
"Kazuki...?" she called him out with hints of surprises before looking around.
"Eh? Where are the others?" she asked, casting a light furrow in between his brows.
"... Shirane." Kazuki replied nonchalantly as he averted his eyes from her face before adding, "We'll bump into them along the street, darou?"
"Right..." she spoke with an undertone, averting her eyes to the opposite side.
"Jaa... ... Let's go." the president said before turning around and walking down the street- with his hand gliding down slightly from her wrist simultaneously.
Why? Why does he always make every decision all by himself like he knows what's best for me? Most importantly, why? Why do I always end up allowing him leading me by my nose?
There's something wrong with me. I don't seem like my usual self when it comes to Kazuki.
Were they shared no topic to talk? Or perhaps they were rather embarrassed to speak a word? Despite the noises from the lively street, Kazuki and Asu remained silent.
She darted her eyes around as if distracting herself from the warmth spreading from the firm grip on their linked hands- not until she found a better distraction.
Without speaking a word, she pulled the grey-haired man to the opposite direction, casting his eyes widened.
"Kawaii..." she commented in a singsong voice at a tiny piece of the glass-made mountain with a smiley face drawn on.
Taking one step closer to the girl, Kazuki took a glance of the luminous handcraft item on her hand.
"Ah, wind chime? tte, isn't it too small?" he commented before shifting his gaze to the basket filled with various, similar designed glass accessories.
A blush one caught his eyes. The pouty lips sent a reminiscent of the girl standing next to him.
Moving his free hand to pick the tiny mountain by string, he brought the chiming piece to her eye level.
"Mitte, doesn't it look like you?" a sardonic smirk plastered on his face.
Instantaneously, her lips pouted unintentionally- proven the trustworthiness of his comment.
"Do I look that weird?" she questioned with hints of dissatisfaction.
Returning her gaze to the basket, she fished out a greyish luminous glass featuring a cheeky smirk.
"This definitely looks like you!" she claimed, flashing a hint of arrogance on his smirk. "Sou? Kakkoi da na..." he added haughtily.
Though her words and displeased expression stated so, Asu placed the grey accessory into a smaller basket together with another.
"Nanda? Are you getting it for me?" he asked teasingly as he noticed her action, which flustered her secretly.
"Omiyage da." she protested, stretching his lips further as he picked another basket and placed the pink accessory into the basket before picking another thirteen pieces.
"Jaa, me too. O-mi-ya-ge." he claimed as he emphasised the final word sarcastically.
I hate my brain, for thinking about who would he give the accessory to.
I hate my heart, for sulking to know whoever that receive the souvenir.
I hate my mind, for believing that it sent a reminiscent of myself in his eyes.
After paying and exiting from the souvenir shop, Kazuki grasped her hand firmly, with mild force.
The return of the warmth cast her hazel eyes to the broad back of the grey-haired man.
Tall and statuesque with defined muscles of arms; one thing about the sardonic man that she couldn't deny since the first day- that's his charisma.
In a blink of an eye, he glided his broad palm downwards slightly, intertwining his slender fingers with hers before clutching it firmly.
"Just in case you're lost or moving like a snail again..." he muttered the reason behind his action while averting his eyes from her face as if a sin he has made- be it the sin of dishonesty or the sin of desire.
Was he trying to convince the girl? Or was he attempting to make a lie to himself?
The spoken reason was rather unreasonable to him as well as to the girl; yet, the girl nodded obediently.
Perhaps, even the girl was accepting the unconvincing excuse to lie to herself as well.
It's awkward. The warmth from his hand is like an invisible handcuff on my wrist. It cuffed my wrist tightly without me knowing.
The more I want to pull my hand away, the more I'm attached to his touches.
I could tell chaos happened within me- a war between my logical mind and my sentimental heart.
One step, two steps, three steps... The awkwardness of the lingering silence in between them shrouded by the rapid heartbeat behind their chest.
The coldness that clung tightly on their hands swept away by the shared warmth from their intertwined hands as well as the heat rising on their cheeks- not until another distraction invaded into Asu's eyes.
"Cream puff!" she cheered excitingly as she dragged the man with her, causing him stumbled behind.
"Eto... Choco- iie, iie... Matcha... Wait! Sakura flavour for one, onegai." the indecisive glutton requested.
Sighing softly at her nature, Kazuki parted off his hand from the firm grip before pulling out his wallet from the slant pocket. Picking out a banknote, he handed it to the seller.
"I'll pay!" she said immediately, quickening her pace in digging out a few coins from her wallet.
"Uruse na omae... Take your puff before it's gone!" he uttered softly.
Sighing in defeat once again, she secured her wallet in the handbag before shifting her hand to take the cream puff from the seller.
Taking a bite of the fluffy cream puff, the creamy paste melted in her mouth and filled every inch of her tastebud with the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
"Oishii...!" A blissful, satisfied smile hanging on her face as she commented with a singsong voice.
"Souka?" he responded briefly before grabbing a hold of her wrist without warning and pulling it up in slight extend, casting her eyes to the sudden touch.
Bending down slightly, the spontaneous man opened his mouth and took a bite of the cream puff.
In a flash, her eyes widened while her jaw slacked with hints of shocks.
"My cream puff!" she yelled; yet, ignored by the arrogant man.
Without speaking a word, the glutton decided to stuff the remaining cream puff into her mouth, all at once, leaving no chance for the playful man to steal another bite.
He blinked astonishingly at her unpredictable, quick action. A burst of loud laughter escaped from his lips.
Holding his stomach, a droplet of tear squeezed out at the corner of his eyes.
The louder he laughed, the deeper her puckered brows were. "Are you a kid now?" he teased in between his laughter as she munched frustratingly.
"Which part of me looking like a kid now, baka?!" she questioned to respond with hints of annoyance.
Softening his laughter, he leaned intimately as he held up his curled index finger to push her chin upwards.
Her muscles stiffened as the hazel pupils narrowed, staring at the smirking man perplexedly.
His thumb caressed the corner of her lips gently before his hand parted off from her face and shifting to his lips.
Her eyes followed the delicate movement of his thumb with an absent mind.
A small amount of pinkish cream rested on his thumb before he reached his tongue to lick it off.
An intense heat arose, summoning a deep embarrassed shade on her cheeks.
Ah... I, finally, found the reason behind the awkwardness-
those feelings of uneasiness when he was so close with another girl, those feelings of happiness when we interacted, and those feelings of security when he was around.
I, finally, understand the irregular heartbeat of mine.
He has stolen my heart before I know it, he took over control my heartbeat as he pleases; and it is too late to realise.
"Now, who's the baka?" he teased softly as he looked straight into her soulful eyes. A hint of warm lingered in the sardonic smirk.
As she tried to calm her chaotic state within herself, a familiar cheerful voice pulled her back into reality.
"Asu!" Turning to the owner of the voice, a mixed feeling of embarrassment and gratefulness filled her- grateful for Mai to come at the right timing; yet, embarrassed to find out since when the others found them.
Only if I notice the flickering affection in me earlier, I could have to save myself from drowning...
Only if I realise even if it's a second earlier. It is too late now.
I don't even know how to snatch back the heart that he has stolen.
Taking a glimpse of the timid girl unintentionally, a mixed feeling blended with uneasiness and guiltiness, embarrassment and agitation poured into her emotion slowly.
'... I'm so ugly, so ugly that I hate myself.' a thought of realisation ran across her mind without anyone noticing- not even the insensitive, arrogant man.