Even if you threw me into a lions’ den, I would not object. It would be better than being with you. You . . . you disgust me.

One thought had whizzed by Sou’s and Jihyo’s minds when they both saw each other again in their homeroom class: You again. Jihyo had already nestled in a desk beside the large window with her exact coordinates being first column to the width’s end of the classroom and behind four seats. She liked the position of 1, 5. She liked it even more being adjacent to a window, where she could stare outside. She would have been perfectly fine sitting there if Sou had not been in her class, and if he had not chosen to sit right in front of her. She was sure that he had selected that seat on purpose. He wanted to enrage her. After all, she did embarrass and hurt him a few moments ago.

Sou didn’t know why his feet had lulled his body in Jihyo’s direction. He could have turned left for all he cared, yet somehow, he knew that that was where he had to sit. As he looked at her again, he could tell exactly what she was thinking. He had known her for too long. How could he not? She still wore that incisive, powerful stare whenever someone had thwarted her plans. She probably had not recognized this herself, but she was easy to perceive. Her face was like a novel to him.

Jihyo saw that bright smirk escaping from Sou’s mouth. That narcissistic jerk, she thought. She couldn’t help wondering about her poor luck. Of all people, why was he in her class? She had grown tired of seeing him. If it were before . . . she shook her head. She didn’t want to think about anything that was in the past. She even grew to hate words such as before, a long time ago, a while ago  . . . 

Trying her best to look away, she focused on the cherry blossoms that were flying with the wind. Now, this was why she loved windows. Any chance she had, she would curl herself into a ball while being endorsed in a book, whether it be fairy tales, novels, or non-fiction. Then, she would occasionally look out the window, peering at her own world like she would at her book. That . . . was tranquility, her idea of peace.  

She had lifted her head once she saw the measly finger blocking a word from her favourite novel. She frowned, knowing that it ought to be Sou. “What?” she bawled at him and handed him a glare.

“My mother wanted me to call you to dinner,” he answered politely and far too maturely for a 12-year-old boy. In fact, his body was even bowing with much grace.

She rolled her eyes. Why did he have to choose the most bothersome way to call her? He could have screamed her name three hundred times or he could have disobeyed his mother’s demand. Instead, he had to disrupt her, had to somehow destroy her peace.
“Why are you still here?” she demanded.

A slender smile pressed between his cheeks. “If I weren’t here, you would never have come.”

“Who said that?” she slammed her book into two, almost breaking its spine.

His arms folded as he turned away. “I did,” he answered rather solemnly.

“I wished . . . you would just go away,” she mumbled angrily to herself while now following his tracks. She still had to tame her hunger. Now that she thought of it, it had been hours since she had last eaten.

“I wished . . . that you wouldn’t follow me.” He had laughed too loudly, leaving an upset Jihyo to throw death curses behind his back.

She had been at the side of a window. She had been safe until he came along.

While she heaved another sigh, the boy behind her had tapped her right shoulder twice. She shifted in the direction of the disturbance, only to find a pair of large eyes sparkling at her. These eyes were flawed though; they were born to be uneven. The long eyelashes that covered the uneven eyes, however, covered that mistake.

“Hello.” He waved at her and gave her a sincere grin. “Nice to meet you. I’m Jun, Thorsby Jun.” 

His hand had extended for her to shake. Unwillingly, she beckoned to his advance. He was clearly a foreigner in this room, the only boy who had dirty-blonde hair swept to the side and royal blue, crescent-shaped eyes. His nose and forehead were protruding. She could tell too though that he was native Japanese by instinct. It had to be his aura and his flawless speech.  

“I’m . . .” She felt uncomfortable saying her name.

He barged in, “We all remember who you are. Song Jihyo?”

She had a wheezy smile. “Yes,” she replied.

“It’s good that you’re back. A lot of people thought you had passed away,” he explained the situation in a jovial manner.

“Oh,” she responded desolately. Since when did people care if she had returned? Aside from the gossipers, there really was no need to care about her.

She thought he had glared at her, but rather, he had smiled at her. “But,” he continued to say, “it was your half-brother that passed away, right?” 

Jihyo shuddered, realizing that this smile was not out of kindness, but rather out of harshness. No one . . . was supposed to know about that. Their family had intentionally fabricated a story about their son studying abroad to the press while asking the police never to release anything. There was no way that this boy could have known unless, unless of course, he was connected to the police department. She didn’t know him however. She didn’t recall his being in her classes either. Examining his features further, she realized who he could be. 

“And you must be . . . the lead detective’s son?” she verified.

Jun cackled. “You caught me there. Not bad and to think I used my mother’s maiden name. I should have stuck with Nakamura huh?”     

Jihyo only muttered, “This case has been closed. I am sure you know the results.”

“Oh yes . . . I do know the results, but . . . what I’m interested in,” he leaned in and whispered in her ear, “is the truth.”

Luckily, the bell rang right after he had spoken, indicating the start of class. Her eyes diverted towards the front of the class. Unfortunately, the front of the class meant Sou’s head. He was too tall her for to see clearly without stretching her head out in an awkward manner. 

“Move your head, Sou. It’s too furry,” she spoke out fearlessly. 

“Why should I listen to you?” He shifted his head even more, which obstructed her view of the board.

“Do you even have manners?” she hissed. 

He laughed a bit. “Of course I do. I’m only courteous to those that deserve it,” he answered coldly.

“Jerk,” she stated too callously, yet too truthfully.

“Bitch,” he smirked.

Hearing that word, she snapped, “Oh, so that’s what you want to be called? I suppose I’ll grant you your wish and call you my bitch.”

“No, it is the other way around—“

“Song Jihyo and Kobayashi Sou, you two are staying after school for clean-up duty,” their homeroom teacher, Yamada sensei, interrupted their argument. 

Somehow, the two of them had a way with meeting each other. It had always been like that from the beginning.