Chapter 2

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The sun-rays hit her face like a spotlight in the dark. Even in the half-asleep state, Tsukiko winced, pulled the covers and turned around. But it was already too late; she was awake. She could try going back to sleep, though deep down the girl knew it was useless. Once she was up, not matter how tired she was, sleep didn't come back.

Rubbing her face with one hand, she picked her phone on the nightstand with the other, checking the time. The heavy eyelids didn't stop Tsukiko from blinking several times. Seven o' clock... Seven o' clock on a Sunday! She screamed in her head. It's too early for everything!

She lied there for a few seconds staring the ceiling... and then sighed as loud as she could, as if to get rid of her drowsiness. It did no good; she was still tired, her sight blurred and her mind slow. Even so, Tsukiko wrapped herself with the covers, got out of her comfy bed, out of her cool bedroom and dragged her feet to the kitchen.

The fridge wasn't empty. It never was, since her father's secretary made sure her boss had always food at hand, even though he barely ate home. But neither Tsukiko nor her stomach had any desire for pre-made or instant food so early in the morning. And the healthy food had to be cooked, which was beyond her capabilities.

I really should work harder on Home Ec. classes, Tsukiko thought for a second before picking up a milk carton. She headed to the balcony dragging the cover like a tail behind her. She winced again and covered her eyes. The sun shone high and bright in the air, with no clouds in its path, but even so, the air was cool and the girl pulled the covers closer.

Even this early, many people walked the streets. She watched them for a while, her mind half paying attention. Why are they in such hurry on a Sunday? There was a woman talking on the cellphone, moving her hands around as if it helped explaining something to someone who wasn't there. A man dragged his son, who refused to move from where he stood. Another woman had her makeup all messed up walking with her head down, and many more. They should be sleeping... like I should be, she thought, sighing.

Tsukiko watched and drank straight from the carton, trying to wake her mind. The girl had no idea how much time had passed when she heard a tiny sneeze. It was low and restrained, almost as if trying to avoid bothering anyone.

With both hands grabbing the handrail, she leaned the most she could, stretching her neck until she could see the other apartment's balcony. When she saw the boy with messed brown hair with his head down and blowing his nose with a tissue, Tsukiko beamed.

"Taiyou-kun!" She took one hand from the handrail and waved, all her drowsiness gone.

The boy raised his head slowly and looked at her with those innocent eyes, the tip of his nose slightly red. He's so cute I wanna pinch his cheeks!

"Good morning." He closed his eyes and greeted her with a tiny nod of his head.

"Morning!" Tsukiko quickly changed her smile to a sympathetic nod. "So you're awake at this early hour as well. So sad for us both."

"Early hour?" he asked in a low voice, tilting his head. "I'm usually awake at this hour on weekends."

Tsukiko stopped nodding her head. Even if the boy had no other meaning behind his words, the girl felt as if she was losing to him. "Is that so? So you're one of those early birds I hear about, huh?" She brushed it off with a queer laugh.

"Excuse me," Taiyou-kun said, discreetly touching his upper lips with a finger.

She tilted her head. What's he doing? Is he scratching himself? A second later, Tsukiko was mimicking the boy. For some reason her upper lips were moist. She looked at her finger; it was white. She retreated to her balcony and hurriedly cleaned her mouth with the back of her hand. Damn it! A milk mustache? For real? Why can't I catch a break near him?

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