1 Meet Kurosaki Rei
Kurosaki Rei was a normal high school student. While she got good grades, she wasn't among the top fifty of her cohort. She wasn't unfit, but that didn't mean she could run a marathon either. She was part of the mediocre group who wasn't bad at anything, but wasn't good at them either.
That was just fine with her. She didn't like being the centre of attention anyway.
As with any high school girl, she also had a crush on an upperclassman. Some of her classmates teased her because said upperclassman was also her childhood friend, but she never liked the idea of childhood friends becoming childhood sweethearts. Not because she didn't want it to be true in her case, but because she thought it was terribly clichéd.
"Rei," someone called from behind her as she was walking towards the front gate of the school.
"Shuichi-san," Rei greeted when she saw the upperclassman walk towards her. He was a lot taller than her (which was a sore spot but also another plus point for him), and handsome. No wonder a lot of the girls had a crush on him, herself included.
"You're going straight home?" Shuichi asked as he walked closer.
"I suppose," Rei replied. "Don't you have club activity today?"
"It's cancelled because of a leak," Shuichi answered. "Apparently the basement pipe burst and soaked the mats we store there. They're being air dried now but we won't be able to practice for a while."
"That's a pity," Rei said. "Are you stopping by somewhere? I can go and maybe get something for Daisuke."
"No, I was just asking," Shuichi said. "Come, I'll walk you home."
The walk home was quiet but not awkward. The two weren't the type to talk much, after all. Once they reached the Kurosaki residence, Shuichi waved her goodbye and continued on to his own house.
"I'm home!" Rei announced as she opened the door and stepped in. She took off her shoes and placed them to the side.
A boy suddenly appeared in front of him, his eyes shining and he had a wide grin on his face.
"Hello, Daisuke," Rei greeted.
"Na, Rei, I finished the game you bought me last month!" Daisuke exclaimed in excitement.
"Is that your way of asking me to buy you another one?"
"Well, yes, that too, but I'm happy I got through to the end," Daisuke said. "Oh, there's a package from your parents too. It's postmarked from Fiji. They seem to be having fun."
A girl then appeared beside Daisuke, her arms crossed in front of her chest.
"Is that what you want to do?" the girl asked. "Travel the world?"
"Why do you ask?"
"I'll bring you around so you can move on and stop bothering us."
"Ruka, don't be mean," Rei said. "Daisuke is harmless."
"He's a freeloader," Ruka pointed out.
"I washed the dishes!" Daisuke protested.
"And you two should stop appearing out of nowhere like that," Rei reprimanded. "What if I had guests? Then the rumours about ghosts will circulate the neighbourhood again."
"Well, it's not a rumour if it's true," Ruka said with a frown. "But don't classify me as the same as this guy."
"What's wrong with that?" Daisuke whined.
"Now, now," Rei said, patting Daisuke's head. "Let's go see what they sent us this time, okay?"
"Okay," Daisuke said as he followed Rei to the living room. Ruka swore that if Daisuke was a dog, his tail would fall off from wagging too hard.
"By the way, is there any progress between you and Ohtori?" Ruka asked as she followed behind the two.
"Well, I would like to think Nagisa likes me a bit more now," Rei said with a shrug.
Ruka rolled her eyes. "You know which Ohtori I'm talking about."
"Nothing," Rei replied. "These things don't happen overnight, you know."
"The last time I asked was a month ago," Ruka pointed out.
"Don't be mean," Daisuke said. "Rei is cute. I'm sure he'll like her, eventually. Even if it takes years, maybe."
"That's not convincing at all!"