Since Our Last Kiss – 1
She had been staring dazedly at the photocopier, it’s mechanical whirring noises were the only thing she heard until finally realizing that someone had called her from behind. Chizuru Ayase raised her head in surprise.
But she didn’t need to turn around to know who it was.
The person who had called her had already come to stand next to her and was looking into her face; quizzically. He wore a spotless, gray suit, smelled faintly of cologne and had a cleanly shaved jaw. The head of this department, Supervisor Karasawa.
Karasawa was still in his mid-thirties… But had a very relaxed air about him, was proficient in his work, and was a man with a rather nice physical appearance on top of all that, which made him popular with many of the female employees. But he himself seemed to be the type who did not engage in affairs of love, and there were rarely any rumors about him.
But that may, in turn, have given some of the women hope.
Of course, all of this had nothing to do with Chizuru.
“Why are you staring like that? Do you hate the photocopier that much?”
His voice was unnecessarily kind, Chizuru quickly shook her head.
“No, no. Um, I stayed up pretty late last night. I’m just a little tired from that. I’ll finish making copies of the document in a minute.”
“Really? In that case…”
Karasawa cupped his chin with one hand and continued as if in deep thought. “What kept you up so late? I can’t remember, but did you have a boyfriend?”
He was clearly trying to act casual about it, but that question was overly abrupt.
Chizuru pretended to look behind the photocopier as if something had gotten stuck. A little part of her was fleeing from having to look directly at her supervisor’s face.
“I-I’m not seeing anyone. I was watching some foreign dramas that I borrowed from a friend. Then I couldn’t stop myself staying up watching them.”
She could swear on it. Karasawa was visibly relieved.
Chizuru, on the other hand, felt a little impatient, and blurted out:
“Um, so what should I do once I’m finished with these?”
She had learned that it was best to talk about work when you needed to change the subject in these situations. Especially with men like Karasawa, who were actually capable at work, they were easily distracted.
“Ah, yes. There will be a conference in the afternoon in meeting room 1, so you should prepare for that. As always, set the chairs and documents, and water…”
Chizuru quietly listened to his directions, nodding as she waited for the copies to finish printing.
Once she saw that the last sheet had been rolled out of the machine, she quickly grabbed the stack of A4 documents and moved away from the corner where the photocopier and her supervisor stood.
But he wasn’t going to lose so easily, either. Not that it was a game.
“Ayase, I was just thinking.”
Karasawa was holding the original document that Chizuru had forgotten.
Ahh, damn it.
Chizuru cursed the configuration of the machine.
“I’ve been thinking… Why don’t we have dinner some time? It’s still early in the month, so there shouldn’t be too much work to do, right?”
Chizuru had no choice but to get close to him in order to accept the document. She cautiously accepted it and answered.
“Thank you so much for the invitation. But, um…I don’t really do that kind of…”
She did not continue.
They were both grown adults, that should be all that was needed to get her point across. Karasawa put his now empty hands into his suit pockets and shrugged.
“Is there someone else?”
“That’s not it… no, yes, that’s right.”
She gave a vague answer. Perhaps it would have been better to be blunter about it. But the truth was, Chizuru herself did not know how to explain her situation.
No one would ever believe her if she told them the truth.
She herself would sometimes wonder if it had all been a dream.
Karasawa seemed to be trying his hardest to disguise his hurt expression. He nodded with a slight twitch around his lips.
“In other words, I have little chance…”
He was a good person.
She thought that he was a good person.
But, she couldn’t. Even though the man was from a world that Chizuru had started to wonder was all a dream, her heart was still bound to him.
Not even just her heart, but her body.
There was nothing else she could say in answer.
His face remained tight, and his mouth was pressed together to show that he was not satisfied, but at least he nodded back. And without further reply, he left Chizuru and returned to his desk.
This had been the second time she had experienced something like this since her return…or was it?
She was still unable to understand where she stood. She was still unable to shake off the feeling of anxiety that she did not belong in this world, in this life.
She felt empty, sad and lonely.
Her heart grew heavier and heavier.