Nino watched as Yuzu yawned, rubbing his hand across his eyes. Catching her eye, his lips curled into a sleepy smile. Nino felt her heart thump, and a smile tugged at her lips. Yuzu was working at his desk on a new song, and Nino had been adamant that she would participate. They’d been commissioned to write another song, and Nino was thrilled that she could now be an active part of the creative process. Plus, it meant she could spend more time with Yuzu. Comfortable silence had settled between them, with both of them becoming wholly enveloped in their own tasks. Even small moments like this, with neither of them speaking, just working together in a peaceful companionship, were precious to Nino. Yuzu got to his feet and stretched, yawning again. When he was tired, he tended to look like he was pouting, and Nino secretly thought it was adorable.
Yuzu sat down next to her on the floor, glancing down at her notes. He leaned against her and Nino became acutely aware of the warmth radiating from his skin. “Any ideas so far?” He asked her, stifling yet another yawn. Nino nodded and looked over at him, feeling a note of concern. He’d been pushing himself hard lately – more so than usual, which was saying something. Nino began pondering over what she could say that would get an honest answer out of him. Yuzu was the kind of person who hid his feelings. Sometimes his emotions would overwhelm and get the better of him, but even then he tried his best to reign them in as quickly as possible.
“Yuzu?” She murmured.
“Yeah?” He turned to look at her and Nino blinked in surprise. Their faces were so close that their noses were almost touching. A red tinge was rising to Yuzu’s cheeks, and his eyes widened for a moment before flicking away from hers.
“You’re really tired.” It was a statement, not a question. Much harder to evade. “Are you feeling sick?”
“I should be fine. I’ll get some good sleep tonight.” He gave her a small but genuine small that radiated warmth. She felt her brows draw together in a frown. ‘Should be fine’ was not what she was hoping for. Impulsively, Nino leaned forwards and pressed her forehead to Yuzu’s. Her heart was beating fast, the traitor.
“A-Alice?” Yuzu’s eyes were wide. She pulled away quickly, pulling her legs up to her chest.
“Just checking your temperature.” She muttered, trying to ignore the warmth that had rushed to her face. She felt restless, her heart full of a jumble of emotions – excitement, nervousness…and a bubbly, warm, happy feeling that she now felt so often around Yuzu. She had to bite her lip to stop a huge smile spreading across her face. This wasn’t a strange feeling to her after Momo, but she’d almost forgotten how much these sorts of feelings filled her with light. She glanced over at Yuzu from the corner of his eye. Yuzu had the back of his hand pressed to his mouth, but she could see that he was beaming. Nino giggled at his desperate but failing attempt to hide his feelings.
“What are you laughing at?”
“Your smile.” She giggled again, and Yuzu’s smile grew wider – seemingly against his will, because he tried even harder to hide it.
“What’s wrong with my smile, Alice?” He asked accusingly, but there was laughter in his voice.
“Nothing. You should smile more often. I really like your smile.” Yuzu made a quiet, strangled noise, and clapped both of his hands over his face.
“S-stop it.” His voice was muffled. “We’re meant to be doing work.” At this, Nino’s eyes lit with a spark of mischief. ‘Tell him you want to write a love song,’ Miou had told her. ‘Please tell me how he reacts.’
“I was thinking…” Yuzu uncovered his face as she picked up her notebook and relaxed, believing that the coast was clear. “What if we write a love song?” There came the strangled noise again. Yuzu looked absolutely despairing, but then coughed and straightened up. He pointedly avoided her gaze.
“S-sure. We haven’t done one before, so it’d be good to widen our horizons.” He was doing his best to blow it off. But now that Nino thought about it, she wondered what it would be like to seriously write a love song with Yuzu. Her heart thumped. “Will you be able to write lyrics for it?” His smile faltered. “Well, with Momo and everything…should be easy, right?” Nino could only blink at him.
“Momo?” At this, she frowned, lapsing into thought. To be honest, she hadn’t really registered when her feelings for Momo had shifted from romantic to platonic. It hadn’t been a sudden thing, not something she could pinpoint. The same had happened with her feelings for Yuzu. A spark had gradually become a flame. Sometimes it crept up on her, sometimes it seemed painfully obvious, and sometimes she was still just as oblivious as ever. But the past year had taught Nino a lot. This was her chance. She looked over at Yuzu and found him looking at her in surprise. “Is something wrong?” Nino tilted her head to one side, confused.
“No, it’s just…” Yuzu sounded unsure of himself. “I thought you would’ve wanted to do this because of Momo.”
“I don’t.” She was happy at the honesty in her words. It was refreshing, and freeing. Yuzu’s puzzled expression deepened, but it became mixed with a spark of joy. She looked down at her notebook and turned to a new page, suddenly realising she had no idea where to start. “I don’t know what to do.” She hummed in thought, and Yuzu stilled, lapsing into thought himself.
“We need music.” He got to his feet and retrieved his laptop, putting it down in front of Nino before flopping down to her. Nino peered at his screen curiously. She couldn’t understand one bit of it, but Yuzu was already navigating the program expertly. Before too long, sound began to fill the air. “This is what I was working on before.” Nino began moving her head in time to the music. It was still distinctly an In No Hurry type song – it wasn’t a gentle ballad at all, like most love songs. But Nino liked it. It was almost a way of showing how strong and passionate feelings of love could be and that they weren’t usually quiet or soft at all. A smile spread across her face.
“I think I have an idea. Can you go back a bit?” Yuzu nodded, a smile on his face. “This should be the chorus.”
“I already have the basic melody done, if you want to hear it.” Nino nodded enthusiastically. Yuzu pressed another button and she listened intently, soon beginning to hum along.
“It echoes out even within my dreams, your song that shakes my heart and soul.” Yuzu stiffened next to her. Nino’s heart felt light. She glanced over at Yuzu. He meant so much to her now. She couldn’t imagine how she would have gotten by without Yuzu. And to think they’d met on a fateful Wednesday afternoon simply by chance. All because a melody had brought them together, and…Nino’s eyes widened. Wednesday. During those days she had spent all week waiting for Wednesday to roll around, just so she could see Yuzu and sing for him again. Wednesday had been this one brightness in a week that had just felt dark and lonely. She took a deep breath, the lyrics already forming in her mind. “I can’t wait until Wednesday. All of this moment, all of myself – I don’t need anything else.” She turned and looked at Yuzu. His mouth was hanging open and his eyes were huge. He swallowed hard.
“Alice –” Her heart thudded again. Yuzu was struggling to find the words. “Do…do you still…” He seemed to be trying to work up confidence. “Do you still…like Momo?” Nino shook her head. This time, she was sure. “Oh. Cool.” His voice sounded strained, and he was fighting back a smile again. “Cool.”
“So, did…uhm, did you like it?” She felt a momentary flurry of worry.
“I really like it.” Yuzu told her earnestly. “I really like –” He coughed into his hand, his cheeks bright red. “N-never mind. Let’s do this.” Nino nodded enthusiastically, filled with determination. He cleared his throat and pointed to a section of the music on the screen. “Here, I think, should be the pre-chorus. So you’d have the verse, then the music slows a bit…see?” It didn’t take long for the pair to become absorbed in their work.
“Then there’s the chorus.” Nino mused, tapping her chin.
“There should be two, I’m thinking, then reprise the original chorus as the bridge.” Yuzu’s eyes were bright and he spoke without restraint. He was so happy. Nino felt a smile spread across her face once more. These moments spent with Yuzu she held close to her heart. She hoped that somehow she could try and put them into words in this song.
Time flew by. Before she knew it, the sun was setting and the clouds were dusted with purple and pink. Yuzu was yawning beside her, and she felt drowsy herself.
“I think we’re nearly finished.” Yuzu sounded like he was going to fall asleep at any second. He leaned his head against Nino’s shoulder and closed his eyes, stifling a yawn. “You did good, Alice…” He mumbled. Nino bit her lip and grinned.
“You too.” She murmured, not wanting to disturb his drowsiness.
“I really…like spending time with you.” He barely sounded like he was awake. “Really…”
“Me too.” She hesitated for a moment before slowly leaning her head against Yuzu’s. “Go to sleep, Yuzu.”
“Call me…Kanade.” The whisper was so soft she nearly missed it. Her eyes widened, and she felt a wave a heat rush to her cheeks.
“Call me Nino.” For some reason, this only made all of her face feel like it was on fire. “I’d…really like that.”
“Thank you, Nino.” With that, Yuzu’s breathing finally evened out. Nino raised her hand slowly and began stroking his hair – she was surprised at how soft it was. She felt like she was petting a kitten. She stifled a giggle. Yuzu was like a cat in so many ways. She wondered if he would purr if he was awake right now. Nino couldn’t stop smiling. Being with Yuzu like this made her so happy. So incredibly happy. She took a deep breath and began to sing.
“Let it stir even in my dreams, your song I miss that makes my heart shiver. I can't wait until Wednesday. You are everything, my everything.”