@

"Which bus was it again?"

"The #10."

"Ok, got it. I'll leave right now."

The phone line went silent.

"..... Yanagi-san?"

"Yes?"

"I'm leaving now, ok?"

"Yes."

"I'll see you in a little while."

"Tachibana-kun?"

"Yes?"

"I...." Silence again. And then, "I look forward to it. Ja."

Then the line went dead.

@

@

"I'm going out, An," Tachibana called to his year-younger sister as he pulled on his black Fudomine tennis jacket and picked up his bag.

The teenage girl peeked her head around the corner. "Have fun!" she responded. "When will you be back?"

"Tomorrow," he answered, then kissed her on the forehead as he headed toward the door. "I'm spending the night in Kanagawa."

She wished her brother well, seeing him off with a wave. And when he was gone she gave to herself a knowing smile.

It was about time he warmed up to someone.