One evening, Eiji was on the way home with Akari. As they arrived at the apartment building he lived in, a familiar figure was standing near the entrance. It was Naoki. Eiji looked very surprised. "Shirotori?" he said.
"Takanami," said Naoki. When he saw Akari was with him, he was surprised. He muttered, "Ama-" But Akari stared at him in pleading and made him stopped. Eiji turned around, took a glance at Akari and looked back at Naoki.
"Do you know each other?" he asked.
"N-No," Naoki replied, "It's just that she looks like someone I know." After a while, his facial turned serious and he continued, "May I have a word with you?"
Eiji looked at Akari, and she wrote on her sketchbook, "I'll be on my way home." After that she went along the road, leaving the two guys behind. When Naoki made sure that Akari was gone, he continued to speak.
"There is going to be an inter-school concours," he said, "Your school will be participating as well."
"Is that so?" asked Eiji.
"I want you to enter the competition."
"I thought I've already told you, I've quitted music." As Eiji was about to enter the apartment building, Naoki yelled, "Don't give me such nonsense!" Before Eiji realized it, a punch came to his face.
"Four years ago, I don't have the chance to compete with you," said Naoki, "Now I want to have a showdown with you, one-on-one."
"Like I said, I-"
"I'll wait for you at the park tomorrow at 5," Naoki interrupted, "You better show up." Eiji merely stood there and put his hand on his battered cheek when Naoki left him. He then returned to his home, and looked very depressed.
"Hey, what's for dinner tonight?" asked Kazue as she came out of her room. She then noticed the mark on her brother's face and gasped in horror. "What happened to your face!?" she exclaimed.
"It's nothing." Eiji replied.
"How can you say it's nothing? Your cheek is swollen!" Kazue continued to exclaim, "I'll make some boiled eggs!"
After that, Kazue helped Eiji with his wound by rolling the boiled eggs she had just made on Eiji's cheek. "What mess have you gone into?" she asked.
"I met Shirotori recently." Eiji replied.
"Shirotori?" Kazue repeated the name, "If I recall it correctly, he's one of your rivals in the concours in elementary school, isn't he?" When Eiji remained silent, she sighed and continued, "Are you still holding on to what happened four years ago? It has already been so lo-" She was interrupted when Eiji rose from his seat.
"Eiji!" Kazue exclaimed, but Eiji had already gone into his room and shut the door. Inside, he opened his closet and took out a box – a violin case. He placed it on his bed and opened it, revealing a violin with dark brown color.
The next day after school, Eiji came to Akari's seat as she was packing her things. He said to her, "Sorry, I still have something to do in school. Can you go home with Sakura instead?" At the exact moment, Sakura was coming towards them. Eiji turned to her and asked, "Can you go home with her?"
"O-Okay." replied Sakura, who was taken by surprise.
"We'll be leaving then," Akari wrote to Eiji. Eiji smiled and nodded. After that, the girls left the classroom. When Eiji saw that they were gone, he went the other way to leave the school.
Eiji arrived at the park Naoki had mentioned. There Naoki was waiting, with the white violin of his in his hand. When Eiji went forward to him, he said, "You're here. Why don't you start first?"
Eiji put down the violin case and took out his violin. Then he put the violin under his chin and crossed the bow on the violin strings. He closed his eyes and started playing. His movements were fast and precise. Naoki looked at him with awe.
"It's the same as last time," he thought, "The same technique, the same precision." As Eiji was still playing the music piece, suddenly a memory struck him. He remembered the time when his parents died and put his playing to a halt.
"Sorry," he said, "I can't do it after all." After that, he put his violin back into the case and walked off.
"Wait, Takanami!" Naoki called out, but he ignored him.
When Eiji returned home, he locked himself in his room, thinking about his past. He remembered when he called his parents to urge them to come home, to watch him perform in a competition. He also remembered when his sister received the bad news of their deaths from a phone call. Meanwhile, Kazue, who was standing outside the room, looked very upset over her brother's sudden change of behavior.
One day, Akari came to a playground. Kazue was sitting on the swing, rocking the swing gently. Akari came to her. Kazue raised her head and said, "Sorry for asking you out like this, Akari-chan." Akari shook her head gently.
"Sit down," said Kazue. Akari took a seat of the swing next to Kazue and looked at her. For a moment, Kazue hesitated to begin. She then said, "Both our parents were musicians. I don't really have a thing for music, but Eiji…he loves music very much, and he's very talented in violin. When he's 12 years old, our parents had gone overseas to perform. His school was having a concours. Eiji was so happy to be able to participate, and he urged our parents to hurry home. But, on the way back, the plane they boarded crashed." Tears were starting to appear in Kazue's eyes. She sniffed and continued, "Eiji has always blamed himself for their deaths. He thinks that if he didn't make that phone call, they might be still alive." Akari lowered her head after she heard the story. Kazue placed her hand on Akari's lap.
"I hope you'll persuade him," she said, "To play the violin."
The following day, Akari went up to the rooftop, leaning on the railing as she gazed into the sky. At the same moment, Eiji reached the place. "Why are you asking me to come here all the sudden?" Akari turned around and stared at him for a brief moment. She then scribbled on her sketchbook.
"Kazue-san told me about you." Eiji looked very shocked, and turned his gaze away from Akari.
"Sorry," he said, "I didn't mean to hide it from you." Akari continued to write.
"I had a voice once." When Eiji looked surprised, she continued, "Singing is my passion. But then I had a tumor in my vocal cord. The doctor had to remove it so that I can live."
"You have the chance," Akari wrote, "Take it." Eiji lowered his head and clenched his fist.
"I can't," said Eiji, "If I play the violin, I'll be guilty towards my parents."
"It was an accident," Akari told him, "Loving something won't harm anyone. I'm sure your parents would want you to play music again." Eiji remained silent. He then looked at Akari straight in the eyes.
"If I'm going to play the violin again, you are going to play the piano in public." he said. Akari looked at him in shock.
"There is going to an inter-school competition," Eiji continued, "I want you to join me in the competition." Akari stared at him for a while. Then she replied, "I can't."
"Then there's no point talking about this." said Eiji. Then, he walked back into the building, leaving Akari behind. Unbeknownst to the two, Nanaka was standing at a blind spot, listening to their conversation.
After the heated conversation, the couple went into a cold war. Both of them refused to talk to each other. When Sakura saw the tension between the two, she decided to approach Eiji, "What is going on with you two?" she asked when she came to his seat.
"Nothing." replied Eiji.
"Well, if it's nothing, you guys ought to solve the problem by now, right?" asked Sakura. When Eiji remained silent, she sighed, "Whatever the problem is, work it out fast, okay?"
"Excuse me, is Toshikawa-san here?" a student from outside the classroom called out.
"Here!" Sakura replied, and went to speak with the student. At the exact moment, Nanaka went to make a move on Eiji.
"Hey, Eiji-kun, are you free this Sunday?" she asked.
"Why are you asking?" Eiji asked back.
"Ever since we met each other again, we still haven't got a chance to chat properly," Nanaka replied, "So I'm thinking maybe we can hang out." Eiji turned to look at Akari. But she was avoiding his gaze. He then turned his attention back to Nanaka.
"Sounds great." he replied. Nanaka smiled in delight.
"Great! I'll see you on Sunday then!" she exclaimed. After that, she took her bag and left the classroom happily. When Eiji took another glance at Akari, she was already gone. Meanwhile, Sakura was watching him and saw the sad look on his face. She herself was unhappy to see him in such a condition.