Wearily, I woke up from my slumber, unaware of what was around me. I felt something rubbing against my leg and surrounding my waist. I sighed. Not again. I lifted the sheets up. Taiga, wearing light blue lingerie, was holding onto my body. How many times does this make? I lost track of it a long time ago. I slowly tried to unravel myself from her, but I failed. Taiga clasped my leg and tightly clutched my body. She moaned and slowly opened her eyes.

"Good morning, Nakamoto-kun," Taiga said in a sweet voice.

"I thought I told you not to do these kinds of things," I said to her.

"But, we're all alone here, so this is private," she said.

"Your parents will kill me if they see the two of us like this," I explained.

"But the door is locked, so we should be fine," she said.

"My door may be locked, but I am sure your room is not," I said.

"Come on, please," Taiga said. "Can't I stay like this for a bit longer?"

"No, for I am leaving this room as we speak," I said, trying to get up.

"No, please stay here," Taiga said, placing her hand on my chest. "Where are you going?"

"Outside," I responded. "You should have known that by now."

"You always go outside," whined Taiga. "It's not good for your body."

"At the very least, it is better than oversleeping," I replied.

"Stay here with me for a bit longer, just this once," Taiga said, hugging me tightly.

"Only because it is you, I will do as you say," I told her.

"Thank you, Nakamoto-kun," she replied happily. "I love you."

I lied back down on my bed. Taiga brought herself closer to me. Her head leaned on one shoulder while her hands were grabbing onto the other shoulder. Her legs enveloped my waist. She smiled at me and quickly fell asleep. I sighed and looked up at my blank ceiling. At the end of the day, when we are alone, she is the queen. Only when we are in public do I gain the benefit of controlling her. Seriously, what kind of mindset do the two of us run in? I slowly closed my eyes as sleep overcame by body, which it should not have.

You Are …

Quickly, I woke up from my slumber. Because Taiga was currently out of my room, I was free to move my body. I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face. Afterwards, I went to my room to change into my school uniform. I walked downstairs and walked towards the living room. Luckily, neither Taiga's mother nor father was inside. Instead, Taiga was at the kitchen cooking breakfast. She turned to me and smiled.

"Good morning, Nakamoto-kun," Taiga said. "Breakfast will be ready soon."

"I would rather have you for breakfast," I told her.

"Since when were you such a ravenous young man," Taiga asked.

"Is such a question not normal for an eighteen-year-old adolescent," I questioned.

"If you'd told me earlier, I would have easily prepared it for you," Taiga answered.

"I was joking, if you did not realize that sooner," I said.

"I will be the judge of whether that statement is true or not," Taiga replied.

I was about to leave the living room when Taiga dropped a turner. I ran up to her.

"Taiga, is everything alright," I asked.

"I'm fine, Nakamoto-kun. I was just a bit clumsy; that's all," Taiga replied.

"Are you sure," I questioned. "Maybe you should rest for the day."

"I'm fine," Taiga replied. "Breakfast is almost done. Please set up the table for me."

Although I wanted to figure out the cause of her dizziness, I knew that I would not be able to get the words out of her mouth no matter how hard I tried. Unable to speak to her any further, I decided to set up the table. Taiga brought our breakfast to the table, and the two of us ate. While Taiga continued to create some sort of conversation between us, I could not help but be concerned of her breakfast, the two picked up our bags and lunches and headed out of the house. We were walking hand in hand, a routine we did ever since we confessed to each other. As I walked down the street, I noticed that the sakura trees were budding. It looks like it is that time of year again. As we walked through the birth of a new day ahead of me, we saw some students from a distance and let go of each other's hands. I merged with a crowd of fellow students. As I walked towards the school, I spotted Naoki, who was not too far away from me. I walked up to him and patted him on the back. Naoki turned around.

"Nakamoto, good morning," Naoki said.

"And a good morning to you as well," I replied.

"It's nice to see you come here around this time," Naoki said. "It allows us to bond a bit more than just meeting up and talking in the classroom. You should do that more sometime."

"I will think about it, not that there is any time for change anyway," I replied.

"You don't have to remind me," Naoki said. "I can't believe we're going to graduate in just a few weeks. Time really flies quickly. I can remember my first time coming here as though it was yesterday. I can't believe I spent three years in this school. We were also in the same class during our first year, too, and I became friends with you then. Those were very memorable times. If only days like that can continue forever."

"You can always try to get suspended. There is still time for mischief," I said.

"Very funny, Nakamoto; I need to learn about you sense of humor," Naoki replied. "I'm not going to waste any time when I graduate. As soon as I do so, I'm going to go out and start looking for various jobs for hire and find myself a full-time job."

"I am sure you will achieve such a goal. I know you can do it," I replied.

"Thanks, Nakamoto, I needed that," Naoki said. "You know, having you as a friend is not such a bad idea after all."

"Now who is the cynical one, if I may ask," I questioned him.

The two of us laughed, and, by the time we realized it, we were in front of the school gates. The two of us walked to our lockers to put on our school shoes. We talked up to the third floor and walked to our homeroom. Already, there were a couple of students inside, some of whom were not members of our class. Kaito, Osamu, and Riku were already inside the room and sitting down on their seats. The three of them turned towards the door and saw us.

"Nakamoto-kun, Naoki-kun, good morning," Riku said.

"Hey there, guys," Naoki said.

"You're quite late, nowadays," Kaito informed me. "What happened to you?"

"Considering that I have a lot of time left, I fail to understand your question," I replied.

"Well, since everyone's here, I would like to begin with today's meeting," Osamu said.

"Since when do we have meetings," I asked.

"That doesn't matter," Osamu answered. "The point is that graduation is just around the corner, and I suggest we do something amazing to make sure that it will be a blast."

"Whatever your plan is, I quickly deny it, you roach," Kaito answered.

"But I haven't even said anything yet," Osamu replied.

"Couldn't you just have Senoue-san sing for us during the graduation ceremony," Naoki asked. "I'm sure that alone would get people excited."

"You don't seem to get it, do you, Naoki," Osamu replied. "Of course, Takara-san is going to sing at the graduation ceremony. That much is obvious. In fact, there are many students who wish to see Takara-san sing the school anthem for us. If the students are already anticipating these things, then it wouldn't be much of a surprise, right?"

"Not having her sing would certainly surprise people," Kaito replied.

"That's merely getting people's hopes down, of which I do not want to see happen," Osamu said. "Alright, guys, it's time to start thinking of a plan."

"I thought you were the type to already have something in your mind," I said.

"Well, I actually don't know what we should do; that's why I'm asking," Osamu stated

"Why are we having this conversation in the first place," Kaito sighed.

"U-Um, the bell is about to ring soon, so we should start preparing," Riku said.

Cutting our conversation short, the five of us prepared for our first class. Soon, the bell rang, signaling the beginning of our class time. Strangely enough, Taiga came inside the room just in time before her name was called out for attendance. Taiga quickly apologized for her tardiness and went towards her seat. Although class continued as though nothing happened, rather than pretending that I was paying attention to the lessons, I kept my eyes on Taiga during the entire lecture. When the first class was over, I wanted to secretly talk to Taiga when she was free, but there were several students who were already surrounding her and talking to her. Taiga kept her smile throughout the conversations. I knew there was something hidden under the smile, but I was not able to approach her. By the time she was free, the next class began, and I would continue to wait until I gained the proper opportunity to meet her.

Such a chance did not occur until the bell rang, signaling the end of morning classes and the start of our lunch break. A few girls walked up to Taiga and wanted to eat lunch with her, but Taiga politely refused their offer. When she got up, she immediately fell and covered her mouth. The girls swiftly helped her up and asked if everything was okay. Although she told them she was fine, some of the girls insisted that they help her to the nurse's office. Eventually, Taiga gave in to their offer, and some of the girls escorted her out of the room. Although an awkward atmosphere remained in the air, the class managed to continue as though nothing happened. Before I was able to stand up to catch up to her, Naoki, Kaito, Osamu, and Riku connected their desks to my desk in one motion.

"Okay, guys, we haven't eaten together in a while, so let's eat now," Osamu said.

"Sorry, but I will humbly decline your offer," I said.

"Is it our class president," Kaito questioned. "She did act a bit odd today."

"Do you think she's sick," Riku asked.

"In that case, allow me to cure her to her happy self," Osamu suggested.

"While I appreciate the thought, I think you would worsen her condition," I said. "I will go check to see if she is fine."

Not wasting any time to see how she was doing or listening to any of their talks, I quickly rushed out of the room to find her. Osamu dropped his shoulders and sighed.

"I think it's obvious that Nakamoto likes our class president," Osamu said.

"Did you realize that now," Kaito said to him. "Do you live under a rock?"

"You guys believe that they are secretly going out," Naoki asked.

"And yet, we have another oblivious man at our table," Kaito said.

"But, I think it's not as black and white," Riku replied. "It's more of a blend of colors that have not properly mixed yet. Even though I've been with them the longest, I have a hard time figuring out what kind of relationship they have. But I do believe that there are some genuine feelings between the two of them."

"So, it's only a matter of time before something big happens between them," Naoki said.

"However, Nakamoto is more of the type that plays serious and straightforward than anything else," Kaito said. "He might not be alright interacting with her."

"I have faith in Nakamoto," Osamu said. "If there's anyone who can pull something random out of a hat and make it work, Nakamoto would do it and make it look easy."

Meanwhile, I ran towards the nurse's office. I knew there was something wrong with her. I should have said something sooner. As I continued to run, I bumped into Ms. Tanaka, who happened to be walking by, but was looking down. She looked up and saw me.

"Hello there, Yaburo-kun," Ms. Tanaka said. "What perfect timing. I've been meaning to look for you. I want you to come to my office for a second."

"But, I am not sick, nor do I have an injured person with me," I said.

"I wasn't referring to you, but to Koyama-san," Ms. Tanaka said. "Do you know her?"

"She is our class president, but we do not talk together much," I replied.

"That's surprising, considering that you two live in the same house," Ms. Tanaka said.

"How did you…," I began.

"I am the school nurse," Ms. Tanaka said. "I have a record of all of your medical reports. Of course, that includes your telephone number, address, and emergency contact information. Koyama-san is in my office right now."

"Is she okay," I asked.

"Unfortunately not," Ms. Tanaka replied. "She's running a slight fever and threw up in my office. Tell me; was there something different or unusual about her today?"

"I do believe that she was spacing out in the morning," I replied.

"I see. How close are you to Koyama-san," Ms. Tanaka asked.

"What do you mean," I asked.

"Let me rephrase that: how intimate are you with her," Ms. Tanaka asked.

"We are not really like that," I answered.

"I need you to tell me the truth, Yaburo-kun," Ms. Tanaka said. "This is a very serious question, and I will not repeat myself. I'll ask one last time: how close are you to Koyama-san?"

There was a brief pause. Ms. Tanaka was looking at me with serious eyes. I felt as though if I said something wrong, it would not only jeopardize my life, but also Taiga's life.

"We are in love with each other," I finally replied.

"Good," Ms. Tanaka said. "Come with me. Koyama-san is waiting there."

Having no other choice, I decided to follow her. We walked into the nurse's office. Ms. Tanaka opened the door to her room and pushed away a curtain that was covering the beds; however, no one was seen sleeping, sitting down, or lying on the bed. Ms. Tanaka was shocked.

"Koyama-san," Ms. Tanaka asked, looking around. "She left. Where could she be?"

Concerned about her health, I quickly ran out of her office before Ms. Tanaka said anything. I rushed out of the school building and left the school premise. I searched around the areas near our school, but I was unable to find her. I looked through the park, the shopping district, and near the square, but I was not able to catch sight of her. Soon, the sun was nearly setting, and I have yet to find her after running around for so long. Where could that girl be? She should not have gone that far away. Could it be that she has already returned home to rest and relax? Why was that not the first place that I went to? As I headed towards her house, I crossed the park once again. This time, I saw someone swinging on a swing by herself. She was looking at the sky, as though she was lost in thought. I caught my breath and slowly walked up to her.

"And where have you disappear to, young maiden," I asked her.

"Yaburo-kun," Taiga said. "Did you come looking for me?"

"In fact, I missed some afternoon classes because of you," I said. "You should repay me."

"What a coincidence; I also missed today's classes as well," Taiga said.

"And, unlike you, I am a modest, honest man who never missed classes," I said.

"Thank you for describing me so well," Taiga replied.

"Just tell me why you are out here and not at the nurse's office," I said.

"It's nothing, really," Taiga said.

"It's not 'nothing' if you suddenly collapsed this morning and in class," I said. "Please, tell me what's wrong. I am worried about you."

"That's the first time you've ever said that to me," Taiga said.

"Taiga, I'm serious," I told her.

Silence filled the air between us. The only things that we heard were the passing cars by the street. Taiga looked down before looking back up at me.

"Hey, Nakamoto-kun, don't be surprised when I tell you this," Taiga said.

"You have already surprised me plenty of times. I am used to it," I replied.

"Nakamoto-kun, I'm serious here," Taiga said. "Please listen, and don't joke around."

"I am as attentive as I can be," I told her. "Now, inform me of your statement."

"Okay," Taiga said. "Well… um… how do I say this? I… I'm… pregnant."

I found myself sitting down on a dining chair at Taiga's house. Taiga was at the kitchen brewing tea. It was a world that I was not accustomed to around this time. Having gone three years waking up and leaving the house early and returning to the house late at night, the soft, afternoon glow of the interior made it seem like I was in another world. However, such things were not on my mind, as I was still thinking about what Taiga said to me at the swing. The words echoed in my head like a gong rung directly next to me. As I sat down trying to get my mind set, Taiga came back to the table with two cups of tea, one of which was given to me. She, too, sat two across from me and did not make a sound. We were stuck figuring out what to say to each other. The silence that shrouded us was igniting the tension. I had to say something.

"Just to make it clear, it is my child, right," I asked.

"Of course, it is," Taiga said. "I would only do those things with you."

"R-Right," I replied.

What am I doing? Why am I speaking in such a way? This is not like me at all.

"I-I went to see an obstetrician that Tanaka-san suggested after she tested me and told me of my condition," Taiga said. "I found out there that what Tanaka-san said was true."

"Y-You are going to keep it, right," I questioned.

"Of course, I am," Taiga replied. "It's our child; I'm obviously going to keep it. Don't you know how long I wanted to bear your child?"

"B-But we are still at a rather sensitive time period of our lives," I said.

"We can't help it," Taiga stated. "What's done is done. We didn't use protection, and I didn't use any contraception. It was bound to happen sooner or later. You're not thinking about doing anything to it, are you?"

"That would be the last thing I would do," I replied. "I am obviously going to take responsibility for it. It is my child as well. I want to be there for it and you."

The door suddenly opened. We heard several footsteps coming towards our direction. Taiga's mother and father both appeared in front of the living room. Her mother was wearing a black one-piece dress and a white jacket while her father was wearing a white, buttoned shirt and grey dress pants. The two of them walked up to us.

"Taiga, Nakamoto, thank goodness the two of you are here," Taiga's mother said.

"We got a call from the school that the two of you were absent during the latter half of class," Taiga's father said. "Is everything alright? Are you two well?"

"Mom, Dad, we need to talk to you for a second," Taiga said.

"Allow me to handle this, Taiga," I told her.

I got up and slowly walked up to them, of which they were surprised by my action, as it had rarely happened before. When I got close to them, I quickly dropped to my knees and bowed.

"Please let me marry your daughter," I said while bowing to them.

Both of them were confused by both my statement and my action. Taiga attempted to explain what was going on, but also failed to do so. After a slew of confusion, the four of us found ourselves sitting at the dining table. Taiga and I sat on one end while her mother and father sat on the other. From there, Taiga and I properly explained what was going on. I told them about my relationship with her as well as the "sickness" that Taiga had that made the two of us leave school. When everything was said, her parents remained silent, absorbing everything that we said. I waited for a response and expected an angry one.

"Let me summarize what you have said," Taiga's father said. "You have impregnated my daughter, and, to take responsibility, you wish to marry her with our consent. Is that right?"

"Right," I replied.

"Let me remind you of something," Taiga's father said. "For ten years, you have not properly spoken to us ever since we accepted you into our household. For ten years, you have not told us your feelings or what you wanted. Instead, you have been quiet and very obedient to us and our desires. While we accepted your behavior, we wanted you to feel as home as possible. Yet, time and time again, you refused our hospitality. In the latter years, you have also left home early and came home late, never having the time to greet us nor talk to us. Now, after all this time, we had a deep and long discussion, and you, out of all people, want my daughter's hand in marriage. Does this not seem strange to you? Do you honestly believe that I would simply give my daughter to you after all we have put up with you and your antics?"

I knew this is not going to go well. "I hardly do," I answered.

"Then, let me ask you this: do you love my daughter," Taiga's father asked.

Silence filled the room. I could feel the tension that was growing between us. Even Taiga looked a bit worried, but her mother seemed to agree with everything he said.

"Of course, I do," I told him. "I love her with the bottom of my heart."

"That's all I need to know. Congratulations," Taiga's father told me.

"Huh," Taiga and I said at the same time, confused.

"I am sorry, but can you please repeat that? I did not quite catch that," I said.

"Did you two honestly believe that we do not know how much you care about each other," her father said. "You do realize whose roof you live under."

"You were so smitten over each other, I was wondering when we would be having grandchildren," Taiga's mother said. "I wouldn't have guessed it would be this soon."

"T-Time out for a minute," I said. "Are you truly sure this is alright?"

"Mom, dad, I knew you would understand us very well," Taiga said.

"Taiga, do not just accept it like that," I told her. "This must be scripted, right? Parents are not supposed to act this way. Are you not supposed to be angrier at me? Is that not natural?"

"The two of you are eighteen, so you're old enough to know what to do with yourselves without our consent," Taiga's father said. "Aren't you grateful to have such generous parents?"

"While I do agree that this is a much lighter situation than I presumed it to be, I would have at least expected some sort of aggression, like a punch or something similar," I said.

"Very well then, if that's what you really wanted," Taiga's father said.

Her father got up, walked up to me, and punched me directly at my face. I fell down from the chair from the impact, and Taiga quickly came to my aid.

"Was that something that you had in mind," he asked.

"Something along those lines," I replied.

"Good," Taiga's father said. "Let this be the first and last time that I strike you ever again. I despise the use of violence, especially against my family and children."

"This feels very similar to the time Keiichi asked Yui's parent's for her hand," her mother said.

"I was wondering why this scene felt so familiar," her father said. "It was nostalgic."

"My parents were like this," I asked. "In what way?"

"You probably don't know this, but you were inside your mother's belly during college," Taiga's father explained. "Your father and I were high school buddies as were you mother and Yui. The four of us had a class together in college and became fast friends. It took under a year for Keiichi to confess his love to Yui, of which she accepted in a heartbeat."

"It wasn't until a few weeks after that that Yui found out she was with child," Taiga's mother added. "Like you, Keiichi panicked, so he went all the way to her house to ask her parents to have her hand in marriage. Now, the boyfriend girlfriend relationship between him and Yui were kept secert from both parties, so her parents were truly upset that this was happening and that they did not know about it. However, they accepted their relationship and allowed their marriage. We didn't want them to feel lonely, so we wasted no time having a child ourselves."

"Both of you, and my parents, are far too laid back," I said.

"Nakamoto, we still feel very sad about the deaths of Keiichi and Yui, and I know it's wrong for us to use them like this, but if they were here right now, I'm sure they would be very ecstatic to have a grandchild of their own," said Taiga's father. "If possible, I would like it if you stayed with us and spend a bit more time with us here. I understand that there is some tension between you and us and that you are uncomfortable talking about it, but I'm sure that Keiichi and Yui would feel the same way as we do. Can you stay here for a bit longer from now on?"

I pondered in thought about that question. I recalled the time when I was in grade school when I heard the news that my parents were dead. I was told that my parents, along with Taiga's parents went off somewhere as a trip during their anniversary. During the ride back home, the vehicle that they were driving in swerve and crashed into something. Taiga's parents were in the backseat, so they suffered minimal damage, but my parents, who were in the front, were severely injured. By the time the ambulance came, it was too late. I remember staying in my room, not crying, but looking outside my window, emotionless. Taiga was at the door, looking on and not knowing what to do. Taiga's parents decided to adopt me and took me into their place, as they felt it was necessary and their responsibility. It would be my first time visiting her house, as Taiga and her family would usually come over to my place to play.

While it felt strange and uncomfortable to live in a strange setting, I managed to get used to this odd lifestyle. I stayed in their house thereafter, using their place as my shelter. Even so, not once have I called Taiga's parents mother and father, for it felt weird for me to call them that. I kept most of my problems to myself and learned to be independent and do things on my own. While it was not big at first, over time, I was slowly separating from her parent's emotionally, spending less and less time with them, only responding when talked to and making conversations short. By the end of middle school, I felt that I was abusing their hospitality, so I distanced myself further, to the point that I would barely see them at any given day. I felt as though I did not deserve such a thing. Even now, I felt as though what was going on was but a dream.

"After all the things that I have done, after all the things that I have said, you still readily open your arms for me," I questioned. "Why?"

"'Why', you ask," Taiga's father said. "That's easy: we're family, right?"

I was shocked by his answer. Even now, I was still considered their son, or, at least, someone they care deeply about to be considered one. I could not see what was in front of me. The world around me was white. I looked up, closed my eyes, and covered them with my arm. This world is too bright. This house is too warm for me to accept. I will not give in to the light. I will not give in to the light. I will not….As I continued to cycle those words in my head, I felt something touch my shoulder. It was as though the spirit of my mother and father released me from all of the unnecessary stress built up in my body. The heavy burdens that were on my shoulders were lifted. By the time I realized it, I dropped to my knees. As though an outside force was controlling me, I bowed to Taiga's father once more.

"Please accept my reconciliation," I stated.

"I do not need them," her father replied. "I've already forgiven you from the start."

I looked up to Taiga's father, who was smiling from ear to ear. I looked at Taiga and her mother, both of whom had happy faces. Without knowing it, I started to laugh. All three of them were surprised by my actions. Even I was confused as to what I was doing. Tears started to roll down my eyes, and my laughter turned into wailing. Taiga's dad bent over and hugged me as I continued to cry on his shoulder. It was the only thing that I could lean on. As it turned out, I cried myself to sleep, and Taiga placed my head on her lap and gently patted it.

"This is the first time I saw him like this," Taiga said.

"I would assume he cried out the tears he should have shed long ago," Taiga's father said.

"I was thinking just the same thing," Taiga's mother said.

"Are you really sure about accepting the two of us like this," Taiga asked them.

"Are you still worried about that," Taiga's father asked.

"You're happiness is our happiness, Taiga, and we would be very happy to see the two of you happily together," Taiga's mother replied.

Taiga smiled and continued to caress my head as I continued to sleep of her lap.

The sun was high and brightly shown in the sky, emitting a deep blue color with patches of clouds here and there. Sakura petals were falling on the path to school that many students walked at. A gentle breeze swayed by here and there, causing the petals to twirl and sway around with the wind. A joyful atmosphere surrounded all of them as they were heading towards the school building. A sign that read "Graduation Ceremony" was displayed in front of the school gate. All of the students were lined up at the auditorium, ready for the big event. The principal would call out the graduates names, and they would walk up to the stage to receive their diploma. I was one of such people who were sitting down on a chair, waiting for my name to be called. Naoki, who was sitting to my left, was very emotional while Osamu, who was sitting to my right, wanted this to be over as soon as possible. As soon as everyone received their diploma, we all stood to sing our school song. I was not one to partake in such things, but I decided to follow along due to the atmosphere of the room. The thought was cut short when Takara, who appeared on stage, performed our theme song with the light music band from our school, giving a standard song a pop tune. Clearly, everyone was singing the song now that Takara was singing it, too. I checked to see the teacher's reactions, but they seemed to be fine with it. What an odd reaction. What did Osamu do to them this time?

After that event was over, and everything calmed down, we were finally able to close the ceremony with some final words from the principal. All of us left the auditorium with large smiles in our faces. Some of us cheered and were planning to celebrate later that day. Others were crying and saying farewell to each other, as though it would be the last time that they will ever get to see each other again. Many of them started to take pictures of each other as well as with some of their favorite teachers. This was clearly not a mood for any bad or malicious things to occur. It was a time to celebrate, a time to give thanks, and a time to say goodbye. I looked around to see what was happening around me. Naoki and Aya were talking at the courtyard. Aya was showing her thanks to him, and Naoki became emotional once more. Ms. Tanaka was there to see all of this happen. Kaito and Nagisa were at the front gate and talking with the chauffer. He and Nagisa were congratulating Kaito for his graduation, of which he accepted. Osamu and Takara were by the side of the building. They were talking about plans to hold a large party for their success and their continued achievements for the future. Riku and Chikako were at the rooftop, mainly chatting with each other and laughing. I was touring around the school when Taiga finally found me and walked up to me. Her belly was slightly protruding.

"Nakamoto, where have you been," Taiga asked.

"I have been here the entire time," I replied.

"What kind of reply is that," Taiga questioned. "I hope our child doesn't act like that."

"Why were you searching for me," I asked.

"I was wondering if you were done with what you had to do," Taiga answered.

"I was doing something," I repeated, confused. "What could that be?"

"I thought you would be talking to your friends about your little bet," Taiga explained.

"You overheard that," I asked.

"It was quite audible considering what you were doing," Taiga replied.

"Well, I highly doubt that any of them remember it at this point," I said. "They are probably too busy mesmerized in their own world, and, to an extent, it is a good thing. The plan was never to get them to snitch or think of a punishment for each other. It was about searching for love and how a couple of weird guys like them can still find their significant other even in this school premise. It is not the reward, but the journey to get there."

"And you had this all figured out from day one," Taiga asked.

"That was my plan from the start," I replied.

"I was sure you only made it believing that you would be able to control all of them in the palm of your hand," Taiga said.

"Now, why would I think like that when I had no one to begin with," I questioned.

"You could have easily used me to be by your side at the very end," Taiga suggested.

"Is that how you really think of me," I asked.

"I'll let you be the judge of that," Taiga said.

Taiga walked closed to me and clasped my arm. I was taken aback.

"What are you doing," I asked. "They can see us."

"What are you talking about," Taiga replied. "Everyone knows about our relationship already, so there's no need to hide it."

"I understand that, but this is still quite embarrassing," I said.

"Now, I would like to have that personality embedded in our child," Taiga said.

"I really fear the future that is in store for our child," I said.

"Are you saying that I'm a terrible mother," Taiga asked.

"I would say that we are rather crooked parents," I replied.

"But, our child will be filled with love for every minute of its life," Taiga responded.

"Indeed, it would," I stated. "Shall we go?"

Taiga nodded. Arm in arm, the two of walked out of the school premise, never to return for a long time. It was the start of a new future for the both of us and for the new life that was about to be introduced to the world.