3.18.2007

"I don't know where I'm going but it won't be back." (Review of KISS, Zekkou, KISS ~Bokura no baai~ manga volume 8)

Front cover I Hate You But I Love You 8

Call it premature but I already readied the title of my volume 8 review of post finishing my review of volume 7; it's a good thing then that didn't let me—and my overhasty titling—down. In the eighth Indonesian installment to this series (released under the title I Hate You But I Love You), our engaging characters and continue to grow in ways that persist at utter delight. And although at this point we may not know where the story's heading, it certainly won't be going back.

This leads me to break from norm and state upfront what I really think of this volume:

rating
On the 1 to 5-point US scale (pairs of untied shoelaces), volume eight gets an 8 for (perfect) and story.

The latter is an especially major achievement, particularly when you consider that the book is, in essence, transition. Lest you think I'm exaggerating, read on.

I Hate You But I Love You Volume 8

Contains the standard two sets of paired stories, each told from the points of view of and , plus one omake.

  1. Ulang Tahun Rahasia (Secret Birthday) | SakisakaHatori
  2. Teman Sekelas untuk Sehari (Classmate for a Day) | SakisakaHatori
  3. Tentang??? (About???)

The book opens with a Yuuya fantasy (that is a slight and forgivable regression to pre-volume 7 days) on the title page. This is mitigated by its customary cuteness and the splash pages for Secret Birthday - Hatori's version and Classmate for a Day - Sakisaka's version which are particularly heart-throbby (the others register more on the warm and fuzzy side).

Begging your indulgence again for the too terribly lengthy
* * S P O I L E R     H E A V Y * * summaries/novelization following. I wanted to have something to jog my memory, long after finishing this manga.

Ulang Tahun Rahasia (Secret Birthday)

Secret Birthday - Sakisaka's version

It's been over a year and half since first became but you can still be forgiven for thinking they only started exclusive coupleship a few days ago.

You might think that because of how Mao's (mis)behaving: she wants to spend as much time as she can glued to Yuuya's side; she agonizes over being away from him for nearly a week (Yuuya's earlier OF COURSE IT'S A PROBLEM!! outburst notwithstanding, it looks like Mao was prevailed upon to go on the school trip); she keeps fiddling with the ring he gave her; and she resents the time her boyfriend has to work more hours at the convenience store where he holds a part-time job (she suspects it's because he's saving up for her upcoming birthday).

In short, Mao has become the epitome of a new girlfriend. This contrasts favorably with her strength and self-contained poise. And while I don't advocate clingy-ness and over-dependence as a rule, seeing our heroine depicted so normally, so school-girly simply endears.

The thoroughly credible portrayal of a girl in love continues when Mao, disappointed by Yuuya's "casual" acceptance of their reduced alone time, tells her boyfriend that if he's too busy with work, he doesn't have to walk her home after class. (It's a fit! She pitched a fit!) As she heads home, she acknowledges that she set out to be mean to Yuuya and is appropriately conscience-stricken over her greed-driven words.

Later, Mao's frustration climbs to alarming levels when told by her friends that Yuuya had praised her for being tough (read: she won't be wailing to him about being away for five days and four nights). Further, she is informed that that is exactly what he likes about her. The revelation makes it all the more difficult for Mao to confide just how bereft she will feel if they can't see each other, even for a measly handful of days.

Since when did I become so frail? she questions herself. The more my love for Yuuya grows, the weaker I become. The farther I get from Yuuya's ideal picture of me.

The fact that Yuuya deliberately makes himself late for school to see her off just makes things worse. Faced with his smiles, Mao is hard-pressed say anything; she can only tell him that she will text-message and call him once she reaches Hokkaido. Later as the train separates her from her boyfriend, Mao cries out silently: Why didn't you stop me? Obviously, it only needed a(nother) voiced objection from Yuuya to make Mao decline the trip.

It is up to Fuse, Mao's classmate and Yuuya's rival for her affections, to notice her anguish. You're not really here, are you? he observes to the downcast and already-missing-Yuuya Mao. He goes on to advise, Forget about him.

At least, for the duration of this school trip.

She is beyond listening to any counsel. The ring that symbolizes her bond with Yuuya sustains Mao and provides much needed strength.

It is that same ring that Fuse targets while in Hokkaido. As Fuse sees another classmate bringing the chain with Yuuya's ring to Mao's room for safekeeping (the girls are bathing), he offers to hold on to it. His slick explanation: he will see her sooner at the class officers' meeting.

When Mao finishes bathing, it's almost curfew time. The first thing she asks Kozue for is the ring. When she discovers that Fuse has it, Mao rushes to the boys' quarters.

Well, aren't you the daring one? Fuse provokes. You know you're not allowed out of your room upwards of ten o'clock.

Give it back, Mao demands firmly. Give me my ring back!

Mao tries to get the ring back from Fuse (Secret Birthday - Sakisaka - volume 8)

Fuse dangles the ring in front of Mao. Poor Hatori, he taunts, keeping the ring out of reach just as she tries to wrest it away. Is he thinking of chaining you to him with this?

You're wrong! Mao contradicts him, all the while struggling to grab the ring. I'm the one who wants to be chained!

You shouldn't let yourself be shackled by this thing, Fuse points out to the panic-stricken girl in (what I imagine to be) a reasonable tone. If this ring weren't around, you'll feel better. Allow me to keep it until the study tour ends. With that, he closes the door in Mao's face.

The following morning, Mao is dismayed to find that her group would be accompanied by Fuse's during the free activity portion of the tour. Seeing her nemesis smiling as though nothing were amiss, Mao can't let herself relax. Given the chance to talk to him privately, she approaches Fuse and repeats her demand.

I don't mind being bound to him, she adds. As long as it's Hatori.

Then why don't you try telling him that? challenges Fuse. You can't, can you? He mocks her and the strength of her feelings.

Goaded beyond bearing, Mao phones Yuuya. He's still at school, as evidenced by the rowdy ribbing she overhears. How can I tell him? she agonizes. Yuuya thinks I'm strong...

In the end, Mao elects to tell Yuuya only inconsequential things but inwardly wills her boyfriend to understand. Yuuya offers an equally trivial That's good response to Mao having visited a pretty shrine before apologizing for the weak signal. The reception gives out and Mao's call is cut short.

She slumps in dejection. Me tough and strong? I'm not that. Her thoughts are as much a mess as her roiling emotions. I don't need to feel good. I want to be bound to Yuuya. Because if he's not with me, I can't stand on my own.

Fuse notices that Mao has gone missing. He questions her friends and they inform him she's gone to her room as she's not feeling well. Struck by remorse, Fuse goes to Mao and standing outside her door, tells her, Forgive me. I'm giving back your ring. Mao emerges from her room and Fuse is shocked.

Where are you going? Mao is carrying a traveling bag.

Home. She goes on to tell Fuse he doesn't need to return the ring; she's going back to see Yuuya.

Fuse hurls the ring and chain to the ground and as Mao bends to retrieve it, lashes out, What the hell happened to you?? Just because Hatori isn't here... This isn't you!! He grabs her roughly by the arm. The Sakisaka I know...

I don't want to hear you say that. She dislodges his hand and looks him straight in the eye.

I've changed. I like Hatori and I've changed. I've become weak. And dependent. Her attitude belies her words.

Is that so wrong?

Is that so wrong? - Mao (Secret Birthday - Sakisaka - volume 8)

(See what I mean about this whole thing not going back? k, so she's going home—let's not be literal ^^)

I'm the one who loves him more and I know that, Mao continues. That's why I don't want to be separated—not even for five days.

I can't! She strides away, ignoring Fuse's command.

Wait! Sakisaka!

MAO!

It is not Fuse who calls her in yobisute; it is Yuuya. Yuuya has followed Mao to Hokkaido.

Mao! She throws herself into Yuuya's embrace. Run! he urges and the couple darts away, in spite of a teacher shouting, Sakisaka! Come back! Fuse watching them tearing off realizes that it's their junior high graduation ceremony redux. Once again, Yuuya has whisked Mao out of his reach.

Later, away from curious eyes, a panting Yuuya tells Mao, Thank God I made it in time.

Happy birthday, Mao.

Secret Birthday - Hatori's version

To HOKKAIDO!?

Even Yuuya's friends can't believe the lengths he'd go to for his girlfriend. Didn't you tell her over the phone that you'll be patient and wait here?

I haven't told her. It's going to be a surprise. You guys can even come along if you promise not to bother us. He beams magnanimously.

So Yuuya hasn't reconciled with the fact that Mao will be away on September 13 and has hatched a plan to be with her on her birthday. To that end, he begs for additional work at the convenience store to pay for the junket.

This summer, I did my best to act like an adult for Mao. I tried my best not to bring up the study tour, he reminisces. We saw each other. We kissed. All throughout the holidays. His musings take a turn for the darker. But actually, I was fighting down anger. And just this morning, I almost grabbed her and not let go. I didn't want her to go back to school.

To bolster his faltering resolve, Yuuya thinks about his motivation. So I work. And work. So that on her birthday, I can be with her. To see her face to face and greet her, "Happy birthday."

I will be patient and endure.

But not seeing Mao because he's too busy is also taking its toll on Yuuya. He falls asleep at work, missing a text message from his girlfriend. She has already gone to cram school and skipped stopping by at the convenience store beforehand.

I'm an idiot, Yuuya tells himself as he runs out of his workplace. I wanna see her just for a while. He climbs over the school wall and his eyes immediately home in Mao, already concentrating on the lesson. Wherever she is, I can always find her. No matter how many people there are, I can always pick her out, he congratulates himself on the foregone conclusion of an achievement. Mao... he whispers to the wind as he takes in her profile.

As he continues to spy on her, Yuuya feels the distance between them widening. His emotional insecurity meets up with its real life counterpart and he falls off the wall on which he is perched. Over and above the physical pain, the heart-rending distress is greater. Can't Mao be as vulnerable as me? Think of me as much as think about her? Yuuya is moved to ask.

Even if it's just half of what I feel, it would be enough.

So much like Mao that it is scary warm and fuzzy, Yuuya also wants his girlfriend to 'fess up. He resorts to poking at a sore tooth and tests Mao by telling her that he won't be able to escort her home or see her as often while he's working nights. We already know what Mao answered. As she walks away, Yuuya tracks her with a beseeching gaze: Look back. Look at me and tell me that you'll be lonely too if we don't meet. Get mad. Cry. Please.

He concludes (mistakenly) that she will never do it. Mao's not like that.

The next day, Mao's friends stop at the convenience store and ask him if he won't be lonely while Mao is gone. Don't even question me on something that's already a sure thing! Yuuya feels like shouting at them but tranquilly he replies, I'll probably die from the loneliness.

But Mao's different, he elaborates. Even without me by her side, she will remain tough. He recalls Mao's self-sufficiency back in middle school. She's cool and kakkoi. And from way back, that's what I've always liked about her. Yuuya makes the admission, even as his mind continues to replay occasions of Mao walking away from him.

I love the Mao who's strong. That's why I tell myself that it's okay, he reassures himself. Later, before his work shift, he asks to see her itinerary; it's to check where she'll be on the second day, the time he plans on reaching Hokkaido. Mao complies and Yuuya acts cheerful before they have to go their own ways.

Once more, toiling all hours tires Yuuya out, to the extent he nearly misses seeing Mao off. His friend Takeshi, the fail-safe, drags him out of bed and to the train station. As he searches the crowd for Mao in panic, she appears behind him and asks him what he's doing there.

She found me! Mao doing so is enough to raise his spirits. But only for a moment.

Don't leave me! - Yuuya (Secret Birthday - Hatori - volume 9)

As he lets her go, Yuuya sees Fuse; the other boy smirks and Yuuya's always-lurking-beneath-the-surface heartache revives at cranked-up full intensity. His gaze seeks Mao out again, and seeing her walking farther away, his eyes plead: Don't go! Don't leave me! She doesn't halt her steps.

It's good she didn't look back. Otherwise, she would've seen just how pitiful I am.

In class, Yuuya is totally down in the dumps. She hasn't sent me any messages, he whines like a little kid. His friends reprimand him. You're acting too melancholic! If you keep this up, even Mao will feel bad!

But time without Mao feels so empty and goes so slow. How long has it been since we kissed? A ringing cell intrudes upon his self-pitying reverie. It's Mao.

How's Hokkaido? he asks before immediately wanting to whap himself upside the head. What a moron. That's not important. While they talk, Yuuya confesses silently: Mao. I'm... lonely...

«If you keep this up, even Mao will feel bad!» His friend's warning resounds in Yuuya's mind, curbing his words, stopping him from saying how much he misses her. He settles for telling her to enjoy the trip and they hang up the phone.

What's with me? She's only been gone for a while and already, I've become so weak and shaky. He tries to convince himself that everything's okay. Even apart, Mao and I are still one. And we will continue to be together. There's nothing to worry about. No matter how far away she is, as long as this feeling remains, we can overcome anything!

That night, to feel a little closer to her, Yuuya leafs through the notebook he'd been carrying the past summer, the one with his sketch of grade school Mao in braids on one of the pages. Mao had penned Me? with an arrow pointing at the Mao doodle. Beside it, Yuuya had written, Your braids were pretty. Mao had the added, Maybe I should grow my hair?

AGWEE!! he'd concurred emphatically, to which Mao had then pointed out, You spelled it wrong.

He visualizes that coming time. It's okay. I can imagine when Mao's hair will be long enough to braid again. I can imagine our future together. We'll be okay.

We'll be okay.

The following day, Yuuya's boss gives him his pay envelope. So you're going? his employer asks him.

Yes. Because I'm her birthday present.

Upon reaching the hotel where Mao's staying, Yuuya calls but she doesn't pick up the phone. His Support Yuuya and Mao Love friends who tagged along point out that according to the schedule, Mao's class is having a party which may account for why she didn't hear the phone ringing. Worried, Yuuya remembers how he failed to greet Mao on her birthday the previous year and decides, I'm going to look for her!

Mao, I'm here! He skulks furtively outside the door where the party is in full swing. How pathetic. This is no different from when I spied on her during her lessons, he concedes but this doesn't stop him from peeping in and trying to locate Mao. He doesn't see her in the crowd.

I have to find her quickly. Because he (Fuse) is also not here. As he darts through the corridors, Yuuya overhears a couple of boys in front of vending machine, talking.

Fuse's probably with Sakisaka now getting all lovey-dovey, one of them says.

I thought Sakisaka had a boyfriend from another school?

I guess they see each other when the other guy's not around, the other boy surmises.

Where? Yuuya hauls the speaker by the lapel of his jacket and grits out, Where is she? After extracting the needed information, Yuuya drops the Higashi boy and charges forward.

He finally catches sight of Mao, standing in front of Fuse. Fuse has his hand on her shoulder. There she is! Quick, call her! But fear is a huge lump prohibiting his voice from coming out.

I only need Hatori, Yuuya hears Mao state with utmost clarity.

Mao! Mao flings herself at him and he encourages his girlfriend to run—as far away as they can from everyone. I won't let anyone else have her! Happy and possessive Yuuya is back in force. I won't let anyone or anything come in between us!

The gang hot-foots it along with the two. When they all have put enough distance between themselves and the hotel, Yuuya apologizes to Mao. So-sorry, Mao. I didn't mean to make a mess of things...

YOU IDIOT!!

So-sorry... Yuuya reiterates as Mao buries her face in his chest (I like to think "while thumping it with a small fist").

You're late! Mao complains. Why?

Why did you say I was tough? she asks him with tears coursing down her face. Because you said that, I couldn't say anything. I don't need any presents if that means I don't get to see you. Yuuya is dumbfounded. Don't you feel bad if you don't see me everyday?

Why did you tell me to enjoy the study tour?? I couldn't... Mao finally gives in to her overflowing emotions and bawls.

She's not tough only in front of me - Yuuya (Secret Birthday - Hatori - volume 8)

Mao is crying like a little kid, Yuuya thinks in between marvel and penitence. Realizing how much it must have taken to reduce her to noisy tears, he embraces her. Forgive me, Mao. Forgive me. In front of me... Only in front of me she's not tough. Only in front of me she's not strong.

She's just a girl and right now, she's at her most beautiful.

And here I thought all along that it was just Hatori who was crazy in love over Mao, Yuuya's friend Okano observes the goings-on incredulously.

Nope, Yuuya's bestfriend Takeshi corrects him. They love each other equally. From way before.

As the clock strikes twelve midnight, Yuuya greets his girlfriend happy birthday and they share a sweet kiss under the stars. Yuuya is relieved that this birthday at least, his plans panned out and he's content enough to urge her to return. You have to go back.

Mao smushes her face on his shoulder, shaking her head in denial.

Hey, c'mon, Yuuya protests.

Donwanna! Mao refuses to let go. Wanna stay here with you.

Well, you can't, Yuuya counters, trying to be reasonable.

No. Mao stubbornly clings to his shirt.

What are you, a kid?? Yuuya bursts out—exasperatedly on the surface, elatedly within; he's actually pleased at how adowable his girlfriend is being. He wraps his arms gently around Mao.It's okay. In front of me, it's okay for you to show how you really feel. He frames her face with his hands. Just don't show this beautiful face to anyone else.

Ack! I nearly forgot! With a start, Yuuya releases her and begins scrounging in his pants pockets. Your birthday present.

I didn't have much leftover after the plane ticket, he admits, embarrassed, and I'm sorry that this is all I have to give you—hold out your hand... He drops two hair ties with strawberries on them into her outstretched palms. You promised you'd grow your hair for me, didn't you?

Yes, I promised.

Because she went out without permission and didn't come back for three hours, as punishment, Mao was not allowed to join the free activities the following day. When she comes back from the trip, Yuuya apologizes again for making a nuisance of himself in Hokkaido.

Don't, Mao orders him. It's okay, as long as we get to go somewhere together. Alone.

What!?

She then grabs Yuuya's shirt and plants a kiss on his mouth. Here. Omiyage. Mao thrusts an envelope at him.

He takes out a letter:

To Yuuya,
Thank you for coming to Hokkaido. I'm happy that you can accept me, just as I am. I love you. I love you so much. That's why I want to be with you. I want to be closer to you than anyone else.
Mao Sakisaka

Teman Sekelas untuk Sehari (Classmate for a Day)

Classmate for a Day - Sakisaka's version

Recalling the contents of her letter, Mao's countenance goes beyond the conventional tomato-red (if the liberal blush lines filling her face are any indication). What will he think of me now? She squirms in embarrassment but her discomfort is misplaced; the letter has actually launched her boyfriend over the moon and he tells her so in not-so uncertain terms.

THANK YOUU!! YOU MADE ME SOOO HAPPY!! Yuuya shouts to her over the cellphone, near busting her eardrums in the process. At first I was so nervous, but after reading what you wrote... I'll be keeping that letter FOREVER! Listening to Yuuya babble, Mao feels similarly pleased. But worry quickly replaces pleasure. Oh, no... We just saw each other and already I want to see him...

Look out your window, Yuuya invites her to check outside and Mao sees him astride a bicycle, waving wildly.

I'm going out! She rushes to Yuuya in spite of her mother's scandalized Hah?? and kisses him. As they break away from the (I like to think "breathless") kiss, Yuuya suggests, Let's go circle the block twice. Mao climbs on the bike, a loan from the ever-trusty Takeshi. Hang on tight! She wraps her arms around Yuuya's middle section and plasters herself down his back. I can hear Yuuya's heart beating, she listens in wonder as off they go.

Hokkaido was something else, wasn't it? Yuuya asks while pedalling. It reminds Mao of the emotional and financial outlay that went into following her. He worked so hard just to see me... Well, I actually wasn't paying attention to the scenery but... he qualifies and Mao interrupts with a murmured Loveyou...

When Yuuya asks her to repeat herself, she states in a louder voice, I love you! Her pronouncement makes her boyfriend lose control of the bike, sending them sprawling to the ground.

Ouch...

Are you okay? Mao asks worriedly.

You... you... IDIOT! Yuuya barks at her. Why did you tell me that?

Don't say things like that - Yuuya (Classmate for a Day - Sakisaka - volume 8)

Mao looks at him in consternation; he gazes at her with puppy dog eyes. Don't... don't say things like that, he entreats, brokenly. You make me want to... not bring you back... He lifts a hand as though to touch her cheek, but at the last second, pulls away.

Let's head back. It's an order brooking no refusal. Back at her house, watching Yuuya's figure receding, Mao grumbles under her breath: But we only went around the block once!

«Don't say things like that!» A cute sulk is in order. Even if you tell me not to, I can't! Because that's how I feel!

The following day, Mao meets Yuuya at the train station in regular clothes.

Where's your uniform?? he asks, bewildered. She informs him that Higashi High is off that day because of the recently-concluded study tour. I came to tell you that, she dissembles (she actually just wants to see him).

Mail would've been enough. You didn't need to come all the way here for that! Yuuya remonstrates. The train pulls up at the platform. Gotta go. I'll pick you up after your lessons.

I'm going to Hana High with you! Mao grabs Yuuya's shirt-sleeve. I know I'm making things hard for Yuuya with my selfishness, she accedes around her determined egotism. But I'm not letting go my hold on his uniform.

They get on. The train is wall to wall with commuters jostling shoulders and what-not. When it brakes suddenly, Yuuya throws out a hand to prevent other passengers from squooshing Mao. Sorry, she whispers within Yuuya's protective restraint. I just wanted to see you. Yuuya blushes furiously.

You...! The hell with it! Keeping Mao inside the cage of his arms, he leans in, shrinking the gap—already skimpy—between them. Mao's cheeks pinken. We're so close! It looks like... we're about... to kiss...

I want to kiss him...

Before anything happens, they hear someone going, Mao! And Hatori no baka! It's friends' interruptus time. Higashi High doesn't have classes, so you came here?? Yuuya's classmate Ami later exclaims once they reach school. I have an extra uniform in my locker. How about it? Wanna be a Hana High student for today? Mao agrees, predictably.

Yuuya's friends are all agog when he shows up at the door of the 2-D classroom with his girlfriend. Why is she here? Okano asks, disbelieving. A throng crowds around Mao, prompting Yuuya to growl, No touching! Go away! Mao is a little discomfited in the borrowed too-short skirt and as she takes the seat beside Ami's, also a trifle worried about being found out. Her breathless excitement, however, far exceeds any discomfort and fear of discovery. All I can think of is: I'm in the same class as Yuuya! I just want to keep looking at him! Politely, she thanks Ami for the skirt loan which the other girl brushes off with a breezy, No need to call me 'Ami-san.'

During P.E., Mao watches Yuuya from the second floor. Yuuya catches her peeking and goes red before presenting her his back; Mao succumbs to a fit of giggles. As she continues staring at Yuuya and the people who come up to him, she realizes: That girl likes Yuuya. Her gaze flits to another girl. That one, too. With her renewed recognition of Yuuya's popularity, Mao perceives the crevice gaping between them. His world is totally different from mine. Just by borrowing this uniform for today, I realize just how distant he is. Does he know that? Is that why he's been looking so pained?

Come lunchtime, Yuuya brings her up to the rooftop for lunch à deux. He hands her a bag, saying, A lot of people like this bread—Takeshi and I have to line up just to buy it, before plopping heavily down beside her. He then proceeds to ignore Mao, munching doggedly on his lunch as though it were the last thing on earth he's capable of doing.

You have some mayonnaise here. Mao reaches up to wipe away a creamy blob from Yuuya's mouth. I'm lonely. I want to touch him. Her thumb lingers at his lips.

Abruptly, Yuuya averts his face. After lunch, you're going home, he tells her gruffly.

Why? Okano-kun and the others want to show me around the school.

You'll be late for lessons.

I'm not going today. Yuuya looks at her, stunned, and Mao blurts out what's she's been thinking all this time: Why? Why are you like this? Ever since this morning, you've been looking like I am such a bother.

Sure, I've been selfish, but why??

I should be asking you that! Yuuya retorts. Why are you doing this? Mao is taken aback but he forges on implacably, Why did you come with me to school? Why are you beside me right now? He grills her in best interrogator style and Mao bows her head. He's so angry...

You don't want me here? she asks faintly. I can't help it; I wanted to meet you. To see your face. To be with you.

Don't do stuff you don't normally do! Yuuya stands up and paces angrily. Mao is thoroughly confused. Why are you saying that? I—I only acted according to my feelings. I didn't want to be stubborn...

I thought... you'd be... happy... she says haltingly.

Well, I'm not! Deciding things on your own... Saying you love me... Coming to school with me... Telling me you're skipping your lessons... Do you even realize what you're doing??

How the hell am I supposed to be happy??

I'm sorry, then! - Mao (Classmate for a Day - Sakisaka - volume 8)

Why is Yuuya acting like this!? His indignation fires up Mao's own. I'm sorry then! I'm sorry I've been selfish but I really wanted to do it! Why are you so mad??

I'm going to do what I want! I will tell you 'I love you' over and over. I will see you over and over! She's reached the end of her tether, her back's against the wall (actually, it's against the roof's wire fence—please pardon the clichés). Because I don't know what else to do!

Leave me be!

Enough!! Yuuya slams a heavy hand down on the wire fence and looms menacingly. So you don't care what happens, huh?

I don't know anymore what to do with you!

What? Mao's having trouble following her boyfriend's thought processes.

Don't ask me 'what'! He closes in, hands grasping the fence. This isn't going to end with just a kiss, you know! he warns. And even if you tell me to stop, I won't! I'll push you...

I know that, Mao tells him. I'm okay with that.

If it's you, I'm okay with it.

Her sincerity seems to take away some of the wind out of Yuuya's sails. He thumps his forehead on the fence, body language shouting defeat. This is bad. I can't do this anymore...

Yuuya... Mao extends her hand as though to touch him but Yuuya snarls, Don't touch me!

Okay, I won't. Yet Mao lays a gentle hand on the side of his face. A beat passes—enough to show the naked yearning on his face—before, his patience finally in unsalvageable tatters, Yuuya hauls her to him and kisses her.

Frenziedly.

Over.

And over.

And once more with overflowing passion.

(Kyaaa! Kyaaa!!! AHHH!! *dies* k, if it ain't obvious, this is my favorite kiss in this entire series, hands-down!)

More, Mao urges Yuuya on (and I totally get how she feels ^^). More. More. When the need for air becomes critical (I assume), Yuuya draws back and smooths Mao's hair down. Sorry. I messed it up.

It's okay. As long as I get to be with you, I don't care what you do. It is beyond Yuuya to resist. He's about to kiss her again but... it's friends' interruptus, part II (Darn!).

The rest of the day passes in a (more innocent) fun-filled blur. The girls doll Mao up, tying her hair into two tails with the strawberry hair ties Yuuya gave her for her birthday. And once again, Mao gets to show off her basketball skills, something we haven't seen since volume 0. They're enjoying themselves so much that Mao and Yuuya forget about her lessons and his part-time job; needless to say, they end up skipping both. Later, after splitting up to go home, Mao is elated to find that Yuuya also turned back to look at her the same time she does. There's nothing to worry about anymore.

The following morning, Mao is back to being a student of Higashi. She and the other juniors are instructed to write down their choices of university after they graduate from high school.

What about Hatori? Where's he planning to go? one of her classmates asks Mao.

I'm not sure. We've never talked about it. But I do remember that after grade school, he said he wanted to grow up to be Arsene Lupin, she shares happily. I don't know what the future holds but one thing's certain. Mao recalls them running away during their junior high graduation ceremony. I'm not going to let go of his hand.

Fuse (yep, he's still around) comes around to collect the filled-in questionnaires.

Here, Mao hands hers in.

That's a surprise, Fuse notes. When Mao looks confused, he continues, You greeted me like nothing happened.

Rather than become someone ignored, I'd much rather be hated, he adds with a smile before moving on. Staring at Fuse's retreating back, Mao thinks: I used to always be scared. An image of Yuuya beaming crosses her mind. But now, not anymore.

Mao persists in thinking everything's all right between her and Yuuya, especially when, after dropping by the convenience store before her lessons, he goes after her, grabs her, and plants a wet one on her lips. How did you know I wanted you to kiss me? She doesn't tell him that. Instead, she nitpicks his choice of place. How could you do that? In the open, like this...

I have a lot to tell you today, she finally tells Yuuya.

Like what?

Later! Mao promises him and scurries off to class. She therefore doesn't see that Fuse also dropped by to see her boyfriend.

You really surprised me, you know, when you followed her all the way to Hokkaido, Fuse shares genially with Yuuya. But because of that, my decision has been made. I won't hold back anymore. His countenance takes on a serious cast.

Matter-of-factly, he tells Yuuya that he and Mao will not last. It doesn't matter if you deny it. I really think you're going to break up with her.

If you really want what's best for Sakisaka, that is.

Later, post lessons, Fuse tells Mao much the same thing, after observing that both he and she chose the same school (again) for further studies. You really think you and Hatori will remain a couple? he baits her.

I'm sorry, but my boyfriend is waiting. Mao is about to go when Fuse clamps a heavy hand on her shoulder, forcing her to face him, and kisses her. Yuuya sees.

Mao hits Fuse with her school bag and crying, runs to Yuuya. We will stay together. Now and for always! she mumbles while hiding her face against Yuuya's chest.

Really? Why don't you ask Hatori if he thinks the same thing?

Yuuya? Mao lifts her face to look at him.

Yuuya keeps quiet (Classmate for a Day - Sakisaka - volume 8)

Yuuya keeps quiet.

Classmate for a Day - Hatori's version

My girlfriend is awesome! She's smart, pretty, and strong. Only in front of me does she show any weakness. I just found that out and now...

(We interrupt Yuuya's WAFFy musings to bring you a replay of a kiss ^^)

We don't need anything else. He continues to reflect.

I'm lying, actually.

Fast-forward to Yuuya scuttling away on Takeshi's bike.

This is not good...! Yuuya's heart pounds heavily, not only from the physical exertion but more in recollection of Mao's I love you! while they were biking around the block where she lives.

Dammit!! The bike screeches to a sudden stop. I wanted to keep on going. I wanted to tell her I love her, too, to hold her as tight as I can...

But I shouldn't!

I'm crazy about her! And I want to treat her gently, take good care of her...

Don't get too close to me! Because if you do, I just might... He feels around in his jeans pockets and discovers that Mao's letter—her "souvenir" to him from Hokkaido—has become creased. He feverishly tries to restore it to its original condition.

«I want to be closer to you than anyone else,» he rereads (I like to think "prolly for the nth time"). Looking at your beautiful handwriting, I feel like crying. I'm the one who wants to be closer to you than anybody else. I want to be with you always—I'll do whatever it takes!

So please don't leave me. Don't be afraid of me. I will control myself; I will force myself to be gentle with you.

Please don't hate me...

We finally understand Yuuya's dilemma: raging teen hormones. It appears he's so head over heels with Mao that it's a struggle to keep his hands to himself, especially when she tells him the very things he wants to hear. But at the same time, he wants to protect her from his own baser urges (awww...).

(You have to understand. In the series prequel, a preteen Yuuya kissed Mao against her will and she didn't talk to him for years after. And although they're already a couple, I'm guessing he's still unsure about his ability to seduce his girlfriend.)

Mao, however, is not helping. She insists on coming to school with him on the day classes were let off at Higashi High. The rush-hour crush forces the couple into incendiary proximity inside the train. Why, dammit?! Are you trying to test me?? It's not going to work! It's—

I came because I wanted to see you. Mao's words cut short Yuuya's silent tirade. He stares at her intently.

I want to snatch those words away. I want to plunder that breath. I want everything! His recent, hard-won resolve crumbles. I want to hold you. Possess you. I want to mark you as mine: your lips, your nape, your shoulders.

I won't stop, even if you tell me you don't like it. Time and place don't matter, either!

It's your fault! You know I love you. Too much! Yet here you are within my grasp...

Tell me—how am I supposed to hold back??

Mao! And Hatori no baka! His classmate Ami's greeting pulls Yuuya up short. What the hell was I thinking??

They proceed to school. With help from Ami, Mao transforms into a Hana High student. She shows off to Yuuya the uniform she borrowed. What do you think? It's pure torture; Yuuya has to hide his flushed face from her. You... look good...

To cover up his distress, he asks her, What are you gonna do if the teachers find out and they get mad at you?

It's okay. I've gotten used to being lectured. And I don't care. Especially, if it's because of you, I don't care.

And anyway, I always wanted to wear socks like these. She twirls around in her miniscule (to him) skirt and loose, slouchy socks in front of him. Seeing Mao laughing so innocently, Yuuya promises to himself he wouldn't just grab her; his good boy behavior only makes him depressed.

Classes start and Mao fits in well with the rest of the 2-D students. Yuuya re-dons his class clown slash leader persona and makes contingency plans for when the teacher starts getting suspicious of Mao's presence. He assigns Takeshi to run interference when that happens; Mao laughs at their antics.

Originally seated beside Ami, Mao transfers to the seat beside Yuuya, at his request. My Mao... he gazes at her, full of longing. You're so beautiful and right now, I couldn't be happier.

My Mao - Yuuya (Classmate for a Day - Hatori - volume 8)

I wish you'd always sit there, he tells her wistfully. Then you can always help me out with things I can't understand. But he realizes it will never happen. This won't be repeated. And that just makes me... sad... He clutches Mao's hand as though contact would keep his anxiety at bay. How? How can I fight this loneliness? How can I make Mao mine alone? How?

Yuuya, that hurts... Mao protests his increasingly strong grip.

Sorry. He lets go.

Yuuya had planned for them to have lunch inside the classroom but his friends planned different. They're told—ordered—to go up to the roof, the most popular nookie corner of the school, before some other couple beats them to it.

What am I supposed to do now? There's no one up here!

I have to act normal... This bread's good, isn't it? He makes a half-hearted attempt at regular conversation.

There's a bit of mayonnaise here. Mao wipes away the leftover sauce from Yuuya's mouth. His heart starts to pound noisily. She doesn't understand...

There's no one here... / No! I already decided that I'd protect her! / I can't wait anymore for Mao to become mine! / If I do that, Mao will distance herself from me... Catalysed by her caress, an internal debate rages within.

He turns away from her. After lunch, you're going home. Get outta here! Get the hell away from me!

She asks him why and when he answers she will be late for lessons, she informs him that she's planning not to attend. Why are you being so stubborn!?

I'm not pleased! he rails at her. Acting on a whim... Telling me you love me... This is dangerous! Coming to school with me... Saying you're skipping your lessons... and you want me to be happy about it??

I am... But please... just... go...

I'm sorry then! I understand I've been selfish but I really wanted to do it! I'm going to do what I want! I will tell you 'I love you' over and over. I will see you over and over! It's up to you if you want to get mad! Mao counters furiously.

Enough!! Yuuya can't take it anymore. So you don't care what happens, huh? I don't know anymore what to do with you!

He crowds her. This isn't going to end with just a kiss, you know and it's your fault! Let me tell you what I'm thinking now... His tone is ominous. I'm going to make it so you can't move, can't escape. There's nobody to stop me. And I won't stop, even if you tell me to. I will push you and for sure...

Do it, Mao tells him. It's okay. As long as it's you, I'm okay with it.

You can't do that!

I mean it! She's totally sincere. She really doesn't understand...

Yuuya... Mao reaches out to him but Yuuya warns her off, Don't touch me! She does anyway and his heart melts.

Is it really okay? I can be the person closest to you? Is that true?

Yes.

He then seizes her into his arms and kisses her with all the passion and yearning he's been trying to subdue.

«I love you! / I came because I wanted to see you / I will tell you 'I love you' over and over / See you over and over... » Her words egg him on.

I'm not gonna stop... Doesn't matter where... I'm going to keep kissing her... Touching her... And more... Mao... Mao!

Yuuya kisses Mao (Classmate for a Day - Hatori - volume 8)

Is she really okay with this? As his sanity and concern for her—never far from the surface—return, Yuuya reluctantly releases her. But throughout the rest of the day, he gives in to the temptation and kisses her.

While hiding from his friends.

On the way home.

At the train station.

Kyaaa! Kyaaa!! AHHH!!! (My heart can't take this, but Fujiwara-sensei, go on! Go on!!)

After that last kiss, Yuuya asks Mao, You're not angry?

I can't stop touching you. She laughs at his quandary and he wishes that the day would never end. And it appears it ain't over because Mao sends him a mail asking to spend time with him that Sunday.

What kind of boyfriend can resist?

The next day, Yuuya still can't refrain from hugging and kissing Mao when she comes to see him at his workplace. But he's effectively brought down to earth by the arrival of Fuse. Fuse tells him that he, Yuuya, and Mao will inevitably split up.

That is, if you really want what's best for Sakisaka, his rival smugly adds.

What's that supposed to mean? Yuuya faces Fuse squarely.

You're not fit to be her boyfriend.

You have no right to say that! Yuuya retaliates.

That's your selfishness talking, Fuse rejoins. Do you even know which university Mao plans to enter after graduation? It's the same one I chose.

You don't think that just because you love her, you'll be together forever, do you? Fuse sneers. Yuuya grabs him by the shirt-front but the other boy doesn't shut up, continuing, How much do you really know her? What have you ever done for her? You only make her cry! You can only follow where she leads! Fuse slaps Yuuya's hand away.

Before you become an irritating obstacle, get out of her life! You can do that, can't you? Fuse then leaves.

Later when Yuuya picks up Mao, he sees Fuse kissing his girlfriend. She hits him with a school bag and runs to Yuuya. We will stay together. Now and for always! she refutes whatever Fuse has been saying.

Really? Why don't you ask Hatori if he thinks the same thing?

Yuuya? Mao looks at him but he doesn't answer.

«What have you ever done for her?»

We love each other and we finally reached this point. We will stay together... He, however, releases her.

Love alone is not enough...

Tentang??? (About???)

A keychain.

That's what it's about.

Omake (volume 8)

This one.

(You have to have read from the beginning to appreciate this short piece ^^)

musings (on Fuse and kisses ^^)

Fuse makes a much, much more worthy adversary/obstacle to Yuuya and Mao's relationship than Rika-senpai. I say this because regardless of his totally-in-your-face agenda, he doesn't lose out to Yuuya in terms of wanting what's best for Mao. So while I'm firmly Yuuya x Mao OTP, I can't bring myself to hate Fuse. (I actually don't hate Rika-senpai either; you can't really detest someone who, so far, has been a minor irritant.)

And call me uber-slow! *sweatdrop* You know what the title of this series is, right? KISS, Zekkou, KISS. But it had to take the passionate lip-locks in volume 8 to strike home that point for me. And for the record, there's a total of 29 kisses depicted here:

  • Three in Secret Birthday - Hatori's version
  • 11 in Classmate for a Day - Sakisaka's version (two remembered ones - eight with Yuuya - one with Fuse)
  • 15 in Classmate for a Day - Hatori's version (two remembered ones - 12 Yuuya's - one Fuse's)

I've done a Yuuya (counting kisses) ^^

I can't wait for volume 9. I expect it to exceed this installment in both angst (how will Fujiwara-sensei resolve the cliffie?) and heart-throb ^^ (Just take a look at the front cover in this Fujiwara Yoshiko backlist.)

~nik who's ending this post (which took days upon days upon days to finish) here, wondering how to raise the capital to finance the adaptation of this property into anime if no company has optioned it yet
花木兰

disclaimer
KISS, Zekkou, KISS ~Bokura no baai~ is © Fujiwara Yoshiko. First published by in 2004. I Hate You But I Love You Indonesian copyright by PT Elex Media Komputindo. No infringement intended.

end note(s) AKA Ack! It hasn't ended!

I don't know where I'm going but it won't be back. This line comes from the series romance Enchanted by Nora Roberts (© 1999 Nora Roberts), uttered by the heroine Rowan to reflect how she has changed. (Duh, am I being too obvious or what?)

If you keep this up, even Mao will feel bad! In the translation, the actual line goes: Kalau kamu seperti itu, nanti Mao kepikiran 'kan! It was very hard to translate "kepikiran"—I totally didn't do justice to it so I'm noting down the Indonesian here. (Wonder how Fujiwara-sensei put it in the original Japanese?)

AGWEE!! Another case of wondering how Fujiwara-sensei put it in the original Japanese: in the Indonesian translation Yuuya had written, SATUJU!! (which should be spelled "setuju").

Recent posts