My role has finished for the time being. When I returned to the stage wing, I saw Hasumi on standby. He now had a mantle over his outfit. Wow, he really looked like a prince. And his bangs, which were usually down, were cleanly brushed back. His handsome face became even more evident. I thought I had become accustomed to his face as of recently, but I was still charmed by it. He really was cool. This might be the first time I thought that he looked cool. I always knew that he was objectively handsome, but I hadn’t subjectively thought of him as cool. As I blankly looked at him, he frowned.
“…This hairstyle doesn’t suit me, right?”
“I know, but they said that I had to have it…”
Hasumi made some kind of excuse as he touched his hair. Because he had touched his bangs, a few strands fell out of place. His hairstyle was slightly disheveled now, but that was enough to completely change his look. Oh, what should I do? I really thought Hasumi looked cool right then. His look might be my type.
“No… I think it suits you nicely.”
“…You don’t have to flatter me.”
“This isn’t flattery. I’m telling the truth. I think this is the first time I thought you look cool—”
I quickly covered my mouth. I had just made a Freudian slip. What should I do? I was so embarrassed. I was sure that my face was bright red right now. I timidly looked at him, and he looked back at me with wide eyes. His face was slightly red.
There was an awkward silence between us. What should I do? Say something, Hasumi. In my confused state, I heard him quietly say, “Thanks…” It took everything out of me to nod a little.
Just at that moment, Hasumi was called. It appeared to be his turn now.
I restrained my embarrassment, looked up, and properly said to Hasumi, “Please do your best. I’ll be cheering for you.”
“Yeah. I’m off,” he replied.
Hasumi slightly smiled and headed for the stage. I watched the mantle flutter as he turned around.
After the princess fell asleep, the fairies appeared, put everyone else in the castle to sleep, and covered the castle in thorns to wait a hundred years for a prince to come to wake the sleeping princess. Days and years passed, and people began to forget what happened to the kingdom. A hundred years later, a brave prince appeared. He had heard that monsters had been appearing near the thorn-covered castle and arrived with his attendant to deal with them. It was Hasumi’s turn now. Just when the prince came near the thorn-covered castle to exterminate the monsters, the fairies appeared and told him.
“Brave prince, we ask that you please save the princess sleeping farther inside. She has fallen into a deep slumber because of a curse placed on her by an evil fairy. We would like to borrow your power to break this curse.”
The prince resolutely nodded. He believed that if he could be of help, he wanted to help. When he did, the thorns opened up. After he took one step inside, the thorns returned to their original state, separating the prince from his attendant. He couldn’t go back even if he wanted to. Resolving himself, he continued onward and entered a castle that he hadn’t seen up until now. He saw collapsed people strewed all over the castle. He quickly went over and called out to them, but they didn’t answer. It appeared that everyone was in deep sleep. The prince found this odd as he continued onward. However, when he arrived at the garden, the evil fairy appeared and obstructed the prince’s path.
“If you want to continue ahead, you must defeat me! Oh hohohoho.”
Once again, Kaito appeared on stage, enthusiastically playing the wicked woman. Hasumi’s expression didn’t change at all when he looked at Kaito.
“Do not get in my way. I do not want to fight you. I only wish to save the princess.”
The prince appealed with earnest eyes to the evil fairy, but the evil fairy laughed in response.
“Then, even more so. I was the one who cursed the princess. If you are attempting to break the curse, I cannot allow you to pass.”
Then, the evil fairy attacked the prince. I wanted to watch more of the sword fight unfold, but my turn was coming up. I obediently waited my turn. Once the sword fight ends, it would be my turn—the scene where the princess wakes up from the prince’s kiss. The scene was the most nerve-wracking and the worst for my heart. I hope I can pull it off well!
After the sword fight, Hasumi entered the room where the princess was sleeping on a bed a little farther inside.
“Prince, to wake the princess, you must kiss her. Now, prince, kiss the princess,” the fairy said and urged the prince. The prince nodded and got closer to the bed the princess was sleeping on.
“Oh, what a beautiful princess you are.”
I could hear Hasumi’s voice so close to me. It was almost time for the kiss scene. Just mere moments before it. I was so embarrassed, so hurry up and finish!
The kiss scene was a long one. The kiss itself wasn’t long, but the buildup to it was. There was tension built up before the prince finally kissed the princess. The time in between was agonizing. I had to keep my body completely still. I was restless, wondering when the kiss scene would end.
The bed I was on creaked. “Ah, it’s finally time for the kiss scene,” I thought and braced myself. I had lines after the kiss scene, so I had to make sure to do a good job.
I knew that Hasumi’s face was drawing close. Even though he was supposed to stop right before our lips touched, I felt his breathing getting even closer to my face. It was finally time for the kiss scene! Come on, let’s go!
I kept still, waiting for the scene to be over. During that time, I was inwardly fidgety. Not yet…? Can I open my eyes already? No, not yet.
Then I felt something soft touch my lips.
Eh? What just happened?
I knew what actually happened, but my mind refused to accept it. I timidly opened my eyes and saw Hasumi’s face right next to mine. Stared by those passionate eyes, I was greatly shaken. I don’t know. I don’t know. I know nothing of those eyes. Don’t look at me with those eyes. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t need to know his feelings. Why? Why?!
My mind was in disarray, but when I looked around, I saw the audience. That was right. We were still acting in the play. I returned to look at Hasumi. Although he had his usual expression on his face, he was confused.
I told myself, “That was an accident. Yeah, an accident,” and slowly smiled.
“I have been waiting for you. Far before you were born.”
Could I still properly smile? From my reflection in Hasumi’s eyes, I did look to be smiling quite nicely.
“I have yearned for you. Far before I was born.”
Hasumi also smiled. Then the curse over the castle was lifted and the play reached its finale. We gathered at the center of the stage, faced the audience, and simultaneously bowed. Afterward, the curtains were lowered.
After the curtains lowered, everyone relaxed. Several students voiced their thoughts, “That was good” and “At that time…” I, on the other hand, faced Hasumi, who was standing next to me, and addressed him, “Hasumi.”
Hasumi slowly turned to me. Then I slapped his face as hard as I could.
The sharp sound echoed. Everyone looked at us, but I didn’t care. Hasumi, his cheek red from the impact, merely stared at me.
“You’re the worst…!”
I knew my eyes were moist. I had restrained myself and made myself think it was an accident in the middle of the play.
—But that was my first kiss.
This was too much. I never dreamed that my first kiss would happen in such a situation. Yet… I turned around, my back facing Hasumi. I didn’t care about his eyes on my back, and I ran away from the stage.
Tears fell from my eyes. No matter how much I wiped them away, they didn‘t stop. I went all the way to a deserted place and promptly crouched down.
This was terrible, awful. Why? Why would he do that?
The same words continually swirled around my head. I touched my lips with my finger.
Even though I’m this frustrated, why didn’t I hate being kissed by Hasumi?