�Juriko-chan, what does Haruka-chan like?� I asked one hot spring day after school. I was running out of ways to get closer to that ice queen. I figured I would go to the source and ask Juriko for help. She gave me a funny look.

�What?� she asked.

�What does Haruka-chan like?� I asked.


I shrugged at her under my willow tree. �I don�t know. I just thought I would get her a gift or something. She always looks angry at the world.� She didn�t speak for a good thirty seconds. I noticed her trying not to laugh. I blinked with a blank look on my face. I still didn�t get why she liked doing that to me so much.

�What?� I asked.

Juriko�s giggles slipped out of her mouth. �You want to get Haruka a gift?�

�Well yeah, maybe, I don�t know.�

�Why do you want to get my sister a gift?�

�I don�t know.�

�Don�t bother,� Juriko said without missing a beat. I blinked as I sat up. Okay, I hadn�t really counted on her to say that just yet. She usually tries to play around with my head longer than that before giving an answer. She must be up to something.

�What? Why?� I asked.

�She doesn�t like those sorts of things,� Juriko said.

�Why?� I asked. She twirled her long midnight blue hair in her dainty pale fingers as she grinned. I wanted to smell it again so badly. Damn her for teasing me! Damn her!

�Haruka� has never really liked cute or sweet things,� she said. I still didn�t get where this could be going. She always made me look like a fool at the end of the day. I should�ve caught on by now, right?

�Then� what does she like?� I asked.

Juriko leaned within inches of my face. �That, is one thing you�ll have to find out on your own.� She tapped me on the tip of my nose. I stared at her with blank eyes. Uh� What just happened?

Juriko kept getting stranger to me. She changed the rules in this three-way game that we played. Just when I thought I�m got her figured out, she threw in another twist to my quest. It�s as if she knew what I was doing and she refused to let me get close. I played into her charm and games.

Yet for reasons I couldn�t grasp at the time that made the hunt for the truth of everything even more appealing. I guess I kind of wanted what I could not have in a sense. Maybe, it was something deeper that the three of us had yet to see. Even then, I didn�t know how to turn back even if I wanted to.