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The Tongue-print on paper
Many years later, even after he became a school inspector, Jeremie always had her thought on his mind. He always wondered who the girl was. When he was studying his first year in middle school, he saw a girl in a limousine who was sucking a strawberry-flavoured lolly and it had dyed her tongue red as scarlet raspberries. The girl took out a paper and licked it in such a way that her tongue print was on the paper. She was smiling in joy and then, the car pulled off. He did not see her face clearly and had a really vague memory on the incident but he fell in love with that girl because of her ‘candidness’ and genuinity. He treasured her in his heart.
Soon, it was Jeremie’s 21st birthday. There was a big party in which all his friends and relatives were invited. In front of everyone, his mother said, “Jeremie, I need a daughter-in-law. I have given you all what I can. Now I am asking only one thing in return and that, a daughter-in-law. If you cannot find a girl, I would find you a suitor. Please marry and settle down before this year ends. That’s all your mother wants from you.” Due to the antipelargy Jeremie had towards his mother, he agreed to marry by the end of the year. But, he was sad for he was lovesick and he did not even know who the girl was. Moreover, he could not shatter his mother’s illusions.
Having negative thoughts in his mind, Jeremie did not fall asleep that night. The next day, he went to meet his best friend Hiroshi, who was a Japanese boy raised in America. Ever since he was five, his single mother raised him because his father married an American sales representative and she gave birth to his half-sister, Kazurei. Jeremie and Hiroshi were more like brothers because both of them lived in the same neighbourhood and went to the same school and were close since childhood. But, Hiroshi knew nothing about Jeremie’s love until he told him. He was bamboozled. But, he respected his friend’s feelings. He agreed to help him find his love even if it takes a zillion years.
Suddenly, Jeremie got a phone call. It was his boss, Aurelia. “Jeremie, I want to ask you a favour. It’s actually not a favour; it’s a part of your job,” she said, “You must go to inspect the final year classes of Oasis high school, T-O-M-O-R-R-O-W!” Jeremie agreed. He could not hesitate. “You must go to the school not as an inspector but as a student,” warned Madam Aurelia, “This school is hiding some arcane from us and have been vulpinating school inspectors. That’s why!” Jeremie agreed with no choice. Hiroshi was listening to the whole conversation. “Why! My half-sister Kazurei is studying her final year there but we are not that close. You know my family problems, right? I am livid with Dad and stepmom but what could Kazurei do?,” he said. Jeremie moaned, “I shall be pleased not to meet her but the tongue-print girl if she shows up. I just have three months to find her and a week or two is wasted due to this school inspection thingy.”
The next day, Jeremie went to the high school. Madam Aurelia had enrolled him as a student the previous day. He looked in a huff as he did not like to re-live his high school days. He had been bullied a lot and that’s a major reason he loathed high school. He went to his respective classroom and there, the universe had something else planned for him. No, his eyes did not meet the tongue-print girl, but a beauteous girl with eyes as black as the ace of spades, with hair as black as the stroke of an ink pen, with lips as pink as an episode of pink panther and a body as slender as a Barbie doll, instantly fell head over heels in love with at first sight. She was none other than Hiroshi's half-sister, KAZUREI. Jeremie silently went and sat next to her as the seat was free. Then, the teacher came to the class and introduced him. Kazurei felt butterflies in her stomach as she got to sit next to her Koibito during class.
When the bell rang for recess, Kazurei confided in everything to her best friend, Alya. Alya said, “You just have three months for the year to finish for the graduation. And you’re already eighteen. You could tell him how you feel. Do it before he’s taken. You too would be a beautiful couple. And I’m really green with envy about it.” Both the girls cachinnated. Before Kazurei went to her class, Alya said, “First, socialise with him, gurl. Check whether he's a gentlemen. Then confess, and say yes.” Kazurei had to agree. And to socialise, first of all, she had to talk to him. She went to him and spoke, “I’m Kazurei. And I am half-Japanese. Well... I think that’s all I have to say about myself.” Jeremie was shocked. “So, you are Hiroshi’s half-sister,” he said, “I should have known from your eyes. By the way, I am his best friend, Jeremie.”
Kazurei was in cloud nine. But, she began to wonder, “How did oni-san befriend Jeremie?” A week passed and Kazurei fell more in love with Jeremie. She decided to tell her parents about it. Her father wanted her to be a Model for her mother’s company-brands. But, he did not want her to trip in a wrong path. And early marriage was the best solution to it. But that day, when she went home, she received grieving news that both her parents departed this world in a car accident. She had no guardian, thus she was sent to Hiroshi’s place as his mother was her stepmother. Jeremie had gone to Hiroshi’s house that night and Kazurei, who was mourning and wailing, felt easy in her mind when she saw him. After he left, she asked Hiroshi, “Oni-san, is Jeremie a nice guy?” Hiroshi replied, “What do you mean, a nice guy? He's my everything. He's such a great person, imoto-san,” and began to tell her about all the good that Jeremie had done to him.
After he had finished, Kazurei confessed, “I’m so with a passion for him. I had the hots for him at first sight. I adore him so much but if I confess, what if he does not redame me? Oni-san, can you please tell him that I love him? I don’t want him to reject me directly.” Hiroshi was taken aback. Jeremie already loved a girl. He could not tell that to his sister who had lost both her parents and loves Jeremie so madly. And he could not tell anything to Jeremie who loved another girl so much that he tried all of his best to look for her. Hiroshi had another plan. He nodded and went to catch some zs. The next day, he met Jeremie and said, “Well Jeremie, Kazurei is in love with you that even if you ask her to marry you at this moment, she would readily agree. I have other plans. Why don't you reciprocate? And you could tell your mother that you are going to marry her. Soon, everything will be prepared for the wedding except the bride will change. We shall find that girl. And in the meantime, you could do something to get out of my sister’s heart. When we find the girl, we could tell my sister the whole thing and as she respects true love, she won't be on your way. How is my idea?” Jeremie bitterly agreed. He believed his friend but he did not want to hurt Kazurei.
The next day was a weekend. Jeremie asked Kazurei to meet her in the public park. She was really nervous. Even though she did not know why he had called her, she considered it as her first date. And of course, as she was on pins and needles, Kazurei had asked Alya to come along with her too. Jeremie had no reason to disagree. He took them to his place and introduced them to his mother. Kazurei immediately captured her love and the in-laws-to-be grew close. According to Hiroshi’s plan, Jeremie proposed in front of his mother, “Kazurei, since the day I met you, I realized that you suit me and my family, not just 100% but maybe 150%. I think I might sound stupid, but will you marry me after your High School Graduation?” Kazurei was really boisterous that she could dance in thin air. She embraced him tenderly and agreed to marry him. Jeremie gave a silent smile because the dialogue he said was taught to him by Madam Aurelia who taught that it would be easier to find out the secrets of the school if Jeremie finds himself a girl from that school.
To find out what was happening in the High School to help Jeremie, Hiroshi paid Alya, and through her, they soon found out that many students who was studying the final year, had been to prison a multiple times. Jeremie got hold of all the proof and give it to Aurelia, who was so proud as she finally tasted success. As it was his final day in the high school, Hiroshi asked him to tell Kazurei that he is leaving. Jeremie did not want to hurt Kazurei anymore. Whenever he approached her, she might shyly smile. Seeing her like so left him with a guilty conscience. So, he decided that he had to admit the truth. “I have to do it someday. So what if that someday became today?,” he thought.
After the final bell, Jeremie met Kazurei in the park outside the school. He began, “Well, I...I don’t know how to tell this to you...I...” Kazurei patted him, “Come on, Jeremie. You know we don’t have secrets. After about three months, we shall be married. And Oni-san told me about your school inspection job and so. Just, just tell me, Koibito.” “All this is a drama. I’m in love with another girl who I don’t even know the name of and my mother wants me to marry by the end of the year. So I just used your love. I am sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, Kazurei. You’re drop-dead gorgeous and you have the heart of a new-born. You shall get a better man than me.” Kazurei turned on the waterworks. She cried, “I didn’t even mind when you said that you used my love as I trust that you’re not an amatorculist. But, you don't love me? Life is novercal. Do you hate me because I’m half-Japanese? But, I’m sorry for getting in your way, Jeremie. I’m sorry, Koibito.”
She removed her engagement ring and handed it to him. “Put this in her hand and tell her that I wished her a happy married life with the greatest man in the world.” Of course, Alya was right next to Kazurei, listening to the whole conversation. As Kazurei turned away from Jeremie to leave, she fainted. Alya took her bottle and tried to sprinkle some water on her face. Things from Kazurei’s bag scattered on the floor. Jeremie knelt and put those back in her bag. And then, he saw a book. He opened it and there it was, a tongue-print scrapbook. There were different pieces of paper, with different tongue-prints on them. Jeremie was shocked. Alya said, “Kazurei loved you so much that she even decided to leave her childhood habit, making tongue prints in paper using lollypop dye, so she won’t embarrass you.”
Jeremie tried to wake Kazurei, who slowly opened her eyes. “Jeremie, Koibito, I’m sorry again. I want you to be happier so, I’ll take leave. If I sit in my room and cry for a whole week, I think I might be alright,” she said as she stood up. “You are that girl I love. You are that tongue-print girl. You are the one who I was thinking of all these years. You might have held on to me only for a week or two. But, I held you in my heart all these years and I knew that I would find you. And here you are, right in front of my eyes and I’m standing right here talking to you about another path. You are the answer I have waited for all of my life.” Kazurei was confused. Jeremie wiped her tearful face and eventually, tears of joy appeared in his face too. He told her the whole story and then, the couple reconciled. Meanwhile, Alya let them to have their own privacy and moved a bit further from them but she could sight them in a distance. She called Hiroshi and told him all about them. He was in seventh heaven. His best friend was becoming his brother-in-law and that too for real. And he did not have to see his sister get hurt.
Soon, Kazurei graduated from high school. And just like how Jeremie’s mother wanted, the wedding was held grandly before the end of the year. Kazurei always believed in true love and was even ready to give up Jeremie when she learned that he loved another woman. Jeremie too loved the girl who created the tongue-print on paper and cherished in his heart even though he did not know her name. Aurelia was invited as a special guest to the wedding and she was really delightful that she had become the Cupid for two lovebirds who were separated. Due to the ultimate joy, Jeremie was promoted in his workplace and after their marriage, Kazurei began her career in modelling. Hiroshi too had happy news. That day, after Kazurei and Jeremie reconciled, they forgot all about the book of tongue-prints. A girl called Fosette found it and Kazurei asked Hiroshi to get it for her. Due to misunderstandings when she was trying to return the book, the couple drew closer to each other and fell in love. And Hiroshi was going to marry her before Spring. So, the tongue-prints on paper united another couple too, right?