Sunaga Karin, newest member of bestselling idol group, ALiCE☆SWeeTS, is having a tough time reconciling her relationship with superstar member, Ishikawa Miki. Caught between feelings of admiration for the older girl’s talents and feelings she cannot quite pin down, she finds herself stuck between how to perform her duties as a member of such a renowned idol unit and the yearning she can’t quite put into words that occurs when she crosses paths with Karin.
Stuck on a lonely afternoon with friend and fellow member Setsuko, Karin begins slowly to discover a new vocabulary for her feelings regarding Miki.
“Hey, Karin,” she said, “who was your fist kiss?”
Karin’s head shot up with such force that she almost smacked it against the bunk above her, Setsuko’s own bed.
“My first kiss?” she exclaimed, and then let out a mournful cry, something like a wounded animal, Setsuko thought. “I haven’t been kissed yet!”
“Oh, is that so?” Setsuko continued, interested now in the scenario unfolding.
Sunaga Karin was not the most attractive girl, she thought, and true, she didn’t really care for girls anyway, but there was something appealing in her innocence. She was like a pet that Setsuko wanted to play with in compensation for the lack of kittens and puppies that had so punctuated her growing up.
No, she didn’t really care for girls, she thought again, turning the thought over in her head, but she was sixteen years old, she shouldn’t have to decide whether she liked girls or boys, she shouldn’t have to decide who she liked until she met them.
It was easier, she knew, to go along with what was expected of her, but, well, she’s never been especially good at that.
“Who do you imagine your first kiss will be?” she asked, probing further, even though she already knew the answer.
Sunaga Karin wouldn’t have called herself gay, that was too strange a concept for her, something that happened to other people in other places, and yet, in the six months they had shared the same room, Setsuko had never seen her express any interest whatsoever in boys. All her energy, it seemed, was consumed by her infatuation with ALiCE☆SWeeTS’s most famous member, Ishikawa Miki. And it wasn’t that Setsuko couldn’t see why everyone loved Ishikawa -- she was impossibly graceful, impossibly perfect, after all -- but she had long since learnt that aiming for perfection only left you hurting. The sudden painful recollection of her four months in America as a transfer student surfaced, and she remembered standing there on the corner of a street with the letter she had written still clutched in her hands, as Henry Calohan, the best hockey player in the whole school, turning his back on her and walked away.
“I don’t know,” Karin’s wail cut through her thoughts, bringing her back to the present.
She shook off the recollection of that summer heartbreak, and focused her attention solely on her roommate.
“Oh, Karin, I like the fact that you’re pretending to be so innocent.”
The younger girl’s eyes widened with shock.
“W-What do you mean?” she stammered with sudden surprise.
Setsuko smiled broadly.
“It’s kind of obvious that you have the world’s biggest crush on Ishikawa Miki.”
Again, the younger girl’s face flushed red.
“I absolutely do not!” she proclaimed fiercely and suddenly.
Setsuko looked on sceptically.
“Really!” the other girl countered.
She considered arguing the point, considered, more out of spite than anything, trying to force Karin into a position where she would confess, but it seemed needlessly cruel.
“You know,” she said, again blowing her fringe from her eyes, “I could be your first kiss if you wanted.”
Karin looked suddenly aghast.
“Setsuko! What are you saying?”
She smiled slyly, and turned away.
“Nothing,” she answered in a sing-song voice, picking up her headphones and again and silencing her roommate’s declamations.