Chapter 6:

Act 6

I'll carry you

He kept pestering me. I was not going to give in no matter how many times he would tell me to call him by his first name. I will never cross that line even if my life depended on it. The weather was nice and warm. The sun was already out, and I decided to get an iced coffee instead of my regular hot one. The light turned green and I crossed the street. Tagging along was Akimitsu. We coincidentally walked into each other before my favourite coffee shop.Bookmark here

“Tell me the reason why you don’t want to call me by my first name? We’re friends, now aren’t we?” he asked again. He kept repeating the same question over and over again.Bookmark here

“No, we are not. I am generously letting you be around my presence,” I answered and sipped on the refreshing coffee. We walked by some shops and I saw our reflections. My eye bags were as dark and big like the colour black. We would shortly arrive at our train station. It had been quite windy for the spring season. My short hair was getting in my face and in the way of me enjoying my drink. Bookmark here

“Call me Eichi. Just once. Come on,” he said and nudged me.Bookmark here

“Why the hell are you so stubborn? I am never going to call you by your first name,” I said while trying to calm down my hair. A woman with curly, brown hair dressed in business attire passed by Akimitsu. She tripped and walked into his bicycle. Akimitsu asked if she was okay and she quickly apologised. She and I noticed that her skirt got stuck on one part of the bicycle, but Akimitsu carried on walking without realising it. Before the woman could say anything, she was dragged for a bit and then tripped again, making her fall on the ground while her skirt got ripped. Akimitsu’s face turned bright red and he took of his blazer to cover the half-naked woman who was laying defeated on the ground. Her eyes were teary. Other pedestrians were walking by, looking amused by the scene that was unfolding in front of them. Another woman came rushing to the aid of the woman who was still sitting on the ground. She helped her up and gave Akimitsu his blazer back. They were co-workers and friends. She covered her friend with her own jacket and they both left. Akimitsu’s face was still red, and he kept bowing and apologising to that woman. I had already left in the beginning and was standing in front of a convenience store as far away as possible but sill close enough to see what was going on. I took a few sips of my coffee and shook the cup to shake the ice inside. Akimitsu kept quiet the entire journey to our school. It was a lucky day for me.Bookmark here

Our homeroom teacher, Mrs Ito closed up the school day with telling us about the class trip in two weeks. She handed out some consent forms for our parents to sign. We had until the end of this week to hand them back to her. I folded the paper in half and shoved it in my bag. I saw the two friends of Akimitsu in the hallway and turned around to take the other stairs down. Why was I noticing people around me that I didn’t used to? I would usually head home first, and Akimitsu had to catch up to me if he wanted to walk with me to the train station. But this time he was already standing at the entrance gate of the school. I ignored him and walked past him not to bring any attentions towards us both being together. He understood and started walking behind me while keeping his distance. Bookmark here

“I’m excited for the trip,” Akimitsu said out loud and stretched his body.Bookmark here

“I’m not going,” I said.Bookmark here

“Why not? It will be fun,” he said, trying to convince me.Bookmark here

“Why would I go on a trip with people I hate? I already have to see their annoying faces nearly every day at school. That’s all I can handle. And my parents will not allow it anyway,” I answered him.Bookmark here

He looked disappointed and unlocked his bicycle. I checked my phone while waiting for him. The light at the top was blinking. I had five missed calls. All within 10 minutes. There was no time for me to waste here. I had to go home. Akimitsu looked at me confused. I put my phone back into the pocket of my blazer. Bookmark here

“You okay? You look like you saw a ghost. Your face is pale,” he said and took a step closer to me. I quickly walked around him, avoiding his gaze.Bookmark here

“Ayu, is that your friend?” the man in the expensive, blue suit asked me. He was wearing black glasses and a brown leather watch on his wrist. His hand was holding a briefcase. He was tall and well built. His hair was black and well kept. He was tapping his index finger on his briefcase. His black shoes were polished, and his dark brown eyes were staring down Akimitsu. The man I was standing next to was my father. Bookmark here

“Let’s go home,” I whispered and turned around. Bookmark here

“Why the hurry Ayu? I’m interested in your friend. Who would have thought that you would make friends,” he said and took a step closer to Akimitsu. “Don’t get me wrong, boy. I don’t mean it in a mean way. My daughter is very shy, so it surprised me but also made me very happy to see you both together,” he continued and chuckled. Bookmark here

“He is not my friend,” I stated, my back was still turned towards my father and Akimitsu.Bookmark here

“Oh, what a bummer,” he said and turned around as well. I felt relieved. My father’s car was only a few steps away. I hoped that Akimitsu would just let us go but knowing him I should have known that he wouldn’t do such a thing.Bookmark here

“Excuse me, Mr Moriuchi. I think there is a misunderstanding. My name is Akimitsu Eichi. She might say that I am not her friend, but I consider Ayumi as my friend,” Akimitsu said and made my father stop in his tracks. I flinched when I heard him say my first name. “I would also like for her to come with us to our class trip in two weeks. I hope you will give her the permission for it,” he requested from my father. I grabbed my blazer and wanted to say something, but nothing came out of my mouth. Bookmark here

“Of course she can go. Why would I say no? This is her age to go out into the world and explore and have fun,” my father said and laughed out loud. We left in our car and Akimitsu left with his bicycle. It surprised me to see him go in the opposite direction we usually go from the side mirror of the car. I found it odd but did not give it much attention. My head was occupied with other thoughts. Urgent thoughts.Bookmark here

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