Chapter 7:

One Strangely Calm Idiot Makes A Decision

Why Does Nobody Find Us Attractive?

KachunkBookmark here

Nikko reached into the vending machine dispenser and grabbed his drinks. He walked towards Reina, who was sitting on a bench in the station platform. Nikko took a seat and handed her a drink. Bookmark here

"What happened to Juzo?"Bookmark here

"Shinobu wanted to talk to him. Privately."Bookmark here

"Real shit!? Damn, that bastard is gonna beat us."Bookmark here

Reina gave Nikko a confused look.Bookmark here

"Since when was this a competition?"Bookmark here

"Everything is a competition. You just pretend it's not, because you always lose."Bookmark here

"Shut up."Bookmark here

Outside of the station, Juzo leaned against the wall while Shinobu stood in front of him.Bookmark here

"What'd you wanna tell me?" Bookmark here

Shinobu looked at the ground, dragging her feet in small strokes.Bookmark here

"I had a lot of fun with you today, Juzo. I've never met anyone like you before."Bookmark here

"Wait, am I being complimented? That's never happened before."Bookmark here

"Well, you're a very kind person. I don't think anyone else has ever hoisted me up on their shoulders to help me see something better. Maybe my dad when I was little, but that's it."Bookmark here

"So, are you telling me you want me to be your dad?"Bookmark here

Reina snickered.Bookmark here

"No, why would you say something like that!? But that's the thing, being around you is so entertaining. I never know what new, fun thing you'll do next. I want to spend more time with you, Juzo. I think… I think that I like you."Bookmark here

Juzo stood silently for a few moments. After collecting his thoughts, he spoke.Bookmark here

"First of all, your courage to tell me this is very admirable. Thank you. I've had a wonderful day with you today, and you're already an important person to me. But we've only known each other for a short time. You only know a small part of me, and I know a small part of you."Bookmark here

Tears started rolling down Shinobu's face. She wiped them with her arm while she responded. Bookmark here

"Yeah, you're right. I'm so stupid, saying all of this to you when I've only met you today. I'm sorry for doing this to you."Bookmark here

Juzo put his hand on her shoulder.Bookmark here

"Don't say that. You expressed your emotions, there is nothing to be sorry for. I'll tell you what, if you move to Uwajima for that job, let's spend some time getting to know each other better. After that, we'll see what happens."Bookmark here

Shinobu looked up at Juzo, still with her eyes watering.Bookmark here

"Okay, I think that's a good idea."Bookmark here

An announcement echoed from the station, informing Juzo of his incoming train. He checked his watch to confirm that it was his train coming. Bookmark here

"I gotta get going. Oh, crap, I didn't give you my phone number, did I? Quickly, pull out your phone."Bookmark here

Shinobu whipped her phone out swiftly and added Juzo. Bookmark here

"Okay, I got it. You better get going."Bookmark here

"Yeah, I know. Goodbye!"Bookmark here

Juzo ran into the station as Shinobu waved farewell. He speedily scanned his pass and jumped into the train, the doors closing only a handful of seconds later. He strolled down the car and took his seat in the row behind Nikko and Reina. He sat quietly for a bit, but the other two couldn't contain their curiosity. Nikko leaned over the back of his seat.Bookmark here

"So, what happened?"Bookmark here

Reina followed.Bookmark here

"Yeah, tell us."Bookmark here

Juzo shrugged and leaned back into his seat.Bookmark here

"I dunno. Nothing, really."Bookmark here

Nikko didn't buy it.Bookmark here

"Bullshit! Tell us!"Bookmark here

"Keep your voice down. There are other people on this train."Bookmark here

"Well, you better start talking before I cause a ruckus." Bookmark here

Juzo sighed.Bookmark here

"Uhh, fine. Shinobu just wanted to talk, so we talked."Bookmark here

Reina reached out and whacked his arm.Bookmark here

"You're starting to piss me off. Tell us what she said."Bookmark here

"Uhm, well, I guess she confessed to me."Bookmark here

Reina was skeptical.Bookmark here

"Confessed what? Knowing you, you're probably gonna say she confessed that she's a criminal, or an alien, or something else ridiculous. Please, clarify your answer."Bookmark here

Juzo finally caved in.Bookmark here

"Shinobu confessed that she likes me. Are you happy now?"Bookmark here

Nikko grabbed Juzo's hand and attempted a one sided handshake, shaking Juzo's limp arm around. Bookmark here

"You did it! You crazy son of a bitch, you did it!"Bookmark here

Reina also couldn't hold her excitement.Bookmark here

"Oh my god! What did you say to her?"Bookmark here

"I told her to ask me again when we got to know each other better."Bookmark here

Reina and Nikko stopped in their tracks.Bookmark here

"What!?"Bookmark here

"I've only known her for a few hours, immediately going into a relationship with her would be irresponsible."Bookmark here

Reina started yelling.Bookmark here

"So you told that sweet, kind girl to ask you again later? It takes a lot of courage to confess your feelings, and you shot her down. You are an asshole."Bookmark here

Juzo was becoming irritated with their response. Bookmark here

"Hey! It was my decision to make, so I did what I thought to be in the best interest of both of us."Bookmark here

Nikko was making sure his disappointment was known.Bookmark here

"You were given the chance of a lifetime. A girl fell in love with you at first sight, and you turned her down. You blew it, man. You threw away the best opportunity you'll ever get, and now you look like a bitch. Congratulations, you'll be alone forever."Bookmark here

Juzo confusingly glared at Nikko.Bookmark here

"What kind of shit are you spewing out? I turned her down for now because I didn't want her to end up being in a relationship without having a better idea of me. The worst possible thing that could happen is if I ended up hurting her because we rushed everything. I didn't want that to happen."Bookmark here

Nikko and Reina realized what Juzo's intentions were. Remorseful for their comments, they both apologized.Bookmark here

"Sorry, Juzo."Bookmark here

Juzo had calmed back down and nestled into his seat. Bookmark here

"Yeah, it's fine. It's been a long day and I'm tired, so excuse me if my patience is short."Bookmark here

Reina was impressed by Juzo's actions.Bookmark here

"You know, it's really admirable that you considered Shinobu's feelings that much. You're a good person, I hope you know that."Bookmark here

Juzo blushed a bit from the comments.Bookmark here

"I try my best. What kind of friend would I be if I didn't think about their well-being? Anyways, I'm tired, so please let me sleep."Bookmark here

Juzo leaned back and closed his eyes, ending the conversation. Reina turned back to Nikko.Bookmark here

"What a strange guy. Wasn't he the one who would always say that he couldn't talk to girls? Seems to me that he is more than comfortable."Bookmark here

Nikko shrugged.Bookmark here

"Who knows? I don't really know what's going through his head, but I wonder if he's just been acting a certain way at school. Maybe because we're away from that environment, he can interact with others the way he wants."Bookmark here

Nikko's hypothesis confused Reina.Bookmark here

"What are you trying to say?"Bookmark here

Nikko took a moment to organize his thoughts.Bookmark here

"Well, by the time we met Juzo, he was already a social outcast at school. We don't know what he was like before we met him. I think he might have been an outgoing and considerate person, but stopped all that once his classmates no longer wanted anything to do with him. Because we're in a place where no one is treating him any different, I think he's able to act like himself."Bookmark here

Reina still looked confused.Bookmark here

"I understood a bit of what you said, but I'm just going to pretend I got all of it. I'm going to rest for a bit, so please leave me alone."Bookmark here

Reina turned to face away from Nikko and closed her eyes. Left by himself, Nikko began to reflect on the day's events.Bookmark here

"Wait, how come Juzo got hit on, but I didn't!?"Bookmark here

And so, Nikko cried depressingly during the train ride back.Bookmark here

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