Chapter 8:

Itsuki leads the way

52 Hertz

“Hello. My name is Taichi Nagao. Just call me Taichi. No need to be so formal. I hope we can all get along.”Bookmark here

He looked like one of those idols on TV, with golden blond hair that stuck to the nape of his neck. His hair looked so fluffy, like a marshmallow. Haruko’s favourite marshmallows. His eyes were deep brown, yet they also looked golden. He had clear skin and a birthmark right under his left eye.Bookmark here

“Huh? Taichi-kun? Who are you trying to fool here. Aren’t you in the astronomy club???”Bookmark here

Itsuki said, surprised.Bookmark here

“Well yes, though there were no rules about not being able to participate in two clubs at once. The library is always closed after certain hours and I really need the books in here… I’m studying a new comet! Apparently, it sped towards the sun at a speed of around-”Bookmark here

“Alright. I should've known you’d join for the wrong reasons but I’m not complaining. And you?”Bookmark here

Itsuki looked over at Shun who was reading a book silently.Bookmark here

Taichi whined loudly and grabbed Itsuki’s sailor uniform’s sleeve.Bookmark here

“Ahhh don’t be like this Itsuki… I really joined because I wanted to read. Isn’t that the whole point?”Bookmark here

“Oi oi, let go. HEY!”Bookmark here

The two started to hit each other.Bookmark here

Haruko and president Kaito were still standing in the doorway. Kaito leaned down and whispered in Haruko’s ear.Bookmark here

“Those two were always like that. Taichi Nagao-kun has always been somewhat of a scaredy-cat, and it was Itsuki who played with him the most in daycare. Haha, though when Taichi got into astrology he started getting attached to Itsuki and always annoyed her… huh?”Bookmark here

Kaito’s eyes widened at the sight of Haruko’s dark eyes. Well, he’d never seen her from so close either. If you looked closely she had white marks on her neck. They seemed almost like…Bookmark here

“STOP! You there- what’s your name?”Bookmark here

Itsuki said, pointing to Shun. Shun raised his eyebrows and placed his book down on the table.Bookmark here

“Shun Nishida. I was in the baseball club but had to switch to the literature club because my grades were dropping so much. Kiyoshi-sensei said that if I can get my grades up by the end of the semester, I could go back to baseball.”Bookmark here

Itsuki stared at the two newcomers.Bookmark here

“None of you joined to read.”Bookmark here

Taichi pouted.Bookmark here

“I joined to read! I did!”Bookmark here

Itsuki made a disgusted face but kept her mouth shut. Perhaps she knew that deep down she did not join the literature club to “read” either. There was nothing more to say. Kaito moved towards the group and adjusted his glasses.Bookmark here

“Alright alright. Whether they came here with the right intentions or not, it doesn’t change the fact that they are now part of the club. I am the literature club’s president, Omori Kaito. It seems everyone here knows each other pretty well. This young lady here is our vice president, Ayane Itsuki. And…”Bookmark here

Kaito turned slowly towards Haruko who was still standing in the doorway but now had a strangely calm expression on her face. He felt his hand twitch as he motioned towards her.Bookmark here

“...Ah.. and this here is Kitamura Haruko. Treasurer...”Bookmark here

Taichi ran towards Haruko and shook her small hands furiously.Bookmark here

“Nice to meet you! I hope we get along! Please take good care of me!”Bookmark here

He bowed quickly as Shun stood up, blocking the last rays of sunlight from the window. His shadow crept all the way to Haruko’s feet.Bookmark here

“Kitamura? I remember now. Your name’s changed.”Bookmark here

Haruko felt her heart stop.Bookmark here

“Yes, back during class introductions I was shocked to hear that you’d changed your name. Kitamura… you took that man’s name didn’t you? Interesting.”Bookmark here

The room suddenly got dark. The sun was setting quickly. It was so quiet you could practically hear the dust floating in the air.Bookmark here

“Ah…”Bookmark here

Itsuki said, sweating a little bit. What was this uncomfortable atmosphere? And what was this Shun Nishida boy talking about?Bookmark here

“U-um I think we better get going, ahaha.. Haha… Haruko-chan~ come here. Bye guys! We’re going now!”Bookmark here

Itsuki hurriedly grabbed Haruko by the door and nodded towards Kaito. The pair left and the three boys were left staring at each other in the library.Bookmark here

Outside, Itsuki was already dragging Haruko through the front gate before stopping dead in her tracks. She placed her arms on her hips and suddenly started yelling as loud as she could. Haruko’s head snapped up, surprised. Itsuki kept yelling until her voice broke. She knelt down near the sidewalk and caught her breath.Bookmark here

“Itsuki…”Bookmark here

Haruko said carefully.Bookmark here

“GOSH I hate people like him! Why did he have to make the whole thing awkward? Can’t he read the room?”Bookmark here

She put her hand to her head.Bookmark here

“What the hell… I knew he was a douche the second he spoke during introductions. This is ridiculous. There’s no way he’s in the literature club just to raise his grades. I’m not buyin’ it.”Bookmark here

She looked up at Haruko, who was smiling slightly.Bookmark here

“Let’s go to Nakamise. We’re not gonna let that guy ruin our fun. I told Kaito-kun we were going on ahead so he’ll catch up later.”Bookmark here

“Is Omori-kun going to be fine? All alone…”Bookmark here

“Yeah yeah he’ll be fine. Besides, Taichi’s there and he’s a good guy. Don’t worry about it.”Bookmark here

The pair walked over to the station in silence. Haruko tried to keep her face void of any expression, so as to not make Itsuki uncomfortable. Now that Shun had joined the literature club, she would have to work twice as hard to fix things. When Shun cornered her back in the storage shed, she thought it would be possible to just ignore him for the year. Now, that wouldn’t be an option. What was she afraid of? In the end, she did not mind working things out with Shun regarding their past incident. No, it was something else that was blocking her. What was it?Bookmark here

It takes approximately 36 minutes to get from Miyazaki High to Nakamise Shopping Street. This wasn’t too bad, considering some students took over an hour to commute to school. Although, Haruko only took 16 minutes…Bookmark here

The whole way there, Itsuki kept talking about a strange legend she overheard the merchants of Nakamise discuss. It was said that a white rabbit could be spotted at the shrine between the hours of sunset until sundown. All you had to do was recite the words from the rabbit’s favourite book. The catch was that no one knew what the rabbit’s favourite book was, so kids would pick anything up and read it to the shrine, hoping to get a glimpse of the rabbit.Bookmark here

“Did you read to the shrine as well?”Bookmark here

Haruko asked innocently.Bookmark here

“AHAHA of course I did! But I don't think the rabbit liked it.”Bookmark here

“Why? What did you read?”Bookmark here

“Sei Harukano’s song lyrics.”Bookmark here

“...what?”Bookmark here

“You know master Sei? Gosh he’s so hot I can’t even describe him. He’s the one who wrote “a thousand year’s heartbreak” and “falling in the wild.” You don’t know him? REALLY? YOU HAVE TO KNOW HIM. HE’S SO BEAUTIFUL… GOSH..”Bookmark here

Haruko laughed nervously.Bookmark here

“Of course I know him. Isn’t he that singer in all the magazines the girls bring into class? The magazines that got confiscated I mean.”Bookmark here

“YEAH! That’s him. Hehe, those girls must’ve begged the teacher to get them back. Those were limited, you know.”Bookmark here

The train came to a stop as the woman on the intercom announced the stop. Itsuki quickly stood and grabbed Haruko’s arm.Bookmark here

“We’re here, we're here.”Bookmark here

The sun was quite low in the sky now, and Nakamise looked amazing with all it’s night lights. Itsuki looked like she fit right in. Her long braid flowed lightly in the wind and she had stuck her beloved stickers all over her arm. Why did she do that…Bookmark here

“Alright. Let’s go to my house first. My dad’s been dying to meet you.Bookmark here

Haruko was shocked.Bookmark here

“Your dad?”Bookmark here

“Yeah! When I told him that you ate the chips I brought in on the first day he was ecstatic. Nobody likes those chips, even though it’s his own recipe. I guess a stationary store owner can’t make chips but he insisted on making them anyway.”Bookmark here

Haruko placed her hand on her forehead. It was going to be a long night.Bookmark here

Real Aire
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