Chapter 19:

Field Trip Reunion (4)

Sleeping Princess

“Rise and shine everyone!”Bookmark here

Pumped and ready to go, Mitsuki-sensei held a shout-mic in her hand. She marched about the rooms, disturbing the beauty sleep of the girls. Well, beauty sleep was probably a bit much.Bookmark here

“Arrgg…”Bookmark here

I groaned. Only five hours of sleep on the first night. I had no one to blame but myself…maybe I could blame Yui-san for offering me such a good manga. But that wouldn’t be fair to her, would it?Bookmark here

“Hana-chan...”Bookmark here

Sora tugged on my shoulder. I didn’t want to leave the fluffy sleeping bag just yet but here she was, planning to rob me of my delightful sleep.Bookmark here

“Ngg…”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

To my astonishment, a soft double set of fats hit my back. Her arms encapsulated mine and I could feel her warm cheeks press against my shoulders.Bookmark here

“Five…more minutes.”Bookmark here

She groggily asked while drifting back to sleep.Bookmark here

“Ah, Sora-chan?”Bookmark here

Here I am with the least amount of sleep…Why is Sora still sleeping?! Shouldn’t she be the one to wake me?Bookmark here

“Sora-chan, we have to get up.”Bookmark here

“Nnnggg… Don’t make me leave….”Bookmark here

I could hear the harsh clanking of the wood below. My stomach began to rustle in fear as it grew near.Bookmark here

“Hino-san, Koda-san! It’s time to get up!”Bookmark here

Mitsuki-sensei cried before shaking the both of us. I flipped up instantly and gave her a harsh shake of my head.Bookmark here

“Y-Yes, Mistuki-sensei!”Bookmark here

However, Sora-san was still drooling as she rolled over to my side of the sleeping bad. I could see the veins in Mistuki-sensei’s forehead.Bookmark here

“I’ll wake her up, Sensei!”Bookmark here

I cried in an attempt to save my friend's life. She gave me a huff and walked away.Bookmark here

“Sora-chan! Hurry up, Mitsuki-sensei is going to kill you!”Bookmark here

“…If I’m dead I can sleep longer.”Bookmark here

“Sora-chan!”Bookmark here

“Oh, dear…”Bookmark here

That’s when a voice caught me off guard. I turned up to see Suzu standing over me. Her bed hair was already adjusted into her signature bun. Maybe she got up early? She then bent down and hawked over the dead specimen known as Hino Sora. With her hand to her chin, she looked like an archaeologist who just discovered a fantastical mummy. With her hand reached out now I watched as she pinched the poor girl's nose.Bookmark here

“S-Suzu-san?”Bookmark here

“Shhhh.”Bookmark here

She hushed me. Sadly Sora-chan’s nose began to snort when suddenly she flipped up, gasping for air.Bookmark here

“Ahh!”Bookmark here

She looked about the room, eyes wide in a panic. But then she turned to Suzu-san instantly.Bookmark here

“Arrrggg, why did you do that?!”Bookmark here

She cried before punching her on the shoulder. Suzu-san held her stomach and laughed as she fell to the floor rolling around. I just sat there, bewildered at the energy these two had in the morning.Bookmark here

“Come on you guys, it’s time to get dressed!”Bookmark here

Mitsuki-sensei peeked her head through the doorway again. She seemed to be getting annoyed so I hopped up and rushed to my bags.Bookmark here

“Yes, Sensei!”Bookmark here

I heard Sora-chan cry before she stood up too and made her way over to her bags as well.Bookmark here

“Geez, Suzu-chan. You didn’t have to wake me like that.”Bookmark here

Sora wined like a puppy. The poor thing went about with her eyes closed. For crying out loud, I should be the one tired if anything. How is Sora so exhausted?Bookmark here

“Well, someone had to wake you up. Poor Hana-san seemed to be at a loss.”Bookmark here

Suzu put her hands on her hips with a proud grin.Bookmark here

“You’re so rough when waking me up. Who pinches their friend's nose? You’re a devil!”Bookmark here

The unamused girl took out a bundle of clothing and held it close to her chest.Bookmark here

“That’s why we don’t have sleepovers often!”Bookmark here

Sora scorned.Bookmark here

“Oh come on! I’m not that bad!”Bookmark here

Sora-chan and Suzu-san have sleepovers? I watched as they bantered about with each other so easily. Suzu would say something, Sora would latch on and before I knew it this would continue back and forth continuously. Just seeing this…I could see that they would have sleepovers and such. They're so close…or at least appear to be. My stomach tensed up again…But then I asked the question that was swirling in my mind…Why haven’t Sora and I had a sleepover before?Bookmark here

“Hana-san, are you looking for something.”Bookmark here

Suzu woke me up from my questions. There I was still looking into my bag. I wasn’t even focused on getting dressed…Bookmark here

“Oh, no I found it, Suzu-san.”Bookmark here

I lied as I rushed through, pulling out my gym clothes.Bookmark here

“Alright you two, I’ll meet you at breakfast!”Bookmark here

Suzu cried before hopping up like a rabbit and racing out of the room. Now that I think about it…where’s Yui-san?Bookmark here

After getting dressed we made our way to the dining hall again. There this time was Yui-san and Suzu-san waving us over. Unlike the last time where we had the seats before them, they held the spots. For breakfast again was a list of items we could select from. Fish, miso soup with rice or tofu, miso soup with rice. Not much different in terms of foods like before aside from the meat. To drink was a slight difference from yesterday too. Chai tea or green tea both in bottles.Bookmark here

“Hm, what should I get.”Bookmark here

Sora contemplated. She looked at me as if I had the answers to her hunger.Bookmark here

“Don’t look at me.”Bookmark here

I warily replied before taking the tofu plate. Sora did as I expected and fished out the fish plate after me. Now I was skeptical and waited for her to choose her drink. She then grabbed the chai tea. I was in a green tea mood, so I snatched that instead. Here we were…with two opposite combinations again. I couldn’t help but feel Sora did this on purpose though.Bookmark here

“Yui-chan, Suzu-chan!”Bookmark here

Sora cried as we once again sat together. Yui looked disheveled as she sparked up and looked at me.Bookmark here

“Ha-chan, did you read any more of it?”Bookmark here

I gulped, ready to admit to my addiction…Bookmark here

“I finished volume 1.”Bookmark here

To her shock, she gasped before pulling back.Bookmark here

“You…finished it? How late were you up?!”Bookmark here

“Shhhh!”Bookmark here

I pleaded as I searched around for sensei. To my luck, she was on the other side of the room. I slump my shoulders, defeatedly.Bookmark here

“Midnight.”Bookmark here

I admitted.Bookmark here

“Ha-chan! That’s not good for you!”Bookmark here

Yui-san giggled as she bit into her tofu. Now that I’ve become aware of her food…she has the same combination as me again. As I turned to Suzu-san and Sora…they too shared their combinations. It was like a mirror of yesterday. It was slightly unnerving…Bookmark here

“So, what did you think about the climax?”Bookmark here

Now coming back to reality I turned to Yui-san. Her eyes lit up fiercely, waiting for my reply.Bookmark here

“It…was fantastic. I didn’t realize I was at the back of the book until I flipped the page again. I was sure pages were missing because I wanted more!”Bookmark here

My excitement took control now. I wanted more from the story that Yui-san threw at me. Like a brick hit my face when I finished it. I was shocked and pained at the thought that there was no more to the story. My body wiggled in excitement.Bookmark here

“Is there another volume?”Bookmark here

“It comes out in November, Ha-chan! Will you read it with me?!”Bookmark here

We locked hands now.Bookmark here

“C-Certainly!”Bookmark here

“Hey, calm down you two!”Bookmark here

Suzu-san warily interrupted us, bringing the two of us back into the realm of boring tofu and miso soup. Only then did I realize we were practically shouting to one another. The other students at separate tables glared at us. Instinctively, I let go of her hands and fell back onto the wooden seat. I picked at my tofu and rice I tend to do when I get bored of the taste.Bookmark here

“Hehe…”Bookmark here

I lifted my eyes in embarrassment only to catch Yui-chan picking at her food too. However, she was giggling with her eyes shut.Bookmark here

“I missed doing that.”Bookmark here

Gloomy Yui admitted as she stuffed some rice in her cheeks. This made my body feel warm. It would be a lie if I did say that I didn’t either. Onee-san would read the books I offered her and I take it she enjoyed them but we’d never talk about this like how Yui and I do. Same with Sora-chan. There was something about the spark of a story that Yui and I shared…Bookmark here

“Hey Sora, did you see the horticulture teacher?”Bookmark here

Suzu lifted her sticks and pointed way to the corner of the room. All the counselors sat there along with a few teachers from our respective schools, Mistuki-sensei included. Right next to the fat man who sent us up that long hill was a younger man. He’s the one who gave me those questions at the end of the hike.Bookmark here

“Oh yeah! You mean that hot piece of ass?!”Bookmark here

Sora exclaimed before turning back to Suzu-san.Bookmark here

“Right?! He looks fit too, I bet he works out every day.”Bookmark here

They both giggle. They weren’t the only two ogling over him though. Last night I could hear a few of the girls talking about him too. Now that I thought about it…Sora and I never talked about love before, have we? And here they are talking about a guy…something we’ve never done before.Bookmark here

“What do you think…Ha-chan?”Bookmark here

But then her voice broke in in a whisper. Yu-san asked me an embarrassing question. I’ll be honest with myself, I’m not one for romance. Even reading these mangas the romance doesn’t interest me most of the time…There hasn’t been a guy to swoon my heart yet maybe. Well…I don’t think there’s been anyone to swoon me. So, I gave her a haphazard shrug.Bookmark here

“No idea…”Bookmark here

Yui-san giggled and looked me in the eye.Bookmark here

“…Same.”Bookmark here

My eyes went wide despite it not being too surprising. But with Yui-san’s figure, it was odd to think that she didn’t have any interactions with the opposite sex more. But then I swung back to a certain pair…Ayumi and mom.Bookmark here

“Hmmm…”Bookmark here

I can admit that I don’t know my sexuality yet as I never attempted to be in a relationship. And from what I know mom of course had been with a man and the same with Ayumi. So, I wonder what the spark is that made them decide who was right for the other? Maybe Onee-san’s experienced love too? Should I ask her about it someday? With a sigh I try to brush away the complicated feelings swirling in me.Bookmark here

“Alright girls!”Bookmark here

The camp leader stood up from his seat and made an announcement. I perked up to listen now. All the girls watched him as he brought it large body to the middle of the room.Bookmark here

“In about twenty minutes were going to head out and begin our first full day of the trip. Finish your breakfast and then meet us under the canopy north of the cabins. Please organize yourselves into pairs of 2 as well.”Bookmark here

He sighed after his long explanation. He seemed to get short of breath easily and I’m sure others worried about his health. With a lift of his glasses, he trumped out the door. With that over, we all turned back to our breakfast.Bookmark here

“The fat man has spoken!”Bookmark here

Suzu cried before giggling to herself.Bookmark here

“Hey, don’t body shame others Suzu.”Bookmark here

Sora didn’t take that as a good joke as she swung at Suzu’s head. Despite how she sounded it felt more playful than she let on.Bookmark here

“Ah…Ha-chan.”Bookmark here

With the mushy tofu bouncing around my mouth, I met eyes with Yui-san.Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

“Ah…”Bookmark here

She sighed before steeling her resolve and pushing forwards again, getting close to my face.Bookmark here

“Do you want to be partners, Ha-chan?”Bookmark here

“…Partners?”Bookmark here

I was bewildered by her sudden question. But then it hit me like a whirlwind. He told us to get into groups of two. But my mind already accepted that Sora-chan will be my partner. As much as this was going to hurt Yui-san…Bookmark here

“Then we’ll be partners, won’t we Suzu-chan?!”Bookmark here

Sora latched onto Suzu faster than I could move my lips. As if they had an invisible chain that made them connect at the speed of light. There was nothing I could say. As much as I wanted to be with Sora…Suzu did make for a better pair, didn’t she?Bookmark here

“I…guess it’s decided then.”Bookmark here

This was one of those moments in which I wished I could hide my emotions as well as others. Mom was great at hiding her true intentions and would easily smile for others when she certainly wasn’t feeling happy. Or be sad when the time was suited for such things. But for me…I’m what others would call an “open book.” Someone who shows all kinds of emotions to the point that it’s detrimental.Bookmark here

“Oh…you don’t want to be my partner, Ha-chan?”Bookmark here

I shook my head furiously.Bookmark here

“Oh…No I’ll be your partner…Yui-san.”Bookmark here

Sora brightened up at my response.Bookmark here

“Then it’s a duel, right?”Bookmark here

Sora declared out of nowhere. My head was spinning at her words. I had no idea what she was talking about. Suzu-san just snickered as her eyes slanted to the side.Bookmark here

“Sora and I are going to win against the Hana, Yui-chan pair!”Bookmark here

A declaration of war was placed in the group. Yui-san and I sat on one end of the spectrum as the two-toned and more physical pair joined forces. I won’t lie…this kind of irritated me that Sora would readily pick Suzu over me.Bookmark here

“It’s on then Sora!”Bookmark here

I cried as I hit the table with my fist. I wasn’t competitive at all. No, I wanted to get back on Sora for always picking Suzu-san over me and that was it!Bookmark here

“Oh, the little sprite is getting into this.”Bookmark here

Sora teased, leaning back a bit.Bookmark here

I was going to show Sora that she’ll regret not picking me instead of Suzu-san. Like when being left out in gym class or being the last pick on a basketball team. If Sora believed that Suzu was better than me then I’ll show her how wrong she is!Bookmark here

“Come on, Yuipi!”Bookmark here

“Huh? Y-Yuipi?!”Bookmark here

I grabbed her hand and pulled her away as we exited into our first day of the field trip.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.