Chapter 20:

Generic flashbacks

Having Trouble Coming up With a Decent Story

“I know flashbacks are generic. But I really wanted someone to know me… know me better, I mean. Or maybe I just want him to know me better… is it because he’s my only friend or because I’m in love with him? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I hope I can find out before this ends. Find out what I want...” Bookmark here

“Nice to meet you! My name is Kazuhiko Hirata!” was what the little boy said to the girl.Bookmark here

“Huh?” A young Erity Yasutake turned to the little boy, they were in elementary school.Bookmark here

“I said nice to meet you! My name is Kazuhiko Hirata!”Bookmark here

“K-Kazuhiko H-Hirata...?” Erity murmured.Bookmark here

“Yes! That's my name! What is your name?!”Bookmark here

“M-My n-name…?”Bookmark here

“Yes! Your name!” Hirata smiled.Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

They stared at each other, the smiling boy and the withdrawn girl.Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“Aaaaaaaaaah! M-Mom!!” Erity ran away.Bookmark here

“I ran, but he kept coming to greet me.”Bookmark here

“Nice to meet you! My name is Kazuhiko Hirata! We didn’t really talk yesterday!”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“So, can you tell me your name today?!"Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

“Aaaaaaah! F-Father!!” Erity ran away again.Bookmark here

“Over and over again.”Bookmark here

“Nice to meet you! My name is Kazuhiko Hirata! I already know your name from others! But I wanted us to meet properly!”Bookmark here

“Huh?” Erity looked at the boy, “He's here again…? Why?”Bookmark here

“If you are going to run anyway, why don’t you at least play with us?! We run a lot!”Bookmark here

“P-Play…?”Bookmark here

“Yes! You don’t need to talk if you don’t want.”Bookmark here

“Hmm.” the girl pondered for a moment. “N-Nice t-to m-meet y-you… I-I’m E-Erity Y-Yasutake”Bookmark here

“Yasutake-chan!” the boy grinned. “Please take care of me as I’ll do to you!” he bowed.Bookmark here

“It was the first time those words truly meant something.” Bookmark here

“H-Hirata-san.”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“Y-You d-don’t laugh at my s-stutter…”Bookmark here

“Huh?" the boy tilted his head in confusion, "Why would I laugh?”Bookmark here

“I-I don’t know w-why either…”Bookmark here

“Besides, you are stuttering less now, right?”Bookmark here

“Maybe…” “But it’s only with you…”Bookmark here

“Our houses aren’t very far from each other, so it didn’t take long for us to start playing in the park. No... I was just following him around...”Bookmark here

“Aaaaah!” Erity screamed after a ball hit her headBookmark here

“Are you alright Yasutake-chan?” Hirata came running to her.Bookmark here

“Aaanw, ouch.” she held her head.Bookmark here

“Why don’t you play with us?” Hirata asked while helping her get up, “It’s no fun just standing still on the outside.”Bookmark here

“B-But the o-other kids are mean…” Erity looked down. “I just w-wanted to p-play with y-you.” she murmuredBookmark here

“Huh?” Hirata turned around for a second and looked at the other kids, “Hmm… so why don’t you come to my house to play some games?”Bookmark here

“G-Games…?”Bookmark here

“Yes!” Hirata smiled, “My sister has tons of fun ones!”Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Erity pondered, “Will it b-be just the t-two of us?”Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Hirata looked up and held his chin, “Maybe my sister is at home now. But it should be fine!”Bookmark here

“Hmm…” the little Erity fiddled with her fingers, “Hmm… o-okay.”Bookmark here

“Nice!” he grabbed her hand, “Let’s go!” and then started to run. “Bye guys!” he waved at the other kids in the park.Bookmark here

“Huh??!” Erity was startled as she looked at his hands, “It’s so warm…”Bookmark here

The two kids ran at full speed until they arrived at a small house near the park. Hirata and Erity started to make their way to the second floor when a girl interrupted them:Bookmark here

“Kazuhiko. Who is this one behind you?” she was going down the stairs when she asked.Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Hirata looked at Erity, who was clinging to his back, and smiled: “She’s my friend, Sister! She's my friend!”Bookmark here

“F-Friend…?” Erity murmured to herself.Bookmark here

“It was the first time someone had called me a friend.”Bookmark here

“Friend?” Hirata’s sister looked at the hiding Erity once again, and murmured: “You only brought male friends until now, but I guess this would happen sometime…”Bookmark here

“Huh?” Erity glanced at the girl.Bookmark here

“Oh! You don’t have to be afraid!” the girl smiled. “Nice to meet you! I’m Sachio Hirata! Please take care of my little brother for me!” Bookmark here

“Okay, okay!” Hirata put himself in front of Erity, between her and Sachio Hirata, “She’s not good with introductions.”Bookmark here

“Hmm…” the girl tilted her head, “A cute little girl like her?” Sachio pondered for a second and then smiled: “I guess that happens! Anyway, you can use the video game if you want! It’s all yours.”Bookmark here

“Thanks, Sister!” Hirata started to run upward.Bookmark here

“Okay! Have fun!” the girl headed to the living room, but was stopped by Erity:Bookmark here

“T-Thanks.” she just murmured that and followed Hirata, not being able to see Sachio’s smile.Bookmark here

“And I started to admire him.”Bookmark here

“W-Wow Hirata! You a-are really g-good at this game!”Bookmark here

“Even when I probably shouldn’t…”Bookmark here

“SHIT!!” Hirata threw the controller on the ground, “SHIT! I’m not good enough!” he hit the bed beside him. “No… it’s their fault! Those shitty teammates! That’s why... that's why I can’t win!! Why do I always have crappy people playing with me??!”Bookmark here

“Even though I wasn’t the only one…”Bookmark here

“Hey, Hirata-kun! You are really good at soccer!” a random girl said here.Bookmark here

“Hirata, you are the man when it comes to basketball!” a boy spoke there.Bookmark here

“Hirata-san, you rock at sports!!” a bunch of others repeated.Bookmark here

“You are a good person, Hirata!” they repeated.Bookmark here

“You’re so popular, Hirata!” and repeated.Bookmark here

“And then I started to rely on him more than I should've.”Bookmark here

“Why won’t you go to school today, Erity-chan?” Erity’s mother asked.Bookmark here

“It’s because Kazuhiko i-isn’t going today!”Bookmark here

“Kazuhiko? Do you mean Hirata-kun?”Bookmark here

“Yes!” Erity nodded, “If he’s not going I-I’m not going!”Bookmark here

“Hmm… what about your singing class?”Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Erity pondered for a minute, “I’ll go just to that one!”Bookmark here

“But maybe It was all just classic childhood friend stuff.”Bookmark here

“Hey, Erity-chan!” Kazuhiko called her.Bookmark here

“W-What, Kazuhiko?” she replied.Bookmark here

"I want to ask you a question!"Bookmark here

"A q-question?" Bookmark here

“Yes! Do you want to come to my house, and do lewd things?”Bookmark here

“D-Do lewd things...?”Bookmark here

“Yes!”Bookmark here

“...” Yasutake blinked to Kazuhiko.Bookmark here

“...” he blinked back and smiled.Bookmark here

“W-What is t-this?” she tilted her head with puzzlement.Bookmark here

“I don’t know either!” Hirata grinned, “But my sister said that doing it is very good!”Bookmark here

“Well… maybe not all the time…”Bookmark here

“Aaaah! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t know it meant that!” Kazuhiko was blushing.Bookmark here

“I-It’s fine!” Erity calmed him down, “Huh? Why do I not think it would be a bad idea…?”Bookmark here

“‘What is this sensation that’s making my chest ache?’ is what I thought, and it kept bothering me...”Bookmark here

“I’m going to get transferred.” was the first thing the boy said that day, no “good morning” no “hi”Bookmark here

“Huh?” Erity stared at the eyes of the crestfallen Kazuhiko, they were swollen from all the crying.Bookmark here

“I have to go to a cheaper school immediately, or else we won’t be able to pay all their medical expenses…” he didn’t even look at the girl that time, “I’m sorry…” he turned around.Bookmark here

“Wait!” Erity stopped Kazuhiko, “Wait...”Bookmark here

“Huh…?”Bookmark here

“I’m coming with y-you!”Bookmark here

“What…?”Bookmark here

“I-I mean that I’m also getting transferred!” she lied, “I-I was going to tell you today!”Bookmark here

“Huh? What about your singing classes?”Bookmark here

“I don’t do that anymore…” the girl looked down.Bookmark here

“Oh… it’s a shame…” Kazuhiko commented, and after a few seconds of hush, he asked: “Hmm… where... where are you going?”Bookmark here

“Huh? W-What?”Bookmark here

“To where you are getting transferred, I mean.”Bookmark here

“Oh!” Erity exclaimed, “Hmm… Subaseijou…?” it was a shot in the dark, but Kazuhiko’s face seemed to lighten up a little:Bookmark here

“Me too.”Bookmark here

“I implored to my parents, implored to be able to stay by Kazuhiko’s side…”Bookmark here

“It’s fine by me.” Erity’s father declared, “But since that school is not one of the best, your grades will have to be superb!”Bookmark here

“Thanks, father!!” she ran to hug the man.Bookmark here

“Well… your happiness is our happiness…” he murmured, his face reddening a bit.Bookmark here

“And together we went for a little longer… to a new junior high school… where he was, as always, quick to talk to people.”Bookmark here

“These are Furukawa-san…” Kazuhiko pointed at a boy with short spiky hair.Bookmark here

“Hello there, nice to meet you.”Bookmark here

“...Furukawa-chan…” he indicated a girl with a hair braided on the right side, “...she’s actually one year younger than us…”Bookmark here

“Nyoko-chan says hi! And she says nice to meet you!”Bookmark here

“...and this other one…” Kazuhiko looked at a boy with wenge hair, “ Koike-san.”Bookmark here

“Hi.”Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Erity hid behind Kazuhiko.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry guys, but it’s like that sometimes.” the boy smiled.Bookmark here

“He managed to smile even when he wanted to cry, and even then, I was the one relying on him.”Bookmark here

“Kazuhiko! You’re n-not going to school tomorrow?” Erity was talking on the phone.Bookmark here

“No… her situation worsened so I'll go visit her tomorrow." he explained, “I’ll stay there the entire day."Bookmark here

"O-Oh... okay..." her voice showed clear disappointmentBookmark here

"Hmm... I guess... I guess that I can just go there after school..."Bookmark here

"Ah! You sure?!"Bookmark here

"Yes... yes, of course..." it was clear that he was forcing a smile behind the phone, "See you tomorrow, Erity-chan."Bookmark here

"S-See you!"Bookmark here

"I kept clinging onto him, not letting him escape..."Bookmark here

"My grades are really bad..." Kazuhiko scratched his head and smiled awkwardly, "So my only choice is Obaka..."Bookmark here

"Ah! I'm going to Obaka too!"Bookmark here

"Really??" his face showed a pleased startle, but the boy composed himself and asked: "But with your grades, couldn't you go to Akabo like Furukawa?"Bookmark here

"My grades are only good because of you..." "N-No..." Erity was fiddling with her fingers, "Obaka is closer to my house..."Bookmark here

"Hmm..." Kazuhiko hesitated, but then smiled: "Then I hope we can have a great high school together!"Bookmark here

"I was just being an egoist this entire time. Not letting him do what he wanted, following him everywhere, not letting him look at who he wanted."Bookmark here

"Stop staring at her like that!" Erity scowled at Kazuhiko, who was looking at the president of the student council of Obaka High, "I know that she's beautiful, but why don't you look at me..?" she looked down.Bookmark here

"What did you say, Erity-chan?"Bookmark here

"N-Nothing..."Bookmark here

"But then, someone relied on me."Bookmark here

"Please, just stay with me..." Shimizu whispered near Erity's ear.Bookmark here

"Huh?" Bookmark here

“Ok then!” Kazuhiko headed to the back of the room.
Bookmark here

Erity didn't understand what was going on. She considered that Etsuko Shimizu wanted to take Kazuhiko away from her, "But why would she call me too if it is like that? Does she pity me or something? It doesn't make sense! And besides..." while Kazuhiko drew a bunch of game-related requests from Shimuzu, she always stood right beside Erity, instead of with the boy.Bookmark here

"I considered it being just a whim... but the days passed, and she kept calling me instead of Takayama-san, her best friend, or even anyone else since she's so popular... on a completely different level than mine. But when it looked like she was needing the most..."Bookmark here

“Please…” Etsuko whispered in her ears, “Please help me today…”
Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"...she turned to me again."Bookmark here

 “O-Okay.” Erity replied after seeing Shimizu's trembling hands.
Bookmark here

"And I started to wonder about something..."Bookmark here

"Do you know her?" Shimizu-chan asked after Koike and the girl named Sawada ran away.
Bookmark here

"K-Kind of..."Bookmark here

"Hmm..." Shimizu looked at her hand.Bookmark here

"I started to wonder if I could ask her..."Bookmark here

"S-Shimizu-c-chan..." Erity called the other girl.Bookmark here

"Huh?" Shimizu stopped spacing out, "What?"Bookmark here

"Hmm." Erity fiddled with her fingers, "D-Do y-you..." she hesitated.Bookmark here

"C'mon, you can tell, Yasutake-chan!"Bookmark here

"Hmm... d-do y-you w-want t-to b-be f-friends w-with m-me?" Erity said timidly.Bookmark here

"Huh?!" Shimizu looked puzzled.Bookmark here

"Yes... I knew this would happen..." "Huh?" Erity turned to see Shimizu staring at her, with wet eyes:Bookmark here

"Really? You want to be friends with me?!"Bookmark here

"A-Aah! D-Did I do something w-wrong??"Bookmark here

"No! Of course not!" she was weeping.Bookmark here

"But you're cry..." Erity started but was interrupted by Shimizu, who hugged her:Bookmark here

"Thanks!"Bookmark here

"Huh?" "A hug...? Was this always this good?" "Huh?" before she realized it, tears were forming in her eyes as well. "What...?"Bookmark here

"Thanks, Yasutake-chan!" Shimizu tightened her hug.Bookmark here

The two girls stayed like that until Shimizu composed herself and took a step back, smiling:Bookmark here

"No."Bookmark here

"Huh?" Erity tilted her head.Bookmark here

"No, I don't think we can be friends."Bookmark here

"B-But w-why??!" "Is it really because I"m so inferior...?"Bookmark here

"Please, don't look down on yourself ..."Bookmark here

"What?! She read my mind??"Bookmark here

"... it's not you, it's me..." Bookmark here

"Why are we breaking up!?"Bookmark here

"I really wanted to be friends with you, but I'm a liar."Bookmark here

"A l-liar?"Bookmark here

"Yes..." Shimizu looked at the ground, her eyes were barely visible, "... it's difficult for us to be friends if you don't know who I really am... and most people... hehe..." she gave a small laugh, "...most people don't like me."Bookmark here

"B-But I really w-wanted t-to b-be friends with y-you, S-Shimizu-chan! And besides... I'm not a very good person, so..."Bookmark here

"I assure you that I'm worst."Bookmark here

"N-No, I'm the worse!" Erity uttered.Bookmark here

"No! I'm the worse!!" Shimizu shouted.Bookmark here

"Shhhhhh! be quiet in the library." Tamaki shushed them.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry!" Shimizu apologized.Bookmark here

"I-I'm sorry, Tamaki-san!" Erity whispered.Bookmark here

"Okay then." Shimizu started, "I'll tell you why I'm the worse... and then you can simply save yourself and quit wanting to be my friend, okay?"Bookmark here

"N-No. But g-go on."Bookmark here

"Okay, here I go." the girl took a deep breath. "I..."Bookmark here

* * *Bookmark here

It was the end of the day at Obaka high, the president of their club, Hayami Takayama didn't come that they. The club atmosphere was still weird, although it was for another reason.Bookmark here

"Do you know what happened to them?" Kazuhiko asked Koike while looking at Erity and Etsuko talking with each other, "Are they closer, or it's just me?"Bookmark here

"I have no idea." Koike was lying a little bit.Bookmark here

"Hmm..." the boy observed the two girls again, "That's good." he smiled.Bookmark here

After a weird club meeting, the students started to left the school. Erity and Etsuko were going down the stairs together when:Bookmark here

“Isn’t that girl the one that bumped into us at the library?” Etsuko pointed at Sawada, who was talking to Suto-Sensei and Koshiro Koike in front of the student council door.Bookmark here

“I-I think so…” Erity replied.Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Etsuko observed them for a moment, but she wasn’t able to hear what they were talking about, “You said that you’ve seen her before, right?”Bookmark here

“Yes…”Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Etsuko held her chin, “Why don’t we talk about it when you come to my house this Saturday?” she turned to Erity.Bookmark here

“Hmm.. m-maybe it’s b-better if I t-text you about it… it may be something serious...”Bookmark here

“Oh! That’s right!” Etsuko rummaged through her pockets and picked her phone, “Here it is.” she showed Erity her number.Bookmark here

“Oh!” Erity was startled, she didn’t believe the other girl would do that there, “T-Thanks!” she added the number, “I-I’ll talk t-to you tonight!”Bookmark here

“Okay!” Etsuko gave her a thumbs-up, "But come to my house this Saturday anyway, okay?”Bookmark here

“O-Okay…”Bookmark here

“Nice!” Etsuko grabbed Erity’s hand and started to run down the stairs, “Now, let’s go home already!”Bookmark here

“Aaah!” Erity started to scream, but she was laughing a bit, “Is it like this when we have other friends…?”Bookmark here

The two girls made their way to the school’s front gate in a hurry, and there Etsuko let go of Erity.Bookmark here

“This is it!” she uttered, “I guess that we say bye for now.”Bookmark here

“I-I guess so…” Erity murmured, “B-Bye Shimi…” she stopped midway, not letting Etsuko hear.Bookmark here

“Huh?” the other girl tilted her head, “What?”Bookmark here

“I was going to say…” Erity hesitated, “Bye Etsuko-chan!” she shouted, and then looked to the girl in front of her, who was now on the verge of tears.Bookmark here

“Erity-chan.” Etsuko uttered her name with a trembling voice, “Thank you very, very much for today.” she then bowed for many seconds.Bookmark here

“Huh??!” Erity put her hands in front of her, “T-There’s no n-need for that!”Bookmark here

“Hehe. You look cute when you do that, Erity-chan.” Etsuko grinned, “Bye, bye!” and then bolted from there.Bookmark here

“Huh?” Erity put her hands on her cheeks, “I’m cute…?” she was blushing a bit, the girl had just realized that she liked being called “cute” “I wonder if someday Kazuhiko will tell this to me… in that way…"Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.