Afterward, we eventually made our way back into the old gym. With a sigh and a huff, Sophia-san looked me square in the eye.
“…Don’t you dare go around saying…we did that.”
That's when the rush of feelings came back to me. The tenderness of her lips assaulted my mind. Even though it was brief...it happened at a critical moment in my life...A moment when I'm questioning these feelings for...Mari-san.
“We...pecked lips. Let's just say what it was and get over it.”
Conway-san confessed with a huff.
"...Yeah...we pecked lips."
I parroted as my cheeks redden.
“No worries…our secret is safe...I don't plan to tell anyone...Sophia-san.”
"Believe me...I have no intentions of telling anyone either! For all, I know it never happened."
For a moment we idled there in the gloomy gymnasium...until we both crumbled as our shoulders slumped in embarrassment. I was still wrapping my head around the sensation...I can't say what was going through Conchi-chan's now though. That’s when she reached out her pinky towards me. Was this her...swearing to our secret in the cutest way possible? My heart began to flutter and without thinking, I gripped on it. To my dismay she clenched it so tight I was afraid she’d break it.
“If you tell anyone I’ll snap this pinky of yours!”
That wasn’t a pinky promise…that was a threat. With a deep sigh, she crossed her arms now.
“…I’ll speak with Watanabe-san on the phone later tonight…I want her to know what’s...going on between the school nurse and me.”
With a nod, she continued.
“I won’t lie…you two…a-are my only true friends.”
“…I’m sure Mae-chan would love to hear you out.”
“Yes…I heard a little bit about what she spoke to you about Madoka-san…It seems even that bumbling idiot has her own difficulties.”
With a tilt of her head, she smiled slightly.
“I know I’m not as good with people like Linda but…”
Her eyes glimmered in the darkroom as she molded her words into her feelings. She mustered the brightest smile I've seen on her face as she brought out her honest words.
“I…as your friend am always here to lend you my ear, Madoka-san.”
Even during this chaotic time…Sophia-san was looking out for me. I doubt I’ll be able to speak to her about Mari-san and my strange feelings about her…but I could at least express to her how I felt…after coming out of my coma.
She confided in me…maybe I can do the same with her?
“Let’s chat more once we get home…how about I call you later tonight…Sophia-san?”
I at least want to tell her about my coma, what happened after I woke up, and the feelings that encapsulate my world right now. I don't think I'm ready to tell Mae-chan and her about...Mari-san yet but step by step I'll get there.
“…I would like that. Now, take my hand so we can get out of this filthy place. The others must be worried sick about us.”
“I-It’s not that scary…So-chan.”
“Stop with those ridiculous nicknames already!”
“Onee-san! Where have you two been?! I thought you died!”
Hana with tears in her eyes rushed up to me. She assaulted my stomach like before. Luckily my glasses stayed on. That's when the rest of the group rushed up as well.
Mae giggled as she crossed her arms.
“Ah, sisterly love is amazing.”
Sora-chan nodded in agreement.
“Ah, yes, sisterly love is amazing!”
Those two were becoming too alike and it worried me now…Mihara-san stuttered as she spoke up...
“Guys…isn’t that…STARS group starting soon?”
I sighed and checked my phone’s clock.
“Oh! This STARS group will be starting in a few minutes! Hana-chan, grab your stuff, come on guys!”
We made our way into the auditorium. In the darkroom with the chatter of students, our group merged in.
Mihara-san brushed her way past everyone. She found a spot between Hana and me. She did say she wanted to stand by me during it and she did. Our shoulders nudged slightly. Like we've just been glued together she molded herself to my arm. It was a tad unexpected from her. She reminded me of a puppy that hid between the legs of its owner. Despite being the taller of us two, Mihara-san was certainly the submissive one between us. It was super adorable if I had to tell the truth.
"Are you excited, Mihara-san?"
I questioned, noticing she was fidgeting. With a powerful nod, she faced me.
"You seriously like STARS, huh?"
Her cheeks reddened as she took a deep breath.
"Hm, what's wrong Mihara-san?"
For a moment she paused. Despite us being next to one another the crowd of students around us drowned out our voices.
Suddenly, the lights dimmed and the music began playing. Two girls in bright blue dresses with sailor hats appeared in the middle of the stage bursting with passion and energy. The music had a jazzy feel correlating to their hips moving to the synchronizer. Stars from the stage glimmered in my eyes as I jumped up and down with the rhythm of the music.
I found myself turning back to the stage. All of the voices around us cried and cheered, drawing us into the starlit world.
Losing all control of my body the stage lit up with passion as the remaining three STARS impersonators jumped out from the back leading pact. The crowd cheered and I was no different. It was this music that made it easy for me to forget all the worries I have. I was in love with it.
When I turned to the sides everyone showed a similar smile. Sora-san and Mae-chan jumped up and down. Hana-chan and Sophia-san were more subtle, but they too danced to the rhythm. I then turn to the right to see Mihara-san looking my way. Her crimson eyes captured mine as if we were the only two in this sparkling world.
So, I smiled as bright as I could back at her then turned back cheering on my favorite music without fail. In an instant, I destroyed that odd tension...because right now nothing else mattered. Not Mae-chan’s battle with depression…not Sophia-san’s struggles with her family…Not my past or where I’ll be in the future. Only this music and my feelings now made me happy...
If only this moment would last for eternity…