Chapter 4:

Are You Happy?

Are You Happy?

*NEW + EDITED Disclaimer and TW: for readers who have continued to read up till this chapter, please take not that the content relating to Makaira’s apparent eating disorder will continue to progress and you are asked to keep in mind that people’s experiences with eating disorders vary. The thoughts, characteristics, and behaviours which Makaira have are examples of what some people may have, or in fact may not have at all. Once again, if you feel that may be triggered by such content, please do not proceed. Otherwise, please enjoy this story, and do not be afraid to reach out to the people who you think may be having trouble with similar problems as Makaira!Bookmark here

“Koyanagi-chan!” Yuuto exclaims as he holds Makaira, who has now fallen unconscious.Bookmark here

This grabs the attention of other customers in the café and they immediately call for Hasegawa-san to help. She hurriedly walks over to the two.Bookmark here

“What happened?”Bookmark here

“I don’t know. We were going to go back to the university for class and she fell when she stood up.”Bookmark here

“Come, bring her to the staff room.” Hasegawa-san says seriously, then turns towards her customers and bows, “Sorry for the inconvenience, but we’ll have to close the café for a while.”Bookmark here

The customers respond understandingly and head out the shop as Hasegawa-san flips the ‘open’ sign to ‘closed’ and locks the door. Bookmark here

Yuuto had carried Makaira to the staff room and laid her down on the bed which they very luckily have in there. He nudges Makaira gently and calls her name, and she lets out a small groan.Bookmark here

“Koyanagi-chan? Can you hear me?”Bookmark here

Yes, I can.Bookmark here

Makaira moves her head slightly and tries to pick her arm up.Bookmark here

I’m losing control of my body…Bookmark here

“Koyanagi-chan?”Bookmark here

“Give her some space, Yuuto.” Hasegawa-san says as she walks into the staff room and puts down a glass of water on the table, “Get me the pillows, will you?”Bookmark here

Yuuto hurriedly carries the pillows over to his mother and watches her put them under Makaira’s legs.Bookmark here

“This helps when someone faints.” she says. “Go back to the university and tell your professor Koyanagi-chan won’t be able to make it to class.”Bookmark here

Yuuto contemplates for a moment before saying, “I want to stay here. I can message a friend to help me let the professor know.” he looks at his mother to see how she’d react.Bookmark here

She sighs, “Fine. She should feel a bit better soon, so just stay here with her. I’ll have to open the café back up.”Bookmark here

After a few minutes, Makaira is able to get up properly and Yuuto hands her the glass of water.Bookmark here

“Thank you.” she says, sipping on the water, “Sorry about that, I must’ve caused you so much trouble. And great, we’re missing a class on the first day of university.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine. I asked someone to let the professor know. More importantly, I’m worried. Does this happen often?”Bookmark here

“No.”Bookmark here

“Any idea why you might’ve fainted?”Bookmark here

Makaira shakes her head and looks down. Although she doesn’t know for sure, her gut tells her that this has something to do with her restricting. Since she hasn’t eaten properly for days, her blood sugar must have crashed which could lead to losing consciousness. But seeing Yuuto so worried, she didn’t want to tell him.Bookmark here

“You should eat something, then go home and take a rest, okay? Take the rest of the day off, I’ll help you inform your professors.”Bookmark here

“No! Are you serious? I can’t miss the first day of my classes. I’m literally fine right now. I’m going to head to my next class.” Bookmark here

Yuuto is shocked at Makaira’s immediate response but proceeds to argue wit her unreasonableness.Bookmark here

“Am I serious? How about you ask yourself that question?! You just fainted and now you want ot head straight back to class not knowing whether you might faint again?”Bookmark here

Makaira is taken aback by Yuuto’s tone but thinks about what he said.Bookmark here

He has a point. If I faint again and I’m in class, I could be brought to the nurse and they might find out the reason and tell me to eat. That would severely hinder my diet.Bookmark here

“You’re right, sorry. I’ll just go home then.”Bookmark here

Hearing Makaira say that, Yuuto loosens up his tense expression, but into a worried one.Bookmark here

“No, you should eat something first. And, you know what? I’ll walk you home.”Bookmark here

Makaira shakes her head no, and says, “I’m not hungry, and I can walk home by myself.”Bookmark here

“Koyanagi-chan, it doesn’t matter whether you’re hungry or not. You need to eat or you’ll stress your body to the point where you’ll faint again. Listen to me and eat.”Bookmark here

Makaira lets out a sigh, “Fine.”Bookmark here

Without a choice, Makaira eats a proper lunch for once in a full week with Yuuto. Although she felt far better than she did before almost immediately, her mind was not convinced and all that was occupying her mind was the thought that she may have just ruined all her efforts to lose weight.Bookmark here

Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep!Bookmark here

At the very moment Makaira’s eyes open, she jumps out of her sheets and grabs the scale tucked under her bed. She gets out of her clothes for an accurate measurement and immediately steps on the scale. Bookmark here

Number. Bookmark here

Makaira blinks at the number on her scale, gets off, and gets on it once again.Bookmark here

Number.Bookmark here

Number… ? I… I lost weight?Bookmark here

She doesn’t believe her eyes and checks her weight record. Sure enough, she’s lost some weight from yesterday.Bookmark here

But… How is that possible? I ate a whole meal yesterday!Bookmark here

To answer her questions, she hurriedly does some research before getting ready for her morning class. Bookmark here

I see… So, eating very little can lead to a slowed down metabolism and in order to burn more calories and lose more weight, I have to make sure my metabolism doesn’t completely crash! That’s why eating more yesterday actually helped me to lose more weight than if I just stuck to very little.Bookmark here

That afternoon, Makaira returns to Hasegawa-san’s café as usual, and orders her usual iced Americano.Bookmark here

“Make sure you eat well, dear.” Hasegawa-san says as she settles Makaira ’s drink, “You have to take care of your health. Don’t overwork yourself.Bookmark here

The woman smiles. But unlike the other times, Makaira can see a little worry in her eyes.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, Hasegawa-san. I eat well.” says the girl, putting on such a sweet smile that reassures the older woman about her concerns.Bookmark here

Back at home after lessons, she cuts an apple for dinner.Bookmark here

The next day, Makaira does the same — one iced Americano for lunch, and an apple for dinner.Bookmark here

Sure enough, it’s the same meal plan the next day, and the next, and the next…Bookmark here

Until the seventh day, a week after the fainting incident, Makaira plans a full day of eating to speed up her metabolism.Bookmark here

For breakfast, she has an apple, and although reluctant, she orders a little something more than an iced Americano at Hasegawa-san’s café for lunch.Bookmark here

“One iced Americano as usual?” Hasegawa-san asks, flashing her usual smile.Bookmark here

“Yes,” Makaira smiles, “and a croissant, please.”Bookmark here

Hasegawa-san’s eyes light up in an instant and she takes the order with a wide smile.Bookmark here

“Coming right up, dear! Go sit down.”Bookmark here

Makaira sits in her usual corner and takes her laptop and earphones out, ready to do some schoolwork.Bookmark here

Once her order arrives, she slowly enjoys her croissant and iced coffee while typing away her essay for a class. Bookmark here

A period of time passes when a pair of green sneakers show up next to Makaira’s table. Yuuto sits down opposite of Makaira and watches her as she is so distracted by her essay that she didn’t even notice him sitting down. Bookmark here

When the girl finally looks up, she lets out a little gasp.Bookmark here

“You scared me.” She mutters.Bookmark here

Yuuto chuckles lightly, “I see you’re having lunch. How have you been?”Bookmark here

Makaira puts down her earphones and says, “I’ve been good. You? I haven’t seen you around much.”Bookmark here

“Yea, I’ve been busy.” he says, “But I’ll be more free from now on. How are classes for you?”Bookmark here

“Great. I’ve been able to stay ahead of everything, and I’ve gotten to straight A grades for all my assignments and quizzes already.” Makaira says with a smile.Bookmark here

Yuuto smiles at the girl, “That’s great, Koyanagi-chan.”Bookmark here

The two decide to do some schoolwork for a bit before going back to class. Bookmark here

After a while, Yuuto glances up from his screen to look at Makaira. He admires her long and luscious lashes as her eyes are looking down, glued to her screen. Her beautiful jet black hair flows to her shoulders, always so effortlessly neat. Her face, although looking unhealthily thin, showing her very contoured cheekbones, is undeniably attractive.Bookmark here

All of a sudden, she glances up, meeting Yuuto right in the eyes. The boy panics and looks away immediately, blushing profusely. Makaira takes out of her earphones.Bookmark here

“Did you say something?” she asks.Bookmark here

Yuuto says nothing but shakes his head.Bookmark here

Nothing happens after this awkward encounter, and not long later, the weekend comes.Bookmark here

As per usual, Makaira studies at the café in her usual corner. For the first time, she sees Yuuto come to work on time and Hasegawa-san has taken a day off.Bookmark here

Later in the evening when the café has fewer customers, Yuuto takes his apron off and walks over to Makaira, who is, unsurprisingly, still studying, even though she’s been there since morning.Bookmark here

Makaira notices Yuuto’s green sneakers immediately this time, and takes off one side of her earphones.Bookmark here

“Taking a break?” she asks.Bookmark here

“Yep. What have you been studying for for so long?”Bookmark here

“Just reading my law textbooks to be ahead of the class. (There’s) A lot of content.”Bookmark here

“I see.” Yuuto nods, peering over Makaira’s shoulder to take a look at what she’s reading.Bookmark here

“Maybe this sounds like a stupid question but why do you like being so far ahead? You’re quick-witted, so I doubt you’d fall behind often, so why go through these lengths?”Bookmark here

“Well, it helps to do your pre-reading and to just know your stuff before the professor teaches it so they know you’re actually interested in the subject and are actively improving your knowledge about it.”Bookmark here

“Wouldn’t pre-reading consistently show that already?”Bookmark here

Makaira shrugs and says, “I guess I am a bit of an overachiever. No harm in getting ahead.”Bookmark here

“‘A bit’ is an understatement. How does she do this? Doing so much but still nail everything and make it all look so easy when it’s obvious it isn’t’?” Yuuto thinks. Bookmark here

“Are you happy?”Bookmark here

Taylor Victoria
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