Chapter 47:

Ch.17 Red Carnations (4/6)

Sleeping Princess


When I finally made it to class Conway’s seat was empty to my surprise. I could have sworn that she made her way here before me but that seemed to not be the case.

"Hm, did I beat her here?"

Initially, I thought that she'd be in here scowling at our classmates or reading a manga alone but that wasn't the case. Her desk laid untouched to the point of melancholic now. How often it was abandoned I began to pity the poor thing.

"I guess...Sophia-san’s not coming to class today either..."

It seemed as though she planned to skip from the beginning. Maybe the reason why she talked with me so long outside was that she had no intentions of meeting me in class today. Even though she’s trying to avoid Taylor-sensei, I think all that skipping is bad and she shouldn’t do it or at least do it less. But I digressed as I sat my bags down and started emptying their contents.

Now with the sense of being the "good girl" coming to my mind, I diligently begin ordering my utensils out for the day. As I held a pencil in my hand I started thinking about the past. The "me" who met Mihara-san...

"I...don't remember much about Mihara-san...kind of like Mari-san."

On the subject of Mari-san...I completely forgot about her. From the time we met until my accident...it was all erased from my mind like a fleeting dream. However...Mihara-san was slightly different. I remember her joining the basketball team...I recalled that she wasn't that good at it...But that's pretty much it. I certainly met Mihara-san...around the same time as Mari-san because they both were erased from my memory though.

"Who are you Mihara-san?"

I asked the biggest question now haunting my mind. Who was this mysterious girl who seemed to want to be my friend? Hover around me...like a lost puppy? She said that I was there for her...when she lost her grandmother...But I don't remember any of that. From what I know so far from her own words...

Mihara-san used to call me senpai because I was better at basketball than her. At some point in time, her grandmother passed away and I looked after her...maybe I let her confide in me because I recently lost my father too. Certainly, we connected in a way because of our recent death experiences of a family member...

"Was that all that happened though?"

I questioned as I angled my head to my desk. I wanted to pound my head against the table to see if I'd recall something monumental about that time...but that wouldn't work even if I wanted to believe it. I would just have a deep red mark on my forehead that wasn't cute in the slightest.

"Mihara-san insisted that she wanted to be my friend and now we are friends..."

Her reactions to everything before I confronted her were extreme though. She ran from me on the train...cried when I caught her and avoided me too. Yet she just wanted to be my friend? Nothing made sense...the more I thought about everything surrounding this specter named Mihara Yuko was strange.

"Mihara-san..."

That's when my mind raced back to the one piece of the past that I was unsure about. And that were the carnations that went missing in my hospital room. Because those were missing when she arrived the next day...Mihara-san stopped visiting me. Could something have happened that she wasn't telling me? She believed that Mari-san took them away. That she stole her gift that she gave to me while I was in a coma...But why would Mari-san even do something like that? That...seems so out of character for her.

"I...guess I'll have to ask her more about it. I just don't understand and thinking about it alone won't solve anything. I'll have to face her...learn what I need to know and move forward."

Annoyed, I wined in a whisper.

“Ah, no Conway-san today either?”

From behind, a voice echoed in. One full of malice at my friend's name. The almond-eyed skipper, Okabe-san walked beside me and made her way to her seat.

“Doesn’t appear so, Okabe-san.”

“God…I hate that girl.”

She spewed. From what Sophia-san told me, she confided in Okabe-san about her situation with Linda and she turned around and mocked her about it. What a horrible thing for her to know. I know that Mae-chan told her about her fight at some point while they were out skipping and she went behind her back and mentioned it to me. There’s a lot I hear about Okabe-san…but I don’t know too much about her. All I can gather so far is…she’s sometimes a mean person with loose lips.

“Okabe-san, why do you hate Sophia-san anyway?”

She angled her head, causing her weedy hair to wash along her cheek. Her lips twisted as she responded with a huff.

“Oh please, don’t tell me you two are close enough to call each other by given names now?”

She sighed sharply. If I were closer to her I'm sure spats of her venomous rage would have struck me.

“Next thing I know you two will be making out behind the gymnasium, her favorite skip spot.”

She laughed. But I didn’t find her joke all that funny. What instantly came to mind was us...pecking lips in the ghoul house on Cultural Day. Attempting to hide my likely reddened cheeks, I turned to the side away from her almond gaze.

“Listen, Nakagawa-san…”

Okabe-san smiled diminished as her almond eyes pierced through me now. Her expression wasn't as gentle as it normally is. No, something felt terribly off about her today.

“We all have problems to deal with. One person’s grief can’t be measured across another...."

That's when she set her bag down on the floor. It clanked mechanically like a foreign object was weighing it down. Now in her seat, Okabe-san crossed her arms and raised her chin. Her words felt like poison as they assaulted me.

"...If I stole a lollipop from a child, they would cry just as much as a man whose family was slaughtered.”

The analogy she used was vulgar…even slightly worrisome. But I understood what she was getting at…She didn't have to be any blunter.

“So, in other words…you don’t care for other people’s problems, do you Okabe-san?”

Not even pretending to care, she waved one hand in front of her face, pushing my judgment aside.

“Wow, we have a scholar here…”

She mocked as she lied her head on the desk now. She seemed out of energy if I had to admit. Like chatting with me was far more bothersome than it should have been...despite her being the first to approach me.

“I have my own issues to deal with…you don’t see me crying to others about it...Nakagawa-san”

So, curiously I asked, exploring more to the new and maybe honest side to Okabe-san.

"Haven't you ever confided in others about your problems though, Okabe-san?"

"No..."

She haphazardly replied as she rested her green locks on the desk.

"Not once. There's no need to. Nobody can fix the problems I have but myself. So, why cry my eyes out about it? It's a waste of time and frankly, air by doing that"

She grumbled like an elderly woman complaining about the youth of today.

"Stupid girls think their lives are complicated...people just don't understand when they have so much...anything minuscule is a problem."

Her mood was certainly different today. She seemed tired…slightly defeated even. Or…maybe Okabe-san had always been like this…but I’m just seeing a new side to her that I didn’t know. I can’t say Okabe-san is a friend of mine…but I don’t know if I dislike her either. She might have her own struggles that she can’t speak too much about...and I could relate to that.

"The only person that matters in my life...is Nagumi...Screw everyone else...screw them...all."

She whispered this...strangely. She was mumbling about her little sister. The cute, adorable pet that ate my food during the Cultural Festival.

"Nagumi-san..."

I decided that I shouldn't assume anything and instead of pursuing this further, I turned around as the lecture began. Okabe-san mainly slept through it, however.

The rest of the class was pretty much the same. I chose to take extra notes this time to help Sophia-san however. Since she’s…trying to keep up with her studies despite not showing up to class today. I’m going to have to have a study session with her I’m sure about it now.

After our math period, Okabe-san sprang up by the alarm on her phone. She had drool plastered on her face and her hair became a mess. All the teachers seem to have given up on her as nobody ever said a word about the light humming in the class made by her soft snores.

"Have a good day, Nakagawa-san."

Sarcastically, she waved me goodbye as she left the room despite class beginning in a few minutes. Now I wondered...where was she going at this time? She always leaves around now or just doesn't show up altogether.

"Okabe-san..."

She's a rude person who goes behind other's backs and tells their secrets with little to no care. I wonder if she just doesn't have anyone to rely on though. The class here avoids her, Sophia-san hates her and I'm sure Mae-chan doesn't speak with her all too often either. She's like a lone wolf in all the sense of the word. But I guess now wasn't the time for me to think about her. I had to stay focused on one goal and that was finding a way to make Mihara-san and Hana-chan get along. So, as the next class began I diligently put all my effort into it as I thought of a course of action.