Chapter 13:

Stubbornly Compliant

Unconsciously Interested

PART FOURBookmark here

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Sigh…Bookmark here

This morning isn't going so great for me. Bookmark here

I started having a headache right before I left for school. I thought it’s just a mild headache, but it seems to have gotten a little worse. Bookmark here

“Shibasaki-san, good morning! Could you help review my homework answers, please?” Hoshino-san asked upon approaching my desk.Bookmark here

My head is throbbing so badly that it’s hard for me to say yes to anything right now. However, Hoshino-san’s request is relatively simple, so I guess it’s fine. Her request isn’t unreasonable at all. Bookmark here

“Hey! You should get the wife’s permission first before asking Yu-chin for a favor!” Tomoka, who was sitting next to me, interjected before I could say a word.Bookmark here

Hoshino-san brushed her off. “Will you, Shibasaki-san, please?” She smiled beseechingly.Bookmark here

“This girl’s lack of respect is real!” Tomoka fussed.Bookmark here

“Sure, Hoshino-san. Let me have a look.” My smile faltered a little.Bookmark here

Hoshino-san handed me her notes with a bright smile. Bookmark here

But Tomoka keeps picking on Hoshino-san as I read through her notes. “When did you become so close to Yu-chin, Aika?! You’ve had the audacity to ask her that favor when you’re not even close to her.” Bookmark here

“You’re making such a racket, Mizuno Tomoka! We’ve gotten closer since she made me realize I wasn’t in love, right, Shibasaki-san?” Hoshino-san is grinning at me.Bookmark here

“Ha-ha. Yeah? I suppose.” Bookmark here

“See?” Hoshino-san looked back at Tomoka. Bookmark here

“Tch! You’re interested in getting love ideas from my Yu-chin, aren’t you?”Bookmark here

“Certainly not! Shibasaki-san isn’t into it, and unlike you, I know my limit.” Bookmark here

“Haah?! Are you looking for a fight?! Just what limits are you talking about? I have unlimited rights as a wife!” Tomoka growled.Bookmark here

Having to listen to these two made my head hurt even more. They are so energetic. Bookmark here

Urggh... So loud! Bookmark here

After reviewing the notes carefully, I handed them back to Hoshino-san. As far as I can tell, most of her answers were right.Bookmark here

"Thank you, Shibasaki-san. You’re really kind~...” Hoshino-san smiled sweetly at me.Bookmark here

“Not a problem, Hoshino-san.”Bookmark here

Tomoka turned to me right after Hoshino-san returned to her seat.Bookmark here

“Don’t let Aika lure you into love stories, Yu-chin. She’s into that sort of thing.”Bookmark here

I forced a weak smile at her. “What’s with that... It’s alright, Tomoka. I’m not interested in that stuff at all.”Bookmark here

“Just making sure. For my Yu-chin to become a love consultant would be bizarre.” She winked. Bookmark here

“Not gonna happen. Giving advice about something that doesn’t interest me would be like the blind leading the blind. But enough about love... It’s too early for that thing.” I sighed as I rested my arms and head on my desk.Bookmark here

“Are you all right, Yu-chin?” Bookmark here

“I just have a mild headache, but I’m fine.”Bookmark here

“You don’t want to go to the infirmary? I’ll take you there if you like.”Bookmark here

“No... I’ll be fine. Thank you, Tomoka.”Bookmark here

“Aawh.. Yu-chin, you look like you’re at death’s door to me. Are you sure you’re okay?”Bookmark here

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The constant throbbing in my head is starting to bother me, and I’ve been struggling to focus in our English class. I’m starting to feel woozy.Bookmark here

Hnngh…Bookmark here

“-saki-san? Uhurm! Shibasaki-san?!”Bookmark here

“Huh?! Ah! Y-Yes, sensei?” I instinctively jumped to my feet, but I almost lost my balance!Bookmark here

How embarrassing! If it wasn’t bad enough, I haven’t been paying attention. Bookmark here

“I’ve been trying to get your attention for a while now. I hope your mind is with us.”Bookmark here

“I’m sorry, sensei.” Bookmark here

“That’s fine. Okay, let’s have you answer this. We mentioned the term ‘logorrhea’ during our discussion. How would you use it in a sentence?”Bookmark here

Urrk! Log-what? Why is this word even in the dictionary? Bookmark here

“. . . .”Bookmark here

Haah… I can’t do this.Bookmark here

“I apologize, sensei. I wasn’t paying attention, so I don’t have an answer.” My shoulders slumped in embarrassment.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry. Take your seat. It’s rare to see you distracted in class, Shibasaki-san. Are you all right?” Bookmark here

“Y-Yes, sensei. I’m fine.” Bookmark here

Ahh… My day couldn’t be worse! Bookmark here

Good thing today's Friday, and we don't have any classes scheduled for tomorrow. Bookmark here

I'm not sure whether I should attend classes or just go to the infirmary. Bookmark here

Hmm... Then again, I would hate to miss class. Maybe if I can just keep my mind focused, this might be bearable.
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“Come on, let’s go to the clinic, Yu-chin!” Bookmark here

“I’m fineee, Tomoka….” I groaned. It’s break time, yet I’m still slumped over my desk. “Just keep your voice down.” Bookmark here

“What’s wrong, Yuyo?” Even though I heard Minori’s voice, I didn’t bother to look up.Bookmark here

“Nah... I just have a little headache, that’s all.”Bookmark here

“She had that headache since this morning. I’ve been trying to get her to go to the clinic, but she won’t budge.” Tomoka sounds like she’s telling on me to Minori.Bookmark here

“I’m fine, really. Please don’t worry.” I slackly gestured my right hand at them.Bookmark here

“Kyashii-chan, please come over here,” Minori called out to Kyashii.Bookmark here

Great… They summoned reinforcement. Bookmark here

Here’s another force that will try to convince me to go to the infirmary. My friends are great worrywarts. Bookmark here

“What’s going on?” I could hear Kyashii’s voice.Bookmark here

“Yuyo’s headache is getting worse, but she won’t visit the infirmary. If you could please knock off some common sense in her that she needs to go. As if by magic, her logic ceases to exist whenever she’s sick.” Minori sure sounds like a mother. Bookmark here

“I see...” I can feel Kyashii standing in front of my desk. “Yuyo, please, let’s go to the infirmary.” Bookmark here

“I’m good. Don’t worry too, Kyashii.” I’m not even sitting up, but I’m waggling my right hand to let her know I’m fine.Bookmark here

“It’s pointless, Mikami-san. I’ve already tried a couple of times.” Tomoka groused.Bookmark here

“Yuyo...” Kyashii held my right wrist with an oddly solemn tone. Bookmark here

“Whaatt...” I had no choice but to look at her.Bookmark here

“I’m taking you to the infirmary.” She’s staring at me with menacing eyes.Bookmark here

Despite my lousy state, I can tell from her eyes that she wants me to follow her or she won’t leave me alone. The look in her eyes said it all. Bookmark here

“Urgh… So annoying…” I grumbled as I got up.Bookmark here

“Wha-!” Tomoka exclaimed. Bookmark here

“What?” I squinted at her.Bookmark here

“Nothing, Yu-chin. Get to the clinic as soon as possible. You’re not cute anymore.” Tomoka grinned. She also gave Kyashii the thumbs up. “Way to go, Mikami-san!”Bookmark here

But Kyashii refused to smile. She just nodded as a response to Tomoka before yanking my hand. Bookmark here

“Minori, please let our teacher know that we will be in the infirmary.” Kyashii turned to Minori, who was quietly smiling and nodding at us. I even got a knowing smile from her as she motioned her hand at me.Bookmark here

What’s her deal? Bookmark here

And Kyashii looks scary that the urge to resist just flees me. Bookmark here

Sigh... Bookmark here

I guess I’ll just go along with what they say.Bookmark here

I could only hold my forehead tightly while letting Kyashii drag me out of the classroom.Bookmark here

“Ohh. Shibasaki-san, you don’t look well.” Ezaki-san remarked when we passed him standing by the door. Bookmark here

“Yeah, and they’re pushing me to go to the infirmary even though I don’t think it’s necessary.” Bookmark here

My eyes caught Kyashii staring in silence at Ezaki-san. Bookmark here

Yeah, of course. I forgot she’s into him.Bookmark here

“I see... But I would suggest that you should go as well. It’s no wonder why your wife seems upset.” Ezaki-san made an odd comment out of nowhere.Bookmark here

“Wife? Ahh… Do you mean Tomoka? Nah... If anything, Kyashii is more upset than she is.” What’s up with him and that strange remark? Is he into such kinds of jokes too?Bookmark here

Ezaki-san chuckled and stared at me in an uncharacteristic manner.Bookmark here

Uhh... There’s that stare again.Bookmark here

“Sorry, Ezaki-san, but I need to take this blockhead to the infirmary. She’ll get back to you later.” Kyashii chimed in.Bookmark here

Blockhead?!Bookmark here

“Of course, Mikami-san. I’m sure you do. You’re incredibly kind.” Ezaki-san smiled warmly at Kyashii as they looked into each other’s eyes.Bookmark here

Jeez! It would be nice if they flirt later rather than now since I’m still here.Bookmark here

Tch! So much for romance already. How annoying!
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“Kyashii, I can go by myself just fine. It’s okay if you go back to class.” I muttered as we walked to the infirmary. Her silent grip on my wrist bothers me quite a bit. She seems upset about something again. I hope it has nothing to do with Ezaki-san.Bookmark here

“No. I’ll keep an eye on you until you’re okay.” She didn’t even glance at me.Bookmark here

“It’s just a mild headache, and I’ll be fine once I get my medicine.” Bookmark here

“In case you haven’t noticed, Yuyo, your eyes are a little moist! You don’t even realize you’re a little feverish, do you?” Kyashii asked in a cold tone.Bookmark here

“Huh? Am I?” Bookmark here

“Yes, you are! So just leave your words behind and come with me to the infirmary! Sheesh! You’re so careless!” Bookmark here

Ehh? What gives her the hump at times like this? Bookmark here

“. . . .”
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Forget about it anyhow. I’m not up for bickering, as it will only go in circles. Besides, my head’s spinning just from walking alone, so let’s not waste energy fighting this huffy girl here.
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“See? You’ve got a fever! What is it with you that you don’t want to come here right away?!” Kyashii is nagging as I lie down on the infirmary bed.Bookmark here

Zzzzz...” Instead of responding, I teased her by feigning a snore. Bookmark here

My energy isn’t enough to handle her scolding. I’m also well aware that I’m in the wrong here. My only excuse is that I don’t want to miss the class, that’s all.Bookmark here

Kyashii sighed when she didn’t get a reply from me. “I’ll ask our teachers to excuse you from our afternoon classes. You should go home.” Bookmark here

“But I’ll be fine. I’ve already taken my medicine, right?” I can’t miss class. It’s going to be tough missing each lecture.Bookmark here

“You need to get some rest! Will you give up your stubbornness, Yuyo?!”Bookmark here

“Yeah, sure, but I’m going to miss our lessons.”Bookmark here

“Obviously! But rather than forcing yourself to attend class then embarrass yourself because you can barely focus, just take the day off!” She rebuked.Bookmark here

Ouch! What’s with her suddenly being on my case? What’s worse, she has solid points. Bookmark here

“F-Fine. I’ll let you handle it. I’ll head home around lunchtime.” These back-and-forth arguments had worn me out. Moreover, I caught some kind of bug.Bookmark here

“Do you think your brother will be there?”Bookmark here

“No, he has classes through the evening. He also works part-time. I’ll be fine, though. I’ll manage.”Bookmark here

“So you’ll be alone at home until evening?”Bookmark here

“It’s the same as always. It’s nothing new.”Bookmark here

“B-But you’re sick. What about your aunt?” Bookmark here

“Naah... I don’t want to bother them. They live three stations away. Anyway, thank you for bringing me here, Kyashii. You should get back to class.”Bookmark here

“. . . .”Bookmark here

“What?” I wonder why she’s staring at me anxiously. Bookmark here

“I will bring your things before lunch, so please wait for me.”Bookmark here

“Hmm… Thank you, Kyashii. I owe you one.” I smiled shyly at her before closing my eyes. The medicine must have kicked in because I’m all sleepy now.
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I opened my eyes to a warm sensation on my face.Bookmark here

“Ohh… You’re awake.” Kyashii gently caresses my forehead. Bookmark here

“Hmm… What time is it?”Bookmark here

“It’s already past 12. Minori and the others dropped by just now. Everyone’s worried about you. And ermm… Just a little while ago, your kouhai was here too.” Bookmark here

“Ohh...” Takashi-san also came, huh? Bookmark here

“So, how are you feeling, Yuyo?” Bookmark here

“I’m still getting headaches. It looks like I’ll have to go home after all.” I sit up from the bed, clutching my forehead.Bookmark here

This is the worst. There’s no way I can attend afternoon classes. Bookmark here

“I brought your things with me. Do you want to eat first before heading home?”Bookmark here

“Nah... I think I’d rather go home.” I wonder if I will be able to get home on my own. I need to contact my brother.Bookmark here

“Okay. I’ll take your bag, Yuyo.”Bookmark here

“Uhh... Are you sure?”Bookmark here

“Yeah… I’ll carry it for you. So, let’s go?”Bookmark here

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Kyashii’s left hand is holding mine while her right carries both of our bags as we walk to the taxi stand. She literally had her hands full.Bookmark here

“Kyashii, I’m sorry for being a bother. Somehow, it feels strange that you’re looking after me.” Bookmark here

“If you wish, I can always take care of you, Yuyo.” It was a sincere statement, I think.Bookmark here

“Of course. I'd love that.”Bookmark here

“Heeh…”Bookmark here

“In any case, you should have left your bag with Nazumi-san rather than carrying it all the way out here.” Bookmark here

“What do you mean by that? I’m taking you home. Naturally, I need my bag,” she casually replied.Bookmark here

“Ohh. That makes–... Huh?! You’re coming over? Why??” Bookmark here

“I’m sure you know the answer to that. You have no one with you at home, and your brother comes home in the evening. You must eat, but cooking is out of the question in your current state. You’re still sick–”Bookmark here

“Yeah... Yeah... I got it.” I cut her short. She’s undoubtedly prepared to answer that question, isn’t she? “I’m sorry you had to miss class because of me.” Bookmark here

"It's okay. I care about you more than anything else, Yuyo. And I’ve already explained the situation to our homeroom teacher. Minori helped me out with it."Bookmark here

"Uhh… I'm sorry if I caused too much trouble." I squeezed her hand.Bookmark here

"Don't be like that. You didn't set out to get sick. Let's not worry about it, yeah?" Kyashii glanced at me with a smile that could fill one with warmth.Bookmark here

That smile moves me. Bookmark here

". . . ."Bookmark here

Tears are welling up in my eyes. Urgh! Being sick gets me emotional and makes me feel vulnerable. It’s as if the only choice I have is to rely on someone I trust.Bookmark here

“Kyashii, thank you. I’m so glad you’re in my life,” I feebly uttered as I tightened my grip on her hand. I mean it.Bookmark here

Right now, I feel like it’s okay to be sick as long as I know someone will take care of me, regardless of whether I ask that person or not. While my brother would undoubtedly look after me if I asked him to, I’d still inevitably get in the way of his studies and work.Bookmark here

The situation with Kyashii is the same, but it makes me feel better that she does it without me even asking. That’s how caring she is. Bookmark here

“It’s awful to say this, but sometimes, I think it’s good to see you sick,” she giggled.Bookmark here

“What?? How rude...” Just as I was thinking about how kind she is, she’s telling me this?Bookmark here

“Haha! Don’t be upset. It’s just that you seem vulnerable and honest when you’re not feeling well. It’s far from your image of a reliable and self-reliant person. So, it looks like Yuyo has a different side to her than I thought.”Bookmark here

“Ohh... I get it. Yeah... I guess sickness messes with my mental state and emotions.” Bookmark here

“Heeh~... But I’m glad to see that side of you. I look forward to seeing more different sides of you from now on.” Kyashii’s gentle smile helped me feel a little better.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.