Chapter 2:

The Incident

The Wizard's Virginity

The next few hours were hell. I cursed my sister many times for interrupting my ‘morning activities’, which, if I had successfully completed, might have made things more bearable. As it was, I was forced to experience all the sensations of being close to a beautiful girl in my most heightened state. That is to say, I had a boner the entire morning.

Mr Panchal had given me stern instructions to make sure that Reiko made it to all her classes, and also to “protect” her from some of the “friendlier boys”. While saying that he looked pointedly at Lawrence, to drive home exactly what he meant. I tried to complain, of course, but this turned out to be a mistake. Just as Lawrence’s enthusiasm had convinced Mr Panchal that he was the worst-suited for the job, my objections convinced him that I was the perfect candidate.

So, that was that. I found myself walking around the school with Reiko close at my side, me holding my bag directly in front of my crotch, and Dan following behind us giggling.

Reiko didn’t say anything. She looked up at me a few times, and out the corner of my eye I could tell she was smiling serenely. I avoided meeting her gaze and quickened my pace, trying to force her to watch the path ahead as we navigated hallways full of gawking teenagers. As we marched, I considered what a ridiculous situation this was. Mr Panchal was right - our school didn’t even teach Japanese, so why the hell would we suddenly start an exchange student programme with a Japanese school? Particularly when exams were coming up. And what were the chances that the exchange student would be a beautiful girl, share my bus stop, be in my form, and do the exact same subjects as me? If I believed in God, I would have thought that He was testing me right now. Or punishing me. Or rewarding me? Regardless, pulling some sort of Godly shit, and laughing while doing it.

As we reached the Biology lab, Dan jogged to catch up with us, and placed his uninjured hand on my shoulder.

“Have a great day, dude. I’ll catch you at lunch, but if you’ve decided to elope with Reiko and run off to Tokyo by then, I won’t be offended.” Dan laughed, but before I could think of a witty reply, he pulled me towards him with a strength I didn’t expect from his small frame. “Seriously though, be careful.” He let go of me, smiled, and continued down the corridor to his own class.

I watched him go, very confused about what had just happened. Dan was always incredibly chilled out, so it was strange to see him be so serious. He knew about the whole virginity thing, but had never shown any sign of actually believing it before. Was it about something else then? I already wasn’t a particularly popular guy at school, thanks to some events that transpired earlier in the school year, and I had noticed that a few of the stares we had gotten whilst navigating the halls weren’t merely curious, but also had something nastier in them…

As I pondered this, I felt a tug on my sleeve, and looked down to see Reiko, now wearing an expression of confusion rather than her previous smile. “Jamesu-san…” She tilted her head to one side. “What does ‘elope’ mean?”

“Eh… It’s just an English joke. Don’t worry about it.”

“But Jamesu-san, I want to learn all about English, and all about you!” She was staring up at me, and had her hands clasped in front of her, as though begging me to share my knowledge with her. I didn’t want to acknowledge it, but Lawrence had been right: this really was ‘some anime shit’.

“Well… Let’s just start by learning about Biology. In here.”

I motioned her to go inside, and she did so. As I went to follow, I felt a hand clamp onto my shoulder from behind. Assuming it was Dan again, I turned and started to say, “What do you want now?”. Before I got to the “now”, I realised my mistake.

“What I want is to know why a creep like you is parading around with a Japanese school girl. Have you got such a bad rep here that you’re now having to import girls to grope?”

The guy standing in front of me was big, with the unmistakable build of a rugby player, and the crooked nose to match. His blonde hair was shaved so close to his head that it definitely broke the limit the school allowed for minimum hair length, but I guess when you’re Head Boy, certain restrictions don’t apply to you.

“I never groped anyone, Cameron.”

“Are you calling me a liar?”

I knew better than to respond to that. It was one of those questions where either answer would be an excuse to escalate the situation. And right now, I had enough to deal with.

“You just watch yourself, creep. I’ll be chatting to this girl of yours later, and if you’ve done anything to damage the reputation of the school, I’ll deal with you personally.”

At that moment, Mr Cuttilan, the Head of Science, appeared from around the corner. “Good morning, boys. Everything alright here?”

Cameron’s demeanour changed instantly. “Good morning, Sir! Everything’s fine. I’m just making sure that James here understands the importance of treating our Japanese visitor with the proper respect. He sometimes struggles with the concept of ‘physical boundaries’.”

“Yes, quite.” Mr Cuttilan clearly wasn’t listening, and was instead preoccupied with cleaning his glasses. “Get into class now, James. And Cameron, go and… Do whatever you do.”

“Sure thing, Sir,” said Cameron. He turned to me, his expression changing once again from that of polite reverence to one of cruel disdain. “Remember what I said. Be careful.”

This was the second time I’d been told to “be careful” in the space of a few minutes. I repeated it again to myself as I took my seat in the science lab which was, of course, right next to where Reiko had decided to sit herself.

“Are you okay, Jamesu-san?”

I didn’t answer, and concentrated on unpacking my bag. I now had two reasons to avoid talking to Reiko: protecting my virginity, and protecting myself from getting beaten up. Still, while I could stop myself from looking at her or talking to her, I couldn’t stop myself from smelling her. Not intentionally, but she was sitting half a metre away from me, so her scent just naturally made its way into my nostrils. I’m no perfume expert, so I couldn’t describe it much beyond ‘orangey’ mixed with that strangely special smell that only attractive girls seem to have. It was making me feel quite light-headed.

Mr Cuttilan cleared his throat at the front of the class. He was still cleaning his glasses, even though by this point there couldn’t even be a speck of dust left on them. In fact, with the rigour with which he was doing it, I was surprised there was even any glass left.

“There’s no easy way to say this… I’m afraid Mrs Wright has disappeared. We have no idea where she is, or why she’s gone. We are speaking to the police, but in the meantime, I’m afraid that you’re left without a Biology teacher. For now, I’ll be taking over this class personally. Now… Could anyone tell me what you’ve been learning?”


Aside from my confrontation with Cameron, the mysterious disappearance of Mrs Wright, and the continued presence of Reiko and her special smell, the morning passed without much drama.

Biology was pointless, as Mr Cuttilan tried to teach us things completely unrelated to our upcoming exams, and the majority of the class spent the whole time hypothesising about Mrs Wright’s fate. I didn’t hear much of this gossip, with most of my attention focused on trying not to sniff Reiko, but the prevailing theory seemed to be that our teacher had been kidnapped and/or murdered. Why else would she disappear without any warning? Particularly as she had worked at the school for at least the past three decades, and gave the impression that her life outside of the job was non-existent.

Next we went to an uneventful English class, my bag taking its place in front of my crotch to hide the bulge in my trousers, and Reiko once again not-so-conveniently finding a spot right next to me. I managed to survive until lunch and, thankfully, right as the bell rang, some of the girls from English whisked Reiko away from me, moving with the efficiency of a Navy SEALs extraction team. Cameron was a prick, but unfortunately he was right about my reputation when it came to girls. Not that I’d done anything to deserve it.

Saved from my chaperoning responsibilities, I went to meet Dan at our usual spot. It was a particularly run down part of the Old Building, the last remaining structure from when the school was originally built, which now housed only the least respected of classes. Dan and I had befriended the elderly Ms Matthews, the Citizenship teacher, early in our school careers, as we were the only two kids in her class who at least pretended to pay attention. Not for any great love of Citizenship, but because we happened to be sat right in front of her desk, and felt too guilty about openly ignoring her as the rest of the class did. Still, it had paid off, as now Ms Matthews allowed us to spend lunchtime squatting outside her classroom, and would even microwave food for us in the staff room.

“So,” Dan asked. “How did it go?”

“Not good.” I took a big bite of my sandwich, but continued speaking regardless. “I had a run-in with our illustrious Head Boy just before first period, and it freaked me out.”


“Yeah. You were right about being careful - I was near a girl for two minutes and already had someone picking a fight with me.”

“But what about Reiko herself? Did she seem… normal?”

“She’s a beautiful school girl lifted straight from the pages of a Japanese comic book! How could that be normal?”

Dan laughed. “Yeah, good point. What I mean is, how was it with her?”

“I just ignored her, like usual. She’ll get the message soon enough. If not, I’ll just learn how to say, ‘I hate girls, please stay the hell away from me’ in Japanese.”

“Onna ga kirai, dakara boku kara hanarete kudasai.”

“What the hell? I didn’t know you could speak Japanese?”

“Only a little bit. It’s another hobby that I was interested in for a while.”

“Damn man, if you just settled on one hobby at a time, you could become a master of anything. That’s assuming you aren’t killed first in one of your more violent hobbies. Speaking of, how are the lacrosse injuries?”

“Oh, not too bad at all. In fact…” Dan pulled some large scissors from his bag, cut into the cast on his left arm, and removed it. He flexed his bicep, and clenched his fist. “There we go. Good as new!”

I had long since become familiar with Dan’s speedy recoveries. He liked to act as though he had some sort of miracle genes, but I just chalked it up to him never being that hurt in the first place. For my own satisfaction, I gave his left arm a punch, and he winced.


“Well, not quite good as new, is it?”

We both laughed, and for a moment, I forgot about the earlier stresses of the day. Since the Incident a while ago, it felt like being alone with Dan was the only time I could relax at school.

The Incident. It felt very dramatic referring to it as that, which I think is why Dan and I did it. In essence, it was pretty simple. Half a year before, a girl from the year below had asked me out. I used to be in the school’s film club, and that’s how we got to know each other, and for some reason she decided she liked me. Objectively, she was pretty cute, which I guess is why she wasn’t expecting to be rejected. And I admit, I had second thoughts about it; but I had made a promise to myself, and maintaining my virginity for the next 13 years was what I needed to do to fulfil that promise. I couldn’t do anything to even slightly put that at risk. So, I rejected her. I thought I was being nice about it, but she took it hard. Burst into tears, and ran away like it was a melodramatic soap opera.

I knew something was wrong when I turned up to film club as usual a few days later, and nobody would speak to me. Eventually, the teacher supervising asked me to leave, as he said there had been complaints about me making the girls uncomfortable. I had no idea where this was coming from, until the rumours spread to the rest of the school. Via Dan, I heard that the girl I rejected had told her friends that I’d tried to grope her. She hadn’t formally reported it, so there was no way to officially clear my name. I just had to deal with the rumour mill working full speed against me.

Maybe it would have blown over, but some guys in the year above decided to take the law into their own hands, and ‘sort me out’. They grabbed me at lunch one day, pulled me into the toilets in the Old Building, and started punching me. I had never been in a real fight before, so couldn’t do much other than curl up into a ball, particularly when it was four against one. They kept kicking me, and one of them spat on me.

At that point, something in me snapped. I felt power well up inside me, and stood up, suddenly immune to the pain of their punches and kicks. I put my hand around the neck of the guy who had spat on me, and lifted him off the ground. I can still see the shock in his eyes, and I’m sure the same shock was in mine. I held him up for a few seconds, watching him choke, until I felt something big crash into the side of my head. I dropped him and put my hand to my head, and saw that I was bleeding. One of the others had lifted a lid from one of the toilet cisterns, and had thrown it at me.

I had staggered momentarily from the impact, but after regaining my balance, I turned to the attacker. I pulled my fist back, and launched it at his face as hard as I could. I didn’t recognise the strength that came with that punch. When my fist connected I seemed to watch in slow motion as his jaw shifted in his face, accompanied by a horrendous crunching sound. Then, as time moved normally again, his whole body flew into the wall before crumpling down to the floor, motionless.

Another one of them came at me from behind, and I spun around and lifted my leg, perfectly catching him in the centre of his chest. Like his friend, he smashed into the wall and collapsed.

The guy who I’d been choking screamed, “What is wrong with you?!” Then he and his remaining companion ran out of the toilet, and shortly after some teachers came in, finding me with blood gushing out the side of my head, and two unconscious 18 year olds on the floor next to me.

Whilst in the first aid room, holding a wad of cotton wool to my head, the teachers questioned me while keeping their distance. They thought that I must have studied a martial art to have been able to defend myself so effectively, and seemed worried that I might turn my aggression on them. I hadn’t ever studied a martial art, nor even done much exercise, with the most working out I ever did being solely focussed on my right arm. I was just as confused about my sudden burst in power, and well understood the teachers’ fear. I felt scared myself, realising that I didn’t know my own body. In the end, I figured that it must have been adrenaline, like that story of a mother suddenly getting the strength to lift a car off her child. But in my case, I wasn’t saving a child; I just didn’t want to be kicked in the head anymore. Perhaps then it was more akin to Hulk rage. Whatever it was, even though it frightened me, I was grateful for it.

Two of the boys ended up in hospital, but the fact that I had clearly been ganged up on saved me from getting into really serious trouble. It turned out that Dan had seen me getting dragged into the toilets, and had quietly poked his head inside to see me getting attacked. He had been too scared to intervene, and had run off to get help from a teacher. I couldn’t blame him, with his small stature and how commonly he got injured anyway, but still, it stung a bit. One never really knows how they’ll react in a violent situation like that, but I imagined that if the roles had been reversed, I would have gone straight in and helped my friend.

On the plus side, it meant that I had a witness who could tell the teachers what really happened, and the four assailants were too stupid to get their stories straight. They ended up expelled, whilst I ‘only’ got a suspension.

When I returned to school a week later, I naively thought I’d get a hero's welcome. “The boy who beat four bullies single-handedly!”. What actually happened was that as well as being labelled a creep, I was now considered a violent creep. A guy who gropes younger girls, and then brutally attacks anyone who calls him out on it. The guy who I punched had posted photos of his dislocated jaw on social media. Those photos had made the rounds at school, and the student body had accepted the narrative that he and his mates were the victims. So, I was left with a black mark on my school record, no friends except for Dan, and a sore head.

It was after this incident that I changed my policy. It wasn’t just a matter of not having a girlfriend. I needed to avoid girls completely.

The bell rang, signalling the end of lunch.

“Whoa, that went fast,” I said.

“Mate, you were just zoning out the whole time. Probably thinking about how Reiko smelled, right? I didn’t want to interrupt.”

“Shut up, idiot.” I stood up. “And yes, I was. She smells good. Really good. BUT that doesn’t mean that I’m reconsidering my stance on girls.”

“Well, you better not be.” Dan smiled wryly, reached his hand out to me, and I pulled him up. “The only reason I still hang out with you is because I want a friend who can use magic. If you go and lose your virginity now when you’ve only got 13 years to go, I won’t be happy!”