Chapter 2:

Hitomi (1)

Is my Youth Romantic Comedy A Figment of My Imagination?

I find the most amazing thing about people is our brains. We can create works of art, and fictional worlds and make ourselves enough food to sustain ourselves thanks to the little grey control hub in our heads. But, even more important to us humans is our remarkable memory. Sometimes, specific moments in one's life can seem so earth-shatteringly grave or important that you feel the effects for the rest of your life. Other moments pass us by never to be remembered or experienced again. Unfortunately for me and my sanity, my misconceptions about Misono are not something I’ve been able to easily forget. Sure, there have been moments in the past month where I have been able to put my head down and focus. I might even have had ‘fun’ once or twice. But each time I come back to class the next day, I’m greeted by her kind, duplicitous face smiling sweetly at me.

And it cuts me just as deep each time.

I try and rationalise it.

‘Yuusuke, you’re being stupid. It was just your imagination playing tricks on you. You can’t blame a girl for being different from what you had imagined.’

This does not make it easier.

I mean, it’s not like I can tell anybody about this anyway. For one, who would believe me? Me, the man who was literally stalking the girl he wanted to confess to around town because he dated her in his dream. No matter how I play it, the cards won’t fall my way. But… even if I can’t forget, it doesn’t mean I’m ugly crying all the time either. The last week or so has been… better. It still hurts to see her at school, sure, but… somehow, I’m getting used to it. I’m not saying that I don’t fantasise about her at night anymore but I think I am coming to terms with it. Hell, it’s not like we’ve really ever spoken in real life anyway. Life still sucks. But it is better than it was. Who needs women anyway? I’m perfectly happy by myself…

Did you believe me?

If you did, you’re an idiot. Of course I still want a girlfriend! Any good teenager in the throes of puberty can barely contain their saliva at the very thought of a pretty girl spending time with them and, despite my intellectual superiority to the rest of the oblivious folk, I too am subject to my baser urges. Sure, Misono doesn’t get me excited like she used to but I am literally confined in a building full of potential female conquests. A pubescent nirvana! The dream location for those looking to strike it lucky.

“Do you want to walk home together Yuusuke?”

Ugh. Sakura. She may be a childhood friend but her upbeat, lackadaisical personality does rub me up the wrong way sometimes, especially when she interrupts me mid-thought.

“Not today, Sakura. I promised my sister I’d meet up with her and walk her home. Maybe next time.”

“…Oh. Okay. No worries! See ya, Yuusuke!”

Weird. She actually looked disappointed for a second there before grinning like an idiot and running off as normal. Sometimes I don’t get what that girl is thinking…I’m sure she’ll find an interesting tree or cloud and she’ll forget about this anyway.

“Hey, hey Yuusuke. You shouldn’t be so cruel to her, y’know?”

“What are you talking about, Shun? She was just asking if I could walk home with her and I have plans?”

“Man, you are oblivious… But that’s what makes you cute, right?”

This overly familiar guy is Shun. He likes to joke around but overall I’d say he is a good guy. He has the face of a model and the body of a Greek god and is the apple of many a female’s eye. Dunno why he hangs out with a big old realist like me but I try not to think about it too much. He comes from a good family and is a looker; he could be one of the ones society blesses as above the rest of us and I should just be grateful to spend this time with him. This sounds cynical, sure, but he truly is high-spec.

“You really meeting up with your sister? Is she cute?”

“Well of course she is cu-…Wait, why are you interested in a middle schooler?”

“Haha. Just teasing you, buddy. Won’t take the bait, huh?”

“You have enough girls your own age chasing you before you guy cradle snatching, Shun.”

“Hahaha. If you say so. Love isn’t that easy though.”

“What are you talking about? Didn’t like, 4 girls confess to you last month? One of them was an upperclassman too, right?”

“Yeah but… I don’t know. None of that felt right, you know. Who would go out with someone they have never spoken to before? That’s just creepy, I think. Of course, I respect their feelings but they don’t me well enough to ask me out. Besides, when I try and speak to them they just seem to blindly nod along to whatever I say. I’m not just a piece of meat for them to stare at.

“…. Sorry. I was too busy staring at your face to listen to what you were saying.”

I was proud of that one.

“Great. Now you think you’re a comedian. Looks aren’t everything in a relationship.”

“But it helps if she’s smoking hot, right?”

“Dude…Well, you’re not wrong but… Crap. I’m going to be late! You should get going too or your sister will chew you out again.”

As quick as he’d made his entrance, Shun had disappeared once more. You could practically hear the screams of the women as he passed them by. A lesser man would probably loathe all of the swooning women do over his best friend but I can certainly see the appeal. He’s a nice guy, he’s pretty smart and he is right about one thing. I’d better get a move on before Eri has my balls. Time to leave this turgid classroom once more and venture forth into the outside again.

My parents and other adults seem to remember high school as a sort of magical place where they were free to do as they wish and have as much fun as time would allow. To me, it’s just a stale, dull building where I’m forced to study pointless algebra and trigonometry. I dunno, maybe you struggle to see the appeal until it's gone. I admit, that my sister seems oddly excited about the prospect of being a high schooler. The way I see it, it just means she is one year closer to working herself to death like the rest of the lemmings we call the Japanese salarymen. Well, ignorance is bliss and all that.

Eri’s school is only about 10 minutes away from mine, which in turn is about 20 minutes from where we live. About 10 songs on my Spotify playlist from school to home. A relatively short walk, all things told. God knows why she wanted me to walk with her but I have always struggled to understand what that girl is thinking. Her school, being a middle school, isn’t quite as large as mine but, being an all-girls school, is arguably much more exciting. The idea of a school full of beautiful flowers gets boys all over the world very pumped up and I am ashamed to say that I count myself among that horny subset of men. There is just something weirdly exciting about a large group of girls altogether. I suppose the amount of manga that plops one guy into that beautiful Garden of Eden helps stoke the fire a little anyway. Besides, it’s not like this is a manga anyway. I’m sure all-girls schools are just as mind-numbingly tedious as any other educational establishment. I doubt that just being an all-girls school makes the students experiment with lesbianism or make them incredibly hungry for men either. I’m sure that they are just like the rest of us. 

Not like I can go in regardless. If the ‘No Unauthorized Males Allowed’ sign wasn’t enough, the teachers prowling the gates and the bitter gaze of the female students make waiting just out front by far the safest option.

I wait for 10, maybe 15 minutes. The gaze of the students has become more intense. I’m sure they’re whispering about me. I suppose standing outside an all-girls school does look suspicious. Where is that stupid sister of mine anyway?

“Thanks for waiting, Yuusuke!”

“You took your time, Eri! We don’t all have as much time to waste as you do.”

“Hey! No need to be mean! A girl has the prerogative to be late. It seems I haven’t educated you enough on how to treat a lady, dear brother.”

God, she is such a cheeky kid. I don’t know who she takes after but it worries me when she acts like this. Then again, it would worry more if she had a boyfriend so I suppose this is the lesser evil. Wait, is somebody hiding behind her?

“Ahh, I almost forgot. Yuusuke, this is my friend Hitomi. I said she was okay to walk home with us. She lives nearby anyway.”

I freeze for a second, worried about what sort of creature Eri has brought along with her. Will she attack me? Is this a blind date? Has my little sister gone one step too far?! Is she my sister's girlfriend? I suck at talking to girls so this might be a disaster. I steel myself for the reveal and manage to force out a sentence or two.

“Oh, no worries. Nice to meet you Hitomi.”

I flash my winning smile at the sheepish young girl who bows at me before continuing to cower behind Eri.


Just one look at this delicate Japanese beauty washes my anxieties and troubles away. A flower in full bloom. Her ebony hair is long and flowing and her skin white as snow. Her features defined and her posture demure, she should be counting herself lucky she is at an all-girls school or she would be bombarded with confessions at every hour of every day. I’d probably be one of them. The polar opposite of my rambunctious sister. Don’t know if she is just shy or if my face looks demonic but regardless, I’m not complaining about walking home with a cute girl. Hell, it makes walking home with my sister worthwhile. Might even brag about it to Shun tomorrow. Let’s try and talk to her a bit; might be good practice for picking up the ladies in the future…I’ll be fine… I can do this…

“Come on Hitomi, there’s no need to be scared of Yuusuke. Sure, he’s a bit of a pervert and says weird things sometimes but he’s my brother. He’s a good guy…probably.”

“Oi, what do you mean by probably!?”

“Ah! See. You’re supposed to say ‘Thank you my beautiful Eri. You are always so kind and gentle’ but instead you act like that!”

I can’t help but smile at this girl. She’s a little dumb but I find it impossible to get properly angry with her. She broke the tension like a twig as well, Hitomi now gathering enough courage to stand by her bosom buddy. Talking to girls is still something I suck at but, with Eri here, I suppose it is a little easier. First time I’ve been grateful to her anyway.

“Well. Shall we get going, anyway? We stay here any longer the teachers might start suspecting something.”

“Yeah, you do look shifty, Yuusuke. Let’s go Hitomi!”


Ahh! She can speak. Her voice is cute too. Let’s try and talk to her some more so I have something to remember her by.

“So Hitomi, are you in any sort of club at school?”

“I-I’m in the G-Gardening Club.”

“Ah, that seems nice. I think our school has one of them too but I’d be damned if I knew anything about it. What sort of things do you grow anyway?”

“W-well, right now we are g-growing cosmos. H-hopefully they should bloom soon r-right, Eri?”

“That’s right.”

“Wait. Eri? You’re in the Gardening Club?”

“Yuusuke! Do you ever listen to what I say to you!?”

“If I say no, how angry would you be?”

“Mmmmgh! Stupid brother. Keep perving on Hitomi why don’t you!”

Eri jumps a few steps ahead, still pouting before spinning around and grinning at the two of us and sticking out her tongue. There is no way to stop smiling at this stupid girl. Even Hitomi stifles a giggle at her friends' antics. They make an unlikely pair but I feel like Eri could get on with a plank of wood.

“Y-you two get on w-well. I-it makes me a little j-jealous.”

“Ehh? You want an older brother like Yuusuke? He’s not all great you know. For example, he has these books under his bed th-”

“Eri! Don’t give away all of my secrets!”


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