Chapter 6:

Mixed Feelings

The Wizard's Virginity

Lunchtime came around quickly. Time moved a lot faster, it turned out, when you had a beautiful woman to stare at. There wasn't much for me to do in terms of actual work, since the topic I had been assigned, Female Anatomy, didn't have a section in the textbook. I asked Miss Byrne about that as I left the class, and she instructed me to do some of my own research.

"I know some good websites, if you need any recommendations." She moved in closer to me. "Or we can spend some time after school together looking into it…"

I politely declined and made a quick exit, only to find Reiko waiting for me outside. There was no respite from the womanly temptations surrounding me. I started to wonder how feasible it would be to home-school myself.

"Jamesu-san, would you like to eat together?"

I thought for a moment, very torn. On the one hand, I was trying to be nicer. On the other hand, lunch was going to be my one break from the intensity of Reiko's company. And the more time I spent with her, the hornier I seemed to be getting. Throughout the Biology class I noticed the orange smell getting stronger, as though Reiko's scent was trying to compete with the visual appeal of Miss Byrne. The more of the scent I inhaled, the more my mind filled with images of Japanese school girls undoing their blouses, dropping their skirts to the floor, and…

No, spending any more time with Reiko was too dangerous. I needed to be alone for a while. The thought wasn't appealing to me, but it might even be necessary to rub a quick one out in the toilets, just to bring me back down to earth. Given the state of school toilets, that wasn't a decision I took lightly.

"Sorry Reiko, but I'm busy today," I lied.

"But your friend is not here. You will be alone?"

As I struggled to come up with a convincing excuse, a familiar figure came into view. The same large figure that had confronted me outside this classroom the day before.

“Hello!” Cameron was all smiles, clearly in Head Boy mode rather than the obnoxious, bully mode that he engaged when speaking to me. “It’s Reiko, right? I’ve been meaning to introduce myself. I’m Cameron. Nice to meet you.”

He extended a meaty hand to Reiko, which she regarded uneasily. I didn’t know why, but the idea of her shaking his hand made me feel very uneasy. As though she would be corrupted by making direct skin contact with this bastard. I also felt fear. Fear that Reiko would be taken in by Cameron’s charm, his easy manner that had won over the rest of the school, and his muscles that the girls whispered about whenever he passed them in the corridor. Sure, he might just be doing the Head Boy thing, introducing himself to the exchange student. But what if he had other intentions? How could I compete?

Wait a minute. Since when did I care about competing? Reiko wasn’t my girlfriend. I couldn’t even have a girlfriend. Why was I suddenly feeling so jealous over a girl who had only come into my life yesterday?

Regardless, I felt relieved when Reiko took a step back from Cameron, and instead responded with a slight bow. “It is nice to meet you, Cameron-san.” She spoke formally, with none of the warmth that she addressed me with.

“Right…” said Cameron, as he withdrew his hand. “Japanese people like bowing. I get it. But there’s something that I don’t understand. Why are you hanging around with a creep like this?” He waved his arm in my direction, while still maintaining eye contact with Reiko.

“Jamesu-san is my friend,” said Reiko defiantly. “He is not a creep.”

Cameron scoffed in disbelief, and I must admit, I had the same reaction myself.

“I hate to break it to you, but Jamesu-san most definitely is a creep. I heard that your country has special train cars only for women, just to get away from guys like him. You should know all about it. Or does being around a pervert make you feel at home?”

“Come on, Cameron. That’s enough.” I found myself speaking, and positioned my body between Cameron and Reiko. “Leave the girl alone.”

“‘Leave the girl alone’? Well that’s fucking rich, coming from you.” Up until now Cameron had seemed amused by the situation, but now anger flared in his eyes. “I don’t know what you put into Google Translate to make this bitch think you’re a nice guy, but she’ll see the truth soon enough.”

“I already see the truth. Jamesu-san is nice.” Reiko had stepped forward, facing down Cameron alongside me. She glanced up at me and smiled.

Cameron clenched his fists, and I braced myself for what was sure to be a fight I could not win. Then he relaxed, and with some visible effort, returned his face to the easy-going, well-liked Head Boy that the rest of the school knew him as.

“Well then, I hope you’re right, Reiko. But when James does try something, I’ll be here. Just let me know.” He gave an insincere grin, and walked away down the corridor.

I let out a sigh. That had been intense, and it felt like I had narrowly avoided getting the shit kicked out of me. In my last and only fight, during the Incident, I had somehow held my own. That was likely a fluke though, and I couldn’t count on it happening again. Besides, the amount of damage done to my reputation was huge when I injured a couple of bullies. Imagine how bad it would have been if I was able to fight back against Cameron. As popular as he was, with students and staff, if I somehow managed to hurt him then I would be guaranteed to get kicked out of school.

A tug on my sleeve snapped me out of my thoughts. “Are you okay, Jamesu-san?”

“Yeah, I’m all good. More to the point, are you okay? I’m sorry about all that.”

“It is not your responsibility! And I am fine.” Reiko took a step closer to me, and whispered into my ear, “Thank you for protecting me.”

One positive of the Cameron encounter was that it had removed any of my horny feelings. Now, however, with Reiko’s warm breath tickling my ear, my penis was waking up once again. I preemptively repositioned my bag.

“Er, no problem. Likewise, thanks for sticking up for me.”

The phrase ‘sticking up’ brought to mind my current predicament, and I thought it best to change location. And given what had just happened, it wouldn’t be fair to abandon Reiko.

“Let’s go to my usual lunch spot. You have food with you?”

“Yes!” Reiko proudly retrieved a small box from her bag, elegantly wrapped in a cloth covered in cartoon pandas.

I gave her a thumbs up and we walked together towards Ms Matthews’ classroom in the old building. Occasionally she would look up at me with her serene smile. Unlike the day before, when I had made an effort to ignore her, this time I smiled back. I imagined that to an outside observer we must have looked like a slightly awkward, lovey-dovey couple. I kind of liked that thought.

We reached mine and Dan’s usual spot, and it was as secluded as ever. Even Ms Matthews wasn’t there, which I was thankful for, as she acted more like mine and Dan’s nosy grandmother than a teacher, and doubtless would have bombarded me with questions about my new ‘friend’. Not only would that have been awkward, but I also wouldn’t have known how to answer them. This morning I had considered Reiko to just be a cute, quiet Japanese girl; more of a stereotype than a real person, and someone I just needed to not be a dick to whilst simultaneously keeping her at a healthy distance. Our exchange with Cameron a few minutes ago had changed that, and I found myself more interested in who Reiko really was.

As we sat down, I made an attempt to start a conversation. “What a morning. First we have a unique new Biology teacher, and then that run-in with Cameron.”

“Yes,” Reiko agreed. She didn’t say anything else, instead focussing on preparing her lunch.

I had seen Japanese bento boxes in TV shows before, but I didn’t know they could be this sophisticated. First Reiko unwrapped the panda cloth from around the box, and spread it on the floor in front of her, so that it served as a kind of miniature picnic blanket. She then removed the lid of the box, revealing several small compartments, each filled with a different type of brightly coloured food.

“Wow, that’s a pretty impressive lunch! Did you make it yourself?”

Reiko blushed slightly. “Yes, I made it. But it is not very good.”

“We have a very different definition of ‘good’! Look at my lunch.” I dug into my bag and pulled out a ball of tin foil. “Can you guess what this is?”

Reiko tilted her head to one side in consideration. “Mmm… Onigiri? A rice ball?”

“Not quite.” I unwrapped the foil, revealing a ham sandwich that had been crushed into a very un-sandwich-like shape as a result of being at the bottom of my bag. “Behold, the famous sandwich ball!”

Reiko let out a giggle, and then covered her mouth. “Oh, I am sorry, Jamesu-san. I did not mean to insult your food.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I said, starting to shove the sandwich into my mouth. “This food deserves to be insulted. It’s terrible.”

“If you like, you can share my lunch?”

My instinct was to decline, out of my natural British politeness. Then I tasted the mush of processed ham and bread in my mouth, eyed up the compartment of Reiko’s bento that contained small pieces of fried chicken, and reconsidered.

“Yes please,” I said after swallowing. “I would love to try some of that chicken.”

“Of course!” Reiko beamed. She deftly picked up a piece of chicken with chopsticks that she had retrieved from the cloth earlier, and held it out to me. “Ahhhh.”

This was an incredibly surreal situation, and I knew that in the interests of protecting my virginity, I should be making every effort to avoid it. On the other hand, how often would an opportunity like this come up in my life? I could almost imagine a miniature Lawrence sitting on my shoulder, shouting, “Come on dude, eat the damn chicken!”

I ate the damn chicken. It was delicious; I couldn’t imagine going back to my world of sandwich balls after a taste of something like this. I chunked the remains of my sandwich in the nearest bin, and Reiko obligingly fed me portions of each of the other compartments. I wondered what Dan would think if he happened to come back to school now and found me holding my mouth open whilst Reiko plopped food into it, as though I were a baby bird.

We finished eating and I felt thoroughly fulfilled. That was the nicest meal I had eaten in ages, and I told Reiko so.

“Jamesu-san, I could make a bento for you tomorrow?”

“Whoa, no way! That’s too generous!”

“I don’t mind, if it’s for you, Jamesu-san…”

“Reiko…” I started to speak, but wasn’t sure how to finish my thought. After a couple of seconds, I came out with it. “Why are you hanging around me?”

She laughed. “You sound like Cameron-san!”

“I’m being serious. We only met yesterday, and I haven’t been very nice to you. I know that everyone has been telling you stories about what a bad person I am. So, why are you still spending time with me? Why are you being nice to me?”

Reiko turned her head to one side, in what I now recognised as her customary gesture of thinking. I wondered if maybe I had asked too weird a question, and was about to change the topic, when she answered.

“Because you don’t seem like a bad person. You just seem… Lonely.”

“I’m not lonely,” I quickly objected. “I have Dan.”

“But when he is not here, you are alone. And you are sad about it. I can tell.”

“So that’s why you want to hang around me? Because I look like a sad loser, and you feel sorry for me?”

“No!” Reiko shook her head vigorously. “I do not feel sorry. I feel… Close. In Japan, I do not have many friends. I am alone. And I think…” She reached out her small hand, and placed it on top of mine. “I think we are the same.”

As though it had been waiting for the most dramatic point in the conversation, the bell rang at that exact moment. I didn’t know whether to be grateful for the interruption, or resentful of it.

I stood up. “Let’s get to class.”

Reiko reached up a hand to me, and I instinctively took it, and pulled her to her feet.

“Thank you, Jamesu-san. I enjoyed lunch with you.”

“Me too.”