Chapter 7:

Second Thoughts

The Wizard's Virginity

Over the next few days, I found myself settling into a new routine. Dan was still off school, so Reiko became my new constant companion. The more time we spent together, quietly eating the lunch she made for us or exchanging smiles in lessons, the more comfortable I found myself getting. I missed Dan, of course, but it was nice hanging out with someone else.

There was still the issue of my constant horniness from being in close quarters with her so often. I dealt with it, or attempted to, by ‘satisfying myself’ just before school each day and immediately after I got home, and sometimes with an additional emergency session in the school toilets.

Even so, the more time I spent with Reiko, and was immersed in her orangey scent, the more my natural teenage male urges came to the forefront. I found myself admiring her pale skin, looking at the nape of her neck and imagining myself kissing it, as I gently held her shoulders and lowered her down on the bed… I had to snap myself out of these fantasies often. I was still resolved to maintain my virginity until I was 30, and to gain magical powers. But with each day that passed, the harder it was to focus on the potential of becoming a wizard in thirteen years, compared to the sexual needs that permeated every fibre of my present-day being.

I considered messaging Dan about my dilemma, but figured that it wouldn’t be right. Whatever was going on with his family was serious enough to make him miss school for most of the week, so it wasn’t fair to bother him with such a trivial predicament as, “I’m really horny for Reiko, what do?”

Aside from my burgeoning friendship with Reiko, there were other complications in my life. Or to be exact, two big complications, attached to the torso of the woman who ‘taught’ us Biology.

Miss Byrne continued to spend our lessons scrolling through her phone, leaving Sara to essentially run the class, but the part of her reputation that made its way around the school didn’t concern the quality of her teaching. Instead, as one would expect, all anyone could talk about was how incredibly sexy she was. I once heard a younger boy in the corridor exclaiming, “She’s not just fit by teacher standards, she’s fit by porn star standards!” Not the most intelligent comparison, but I couldn’t fault it.

Unsurprisingly, word of Miss Byrne also made it to my form’s resident degenerate. During form time on Wednesday morning, Lawrence jumped up from his chair and started waving his hand the second that Mr Panchal entered the room.

“Sir Sir Sir, I have a question!”

Mr Panchal sighed. “Yes, good morning to you, too, Mr Williams. You’re right, it is a lovely day. Me, I’m well, thank you for asking.”

“Sir, I didn’t ask how you were.”

“I’m aware of that, Lawrence… What is your question?”

“Can I change my subject choices, Sir? I’ve decided I want to drop Chemistry and do Biology instead.”

Mr Panchal began rubbing the centre of his forehead with his knuckles. “Lawrence, your AS Level exams are in one month. Your scores in these exams will determine whether universities offer you a place or not. And yet you want to give up after eight months of studying Chemistry, and start a completely new subject?”

“I've realised that Biology is my passion, Sir! And they're both science, so close enough, right?”

“Right…” Mr Panchal spoke very slowly. “And you’re sure it has nothing to do with Miss Byrne, the new Biology teacher?”

Lawrence’s mouth dropped open. "What, Sir? There's a new Biology teacher? I hadn't even realised!”

“Very convincing, Mr Williams. Unfortunately your request has been denied. You can sit down now.”

Lawrence slumped back into his seat, defeated. His attitude had changed by the end of form though, when he pulled me aside before I could leave the classroom, with a huge grin on his face.

“Yo James, hold up a second.”

Unconsciously imitating Mr Panchal’s exaggerated sigh, I stopped. “What’s up, Lawrence?”

“You’re in all Reiko-chan’s classes, right? Can you give this to her? Please.” He handed me a crumpled bit of lined paper.

I smoothed it out, and read aloud, “‘Law Da Gr8’. What the hell is this?”

“It’s my MAL username, bro. You know, My Anime List. If Reiko-chan checks my list she’ll see how much anime I watch, then she’ll see how much I respect her culture, and then she’ll fall in love with me.”

“Sounds like a great plan.”

“I know, right! I was gonna give it to her yesterday on the bus, but I had to take all the hentai off my list first. Didn’t want to make the wrong impression, you know?”

“Wait a minute, aren’t you going after the new Biology teacher? I thought you’d moved on from Reiko.”

“Got to keep my options open, my dude. I ain’t trying to settle down, I’m going for the harem route!”

I left Lawrence chuckling to himself and exited the classroom, dropping the note in the bin on my way out.


By Friday, I was seriously ready for the weekend. The first week of the summer term, which I had expected to be a slow return to the monotony of school life, had ended up being more eventful than the previous three months combined.

Aside from the appearances of Reiko and Miss Byrne, increasing the amount of attractiveness in our school by about 200%, it had also been very weird for Dan to have been absent since Tuesday. Even when he was seriously injured, he always dragged himself to school no matter how many casts or bandages his body was covered in, and I had never known him to be ill. So even just a few days without him had been difficult to handle.

When I got to the bus stop on Friday morning, I saw that Reiko was holding an extra bag. I asked her what was inside.

“Hi-mi-tsu,” she said, giggling and waggling her finger. “It is a secret!”

“Ooh, does that mean it’s a present for me?”

“N-no…” she said, very unconvincingly. She puffed out her cheeks and looked down at the ground in mock annoyance.

I laughed, and reflected on how much I had changed in a small amount of time. At the start of the week I was making every effort to avoid Reiko; now I was joking around with her, and enjoying it.

The day passed as usual. Ms Matthews had been away all week, so we had her classroom to ourselves at lunchtime. I liked Ms Matthews, so I had asked at the office to check where she was, to make sure it wasn’t another mystery disappearance like Mrs Wright, the Biology teacher. They told me she had just sprained her ankle whilst doing some gardening, and that the doctor had advised her to take some time off to avoid walking on it. That was a relief to hear, and it also meant that I could enjoy squatting in her classroom without feeling guilty about it.

Reiko and I had slowly been speaking more during lunch each day, but her limited English skills meant that conversation never exactly flowed. Even so, on that day Reiko was even quieter than usual. She was a bit jittery, looking around the room a lot, and avoiding making direct eye contact with me. I didn’t know why, but she seemed to be nervous. It was a side of her I hadn’t seen before, and I found it just as adorable as her more typically cutesy smiles and shirt-tugs.

When I had finished my bento, which was as delicious as always, Reiko reached into the second bag that I had commented on earlier. She brought out a small white box, tied with a red bow that matched the one on her school uniform. Stretching out her arms, she held the box towards me.

“Here, Jamesu-san. For you.”

“You didn’t need to get me anything, Reiko! You’ve already been making lunch for me.”

Reiko looked off to the side as she spoke. “But I want to. You are my first friend here. You are… Special.”

I gulped. I could see where this was going, and I didn’t like it. Or did I?

I took the box, and managed to stutter out a, “Thanks.”

As soon as she handed over the gift, Reiko gathered up her stuff, and headed for the door. “I will see you later, Jamesu-san.” Then she hurriedly left the classroom and rushed off down the corridor.

I was grateful to have some privacy to open the present. If it was something crap, then I wouldn’t have to fake a happy reaction. But more than that, the intensity of Reiko’s handover had left me feeling quite nervous myself, and I needed some time to settle down.

I undid the red bow, and lifted the lid. Inside were three rows of immaculately presented cookies. Each was perfectly round and just the right shade of brown. If I hadn’t already experienced Reiko’s culinary prowess through her bentos, I would have been sure these were made by a professional bakery.

I picked up one of the cookies and took a bite. It tasted just as good as it looked, melting in my mouth and leaving it with the warm taste of chocolate chip. I reached for another, when I saw that under where the cookie had been were some letters. ‘pl’.

Intrigued, I selected the cookie next to it, and saw two more letters as I munched down. ‘ac’. Rather than continue this trend and gorge myself on cookies to solve the puzzle, I tipped them over into the box’s lid. I then saw, at the bottom of the box, the full message.

“Meet me at our place after school.”

‘Our place’ must presumably mean Ms Matthews' classroom, where I was now. More to the point though, this could only mean one thing. Unlike Lawrence, I hadn’t seen enough anime to warrant having a list, but I was familiar enough with the cliches to understand what was happening here. Reiko was going to confess her feelings to me.

It felt very unnecessary to give me a note like this, when she could easily have just told me. But I guessed this was an important part of the Japanese romantic experience. Or maybe, she was worried that if she had directly asked, I would have shot her down immediately. This way, I had some time to think about it.

I continued munching on the cookies on the way to History. During class, I tried to catch Reiko’s eye from across the room, but she wasn’t looking at me. I noted the irony that we started the week with her smiling at me all the time whilst I ignored her, and now the tables had turned.

That History lesson seemed to continue a long time, and not just because we were studying the details of the 16th century German Reformation. My mind was elsewhere, wondering what I would say to Reiko. Would I reject her? Surely the answer to that must be yes. Unless… Maybe I could have a girlfriend, and just not do anything with her. No, that was me lying to myself. The temptation was great enough as it was, but if we were actually a couple, there’s no way I could resist. But, who says I have to resist? This virginity thing is something that I decided myself. Nobody is holding me accountable.

I also began to go deeper. How much did I really believe in magic? Enough to miss out on the chance to enter a relationship with an incredible girl? I had Dad’s notebooks, sure, and all the details inside them. And I remembered some of the inexplicable and wonderful happenings of my early childhood, which I had always attributed to magic. But that’s the thing: did I really remember them? I was very young, and Mum had removed any trace of Dad after he died. Could I have just been building things up in my memory?

I had never asked Mum about Dad’s notebooks, for fear that she would take them away and throw them out again. But that meant I hadn’t corroborated them with anyone. For all I knew, they could just be a fantasy. The writings of a teenage boy growing up as an orphan in some old priory, wishing his life was more exciting. And the other notebooks - I had tried interpreting them, but I still understood very little. I thought that it was a code hiding some magical secrets, but it could also be a code referring to something completely un-magical. Or, they could be complete nonsense. Notebooks that my Dad mindlessly scribbled in when thinking, similar to how I scribbled in the margins of my History book.

I had believed in the notebooks, believed in my dad’s magic, because I wanted to feel close to him. I had believed that I would get magical powers myself because it made life feel less pointless. It made me feel that I had a reason to continue living, a goal to aspire to.

Maybe that goal had just changed. Or maybe it hadn’t. If my goal, the goal of all life, was happiness, then, even if magic is real, who’s to say that staying a virgin and getting magic powers would make me happy? What if instead I could be happy now, through being with Reiko?

The more I thought about this, the more my brain seemed to cloud. It became harder and harder to think clearly. All the while, I felt a reaction in my body. I wasn’t next to Reiko, which usually gave me a break from my arousal, but as the class continued, I seemed to get more and more ‘excited’ as I thought about her. My pants got tighter and tighter, and I started to sweat. I felt like I was about to burst, when the bell rang and the class ended.

I jumped up, bag in position, and ran to the toilet. I hoped that anyone who noticed would just assume that I really needed a shit. I was tempted to rub one out to try and clear my head, but now, just as the school day had ended, the toilets would be too busy for that. Instead I stood at the sink and splashed water on my face, and tried to calm down and think it through.

The decision I was about to make would change everything. Reject Reiko, commit to my virginity, and potentially lose my one chance at happiness. Or accept Reiko, give up on being a wizard and learning more about my dad, but have a fulfilling life with a girl who really seemed to care about me. I didn’t know what to do.

The one thing I did know was that Reiko would be waiting for me. I had to go and face her. My body was insisting on it. My mind would just have to catch-up.

I almost ran to the old building, and sure enough, Reiko was there. I entered the classroom, and saw her small form, facing away from me. Her long black hair fell down her back, and she was swaying slightly. Without turning, she spoke.

“You came.”

“Yes,” I replied. “I… I liked the cookies.”

Reiko turned, and I saw she was smiling. Not a smile that I had seen before. It was different somehow to her usual bright, innocent smile. There was something else in it now. Something more knowing. More mature. Something almost unpleasant.

Reiko stepped forward, closing the distance between us. She took my hands in hers, and our eyes met.

“Jamesu-san…” She tilted her head up, and I bent down slightly. She pushed her lips against mine. It was my first kiss. Her lips were soft, and as her breath entered my mouth, I was overwhelmed with a sense of closeness and warmth. I felt that I had found where I belonged.

Then the room darkened. I realised my eyes were closing, and I was losing my balance. I stumbled, and then fell backwards onto the floor. As I slipped into unconsciousness, I heard Reiko’s voice, saying a word I didn’t understand.