Chapter 2:

Lost and Found… (Part 2)

Is There a Reason to Keep On Living? Is My Answer Love?

I retract the blade of the box cutter and slip it quickly back into my skirt pocket before Daichi or his friend notices. Why are they here anyway? The roof is usually empty as it’s “off-limits” for students. Usually, it's only people like me or Hayashi that ever dare to go up here.

Daichi sighs as he looks down to see Sasaki holding his stomach and grimacing from the beating he just took.

“Sasaki, you let the girls beat you up again? I thought I told them to leave you alone this year!” He says as he goes to help him up.

“Daichiiii-” Sasaki jumps into Daichi’s chest with tears in his eyes and embraces him.

I hear an audible gasp from all three of the girls in front of me.

“Care to explain, Hayashi? I hope it’s not what I think it is.” Daichi says as he holds Sasaki in his arms.

“It’s not— um, it’s not what you think! I swear this time he started it first!” She replies while stumbling on her words.

“I thought I told both of you not to cause any problems with each other this year! That includes no arguing and no beating up Sasaki anymore!”

“He started it, okay? He was spreading weird rumors about me again!”

“And what would those rumors be that's worth fighting him over?

“Yea Hayashi-San, what did I say that was so wrong?” He says with tears in his eyes.

Sasaki turns his head from under Daichi’s arms and sticks his tongue out at her. I guess he knows that Hayashi won't be completely honest and let Daichi know that she’s planning to ask him out.

“It-it-it was so bad I don’t want to repeat it!” Hayashi’s ears turn bright red as she folds her arms and looks away from them. “Just tell him to keep MY name out his mouth.”

Daichi looks disappointed as he quickly gives up on finding out.

“Whatever, maybe it’s better if I don’t know the details of this stupid drama...”

I feel the worst outcome that could’ve happened in this situation didn’t come to be so I take a deep breath to collect myself. As the adrenaline in my body wears off my legs give out and I drop to my knees. I feel like the tension has died down since Daichi came to the roof. Maybe he’s used to it but he got them to calm down pretty much immediately.

“And who is that girl behind you? You didn’t happen to do anything to her, right?”

“No of course I didn’t do anything to her, she was just… an innocent bystander?” Hayashi says nervously.

Daichi walks over to us and looks over Hayashi’s shoulder to get a better look at me.

He is getting closer, I can’t make him see me like this can I? How do I look, I was just in a small scuffle and I was worked up so maybe I look weird? Wait… Sasaki said he doesn’t remember me, but is that really true? He had to have been lying right? No no no, even if he did forget, once he gets a good look at me up close I know he will recognize me a bit!

“Hey, these girls didn’t happen— Oh.” He suddenly stops what he was about to say and takes a step back. “Uh she looks fine… uh she’s in our class right?”

“That's Aika Kimura, Sasaki’s friend right?” The boy Daichi came up here with interjects.

“I dunno…” He says passively as he goes back to be with Sasaki.

What’s up with that reaction? Did he recognize me or something? Like how does he not even remember my name? What the hell, I know I told it to him before! It’s not fair that I know so much about him and he doesn't bother to know I still exist! Daichi Ito: Born November 18th, blood type O, favorite color is blue, favorite subject is English, loves pets, he was in the soccer club last year, he usually wears blue underwear, he often drinks black coffee, his sweat smells not too sweet or too sour…”

“Hey, you’re okay right? I know those girls can be scary but you don't have to worry anymore.” Daichi’s friend says as he reaches out a hand to help me up, interrupting my train of thought.

“I’m fine…” I say as he helps me up.

“I'm Ryo Sakurai, it’s a pleasure to meet such a fine young lady like you.” He says with a smile.

I slowly retract my hand away from him after I fully stand up and turn around to fix the bandage on my arm before anything becomes visible.

“She is clearly still shaken up from what she saw. Or you guys did something to her because she is the quiet kid in our class!”

“Ryo, I think it’s because you're bad at talking with girls so naturally she just doesn’t wanna talk to you.”

“Why do you even know her full name? That’s creepy.” “Don’t go around touching girls without their permission!” The two other random girls say to Sakurai.

“You don’t have to be so direct you know!” He says with a pout.

“Okay before we start another argument let’s wrap up the first one, lunchtime is almost over.” Daichi says as he stands in between the girls and Sakurai.

“Look, as I was saying he is saying dumb stuff about me and— ”

“Violence is not the answer to that.” Sakurai interrupts Hayashi before she can finish saying her excuse. “The moment you lay your hands on someone you are immediately in the wrong.”

“Look I know you were mad at him but Sasaki is my friend and you can’t be going around beating him up still.” Daichi chimes in.

The sour face that Hayashi has been making slowly fades and she looks away in silence. She is looking like the evil person here in this situation so I bet she feels some shame for what she did. I have a feeling that Sasaki was probably spreading this rumor around to everyone but I kinda agree with what Hayashi did to some extent. I definitely would want to hurt someone if they were spreading stuff around about me

“I just want her to say sorry, I didn’t mean anything bad! I always wanted to be friends with her if I could. Actually, I was thinking about inviting her to the club we were thinking of making…” Sasaki says as he hides behind Daichi.

“I think it's finally time you two became friends, I mean you guys have been enemies practically since you’ve known each other…” Daichi grabs Sasaki and puts him in front of himself.

“Hayashi-San, I’m sorry for saying things you don’t like behind your back.” Sasaki gives a slight bow to conclude his apology.

“I guess I’m sorry for… uh… beating you up… again…” Her cheeks become red and she scratches her head.

“Well the least you can do is check out his club for us, I would also appreciate it if you gave it a shot, all we really plan to do is hang out together anyways.” He starts walking towards the exit.

“What kinda club is it?”

“Trust me on this and come give it a try but for now let’s head to class.”

“Just tell meee! What's the secrecy for…” She says while chasing behind Daichi.

“Hey I can join too right?” Adds Sakurai.

Pestering Daichi for answers everyone leaves the roof returning things back to when it was just me and Sasaki.

“Sorry about all that… I kinda expected all this to happen.”

“It’s fine I guess, I mean I did get to see Daichi closer than I usually do today.”

“Ah, yea I guess you did.”

“You should come to the club too, I think you would benefit the most from joining. Y’know since you're weird, emo, and a bit crazy I think this will be the perfect place for you.”

He really didn't have to say it like that.

“It’s after school right? You know these days I have to be home on time.”

“I’m sure they can make exceptions.”

My parents would flip out if they found out I came home late. It has always been a rule for me to come home as soon as possible after school ends or else I would get punished. I don’t really know what's the point of going to his club so I can’t tell if it’s worth the hassle or not.

“Also this can be your chance to be friends with Daichi again. He’s the founding member alongside me.” He says with a smile.

He’s right, I’m already convinced.

“Daichi is gonna be there then this can be my chance to get him to fall for me! What is this stupid club anyways?”

“Don’t laugh okay?”

“I am ready to laugh if it’s dumb.”

“It’s a self improvement club!”