Chapter 13:

In love?

A Love So Sweet, I Get Confused

In class today, Mitsu noticed Akio stumbling into class midway through and hid in the back, fumbling with his books and other belongings. Today, he was able to focus and made detailed notes. It worried him. Even if he had extra shifts, Akio would always be on time. Throughout the rest of class, he would look back, seeing Akio’s head flop down, the sharp fall waking him up each time it happened. Once the class was dismissed, Mitsu left his belongings at his seat, Tomo watching in amazement as he hurried to the top of the stairs. Smile smiled, watching how Mitsu placed a hand over Akio’s shoulder.

Tomo gathered up Mitsu books, carrying them in her arms, feeling weighed down with her own bookbag resting in the crook of her elbow. She struggled too carrying it all up the stairs but she didn’t mind. Mitsu was taking the initiative and approaching Akio. “Why don’t we get you somewhere quieter?” Mitsu asked.

Akio nodded, grunting as he was unable to really from any proper sentence. Mitsu moved to hook his arm around Akio’s weight to give him support. As they walked to the school’s library, he tried to think back to conversations Akio had with ‘Hana’ that might hint at why Akio might be so tired but no matter all the situations he played through his head, he just couldn’t work out the reason why Akio would be so exhausted. He felt a nervous, noticing the eyes that burnt through him as he assisted Akio through the halls. Girls snickering and saying how cute it was for him to be holding his ‘boyfriend’ in public.

He tried his best to ignore the comments. Trying to make sure the weight distribution didn’t knock him off balance. They reached the library, fortunately not many students were in and they were able to get comfortable in the bean bag area situated in the corner next to the window.

As Mitsu helped Akio sit down, Tomo opened up the window to allow for some much-needed fresh air. “Thanks for helping me,” Akio smiled weakly at Mitsu, making Mitsu’s heart skip a beat. “I’ve been up practically all night then had to cover a shift in the shop this morning.”

“Sounds like it’s been a stressful time,” Tomo said worriedly, kneeling down to speak to Akio on his level.

Mitsu gulped, feeling bad for Akio. Despite not sleeping he still took up the opportunity to help someone by covering their shift. He sighed, looking to the ground to hide his face heating up as he rushed outside to the closet vending machine in the hallway. He stood in front of the machine, his hand hovering over the buttons. The world in his own little bubble seemed to come to a standstill, silencing the voices on the outside. “Why do I care so much?” He spoke allowed to himself. He looked up catching a reflection but only, it wasn’t him, it was ‘Hana’ staring back.

Her smile was mischievous as she spoke; “Someone is confused.”

“Confused?” Mitsu parroted.

“Very much so,” ‘Hana’ snickered, bringing her hand up to her mouth. “You’re looking at Akio as if you were pretending to be me.”

“I-I don’t understand,” Mitsu stuttered, feeling himself become more flustered as he fought with his alter ego.

“You’re falling in love with Akio,” ‘Hana’ proclaimed.

Mitsu physical jumped back at the realisation, catching himself before he could fall to the floor. “I’m not in love with Akio,” Mitsu screamed. He turned, noticing he had gotten the attention of a few bystanders. He coughed, leaning up close to the machine looking ‘Hana’ in the eyes. “I love Tomo,” His voice now in a rush tone to avoid anyone else heading him.

‘Hana’ tutted, wagglingly her finger. “Tomo already now knows that Akio has no interest in her,” She explained. “So why hadn’t you taken the changed to confess you love?” She was right. Mitsu already knew that Tomo now saw Akio as unavailable due to his growing relationship with ‘Hana’ so what was he waiting for? “And now you’re struggling more because the more you get to know Akio, the more of a decent person you realise is and that maybe, you just might harbour real feelings for him.”

“Shut up!” Mitsu yelled, kicking the vending machine and making ‘Hana’ disappear. A couple of drinks dispensed. He quickly scooped them up, marching them back into the library. He threw one of the drinks into Akio’s lap before throwing himself into the other bean bag. He took a quick look at Akio, watching as he took a sip before looking back at his own drink. Why was ‘Hana’ trying to lie to him? He pondered on it and then, as if the angels from heaven song down on him as the realisation hit. ‘Hana’ is trying to encourage me to confess. He sat back, smiling to himself.

Afterall, ‘Hana’ made a good point about Tomo now thinking Akio is no longer available; meaning nothing should be holding him back. It seemed he had successfully completely the first phase of his mission and now he could proceed with phase two and confess his feelings to Tomo.