Chapter 2:

Warning Signs

Will The Stars Remember My Name?

Since Ryouta had politely accepted Futaba's friendship offer, he couldn't possibly decline when futaba reached him with two juice boxes. Bookmark here

"Hey, I bought this last period. Want one?"

Ryouta took one and said, "Thanks a lot Futaba" 
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"Nope, all my friends call me Fu-chan. I want you to call me that."  Bookmark here

"I think I'll stick to Futaba" Bookmark here

"Gimme back that orange can" Bookmark here

"Fu-chan, what's the next period?" Bookmark here

"It's math, Ryo-Ryo" Bookmark here

"You called me what now? You can have your orange juice back." Bookmark here

"Ok I'm sorry Ryouta. Oof. It's just my habit to keep nicknames, hehe." Bookmark here

Their conversation, by now, had attracted the attention of rest of their classmates. One of the boys, Haruto, got up from his seat and came upto them and said, "Hey Futaba, I didn't know you were friends with Ryouta." Bookmark here

"Well, I'm surprised you even remember my name Haruto. I've not interacted much with anybody" , said Ryouta, a bit nervously. Bookmark here

Haruto was a cool, calm and composed guy. He was easy going and laid back, hiding all indications of him being the captain of the soccer team. Behind his sloth like behaviour, laid a ferocious and aggresive beast which came out when he played soccer. He was well liked by most people, but there were some who were envious of his almost prodigal skills in sport. He was the kind of person who took their strengths lightly and had no ambitions, but when he got serious, he would display the full extent of his talent. His light blond hair and mellow dark brown eyes made him popular among the girls. Even though he was lazy, he loved to work out and exercise, and had a well built lean body, fitting that of a sports team captain.
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‎Haruto said, "Oh.. well yeah. I kinda scouted you for our soccer team in the beginning of the year, but then we got some other guy... So I didn't really get to know you properly." 

Ryouta smiled and replied, "Well, it's kinda my fault. I'm usually so busy with different part time jobs, I never get the chance to go out and get to know people." Bookmark here

Haruto said, "Ahhh... So that explains the mysterious Ryouta. Hey, you know what, you should hang out with me and Shiomi." Bookmark here

"Shiomi?" Bookmark here

"Shiomi Mabuchi is a girl from the D section. We are childhood friends. She loves to draw and she's a really good artist. I'm pretty sure you must've heard of her sometimes. All of us could hang out together." Bookmark here

"I mean... I could, but I wouldn't wanna disturb you guys." Bookmark here

Haruto laughed and said, "We're usually just lazing around or we're hanging out with different people, so we won't mind you at all." Bookmark here

Ryouta, underneath his polite smile, felt a little excited to meet new people and make friends. In elementary and middle school, he was a really shy and quiet kid. Before he was going to enter High school, he had decided to change his shy personality and be more outgoing, but because of the accident, the idea of changing had no place in his mind.Bookmark here

‎ ‎Futaba beamed at Ryouta and winked at him. As the teacher came in, Haruto and Futaba scurried back to their seats and the next period started. When the bell for recess rang, Haruto and Ryouta went to the art room to call Shiomi. 

Shiomi Mabuchi had a great passion and talent for drawing. Since she was a kid, she had never stopped drawing. She encaptured all that she saw on a piece of paper and painted it so beautifully, that sometimes the painting would look better than the original. She had represented her school in many art competitions and won some big prizes. Haruto and Shiomi were both extremely talented, yet unambitious and lazy and that, perhaps, was the reason for their deep bond with each other. Bookmark here

 When Haruto opened the door of the art room, Shiomi was sitting alone in the room and drawing the picture of a boy. Her white hair were tied in a ponytail and her sleeves rolled up. Her hands were stained with different colours as she focused on her painting. She was short-heighted and a bit chubby, just enough to make her not fat and just enough to make her look cute. Haruto said, "Shio, come on, let's hang out." Bookmark here

Shiomi looked back for a moment, stared at Ryouta and said, "I like your nose." Then she turned back to her painting, and started painting again. Bookmark here

Haruto sighed and said, "I'm sorry about that Ryouta. I guess we'll go eat the sweet mochi ourselves."  Bookmark here

Shiomi 's paintbrush dropped. She looked back at Haruto and said, "Mo...Mochi?" Bookmark here

Haruto said, "Oh but Shio, you're so busy with your painting, I don't want to disturb you now."  Bookmark here

Shiomi pouted and said, "If it turns out that you didn't have any Mochi and were just lying, I'll draw you naked in bear panties and I'll spread the drawing in school." Bookmark here

"Deal. Now, c'mon."Bookmark here

‎‎Shiomi happily munched on her mochi as the three of them walked around the school. Ryouta was happy that Futaba hadn't tagged along with them because he wanted her to spend more time with Ryuuji. Even though she said that she wanted the three of them to be good friends, Ryouta knew very well how the presence of a third person in a relationship can ruin it. He wasn't a novice when it came to relationships... But he had lost faith in them now. More than losing faith in relationships, he had lost faith in himself being a part of a relationship. He knew this fact very well yet he wasn't unhappy with this. He was content seeing the people around him happy. 

Shiomi said, "So... Ryouta you're in Haru's section, right? What're your hobbies? You like painting? Or soccer?" Bookmark here

Ryouta winced at the question, remembering his childhood obsession with shoujo figurines, and said, "Uhm... Well. I don't particularly have a lot of hobbies. I read some manga maybe?"  Bookmark here

"Oh well, that's better than Haruto, who used to collect these figurines of small little idol girls."  Bookmark here

Haruto said, "HEY! I was a kid back then and I didn't collect them. I just had maybe two or three good ones like Rika-pyon and-" Bookmark here

"Rika-pyon from 9 Idol stars?", said Ryouta, his eyes sparking up at having found a companion with similar weird interests.  Bookmark here

"YESSS! Rika-pyon is amazing, I loved the songs she used to sing." Bookmark here

"Bro... Rika-pyon is the best idol but Rima-chan is definitely—" Shiomi sighed and said, "Great, now I have two lunatics to deal with."Bookmark here

‎Haruto, completely ignoring her, continued to talk with Ryouta till the bell rang. Shiomi went back to her class and Haruto and Ryouta returned to theirs. When the final bell rang and school finally dismissed, Haruto ran off for his club practice and wished Ryouta goodbye before going. Futaba told Ryouta that she and Ryuuji planned to go somewhere together for a date, so Ryuuji wouldn't be accompanying Ryouta back to home. Ryouta had to keep some papers for the teacher in the staff room, so he was the last one to leave the classroom. 

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When he came back from the staff room, he found Shiomi sitting on his table, looking outside. As the sun was setting, her white hair almost shined orange and her hair ruffled from the soft breeze. She had a sad, maybe lonely expression on her face. The empty classroom almost reflected her expression as she stared outside the window of the classroom. Ryouta realised she was looking at the soccer field where Haruto was practicing. He came inside and said, "Shiomi?"  Bookmark here

"Hey Ryouta! Here, your bag." , said Shiomi as she handed over Ryouta's bag to him. Bookmark here

Ryouta, a bit confused, said, "Were you waiting for me? You could have gone home without me." Bookmark here

Shiomi got up from the table and jumped down. She brushed her skirt a bit and said, "Yes Ryouta, I was waiting for you. I have something to tell you." Bookmark here

Ryouta stood still for a moment and said, "What... What exactly did you want to say?" Bookmark here

Shiomi 's expression became suddenly serious and she stared dead into Ryouta's eyes. Bookmark here

"I want you to stay away from Haruto."
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