This time instead of shouting from across the rooftop, I marched towards her. Along the way, I picked up her fallen umbrella from the ground. At least it is still intact. I decided to bring the umbrella with me. I have to say it feels good to finally escape the rain.
As I got closer to her, she jumped into another puddle.
“Sorry Ito-kun,” she says apologetically. “I didn’t see you there.”
"It’s fine. As you can see, I’m already soaked," I said.
“So did you finally decide to join me?” she asked.
“Not exactly. I have a question for you."
With the umbrella in hand, I moved in close. Now, we are both standing underneath the umbrella, face to face.
In a low, serious tone, I asked, “Are you…are you seriously not wearing any shoes?”
She looks down at her feet while wiggling her toes, she says, “Yep.”
“Well, I didn’t want to get my shoes wet.”
“...Seriously,” I said as I kept scanning the girl up and down.
“Yeah. Shoes can be too constricting. Plus, wet socks are bad enough, now imagine both wet socks and wet shoes, it’s pretty much the ultimate uncomfortable nightmare. Also, I just love feeling the cool water between my toes as I splash around. It feels like I am truly one with nature.”
I brought my hands up to my forehead and started to shake my head. “You know I was wrong, you are not just an odd duck, you are a complete idiot. Really, your reason for not wanting to wear shoes in the pouring rain is that you don’t want them to get wet. What kind of reason is that!"
She interjects softly, “They’re really nice shoes though.”
I raised my voice, "That’s not the point. Newsflash, but you are already soaked from head to toe. The minute you put on your shoes they’re going to be wet, thus, making your stupid choice pointless.
“Oh,” she says with her head facing downwards.
Looking at her once more, I can see that her bright green eyes have dimmed, and her expressions have sullen. Maybe, I’m being a bit too harsh on her. I softened my voice, took a deep breath, and sighed.
“Listen, there can be a lot of dangerous or sharp objects on the ground. You can really injure yourself if you’re not careful. All it takes is one scrape or fall, to be at risk of contracting an infection.”
“Mmm,” she responds.
“Look, I’m sorry. I went too far on the scolding. It’s stupid of me to treat you like a child, when we are close in age. Actually, you might even be older than me."
She giggles a bit.
"I guess the reason why I went off like that is, whenever I went to a movie set, my father always emphasized the safety of the actors and crew. So that's probably why I care so much.”
No, that's not exactly right, I turn my head to the side.
“Well, it’s most likely because someone I knew…well heard, got injured because they weren’t wearing the right footwear. Even so, it was foolish of me to go off on you like that.” I bowed my head, “please humbly accept my apology.”
She waves her hands frantically back and forth. “Eh, there’s no need to bow. Please stand up.” As I picked my head up, her bright, cheery face returned. “Don’t worry, Ito-kun, I didn’t mind the scolding at all.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Okay, maybe I was a tiny bit upset at the start, but honestly, you are right. While I have been lucky so far, my carelessness could have hurt me.” She sighs, “Maybe I should just stop dancing in the rain. It’s stupid anyways.”
“I don’t think so. I mean sure it’s odd, but it’s something you like to do right. You should enjoy everything you like to do now since there may be a day when you can’t make that choice anymore.”
“Ito-kun,” she whispers.
We started to gaze into each other's eyes, and even though it was probably a few seconds, it felt endless. Now that I think about it, I didn’t realize how close we had been standing next to each other underneath the umbrella. Suddenly, the bell chimes signaling the end of our lunch recess.
“We should probably head back, don’t you think?”
I nodded yes.
Back inside, I squeezed the excess water out of my clothing. Jeez, I’m super soaked right now. Turning my head back at the girl, I see she has finally finished squeezing her hair. She looks downwards at her chest with a big wide-eyed expression.
“Ahh, my shirt is completely see-through now! And my skirt, the way it conforms to my body you can see the outline of my underwear!”
Well, I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so. Of course, there's no need for me to rub it in.
I started to head down the stairs, but then I heard the girl mumble to herself. “I really should have brought extra clothing. I could use my gym wear, but I forgot to bring it with me. I guess I’ll have to deal with everyone seeing...everything. It is my fault anyways. I'm so stupid. Even my shoes feel wet too. Stupid, stupid, stupid.”
Just keep walking Kazuma. This is not your problem. You have warned her multiple times. Just keep going. Don’t turn back.
Yeah, I turned back.
With my back turned towards the girl I started to unbutton my shirt. “IT...ITO-kun! What do you think you’re doing? Wait, is this one of these risqué situations? Ehhh! I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. I’m still too young after all. I haven't had my first true kiss yet!“
With my arm stretched out I handed her my shirt. “Please don’t get the wrong idea. Just put my shirt over yours. It should be large enough to cover both your shirt and skirt.”
She began to stare at my bare chest, which started to make me feel a bit embarrassed.
"Wow Ito-kun, I didn't know you had muscles."
I can feel my face redden, "just take the shirt."
She then grabs my shirt and puts it over her clothes. At least it's more difficult now to see her bra and underwear.
“So what do you think?" She asks.
“Well, it looks too big on you.”
She laughs, “You don’t say tee-hee.”
Though I have to admit, it does look kind of cute on her. But, then again, short girls always look cute when they wear large clothing.
"Ahh, wait a minute," she shouts. "What am I going to say when someone asks me why am I wearing a boy’s top?”
"Just say the top was your prize after you fought off some pervert on the roof."
“Hmmm,” she murmurs.
"Please don’t actually consider that terrible idea.”
“Ah of course I wasn’t. Not at all."
Why do I doubt that?
"Anyways Ito-kun what about you? Is it really okay if I take your shirt.”
“Yeah, don’t worry I’ll be okay.” It’s not like I was going to stay for the afternoon classes.
"Anyways, you should probably start heading down now, you don’t want to be late. By the way, you should try to stop by the nurse's office. There may be some spare clothing you can use. The last thing you want to do is get ill."
"Same to you Ito-kun, it would be bad if you caught a cold too." As she makes her way down the stairs she stops suddenly and faces her head towards me.
“My name is Rika Tanaka.”