Chapter 31:

Just mere coincidents


As those two boys were no longer in our sight, I faced the two girls that had escaped with me. However, before I could begin my interrogation, the shorter one caught me off guard with a warm smile.

“So, you’re really like that.”

She spoke with ambiguity, and so, I asked back “What do you mean.” To which her face shifted toward surprise as if she had realized something.

“Oh, I’m just talking nonsense. I’m Mary Beth. So, you’re- Ehem, and your name is?”

“Kiri,” I answered.

“Right, right. Thanks, Kiri, for saving us back there, it was really brave of you to stand up against two delinquent boys.”

“No, it was nothing. My body just moved on its own you know.” A bit embarrassed from her words, I could only give an awkward laugh. However, the girl wasn’t going to let me go.

“No, I mean really, this world needs more people like you, Kiri.”

It was obvious to me that what I just did was pretty heroic, still, something felt off. Nonetheless, when words of praise were directed toward me, my heart did not stand still.

“Well, I have to go somewhere now. Until next time, Kiri, keep being yourself!”

“Wait- ”. But she did not, and I was left there with my mouth still opened, and mind still pondering about what happened. A positive feeling tickled my visage, but before I could make an expression, I was suddenly reminded of the tall girl beside me.

With questions still unanswered, I disclosed my mouth, but halfway through her shyness influenced me in some way, so I shifted my focus toward concern.

“So… You okay?”

“I am. Thanks for helping us back there,” she answered meekly.

“It’s fine.” And as those words came through my mouth, an awkward silence seemed to start permeating through the air.

A few seconds passed, but all that happened was us staring and glancing away and then staring back at each other.

Jesus, what do I even say next?

Nevertheless, that wasn’t a problem, for the tall girl was the one that continued.

“Well, I guess here’s my number. And I’ll uh, I’ll contact you some other time.” not even a second after giving me a torn-out piece of paper with mentioned content, she dashed away straight away.

“Wait- ”, I shouted, nevertheless, I was once more left bewildered as another girl left my side without obliging my questions.

I stood there for a moment, forming theories about what had just happened.

Was I the weird person, or was that situation the weird one?


Of course, it’s not me.

And so, as the skies began to darken, I walked back to my former destination, albeit with something strange happening inside me.


“Oh, welcome back, Kiri!”

As soon as the door opened, an enthusiastic voice greeted me, and everything felt normal again.

“Yeah, hello too, Qi.”

And so, I let my legs stroll for me, stepping only a few times until I was in the bathroom.

Finding the need to wash myself to be prioritized, I walked straight to the shower stall.

Wait, something’s missing.

As that realization came, I halted my movement, and I find myself pondering about something I knew was meaningless.

Oh, right. The tall girl’s number.


Well, not like it mattered much but there was a reason the girl gave it to me, and I guess I didn’t want her shy face to become even more dejected and disappointed.

Hence, despite not fully committing myself to the task, I still grabbed my phone from the pocket on my overlong pink skirt.

“Hey, it’s me, Kiri. You’re that tall girl from earlier, right?”

I hadn’t expected her to respond right away, but I was wrong.

“Yeah, I’m sorry for dashing off just like that. I’m more of a chat person.”

“It’s aight. So, uh, you had something to talk about, right? For giving me your phone number and all.”

“Guess it was too obvious haha. Well, I know you just saved me and I swear to pay you back, but I kind of need you one more time. 🥺”

Wow, this girl.

“All right, what is it?” I asked her, even though there was possibly no reason for me to accept her plea.

“It’s nothing much, I just wanted a friend to go with somewhere tomorrow.”

“And by somewhere you mean…?”

“Let’s meet at your class tomorrow, I’ll tell you then.”

Wow, again.

She did not elaborate, and I was left with even more questions than before. But no matter how you look at it, there was something off, something unnatural. And for some reason, I couldn’t exactly pinpoint it.

What the hell is this unpredictability? What the hell is even happening?


Well, it’s just a girl asking me for a favor, perhaps I’m just thinking too much. Yeah, I guess I am.

With a sense of lingering doubt, I decided to let the water do its job and eradicate all the troubling thoughts that were masticating me. A feeling of contentment and comfort was met each moment the steamy liquid caressed my surface. And as if I could feel my corporal being ascending to newer heights, all the residue and blemishes were left behind on the ground.

But that was a great exaggeration, since by the time I had left the stall, my mind has not been freed from the doubtful thoughts.

I consciously knew that it would not matter, and yet my brain just kept unknowingly brought the inquiries up in my mind.

As I went on ready myself to go out of bathroom, even more questions were impulsively brought up.

Why did those two boys just give up so easily?

I don’t know, they looked like they didn’t want to be there in the first place.

Who the hell was that strange girl Mary-Beth?

Just a nice girl, why does it matter?

Will I help that tall girl one more time?

It depends, maybe.

So, is that a yes?

It’s a maybe.

C’mon, why lie to myself, I want to help her.

No, what? I said-

Do it.


Help her

I don’t know.

“Wanna poker, Kiri?”




I was no longer in the bathroom, and I was no longer alone with my thoughts. And before me were three girls with widened eyes. Impulsively, as followed by my sudden realization, I needed to save face.


“Love that energy girl, didn’t know you had that in you.” Interpolating me, one of the girls spoke with joy.

“Yeah, hop on, Kiri,” Followed up was Qi tapping the bed the three were sitting on.


It wasn’t like I didn’t want to play. And yet, it felt wrong somehow.

But then, why?

I don’t know, and I couldn’t solidify my reason, still, something inside told me that if I would then that would mean betraying something. It would defeat the purpose of me even being at school in the first place. If I really wanted to have fun I wouldn’t even be-

“You agreed, right Kiri?”


Fuck it. Today’s been weird enough.

And so, I skipped toward them.

“You know the rules, right?”

“I only know the basics, so don’t go hard on me, please,” I replied with the meekest tone I could muster.

Aside from Qi, there was a hint of smirk hidden behind their friendly smile. And I congratulated myself, albeit within my own self-restraint.

“All right then, let’s start.”

And so, she began to serve us our cards.

My initial two were nine clubs and Jack clubs. And, I skimmed through my opponent’s facial expression.


Well, I guess I’d be asking for too much if it was that easy.

“All right, bets in.”

As one announces, I grabbed two chips with a 50 cents currency hand-drawn on the top. And well, it wasn’t chips, rather they were cut pieces of circular cardboard.


“I think I’m going to fold.” Said one of the smirking girls.

“Really? Again? You girls don’t got any guts in you.” Qi spoke in a disappointed tone, only to be even more emphasized when one of them riposted.

“Don’t want to hear that from the person who had a ten-streak lost.”


When they finished their little argument, we shifted our attention back to the cards. Judging from their exchange just now, I would guess that Qi was a person of stubborn nature, she’s going to bet a little but would not bail out. And consequently, she would lose money gradually.

And in the other girl’s case, she would be of reserved nature.


Nevertheless, I was wrong, the girl beside Qi was not likewise to my assumption. However, that did spark suspicions, and so I turned my gaze to the girl that had folded.

I knew it.

To explain, our rooms consisted of two bump beds, and we were playing at the one below of the left one. I was at the upper right corner, while Qi sat at the lower right and the last girl was situated in the middle left. The one that had folded, however, was now fiddling with her phone on the other bed, and it just so happens that Qi’s cards were in view, and her partner in crime was able to look at whatever signal she could make.

Needless to say, the smirking girls didn’t want to exploit me, rather they were content that I wasn’t experienced enough to detect their ploy.

Poor little Qi.

Of course, I wasn’t going to let them stand by. Nonetheless, it wasn’t like I could just expose them, I clearly lacked evidence. Additionally, it’s not like I could use my skills to win, since after all, poker was still a game that’s fundamentally about luck. And a 1v1v2 wasn’t really a position I would consider lucky.

And thus, there was only one solution.

“I fold.”

The two of them looked at me with a pseudo-surprised expression. And I merely got out of bed in response.

With my back faced toward Qi, I gave the staring girl from the other bed a warm beam. As if an epiphany had hit the rascal, her facial gesture remained the welcoming smile, with a little addition of annoyance.

And now, the only thing that was left was pure chance and bluffing skills. And yet, I wasn’t worried, for as long as what I did was right, I knew that justice would be served. And thus, as a strange pride emerged from inside my stomach, I smirked at the villain before me, asserting my victory.

“How did I lose again!?”

“Pure skill, Qi, pure skill.”

How funny.

As that fragile pride of mine was broken from one single sentence, my disappointment at the universe grew ever more spiteful.

“Another game?”

“Sure.” I agreed nevertheless.

And so, I sat down at my previous position, waiting for redemption to take form. Until.

“Um, apparently the most reacted post on our school’s confession right now is about a mini-convention.” As the phone fiddler said so, I didn’t pay any heed to that piece of information at first.

“Wait, what?” Though, Qi and I were clearly apart.

As the three girls gathered around a phone screen, I thought that it was a pop thing and didn’t want to ruin their fun with questions.

“It’s tomorrow, and it’s within our school.” And yet, my ears ticked, and I involuntarily started to take interest.

“And the theme is about… boys kissing?”

What the.

Well, it’s only a coincidence that the tall girl asked me to go with her tomorrow, right? Yeah, a mere funny concurrent event.




“There’s a convention I want to go with… But I don’t want to be spotted alone, so…”

As the girl in front of me did a shy gesture that contrasts with her intimidating size almost completely, I could only facepalm and exhale.

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