Chapter 3:

As if Youko Miyake couldn't get anymore curious.


Youko MiyakeBookmark here

When I first saw Okumori's mom, I was overly astounded. She was the complete opposite of Okumori; being rather cheerful and very ecstatic. It made me question something very vital: 
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Who did he get that reclusive and isolated personality from?Bookmark here

I didn't see any sign of his father or anyone else in the house that could potentially have the same personality as him. It made me presume that it was just the both of them in the house, taking care of each other.Bookmark here

We were both standing in the living room, about to say our goodbyes.Bookmark here

"Before you go, what should I call you?" I looked up at her.Bookmark here

"Huh? Hm..." She pondered, looking up at the ceiling. After a few seconds, she gave me a thumbs up and smirked. "You can call me Oba-san if you'd like."Bookmark here

Surprised by her assuring confidence, I nodded. Bookmark here

She then lowered her hand and sighed.Bookmark here

“Also, I’m sorry for that sight, Miyake-chan... Toshiro is sometimes careless, and well, you’ve seen it at best.”Bookmark here

I blushed, looking downwards as the image flashed back in my head. I nodded nervously.Bookmark here

“Miyake-chan, he hasn’t told you why he acts like that, has he?”Bookmark here

My mood drastically changed. Wanting to leave the house suddenly became a small matter.Bookmark here

I met her purple eyes, which were just like Okumori’s, but also the complete opposite. Her eyes had a beautiful gleam on them, whilst Okumori’s had a dark purple shade with wide pupils and didn't seem lively at all. They always looked tired or stressed from my view.Bookmark here

“No. I don’t.” I said heedfully.Bookmark here

She groaned, closing her eyes for a split second before opening them again. “I knew it.”Bookmark here

Perplexed, I stood in silence.Bookmark here

“I won’t tell you just yet, since you both aren’t acquainted well enough. He’d also despise me if he figured out that I told you. It’s something he doesn’t want anyone knowing.”Bookmark here

“Oh… That’s fine.” I forced a smile. Bookmark here

This mystery about Okumori intrigued me more and more each second, and I was eager to find out.Bookmark here

“Maybe if you two become good friends, then I’ll tell you. It’s either that or he tells you himself.”Bookmark here

“Is it something terrible?” I finally managed to ask.Bookmark here

My curiosity couldn’t keep itself in, and before I knew it, I had uttered something that I shouldn’t have. “Y-You don’t have to answer! Sorry! I shouldn’t have asked!” I immediately apologized.Bookmark here

She chuckled. “No, no, it’s fine. But, as I said, I won’t tell you now.”Bookmark here

“Yes, Oba-san!” I nodded firmly.Bookmark here

“By the way, Miyake-chan, what do you think of him as of right now?”Bookmark here

"What?” I was caught off guard by her arbitrary question.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, I just want to hear how my son is like from other people’s perspective.” She smiled.Bookmark here

I nodded, taking a moment to consider. I then raised my finger. “He’s very quiet, antisocial, and his dead eyes always scare me. He doesn’t seem to like me much either.”Bookmark here

"Well, that's expected." She muttered under her breath drowsily.Bookmark here

“I didn’t mean anything bad by it, though!” Bookmark here

“I know, I know.” She giggled, standing upright.Bookmark here

“H-He also seems smart!” I pointed out.Bookmark here

“You don’t have to justify it, Miyake-chan, I understand already. I’ll assume his first impression wasn’t so good?”Bookmark here

“Well, yes. He ignored me, but I mainly think it was because of what I told him.” I nervously replied.Bookmark here

Just remembering it embarrassed me.Bookmark here

"Oh? What did you do?” Okumori’s mom curiously asked.Bookmark here

“I-I uh… I said that he looked nice if he had a makeover." I hesitantly spoke.Bookmark here

"Pfft!" She burst out laughing. She held her stomach, continuing to hold the door frame for support. "Really? You said that?!"Bookmark here

"It wasn't my fault! I'm not used to talking to guys!" I panicked, shaking my hands around.Bookmark here

"What, did you say you wanted to hug him too?" She joked, pointing and laughing.Bookmark here

"N-No, of course not!" I denied her claim.Bookmark here

She started to wipe her cheerful tears. "To think you were so forward…"Bookmark here

"I didn't mean it in that way at all! I just wanted to compliment him and it came out wrong!" Bookmark here

"Don't worry, I'll believe you." She let out a final chuckle.Bookmark here

She placed her hand on her hip now, her face that was previously all happy and tear-stained from laughing turning into a deliberate look.Bookmark here

"Miyake-chan, do you think you can become friends with someone like him?"Bookmark here

"Huh?" I was at a loss for words.Bookmark here

Truthfully, I didn't know the answer to her question. He didn't like me in the slightest nor did he give me any attention, so why was I so stubborn? Did I truly want to be his friend? Would it be worth it?Bookmark here

It's because he needs someone.

That sentence hit my head intensely.Bookmark here

"You don't have to respond. Just think about it."Bookmark here

I nodded shyly, pausing for a few seconds, then speaking. “I don’t know if we can become friends in the future, but if it happens, then I’ll be someone he can depend on.”Bookmark here

She unexpectedly leaned forwards to embrace me in her arms. Shocked, I started to stutter. “O-Oba-san? What’s wrong?”Bookmark here

“Thank you.” She tristfully spoke.Bookmark here

“Y-you’re welcome?” I awkwardly hugged her back.Bookmark here

“Sorry, it's just... I'm really happy to have someone like you support him.”Bookmark here

I kept silent, understanding what she said with a meager smile on my face while I hugged her. Bookmark here

"I don't want him to go into the real world without being happy. Can you do that? Can you show everyone who he truly is?"Bookmark here

Who he truly is? That sentence somewhat confused me.Bookmark here

That was an immense expectation of her too, but I wasn't willing to back down either.Bookmark here

"Yes, of course," I replied optimistically. Bookmark here

"That's wonderful." Her grip around my arms got slightly tighter.Bookmark here

Eventually, after a few seconds of silence, we pulled away from each other. I caught sight of her delicate face, seeing the lids under her eyes had a light shade of red.
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"O-Oba-san, you aren't crying, are you..?" I asked worryingly. Bookmark here

"They are tears of happiness!" She raised her fist in accomplishment.Bookmark here

Feeling slight discomfort by her odd confidence, I nodded.Bookmark here

"Sorry. I got carried away." She gazed upon the sky. "It's just I wasn't expecting you to say that. I'm really happy, you know? Knowing that my son will have someone like you as a friend. It's a gift."Bookmark here

"You're over exaggerating, Oba-san! I'm not that good of a person… I'm just a simple person!" I cried out.Bookmark here

"You say that, yet you also say those promising words. Don't doubt yourself." She grinned.Bookmark here

I was speechless at what she said. In a way, she was correct.Bookmark here

“Miyake-chan, you’re also welcome to come into our house anytime you want to!” She rubbed my head.Bookmark here

“But what about Okumori-kun? I might be a disturbance for him.”Bookmark here

“Well, you might be right…” She pulled her hand away, placing her index finger and thumb on her chin. “I doubt he’d like to converse with you as it is right now… Hmm, maybe you could find something important in that room of his when he’s using the bathroom and we can both see what he has?”Bookmark here

“Eh..?” I let out a tricky breath. I wasn’t necessarily fond of that idea, and it didn't correlate to what we were saying in the slightest.Bookmark here

“Well, now that I think about it, maybe you should find out if he has those "mags" they sell?” She said amusedly.Bookmark here

Surprised, I took a step back, then anxiously looking down. However, imagining him being caught and seeing his embarrassed face would be a sight to see.Bookmark here

“I-I don’t think that’d be good if I was trying to be friends with him…”Bookmark here

“Right, sorry.” She sighed. “I don’t think he’d like that.”Bookmark here

I nodded nimbly.  “Those types of things are for you to find out, you know…” Bookmark here

“Eh, is it?” She questionably faced me.Bookmark here

“Y-you are his mom, right?” I stared at her blankly.Bookmark here

“I am, yes, but I think it’d be very awkward for someone's mom to find their son's stash of “goods.”Bookmark here

I was very surprised that she was talking about something so immature in such an assuring manner. Did this happen occasionally?Bookmark here

“I think it’d be awkward either way,” I said stiffly.Bookmark here

“You have a point.” She nodded with hmphs.Bookmark here

“Um, Oba-san, I should get going now. My mom might get worried.” Bookmark here

“Oh, right, I forgot you were leaving! I don’t want to hold you here for idle chat, so go on.” She smiled, rubbing my head with her hand.Bookmark here

I didn’t know how to feel about the head pat. Did she do this with Okumori frequently? I’d pay to see it happen. I guess I couldn't complain either, since I did this to Okumori as well when we first met.Bookmark here

“I’ll be going now, Oba-san… Have a good day!” I waved. Bookmark here

Her smile got wider, waving as she watched me leave the house.Bookmark here

I still couldn't get over the fact that she and Okumori were complete opposites. I mean, I had entered their house under the impression that his mom would have given me the stares and said stuff along the lines of "What? Who are you? Stay away." But, to my surprise, she welcomed me with open arms and even embarrassed Okumori in front of me.Bookmark here

Nevertheless, I had absolute fun in their house. To think that I could come there whenever I wanted to had made me feel accepted and reassured. Who knows, maybe she could teach me how to cook? I had the feeling that we had a lot in common.Bookmark here

I entered my house, which was across the street. I opened the door, seeing my mom who was watching some TV. She seemed to notice me, grabbing the remote and pausing whatever she was watching.Bookmark here

“I’m home!” I called out, taking off my shoes and placing them by the entrance.Bookmark here

“Hi, Youko! How was it?”Bookmark here

“They were nice!” I exclaimed. "Or, rather, she was..." I mumbled jokingly. Bookmark here

"How was Okumori-san?"Bookmark here

Assuming she was talking about Okumori's mom, excitement flowed through my veins. "She was very nice to me! She said I could come over any time."Bookmark here

"Really?"Bookmark here

"Really!" I assured her.Bookmark here

“What about her kid, Toshiro? Or Okumori-kun, perhaps.”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah..” I looked away, blushing. Bookmark here

I'm pretty sure I couldn't face him or talk about him without the image of him naked in my head anymore. I needed to erase that.Bookmark here

“Huh." I heard her murmur. Bookmark here

She was thinking of something childish, wasn't she? I could tell since she was trying to hide a grin under her hands.Bookmark here

“Anyways, there are some snacks in the fridge if you want them.” She gave me a big smile before she continued watching her show.Bookmark here

“Okay. I’ll be in my room!” I replied.Bookmark here

I didn’t bother to get any snacks since I wasn’t exactly hungry, so I went upstairs to my room. I opened the door and entered, looking inside.Bookmark here

It was straightforward and an uncomplicated room. The walls were white and clear, having some boxes laid right in front of them, composed of my previous house’s belongings. In the middle, a queen-sized bed sat with a study table in front.Bookmark here

I walked over to my new bed and fell on it, feeling the comfort of it. I stayed in a single position, then started to squirm around the bed.Bookmark here

“Jeez, what am I gonna do now..?” I sighed, staring at the ceiling.Bookmark here

I then grabbed the diary behind one of the pillows and opened it up, taking a mechanical pencil out of my pocket.Bookmark here

I opened the diary to a page with the title saying ‘List of things to do.’ There was a multitude of things written down in it. I then lead my pencil over to one of them. ‘Make a few friends on the first day.’ I crossed it out with my pencil, drawing a single line across it. I then directed the pencil below the words, starting to write a new one.Bookmark here

I closed the diary and tossed the mechanical pencil over to my table. I then pulled out my phone, looking at my new texts. Bookmark here

I already had a new message from a friend I made today. Her name was Himari Iwasaki if I remember correctly, and a very pretty girl, from what I've seen. She had long pink hair and teal eyes that were very satisfying to look at. She was also very nice! We clicked almost instantly when we first met.Bookmark here

The message read: "Do you want to go to the cafe tomorrow?"Bookmark here

Thrilled that she was inviting me somewhere, I replied right away. "Yes, of course!"Bookmark here

"Okay, it'll be after school. is that fine?"Bookmark here

"Definitely."Bookmark here

Exhilarated, I decided to see if Okumori would agree. I clicked on Okumori’s contact info, clicking the message button. I started to type: “How are you doing?”Bookmark here

Taking a few minutes, I stared at my message and started daydreaming again before he finally responded. It read: “Why are you asking?”Bookmark here

I looked at the message with a surprised expression, noticing that he was talking to me appropriately.Bookmark here

I typed again. “Just answer it, jeez."Bookmark here

“Good. Now go away.”Bookmark here

I let out a sigh, typing again. “I’m gonna get you back tomorrow.”Bookmark here

“How so?” Bookmark here

“Secret,” I replied. Okumori seemed to leave it on read, acknowledging my message.Bookmark here

I set the phone on my bed. Well, I didn't get the chance to ask him, since the mood wasn't right. Maybe tomorrow I'll have a better chance? I really hope he'd say yes.Bookmark here

I got off the bed and grabbed my school bag, taking out my essentials and setting them down on the study table. I then opened my notebook and worked on some homework as well as some notes. Since I joined in the middle of the year, I was bound to run into some troubles with the school. All-nighters might be necessary from now on.Bookmark here

After a few hours of writing, it had already been nighttime. I had finished my studying already and had been resting my head and arms on the table, dozing off rather quickly due to how overworked and exhausted I felt.Bookmark here

Before I knew it, it was already morning. I turned my face over to the window, the sunlight blinding me. I raised my head from my table and grabbed my phone, scratching my eyes and yawning simultaneously. I turned it on and looked at the time.Bookmark here

I stopped yawning midway, my heart dropping. Bookmark here

Seriously? It's only the second day!Bookmark here

I stood up swiftly and ran full speed into the bathroom.Bookmark here

My mom was already at work for her interview, and she had trusted me to wake up early to get to school. I knew she’d be distraught if she realized that I was late on my second day at school.Bookmark here

I slammed open the bathroom door and washed my face with water swiftly, then brushing my teeth and blow-drying my hair concurrently. Once I finished, I ran back to my bedroom, took off my clothes, grabbed my school outfit and gadgets, and ran out to the kitchen.Bookmark here

I was half-naked, putting on clothes every few steps while I reached the kitchen. I’d snatch some food off the plate that my mom had prepared before she had left for work, munching on them. It only took a minute or so, but I amazingly managed to put my uniform on properly. I sprinted out the front door, a rice ball in my hand as I took a bite of it every few seconds.Bookmark here

I ran with full force in our school’s direction, only stopping when I saw a stoplight that was red. Panting heavily, I soon spotted Okumori and some other kids who had been heading in the same direction as me.Bookmark here

I smirked, increasing my speed as I went straight for Okumori.Bookmark here

I opened my hands and closed my eyes, not stopping. Once I was in the perfect range, I raised my hands and lightly shoved Okumori.Bookmark here

“Boo!” I yelled out.Bookmark here

Okumori stumbled forwards, stopping himself from falling over. He looked over at me with a daunting glare that scared my soul. For some odd reason, he had more of a terrifying aura today.Bookmark here

“Sorry.” I apologized tensely.Bookmark here

An agitated. "Tch." Came out of him, before he shoved his hands in his pockets and made his way to the school.Bookmark here

I shook my head and sighed, following behind him. Bookmark here

“Your erm, reaction was pretty funny!” I joked awkwardly.Bookmark here

He seemed to ignore me. I assumed he was doing it willingly, or the earbuds inserted in his ears had the music playing too loud.Bookmark here

“Okumori-kun? Okumori-kun. Okumori-kun!"Bookmark here

I reached and grabbed his right earbud, pulling it out lightly.Bookmark here

Expecting him to face me with that scowl of his, he instead simply grabbed his earbud out of my hand and inserted it back into his ear. I stood in bewilderment. Bookmark here

“Okumori-kun, you should at least hear what I say." I sulked, approaching him again.Bookmark here

I watched him pull out his phone, then typing.Bookmark here

I felt my phone vibrate. I took it out and looked at what the message was. It came from Okumori: “I’m being glared in horrifying ways just by being with you, by the way. Stay away. You're making me the center of attention."Bookmark here

I blinked at the message. Were people that jealous? I smiled, walking up to him.Bookmark here

“You know what, those stares will be my secret for getting you back for being so rude...” I walked beside him, heading inside the class.Bookmark here

I saw him let out a dreary sigh. My smile only widened in response. So he could hear me.Bookmark here

We eventually entered the hallways, and I could see what Okumori was saying. We were being stared at. A lot. It was starting to make me uncomfortable, and I could only imagine what was going through Okumori's head. We entered class, but before I could even reach my seat, Iwasaki was in front of me.Bookmark here

"Hey! Are you ready for later on?"Bookmark here

I immediately remembered what we were talking about yesterday.Bookmark here

"Yes! I'm actually so excited!" I gave her a thumbs up.Bookmark here

Though, she didn't return anything in response. Instead, she had been looking at Okumori in slight disbelief. I glanced over confusingly and saw Okumori doing the same. Bookmark here

"W-what are you doing with her..?" Iwasaki questioned.Bookmark here

Did these two know each other? Even if they did, something must have happened. The atmosphere between them was awkward as well as bitter.Bookmark here

Okumori kept silent, as usual, then walked away promptly over to his seat.Bookmark here

"Um, what's wrong, Iwasaki-san..?" I said, bothered by what had just happened.Bookmark here

"N-nothing, don't worry about it." Bookmark here

She tilted her head slightly to the right and smiled joyously now.Bookmark here

“By the way, can I invite a friend of mine? He's a good guy."Bookmark here

Disturbed by how briskly she changed the subject and mood, I hesitatingly nodded.Bookmark here

"S-sure. What's his name?"Bookmark here

"His name is Ichiro Kojima, or Kojima-kun. We've been friends since Junior high!" She sounded certain and composed.Bookmark here

"Okay... More people means more fun, right?" I awkwardly laughed.Bookmark here

"Right!" She leaned forwards, inches away from my face.Bookmark here

I then realized something vital.
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“Wait, can I invite Okumori-kun too?” I spat out in a hurry.Bookmark here

“Well, sure we c- Wait, who?” She paused, her face of amusement turning into a stumped one.Bookmark here

“Okumori-kun,” I repeated.Bookmark here

“Why?”Bookmark here

“Well, why not..?” I asked questionably.Bookmark here

I turned around and saw Okumori, who was simply watching us with his cheek placed on his palm while he listened to his music. He shook his head at me.Bookmark here

I nodded my head.Bookmark here

He shook his head. I nodded my head harder now. Bookmark here

He shook his head harder in response.Bookmark here

We both ended up glaring at each other intensely.Bookmark here

“Miyake-san..?” Iwasaki had a puzzled look.Bookmark here

“Yeah, he’s coming with us.” I glanced at her.Bookmark here

“Wel-” She scratched her cheek anxiously.Bookmark here

“Iwasaki-san. It's going to be fine, trust me.” I interrupted her.Bookmark here

“Fine...” She replied, seeming to give up on arguing against it.Bookmark here

I looked back at Okumori and nodded happily. He sighed, placing down his arms and resting his head on them. I then looked back to Iwasaki, who had an abashed look on her face.Bookmark here

“Kojima-kun won’t hate it either, would he?” I asked in a curious tone.Bookmark here

“N-no, I don’t think.” She mumbled.Bookmark here

“Great!” I chuckled, patting her shoulder.Bookmark here

“We’re heading there after school, so we’ll meet you two by the entrance.”Bookmark here

“Okay!” I nodded.Bookmark here

“I'm going to erm, go to my class now.” Iwasaki waved at me, then exited the class hastily.Bookmark here

I waved in response and turned around, approaching my seat. I would look over to Okumori, who still had his face planted in his arms.Bookmark here

“Okumori-kun, it’s not a bad thing to be with people every now and then.” I sighed, sitting down. “It’ll be fun for us, don’t worry. I won’t make Iwasaki-san do anything bad to you.”Bookmark here

"I'm not going." He interjected.Bookmark here

"Why not?" I groaned.Bookmark here

I watched as Okumori raised his head and glared at me.Bookmark here

"Okumori-kun, do you hate Iwasaki-san?" I finally had the courage to ask.Bookmark here

"Your intuitions good, but that's about it." He grumbled.Bookmark here

"Ouch." I whimpered.Bookmark here

I honestly didn’t know what happened between them, and judging from Okumori’s reaction, I assumed it wasn’t necessarily good. Bookmark here

Okumori looked back down to his arms, burying his head inside again.Bookmark here

“Okumori-kun, did you even get enough sleep?” I asked worryingly.Bookmark here

He didn’t respond.Bookmark here

“You know, if it makes you feel any better, the reason I was running this morning was that I woke up late.” I attempted to comfort him.Bookmark here

He’d nod under his arms.Bookmark here

“Are you answering to you not getting enough sleep or acknowledging me running late?”Bookmark here

He nodded again.Bookmark here

“I’m assuming it was both,” I said in a monotonous voice.Bookmark here

He nodded the third time.Bookmark here

Trying to have a conversation with him would be hard. He didn't talk much at all, and it sometimes made me a little infuriated. Though, hearing from his mom that he had a perfectly good reason for it, I didn't know whether to let him off the hook or take it as a mere excuse.Bookmark here

“Hmm. Well, if you’re going to sleep, at least take off your earbuds.” I sighed, reaching over and trying to grab one of his earbuds.Bookmark here

He moved his head away from me in response, trying to avoid my hand.Bookmark here

“I’ll tell everyone what happened yesterday,” I said jokingly. Of course, I only said it to see Okumori’s reaction.Bookmark here

Okumori froze, then rapidly grabbed his earbuds and pulled them out of his ears, shoving them inside his pocket.Bookmark here

Astounded at how fast he had done it, I felt remorseful.Bookmark here

“I-I was joking..."Bookmark here

Upon hearing me, he slowly pulled back out his earbuds, trying to put them back on.Bookmark here

“Wait, wait, just leave them off. Or else.” I wanted Okumori to at least listen to the class.Bookmark here

I heard him grumble under his arms, putting the earbuds back inside his pocket.Bookmark here

The class would start. Okumori was supposedly dozing off in his seat while I was writing down the notes and listening to the teacher. I was surprised that the teacher didn’t even bother to wake up Okumori. Either the teacher didn’t care, or he didn’t notice.Bookmark here

That was also another thing about Okumori. No one seems to notice him at all. Everyone walked past him without a second thought. From my perspective, it looked like no one in the classroom talked to him or even acknowledged him except me. I started to wonder. Did Okumori like that lifestyle? Being such a confined person and extremely introverted seemed, well, as much as I hate to say it, rather mundane.Bookmark here

But, who was I to judge? I clearly don't know his motives or anything about him at all. His skittish and unpredictable nature was extremely hard to read. I had no idea what he was thinking at all. I just hoped he wasn't a good liar because it'd only complicate the circumstances we were in even further. Bookmark here

Soon, school ended. I rose from my seat and looked at Okumori, who was I assume completely knocked out on his seat.Bookmark here

“Okumori-kun. School ended, get up...” I nudged his arm lightly.Bookmark here

He’d groan, looking up at me with his semi-closed eyes.Bookmark here

“We have to go meet Iwasaki-san and Kojima-kun at the gate, remember?"Bookmark here

I watched his eyes widen as he immediately looked away upon hearing what I said.Bookmark here

“Hey! Don’t ignore me!” I nudged his arm even harder.Bookmark here

He groaned, not budging to move in the slightest.Bookmark here

“Okumori-kun, I’m seriously going to tell everyone what happened if you don’t come with me.” I sighed. Bookmark here

"You can try to blackmail me all you want, but I'm not going." He said groggily.Bookmark here

Without hesitation, I stepped back and cupped my hands around my mouth. Okumori looked over at me with a confused look.Bookmark here

"Everyone! Okumori-kun has a smal-!"
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Instantly, he lunged at me and tightly gripped my shoulders. He looked at me with his flustered face as he grit his teeth.Bookmark here

"Does this mean you're coming?" I teased.Bookmark here

Okumori nodded rapidly. He let go of my shoulders and grabbed his bag, pointing over at the doorway to indicate that I should go ahead. I recoiled back at his swift movements.
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“T-That was fast. You really don’t want anyone knowing, do you?” I stood there, startled.Bookmark here

He gave me an Obviously look. I let out a giggle, then grabbing my bag and walking out.Bookmark here

"Come on, follow me!" I joyously spoke.Bookmark here

Okumori grumbled in return, then continued to walk.Bookmark here

We both walked out of the classroom and headed straight to the school gate to where Iwasaki and her friend were. We’d approach the school gates, soon catching sight of Iwasaki and some guy beside her. I presume that's Kojima? I took a closer look and examined him.Bookmark here

He was around the same height as Okumori. He had a skinny body type, dark brown wavy hair, and emerald green eyes. Kojima also had a bike beside him, which made me moderately envious that he had a means of transportation, while I had to run for my life to reach school earlier today just so I wouldn't be late.Bookmark here

“Iwasaki-san!” I waved, approaching the two. While I came, I glanced over to Okumori, who continued to space out with a weary expression.Bookmark here

“Hi, Miyake-san!”Bookmark here

Iwasaki waved contentedly. Kojima, who was beside her, gave out a wave with a smile as well.Bookmark here

“Erm, hey. I’m Ichiro Kojima. A pleasure to meet you.” Kojima bowed. Bookmark here

“My name is Youko Miyake, a pleasure to meet you too!” I bowed back.Bookmark here

Kojima would then look over to Okumori, reintroducing himself. Okumori didn’t respond and simply stared at him. Kojima realized this, a sly smile on his face. Bookmark here

“Er, his name is Toshiro Okumori. He doesn’t talk much.” I informed, placing a gentle hand on Okumori's shoulder.Bookmark here

Okumori grabbed my wrist and pulled it away from his shoulder, then letting go of it as he looked away from us and stared at the sky.Bookmark here

Kojima blinked, his eyes not leaving Okumori.Bookmark here

“Oh, um, I assume that’s fine? We’re all nervous here, right?” He let out an awkward chuckle, scratching the back of his head.Bookmark here

Okumori stared at him with his expressionless face. It only made Kojima more awkward. I could see his ears starting to turn red from being uncomfortable.Bookmark here

I looked over at Iwasaki, who had a forced smile this whole time. It was clear as day that she didn't like the presence of Okumori. It made me debate whether it was worth it bringing him along. Bookmark here

Something terrible happened between those two, hasn't it?Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.