We all left for the café, with the air between Okumori and Iwasaki being tense. I could see them scowling at each other every few seconds, which slightly horrified me. We eventually arrived, taking our seats in a booth. The two rivals sat across from each other, as did me and Kojima.
Okumori was surprisingly cooperative with the waitress. More cooperative to her than us, at least. He didn’t talk, but he simply pointed to the drink he had wanted, as the waitress nodded and wrote it down. She’d leave after taking all our orders and soon came back, handing us our drinks.
I looked over to Kojima, who was staring at me intently.
Realizing what he was doing, he blinked and averted his gaze away, scratching his nape nervously. "Sorry. It's just... I heard there was a new girl today at the school, and I was just checking you out to see if the rumors were true."
"R-Rumors? What kind of rumors?"
Kojima and the Okumori looked away from me nervously, making me worried if the rumors were terrible.
"They're terrible rumors, aren't they?" I sighed. "Well, I can't really blame them-"
Kojima cleared his throat, hitting his chest three times with his fist, before taking a deep breath. "No, they're not exactly terrible..."
I stopped, looking at him intriguingly.
"I'm pretty sure ninety percent of the males in our school has fallen in love with you."
I froze. My face slowly turned red at his statement. Anxiously, I looked down at the table and placed my palms on my cheeks.
"W-Well... I'm used to that too..."
"I-I'm sure." Kojima stuttered upon seeing my flustered face.
He took a deep breath again.
"Okumori-kun, on the other hand, is getting the short end of the stick." A sigh came out of him.
Okumori and I looked over at him instantly.
"What? How?" I lowered my hands.
"The guys have been bad-mouthing him. No joke. They think he's your boyfriend or something."
"But he's not... We're just friends, right?"
I looked over to Okumori, who closed his eyes and sighed. Even though he didn't respond, we understood what he was saying.
"Also, plotting? Seriously?" I said indignantly.
"Guys are dangerous when it comes to jealousy." Kojima blankly replied.
Amazed by his confident answer, I looked over to Okumori again with a perturbed feeling. He wearily nodded, agreeing to Kojima's comment. Was this my fault? What if he gets beat up by a group of guys?
"So... How do we avoid Okumori being hated? I don't want him getting beat up because of me... I don't think I could be able to carry that guilt with me." I desperately asked.
"Well, the only way I can think of is just... As much as I hate to say it, but not hang out with him?" Kojima tried sounding polite.
"What?! No! I won't do it." I exclaimed.
I look over to Okumori to see his response. Instead, he had his hands clasped together in prayer, closing his eyes as he nodded rapidly.
I paused, then looked back at Kojima. "I'm still not doing it!"
"You're really connected to him, aren't you?" He joked.
"Y-Yes? No!" I flailed my arms.
"Are you sure you two aren't dating?"
"As I said, we're just friends!" I denied his question sharply, pointing at him.
"Fine, fine, I understand. Judging from how you two interact, it doesn't seem all lovey-dovey to me anyways..." Kojima surrendered his hands.
"Because it isn't..." I groaned.
Kojima chuckled. "Well, maybe I can try to persuade their minds?"
"How do you plan to do that?" I said, still slightly irritated from earlier.
"Rumors are easy to spread, no?" He placed his arms on the table. "Though, if I say you two are just friends, it won't do much to change their minds. Added with the fact that Okumori-kun is also new to the school, he'll most likely be targeted by the third-years or even some strong guys in our year."
"New?" I looked up at him.
"He is new, right?" Kojima questioned.
"No, he isn't." Iwasaki finally spoke, but in a hard tone.
Kojima and I looked over to her, somewhat frightened while Okumori simply stared at Iwasaki blankly, the sound of him sipping his Vanilla Bean Frappuccino loud enough to make Iwasaki let out a low but angered grunt.
Kojima waved his hand in front of her face.
"Huh? Oh, sorry, what were we talking about?" She smiled.
Kojima took a quick glance at me with a worried look, then gulped and faced back to Iwasaki.
"We were just uh, talking about Miyake-san's and Okumori-kun's status at school..."
Disturbed by her swift change of moods, I nodded nervously.
Kojima and I went silent for a few seconds once we heard her response. Kojima blinked, then looked back at me.
“A-anyways, uh, I’m pretty happy I got to talk to you. The guys in my class are going to freak out.” Kojima said jokingly.
Trying to alleviate the mood, I smiled.
We continued to talk about school and things relating to it, with the knowledge that Okumori and Iwasaki had most likely been telepathically arguing with each other right beside me. It seemed Kojima also knew the situation, as he always gave out worried looks over to Iwasaki every few seconds.
Eventually, Kojima finally had the guts to converse with Iwasaki.
“Iwasaki-san... You’ve been really quiet. It's kind of horrifying.” He’d wave a hand over to her face.
"Sorry... I'll pay attention now."
The two would talk to each other freely while I watched them. I looked over to Okumori and realized that he had been staring out the window, watching the cherry blossom trees that bloomed.
I sighed, noticing that he didn’t want any part of our conversation. I’d look down at the table and see my drink I had ordered in front of me. I hadn't even perceived that it was there. It was melting, with the whipped cream slowly dripping from the side and reaching its way down on the table. I sighed, taking a paper towel and wiping it.
While I was doing so, the waitress from earlier had approached us with a drink in her tray, placing it down in front of Okumori with an amiable smile.
Okumori nodded back, taking his cup. I blinked. He ordered another one?! I mean, seriously, that first one he had was massive! Was his metabolism level high? I'm so jealous of it. Just eating a ton of food without any repercussions was such a dream for me! I'd feel insecure and heavy after drinking two large cups of Frappuccino's, yet here was Okumori, drinking away and yet still have a fit body.
But, not only that, did the waitress just smile at him? Do they know each other? I glanced back at Okumori, who started to drink from his cup with his straw. He didn’t give the waitress another look and stared out the window again.
I looked back at the waitress, who let out a slight blush and pranced away. My jaw was open, as well as my eyes. I blinked to regain my focus, then tapping Okumori’s shoulder.
“Okumori-kun. Okumori-kun.” I nudged his shoulder with my hand.
He’d turn around and looked at me, taking off his left earbud to listen.
“Do you know people in this café?”
Okumori shook his head confusingly.
“I just watched the waitress dance away after giving you your drink. Are you sure?” I looked at him with an eccentric face.
He nodded his head firmly to my question.
“Like, you're definitely sure?"
He nodded harder now.
Then, that meant something that I didn't even think was possible! Still befuddled, I nodded and faced away from Okumori, who continued sipping his drink. I’d spot the waitress who was behind the counter and talking with two other girls. The three were looking in our direction, more specifically towards Okumori. It took me a few seconds to realize what they were doing.
Aww. People are acknowledging him! Even though it was blatantly clear that they had an interest in him, I was contented. It's like my son won his first soccer game! I raised my fist in accomplishment, then merrily grabbed the straw that was inserted inside my cup and drinking.
I realized Okumori was staring at me in a displeased way. Assuming he had seen me celebrate, I awkwardly waved at him.
"I-It was nothing," I said, my words being slightly muffled due to me still having my lips wrapped around the straw.
He slowly nodded.
"Stop looking at me like that. It's embarrassing." I pulled away from my cup.
He sighed and shook his head, which only made me feel even more ashamed of what I did. Shaking off my flustered self, I decided to think of something to talk about.
"Okumori-kun, you didn't write down the notes from earlier, right?"
He immediately froze, then gently shook his head.
"Figures. You were knocked out on your desk." I sighed.
I grabbed my bag, taking out my school supplies, and setting them on the table. Across the table was my notebook and some pencils, with a lot of handwriting already on the notebook. Okumori stared at it in intimidation.
"It's your fault for not paying attention, you know?"
I brought my drink and myself closer to Okumori to help him. I pointed at the first few sentences.
"Write this down first. It'll probably be on the test."
He’d notice, looking down at the notebook then at me with a puzzled face.
“You didn’t write down the notes earlier, right? Copy mine.”
He’d nod slowly, taking out his notebook and placing it on the table. He looked at me again with a You're sure? type of face.
“Yes, I'm sure," I replied lazily.
Okumori grumbled in return, before following my instructions. He hesitantly grabbed his pencil and started writing, looking back and forth between the two notebooks. While Okumori and I were busy focusing on the notes, Kojima interrupted us.
“Miyake-san, next week me and Iwasaki decided we’d go to a karaoke, do you want to come? You can invite anyone else, of course.” Kojima asked.
“Huh? A karaoke? Erm. I don’t know for sure, but I’ll try to make my schedule open.” I looked up to him, astonished at his sudden invitation.
“It’s fine if you don’t make it. Iwasaki and I can always make up.” He looked over to Iwasaki with a nod, to which she nodded back nervously. I presumed that she didn’t expect such a bold question from Kojima either.
“Okay, sure.” I smiled.
After that small talk, I had the urge to use the bathroom. Seeing that Kojima was there, I felt safe that Okumori and Iwasaki wouldn't do anything while I was gone.
"Okumori-kun, I'm going to use the bathroom real quick... Just keep writing, and I'll check to see what you've done when I'm back."
Okumori nodded, then continued. Relieved that he followed my order with no retaliation, I stood up from the booth and made my way over to the bathroom. Finishing after a few minutes, I exited and started to walk over to the booth.
"I still don't like you," Iwasaki spoke.
Instantly freezing, I hid behind the wall beside the bathroom. I slowly peeked over and saw that Kojima was gone, with Iwasaki giving Okumori a death stare. Where was Kojima at? I trusted that he'd stay there, so where was he now?
"Who said you had to like me? If it makes you feel better, I don't like you either." Okumori spoke, his deep voice causing Iwasaki to pause.
"So, why are you friends with Miyake-san?" She crossed her arms, changing the subject.
"It's a one-sided relationship."
"That doesn't make it any better, you idiot." She declared.
"I don't care," Okumori replied with no remorse in his voice.
Even though Okumori was absolutely correct with his statement about our relationship, it hurt to hear him say it so bluntly. I sighed, then continued watching them from afar.
"Why are you so rude? Does it affect you that much?" Iwasaki complained.
Okumori slammed his fist on the table, the surrounding people around our booth pausing and looking over.
"Of course it does. Did you really think I could recover easily from what happened?" He growled.
I widened my eyes. Seeing him actually be agitated was terrifying. I continued to pay close attention, yet also debating whether I should intervene before it got worse.
"Miyake-san? Oh, hey! What's wrong-?" A familiar voice called out.
I glanced over and saw Kojima, waving and making his way over. Almost immediately, I lunged forwards at him and grabbed his shirt, pulling him aside and pinning him to the wall with my hands on the walls so he couldn't go anywhere.
"Shut up!" I raised a finger to my mouth.
Kojima let out a sly smile, then talking.
"I-I like you too, you know? I don't really know much about you yet, but you seem like a really nice girl! You're so forward too... I think this relationship could work out. It scared me though, seeing how you pinned me to the wall. That's normally a guy thing to do, but yet here you are. Man, I think I fell in love with you when I first saw you-"
"What are you talking about?!" I silently exclaimed at him.
"Huh? What do you mean?" He now all of a sudden looked perplexed. "Aren't you about to confess to me?"
I was speechless for a split second before I balled up my fist and socked him in the stomach.
"Eugh!" He let out a loud grunt, holding his stomach.
"I'm not confessing to you at all, you pervert! Why did you think that at all? And confessing your love to me all of a sudden? How weak are you?! I'm just trying to hide both of us!"
"Hide... Both of us?" He groaned, still hurt from my punch.
While he was moaning and crying, I peeked over and checked to see what I had missed.
"You're acting like a baby about it, Okumori-kun. Just get over it." Iwasaki's tone got angrier.
"You're one of the ones who made me this way! Do you actually think I could get over it that fast? She's dead!" Okumori stood up, yelling, catching the attention of the whole cafe.
I froze. Dead? Who?
"I know that! And you're here making such a big deal out of it! Why can't you just put it in the past?!"
"You know and I know that you haven't recovered either! Stop being such a hypocrite and say it! I hate it! I hate the way you try to act so confidently yet so hurt! It's so damn obvious!" Okumori retaliated.
Kojima peeked over now, trying to see what had happened.
Okumori slapped his drink away from the table, it hitting the ground as the glass broke with the liquid splattering everywhere on the floor.
Iwasaki was speechless, staying in one position as she stared at him in disbelief.
I needed to do something. Quick.
I ran over and grabbed Okumori's shoulder, tightly gripping it.
"What?" He looked over at me.
His eyes that used to be mostly tired and weary was now wide and enraged. Shocked at what he looked like, I had to tell myself that I needed to do something repeatedly.
"T-That's enough, Okumori-kun. Everyone's looking at you!" I pointed out.
Okumori's eyes calmed down, as he started looking at his surroundings. Realizing what he had done, he immediately made his way towards the exit.
"Okumori-kun!" I called out.
He ignored me, opening the cafe door and slamming it behind him, the bell that rang whenever someone entered making a loud sound. I looked over to Kojima, who had grasped what was happening with an aghast look on his face. We met eyes, then nodded to each other. I then grabbed our school supplies and shoved them inside my school bag, soon making my way out of the cafe to follow Okumori.
Presuming that Kojima would handle the employees and Iwasaki, I'd have to make it up for him soon.
"Okumori-kun! Okumori-kun!" I called out, jogging over beside him.
"Stay away from me." He stated, stomping.
"No. I won't."
He stopped for a second upon hearing my reply, then continued walking away furiously.
"I'm not going to ask what happened, nor will I even bother. But, don't you think yelling at her was a little overboard?"
"Overboard? Are you joking with me? Did you even hear what she was saying?"
I didn't respond.
"Stop getting in my business. It's frankly annoying and I don't like being in your presence. I don't understand why you're still following me after all this time. If what I did back there couldn't change your mind, then I don't know what will." He fussed.
"Okumori-kun. Do you know what true friends are?"
I managed to catch his attention since he kept silent.
"Even if you're in the wrong, or do something terrible, someone who's a true friend won't leave you. Even though it's a one-sided relationship as you said, it won't stop me from being your friend."
I matched his walking pace, waiting for a response. He continued to keep silent for a few more seconds.
"If it's a one-sided relationship, is that really a friendship?" Okumori asked.
I froze. I didn't think of that, did I?
"Then... I'll make our friendship two-sided!" I raised my voice for him to hear.
He stopped, then turning around and looking at me. His usual dead eyes pierced my spine, with a more petrifying glare than ever before.
"Continue dreaming." He blankly replied.
He then looked away and kept walking.
"It'll become true..." I mumbled.