Chapter 4:

As if Youko Miyake couldn't get anymore curious. (2)


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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

I looked over to Kojima, who was staring at me intently.
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"Kojima-kun..?"Bookmark here

"Huh?" Bookmark here

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."
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"R-Rumors? What kind of rumors?"Bookmark here

Kojima and the Okumori looked away from me nervously, making me worried if the rumors were terrible. Bookmark here

"They're terrible rumors, aren't they?" I sighed. "Well, I can't really blame them-"Bookmark here

Kojima cleared his throat, hitting his chest three times with his fist, before taking a deep breath. "No, they're not exactly terrible..."Bookmark here

I stopped, looking at him intriguingly.Bookmark here

"I'm pretty sure ninety percent of the males in our school has fallen in love with you."Bookmark here

I froze. My face slowly turned red at his statement. Anxiously, I looked down at the table and placed my palms on my cheeks.Bookmark here

"W-Well... I'm used to that too..."Bookmark here

"I-I'm sure." Kojima stuttered upon seeing my flustered face.Bookmark here

He took a deep breath again.Bookmark here

"Okumori-kun, on the other hand, is getting the short end of the stick." A sigh came out of him.Bookmark here

Okumori and I looked over at him instantly.Bookmark here

"What? How?" I lowered my hands.Bookmark here

"The guys have been bad-mouthing him. No joke. They think he's your boyfriend or something."Bookmark here

"But he's not... We're just friends, right?"Bookmark here

I looked over to Okumori, who closed his eyes and sighed. Even though he didn't respond, we understood what he was saying.Bookmark here

"Also, plotting? Seriously?" I said indignantly.Bookmark here

"Guys are dangerous when it comes to jealousy." Kojima blankly replied.Bookmark here

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?Bookmark here

"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.Bookmark here

"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.Bookmark here

"What?! No! I won't do it." I exclaimed.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

I paused, then looked back at Kojima. "I'm still not doing it!"Bookmark here

"You're really connected to him, aren't you?" He joked.Bookmark here

"Y-Yes? No!" I flailed my arms.Bookmark here

"Are you sure you two aren't dating?"Bookmark here

"As I said, we're just friends!" I denied his question sharply, pointing at him.Bookmark here

"Fine, fine, I understand. Judging from how you two interact, it doesn't seem all lovey-dovey to me anyways..." Kojima surrendered his hands.Bookmark here

"Because it isn't..." I groaned.Bookmark here

Kojima chuckled. "Well, maybe I can try to persuade their minds?"Bookmark here

"How do you plan to do that?" I said, still slightly irritated from earlier.Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

"New?" I looked up at him.Bookmark here

"He is new, right?" Kojima questioned.Bookmark here

"No, he isn't." Iwasaki finally spoke, but in a hard tone.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"I-Iwasaki-san?"Bookmark here

Kojima waved his hand in front of her face. Bookmark here

"Huh? Oh, sorry, what were we talking about?" She smiled.Bookmark here

Kojima took a quick glance at me with a worried look, then gulped and faced back to Iwasaki. Bookmark here

"We were just uh, talking about Miyake-san's and Okumori-kun's status at school..."Bookmark here

Disturbed by her swift change of moods, I nodded nervously.Bookmark here

"Oh. Okay."Bookmark here

Kojima and I went silent for a few seconds once we heard her response. Kojima blinked, then looked back at me.Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

Trying to alleviate the mood, I smiled. Bookmark here

"I'm sure."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Eventually, Kojima finally had the guts to converse with Iwasaki.Bookmark here

“Iwasaki-san... You’ve been really quiet. It's kind of horrifying.” He’d wave a hand over to her face.Bookmark here

"Sorry... I'll pay attention now."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Okumori-kun. Okumori-kun.” I nudged his shoulder with my hand.Bookmark here

He’d turn around and looked at me, taking off his left earbud to listen.Bookmark here

“Do you know people in this café?”Bookmark here

Okumori shook his head confusingly.Bookmark here

“I just watched the waitress dance away after giving you your drink. Are you sure?” I looked at him with an eccentric face.Bookmark here

He nodded his head firmly to my question.Bookmark here

“Like, you're definitely sure?"Bookmark here

He nodded harder now.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

I realized Okumori was staring at me in a displeased way. Assuming he had seen me celebrate, I awkwardly waved at him. Bookmark here

"I-It was nothing," I said, my words being slightly muffled due to me still having my lips wrapped around the straw.Bookmark here

He slowly nodded.Bookmark here

"Stop looking at me like that. It's embarrassing." I pulled away from my cup.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Okumori-kun, you didn't write down the notes from earlier, right?"Bookmark here

He immediately froze, then gently shook his head.Bookmark here

"Figures. You were knocked out on your desk." I sighed.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"It's your fault for not paying attention, you know?" Bookmark here

I brought my drink and myself closer to Okumori to help him. I pointed at the first few sentences.
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"Write this down first. It'll probably be on the test."Bookmark here

He’d notice, looking down at the notebook then at me with a puzzled face.
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“You didn’t write down the notes earlier, right? Copy mine.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Yes, I'm sure," I replied lazily.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

“Okay, sure.” I smiled.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"I still don't like you," Iwasaki spoke.Bookmark here

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?Bookmark here

"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.Bookmark here

"So, why are you friends with Miyake-san?" She crossed her arms, changing the subject.Bookmark here

"It's a one-sided relationship."Bookmark here

"That doesn't make it any better, you idiot." She declared.Bookmark here

"I don't care," Okumori replied with no remorse in his voice.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

"Why are you so rude? Does it affect you that much?" Iwasaki complained.Bookmark here

Okumori slammed his fist on the table, the surrounding people around our booth pausing and looking over.Bookmark here

"Of course it does. Did you really think I could recover easily from what happened?" He growled.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Miyake-san? Oh, hey! What's wrong-?" A familiar voice called out.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"M-M-Miyake-san?!"Bookmark here

"Shut up!" I raised a finger to my mouth.Bookmark here

Kojima let out a sly smile, then talking.Bookmark here

"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-"Bookmark here

"What are you talking about?!" I silently exclaimed at him.Bookmark here

"Huh? What do you mean?" He now all of a sudden looked perplexed. "Aren't you about to confess to me?"Bookmark here

I was speechless for a split second before I balled up my fist and socked him in the stomach.Bookmark here

"Eugh!" He let out a loud grunt, holding his stomach.Bookmark here

"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!"Bookmark here

"Hide... Both of us?" He groaned, still hurt from my punch.Bookmark here

While he was moaning and crying, I peeked over and checked to see what I had missed.Bookmark here

"You're acting like a baby about it, Okumori-kun. Just get over it." Iwasaki's tone got angrier.Bookmark here

"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. Bookmark here

I froze. Dead? Who?Bookmark here

"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?!"Bookmark here

"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.Bookmark here

Kojima peeked over now, trying to see what had happened.Bookmark here

Okumori slapped his drink away from the table, it hitting the ground as the glass broke with the liquid splattering everywhere on the floor.Bookmark here

Iwasaki was speechless, staying in one position as she stared at him in disbelief.Bookmark here

I needed to do something. Quick.
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I ran over and grabbed Okumori's shoulder, tightly gripping it.Bookmark here

"What?" He looked over at me.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"T-That's enough, Okumori-kun. Everyone's looking at you!" I pointed out.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Okumori-kun!" I called out.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Presuming that Kojima would handle the employees and Iwasaki, I'd have to make it up for him soon. Bookmark here

"Okumori-kun! Okumori-kun!" I called out, jogging over beside him.Bookmark here

"Stay away from me." He stated, stomping.Bookmark here

"No. I won't."Bookmark here

He stopped for a second upon hearing my reply, then continued walking away furiously.Bookmark here

"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?"Bookmark here

"Overboard? Are you joking with me? Did you even hear what she was saying?"Bookmark here

I didn't respond.Bookmark here

"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.Bookmark here

"Okumori-kun. Do you know what true friends are?"Bookmark here

I managed to catch his attention since he kept silent.Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

I matched his walking pace, waiting for a response. He continued to keep silent for a few more seconds.Bookmark here

"If it's a one-sided relationship, is that really a friendship?" Okumori asked.Bookmark here

I froze. I didn't think of that, did I?Bookmark here

"Then... I'll make our friendship two-sided!" I raised my voice for him to hear.Bookmark here

He stopped, then turning around and looking at me. His usual dead eyes pierced my spine, with a more petrifying glare than ever before.Bookmark here

"Continue dreaming." He blankly replied.Bookmark here

He then looked away and kept walking.Bookmark here

"It'll become true..." I mumbled.Bookmark here

I hope.Bookmark here

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