Note: Chapters might be released weekly now. It just depends on whether I have the time or not. Thanks!
After Miyake had caught me trying to meddle in some first-year problems without her, she had a foul mood directed at me for the rest of the week as if she was some type of spoiled child. Every time she caught sight of me, she always looked away hastily and pouted; which was completely fine by me. If that meant that she wouldn't bother me anymore, then I'm all for it.
It was now Saturday morning, and Miyake hadn't talked to me since. However, I had felt more relaxed and composed now with Miyake gone. Seeming that I was always tired and stressed due to how many social interactions she forced me into, a simple day by myself was more soothing and peaceful than ever before.
Considering the fact that I was essentially being forced against my will to go to the mall tomorrow, a day by myself was all I needed to mentally prepare.
And so, here I was. On my bed and still half asleep. Only after fifteen minutes of groggily squirming around my bed trying to fall asleep, I finally rose from my bed and squinted, gazing around my messy room. I yawned, lifting my arms in the air and stretching as I did so. I then grasped my blanket, pulling it away from my body.
This time, I was wearing clothes. Yes. Clothes. Ever since Miyake had inadvertently seen my bare body twice, I started to fear that she might see the third time, so I ended up creating the habit of making sure to wear clothes before I went to sleep.
I moved my legs away from the bed, setting them down on the carpet floor and standing up. I stood, scanning the room for a few seconds before spotting my phone that was set on my table, which was right beside my pair of white earbuds. I grabbed both of them and shoved them inside my pocket.
I then lazily made my way to the kitchen, rubbing my eyes with my hands while walking. Once I had been in reach of the kitchen drawers, I opened them and peeked inside.
It only took a few seconds until I found a pill bottle hiding behind some medicine boxes. I reached inside and grabbed it, pulling it outside from the drawer. With my eyes still being soporific from staying up too late, I had to lean in closer and squint my eyes to see the label.
It took me a second, but I'd eventually read what was labeled on the bottle. In a bold font, it had been named: Paroxetine.
After realizing its name and what it was, I set my hand on the lid firmly and pulled it upwards hearing a small click, then twisting it to the right. The lid came off without any struggle, as I placed it down on the table.
I then tilted the bottle over to the left, hitting it on the table lightly as one of the pills exited the bottle, whirling around before finally falling over and remaining still. I set the bottle back on the table, closing it shut with the lid by pushing it down and twisting it to the left. I then grabbed a glass cup and filled it up with water using the faucet.
I inserted the tablet in my mouth, swallowing it down with the water. I let out a relieved sigh once I had gulped it down, then set the cup back down on the table. After I had taken my medicine, I made my way over to the bathroom.
Once I had entered, I stared at the sink that was before me expressionlessly. I lifted my arm, rubbing my eyes with my hands, then started to brush my teeth.
As soon as I had inserted the toothbrush inside my mouth, I heard knocking from the front door.
Straightaway, I let out a jaded groan. My mom was most likely still asleep around this time, so that left me in charge of the house until then. Seeing how I was still drowsy from waking up, I ended up ignoring whoever was on the front door.
The person didn't stop, though, and continued knocking.
They're desperate, aren't they?
After five minutes of relentless and aggravating knocking, I finally mustered up the courage to answer. With my bed hair and the toothbrush still in my mouth, I stomped my way over irately, grabbing the door handle and slamming it open. The person who was outside let out a frightened shriek in return.
I looked up, seeing Miyake standing right in front of me.
"Um... Hi! Could we talk for-"
I gripped the door handle tightly, then shutting the door closed, interrupting Miyake's question. I couldn't care less about her sudden question, only wanting to rest in serenity. I wasn't going to have my off day ruined by her never-ending chattering.
I went back inside my bathroom and continued to brush my teeth. Finally, I'd finish as I placed my toothbrush back in a glass cup that sat beside the sink. I exited outside, about to enter my room.
"Okumori-kun! I want to talk!"
Perplexed, I looked over in the direction of the voice. Upon the sight I was met with, I became dismayed. I could see Miyake's head peeking from one of the windows, waving at me optimistically. Her voice was muffled behind the window, but I could hear her loud and clear.
"Hey! Let me in!" She called, looking directly at me.
"Tch," I grumbled.
I stormed my way to the window, pulling it upwards and scowling at Miyake. I waited for her to say what she had needed to say. Her face turned into a beam, as she took a few steps back. I watched her in puzzlement.
"I'm coming in, Okumori-kun!" She yelled.
Instantly, I knew what she was doing. Hastily, I tried to grab the window to slam it shut, but my attempt was unsuccessful as I felt a bear hug clasp around me. Already knowing what was going to happen, I let out a small sigh.
A grunt came out of me as her arms tightly connected around my arms, both of us falling on the floor with a loud crash. As we landed, I expressionlessly stared at the ceiling above me with a fatigued feeling in my body.
"Ouch." I blankly muttered.
"Sorry!" Miyake quickly said.
She was on top of me, looking at me remorsefully. She then got off, wiping away whatever dust or particles came into contact with her clothing with her hands. Miyake, seeing that I was still on the ground and too tired to move, crouched down and looked at me with her head tilted.
"Okumori-kun?" She questioned, concerned.
With my somnolent eyes, I looked over.
"Are you going to get up...?"
I shook my head.
Miyake tilted her head more to the left, staring at me with slight worry.
"Did you get enough sleep, Okumori-kun? You look gloomy."
She then paused, looking away and arching her eyebrows. "Well, you were always gloomy... Am I worrying about nothing?" She looked back down at me.
I moved my head up and down.
Miyake sighed, sitting down next to me.
"Hey, tell me. Does it hurt for you to smile? The only time you've smiled was when we first met in that convenience store. I could tell it wasn't a real smile either." She sounded bitter.
I didn't respond in any way, simply staring at the light brown ceiling. I was simply too tired to move. That wild stunt of Miyake's immobilized me.
"Do I have to use my fingers to force you to smile?" She leaned forwards.
What? Is she going to tickle me? I scowled at her, hoping that she wouldn't. But, instead of tickling me, she did something unexpected.
Miyake was now inches away from my face, inspecting me. She then pulled away and lifted both of her index fingers, then placing them on the sides of my mouth. I felt her nails slightly pierce my skin as she pulled upwards.
"Hmm... I don't feel anything exciting from you..." She indicated.
I blankly stared at her, before lightly slapping her hands away from my mouth. I now sat upwards, glowering at her.
I didn't know whether to feel relieved or irritated about what she just did. Frankly, I just felt indifferent about it. Though, it was much more superior than being tickled.
"Sorry. Does that count as a smile? I don't think it does. You should seriously smile, Okumori-kun."
It's already been a few minutes ever since she's entered and I was already mentally drained. I grouched, raising my hand and waving it right to left.
Though, something felt odd with her. Generally, Miyake would be speaking with exuberance right now, but instead, she had been speaking in more of a humorless manner.
Miyake rested her arms down on her lap, now looking at me in more of a composed expression.
"I wanted to apologize for not talking to you the other day." She lowered her head.
As she bowed, I stared at her in slight hatred. I had been enjoying it, Miyake. Why couldn't you keep ignoring me?
She then rose her head and pouted, moving her head away from me and keeping silent.
After a few seconds, I noticed that she wasn't willing to say anything, so I decided to stand up and start walking away. But, as soon as I took the first step, she tugged on my shirt. I stopped, looking over at her. That sullen pout of hers was still present, as her index finger and thumb were still attached to my shirt.
Finally, she spoke.
"I'm not mad anymore." She grumbled sourly.
No, you definitely are. Your expressions say the exact opposite. I huffed, facing away from her. I was starting to get impatient, as the thought of me winging it and sprinting to my room was slowly turning into an ideal option.
"No, I'm still mad! You should've asked me for help!" She then added, looking back at me.
That's the tenth time she's said that. I gave her a disgruntled look, already uninterested.
"You didn't find anything at all in that classroom, did you, Okumori-kun?"
I paused, directing my eyesight over to the floor. I shook my head once more.
I saw Miyake let go of my shirt, lifting her legs closer to her torso and hugging them with her arms.
"You know, the teachers wouldn't put any valuable information about their students inside their desk unguarded. You wouldn't have found anything important at all."
I let out a tired nod to her statement. In a way, she was right. Deep down, I had the feeling that I wouldn't find anything, but just the mere thought of sneaking into a classroom and possibly finding something important was enough to make me feel slightly amused.
"I did my research by the way. Shiori-chan's an idol."
I looked over at her, intrigued. Of course, I had already known that information, but I hadn't necessarily looked into it. I waited patiently.
"She dances. Pretty good at it too. She's popular with the dancing agencies." Miyake pointed out.
As soon as I heard the word 'dances,' I immediately remembered who she was. Shiori was that girl on the TV the other day who was dancing with joviality.
"Shiori-chan's a whole different person when it comes to dancing. I've seen the footage. She seems very happy when she does it, but she turns into this gloomy girl once she's in school. It's like two different people." She sorrowfully spoke.
Miyake had said what I had been thinking. If someone were to compare her personality between her on TV and her in-school self, the difference would be spotted in a millisecond.
Miyake simply stared at the wooden floor she sat on, a rather glum look on her face.
"...You saw what happened to Shiori-chan, didn't you?" She asked in remorse.
I reluctantly nodded.
Miyake took a second to think, then her gaze meeting with mine.
"We don't have to be friends with her, but don't you think we should at least help her? I mean, her situation looks bad."
I was speechless by her terrible question. I paused for a second before waving my hand at her and shaking my head. The suggestion that came out of Miyake's mouth was simply idiotic.
Helping someone was just for self-satisfaction. Without supporting someone, you feel guilt come over you. In fact, I believe that there was no such thing as called "generosity."
Generosity was just a mere word to deceive you. It's just a cover-up for selfishness. Motivated by their egocentric self, they find ways to satisfy themselves. Under that so-called "generosity" is a simple act to boost their ego.
And that makes me want to hurl.
Helping someone was also just an excuse for friendship; to earn their trust whether it was intentional or not. And once you earn that trust, they start to rely on you more and more in the future.
I didn't want to befriend anyone. Or in simpler words, I didn't want to be depended on. Not again. Especially by someone who had been stalking me. That proposal of hers completely contradicted her "We don't have to be friends with her." statement.
Miyake rested the right side of her face on her knees, looking at me sideways.
"Okumori-kun, shouldn't we at least do something? Judging on how oddly she tried to befriend you, it seemed that she doesn't have much experience in those types of relationships. It's sad to see her being thrown around like that."
What? That doesn't excuse her actions at all. What happened to that animosity Miyake gave me when she told me to do something about it? Irritated by her dreadful and sympathetic sentence, I looked at her with a surly frown.
"If you want to help her yourself, then go right ahead." I groused.
"You're no fun." She replied. I couldn't necessarily tell if her statement was a sarcastic or a serious one, which slightly puzzled me.
Taking in her compliment with ease, I shrugged and started to walk away from her.
"Okumori-kun? Where are you going?" She asked, watching me with curiousness.
I walked over to the living room and grabbed a random sweatshirt, sliding it on. I inserted my hands in my pockets, walking outside the house. Simply put, I was going to relax by walking outside. If Miyake was going to stay in my house, my only option of soothing my head was by walking around.
"Groceries," I replied.
"Huh? Wait! I still have to-!"
I closed the door behind me, ignoring what she had to say and serenely ambling on the sidewalk.
Truthfully, I had no idea where I was going. If I got lost, so be it. I'd do anything to stay away from the house as of now. I watched the sky as I walked, the clouds peacefully and slowly moving.
I took a breath and inhaled the smell of trees and leaves filling my nose. I closed my eyes and exhaled, then opening them and staring into the concrete floor I walked on.
While I walked, I realized something vital. What was Miyake going to do? Even if she does manage to help Shiori, what would change? What was Miyake's end goal in this situation?
How do you even help a teenager who gets bullied relentlessly and doesn't know how relationships work?
But, as I say this, I'm thinking of myself as well. Because it's been so long ever since I've had a true relationship, I too, have lost the grasp of how they function. So, how does someone help a person like me? Why do they help people like me?
Isn't that just pity?
Or, that so-called "generosity?"
I don't know.
I approached a vending machine, pulling out my wallet and feeding some yen into it, ordering some cigarettes. I watched the box of cigarettes drop to the bottom, as I crouched down and reached inside.
I pulled the small box out, inspecting it and looking at the name.
I anxiously walked away from the vending machine, wandering over to a bench and taking my seat as I stared at my shoes. I slowly pulled the pack of cigarettes up to my face, staring at the name once more.
"I don't care anymore," I muttered nonchalantly, sighing, then opening the pack and pulling one out.
With my free hand, I grabbed a match that also came with the box, using the bottom of the box to light it up. I stared at the fire on my hand, twirling it around.
Then, I inserted the cigarette in my mouth and slowly pulled the fiery match onto the tip. After a few seconds, it lit up as the smoke entered my mouth. I grabbed the cigarette using my two fingers, pulling it away from my mouth as I breathed out.
I stopped breathing, looking over in bewilderment.