Chapter Fourteen: Lonely Girl:
Jun-kun looked happy today; I almost don't like it. Yes, I am happy that he is happy, but it's for the wrong reasons. I noticed it on our way to school.
"Jun-kun," I said at our usual pick-up spot. He glanced over at me.
"Hm?" he asked.
I shuffled my feet. "How was your night?"
He turned to me, grinning, "Great!"
I smiled and nodded. "Yeah…" I only smiled to keep down the pain. I wanted to tell him, "Jun-kun, I love you." However, that would be too weird. I don’t even know how Jun-kun would take it.
"How was your night?" he asked.
"Hm?" I asked. "Oh, just the usual."
"Studying?" he asked. I laughed.
"You know me too well," I said. Jun patted me on the head.
"You’re so cute," he said. I giggled at him. Those moments were the only time I felt happy. I could nearly forget about Sayako.
A red sports car pulled up to us at the bus stop. Sayako and her mom sat inside looking like royalty like they always did every single morning. Her mother smiled at us.
"Hey Naomi-chan, Jun-kun," she said. "How are you?"
"Good," Jun said. I nodded at her. My crush and I got into the car. Sayako looked at us from the passenger seat.
"You buckled up?" she asked.
"Yeah," we said. My friend turned to her mother.
"Let's go," she said. Her mom drove us to school.
As we all rode to school, my mind wandered back to last night. Sayako did it again; it was a guy in our class this time. I try not to think about it often. My attention went back to Jun. He made things worse. If he ended up on a date with Sayako…
I shuddered as I looked out the window at the passing scenery.
"Something wrong?" I heard someone ask. I about leapt out of my seat. Sayako's mom looked in the rear mirror at me.
"Did a spider crawl on you or something?" she asked. I quickly shook my head.
"No, no," I lied. "I'm fine."
"You sure?" she asked.
"Yes, Asahi-san," I replied. Asahi-didn't answer.
"Okay…" she said. I breathed out once I sensed that the tense died down. Sayako's mom doesn't know the truth. I can't tell her about what I saw that night; no one can know. School went on without incident. The whispering wasn't as bad as it usually was, but I had to get away.
During lunch, I wandered around the yard of the school. My skin felt numb to the autumn sun. Jun went to go eat lunch with the popular kids. This had turned into a habit of his. I don't like it; I'll end up invisible to him soon. But what can I do? I just want him to be happy, but what of me?
I was wandering to the school gardens when a flash of brown caught my eyes. I looked and saw a woman walking towards the campus. She didn't look Japanese, not that fully anyway. I almost felt jealous looking at her. She reminded me of Sayako in a good way. However, I couldn’t understand what this woman was doing here. Maybe she's lost?
I noticed the woman walking towards me as fast as she could. I stayed where I was as she approached me.
"Excuse me," she said. "Do you know where the main office is?"
"On the ground floor in the main building to your left," I said. "Why?" The woman gave me a little smile.
"I just wanted to surprise my boyfriend with lunch today," she said. The woman held up a bento to display. I looked at the food with big eyes.
"Did you make this?" I asked. The woman giggled.
"No, I bought it on the way here," she said.
"Don't you cook?" I asked.
"Nah," she said. "I never really learned how to cook a home cooked meal and my boyfriend can't cook to save his life." The woman nodded as she gave me an awkward smile. "So yeah," she said. "We're screwed." I gave her a puzzled look.
"Why can't you cook?" I asked.
"Too busy to learn," she said. The woman eyed me with intent. "What about you?" she asked. "Do you cook bento boxes for your boyfriend?" I sadly shook my head.
"No," I said. "I don't have a boyfriend." I noticed the woman eyeing me like I was a lost little orphan child.
"What's wrong?" she asked. I didn't speak. She leaned in close to me.
"Want to talk about it?" the woman asked. I looked at her with wide, blank eyes.
"But… I don't even know your name," I said. The woman smiled at me.
"Niwa Midori," she said. "What's your name?" I pressed my lips together. Should I even be talking to this woman? Why is she interested in me? Well, might as well say something. She spoke to me anyway. I dropped my shoulders.
"Isobe Naomi," I said. "And there is one guy I like, but he never notices me. I want to tell him how I feel, but…"
"You don't want to complicate things," Midori finished. I nodded grimly.
"Yeah…" I mumbled. I looked up at her. "You know what I mean?" I asked. Midori gave me a little smile.
"Yes, I really do," she said softly. "What is his name?" I hesitated at first. I really should’ve shut up then, but it wouldn't stop spilling out.
"Fukuda Jun," I said. Midori made a face at me.
"Oh really?" she asked.
"Yeah," I said.
"I see," Midori said to herself. "Interesting…" I cocked my head at her.
"I'm sorry?" I asked. Midori smiled and shook her head.
"Nothing," she said rather nonchalant. "Nothing at all."
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