Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Chapter two (segment six), twenty four years earlier, May, Yukio

That night, after they had split up outside their mall, he had trouble sleeping. It wasn't that his mother disturbed him. She never did. It wasn't that he was afraid of making contact with Takeida-san. He had already experienced being rejected by two different girls during middle school.

It was, however, more complicated this time. One of those two girls had been Wakayama Noriko, and she was all too likely to be on good terms with both Takeida-san and Ageruman-san.

Yukio shifted uncomfortably in his bed, again.

The last thing he wanted was for Takeida-san to mistake him confessing to her as going for second best. Sure, she had been at a different school at that time, but with girls you never knew. And asking for Ageruman-san as well. Not good, even if it was for the benefit of another guy.

Yukio never understood why Urufu-kun didn't contact the blond bombshell himself. It wasn't as if he was overly shy. Yukio knew that. When they had stolen out late evenings the previous winter he had listened to Urufu-kun exchanging friendly insults and jokes with girls several years their seniors. Well, several years Yukio's senior. With Urufu-kun you couldn't count years that way.

And he twisted in his bed again.

Sleep came late that night and morning all too early.

He kept his silence on their way to school. Thankfully Urufu-kun didn't try to force a conversation, and it was clear that he understood what Yukio had decided to do.

When they arrived at school Yukio made for the right wing stairwell immediately after he had changed into his indoor shoes.

Feel like the idiot I am, he mused as he climbed the stairs. Too short. Three floors was way too short. And he was outside 3:1 where he met more than a few quizzical looks. Still, no one questioned his right to be there. Now that's funny.

When he wordlessly entered their classroom one of them helpfully pointed at the foremost desk by the window. It was empty, but Takeida-san sat by the one behind it.

He fumbled in his pocket for the note he had prepared and headed for her.

“Wrong desk. It's the one in front,” he heard from behind him.
Takeida-san looked up at him and nodded at the desk in front of her. After that she paid him no more attention.

Now, that is seriously funny. What are they… Oh, oh, oh. I'd better bring my brains along next time.

He felt himself blush slightly. Not because he was ashamed, but because the entire situation had turned into a bad joke.

With a few more steps he was at Takeida-san's desk. When he didn't move she looked up at him again. “It's that one,” she said and pointed ahead of her.

What do I say now? Better not say anything. He handed her the note.

“Man, just leave it on her desk. I'm not her errand girl.” She rose and started for what had to be Ageruman-san's desk.

“No!” Yukio had to say something, or the situation would degenerate from absurd to awful. “Read it!”

He could see in her face how, with glacial speed, she started to grasp that she, and not Ageruman-san, was the intended recipient of the note. In the end she even pointed at herself with big eyes. Beautiful eyes.

Yukio nodded.

Followed by a: “Guys, we have a new winner! He didn't come for Ageruman-san,” he fled the scene.

Smooth, so very smooth. Could just as well have confessed to her in front of them all. Gods, that was awful!

Things didn't improve when he came back to the left wing. It was all too obvious from where he had come. Before he had time to enter the relative safety of 6:1 he had time to hear all the relevant questions.



“Shot down?”

Multiple times.


“You look flustered,” Urufu-kun greeted him when he was finally inside their classroom.

“You say nothing. Nothing. Next two Fridays you treat me.”

Urufu-kun nodded.

“And I won't be cheap.”

Urufu-kun nodded again.

“Geek's actually spending time out?” That came from the back of the classroom.

Urufu-kun grinned and nodded a third time.

Yukio sighed and took his chair. The classes before lunch break went by in a daze, and then it was time for his fifteen minutes of fame by the bike stands.

Love it with the audience in the windows. Not!

“Go for it man!” some helpful moron shouted from 8:1

Takeida-san was already waiting for him. She didn't exactly look lovestruck.

“Whoa! She's from the right wing. It's Ageruman-san's friend. Damn you've got some guts!” came the next moronic commentary. 5:1 this time.

As a matter of fact Takeida-san looked less than impressed with the entire set-up.

“Go under the roof and you won't be seen,” a third idiot helpfully added in a gloriously failed attempt to make Yukio look more inconspicuous.

Coming this close to her Yukio could see that she was, most likely, royally pissed.

“Takeida-san, I have two requests. Please listen to them both!”

“He's doing it!”

I'll kill those guys!

“You. Called. Me. Out. Make it short!”

Yeah, experiencing the pain of embarrassment is an activity where time is of essence. Crap! “My first request concerns Ageruman Kuritina and is on behalf of my friend Hamarugen Urufu. It's all in this letter. Please convey it to her.”

“Another stupid go between!”

He couldn't really do much but agree with her. “My second request is my own.”

For the first time she looked at him with something that looked like interest.

“You may not know me, but I've seen you. I'm Matsumoto Yukio.” Yukio recalled Urufu-kun's words. “I like you. I want you to know that, because anything else would be dishonest.” And then for the lesser commitment. “But I still would want to start out as friends rather than have you respond to someone you don't know. Would you care to be my friend?

Takeida-san gave him a smile that could almost be called friendly. Then she looked at the letter he had given her. “Forget it!” she said and walked past him.

“The letter?” Yukio tried in an attempt to at least salvage something.

“I'll handle it. Stay away from me!”

Gods, that was harsh. Really harsh. Were you trying to deliberately hurt me, Takeida-san? Saying: Sorry but I'm not interested would have been enough.

He was close to tears but blinked them away.

That was really, really harsh you know.

He couldn't blink them away any longer. He stood there for a while and pretended to study the bikes.

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