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SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Reina had slipped some sleeping pills into her parents' drinks during lunch, as she volunteered to be the one to cook for them as opposed to her mother. As she sat unassumingly at the table, eating her food, she glanced at her parents. First, her father laid his head down on the table and dozed off in a matter of seconds. Second, her mother yawned but tried to fight the impending sleep. She remarked good-naturedly, “I know we're getting older and thus more tired, but this is just a little bit ridiculous!” Her eyelids were heavy, before she slowly closed her eyes then passed out on the table. Fortunately, their heads did not land in their miso soup, or another liquid, but at least Reina's mother would wake up with food all over her face. Reina finished up her meal, then she headed to the bathroom for a quick break, the bottle of sleeping pills resting on a shelf in the bathroom.

Once Reina had cleaned herself up, and had stolen some money out of her mother's purse, she reclaimed her phone from her parents' bedroom and made her way to Sayuri's house. She had just left her house when she saw Daichi and Sayuri bike past, and Reina followed after them on her own bike. Sayuri and Daichi had headed to the only sushi restaurant in town, and once the two had entered Reina did the same. She got a spot near Sayuri and Daichi, having ordered some sushi rolls, and she watched for an opportunity to sabotage the date.

She was caught by surprise when Daichi took notice of her, followed by Sayuri. Granted, Reina didn't necessarily make an effort to disguise herself, but the goal was to not stand out. Reina had dressed rather casually for the occasion, having donned a white t-shirt, black capris, white slip-on sneakers, and a simple silver necklace. When Reina happened to glance over at the two once more, the two groups locked eyes, and Reina was quick to break eye contact and play a game on her phone. Daichi and Sayuri came over, and Daichi asked, “Reina? What are you doing here? Didn't your mother say that you were grounded?”

“She was tired, and she fell asleep. I thought it was more considerate to allow her to rest, so I decided to come here for lunch instead.” Reina answered.

“Won't she be mad at you for sneaking out, though?” Daichi inquired.

“I am sure she would understand. She works very hard.” Reina deflected.

“Alright, well let's hope she doesn't find out where you went. She is terrifying when angered.” Daichi said. Sayuri started shyly tugging at Daichi's arm to bring him back to the table, and he regarded her then allowed her to take him back to the table. Sayuri was speaking very quietly to Daichi, so Reina couldn't make out what was being said. But one thing was certain – Daichi seemed to have grown rather close to her. He was smiling softly, and even his eyes held the very same softness. Cute girls were clearly his type, but Reina was not about to let that slide.

She was eating her sushi when Sayuri finally spoke at a volume Reina could discern. “I need to go to the bathroom.”

“I don't think they have one here. Can it wait?” Daichi asked.

“I suppose so...” Sayuri mumbled, fidgeting with her hands.

Daichi craned his head around in search of a bathroom, only to seemingly find none. He looked back at Sayuri and offered, “Would you like a to-go box?”

“That would be nice...” Came Sayuri's quiet voice. Daichi got up and went to the counter to request a to-go box, and Reina saw her chance. She had finished her meal, and she got up and approached Sayuri. Sayuri shrunk back when Reina approached her.

“I know a restroom that is nearby. Would you like to come with me?” Reina offered.

Sayuri seemed to consider it, before she gave her head a quick little shake. Another person came over, and Reina looked over to see Sachiko there. Sachiko said, “Hey Sayuri! Sorry I'm late!” She looked at Reina and asked, “What brings you here?”

“Sayuri needed to go to the restroom, and I was offering to take her to one that I know of nearby.” Reina answered.

“Is that so?” Sachiko asked, before turning to Sayuri. “I can take you instead. There's one over at the town hall.”

Sayuri got up and joined Sachiko, and the two left the building. Well that worked out better than Reina anticipated. Reina returned to her seat, and waited for Daichi to return. When he did, a to-go box in his hand, he looked at Sayuri's seat in confusion. Reina took the opportunity to say, “She left.”

Daichi turned his attention to Reina, and he seemed a little hurt. “Ah, I see. I suppose her bladder could no longer wait.”

Reina looked at Sayuri's leftovers, and she asked, “Would you like for me to assist with that?”

“If you mean put it away, then don't worry. I wouldn't want to be a bother.” Daichi replied.

Reina smiled the same way Moriko used to, and she said, “It's no bother at all!” She got up and came to help Daichi store the food away. Once that was done, Reina said, “I've already paid for my meal, so I will be leaving soon. Do you need anything else?”

“No, you have done more than enough. Although...” Daichi seemed to change his mind, if the shake of his head was any indication. “You should probably be heading home now. I wouldn't want you to get wrapped up in your mother's wrath for slipping out without permission.”

“She doesn't disturb me. I suppose I've gotten used to it at this point.” Reina dismissed.

Daichi looked at Reina in disbelief. “Reina, she beat you in public. She is not to be trifled with.”

Reina needed to get Daichi and herself out of here before Sayuri came back. She had a narrative to paint, and the longer they spoke the likelier the girl would return. Reina said, “Very well, if it puts you at ease. See you later.” Reina left the restaurant, and she biked a short distance away from the establishment to make sure that Daichi left before Sayuri could return. Sure enough, the boy left, and about a couple of minutes later Sayuri and Sachiko returned from wherever they had gone. Reina stood on a street corner and acted like she was idling on her phone so she could gauge how successful her sabotage was. When she saw Sayuri coming out of the restaurant in tears, and Sachiko trying to comfort her, the corners of Reina's mouth curled up in a devious smile. If she kept her narrative up, then Sayuri and Daichi would no longer be together by the end of next week.

Reina returned home, and she saw that her parents were still asleep. The cat was licking himself on the sofa, and everything seemed relatively unchanged from before. Reina put what was left of the money back in Mrs. Honda's purse, put her phone back in her parents' bedroom, stole a pair of her mother's cleaning gloves and stashed them in her room, and Reina shook her parents awake. Her father snorted and shot upright, before looking at Reina with groggy eyes then retreating to the bedroom. When Reina went to awaken Mrs. Honda, she woke on up and sat upright. She looked at Reina and said, thinking her daughter was just checking on her, “I'm fine. Sorry for scaring you.” She finished off her cold food, and Reina went back into her own room to read.

 


Submitted: March 19, 2021

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