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MONDAY MORNING – WEEK 2

Reina saw Sayuri and Daichi by the big tree in the front yard when she arrived that morning. She had left Kosuke in the dust so she would have time to speak with Daichi and Sayuri. As Reina drew nearer to the conversation, she heard Sayuri say, “...And then before I knew it, a pit viper was thrown at me! Maybe it was on the roof to our shack and it just fell off, but I'm certain that someone threw it at me from the left.”

“While that is indeed possible, I don't believe that we have a bullying problem here. If there are any bullies, they're probably on the other side of town.” Daichi noticed Reina and he said, “Good morning, Reina.” Sayuri turned to look at Reina and her expression became unreadable.

“Good morning Daichi, and you too, Sayuri.” Reina bowed a bit towards Sayuri, who promptly looked away and focused her attention on something in the distance. Reina asked Daichi, “What's new?”

“Sayuri was bitten by a venomous snake over the weekend and she barely pulled through. In other news, my parents managed to pay rent to Mrs. Sugiyama.” Daichi said.

“You aren't renting anything out?” Reina asked, surprised despite being unable to express it. She thought for sure that, being from Tokyo, the Itos would have the means to avoid paying a landlord.

“No, we are renting our house from Mrs. Sugiyama. I just moved in, remember?” Daichi responded.

“But why did she choose a shack over a house?” Reina asked, perhaps a little too bluntly.

“Simple: there's three of us, and there was originally only one of her. Her choice was quite selfless.” Daichi's eyes seemed to smile, despite restricting his expression to nearly nothing.

“Originally? What made her adopt Sayuri?” Reina asked. She knew she was really pushing it, but she was fishing for ways to harm Sayuri.

“It is not my place to respond.” Daichi dismissed. Tears came to Sayuri's eyes, and she got a handkerchief out of her blazer pocket and softly dabbed at her eyes. She seemed to be trembling as well. Daichi glanced at her, then looked back at Reina. “Is there a reason you decided to join us?”

“I was just curious. My mother said that something had happened.” Reina answered.

Kosuke joined the group, having arrived likely during the conversation, and he was frustrated. “Okay Reina, we really need to communicate better. Is your new schedule six-thirty in the morning now? Because this is beginning to cause an issue.”

“My schedule is whenever I can get everything together. I have just been moving faster these days.” Reina responded.

“Then I should match your speed. I'll be at your door six-thirty in the morning from now on.” Kosuke said. Daichi and Sayuri removed themselves from the situation, heading for the glass double doors of the school.

“It is unnecessary to shadow one another.” Reina said, displeased that Daichi and Sayuri had been scared off.

“Well, we are getting married anyway, so I don't see an issue.” Kosuke disagreed. His manner was falling back to his old American one.

Reina was not in the mood for an argument, so she just power walked to the double doors. She started giving Kosuke the silent treatment out of spite, and she moved faster out of hopes to lose him.

***

MONDAY AFTERNOON – WEEK 2

Kosuke was visibly perturbed throughout the day, and Reina knew it was because she refused to talk to him. It was during chemistry lab when Reina had the opportunity to grab a bottle that contained a highly poisonous chemical when no one was looking, and she stashed it in her blazer pocket. After a successful steal, she resumed her work as if nothing had happened.

Come lunch, a girl from the other third year classroom came to join Reina. Reina had been distancing herself from Daichi as to avoid drawing attention to herself, as if she was around him too much suspicion would likely be cast onto her. The girl asked prior to sitting, “May I join you?” Reina nodded and the girl sat down.

The student had black hair and dark brown eyes, like most everyone else around here, only she was quite pale. It was likely due to her cool undertone, combined with whatever skin care products she used. Her hair was long and down to her chest, and she had bangs on the right side of her face. Her hair had been parted on the left side of her head. The girl said with a slight bow, “Maki Kasumi, Class 3-2.”

“Nice to meet you.” Reina coolly responded, before resuming her meal.

Kasumi glanced around before asking, “Is Kurosawa Kosuke your boyfriend?”

“No, he is nothing more than a friend.” Reina replied.

“I see. He seemed rather agitated today.” Kasumi said.

“I am giving him the silent treatment.” Reina responded.

That dropped the subject for a moment, before Kasumi asked between bites, “Are you busy after school?”

“I should be free around eighteen-hundred hours.” Reina answered.

“Only eighteen-hundred hours?” Kasumi asked in surprise.

“I can make up the rest. We must consider curfew.” Reina explained.

“In that case, of course. Perhaps we should meet at the Rangu Mart? I live a good distance away from this school.” Kasumi suggested.

“Fine by me.” Reina replied.

Kosuke joined the two with a tray in hand and he asked Reina, “Who's this?”

Kasumi turned to introduce herself. “Maki Kasumi from Class 3-2.”

“The same class as Daichi?” Kosuke asked, his expression unreadable.

“The boy from Tokyo? Yes.” Kasumi answered. Kosuke sat on Reina's other side, and he started to eat. He was strangely quiet, and kept his gaze trained on his food.

***

Reina sought out Sayuri herself, hoping that Sachiko was nowhere near the girl at the moment. Kosuke had to run to the boys' restroom on their floor, so Reina slipped out of their classroom and headed to the ground floor, where the first year classrooms were located. Sayuri seemed to be alone, and she was wiping down the handles to the shoe lockers. Reina asked the girl, “Would you be interested in creating a new trend for ClickClout?”

Sayuri did a double take, in disbelief. For the first time ever, she asked Reina, “Why did you mention ClickClout?”

“You seem to be the type.” Came Reina's answer. Sayuri looked away, seeming bashful. She kept wiping the shoe lockers down, having sped up. Reina took the opportunity to ask, “Are you available later tonight? I was hoping that I could join you in making a ClickClout.”

Sachiko suddenly joined them, and she recognized Reina. “Honda Reina? What's up?”

Reina had forgotten about Sachiko. She would likely pose as a problem. No matter, Reina would try to eliminate her as well. She replied, “I was hoping that I could join Sayuri in making a ClickClout with her. She seems to hold promise.” Perhaps the wording was a bit odd, but whatever it was going to take to lure the girl.

“While we appreciate the offer, we think that we should restrict ClickClout making to just ourselves. Perhaps when we are more famous, we could consider collaborating with you. Of course, you'd have to have a portfolio prepared first.” Sachiko said, before giggling. She didn't mean it in a mean-spirited way, just as a good-natured one.

“Understandable. Good luck.” Reina responded.

Sachiko smiled and went over to her friend. “When you're done, let's head to my place. If we're lucky, maybe we can film a ClickClout near the cherry blossoms at the local tourist attraction before it closes for the evening.” Sayuri had already finished wiping down some of the shoe lockers at this point, and after the two changed their shoes out at their lockers they had left for the day.

Reina went to change her shoes out, when a girl said, “You're interested in ClickClout?”

Reina turned to the voice and saw Kasumi there. Her hands were behind her back, and she looked attentive. Reina replied, finishing with exchanging her shoes, “Something like that.” She closed the locker back and started towards the door.

Kasumi walked alongside her, already having changed her shoes out, and she said, “I might be available to make a ClickClout with you. What's your account?”

“I don't have one. I was planning to make one before meeting with Sayuri and her friend.” Reina replied.

“I see, trying to gather early fame?” Kasumi asked.

“Maybe, I thought it was a good idea.” Reina answered.

The two made their way to the bicycles when Kosuke caught up with them. He said, “There you are, Rei! I was getting worried about you!” He looked at Kasumi. “So are you two friends now?”

“We plan to form a friendship, yes.” Kasumi responded.

“Good luck! Reina isn't the friendliest of the bunch!” Kosuke half-joked.

“I am an introvert.” Reina stated, her tone neutral. That statement could be taken either way.

“Well she seems cool, so I figured I would give this a try. If it doesn't work, that's just fine.” Kasumi said. The three got on their bikes and headed out into the town.


Submitted: March 18, 2021

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