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MONDAY AFTERNOON

Most Japanese high schools usually had students eat in their classrooms with their teachers, but with a smaller school population one of the now-empty classrooms on the ground floor had been transformed into a cafeteria of sorts. The school had tried to update its appearance in recent years, but a suspicious lack of funding had slowed this effort. The perks of being in a rural high school, Reina supposed.

Reina and Kosuke sat together at lunch, which seemed to dissuade other boys like Akira and Masaru from coming over. That or they had their own friend groups they sat with during lunch. However, one boy seemed to take interest despite this. The boy approached Reina and Kosuke, and he asked, “May I sit here with you?” Reina looked at him, noticing how he was a new face. The boy shared some physical similarities with Reina, what with a cool undertone and a light complexion.

Like most of the other boys in this school, this boy was black-haired with brown, almond-shaped eyes. He had bangs, and his hair had been cut around his ears. The back of his hairstyle was more wispy yet orderly, and his hair type seemed to be thick. Reina did like how he looked, finding him interesting for one reason or another. She would have to get to know him sometime soon to form a better opinion of him. “You may.” Came Reina's answer, and the boy sat on the opposite side of Reina from Kosuke, who was staring at the boy.

The new boy said, “Thank you. My name is Ito Daichi, and I just moved in from Tokyo. Who might you be?”

“I'm Kurosawa Kosuke, and this is Honda Reina. We're childhood friends, and our parents have us set up to marry each other upon graduation.” Kosuke jumped in.

“Nothing has been determined yet. There is still time between now and graduation.” Reina stated.

“Ah, I see. So does that make you a couple then?” Daichi asked.

“No. We are merely friends.” Reina quickly answered, knowing that Kosuke would paint a very different picture. She caught the same sad look from Kosuke that he had earlier, but Reina didn't care. She lacked the capacity for much empathy. “Have you found yourself a lover yet?”

“Ah, no, I just moved in.” Daichi seemed a bit confused.

“I see.” Reina would leave it at that. She knew Kosuke had his sights set on her, and he had witnessed her ask out two different guys already, so extending a straightforward invitation to date Daichi would likely backfire. “Are you interested in joining any clubs?”

“Not particularly. I have never been into extracurriculars.” Daichi replied.

“Me neither.” Reina said, hoping to perhaps increase her appeal towards Daichi. “I tried once, before I quickly grew bored and left the club.” She elaborated, even if it was an unnecessary detail.

“It was such a shame too, since you are a really good cook!” Kosuke added.

This caught Daichi's attention. He asked Kosuke, “She is?”

Kosuke seemed to regret his words, as he backpedaled with, “I mean, compared to my little sister, she's a good cook. Otherwise she is just average.”

Daichi focused back onto Reina. “What do you plan to do once you graduate? Other than marry, of course.”

“Perhaps I will become a housewife. I don't desire much.” Reina replied.

This seemed to cause Daichi's eyes to light up, and he said, “I see! Girls who desire to become housewives are becoming fewer and fewer by the minute. I don't understand why that is, as I can scarcely see a disadvantage to it. They just have to keep the house clean, raise the kids, and cook food. Although perhaps the reason why is tied to the economy...” He went back to eating for a moment, before saying, “Perhaps we should hang out sometime. Depending on my schoolwork, perhaps we could arrange a time on Friday? That way it gives us plenty of time to settle into our classes, as well as some extra time on Saturday if we so choose.”

“That sounds fine. How does nineteen-hundred hours sound?” Reina inquired. Kosuke's eyes darted between Reina and Daichi. He seemed shocked, if his wide-eyed expression was anything to go by.

“Perfect! I will come pick you up then. Where will you be?” Daichi asked.

“At home. I'm on the street that goes past the gas station on the corner, on the western side of town. It's on the way to the lighthouse.” Reina explained.

A subtle smile formed on Daichi's face and he said, “I see that we live on the same street. Would you happen to live across the street from the house that has those broken refrigerators and televisions next to it?”

“Yes... How did you know?” Reina asked.

“I saw you leaving your house this morning when I was biking past. I stopped by that house for a moment to check my bike tires when I saw you ride off with your friend.” Daichi nodded towards Kosuke. He turned back to his food and said, “So it is decided. I will come get you Friday evening.” He ended the conversation there, and got to eating. Kosuke looked like he had something to say, but he decided to save it for later. The rest of the lunch period was in silence.

***

“Reina, this isn't okay! You can't go around dating three different guys at once! People will catch on!” Kosuke told Reina in private, having stepped into an empty classroom to discuss the issue. He seemed concerned to the point that he was coming across as annoyed, and he was serious. Serious Kosuke was not to be taken lightly, especially since he usually kept a jovial air about him. “Besides, what about the confession step? Isn't that important here?”

“You overestimate how much I really care. As for the confession step, that should be reserved to when I am serious about pursuing a boy. Technically, I'm not really cheating since I have yet to have a confession with someone. For now, I am just browsing my options.” Reina replied.

“This isn't about how much you care, this is about your reputation! Do you want to be known as a girl who sleeps around?” Kosuke questioned. “I mean, it would make things easier on me since no one else would want to date you, but it would make things harder on you because it will make you a target for bullying.”

“Very well, perhaps that is a concern. However, this is my last year of high school. I might as well make the most of it.” Reina answered.

“But why so suddenly? You weren't like this last year, or the year before. Unless...” His eyes widened, and he said, “It couldn't be... that you're trying to avoid marrying me, right? I mean, I've always been so good to you, so you wouldn't really be so shallow as to toss aside the only guy who's actually cared about you, right?” He seemed truly wounded by the thought, but he seemed to refuse to allow himself to believe it.

“My father cares about me, so you aren't the only guy who's paid me any mind. But to answer your question, I am merely seeing what's available. Once we marry, my dating life is over, so why not get all the dating out of my system now before we marry?” Reina responded.

Kosuke sighed, and he said, “I don't know, Reina. I can't help but be troubled by the thought that you'll leave me for someone else. Like yeah, I'm not perfect, but I just... can't bear the thought, I guess...”

“Then do what I'm doing – date around and try to find an alternate girlfriend in the event that I fall for someone else.” Reina stated.

“Look, maybe we shouldn't talk about this. I'm not interested in other girls, and you out of all people should know this better than anyone. But if you're dating around, then maybe I should do the same.” Kosuke shrugged. “After all, might as well have a reputation that matches yours.” He left it at that, exiting the room right after. Reina waited a bit, allowing him to get ahead of her, before leaving the room herself.


Submitted: October 17, 2020

© Copyright 2022 A. Rhetters. All rights reserved.

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Comments

codenameaspen

I’m not 100% sure how reviews work, but here ya go

This book is actually really well written. You have a good amount of dialogue (I struggle with that a lot) and your word choice is pretty awesome. I have only read 2 chapters so far, but I will definitely read more. You are doing a very good job on characterization and personalities- though something that might help improve this is to show, not tell the reader, for example when you might say she had an apathetic nature, demonstrate that by making her seem very apathetic, or instead of saying Kosuke was talkative, you could say something along the lines of ‘He was talking too much for her to listen to, and she turned away from him’. Does that make sense? I hope I’m being helpful. Anyway the imagery you use to outline the characters looks is very good too. I’m not sure how much this could help you (you’re an amazing writer already) but I hope this helps a little?

codenameaspen

Thu, November 12th, 2020 4:21pm

Author
Reply

Yeah, that is something I’ve heard a lot - show, don’t tell. Just lets me know how I can better improve myself!

Your advice helps a lot more than you think! :)

Thanks for the comment!

Thu, November 12th, 2020 8:52am

David whitley

This does look like a good read i'm not a love story writer so it would be tough to over advice. The charactar diologue can be cleaner I plan on reading the entire thing. I hope you'll return the favor. :)

Fri, April 30th, 2021 2:40am

Author
Reply

I personally wouldn’t consider myself a romance writer either, but I couldn’t think of a better genre to label this story as. Young Adult, maybe? I’ll figure it out in due time.

Thanks for the comment. I do plan to return the favor.

Fri, April 30th, 2021 4:22am

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