Reads: 174

MONDAY NIGHT

Mrs. Honda's books were located in the living area, on a recently bought bookcase. Mrs. Honda was an avid reader, and she read a bit of everything. Sadly, as Reina scanned the spines of all the books available, she could not locate a work by Okamoto Koji. How was she to keep a conversation with Daichi going if she had no idea what she was talking about? Mrs. Honda approached Reina with, “Going to try to commit to reading as a hobby again?”

“Yes.” Reina replied.

Her mother was unbelieving, glancing between Reina and the bookcase. “I did recently send your father to get some more books. I just put them in today.”

“Is there anything by Okamoto Koji?” Reina asked.

Her mother said, “No. Why do you wish to read something by him?”

“I want to get into classical literature.” Reina said.

“Use the library at your school if you want something by him.” Mrs. Honda said, pulling a book out of the bookcase and handing it to Reina. “I need to tidy up this bookcase. Take that manga and leave.”

Reina looked down at the book in her hands. It was titled My Crazy Girlfriend, and it was by Kawakami Juurou and Mitsuaki Iwata. Reina took the paperback to her room, settled down on the futon, and started reading for the first time in a while.

***


 

Akira was fifteen minutes late to their date. Reina was about to get on her bike and ride back home from the Rangu Mart when Akira came wheeling in, nearly hitting a parked car in the process. He was panting, and he had clearly thrown on his school uniform presumably for the next morning. It was all rumpled, and the blazer was on crooked. He looked like he had also just stepped out of the shower. Reina glared at him and said, coldly, “You're late.” She also looked him up and down to clue him in on other things she was displeased about.

“Yeah, sorry about that, my love. Um, I couldn't find that book you asked for anywhere in the library, so I'm sorry about that as well.” He adjusted the blazer and he asked, “How does a date at the gas station by your house sound? We can grab some snacks there and hang out there for a while.”

Reina shook her head, already having lost interest in this date. If Akira couldn't make himself presentable, nor be on time for their date, was there really any point in staying? Reina biked back to her house, but on the way back, Akira followed her, saying things like, “Look, I really am sorry! Just give me another chance, I'll try to make it right!” “Alright, so we got off on the wrong foot. How could anyone get so mad at a few little slip-ups?” “Hey! Are you even listening to me? I said I'm sorry!” “Hey! Look! There's that gas station on the way to your house! We can still grab something to eat!” Reina offered no response each time, her anger only growing.

They had almost arrived to Reina's house when Akira caught up to Reina and moved close enough to grab her arm, which caused her to stop and keep that same sour look on her face. Akira also stopped. Akira said, “It's amazing how mad someone can get when a few things aren't just perfect. So I messed up, it's fine. Everyone messes up at some point in their lives.”

“A husband is responsible. A husband comes on time, and he looks his best. Especially when he is dating a prospective wife.” Reina emphasized.

Akira backed up, letting Reina go, and he said, “Eh?! Thinking of marriage already? We just met!”

“I never said you were my future husband.” Reina said, before attempting to continue her route back home.

Akira blocked her with his bike, and he said, “Look, this doesn't have to be a date. It can just be a case of two friends hanging out.”

Daichi had been out for an evening stroll when he saw the exchange between Akira and Reina. He said, “Sometimes, accepting rejection is okay.”

Akira looked at Daichi, and he said, “Well, maybe so, but I already went through the trouble of changing into some nice clothes. I then set aside some time out of my day to meet up with this attractive girl. I could be watching some anime right now, but I instead decided to spend my evening with this girl.” He nodded towards Reina, and said, “I mean, could you really turn that down? I mean, she's beautiful!”

“Maybe, but when a girl is disinterested in something, it is important to respect that. I apologize for getting involved, but I felt it necessary to step in and say something.” Daichi said.

“Whatever.” Akira said, before he went around Reina and biked back to the main road. He was clearly perturbed.

Daichi switched his attention to Reina, and he asked, “Are you okay?”

“Yes, thank you.” Reina replied. Daichi continued his route, and Reina watched him walk away for a bit. Her heart rate had increased, but whether it was from her vexation or attraction she couldn't tell. Reina took a deep breath to calm herself, and she continued home.


Submitted: October 17, 2020

© Copyright 2022 A. Rhetters. All rights reserved.

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