Reads: 263

Reina had set the book My Crazy Girlfriend aside and went to stand by her window, watching the world go by. Not that she had much of a view from her window, but it was something to occupy herself with. Reina heard the crinkling of paper and she looked behind herself. Mrs. Honda was reading through Reina's confiscated diary. Only it seemed more like she was just going through the pages. She seemed upset about something. Reina asked, “What's wrong, Mother?”

Mrs. Honda replied, “Most of these short entries are about small things throughout the day, but occasionally I come across a problematic entry. It breaks my heart to see how lost you think you are. Some people are more emotional than others, it's okay.”

“I fail to see what is so distressing about my diary. It is just a place to put my musings down at.” Reina said.

Mrs. Honda slammed the book shut, and she said, “Musings that don't matter! The way you write makes me look incompetent as a mother! What if someone finds this? They will judge our family!”

“If it bothers you so much, then perhaps you can consider throwing it away? Perhaps you can burn it?” Reina suggested.

Mrs. Honda shook her head, then hugged the diary close to her chest. “No, I can't bring myself to do that. That would be the equivalent of trashing a picture your child drew.”

“Then is there really any point to stress over it?” Reina asked. Knowing that her words could be taken as rude, she added, “They are just pointless musings after all. Something for me to do.” Mrs. Honda sighed in response, then she left the room.

Reina looked to the book that lied next to her futon. She had marked a page with an improvised bookmark from a scrap of notebook paper. She was going to be keeping that manga in her room for a while. Lying down for the night, Reina's thoughts were consumed with Daichi. What was so intriguing about him that warranted this obsession? Yes, he was her alternative choice, but was it even normal to obsess over someone who caught one's fancy? Probably not, but she wouldn't let that stop her. She was looking forward to Friday.

***

TUESDAY MORNING

Reina headed to the school library first thing in the morning. She needed to find that book that Daichi and Moriko had talked about. She eventually found it, checked it out, then headed to her classroom with it. Kosuke came in shortly after Reina had begun to read and he sat down next to her. He noticed the book and, knowing how bad Reina was at maintaining a hobby, asked, “Trying to get back into reading?”

“Yes.” Came her answer.

“Why so suddenly?” Kosuke asked.

“I thought it was time.” Reina replied.

“Alright, well let me know how it goes.” He went to his phone, started a stopwatch, then turned his phone off. He hid it in his blazer like everyone else did, as plenty of students brought their phones to school as well.

***

TUESDAY AFTERNOON

Reina was in a hurry to finish her food, mostly so she could return to the classroom to continue reading Life In The Eyes of a Non-Wolf, not because she enjoyed the book in any kind of capacity whatsoever, but because she was trying to find common ground with Daichi. Kosuke had taken notice of how Reina was cramming bread into her mouth. Kosuke was concerned for her, as it was common knowledge that bread was easy to choke on. He said, “Eh, Reina, you should probably slow down, if not break the bread up before you get choked.”

However, it was one mighty gulp that obstructed Reina's breathing. She tried to breathe but nothing came out. She couldn't make any noise, so dropped her chopsticks and used the universal sign of two hands around her throat. Kosuke asked, “Reina?” He was coming to the realization of what was going on, but Daichi was faster and he was on his feet. He pulled Reina up to her feet and got to using the Heimlich Maneuver on her. This caught the attention of everyone else in the room, and the lunch staff rushed over. However, after being bent over and receiving a couple of palm strikes to the back from Daichi, the soggy bread came flying out and it skidded across the floor, underneath the table.

Reina gasped for breath, trembling a bit from adrenaline, stood once more at her full height, and Daichi eased her back down into her seat. The lunch staff were hovering near them, seeming impressed and relieved by Daichi's efforts. Daichi told her, “Be more careful next time.” He then returned to his seat, and the lunch staff returned to their stations. Reina only nodded, trying to regain her breath. Once she had settled down, she turned and resumed eating as if nothing had happened. She supposed that Daichi had a point.

***

“You know, if I knew the proper way to execute the Heimlich Maneuver I would have been just as quick to save you.” Kosuke said. The boy had been beating himself up all day about it.

Reina was wiping her desk down, just as Kosuke was wiping his. It was cleaning time, and all students were expected to work together to keep the building clean. It was a practice not uncommon among other Japanese schools. Akira had been avoiding her that day, and Masaru was leaving Reina alone. That meant that Kosuke had the chance to accompany Reina. Reina finished her task and said, “There is no reason to keep bringing it up, Kosuke.”

Kosuke sounded disappointed and saddened as he said, “But there's a chance that we're going to be husband and wife soon! I can't keep messing up like that!”

“We still have a few months, Kosuke.” Reina stated.

“Maybe so, but a guy can dream.” Kosuke slid his red leather backpack onto his back and asked, “Are we done here, or do you want to try looking more more things to clean?” He wasn't particularly a fan of cleaning time.

“You can head home, but I will be staying here for a while.” Reina said, slipping her blue and white schoolbag over her shoulder.

Kosuke raised a brow at this. “You got a club or something? Does it have to do with one of your many boyfriends?” Reina headed for the door to the classroom, and Kosuke followed her out. Reina headed in the direction of Daichi's classroom, but Kosuke got in her way. “Wait a minute, where do you think you're going? You can't just ignore my question like that!”

“I am meeting someone.” Reina answered.

Kosuke said, “I knew it! Who is it?” He seemed a little too interested in who she was meeting.

“I was going to thank Daichi.” Reina said, before stepping around Kosuke and continuing her route.

Kosuke caught up to Reina and said, “I'll go with you then! I should probably thank him too.”

The two arrived to Class 3-1, which wasn't far from Class 3-2, and Daichi and Moriko were wiping down desks. Moriko smiled at the two and came over to them saying, “Reina and Kosuke! How are you?” How did this girl know Reina's name?

“How do you know my name?” Reina asked.

“Daichi mentioned you to me last night! We call each other all the time!” Moriko chirped.

“It was only once, and it was for clarification on one of our assignments.” Daichi said.

Reina moved closer to Daichi and changed the subject with, “Thank you.”

Daichi at first seemed confused, before he seemed to remember earlier and he said, “Ah, it is no problem, really. I just did what was right.”

Moriko joined them, Kosuke following her, and she said, “Just be more careful next time, Reina!” Reina couldn't tell if the girl was being passive aggressive, or if she was just very friendly. Reina got the impression that it was the former, mostly from how tense Moriko seemed to be at the present moment.

“I plan to.” Reina said, before turning her attention back to Daichi. “I have started reading Life In The Eyes of a Non-Wolf. It is an interesting story.”

Daichi's eyes lit up, and he said, “Is it? It is my favorite.”

Moriko cleared her throat and said, “Daichi, I think the cafeteria could use some cleaning.” She was totally being passive aggressive. Seemed like someone even the likes of her was susceptible to jealousy.

“Maybe, but I am in the middle of a conversation. I will meet you in there soon.” Daichi said, seeming to pay Moriko's passive aggression no mind.

Moriko laughed, but she sounded a bit frustrated. “Reina can wait. Let's go.”

“As can you.” Daichi said, his mood seeming to sour and his look hardening. Reina had to admit that she liked how he seemed more eager to speak with her than to go with Moriko. Perhaps Moriko wouldn't pose as much of an issue after all.

Moriko huffed then said, “Fine, I'll be at the cafeteria.” She left the room, and Reina was put in a better mood because of it. She relaxed when the brunette left, and she could feel a smile lying just underneath the surface of her face. Reina wasn't typically an expressive person.

Kosuke asked, “Reina, is there really anything else to discuss?” He started shifting his backpack on his back as if ready to leave the room. He seemed to be growing annoyed.

“There are many things to discuss.” Reina said, returning the silent frustration. Was it too much to ask to have some more alone time with Daichi? Reina thought not.

Daichi interjected, “Please allow us to speak to one another.” He seemed calmer now that Moriko had left.

Kosuke said, his tone almost losing the usual friendliness, “Sure, whatever.” He then left the room.

“It seems that we both have our own love interests.” Daichi said, before taking a seat at a freshly wiped desk.

“Kosuke is just a friend, nothing more.” Reina corrected, also taking a seat in a desk.

“Is that so? He has the same look Moriko gets whenever I speak to other girls.” Daichi observed.

“I assure you that I feel nothing for him.” It was the truth.

Daichi ran a hand through his hair, then said, “So, Life In The Eyes of a Non-Wolf. How far have you gotten?”

“Not even halfway yet.” Reina answered. “But I hope to make it halfway through tonight.”

“Why rush through it? I am certain you will find it more enjoyable if you take the time to allow everything to sink in.” Daichi smiled, but it was faint. Smiling in an obvious manner like Kosuke and Moriko did was atypical around here. “Besides, schoolwork is more important.”

Reina, without a doubt, was taking a liking to Daichi. He made her feel some kind of way, she supposed “happy” was the word. For Reina, feeling anything was better than nothing. Reina said, “Perhaps, but what if we run out of topics to discuss because I have yet to get far enough into the book?”

Daichi shook his head, that smile still on his face, and he said, “There will always be topics to discuss. They don't necessarily have to be about books.” He got up and asked, “Do you have a preference for our date on Friday?”

Reina also stood up, adjusting her schoolbag over her shoulder. “No.”

“Very well then, I hope to see you at the beach outside Mikaki that evening.” That was the name of their town.

“Do I need to bring a swimsuit?” Reina asked.

Daichi chuckled and said, “No, those are best used during the summer months. We will likely just build a sandcastle or two then be on our way.” Daichi looked at the analog clock above the blackboard and said, “I had best head to the cafeteria.” He left the room, and Reina felt her heart beat harder in her chest. She too left the room and set her hand over her heart once she had closed the doors behind her. Was she dealing with a potential medical condition, or was this what most other people called “love?”

Masaru approached her, which Reina reacted to by removing her hand from her chest, and acting “normal” once again. Masaru said, “If you're ready, let's go.” He gestured behind himself. Reina walked alongside him as they prepared to head home.


Submitted: October 17, 2020

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