It didn't take long to locate where Mamoru was sitting at the arcade. The guy was just too damn tall; even in sitting position he was too damn tall! His head was hanged low on the table as he was concentrating on something in front of him. And time-to-time, he would write something down. On the other side of the booth, sat a young blond who, by description, I guessed was his girl friend. And boy, did she have an obnoxious laughter! He voice was so high-pitched that at some point, I honestly thought I was going deaf. I mean really, a teenager? Women are a bit too much in general; teenage women are just impossible to handle! What does he see in her? I mean, besides her obvious youth and most probably lack of experience in a relationship. Maybe those characteristics are endearing to him? Having a girl that you could shape and nurture in anyway you want?
I can even tell by the way she tries to get his attention every now and then, how naïve and juvenile she is. The way she touches his elbow or hand, the way she wrinkles her noise at him, I mean, seriously? I think I even saw her sticking out her tongue at him! I mean, I really don't know Mamoru that much, but I doubt that any guy at his age and his position misreads cuteness for hotness!
I was so lost in my own little world that I didn't even notice that Furuhata had been standing in front of me for a while. As soon as I locked eyes with him, I knew what he was going to say.
"So, I thought crappy games and oily food were not your thing?" he said in that mocking voice I always find annoying.
"They aren't. But I just had to see Chiba to ask him something, and I know he hangs out here after school almost everyday," I answered nonchalantly. As if this was the last place I wanted to be at.
"Well, Mamoru is sitting right there. It's only polite to go say hi and ask away," he hadn't lose his mocking tone. God, I hated that guy. Which was apparently a strange thing, since he is probably one of the most popular guys in whole Juban. But he just seems to be always happy, which makes me sick to my stomach; I mean, how can one person be happy, all the time? Doesn't he have any worries in the world?
"Hey, Hiro-kun. What brings you here?" I immediately turn my attention beyond Furuhata's blocking stance and peek my head over his right side to look at Mamoru, who was side sitting on the booth, with one arm on the back of his sit and the other, draped on the table still holding a pen.
"I'm actually here to see you Mamoru-kun," I explain. Standing up, I glare at Furuhata to give me space to move and as he leaves my side to go to the next table, I start walking towards Mamoru's table.
As I reach their booth, I take note of their tables' condition. There was a pink notebook and few papers scattered around in front of Mamoru with a red pen on the side. His girl friend's head was bowed on a piece of paper in front of her, eyes fixed on her writing, while focusing more on the milkshake on her right-side, as she was taking small sips of the chocolaty drink without taking her eyes off of the paper.
"Hey Mamoru-kun, I didn't want to interrupt your afternoon, but after you left, professor Hamasaki asked me if we could do our presentation sooner than our expected date? Apparently, the group before us are having difficulties with their set date," I end my long question as I finally stand beside the booth, eyes fixed on Mamoru.
"Well, I think we can. We have all the material we need, and the PowerPoint is almost done," he says as he scratches the back of his neck. His eyes leave me for a split second to look at the girl in front of him. "Ne, Hiro-kun. Have you ever met my girl friend Usagi?" He says as he stands up and stretches a little.
I reluctantly move my attention to her. Her hair is as odd as Aiya had described to me. I mean, yeah her hair had that nice shimmering color, but what is up with these two stupid buns on her head? What is she, twelve? Well, I mean, she is not that far away from it I guess.
"Usako, meet my classmate, Kousei Hiro."
With the introduction, she finally lifts up her head from her paper and after looking at Mamoru for a second; her eyes turn to meet mine.
And the world stopped!
I wasn't able to see Mamoru's figure standing right next to me anymore, nor was I able to hear the arcade's distinctive noises; peoples' chattering, gamers chanting, the sound of cutlery being used. Nothing.
For a second, my ears and eyes were able to block out every little noise and distraction and focus on one particular thing. Mamoru's girl friend's eyes!
All I could focus on were those two strange blue eyes that I just couldn't seem to read. I could see the gentleness, the laughter and the enthusiasm in them, but I just couldn't seem to reach out to that odd characteristic of her eyes that was leaving me perplexed. And the shine... I swear I could see two small diamonds sparkling in the depths of those seas. Probably the brightest blues I had ever seen; and I certainly have had my share of sparkling eyes in my 22 years of existence.
"It's nice to meet you Kousei-san," I hear her say as she reaches out her right arm that was holding a pen up until that moment. I look at her stretched out hand for a moment, like a dummy, before I realize that she wants to shake hands. And I immediately feel nervous. What if my hand is sweaty, I think to myself. What if it's cold and it'll disgust her? Why am I talking to myself? What the hell is wrong with me?!
I watch in daze as my right arm takes life on its own and reaches out to her. I grab her small hand, maybe a little too roughly? Or maybe it's the fact that her hand is too small that I suddenly feel like the Hulk? I'm not sure. What I know is that I was holding her hand and all I could think about was having no control over the sudden heat that I was sure was now evident on my face.
I wasn't able to let go of that small, soft hand. I didn't want to let go. It was as if I was taking a hold of a fluffy cloud; "fluffy cloud?! Did I really just think that?!"
But her hand was so soft, so delicate, and slightly cold! I had to fight the urge to cover her hand with my other hand just to bring back some warmth to it.
"So, would you like to join us for a little while?" Mamoru's voice pulls me out of my reverie. By reflex, I let go of Usagi's hand and turn to face him; without as much as saying "ditto" to a now confused teenage girl. "She probably thinks I don't have the ability to speak to the female population," I think to myself.
"Well, I really don't want to intrude on your date," I say, while side-eyeing Usagi, who is watching the interaction between her boy friend and me.
"Nonsense, you're not intruding and this isn't a date. Usako just needed my help with her math. I think she'd be thrilled to have my attention elsewhere while she works on those equations," Mamoru delivers while looking at Usagi with soft eyes and a small smirk.
I look at her too, maybe to see what her reaction is to her boy friend's sudden invitation. She nods her head in approval and smiles up at us.
And the God damn world stops again!
I always knew that the female population had the ability to judge every living thing on this planet. What I didn't know was that "misjudgment" was also a talent that most of them would master throughout their lives.
I mean, how wrong Aiya could have been about Mamoru's girl friend; "she's just a child. That's all I have to say about her. Her behavior is childish, her attitude is childish, even her appearance is so wrong for him. I have no idea what he sees in her," Aiya had said to us after meeting Usagi at Furuhata's last Christmas party.
I mean to be fair; I could see what she meant about Usagi being young and all. She was wearing her school uniform, which helped Aiya's theory a little bit more. I stared at her unconsciously, taking note of her dark blue skirt and white school shirt with that signature bow that most school uniforms sport.
I also take note of her left hand that is now resting on her leg under the table. Her skirt was a little hitched up on the bottom and she was massaging her left knee a little as if to release some tension. And as I was finally sliding in the booth in front of her, all I could think about was how I wanted to slap that small hand away from that creamy knee and do the deed myself!
"What the hell is wrong with me? Stop this stupid monologue with yourself right now," I order myself.
Mamoru calls up a waitress to take my order. After I order an iced-tea and Mamoru asks for another cup of fresh coffee, he turns his attention to Usagi.
"You want another milkshake Usako?"
She is in the process of getting up from her sit when he addresses her. She stretches her arms up in the air, giving me a nice peek of her flat and milky stomach.
"Mmmm, no. I think I had enough chocolate for today. But fries sounds nice," she beams enthusiastically.
"You and your insatiable appetite. Where you going?" Mamoru asks while giving her order to the awaiting waitress.
"I need to go to the washroom." And with that she leaves.
I stare after her and focus on her odd way of walking. I think "hopping" is a better way to describe her unique style of walking. And oddly enough, I don't find that childish even a tiny bit. Sexy? Probably not. Attractive? Maybe. Eye catching? For sure!
Looking away from her I suddenly lock eyes with Furuhata who is looking at me with narrowed eyes from behind the counter. "What is up with that look?" I think to myself, as I try to look away from him.
"Did you want to meet up tomorrow to go over the presentation and finish the power point?" Mamoru asks me.
"Yeah, sure. I mean we should definitely do that. The presentation is only three days away, and I really need to pass this course."
"Oh come on Hiro-kun, you and I both know that we are going to pass this course with a good mark. Two geeks working on the same project has "flying colors" written all over it," he jokes and then laughs.
I give a little laugh while making myself comfortable in my sit. The waitress comes back with our orders and puts them on the table.
Mamoru grabs two fries from Usagi's plate and then chuckles. "Don't tell her I did that, she doesn't like to share food." As if on cue, I see Usagi walking back to the booth. She stops at the counter to say something to Furuhata with a wide smile on her face. Furuhata leans on the counter to listen to what she has to stay and then throws his head back and laughs out loud. Usagi also let's out a quick laugh and then starts walking again. But before she takes two more steps, a young blond grabs her arm and yanks her back to the other side of the arcade.
"What the hell Minako-chan. I feel like my arm is detached from my body," Usagi whines, while guarding her now painful arm.
"Usagi, who is that hottie sitting with Mamoru?" Minako beams with obvious sparkles in her eyes.
"It's his classmate, Kousei-san."
"Does he have a girl friend?"
"I don't know Minako. I just met the guy. I don't usually ask someone I just met whether they are dating or not!"
"Oh give me a break, that's because you don't know anything about dating. You have been in a few century long relationship with Mamoru. What would you know!"
"I so do know about relationships, thank you very much," Usagi cries.
"Oh my God, he is looking at us. I just love men with short brown hair,"
"I thought your type were guys with long hair!"
"Well, my type just changed. Definitely short brown hair and hazelnut eyes," Minako says in a dreamy voice.
"How can you see his eye color from here," Usagi looks at her with wide eyes. Minako brushes her question off with a quick gesture of her hand.
"Come on, introduce me," and with that, she yanks Usagi once more and walks up to their booth.
"Hey Mamoru-san. What's up?" Minako asks in a high-pitched voice and slaps Mamoru's back in a "buddy" kind of way.
Mamoru whimper's at Minako's sudden and sharp slap and turns his head. "Hey Minako-chan. How are you?"
"Never been better! Well, hello there. My name is Aino Minako," she introduces herself to Hiro, who is eyeing Usagi very carefully.
"Nice to meet you. Kousei Hiro," he mumbles, before turning his attention finally on Minako.
Minako doesn't wait for an invitation; she slides down the booth so she could sit right in front of Hiro and pulls Usagi down with her.
"So, how do you two know each other?" Minako asks, while grabbing a fry from Usagi's slightly cold plate.
"Hey, those are mine," Usagi whines and puts the plate in a far reach corner from Minako. But she doesn't seem to notice or even care. Her eyes are glued to Hiro.
"We're classmates," Hiro answers shortly and leaves it to that. He's lost his focus again and the last thing he wants is to start a flirtatious conversation with Usagi's beautiful friend. "Did I just think beautiful? And since when I have ever passed up a chance to flirt with a girl?" he asks himself.
"Mamoru-san I didn't know you have friends other than Motoki-san," Minako inquires from Mamoru, eyes still fixed on Hiro.
"What? It's just a genuine question," She says shyly and finally glances at Usagi and then turns her big thistle eyes to Mamoru.
Mamoru chuckles a little, "well, I didn't know I had to show off my friends for your approval."
"No need to show them off. I always say to Usagi-chan that cute guys move in packs. Ne Usa-chan?," Minako says boldly with a mischievous smile on her lips.
"Usagi-chan relax. You know Mamoru-san is like a brother to me. No need to get all jealous and possessive."
Usagi looks at her friend with wide eyes for a second and then pouts.
Oh my God. She just had to pout didn't she?
I had started to focus on the papers that had been in front of Mamuro to see what he was tutoring Usagi on, while listening to his conversation with the new arrival.
Upon hearing the girl's comment on cute guys and Usagi's frustrated growl, I looked up to witness her little face stained with embarrassment and a pout on her lips ... A very endearing pout, a very heart-melting pout.
My eyes were fixed on her small little pink lips when I saw a movement from the corner of my eye and a slight shift on my right.
Mamoru moved his hand across the table and patted Usagi's folded arms gently with a small chuckle.
"Come on Usako, you know Minako is always joking around," his hand moved up to her face and he lets his knuckles brush along her jaw.
I remove my eyes from the intimate moment. Who would have thought that stuck up Chiba Mamoru had it in him? Showing affection? And in public, non-the less?
"uuuuh, you guys are so cute. I wish I could have that," I hear that Minako chick's dreamy voice and I can just tell that her eyes are no longer on the couple beside us.
I clear my throat after a few seconds and try to maintain my cool tone, "well then, I should get going. I guess I will see you tomorrow Mamoru-kun."
Mamoru turns to me and nods his head, "yeah sure. Want to meet up at the library around 6:00? We could also go to my place if that's more convenient."
"Mmm, I guess your place sounds better. Besides, there's a private event at the library and I'm not sure if the main hall is going to be open to public."
"Ok then, it's settled. My last class finishes at 5:30. We can head out together."
I nod my head once and then move a little to let him know that I'm ready to leave.
Mamoru stands up from his sit to let me pass. As I leave the booth I turn my attention to the girls.
"Well, it was nice meeting you both," I say and then shove my hands deep in my pant's pockets as if guarding my self from another handshake.
"It was nice meeting you too Kousei-san. I hope I see you around," the Minako girl says with a huge smile and bright eyes.
"Have a nice afternoon Kousei-san," I look at Usagi for a second, and try to memorize her image; those two ridiculous buns on her head, her pale skin, her tiny noise, her slightly pink cheeks. But most of all, I try to memorize her eyes.
I nod once more, say a quick goodbye to Mamoru and then leave.