A Hope Evangelical Discordian Cabal
A Suika Roberts Unfilm
A Taste of Chalk
Project A-ko isn't mine, but it is a lot of fun. This story probably won't make any sense without some knowledge of the series. It may not make any sense with knowledge of the series, but that's OK, too
With a groan I flop the book over, setting it page-down on the grey satin bedspread as I think about the implications of what I just read.
I'd taken C-ko's friendship to be a prize to be won, but hadn't pursued it as such. Instead I went after it like it was an object to be captured, a zero-sum problem.
How was I to know when I first met C-ko that she had been raised by weird people, that she'd react that badly to Mariko-chan? Even A-ko knows frogs are cute. So when C-ko reacted like that I didn't know what to do, except blame A-ko for turning her against me. A-ko isn't to blame, and I'd have C-ko as a friend now if I hadn't alienated A-ko.
She is often ready to reconcile, so I shall see what is to be gained in the morning. With that I turn out the light, move the book to a safer spot, mark my place with a bit of paper, go to sleep.
I stand ready as I have every school day for the last six weeks since they came back into my life, still in my uniform this morning. I force my hands to stillness again, folding my arms to keep my fingers from trembling. I don't know if this is the best course of action, in fact I fear it may be one of the worst, but. . .
There she is.
Walking up to the gate, the sun glimmering in her hair while the wind plays with it, laughing at something C-ko said. That alway has made me jealous. Her face is so, open, right now. The knot in my guts twists again.
She spots me, sends C-ko off to one side, out of the expected path of battle to stand with my henchpersons. She walks up cautiously, ready for an attack.
"B-ko, what is it this morning? I do need to get an education."
She is always so angry with me of late. Not that I can really blame her, what with the fact that I have been attacking her every morning just about since she arrived in town. She's so pretty when her eyes flash like that
Before I can reconsider I act, flinging myself into motion as soon as she is close enough. I hope that she won't move out of the way before I reach her.
She doesn't react fast enough to dodge for once, apparently she wasn't as ready as she seemed. Most likely she was waiting for me to shed the uniform before my attack, as I usually do.
I am inside her guard, one hand around her back, the other across the back of her head, my fingers twined in her short red hair, before she starts to realize. Instants later I pull her unresisting head down to mine, press my lips to hers. She shifts, like she almost wants to fight me off, then starts to respond to the kiss, her lips spreading against mine.
With a sudden gasp she tears herself away, flailing, throwing herself back, making me quite glad I didn't have a firm grip on her hair, for she pulled away fiercely enough that she would have ripped it out, or perhaps broken my fingers. I really almost wish I had the suit on. No, make that 'It would have been nice to have thought to design a set of modifications to the suit such that I could have it half-on' since the fields would have kept my ribs from cracking like that. Deities but that hurts.
"B-ko!" A-ko's voice sounds from just in front of where I have my face pressed to the asphault, indicating she has dropped to her knees, and is probably hovering with her hands just off me. I force myself to sit up, brushing my back across her hands as I do so. Good, it seems only a couple ribs are damaged, but my knees aren't pleased by my falling on them. "Are you OK?"
"I didn't have my suit on, what do you think?" I snap, then reconsider, manage a smile, "Pretty good," I feel gently at my chest, "Only a couple ribs cracked. The suit doesn't provide much protection when the fields are off, though."
She looks pained. I feel a small smile flow onto my lips, "They'll be fine."
She holds out a cautious hand, "I didn't think, sorry. Let me help you up."
I nod, let her help me to the infirmary, sure that I would enjoy this a whole lot more if my ribs weren't aching like they are. Even so it is nicer to feel her hands with a bit less force behind them than usual. They feel so nice, so strong and caring, instead of just strong. I wish. . .
"A-ko! Careful! I need to be able to breathe when you are done!" I almost squeek, as her careful, if inexpert, hands tape my ribs. Do I want her hands to roam just a bit higher? I think so, but can I tell her that? Not now.
We're not in public, though. Better wait 'til she's done taping, I think.
"Un, that's true. You can't kiss me if you can't breathe."
She looks utterly appalled by that last sentance, a kind of 'how could I have said that! she'll be angry with me' look. I smile back, with a look that I hope is reassuring.
She kisses me quickly on the forehead, blushes, runs quickly out of the room, leaving me to put my armor and uniform top back on by myself.
She did a good job on my ribs, and I manage without too much trouble. It still would have been far easier with her to help.
I knod to Ayumi-sensei as I walk into class, take my seat before going back to my thoughts of the day before.
How could I have done that to myself? Even more importantly why had it taken so long for me to straighten it out in my head? I know how easy it is to transmute lust, but how did I turn jealousy so intense that it left me weak in the knees, that made me come up with dozens of evil plots to get the frog-fearing friend-stealer out of the picture some final way, so that she would know that she was suffering for taking my friend away from me, into this recent all-consuming lust for C-ko?
Was it that I was convinced that A-ko wanted it that way? Or that I felt sure I couldn't win her, and set out to sabotage the relationship before it could even begin? Sadly the later course seems most likely.
"A-ko chan, would you come for a walk with me after school? I feel that I need to talk to you about this morning. B-ko." Not the best note I've ever written, unless one is going on how much must be infered for it to make any sense, which isn't a good measure.
"I think we should too. I have a feeling that this is really important. A-ko" The little note comes back to me, and I notice the way that she is still stroking mine, watching me read while attempting to look like she is paying attention to Ayumi-sensei. She doesn't succeed as well as she might have, getting a face full of chalk dust and duster. That is such a British term for chalkboard eraser that I like to use it a lot. I hide my face in my hand, thinking about lunch for the first time today, realize that I had two bentou packed this morning, and I hadn't even noticed.
"Daitoukuji-san!" I look up, duck the flying duster as it almost hits where it was aimed. Blessed, but she's in a bad mood; generally she just bouces it off the top of my head. Calling my name so that I'll look up and have it hit me in the face is something she reserves for when things really turn out wrong. I guess she's still upset about Kei. How weird, that went 'poof' in this bout of self-examination, too.
I look back at A-ko, catch her looking at me, look forward and begin writing. 'A-ko, would you like to eat lunch with me? I seem to have packed two bentou this morning. B-ko' Having seen just what C-ko's cooking will do to a person, I don't expect her to refuse. I fold the note carefully, pass it back. She reads it, knods, flinches, and I duck, the duster bouncing off my head yet again.
"Daitoukuji-san! What is it with you this morning?" Ayumi-sensei asks for the first time in several weeks. I think for a moment about the proper answer. Should I be smart, which will likely get me sent to stand in the hall, and out of having to listen to her drone on about US history, a subject that I have already covered in adequate depth, thank you very much, or should I tell her the truth in some form or another.
The truth. Can't hurt too much. "I just remembered how cute Magami-san is, sensei. Isn't she cuter than Kei-kun?" I smile at her, glad that I have cameras in the room to catch A-ko's reaction, for as expected Ayumi looks like a beached fish, her mouth flopping and no sound coming out as she points to the hall, finally getting under control enough to emphatically order me out of the classroom.
I lean back against the wall, lost in incoherent contemplation of A-ko, somehow keeping the ecchi thoughts that keep popping up from taking over my mind, probably because it would be quite embarassing to have someone see my expression. Hun, I probably could keep my face neutral . . .
There is a thump from the room behind me before I can go any further on that thought, and Ayumi-sensei's voice demanding an explanation from A-ko. She makes an encouraging reply, one that echos mine, but with my name instead of hers. Ayumi manages to order her from the room faster than she could me, so I think she may have been expecting it.
A-ko leans back against the wall next to me, pulls a pen from one of her pockets, writes quickly on the notebook she brought from class with her, hands it to me.
'B-ko, did you mean that back in class just a bit ago? I was a little surprised to hear it. I'm quite flattered, though.'
I reply by the same means, 'Yes. I was reading last night when I realized that I wasn't going to get C-ko by the methods that I had been using, that, in fact, the method that I had been using could not work. I think that broke some of the barriers that I had been using to keep from thinking about things, for I had two Bentou packed this morning, not three. I didn't think I was going to kiss you this morning until after I started moving towards you.'
I watch her as she reads it, a smile gracing her unusually red lips, looks up, presses careful fingers to my face, steps in close to me, and bends forward. I close my eyes at the feel of her lips on mine, press myself against her as firmly as I can before my ribs start screaming at me, slide my hands over the fabric of her blouse as her tounge presses against my own.
Briiiiing the moment is shattered by the bell, and we break apart as a torrent of students flows from the room, I hear a bit of giggling, but think nothing of it until I look at A-ko's face. I wasn't wearing lipstick, or at least hadn't been before she kissed me, and her's was a bit smudged. Red lipstick just doesn't go well with my hair, I fear.
We walk back into class as Ayumi-sensei leaves, pausing to glare at us on the way out the door, and I smile sweetly back before I remember that I've still got A-ko's lipstick on my face. I glance up at A-ko and elbow her so she'll remember to smile at Ayumi-sensei. After a quick glance at me she does, and Ayumi-sensei whirls and runs to her next class. I sit down at my desk and glare at the girl who normally sits next to me, my hand lightly on A-ko's arm. She takes the hint remarkably well, fleeing to a vacant desk and taking her stuff with her.
"That wasn't terribly nice, you know." A-ko glares at me as she takes her seat.
"I originally bribed her to take that seat, so it shouldn't bother her too much. Now bring your stuff over here. Please?" I try to smile my brightest smile, which I'm not so sure is very bright, but she comes over and pecks me carefully on the cheek, assuredly leaving a bright red lip mark. I pull out a mirror but make no attempt to wipe it off, offer the mirror silently to A-ko. She takes it and fixes her lipstick, something I'd not seen her wear before, at least not so far as I could remember.
My next period teacher looks more than a little shell-shocked at the sight of us sitting together, and she blinks several times when she takes in the lipstick distribution. I smile at her and she sways, looking quite like she was going to faint. She doesn't, though, and gets on with the english lesson. I rather dislike English, and this time I have something far better to occupy my mind. The english teacher is much more slack with throwing the duster about, for which I am quite grateful. Chalk dust just doesn't go with lipstick. I manage to avoid making a fool of myself for the next couple periods, or at least any more of a fool than normal. The last several weeks, of course, don't count as normal.
"B-ko, what is with you today? I've never seen you get in this much trouble before," A-ko asks gently, reaching over to place one hand on mine.
"I've not been plotting today. I hope that I've caught what I wanted all along." I smile at her, "Have I, A-ko?"
"You've caught me, if that's what you mean."
"OK," C-ko says, an utterly cute irate whine in her voice, "That is quite enough of that!"
"What?" I ask, smiling.
"A-ko is mine!"
"Oh?" I ask.
"I'm your best friend," A-ko starts, a little confused.
C-ko's face just melts. I wince, and tears start to trail quietly down her face, "No. No. No. You're supposed to be my girlfriend. You do everything you're supposed to, except ask me on dates," C-ko sniffles, "If you don't want to be my girlfriend, you should have told me a long time ago."
C-ko turns away.
A-ko looks at me helplessly. I look back, then reach out, and place a hand on C-ko's shoulder, "Two girlfriends might be better than one," I tell her softly, "even if one of them doesn't like toads, frogs, snakes, or other cute things."
"Toads aren't cute!" C-ko spins around, and glares at me.
I give her my best surprised look, "Are too."
C-ko looks a little bit stumped by that, "Be--" and the duster hits her upside the head.
C-ko spends the rest of the day alternating between glaring at me and giving us contemplative looks.
A-ko. A-ko just looks stunned.
After class, C-ko steps up to us, "You two will take me on a date. No toads this time. Maybe next, OK?" She clasps her hands together in front of her, and smiles.
A-ko gibbers a little.
I manage to limit myself to a single blink, "OK. What would you like for dinner?"
She frowns, just a little.
I wrap an arm about each of them, and start from the room, "You don't have to answer right away," I tell C-ko.