Yes, I've decided to edit this work of mine which was way back from 2009. Although some of you likes to compare how I wrote when I was 13 years old and now, I feel like changing that. *laughs*. One of you guys found it "adorable", and yes, I do feel a sense of accomplishment seeing as how much my writing style improved, but I want the new and old readers to enjoy this story as how I write now. :)
This story may still contain the sense of naivety I had when I wrote it (maybe) :P
Disclaimer: I don't own La Corda D'oro
"It's fine. It's fine. Everything will be fine."
The scarlet-haired Hino Kahoko repeated to herself as she kept her head down while walking the hallways towards her classroom.
"You look sick, are you sure you're alright?"
Kahoko jumped upon remembering that someone had been by her side the whole time. Her thoughts were too preoccupied with what was happening at the present that she had momentarily forgotten her companion. "I'm fine," She managed to mumble, "It's just that..." She trailed off as she looked at the green-haired jock of a best friend she had.
He patted the back of her head as a gesture of comfort as he agreed. "I know what you mean." He's been aware of all the stares the two of them were getting as they walk the halls together, but it couldn't be helped since they were in the same class. "It'll end soon."
Kahoko gave a small sigh, "I hope so..." She opened the door which leads to the back of their classroom, which she would learn later on was a huge mistake. As she entered the classroom, Kahoko immediately noticed the knowing smile her classmates were giving. "Not here too," She murmured and groaned.
"Kaho-chan!" Her cheerful friend, Mio, jumped to hug Kahoko tightly. She had a huge smile on her face as she regarded the two friends. "I'll borrow Kaho-chan for a moment, Tsuchiura-kun." Mio said, grabbing Kahoko by the arm.
Ryoutarou chuckled upon seeing Kahoko's expression which obviously meant she needed help. "Have fun," He teased as Mio pulled Kahoko away.
"Okay, spill." Mio demanded as she dragged Kahoko to the back corner of the classroom.
"Take it easy," Their other friend, Nao, laughed gently as she joined the two girls.
Kahoko resisted the urge to roll her eyes, "There's nothing going on between us," She sighed, "We just have a common interest."
"As if that's the reason why you two were seen on a date yesterday!" Mio pressed.
"We weren't on a date!" Kahoko blushed, "He was just walking me home since it got so late. I told you guys that I help out at his grandfather's shop from time to time."
"Boring," Mio pouted seeing that Kahoko was saying the absolute truth.
Nao laughed again, "Maybe you two should start going out. You're always together and your chemistry together can't be easily ignored."
"Stop!" Mio interrupted, already guessing what her friend has to say. "Don't start with the I'm-not-as-popular-as-he-is speech on us, we've had enough of it."
Kahoko finally rolled her eyes at her friends. "Look at him," She said as her two friends followed where Kahoko's eyes were. Ryoutarou sat on top of his desk as he chatted with his friends, while he does so, there were a few girls passing by the window obviously admiring him.
"Yeah, so he's the MVP player of the soccer team," Mio added nonchalantly, "Got good looks, personality, he's a great gentleman, and to top it off he's a great pianist player. No wonder girls won't not fall for him." She looked at Kahoko as if hinting something at her.
Kahoko couldn't help but giggle, "Mio," She whined. "He's a friend."
"As if you're not popular yourself." Nao added teasingly. "You're already well known for playing the violin."
"Enough with pairing us together," Kahoko crossed her arms across her chest as she glared at her friends jokingly, "You both know I like someone else."
With the mention of that, Kahoko's two friends practically rolled their eyes.
"Why not look at what's already in front of you?" Mio asked, her tone was neither chastising or teasing. "You and Tsuchiura-kun have known each other for more than three years now. You both share the same passion for music despite being gen-ed students. You're always together. Are you going to deny that you have an ounce of feelings for Tsuchiura-kun? An ounce of like? The serious kind of like?"
"He's just my best friend." Kahoko reiterated.
"Kaho," Nao said, trying to think of the right words to say to her stubborn friend but she finally gave up and sighed. "Don't say we never warned you."
"Kahoko? Hey Kahoko!"
Kahoko flinched seeing a hand in front of her.
"You've been spacing out since early in the morning." Ryoutarou said, studying Kahoko's face for a few seconds before taking his seat beside her on the bench to have lunch.
"Sorry," Kahoko mumbled as she stared at her half-eaten food on top of the table.
Ryoutarou discreetly shook his head as he leaned onto the back of the bench and stared at the sakura trees shading their spot. "Are you still worried about the rumors?" He asked quietly.
"A little," Kahoko answered honestly as she observed the sakura petals drifting onto the table in front of her.
"You never cared what other people had to say," He leaned forward this time as he opened his own lunch box set. "I'm guessing this is because of senpai?"
Kahoko blushed upon the mention of the person she likes.
"If we stop hanging out for a while," He said in a light-hearted tone, "Then maybe the rumors would stop."
Kahoko looked at Ryoutarou in shock. "You're my best friend, people should understand that it's perfectly normal to always be with your best friend. If I always hang out with Mio, are they going to judge and say that I'm not straight?"
"Easy," Ryoutarou chuckled as he brought two of his hands up in between him and Kahoko. "I get where they're coming from you know. Hanging out like this," He gestured to their surroundings, the place where they usually eat was a place where not much people go, but there are still a few who pass by, "makes everything suspicious."
"I'm being selfish, aren't I?" Kahoko mumbled.
"A little bit," He laughed. "I'm just worried about you. You like him, and that's why you don't want him to misunderstand anything."
"It won't help much since he sees us participating in competitions together all the time."
"Things don't need to change." She said stubbornly.
Ryoutarou shook his head in amusement at his hard-headed best friend. "Since you're close to him, you can just clear things out. I'm sure he'd believe you."
"I don't have to," Kahoko said, a slight blush on her cheeks once again. "I like him, but only as an older brother figure. And wouldn't he wonder why I'm trying to clear out his misunderstanding?"
Kahoko's eyes widen as she recognized the familiar voice. She looked ahead and saw the person she likes a few meters away from them. Wearing a different school uniform than her and Ryoutarou, which indicated that they were from the General Department, he was a tall green haired individual with a cheerful and child-like aura around him. He seemed to have been passing by and spotted Kahoko. He gave a wave as he passed. Kahoko barely managed to wave back and smile at him.
As soon as he left, Kahoko felt like banging her head on the table as she felt her cheeks heat up. Beside her, Ryoutarou could only laugh. "Speak of the devil, and the devil shall appear." He teased.
"Don't even start with me," She moaned in defeat.
She had known that upperclassman ever since she had first transferred. There was no reason for her to know him since he was from the Music Department, but she had always noticed his cheerful and energetic attitude whenever she enters school and happens to cross paths with him. There were times when she would coincidentally hear him having conversations with friends and she couldn't help but feel amused at his innocence.
Kahoko admired him more when she heard him play the trumpet during a music festival in school.
If there was one thing Kahoko was happy about with revealing that she play an instrument, it would be that it was what made her exist in his world. Since she and Ryoutarou joins competitions hosted by the school, and adding up her senpai's friendly and open personality, they became friends.
Kahoko blushed upon thinking of his name.
He really was like an older brother to her. She couldn't forget the time that he had defended her when a bunch of Music Department students had cornered her and insulted her playing. It had been a scary experience, with Ryoutarou at soccer practice and no one around she could depend on, but out of nowhere Hihara came out and helped her.
Kahoko bit her bottom lip.
She doesn't have to explain to him or tell him that the rumors are not true. That he and Ryoutarou were just best friends and nothing more... but she couldn't shake off that want of having him understand...
"Don't think about it too much." Ryoutarou interrupted her thoughts as he placed one hand on top of her head.
"Mn," She barely answered.
"Kaho-chan, are you going to help out at the old shop again?" Mio asked her best friend as she watch her pack up her things.
"No, but I'll be going there with Ryoutarou since I have to pick something up today." Kahoko answered, earning a pout from her friend.
"You barely hung out with us these days." Nao said as she slung her bag behind her shoulder.
"Sorry," Kahoko apologized, genuinely feeling guilty. Ever since she and Ryoutarou became more active with music, she had to practice regularly and didn't have as much free time to hang out with her friends like she used to. "I promise to make it up to you two."
Mio sighed, "We'll let you off the hook since it seems like you're dating."
Kahoko finally rolled her eyes, "We're not dating."
"Then how about date that upperclassman from the Music Department." Nao said bluntly.
Kahoko blushed a beet red as she thought of Hihara. "W—We—"
The two friends laughed upon seeing Kahoko's flustered state. "Nao didn't mean Hihara-senpai," Mio laughed.
At that Kahoko made a face as she groaned.
"Who's she suppose to date which she seems to dread so much?" Ryoutarou joined in laughing as he overheard the last bit of the girls' conversation as he headed to them.
"That long-haired purple guy from the Music Department, if I remember he's called Maestro. I heard he came from a traditional family." Nao supplied, laughing too as she gave way for Ryoutarou to stand beside Kahoko, "The one who confessed to her during the school concours last year."
"That guy," Ryoutarou said in obvious distaste, "I don't think he's someone you should be close to."
"Come on! He's a popular guy! Even girls from the General Department admire him!" Mio interrupted. "Kaho-chan, how can you not say you're popular when a person— gentleman, like him confessed to you?"
Kahoko widened her eyes at Mio in warning.
Ryoutarou chuckled, "Why are you worrying about whether you're popular or not?" He asked, looking at Kahoko in amusement.
"Nothing. Don't ask." Kahoko said dismissively. In which Ryoutarou turned to her two other friends and they just shrugged with a knowing smile.
"But what's with your aversion to senpai anyway? Both of you?" Nao asked.
Kahoko shrugged, "It's not exactly aversion. It's just that Yunoki-senpai is scary when he wants to be."
"I bet Tsuchiura-kun is just jealous that someone finally confessed to Kaho-chan," Mio smiled evilly at the two friends as she eyed Ryoutarou specifically.
"Ha. Ha." Kahoko spoke before Ryoutarou could defend himself, "For all I know, you two are the ones who started the dating rumor."
Mio grinned, "Maybe we did." To which Kahoko just stared at her in disbelief.
"You're not seriously considering his confession are you?" Ryoutarou asked when he and Kahoko were more or less halfway to his grandfather's shop.
Kahoko walked on the edge of the sidewalk as she tried to balance herself with every step. She glanced at Ryoutarou with an uncertain expression. "I'm not going to date him."
"That's a bit vague Kahoko," Ryoutarou said as he caught her in time when she suddenly lost her balance. He had a hand on her waist, the other on her arm. "Careful." He said as he help her regain her balance as she mumbled a small thanks.
"I plan on turning him down, I just don't know how. You've seen how Yunoki-senpai is, he wouldn't take no for an answer. And like I said, he could be scary when he wants to be." Kahoko said in a low voice as she kept her eyes on the ground.
"That's why it's better for you to reject him earlier. I really don't like that air around him Kaho," Ryoutarou said in a concerned tone as he recalled how he had passed by the said purple-haired upperclassman a while ago on his way to lunch.
He remembered how they crossed paths and the quick glance the upperclassman gave him had conveyed a thousand message. One, in particular, was to stay away from Kahoko. For some reason, he even thinks that it was that person who started the rumor. The usual tendency when best friends get into a rumor together is that they drift apart to avoid further misunderstandings.
Ryoutarou snickered in a low voice.
Too bad for him.
"How about you? Aren't you going to answer any of the girls confessing to you?" Kahoko asked, walking beside Ryoutarou properly on the sidewalk this time. She looked at him with genuine curiosity. She's been wondering about it for a while why Ryoutarou wasn't dating any one when he was so popular.
Ryoutarou chuckled easily as he shook his head. "I'm not interested. Music and soccer are my top priorities at the moment," He glanced at Kahoko and grinned, "Plus you. Have to make sure your suitors are worthy."
Kahoko smacked Ryoutarou's arm with her violin case, "I'm not a child! I can handle and judge for myself, thank you very much."
Ryoutarou chuckled again, "Not without my approval."
"Please! I already have Mio and Nao trailing me." She complained. "They keep joking on the fact that we should just date."
Ryoutarou opened the door to his grandfather's shop for Kahoko as she complained. Ryoutarou laughed, "Well then, why don't we?"
Kahoko looked at Ryoutarou incredulously. He laughed louder this time around as he entered the shop behind her. "That wasn't a good joke Ryoutarou." Kahoko half-glared at him.
"Kahoko-chan, the music sheets you requested are right here," Ryoutarou's grandfather spoke before he could open his mouth. "I'm near the back room."
Kahoko made a face at Ryoutarou before she went to where his grandfather was. Ryoutarou's smile faded as Kahoko rounded the corner. He sighed as he leaned his head onto the wall beside him. "Who said I was joking." He mumbled.