And now comes another chapter of my newest underdog story; Love Minus Zero! Enjoy, and remember to review! :D
Matsushita had never dreamed of the day where he would be doing something like this.
The judo expert's heart was beating faster than ever. He stared ahead with a serious expression, despite the fact that he felt like he was literally going to collapse on the inside. His hands balled up tightly into fists, Matsushita wondered if he was really going to go through with this. Then, his face slackened. He sighed to himself as his once rigid pose became relaxed.
He had almost opened the door to the light music club in front of him. He had almost walked in, faced Asami Iwasawa, and asked her to go out with him on a date.
Of course, the catch in all this was the word "almost". Like the last eleven times, Matushita had failed to enter this door, and thereby fail to even speak to Iwasawa at all. All he ever got to was the door, where he would stand in defeat before he would hear them start their afternoon practice.
The judo expert felt like a failure. How could he allow himself to fail once again, and in the same manner? He had no limits when it came to judo. He always broke his own records, and he never gave up when it came to his art. If he could fail at something as simple as asking a girl out on a date, then did that mean all the times he went with his brother for secluded mountain training would just measure up to nothing?
"Girls are such a crutch..." Matushita said to himself under his breath. He figured he'd been standing here long enough. The sound of an opening guitar part was pretty much telling him to leave.
"Get chance and luck!" TK exclaimed from Matushita's left side, having seemingly appeared out of thin air. "What's training without heartache? The idiotic, the exotic!"
TK's words, despite making little sense, couldn't but make the judo expert smile a little bit. Naturally, he gave TK a high five, feeling a little more relaxed. "At least you can keep yourself in good spirits. I still don't get why you won't come on any training retreats yet..."
TK made a spin, before pointing at Matsushita with both hands made into finger guns. "Come gather round people, wherever you roam." TK pointed at the door behind him and grinned. "And keep your eyes wide. The chance won't come again." Matsushita almost immediately got TK's hint.
"Well...it's not that easy. Not as easy as katame-waza, I guess..." Matsushita replied, his voice beginning to trail off. TK wasn't condescending like Fujimaki could be, but the judo expert still didn't want to tell him this kind of stuff. Even though he knew better, he had always secretly thought TK would just laugh at him for being bad with girls.
"Shine live and max out! Help is the the music cure. I'll dish out a play-list for your soul." TK replied, surprising Matushita just a little bit. The judo expert couldn't help but scratch his head in wonder. He was stupid for thinking TK would laugh at him. If anything, TK was always helping him in one way or another. Even after a couple months of dance training, Matsushita still wasn't all that good. But TK had kept helping him anyway.
"You're...going to help me? I don't know if it's even worth it. What chance do I have with Iwasawa anyway..." Matushita said, sighing as his mind filled up with self-doubt. TK put a firm hand on the judo expert's shoulder. TK's voice was pretty serious now.
"My love...she speaks like silence. The war is only won with comrades. You've gotta be the dance warrior who shines live."
Matushita's face looked unsure for a moment, but as he absorbed the words, he began to smile. The judo expert nodded. TK nodded back.
"Alright. Tomorrow...I will ask Iwasawa-san on a date...even if it kills me!" Matushita announced in a powerful voice, which almost surfaced above the sound of instruments playing in the club room.
Around the corner, a dark figure watched with copper eyes as the two boys confirmed their plans. Shiina had been thinking to herself about how exactly to deal with her TK problem for the last couple of days. Her mouth forming into a small smile, she realized quickly that she had just found her solution.
"So you're telling me...that you are gonna be asking Asami Iwasawa on a date before break is over?" Fujimaki asked from across Matsushita as break period dragged on. The stoic judo expert nodded in response, and TK snapped his fingers.
"TK said he would assist me...but yes. I am." Matsushita replied, his voice very sincere. Fujimaki seemed to be thinking something over for a few seconds, before he narrowed his eyes at the judo expert. Crossing his arms, he made it sound like he was talking down to the judo expert, "I feel sorry for you. You've actually had your heart captured by a girl. And not to mention that there's no way in hell she's going to just say yes. She doesn't even know you exist."
"You sound awfully sure of all this. When was your last girlfriend, Fujimaki-kun?" Hisako said from behind the fight-holic, surprising him easily. TK and Matsushita took little notice towards her, but Fujimaki seemed suddenly flustered.
"Wha...Why do you care anyway? Can you stop this whole sneaking up thing? It's damn well getting on my nerves!"
Hisako giggled as if Fujimaki had made a funny joke. The fight-holic's face just seemed to become more annoyed the more he heard Hisako's laughing. She stopped quickly however, apparently to put in her own two cents about what they had just been talking about.
"You guys really suck when it comes to keeping secrets. Half the class already knows about Matsushita's 5th Dan's crush. It's only a matter of time before it gets to Iwasawa..." Hisako stated, her voice trailing off purposely in an effort to make Matsushita nervous. It worked pretty well, and the judo expert's response made him sound worried.
"You...you wouldn't tell her, would you?"
Hisako smiled big at first, but her smile shrunk quickly. "Nah. I wouldn't do that. I do have a little advice for you though. Iwasawa is my best friend, so I know her pretty well inside and out."
"Don't be afraid. Don't stop dancing!" TK interjected, patting Matsushita on the back to reassure him. Of course, the bandana-wearing teenager still hadn't completely figured out exactly how he would be helping the judo expert get a date with Asami Iwasawa.
"Okay. What can you tell me about her? Is there something that she likes about guys in particular? Should I buy her an expensive gift?" Matsushita asked, bolting off the first questions that came into his head. For the longest time, he had always thought that girls always fell for expensive presents like jewelery and such.
Hisako seemed to giggle to herself again, puzzling Matsushita and making Fujimaki frown in annoyance. She shook her head back and forth before answering the judo expert. "I don't know what you've been told, but expensive gifts are definitely not the way to go. She'd probably just get insulted if you got her something like that..."
Hisako rubbed her chin as she began to think to herself. As the others waited for her answer, Fujimaki just seemed to be trying to ignore her. Every time the fight-holic looked at Hisako, he always felt his heart skip a beat. He hated the feeling, and he could never let anyone know about that. It would ruin his reputation forever.
"Rock, dust, light, star?" TK asked, but as usual, his answer made no sense to Hisako. Her mind was already made up however. She gave Matsushita a very sly smile before leaning on the table right next to Fujimaki, aggravating him even more.
"I think I'll let you figure it out. If you really are the right guy for my best friend, then you can succeed without my help. I don't know how's he going to help you though." Hisako said, referring to TK. The dancer almost seemed insulted at first, but he shook it off and responded with one of his usual catch-phrases. "Kiss you!"
Matushita looked down at his desk, realizing the challenge before him. And TK's phrases weren't really making any sense to him now, so how would this guy's advice help him before break was done? The judo expert sighed, his voice sounding suddenly dry. "I hope you've got something good planned, TK..."
TK snapped his fingers and spun up from his chair. "It's my turn! C'mon let's dance!"
Break had always been one of Iwasawa's favorite times of the day.
It was a little strange. She enjoyed creating music more than listening to it, but she still couldn't help but cherish anytime she could get the chance to just listen to music that someone else was playing. And the break between classes, where most people would eat lunch and hang our with their friends, was the time when she sat in the club room and listened to her music.
And so naturally, Iwasawa did not hear the sound of someone knocking on the clubroom door. TK continued to knock on the door repeatedly as Matsushita waited anxiously. Nevertheless, the judo expert felt extremely nervous right now, so he hoped TK would be able to do most of the work for him. At the same time, he cursed himself for being so weak.
"Knocking on heaven's door!" TK shouted from the outside of the clubroom door in his loudest voice. Iwasawa was too absorbed with her music to hear him, and he could only groan to himself as he discovered the door was locked.
"Maybe this isn't the best time." Matsushita commented. He was beginning to think this was all turning into a really bad idea. TK looked at him with a serious face. It was a face that pretty much told the judo expert...
"There's no giving up now."
And so, Matsushita said nothing, and TK continued to knock on the door like a maniac. With only ten minutes left in break period, the judo expert and dancer had little time to reach Iwasawa before class began again. Little did they know that someone was watching them as they haphazardly tried to contact the person inside the clubroom.
Shiina had enough of watching these fools continue to fail. Even though she was conflicted about it, she decided to go forward and help them just this once. It had nothing to do with the fact that she still liked TK though. She kept saying that in her mind as she approached TK and Matsushita, hoping she would actually believe it sooner or later.
"How shallow-minded. Stand aside. You two obviously cannot do such a simple thing as gaining access into a room by yourselves." Shiina announced to a surprised TK and Matsushita, who could do nothing less but step aside as Shiina had commanded. TK couldn't help but say, "Love foolosophy? He said his name was Columbus. I just said "Get chance and luck"!"
Shiina ignored TK for the moment. With the skill of a true ninja, she quickly pulled out a small lock pick from inside one of her leggings. It still annoyed her that she wasn't allowed to wear the padded ones meant for protection to school.
After a second or two of fiddling, the door lock gave way to Shiina's skills, and both TK and Matsushita could only watch in awe as the door to the light music clubroom opened up to them. Following a silent Shiina inside, both boys spotted Iwasawa, who was sitting in one of the chairs and staring out a window, headphones around her ears. TK tapped her on the shoulder, and she almost immediately turned around, a somber look on her face as she pulled down her headphones.
"Oh, hello. How did you get in here? I thought the door was locked." she asked, and TK just spun around and pointed a finger gun at her in response.
"Easy come, easy go!"
Iwasawa put on a confused expression. "What?"
TK, thinking his first statement should have appealed to her in an instant, decided to be more forward with his approach. Gathering up all his inner strength, he pointed at Matsushita behind him and said, "He's getting ready for the show. He's going to the carnival tonight. This guy's been dreaming your audio dreams."
It was at this point that Matsushita 5th Dan was beginning to feel uneasy. He could easily spot the growing confusion on Iwasawa's face. It was only a matter of time before she got annoyed and kicked them out. Beside him, Shiina seemed to be crossing her arms and glaring at TK in disapproval. To her, his comments were beyond inane. However, she could also only do so much to avoid blushing at a time like this. He was so cute right now...
"What show is this? Is there a music carnival tonight? I heard about something like that happening. There's a couple of bands I might want to see. I've never had an audio dream though..."
It was at this point that TK was beginning to become a little annoyed. He hit himself on the head, before pointing back at Matsushita as he moon walked to the left.
"Unforgettable...that's what you are. Unforgettable...though near or far. Like a song of love that clings to him...how the thought of you...does things to him. Never before...has someone been more...unforgettable...in every way." TK sang in a low voice, hoping this was as obvious as he had to be.
Unfortunately, he failed to see Shiina's expression of disbelief, and Matsushita's face, which was turning bright red. At the same time, Iwasawa's eyes widened, and she stood up, fully taking in what TK had just told him. Her eyes failed to focus on Matsushita. This was all very sudden to her.
Iwasawa had always been told she was popular among the student body. Hisako made that clear. However, she had always thought it was only because of her being the lead portion of their band, Girls Dead Monster. She had never imagined a boy feeling...that way about her. All her friends had always been girls, and she thought it would have always stayed that way.
"Well...that's interesting. I don't really know what to say though..." Iwasawa replied, delivering the dreaded answer that Matsushita had hoped he would never hear.
TK was speechless now. Shiina remained silent, knowing that the time to act against TK would be soon. Matsushita 5th Dan's business was none of her's however.
Something inside Matsushita 5th Dan erupted at that moment. His face became sincere, and he pushed past TK. There were no thoughts of judo or of gyūdon in his head right now. No...all he could think of was the beautiful guitarist in front of him and what he was about to ask her.
He had decided for himself at this time that he would not lose like this. TK wasn't going to be there forever. He couldn't depend on him for everything. Hisako had been right. If he was the right guy for Iwasawa...then there was no chance of failure.
"I'm done with letting him talk for me. I have something to ask you, Iwasawa-san. Something I didn't think I'd be able to ask you for a long time."
The guitarist was still feeling a little awkward about TK's words, but from the look on Matsushita's face, she decided to hear him out. "Alright..."
"I...I have always loved your music. Ever since the beginning of the year...when I overhead one of your CD's with TK, I couldn't stop thinking about your music. I listened to it every single day, and I still do. In fact...I listen to it during judo training. It helps me focus."
Iwasawa could feel herself calming down as she listened to Matsushita's words. She knew him only by name, and he had never really stuck out to her much. But now was a little different. He seemed...interesting, all of a sudden.
"I always wanted to know the singer. She sounded so talented. She sang like an angel. I couldn't help but think about what she was like. I wanted to meet her. I really wanted to just get to know her." Matsushita continued, his voice becoming more confident with each word. Strangely, this all seemed to come out naturally. He had never imagined being able to say things like this to anyone, let alone a girl. Beside him, TK remained silent, but with a grin on his face. Shiina pretended to look like she wasn't listening, when in fact she was.
"You might know me as Matsushita 5th Dan. That's what everyone calls me. I know you as Asami Iwasawa-san. And with that, I want to ask you...will you go out with me dancing this Friday night?" Matsushita said, finishing his statement strongly, and leaving TK, Shiina and Iwasawa equally surprised.
There was silence for a few seconds. Iwasawa almost didn't know what to say at first. She was considering rejection before...but now, she was thinking the opposite. There was something about this guy that had hit her hard. She felt a connection with him even though she barely knew him. The way he spoke...the way he had talked about music, it reminded her of her own burning love of music in so many ways. Iwasawa smiled, put her headphones down on the table beside her, and gave him her answer.
"I think I can do that. I'll end our Friday practice a little early then. Do you mind if you stop by my house and we walk to our destination together?" she asked almost innocently. Matsushita could not speak for a couple of seconds. He absorbed what Iwasawa had just told him, and his voice came out a little nervous at first. "O-Of course! That would be perfect."
TK's grin was practically shining now. He put an arm around Matsushita's shoulder, reassuring his friend like he always did. "Easy come, easy go!"
A sharp tug on his collar pulled him off Matsushita, and he was now faced with the cold stare of Shiina. She spoke to him in a very serious tone.
"Don't be so shallow-minded. Since I have decided to move my Friday mediation session to Saturday, I will be going with you and your friend here. You asked me to go with you, and so you will receive. But that does not mean I will enjoy myself and convert into a fool." Shiina explained, and TK could only scratch his head and wonder what was going through hers. Nevertheless, he grinned wide and moon walked backwards, spinning around in joy.
"Don't stop dancing! My love...she speaks like silence! Friday night dancing is on!"
Shiina became silent once more. She already knew that her plans were foolproof. Once this date on Friday was over, TK would no longer be a problem to her.
Matsushita felt uncomfortable about this sudden change of plans, but one look from Iwasawa made him forget about it. The guitarist herself didn't exactly know what to think of Shiina and TK, but if they were friends with Matsushita 5th Dan, then they couldn't be that bad. She decided this all just might be worth it.
"Now I'm kind of wondering why you didn't ask me sooner." Iwasawa said to Matsushita, while Shiina continued to glare at TK doing a head spin on the floor. Matsushita shrugged. "I was wondering the same thing."
Iwasawa smiled warmly at Matsushita, and she could tell by his expression that she had melted his heart. Now that she thought about it, he was kind of cute...