part two for your reading pleasure!
got a little tangle up with materials, so sorry for the late update...
Chapter 9: Consequences Part 2
"…you… you guys, are a couple?!" he was surprised, to say the least, that the least syllable left his mouth still gapping. I wish Rima would see this look on his face.
"Yup." I proudly said, "Have been for a few months now."
Anytime now, that face of his is going to drop, and he'd slowly walk out the door, heartbroken. That's probably the reason why Rima didn't bother looking back at him – she'd get hurt, seeing HIM hurt. Well, I did all the hurting here, and I'm not denying it. I feel sorry for the guy. I wish it would have been someone else in this equation.
"That…" he tried to speak amidst the dumbfounded state he was in. "That… is so AWESOME!"
That certainly was a big transition, and the kind that I wasn't expecting. The tide has certainly turned, and I feel a powerful vibe up my spine that within the next couple of minutes, I'm about to look really stupid. It was a good thing he didn't know my real intentions in kissing Rima, otherwise it would have been really embarrassing.
"I always knew you two were going out!" he said, getting all excited and pumped.
"You always… knew?" I further inquired, still not sure if I was hearing, and seeing him right. There's actually more enthusiasm in his eyes than I ever did when I shot my first hoop.
"Well, not really, KNEW knew, but somehow, seeing the two of you, sneaking out sometimes, eating lunch without Hinamori and Tadase, I thought there's got to be something going on. And I was right!"
"You're not upset?" I asked.
Fuyuki leaned back a bit, seemingly surprised by the question. And then his gears started turning and finally recalled the very reason he got involved with the guardians in the first place.
"Oh, you mean about Ri- I mean, Mashiro-san? Well, long after I confessed to her I realized, she's way out of my league." He scratched his head and turned towards Rima, "I still like her, though."
Just when I was starting to like the turn of events, he ruined it all with that last statement. But somehow, I noticed the way he was looking at Rima, and the subtle yet familiar gentleness on his face, I could not help but feel that the term 'like' connotes a deeper meaning than mere high school crush.
"Kirishima-kun." Rima called, still looking far ahead.
"Please don't tell anyone."
"Hey, you scratch my back I scratch yours. Your secret's safe with me." He said with a very confident and sporty smile.
Rima turned around at that, having a really sweet look about her as she did so, a look I always thought was exclusively mine. My chest warmed up again with jealousy. They were having a moment even though I was there.
"I'll talk to you later, okay?" she told him.
"Rima-chan, hold on please!"
She wasn't stopping. She just kept on walking and walking, and I couldn't catch up with her, and with her height and my long legs that's quite insulting.
Finally reaching our private spot, she turned around, and lo and behold, there stood before me a very livid beast that looked as if it was ready to tear me to pieces just by her looks. Granted, a very adorable beast but a beast nonetheless, and if you're said beast's boyfriend you'd think twice before provoking. Unfortunately, there was no room for a second thought, as I have successful done the provocation and must now suffer the consequences.
An aura of death emanated about her as she slowly stomps her way towards me, eyes burning with rage and targeting wee old me. I began to back away, but there was no escape, especially if she was that close and a tree was preventing me from further movement.
"Um, I invoke the right to an explanation?" I said, questioningly, as I didn't want to add to whatever doom Rima was planning for me.
Her fearsome anger and tiger's glare began to fade and gradually turned into a simple, childish pout. She heaved a deep breath to release the tension from within, and then crossed her arms considering me from head to toe.
"You heard him. What other explanation do you need?" she asked.
"The one that involves you and him in a room, all by yourselves, with his arms all over you." I said, crossing my arms as well.
"He wants to learn how to dance."
"And you're the only one in your class who can teach him?"
"I'm the only girl in class he trusts."
I took a few steps closer, wearing a very serious look, "Well, he has surely made a comfort zone around you, didn't he?"
"Uh, actually, no, he hasn't."
"Oh? Then might I inquire of the proximity of your bodies and the sweetness in the atmosphere."
"Well, the last time I heard, Nagi, dancing involves touching and holding, and it's supposed to look sweet."
"That might be a little too sweet for someone who has a boyfriend."
"Nagi, enough." She suddenly declared, "you don't really know what's going on."
"I don't need to know, Rima." I said. The way her face softened, I could tell she was finding my voice too high and my tone unreasonable. "Someone else was holding you and getting sweet with you, you can't expect me to sit back and let him have his way."
"He wasn't having his way, Nagi, please listen for a second…"
I interrupted her before she could reason out, "And may I remind you that the person who you were teaching how to dance happens to be an admirer of yours. He probably just used dancing as an excuse to…"
She didn't have to interrupt me to force me to stop. I had to. The closed eyes and at ease hands slowly placed on her back was enough of a reason. After being taken by silence for a few minutes, she opened her eyes and looked intently into mine, searching for something – she was searching for the calm, and cool version of me, the me that listens first, then thinks, and then talks.
"Sorry," I softly said, "I was jealous."
"I know. I used to get jealous too, whenever I see you giving Amu a piggy back ride, or when she hugs you and clings to while you pretend to be Nadeshiko."
My eyes widened after she said that, and then dropped on the grassy ground as the foolishness of what I have done came to me.
"But after last night," she continued, "I learned to trust you more deeply, in more ways than one. I also learned that I can't keep you to myself. We have friends, and those friends want to be with us, to touch us, to hold us, and sometimes, to be sweet with us."
"Rima, I'm very sorry, I…"
"Kirishima Fuyuki is a nice, decent person. He likes me, but not in a romantic way. And he trusts me because I didn't take his feelings for granted when he confessed, nor did I tell anyone else about it. He wanted to be friends with me, and also with you."
I was really feeling the weight on me now, not only because of how mellow she was being, but also because I did something horrible to someone who actually looks up to me. Well, technically, I wasn't able to do anything other than actually reveal my relationship with Rima. Being dense is a nice defense.
"I'll go apologize to him."
"No need." She walked towards me and gave me a gentle kiss, to which I wasn't able to respond.
"Nagihiko Fujisaki; you're grounded."
"Over here you guys!"
Amu waved at us excitedly, probably getting tired of waiting. Tadase seemed calm as usual, but the silent look on his face suggests our entry somehow interrupted something- quality time with Amu, perhaps? Since that last kiss he braved in the amusement park, I'm not sure if he's been able to pitch higher scores. Oh well, he'll get there. The princely, gently streak will wear out eventually.
Rima caught the sneaky grin on my face and glared at me as we walked. I obediently shook my head to confirm I was not about to say single word, not a word.
"Good!" she said.
She let go of my hand to sit comfortably on the mat where the two have already set their bentos out. Tadase was kind enough to bring ours along. I have to thank him for that.
"Where were you guys? I saw Nagi get in the room with you, Rima, and then that's it." Amu said.
"Sorry, got caught up with something." Rima answered.
We went on with our lunch, Rima and Amu sharing something about Manami's flowershop, while Tadase listened attentively, though I pretty much know the direction his eyes were setting on. A few minutes later, he turned his head towards poor me who had been awfully quiet.
"Are you alright?" he asked. I nodded my head and reassured him further with a smile. "Okay then. Want my last omelet?"
Leave it to Tadase to be thoughtful, especially if he knows something is going on. His mom's egg servings are the best – she makes them wonderfully sweet, and he knows I like them. My chopsticks were just about to accept that generous offer, when that last remaining egg roll was quickly snagged by a swifter pair.
Dumbfounded Tadase and Amu couldn't say a darn thing about it – they must've felt sorry for me, but there was like a 'wow' factor on how fast she can be when she wants to be, mostly for the sake of being mean. Of course, I couldn't say a darn thing about it either. All I could do is glare at her, make stupid, pointless hand gestures and growl, while she enjoys MY omelet.
"What?" she asked with an indifferent tone, mouth still half full.
I wanted to squeeze that devilishly angelic face of yours, that's what! But that's all in the mind. I made a helpless groan and sank back into my place. Our two friends had very curious and mildly amused faces.
"Um, would you like some of MY omelet, Nagihiko?" Amu offered, holding out her bento to me. Ah, lovely Amu, as caring as always. Her bento still had a couple of omelets in it. They don't look as promising as Tadase's, but knowing Amu's mom, they'll be more than satisfactory.
I carefully eyed Rima who was still finishing up her meal. Surely, she won't be able to deny me this. Slowly, I reached towards the mushy, yellow roll, anticipating the wonderful taste, and just when I was about to put it in my mouth…
"Don't you find it rude when people take something from you, but they don't say thank you?"
Okay, forget being mean: she's just plain evil!
"Uuuh, sometimes?" Tadase answered, not sure if he was giving the right response. He looked to Amu, who seemed just as clueless. Having said that, they turned to me for more info, but all I could do is dangle that darn omelet in my chopstick. They were probably considering Rima's point, but found it tactless to support it, seeing as I was in the middle of a meal. But Rima didn't have the same courtesy. She gave me a vile, ill-thinking look.
"Well, Nagi? Amu just gave you an omelet. Are you not appreciative about it?"
I nodded my head, hoping as well it would be enough to satisfy her. But no, it wasn't enough.
"You are? Good! Now say thank you."
"Well, go on, say it."
"Um, Rima, maybe Nagi has a sore throat or something, so he can't speak." Tadase said.
"Nonsense. He was talking loud and clear when he went in the practice room earlier." She said, each word dripping with punishing content.
I looked at the omelet and considered the scale of things. Alright, I'll shove the food in my mouth first, and then speak out. Good plan, except it didn't include the factor of Rima's lightning fast chopsticks. It swished passed my own and in a split second she was in possession once again of something that is rightfully mine.
"Alright then, if you don't know how to say thank you, then I suppose you don't deserve this then."
No, not this time.
Just when she was able to consume MY omelet, I sucked up much needed courage, tore down my pride and braced for a storm of humiliation and degradation. I clutched my fingers together into a soft knuckle, placed both hands on my chest and then spoke.
If you've seen your own face when friend does something so stupid your mind seemed to have went dead with it, then you probably know what Tadase and Amu looked as I made cat-sound.
"Um, Nagi?" my heroine called, voice bordering between cluelessness and concern.
My face was red with embarrassment. Rima's face, however, was red with seemed like suppressed amusement. She is so loving this.
"I don't think Amu heard you, Nagi. Can you say that again, please?"
"Nyaaaan!" I said, in an infuriated tone and an even more infuriated face.
"That means 'thanks' by the way." Rima said, leaning towards the bewildered Amu.
"Uuuh, you're welcome."Amu said.
"Good job, Nagi! Here, have an omelet."
Oh, how graceful, offering me MY own omelet tucked in her chopsticks. Well, better than nothing. I wouldn't want to waste this humiliation, although whether or not a single piece of omelet is worth it is still debatable. With my eyes, still sharp and accusing, glued on her, I leaned forward and cautiously took the roll. Cautiously, because I was half expecting her to pull away in the last second for the sheer joy of making a fool out of me. She didn't go that far, thank goodness, but she did make me feel a little tingly when she pulled out the chopsticks from my mouth and placed it in her own as if there was something there to savor.
"Mmm… better than an omelet." She whispered with some sort of satisfaction.
Meanwhile, our beloved friends are still at a lost as to what the heck is going on. With braincells probably burnt out, Tadase struggled with those bits of details and finally stumbled upon a less then idiotic comment.
"Well, this certainly is… fascinating."
Not exactly the term I'd use, Tadase, considering I'm clearly being victimized here. But I can't blame him, since this is the first time he's seeing a state of being 'grounded' in terms of our relationship. Amu followed with a precarious and less than impressive chuckle.
"Ehehe! Yeah, that's really cute, you acting like a cat." She said, "Is this some sort of a punishment game?"
"Nagi is currently grounded." Rima said, taking a sip of her juice.
"Grounded? You mean, like when parents tell their kids 'you're grounded'?" Tadase inquired, wondering if he got the term right.
"Well, something like that." Rima scooted closer to me. "He's not allowed to speak, and I get to be mean to him. And, more importantly, he has to make animal sounds."
"Oh, I see. Did you do something wrong, Nagi?"
"Nyaaan…" I mewed in anguish.
The laughter Amu and Tadase shared a few moments later were… annoying. Clearly, they haven't tried barking like a dog or oinking like a pig for a week. I'll put an idea into Amu's head one of these days, Tadase – mark my words you'll regret it.
"Hahaha! Sorry, Nagihiko, but it seems to suit you."
"Yeah," Tadase affirmed, and then he had to open his mouth and make a ghastly contribution to my love-life, "Maybe you should get him cat-ears as well, Rima-chan."
The suggestion made me shiver, and rightly so- I think I saw a sinister glint in her eyes. So much for ideas. You can be a horrible friend sometimes, Tadase.
Another mental note: come up with an evil ploy to destroy Tadase.
Other than the prospect of a dark dark future awaiting and a soggy feeling of injustice, lunch went by with very little to be uncomfortable for. The bell rang, and we all have to go back to our classrooms, Amu and me heading back together.
I was fortunate enough not to be called out during the rest of the afternoon. Math involved only board problems which didn't require me to say much. As ridiculous as it may sound, this whole 'grounded' thing is an important bond between me and Rima, and we both take it seriously. It's not that we both want to take control of the other's lives, nor are we narrowing down our future to a strict, rigid outline.
We are young, and stupid, but we do know how to remain faithful to one another, which requires compliance even to the silliest of demands from the other.
And if you're wondering if I've grounded Rima before, the answer is yes, I have… though I mostly did that just to have her say 'wan-wan' for the next 24 hours.
Speaking of being faithful, school was already over, but I have a feeling that I shouldn't be going home yet. She's scheduled to submit today's report, so she would be expecting me to meet her at a café nearby. But it seemed like this thing with Kirishima, as much as I believe nothing is going on between them, is still too mysterious to be left out.
I went down to the lower floors. As expected, the redhead player is patiently waiting in the same room, swaying his arms and moving about in some sort of aimless action. I can definitely say he knows nothing about dancing, but I wouldn't take away the credit for him doing his best. It's a bit remarkable though – for him to go this far just for the sake of grades. I wonder if there's a variable I'm not seeing.
The room was quite near the locker areas, so there were some corners I could hide into. Rima knocked at the door and was cheerfully greeted – darn, I guess jealousy is something we just can't control. The way he smiled at her and gave her that wonderful, boyish brightness made me really feel uneasy.
"Fuyuki, sorry about that. Did you wait long?" Rima asked.
Is she really going to do this?
To be continued…
I hope you enjoyed that! And thanks for the reviews. I'll make a point to make PM replies next time.
Ainlina101 - I like your idea about the rivalry thing. I'll definitely take note of that. I hope you can bear with this chapter for now.
PaigeBrumby - I'm glad you liked it, and that you were a bit, ahem… 'Enlivened' by it… LOL
Angel Bunnies - I thought being guardians involved having some sort of image, so I made it seem like no one else outside their circle knows about their relationship… well, now someone does. I hope you like the possessive Nagihiko here. I was afraid he'd turn out to be a jerk.
Again, thanks a lot you guys! Part 3 is coming. Look forward to it