Mako-chan's Lost Sempai

Sitting bored at Crown one day, Usagi twirled her straw in her glass. Looking depressed, she mumbled "I need something to do!" As if on cue, Mako-chan walked through the door. Looking stunning as always, in her long brown skirt and lace-up top, the small heels on her shoes complementing her height perfectly, her elegance was unmatchable. Usagi perked up immediately. "Mako-chan! Thank God you're here! I swear I was about to die of boredom!"

"Calm down, Usagi-chan! How could you possibly be bored? You're in an arcade!" Makoto's quizzical look made Usagi squirm, a little uncomfortably.

"Well, you see, I already have the high score on all the games here, so… heh heh. Yeah." The lie was easy to see on her face. Everyone knew Usagi always lost her high scores to Ami, even if Ami did only come here once a month or so.

"Usagi-chan…"

"Okay, okay, I just didn't want to feel bad when I couldn't match Ami-chan's score!" That was a little more believable. Usagi never even got half of Ami's scores, and it was plain to see she didn't exactly enjoy it. "Say, Mako-chan?"

"Yeah?"

"We never really talked about you much. What been in your history? Scandals? Death? Lost loves?

"Usagi-chan, you know I don't like talking about Sempai-sama."

"Come on, it's good to get things off your chest, and I'm your friend!"

Makoto knew this is one battle she wasn't going to win. "Okay. But you're paying for my milkshake!"

"Just tell me and I'll by you some odango too!" That was enough for Makoto. She secretly loved odango.

"It all started about a year ago…"

Back at my old school, I was feared and rejected by other students. No-one ate with me, no-one talked to me, no-one sat next to me in class. The few friends I did have, I lost quickly when they found out I was an orphan. But there was one boy, an older boy, who always smiled when I walked past. He helped out in my Food Technology class, and he always asked that I save some of my food for him. He did have a huge appetite. But if anyone could fix that, it was Mako-chan. My bentou boxes saved many an underfed student. But still, lying in my locker, still after three years knowing him, was a small white envelope, sealed with a pink heart sticker. The lavender scent on the paper inside had probably faded by now. The rose petals were probably wilted and black and paper slightly yellowed. My love letter. The only one I ever written, for the only one I ever truly loved. All these years, I was waiting for the perfect moment to give it to him. But every time, I fell a little short of the courage I needed, and ran away. I couldn't stand the waiting anymore. I needed to give it to him, and fast. But I never could. And every time, I resolved to come back to it later. About six months before I was kicked out, I finally had found the best idea to give him the letter I wanted so badly to give him. Wrapped in pink tissue paper, the note and bentou looked perfect tied together on that balloon. Surely, he would take me on a date now. Skipping back up the street towards my apartment, I ducked quickly behind a telephone booth. "There he is! Shinsei-sempai! I hope he doesn't see me." As it happened, he didn't. He was too busy stopping to look in gift shop windows, bending low as he did so. I blushed and ran back to my place.

Whistling softly to myself, I climbed the stairs to my apartment. I couldn't see it clearly from that far away, but it looked like there was something blue sitting outside my door. I ran to get a closer look. I was right. There was a small box wrapped in blue tissue paper perched right outside my door, with a note leaning against it. The envelope was blue too and it was sealed with a shiny gold heart sticker. I picked it up, twirling inside in a giddy daze. I opened up the letter, and it read something a little like this:

Dear Mako-chan,

I really like the way you put all your emotion into you cooking, and I like that you never complain about people not liking you. I like the way that you're strong enough to live without parents and still go to school and put up with the things you do. I like the way you make me feel, and I like the way you don't have room in your heart for hatred. I like the way you always have enough food to share, even though no-one ever will, and I like the way that you make everyone like you, even though they don't show it. Put simply, I like you, Mako-chan and actually, to give nothing but truth, I love you Mako-chan. I really do and I always have. I've never said that before, but I feel like this could be real. I really want to become closer to you, and I really hope you love me too.

Yours forever, if you will have me,

Mokuno Shinsei

Lying down on my couch, I started laughing uncontrollably. We'd both felt this way about each other so long and we never knew. We never even guessed. And now we deliver each other our love letters on the same day. It was too funny. It was almost like fate. But before I could decide that, I had to open the second part of his confession. The box. I tore off the paper, and it was from a jewellers. Not just any jewellers, but the most expensive place in town. I often spent hours on end on weekends staring into their display window. I could look at their collections all day if I wanted. Opening the box, I saw the most beautiful pair of earrings I had ever seen. Normally, I wore sugar pink studs, with a small green hoop hanging off the end, but these were much more beautiful. Painstakingly carved, with astonishing accuracy, glittering in pink, were two perfect rose earrings. Each shaped exactly like a real rose, each shaped to perfection in expensive time. Made with real gems, the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I put them on almost before I noticed I had. Throwing my old earrings on the ground, I stood up. "I'm going to see Sempai!"

Running back to Shinsei-sempai's apartment, I hoped his mother hadn't found my gift first. Giggling like I knew nothing else, I almost ran in to no less than three concrete pillars. Then I saw Shinsei-sempai standing at the other end of the road. Waving, and trying to show off I was wearing his earrings, this time I actually did run into a concrete pillar. Falling to the ground, with a rather loud thud, I was thinking "I hope Sempai doesn't think I'm a klutz." As the thud resounded in my head, I added to myself "Or too fat."

"Mako-chan! Be careful! You could've hurt yourself. And after saving up so long for that letter, the last thing I want is not to have you!"

"Sempai…-sama…" I whispered into his ear, as he picked me up. I was like a dream, on lots of different levels. His skin smelt just like I always imagined, and felt as smooth as silk. The light freckled dotted across his nose perfected his face and his arms were muscular, but not to the point of obsession. Then everything went black for a bit.

Next time I saw anything, I saw the inside of his apartment. Sempai's mother was standing over me, placing a wet towel on my forehead. "So this is the Mako-chan I've heard so much about, musuko (son). I can see why you would like her. Very well dressed, very elegant and very pretty." The sly edge on the last part of that sentence was like a cue for me to sit up. "OH! You're awake! Did you hear everything I just said?"

"Um… Yes."

"And honest too! I couldn't ask for you to pick a better match, musuko! She's perfect!"

Blushing furiously, I wished I could pass out again to avoid the situation coming on. In a desperate attempt to change the subject, I mumbled something about how nice the apartment looked.

"What was that, dear?" Sempai's mother was back in my face.

"Umm… your taste in décor is really good. This place looks like a painting."

"Why thank you. Shinsei-musuko chose everything when we moved in from Kyoto. He has such good taste!"

"Umm, Okasan (mother)? Could you leave us alone for a minute?"

"Oh! Okay, sure, I'll give these two little lovebirds some time alone in the nest!" Giggling as she left the room, she bubbled into the kitchen and as much as she tried to keep hushed, we could hear her say "Shinsei-musuko and Makoto-san! They're perfect for each other!"

"She's kind of… over-energetic. Like she had a double shot in her coffee."

"Okasan is like that. I hope you don't find it awkward."

"No. I… I like people like that."

"That's a lie."

"Yes. Yes, it is. But I could to learn to like them for you, Sempai-sama."

"Please, call me Shinsei."

"Okay, sem… I mean, Shinsei-sama."

"By the way, the lunch was delicious."

"Thank you. The earrings are beautiful." I was getting sick of the half-bred conversation, so I decided to take this up a level. I grabbed him by the shirt, pulled him in close and pressed my lips to his. It was sweet bliss, if only for a moment.

"Oh! Am I… interrupting?" Shinsei-sama's mother was back. Again. "I just came in to give you two some cookies. I baked them this morning, but I forgot. Here you go. Bye." Giggling uncontrollably as she walked out, trailing effervescence behind her, you could tell she liked the way our relationship was moving.

"Sorry about that." Shinsei-sama whispered into my ear. "Now where were we?" He pressed his lips to mine this time. The last time had been sweet bliss, but this was on an entirely different scale. This was like an out-of-body experience. Hip lips were warm against mine, in a soft, seductive way, sucking me into a place that was entirely foreign. But this place was a place where time stopped. The totality, the irresistibility, everything of this place just drew you in, further and further, until you had nowhere left to go. This place only had his lips, and mine, and nothing else. It was like nothing but everything, at the same time. It was like riding on a swinging slide as a kid – two things at once, making a total bliss. His arms wrapped around me a little tighter, and forced even deeper into this trance world. I loved it. I couldn't stop. I tried, I really did, but I couldn't. Gravity had formed between us, like two moons orbiting the same planet. Then it stopped. We pulled away from each other, each gasping from the intensity. We looked at each other with some intensity, then with a quick nod, launched ourselves onto the couch and started all over again. His mother was watching us from the next room. We knew, but we just didn't care.

The next six months went by in a blur. Shinsei and I played together, ate together, did everything together. We went back to my place after going out and could sit up for hours watching TV together. We were "the couple" at school. People had starting talking to me, liking me, after we started going out together. My life was a miracle. But one day things all changed.

Shinsei-sama wanted to talk to me after school. He said it was about something important but he didn't say what. So after school, I met him, like he asked. He had a sombre look on his face.

"Mako-chan. I feel our relationship is off lately. I feel like you started spending more time with your new friends than me. I feel like I'm second-rate to you now." I started stuttering and tears welled up in my eyes.

"No, Shinsei-sama! You could never be second-rate to me!"

"I feel like you're using me to get friends. I just don't feel like it's the same. I think it's our time as a couple." I was backing away from him now. I was backing away, tears streaming down my face, right into a tree.

"I can't hear you say that it's time for us to break up! I can't stand it!"

"I wasn't going to say that, Mako-chan." I looked back over at him. As I looked, he was changing form. He was twisting and convoluting in all sorts of ways, completely unnaturally. A huge monster rose out of his body. She was a light shade of pink, but that was ruined by the fact the she had ten huge blue spines running up her back. Her eyes were slanted, almost trapezoidal, with green irises and no pupils. Her mouth ran along the bottom of her ugly face, and she smiled, revealing six rows of sharp teeth. "I was going to say it's time I took your energy!"

"Wha, what! WHAT ARE YOU?"

"I am a youma of the Dark Kingdom, and a servant to Queen Beryl! I am the youma of doomed love and hatred! I am Yakokukoi! Fear me as I drain your energy!" She rammed further up against the tree I was standing against. I struggled and fought, but she was too strong. I couldn't fight her. But then Shinsei's almost-dead body lying on the ground, a few metres away, gave me strength.

"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HIM?" I demanded of the monster.

"He was a good tool for a time, to get to you, but he's useless now! As I drain your energy, I drain his, and when he's out, he dies, and so do you, my pretty little flower!" She laughed as I stared at the ground with a face like thunder.

"You… will never… take him from me!" I let out a scream, and as I did, the tree I was against pulled up its roots and grabbed Yakokukoi by the ankles, knocking her over. I picked her up and threw her against a fence. Before she landed, a huge bolt of lightning hit her and she disintegrated. Everybody came running towards the lighting strike to find out what happened, and saw me standing over Shinsei's body, with a combative look on my face. The whispers started then. "Oh my God – Makoto-san attacked Shinsei-sempai!" I was immediately blamed for the incident and was forced to leave the school. Before I left, I had one more date with Shinsei. We went to the park, a place we both went often, but it started raining. We headed to the gazebo at the centre for cover. We went in together, I swear it, but when I turned around to talk to him, he was gone. There was a note on the seat. It read a little like this:

Dear Mako-chan,

I really like the way you put all your emotion into you cooking, and I like that you never complain about people not liking you. I like the way that you're strong enough to live without parents and still go to school and put up with the things you do. I like the way you make me feel, and I like the way you don't have room in your heart for hatred. I like the way you always have enough food to share, even though no-one ever will, and I like the way that you make everyone like you, even though they don't show it. Put simply, I like you, Mako-chan but I can't love you anymore, Mako-chan. It tears me apart to say that, but it's beyond our control.

Sorry forever, but with no regrets,

Mokuno Shinsei

I stood there crying for hours. The tears flowed and flowed, and I couldn't stop them. That the last we ever saw of each other.

Usagi's tears refilled her milkshake glass as she whimpered and wept over the story. "That's the saddest story I've ever heard!"

"Sorry, Usagi! But you were right! I fell a lot better about it now. Thanks for listening."

Her tears dried instantly. "See! You'll think twice before calling me silly again, won't you!"

"I certainly will." As if on cue, Motoki came in from his lunch break. "Usagi-chan?" Makoto was blushing and her eyes misted over.

"Yes?"

"Who's that?"

"Oh, that's Motoki-oniisan. He's cute, but I like Tuxedo Mask better."

"He's all mine, then."

"Oh, no! Oh, no no no! Motoki's mine too! I need a second choice!"

"I'll get you, Motoki-sama."

"MAKO-CHAN!"