©Sunrisepainter: Golden Skies

Feisty Mai and Sensible Nao

After this events the relationship between Nao and the boys changed drastically. They did not call her arrogant anymore or giving unnecessary comments. They accepted her completely as one of them. As for her she talked a little bit more. Not to all of them but at least at to a quarter of the class. The one she seemed to be mostly fond of was Ichi. Maybe it was because he was the most understanding of them or it was because he was the first time who tried to approach her normally. She did not know herself the reason why, but she soon saw him as the first friend she ever made at this school.

And he was the first one she entrusted with some of her secrets. He asked her if it was okay for her to tell some of the facts to Yamato and his other friends, because they would soon or later asking for it anyway. She was okay with it as long as she was not forced to tell them herself for she was still not courageous enough to handle six guys at once. And so the six of them got to know more about Katsuragi Nao.

Her father had actually been the owner of a company for cosmetic article. He and his wife died two years ago in an accident. The company was sold off and Nao got a big fortune. It was enough for her attending an all – girls – school. That is the reason why she never encountered a single guy at school and did not know how to deal with them.

But unfortunately some of money was stolen and now she ended up penniless. Living by herself she somehow managed to survive, but she was forced to leave her old school and transfer to a public school. Because Akadou was the only one she could afford and ready to take her in, she had no other choice as to meet with her biggest fear.

The guys were really touched by her story, although they got the feeling that she was still keeping some important details from them.

"We can be happy that she was ready to tell us at least something", Yamato said, when Kengo still complained about her being not earnest.

"Well, after some time we'll get to know more", Ichi agreed. He then told them that she wanted them to treat her the same as before. She did not wanted be sympathized . The guys could understand her feelings very well, because some of them were in similar situations. They all had their own kind of problems at home.

Nao was a little relieved that the guys knew something about her know. It was good to talk about the things she only told Mai until now. And she was happy to seed that it did not influence their growing friendship in the slightest.

So the days went on quietly. Sometimes the vice principle would visit the classroom, because he got the idea that a calm 3D was not a good sign. Suspiciously he eyed everyone of them and told them again and again that they should try to stay out of trouble for it would "hurt the good reputation of their precious school". And like he wanted to protect the reputation of the school, Yankumi wanted to protect her students. So every visit of Sawatori ended with both of them leaving the room quarreling.

But even the vice principle had to admit that Yamaguchis presumption was right. As time went by Katsuragi Nao became more and more used to her class and the life as a girl in an all – boys – school. There were still moments when she was very flustered. For example when she once walked down metal stairs and the wind blew up her skirt so that every guy could see her underwear. But after a few ours staying on he beloved rooftop, where not even Yankumi or Ichi could persuade her to come down, she calmed down and was even able to smile a bit about this stupid incident.

But after some calm days there had to be new trouble awaiting her for somehow it was impossible for Nao living an easy life.

One weekend in November she worked more shifts than before because she had to pay the high bill for the heater. Without it her apartment was unbelievable cold and winter was coming sooner than expected.

It was Saturday afternoon when the drama started. There were just a few costumers at the restaurant. Most of the people stayed at home, because it was freezing cold outside. Mai, Nao and the older owner of the restaurant were the only ones working. While Mai was in the storage room to look for some ingredients, Nao was busy cleaning the counter. She did not look up when new customers entered the restaurant. She told them to wait a moment for she first had to wash her hands. As she looked up to ask for their order she was surprised to see Kazama Ren and Ichimura Rikiya standing in front of the counter. They were no less surprised than her and after a short greeting they told her what they wanted to buy.

"Just take a seat and I'll bring your order", she told them and want away to get their menus.

When she was ready she brought it at their table and placed herself on the bench across from them.

"Is it okay for you to sit with us for a moment?", Ichi asked nervously as he did not want her to get in trouble.

"Of course. There isn't much to do anyway and my boss is really kind", she smiled.

"Working here must be well paid, isn't it?", Ren asked and couldn't help but to feel a little envious.

"I wouldn't want to work anywhere else", she confessed, "but please don't tell anyone I'm working here."

"Why not?"

"Well, you know the guys much more than I do. They would be here everyday and annoy me", she grimaced. Ichi and Ren laughed. She was absolutely right.

"And additionally part – time work is prohibited at our school", she added with a sad smile, "it would bad if Sawatori found out. Not even Yamaguchi – sensei should know."
"I know", Ren mumbled for he had had the same troubles a while ago, "don't worry we won't tell anyone.

"And how do you manage your job and homework?", Ichi wanted to know. Nao was about to answer when the door was opened and a group of scary looking boys and girls entered the restaurant. Immediately they had all the attention, because they were very loud. Somehow they looked like they were seeking for trouble.

As soon as they entered, they seated themselves in one corner of the restaurant and the guys put their boots on the table. The girls were just giggling and chatting in annoying high pitched voices. Nao sighed and raised from her seat:
"I think I'll have to trouble myself with them."

She swiftly walked over to the table with the provoking youths and asked in a timid voice what they wanted to order. First they just ignored her, but then she raised her voice a little and asked the same question again.

"Hey bitch, we heard you the first time, so don't bother, 'kay", one of the girls told her.

"Well, I would like to have you tonight in my room, honey", one of the boys winked at Nao flirtatious. Nao blushed as usually.

"Oh, she's so cute, I would like to eat her right here, right now", another boy licked his lips. Nao tried to stay calm but in the corner of her eye she could see Ichi and Ren tensing up. If she did not end it soon they would be tempted to start a fight with this nasty people. She once again ask them if they wanted to order or to leave.

"Oi, oi, don't get angry, little Miss", the guy who wanted to eat her laughed an finally they told her what they wanted. When she went away all the guys were whistling and making inappropriate noises while the girls still giggled like crazy.

She swiftly brought the orders over to their table, but there was still no end to this. One of the girls accidentally spilled her soda over Naos blouse and the guys started throwing with fries. They were loud, unmannerly and when one of the guys actually touched her bud she war nearly about to cry.

She heard a crashing sound and saw that Ren was making his way over to her. He was boiling with anger and had a dangerous look in his eyes. Nao was about to stop him when she saw another person running around her and slapping the guy, who touched Nao before, in the face. Everyone was quiet, even the troublesome bunch.

"You bitch!", the guy finally exclaimed and looked angrily at the girl with brownish short hair, who stood now in front of the table.

"That was sexual harassment just now", she said with firm voice,"if you're not willed to leave immediately we'll call the police, got it?"

First the loud bunch did not even move, but when the saw the restaurant manager taking out the phone. They screamed some unlovely words and eventually scrammed. After they were gone the furious girl was praised and acclaimed.

"That was so brave of you, Mai – chan", Nao exclaimed and hugged her older friend.

"Thanks and I'm sorry for not stepping in sooner", Mai patted her head.

"Seriously", Ren shook his head and smiled at his female classmate, "you sure know how to get into trouble..."

Nao blushed and smiled as well. Yes, she could not object to his statement.

"But don't worry for I'll always take care of you, my cut little friend", Mai ruffled her hair and looked at the boys approvingly, "and I'll hope you'll protect her at school. Nao is a very naïve and sensible person, so don't take your eyes off of her."

"We already know that", Ichi said smiling and Nao was very embarrassed to be treated like a little child.

"Don't talk about me when I am standing right next to you", and so Nao went to clean up the mess the clique left behind.

"Do you need help?", Ichi asked.
"No, thanks", Nao smiled.

"Well, then I think we'll leave", Ren said slowly getting his things, "but if these guys come back then don't hesitate to call us, okay?" He gave her his phone number and she thanked him with civility. Then the guys leave.

"Well, well, which of the two could be your potential boyfriend?", Mai asked slyly after they were gone. Nao blushed as deep as ever and glared at her friend.

"None of course. You know that I don't have time for that and that I'm just too afraid of boys."

"But you get along with them. You did not hide nor stutter wile talking to them. You seemed to be fine", Mai was good at observing people.
"Yes, because they're my friends and nothing more than this. I think I don't see them really as boys...more like...I don't know...", Nao could not explain how she felt about them.

"To me they look like nothing but boys, but they are good boys", Mai smiled, "I can understand that you trust them."
"Hai", Nao was relieved when they changed the topic. She never had any romantic feelings for anyone in particular. While her old friends always talked about their hot boyfriends and being all lovey – dovey, she was more interested in studying and getting good grades.

"As for me", Mai said and blushed almost as much as Nao before, "I think I just met my fated one:"

"Seriously?", Nao was happy for her friends.
"Yes, his name is Yamada Hiroshi – kun. He's in the medical section of my university. I met him once at a goukon and we talked a little. He's a really nice and gentleman-like guy. Because he wants to become a doctor just like his grandfather, he's working really hard. I like how he is serious and knows what he wants to do."

"That's great, Mai – chan. Did he asked you out?"
"Not yet", Mai seemed a little down, "but I'm really nervous. What if he thinks like all the other boys? That I'm too rash and too violent?"

"Don't think like that. Just be like always. You're a great girl and if he really likes you then he'll accept you just as you are."

"Thanks, Nao – chan. You'll always know how to cheer me up", Mai hugged her, "and don't worry, even if I get a boyfriend, I'll still be there for you:"
"I think that's not the problem", Nao mumbled, but Mai did hear her for she was much too excited.

"Ne, what about eating some noodled together. I'll treat you"

"Well, that sounds good", and after they had changed into their casual clothes, the girls went out to eat something.

They went to a small place with cheap prices. As soon as they knew what they wanted to order, the waitress came to their table and Nao was surprised that she remembered this young woman. The waitress stared at her as well and then she made an amused noise.

"Say, aren't you the girl from before? The girl I bumped into last time?", she wanted to know.

"Yes", Nao answered shyly and once again she was mesmerized by the beauty of this woman.
"Well, I'm very thankful that you helped me last time. It was you who brought me home, wasn't it?"

Nao could not even open her mouth as the young woman went on talking:
"I'm sorry for causing you trouble. I'm ashamed of myself for being in this state, but you know, I was just dumped by my boyfriend and even lost my job as a hostess, because the guy I was working for was my ex – boyfriends uncle. My brother was very angry after he came home, but he he is a good guy. We didn't have enough money after I lost my job, so he was forced to work as well. Yesterday I was fortunately hired at this shop here, but we still have some debts."

She sighed deeply and then smiled at the two girl:
"Well, sorry for telling you all this. What do you want to have? I'm treating both of you, because I'm still indebted to you, young girl."

"That's not necessary", Nao answered quickly.

"It's okay. It's the only way I can give my props. So don't hold back. Order anything you like."

"Well, then I would like to have udon", Nao said embarrassed.

"I would like to have the same, please", Mai added.

"Okay, I'll bring it immediately. What's your name by the way?"

"Eto, I'm Katsuragi Nao and this is my best friend Mai:"

"Nice to meet you, Nao – chan, Mai – chan. My name is Kaoruko, but just call me Kao -chan."

The woman winked at them and then went away to get their food.

"Nao – chan, I don't know what it is, but you seem to get to know a lot of new people recently", Mai said to her friend teasingly. Nao did not answer for she was still to surprised about what just happened.

"I feel sorry for her. This world is so unjust", Mai shook her head, "she's so pretty and energetic, but still has to deal with same problems as us. Poor woman. First losing her boyfriend and then losing her job."

Nao agreed silently. She could understand what this woman had to go through.

"But still I think that she has less troubles than Nao – chan", Mai said.
"What do you mean?"

"Her brother seems to be very reliable and takes care of her as good as he can. As for Nao, you have no one to take care of you. You're all on your own:"

"Stop it, Mai – chan", Nao was very flustered, "don't pity me. You know that I'm no alone. I have you and now I have my new friends at school. I don't feel lonely."

"Yeah, sorry, for a moment I was just lost in thoughts. Of course you can always count on me", Mai smiled.

Kao – chan brought them the food and went away to serve other costumers. But when he two girls were done and wanted to leave, she called out to Nao. While Mai stepped out for some fresh air, Nao went back to see what the young woman wanted to tell her.
"It's just that I forgot to tell you something. I still have your jacket at home. I feel bad for keeping it all the time, but I did not even know your name or address, so it's really a happy coincidence, that we met once again. So, if you want you can fetch your jacket whenever you want. You know where I live, so you're always welcome."

"Thank you, Kao – san", Nao made a small bow, but the woman waved it aside:
"Don't I'm the one who has to thank. There are not many people as kind as you, Nao – chan."

Nao smiled at her and then they bid farewell.

End of Chapter Five.