I studied for this chapter. I also started it completely over, so sorry it took so long.
April. The month were all school years start in Japan. Everything revolves around April, really. From preschool, to high school, to things like getting a job. April is when everything starts. So the fact that April is just around the corner gives me a mixed feeling. I'm used to it. Everyone is. April is the chance to begin something new, so it's a...refreshing feeling.
But it doesn't only give you a warm and fuzzy feeling when it comes around, oh no. It's also dreadful. Sure, you have new beginnings but the thought about being judged and having to give the right impression is a scary one. Not to mention, you've done it before. It's kinda like an endless cycle. Maybe I'll break free of it one day and reach enlightenment, like Buddha.
"I can't believe there's only two weeks left," I moaned. I felt deflated. Defeated. Crushed. A normal feeling for anyone dreading the beginning of school.
"Oh, stop whining," Emi told me, "It was bound to start eventually." It seemed like the realization that school was gonna start hasn't hit her yet, as she was still on cloud 9 because of the idea that she could run on the big track field once the school year began.
"..." Rin was the only one that didn't join in the conversation. Yet. We always treated her like she was part of it, because you never knew what kind of words of wisdom she had and when she would contribute. She always seemed to listen and it was like she was waiting for the right moment before she decided to speak up. Like a lion stalking a gazelle.
It was more or less noon by now. I was planning to meet up with Masao, Anthony, Shizune, and Misha later on with Rin and Emi. We were all going to celebrate -in some of our cases, mourn- the beginning of the school year that was yet to come and to wish each other luck.
Lily and Hanako couldn't make it, which was a bummer, but they promised to make it up to me later, since I was the one that came up with the bright idea.
It was going to be interesting -and very hectic-, to say the least. I was going to have to announce that I was going to be joining the Track & Field Club -against my will- and that I was turning down Misha and Shizune's offer. Can't wait. -I'm probably going to die-
But it was also going to be interesting since Anthony and Masao seem to have an interest in one of my friends and I want to make sure...hey, don't judge me. I know what these girls went through and I want to make sure they'll be okay. They're my important friends. Plus, I have to get SOME laughs in tonight. Now let's put the fourth wall back into place, shall we?
"So when are we all meeting up?" Emi asked, changing the subject. That was rather fast. Usually she talks about the club a bit more, so maybe reality finally hit her.
"Masao should show up around three-ish, Anthony four-ish," I told her, "Shizune said she would show up with Misha at exactly five which is when we all leave."
Bam, bam, bam!
"Door," Rin quietly said. She was barely audible in the first place, so the door made it ever more difficult to hear her.
"I got it," I said and got up from the couch. Who could it be?
"Yo!" Masao said when I opened the door, propping himself up on his cane.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, "You said you would be here around three. But right now it's..."
"Half past one," Rin told me.
"That." I jabbed my thumb over my shoulder in Rin's direction. She nodded, but since she was painting it was hard to tell if it was at her painting or me. Most likely the painting since her back was to me.
"Truth be told, I wanted to see those paintings you were talking about."
"They're not really paintings," I said and let him in, closing the door behind me, "More like..."
"Holy-!" Masao called as he walked into our room, seeing the walls. He even dropped his cane. Not that he needed it, but it shows how shocked he was.
"...The entire apartment."
Masao did a double take, turning his whole body 360 degrees, to make sure he wasn't dreaming. Since Masao is a huge fan of the arts, history, and anime/manga, this must feel like the closest thing to heaven right now. Or a high class museum.
I pointed to the living room, "More in there. Just don't forget your shoes."
Rushing, he just flung his shoes down as he ran to the direction I pointed to.
"What's wrong with him?" Emi called. She was looking at him from the couch, head resting in her arms that lay on the top of the couch.
"Hey," I called to Emi, "I was there first."
"You left," she told me with a shrug.
Tch. Cheater. Using a cheap shot like that.
Meanwhile, Masao was still gazing, mouth agape, at the walls. Rin just ignored him as she walked by over to a paint can.
"I got that," I told her, "My spot's occupied anyhow." I shot a glare at Emi who avoided my gaze.
The can wasn't that heavy with half of the paint inside it gone.
Rin turned toward me and gestured to a spot with her head. Her clothes were covered in specks of paint along with her face and feet. I placed the can down and, licking my thumb, tried to rub some paint off of Rin's nose.
"Geez," I said, "You'll need a bath before we leave."
Rin just looked at me with a dazed expression as I scrubbed her nose. She blushed slightly, nodded, and turned around. Dropping the paint brush she held in her mouth, she grabbed it before it fell using her foot and resumed her painting.
I sighed as I looked around the room. Masao was still inspecting each painting, saying things like "Wow, it's _!" or "I can't believe it's _!"
Can't wait for the rest of my company.
Well...this took an interesting turn. One minute Masao was running around, next he was sitting quietly and watching Rin work with awe in his eyes. I managed to convince Emi to return my spot on the sofa, but only on the condition that she could lay on my lap. It's one of those couple moments and, since Rin is painting and Masao is watching her intently, we didn't feel embarrassed. Much.
The quiet didn't last long. The sound of someone knocking on the door, most likely Anthony, filled the silent room in seconds.
"I got it," I said, lifting Emi's head. I stood up and let her fall onto the couch. Walking toward the door, I noticed that neither Rin nor Masao were paying any attention to their surroundings. So me declaring that I would let our guest in was pointless, as no one else would do it.
My friends are great.
"Come in," I said before I opened the door. I already knew it was Anthony, and my guess was confirmed by the sight of the big lug smiling. He always seemed to be joyful, or maybe he's only like that with his friends?
"Right on time," I said, noticing the time.
"You got to arrive on time," he said as he walked inside the room.
"Not necessarily," Masao responded.
"What do you mean?" I asked. I was kinda surprised he was joining the conversation.
"You have to arrive either early, on time, or fashionably late."
"I guess that makes sense." Most people tend to fit into one of those categories. Masao himself did arrive early.
"Speaking of arriving early, on time, or late," I raised my voice so everyone could hear, "We should get ready to leave. Rin, go take a bath!"
Rin stood up and nodded, walking toward the bathroom. Emi got up from the couch to help her and to get changed. I just grabbed my coat and waited patiently with Anthony and Masao, waiting for the two girls.