“…” Tsubaki staring speechlessly when she’s about to leave home for school.
“Good Morning, Lady Sanada!” a tall and thin man, greet her happily with a sunny smile as sunny as today’s weather.
“What are you doing here?” Tsubaki closes the door behind her with unpleasant look.
“picking you up.”
“am I a kindergarten need for an escort?”
“No, but you’re a lady needed for a man.” Kota says with a playful tone that made Tsubaki furrows knit even deeper.
Tsubaki just walks, bag affront of her lap, Kota soon following, after chuckling knowing well he annoys her first thing in the morning.
“imagine if we’re engage, we walk to school everyday.”
“that, again, I thought we talked about this at the day we all went to the theme park…” Tsubaki looks a bit tired when she replies Kota enthusiasm talk.
“and lunch together, going home together, maybe even sleep together.”
Tsubaki swings her bag and hits Kota’s shoulder. “if you don’t stop, I’ll make you.”
“I’d love see you try, milady.”
“I was just kidding, Tsubaki.” He giggles much that his shoulders shaken, he ruffles her hair and now walking ahead of her. The tousling of her hair, is firm, but almost playful… and oddly always relaxing too.
“have you ever regret that we didn’t get engage?”
“say what?” Tsubaki was reading a nikki for today's historical class when Kota mutters something while his head looking to the bright sky above.
Kota stops in his track, look at her with a deep and strong yet lonely gaze…but before she knows it, that flippant smirk of his return, and it is mischief that burns behind his eyes.
When they arrive at the usual line at the station, a tall figure in black uniform stands out the most, his face lights up when he sees Tsubaki walking but that smile turns into an obvious annoy as he sees the one soon following her behind.
“morning Yuto!.” Kota casually slings his long arm around Yuto.
“Morning.” He sounds like forcing himself to be cheerful, while trapped under his bucho’s arm. He wants to move closer to Tsubaki who stands in a safe distance from them, blending with the rest of the crowds.
Her phone crisps, as she opens it, a message from Mika appears “I’m overslept!!!!!!! Go ahead without me Tsuchiii, but promise to hang out and tell me all about your group date yesterday!!! How did it go and does it feels great to go out with so many guys all at once, Gyah I’m getting all giddy just thinking how many men you can cling to!!!”
“…if she has time to write and send me a long message…wont be better to use it to rush herself a little bit?” after one exasperated sigh, she puts her phone back to her pocket. “cling to… just what is she thinking.” Even so, Tsubaki smiles, that overly excited massage was so much like Mika, it makes her realizes just how she actually misses her friends at Fujiwara.
Tsubaki manage to take a seat near the entrance, while Kota and Yuto are standing near the door, talking to each other, even when it seems Kota is the only one do the talking, Yuto eyes are fixed someplace else. To the long haired girl sitting, focus on her book.
Later, the train stops at Kagenuma and Ryosuke climbs in. he shares the same shock expression as Yuto before, when he sees Kota between the usual passengers.
“Bucho?” he asks, the wave of crowds move him and make him stand side by side with Yuto.
“Morning Ryosuke! Nice weather today.”
“what’s that. Sounds like the way employers start their conversation.” Yuto sighing, fixing his bag pack that slides from his shoulder.
It has become some sort of habits now, Ryosuke scans through the cart.
“Tsubaki is sitting over there.” Kota casually points his finger just a bit, to where she is.
And Ryosuke seems like automatically smile whenever he sees her.
“She’s so pretty right.”
“yeah…wait!” realizing he just agreeing so casually to Kota’s teasing comment, Ryosuke turns to meet Yuto’s intense and angry face.
Soon the two slips into an awkward silence again.
“oh, I need to give something to her before I forgot.” Kota making excuses to escape the awkwardness he just creates.
When Yuto and Ryosuke start to exchange an intense gaze, they forgot about the whole world around them, they didn’t even notice that Kota has moves and stands in front of Tsubaki.
“Tsubaki.” He calls out cheerfully.
She lifts her head. “where’s Yuto?” she asks. Kota turns his head and Tsubaki’s following his line of sight.
Near the entrance, in that packed cart, two figures in the same outfit standing close to each other, staring like a contest, before both turned away, irritated.
“what have you done?” she sighs deeply.
“I didn’t do anything!”
“Like I can believe that.”
“Yuto and Ryosuke’s glaring like a pair of male cat in mating season.” Kota’s laughing contentedly.
“hey, that’s not nice!”
“Ahahaha! That’s how I’m seeing it, so you don’t have to worry. It’s amusing to watch is it not?”
“I could never get to your head, Kota san.”
Today, during recess Tsubaki decides to look for some books, she cannot help but notices the trio that always together, huddle up in one table, looking confuse.
“oh, hi Tsubaki.” Yuri greets her back cheerfully, voice low. On his side Keito smiles and a whisper “hi” escapes his lips. Across them Ryosuke also looking towards her, with his shy smile.
“oh, you’re a sengoku princess, I’m sure you know about this!” Yuri suddenly stood up, with a sunny smile.
“Haiku and Tanka…thing.” Yuri says, after looking into the book held in his hand.
“I don’t think our class has study that.”
“not ours, but Ryosuke and Keito class is. You see I try to be kind and helpful… but this is outside my wide knowledge scoop.”
Suddenly from the table a cramped paper fly and hit Yuri’s head. Yuri’s laugh before “ouch-ing” cutely and turn to the table where both Ryosuke and Keito’s laughing quietly.
“would you like me to help?” she turns at Keito, almost avoid an eye contact with Ryosuke.
“that would be a huge help, thanks.” Keito nodding, clapping his both hands affront his bowing head.
Tsubaki looks a bit hesitate, its only proper to sit across Yuri and Keito but that would means she has to sit next to Ryosuke, just the thought enough to make her heart skip a beat. She moves hesitantly to slides the chair next to Keito but Yuri’s moving fast and propelled her to a seat next to Ryosuke.
“You should seat here so everyone can hear your explanation.” Tsubaki’s seems to get tense once she realizes where she is now.
Keito smiles playfully while looking at Ryosuke who’s holding back from his over-excitedly reaction. But he cannot do much as his smiles seem to have mind on his own, he grins from ear to ear when Tsubaki starts opening a book for them and for the second time since the train, sitting so close on his side.
“Lets see, Tanka and Haiku are two types of fixed-form poetry where each line must contain a certain number of syllables. They’re actually very similar, and be about just anything. Some are happy, some are sad, some are about things people feel at certain times, or about things they see and experience in nature.”
“hoooo…” Yuri’s lips form a round shape as he nods, body slightly leaning affront.
Tsubaki continue as both Ryosuke and Keito writing her description.
“If you’re actually trying to write one, I guess you should know that the rule is that haiku are three lines, five syllables, then seven, then five again… Oh, yes, and if you’re writing a haiku, you have to put one of those seasonal words in there somewhere, too.”
“so…can we extend them with two additional lines of seven syllables each?”
“yes, that’s correct, you’re picking up really quick, yamada san.” Tsubaki turns unconsciously with a smile, when her inner trainer is out, she completely forget about her own emotion.
“oh, Ryosuke is fast learner, teach him anything and he’s capable of doing it a minute later.” Yuri’s smile is almost cute like a lil brother praising his older brother.
“I’m still stuck with my English though…” he smiles bitterly.
“and I’m pretty bad with Kanji.” Keito laughs too, seems he wants to tell Ryosuke he’s not the only one bad at something.
“and… I’m pretty bad with… almost nothing.” Yuri’s smile innocently, almost a mocking.
“hey!” Ryosuke from across of him, slap his head with a thick book.
“Tsubaki seems really smart is there any subject you don’t like.”
“No, I like them all.”
“how about the one you’re weak at?” Yuri continues, his head leaning above his two hands.
“hmm…” tsubaki makes a face like she’s thinking hard.
“…is this also a no?” Keito asks, lift his head from the book.
“I have no idea.” Tsubaki makes a faint shake, while her face shows an obvious confusion.
“Geez, she’s proper example of a high school student any parents would want.” Yuri says with a bit of joke yet painful tone. “Oh! I know, since we have a real genius here, why don’t we have a group study to work on the summer homework before the holiday break!”
“oh, I like that Idea.” Keito nods, “but...” Before Yuri replying, already with a bright smile, Keito cuts him off. “there will be a renovation at my house, so we cannot do it at my place.”
“awww, what, come one, no cakes, yummy treats and all sort of drinks again…?!”
“I’m sorry but it will be too dusty and too messy there.”
“yeah… so, tsubaki where do you live?”
“huh? Me? I live around Enoshima.”
Everyone suddenly sets their eyes on her, Tsubaki then realize that Yuri just proposed a study group at her place.
“You mean, you want to study at my place, did you not?”
“thanks Tsubaki, make sure to have plenty of snacks for me, I mean us.”
“…” she has warned herself to never meet his eyes, but at the moment that’s impossible, it was too late and she fell for it.
Sighing in defeat she’s agreeing easily. “very well then.”
During lunch by the next day, Yuri happily bouncing on his way to Tsubaki who sit in front row in 2B.
“Tsubakiiiiiii….” He calls in spoiled tone, at first Yuri friendliness didn’t attract Yuto’s attention. Yuri probably has considered her a friend since the group date at theme park days ago. Yuri casually pulls a chair and sits next to her, laughing and all. But soon Yuto couldn’t take his eyes from her, as Keito and Ryosuke went inside and surround her.
“what do they want with her, why are they become too friendly with her?” Yuto may looks completely calm on the outside but his inside went crazy with jealousy, under the table his hands turn into a ball of fist till his knuckles turn white. Now since he realizes he still love her, anyone could make him jealous.
“oh hey Yuto!” Yuri sudden cheerful call startled him but his anger yet from gone.
“we’re going to have a group study, do you want to come too?”
He wants to say yes, he really do that denying almost feels like he’s betraying himself, yet as he laid his eyes on Ryosuke, who obviously curls a smile on the corner of his lips. Yuto rises from his chair and shakes his head without any words.
“I guess that’s a no.” Yuri says with his eyes following Yuto’s profile, leaving the classroom. “he sure is grumpy, I wonder why?” as if not knowing whats really made Yuto mad, Yuri cocks his head acting all confuse.
When Yuto leaves the room, he let a deep sigh, when Yuri asked him, everyone eyes were on him, except Tsubaki, he knows she is probably busy with herself, yet… “if she’s the one asking, I’ll join them… regardless how sick it makes me…”
“sick? Why, are you… pregnant?”
“if you’re not my senior, I’d hit you senpai.” Yuto replies coldly, when Daiki suddenly appears next to him.
Yuto find it strange that Daiki walks around the school, alone. Then he remembers what happen on the train, the two didn’t sit close to each other, they used to look like they glued to each other before.
“where’s your soul mate?”
“oh, Yuto, you know I don’t have a girl, at least yet.” Daiki means to hit Yuto’s arm but with his height he ended up hitting his elbow.
“Are you considering Inoochan as your girlfriend? Even when he does look like one…”
“oh…Inoochan…” Daiki’s eyes look a bit drifted, then he forces a smile while looking up to meet Yuto’s eyes. “I just need to run some errands, alone.” He makes a playful wink and skips along ahead of Yuto.
“see you afterschool at council meeting!” he waves energetically, jumping around trying to look taller even when he knows that was a complete failure.
Finally, they decided to have the group study before the Junior’s field trip, because after field trip, I’d be summer break soon, and usually everyone gets lazy to study at that time, due to hot summer heat and holiday mood.
Guides by Ryosuke who went there once, everyone arrive at Sanada Residence.
“Thank you for having us.” The three bowing when Sanada Masayuki, Tsubaki’s father welcome them too.
“its not much, but I hope you three feel comfortable here, take them to your room, Tsubaki.”
“yes father, come everyone.” Tsubaki quickly takes them through a well maintain garden with many kind of flowers and bonsai decorated it, before finally reaching her room.
“and he says not much… “Yuri whispers to Keito, walking next to him, the wooden floor and strong wooden pillars are shiny showing how old those woods are.
“this reminds me so much of an old samurai castle I visited at Kyoto long ago.” Keito has his eyes wondering looking at the old fashioned surroundings. Yuri smiles while nod in agreement, then he realizes, slowly walking behind Ryosuke looks a bit tense.
“just… thinking I’ll be going to her room… I’m so nervous…”
“oh god… its just a room.” Yuri rolls his wide eyes.
“of a girl he likes the most.” Keito adds with a known grin.
“right.” Suddenly realizing this Yuri hits his balled hand above his other palm. “sometimes you can be such pathetic guy, Ryosuke.”
“shut up.” He says a bit mad at his friend banter but soon he’s laughing to his own nervousness.
A folding table has been set in the middle of an almost empty room.
“this…is your bedroom?” Yuri asks almost disbelief, his eyes looking around. There’s a Lacquered Dresser on the wall, a glass ornaments already hang near the huge sliding door towards a smaller garden outside her room. On the folding table are Haiku journals, there are a modern study desk with a chair a bit stands out compare to the rest of antique looking furniture.
“Take a seat, I’ll bring out some tea for you.”
“do you have juice?” Yuri quickly turns, stopping Tsubaki from exiting her room.
“I think I only have canned juice, would that be alright.”
“yeah, that’ll do, thanks Tsubaki.”
Keito quickly sits on the round cushion, put his sling bag down and take one of the journals.
“this doesn’t look like a girl room at all, it doesn’t even look like a bedroom at all.” Yuri has both his hands on his waist as he looks around from the door way
“don’t be rude, Yuri.” Ryosuke turns at him, already went in deeper, exploring the room.
“this is the first time I’m inside a girl’s room…” Ryosuke said to himself, looking almost everywhere. On her study desk there are photos. “are these her older brothers?” his eyes focus on a collage frame with four photos. Even when Sanada is a strict family, it appears they’re really close to each other, in each picture they were smiling and huddling to each other. “I never saw Tsubaki smiles like that before, she sure looks beautiful smiling or not.” Unconsciously Ryosuke smiles to himself, so obvious that both his friends know whats on his mind.
“can you feel the love tonight…” Yuri’s singing while grinning and moving his hands around.
“the soundtrack from an animated film isn’t it, I like that movie too.”
“Ack! Tsubaki! My cute and fragile heart almost drops!” Yuri’s yelling after literary jumped out of shock.
“pardon?” Tsubaki with tray of snacks and drinks tilts her head.
They have started to write and work on their homework. Each one of them is highly focus, except Yuri, he leans backward with his pencil between his nose and pouting lips.
“oh! Tsubaki you have the newest playstation?”
“oh that belongs to Yukito nii, he often play his games here.” Tsubaki answering while writing on her book.
“hm…” Yuri slides himself and sit facing the shelf with a gaming console and the flat screen tv above it. He casually turns it on and starts playing.
“GAH! No wrong!” and starts screaming enjoying himself. “Idiot, left, left! GAH!” moving the joystick all around.
“o wow owow o wow ow…” Yuri holds the back of his head after Ryosuke slaps him.
“and who was the one suggesting a group study again?!”
“but I cant concentrate before playing.” Yuri whining, looking at Ryosuke with a pleading gaze.
“and before, you say you cant study before eat…”Keito sighing, looking towards Ryosuke who is standing, both his hands on his waist and Yuri, one hand behind his head and the other holding the joystick.
“don’t you think it’ll be easier to play if your homework are done?”
Yuri suddenly turns and look at Keito, his eyes widen and glazy like a puppy at shelter asks for adoption.
“…do you want me to play with you?”
“why are you agreeing so easily?!” Ryosuke turns and now yell at Keito.
“aww come on, Ryosuke, just one more game….okay.” Yuri’s pulling Ryosuke’s hand down, trying to one more time pleading at him.
“N-no! not gonna do it!”
“is this Grand theft?” Keito suddenly sitting next to Yuri and take one of the game from the shelf.
“lets play that!” Yuri excitedly turns at Keito releasing his hand from Ryosuke that falls backward and hit the tatami below, right on his back.
When he knows he was completely ignored by his two friends that have start playing, he hears a soft giggle. Ryosuke turns and found Tsubaki covering her mouth, she tries so hard not to laugh, and eventually lift a book to hide her face, while her shoulder shaking from the laughter.
Ryosuke never saw her laugh like this, ever. “Well… I suppose I can consider it a victory that she feels so comfortable around us.” He says to himself with a gentle smile, still sitting watching Tsubaki hiding her obvious laughter.
One day Kota invited everyone to the council meeting including female students, but like usual Hanayo is the only one absence. However today, it was not only Hanayo, part of the usual gang aren’t here either. They are Kei, Yuya and Mayu.
“they’re not here… are they still, fighting?” Yuri says less jumpy than usual as he enters the room, behind him Keito’s following, hand in his pocket.
“they are?” soon his widens eyes drift and he speaks with a pained tone. “how long has it been going now?” he sat down next to Yuri.
Ryosuke stops at the door frame, he looks inside but looking behind through the hallways every now and then.
“hey Ryosuke.” Hikaru pokes his cheek playfully. “you’re standing in the way.” He says with a wink.
“oh, I’m sorry.” He exclaims quickly and went inside, Hikaru on his tail.
“Tsubaki and Yuto will arrive shortly, they have some matters to discuss with their homeroom teacher.” Kota speaks, eyes on a piece of paper.
“what’s that?” Hikaru asks, his slender finger pointing at the white paper on Kota’s hand.
“oh, my future in a piece of paper.” Kota says, smiles while waving the paper with a wide mischievous grin.
“Am I late? Like usual?” Daiki pokes his head from behind the door with his sunny smile before practically bouncing to his seat.
“excuse us, for coming late.” 10 minutes later Tsubaki walks in, bows before entering, Yuto is following behind her, they sits close to each other, yet today the meeting room mood is less jumpy than usual.
“so, Mayu chan is still…” Tsubaki’s thinking her expression sad.
“Okay, folks!” Kota cheer and clap brings everyone attention to him. “soon it will be summer break, how fun is that… for you, not us seniors.”
“ahahaha.” Hikaru’s laughing and Kota’s smiling and almost talks between his own giggling.
“so… since this will be the last summer for us seniors in Kitagawa and council board, we want to spent two or three days of holiday with everyone, including Mayu and Tsubaki too, I want to invite Hanayo too but it seems she’s too shy to be around us, I don’t know why.”
“maybe because the one asking is Hikaru?” Daiki asks while grinning.
“hey.” Hikaru’s complaining, yet he himself laughing to it. “though she seems to be getting along with a guy from her class.”
“she does?” tsubaki’s eyes widen, her tone almost pitch high.
“So I heard, they’ve been having lunch or study in the library together.”Hikaru explains, he’s looking to Tsubaki who returns Hikaru’s gaze with a concerned look, yet she tries to think positive and shakes her bad feeling away.
“anyway, Keito has this lovely summer villa in the mountain.”
“…” Keito lifts his head in instant, having his name called by Kota. Yet he seems unable to say that he never heard of this plan before.
“its surround by small forest and rivers too, it’ll be a good place for a friendly getaway.”
“don’t we should also asks for Kei, Yuya and the freshman opinion?” Yuto asks from his chair.
“oh, they’ll agree. Besides its 3 against 8.”
“you just go ahead decide that we all here agreeing huh, again.” Hikaru leaning backward with both hands behind his head.
Kota just winks as his reply.
“so after the senior’s field trip prepare yourself for a fun journey.”
“God, he’s always going and does things as he pleases.” Yuto on Tsubaki’s side sighs loudly, raking a hand lightly through his hair.
“Yes, and he’s always teasing me too, and has this mischievous streak that really freaks me out.”
“…” hearing this Yuto seems to be surprised, he stuck in breath for a moment before turning his head to Tsubaki. “what is exactly happening between you and bucho?” his voice sounds gentle yet his eyes filled with a sharp and strong gaze.
“what happen between me and Lady Sanada is ours to keep.” He says clearly almost a warning for everyone in the room. His smile is wide making his eyes into a thin line.
“GAH!” Yuto and Tsubaki jumps from their seat, each having startled expressions.
“no snooping around, and be a good kid.” Kota’s bewitching smile sends an unexpected chill down Yuto’s spine.
But Yuto was not the only one, Ryosuke too, quietly eavesdropping and now he too, looking a bit ashen.
“you okay Ryosuke?” Yuri asks, when he sees the color on his friend’s face a bit faded.
“I’m fine.” He says this peevishly, with a displeased expression.
Once the meeting done, Daiki walks towards the back of the school building.
Meanwhile, Kei who not usually alone, approached by group of seniors that tried to hurt Mayu before.
“Alone huh.” One of them said with a wicked smile.
“lucky for you.” Kei carelessly answering while caressing the sleeping cat on his lap. But the cats around him seem to picking up the unpleasant air, their hair stands and hissing angrily.
“sssssshhhhh, there, there.” Kei tries to calm the cats around him, hissing like they’re protecting him. “you can get away once, but not twice.” One of them grabs his collar, hard, Kei pulled up from his seat. Yet Kei is far from provoked, his face remains calm, locking his eyes to the evil guy.
“I’ve been waiting to put some scars to your pretty face.” he says, eyes beaming with satisfaction. But before his fist land on Kei’s face. he feels a jolt of pain on his wrist.
“now, now, fighting around school is unacceptable.”
The evil senior turns to see a short guy wielding his wrist, his tone and face are both friendly yet his grip is really strong it feels he could break it if he wanted to.
That seniors, ashen, look for his friends, yet they were nowhere in sight.
“I have told them to go.” Daiki smiles, reading the curiosity on his face.
The evil senior pulled away forcefully and moves backwards. Daiki smiles innocently and says “hey, the yellow scarf send their regards.”
Hearing that name, the already ashen-looking senior, turns as white as sheet before spiting and run with tail between his legs.
“You okay buddy?” daiki turns, Kei already sitting back and a cat climbs to his laps.
“I thought you mad at me.”
“…” Daiki stares at him before sighing and take a place on his side. “I do.” He says. “But just because I’m mad, doesn’t mean we’re not friends anymore, doesn’t mean… I stop care about you.”
“…thanks, I guess.”
“btw, after our field trip Kota arranged a summer vacation for all of us, including the ladies from Fujiwara.”
“I really look forward to it.” Daiki smiles brightly, his eyes closed. “especially Ryosuke barbeque… yumm.”
“you just thinking about the food…”
“ahahahaha, the fish fresh from that river is good too…”
“fishes… I’m definitely going.”
“yey!” Daiki raises his both hand, victorious. He still mad just a bit but he could never have the heart to completely ignore Kei, he still wants Kei to be near him.
Its finally field trip day, everyone gathers in group of each class when the teachers giving his instructions for the field trips, each students look into the field trip booklet.
“I hope they finish this thing soon…” The school is holding the opening ceremony before the trip begin. Between the principal’s too-long speech, teacher instructions, and everything else… Yuto halfway to falling asleep where he sits next to Tsubaki.
“Yes?” Ryosuke cant stand the boredom either, moves slowly towards Tsubaki who sits at the back of her 2B group. He gets her attention from behind her. Tsubaki feels her heart skip a beat when he leans over her shoulder, whispering to avoid being noticed by the teachers and probably Yuto.
“About that girl named Hanayo…”
“you look worried when Hikaru senpai said she makes a friend with a guy from her class.” Ryosuke shows a concern look.
“I do, But its alright maybe I was reading too much into it.” Tsubaki turns, nearly touching their noses. Both of them jerked away in an instant and both of them blushing. On her side, Yuto seems too sleepy with the speech, that he didn’t notice what happened.
Tsubaki may say so but in truth, she really does think there’s something about him… Tsubaki is quietly watching Hanayo, the only female in a group a bit far of her, with a guy who looks friendly sitting close to her. “But… why am I being restless… maybe he really is nice, I mean even me and Mayu chan encountering friendly people here… so why cant she… but for a moment there, just a short moment there, I could swear I saw a wicked smile on his face,”
Her reminiscing is interrupted by the principal’s voice ringing out from the speaker.
“Well then, that concludes the opening ceremony. I wish you all a productive trip and enriching Kitagawa with new experiences.”
While Tsubaki watching Hanayo and her new friend, the opening ceremony comes to an end, and all students ready to board the plane.
Few moments later, they landed in Okinawa, the students’ mood quickly turns into vacation mode, but the teachers through the speakers quickly remind them that today are still about educational tours, and two more days are the free time for everyone to enjoy and have fun at Okinawa’s tourist spots.
Both Tsubaki and Yuto as two of the chosen committee in this field trip, busy arranging everything, Knowing Tsubaki seems to be restless about her last fellow Fujiwara, using his authority as Student Relation Ryosuke’s gathering information around Juniors regarding Hanayo new friend. And not only Ryosuke, even his fellow Student Relation Chinen Yuri is joining and conduct a private investigation.
They finally visiting the famous temple, and since this is the last spot for today’s field trip, everyone seems a bit relax.
“Sanada san can you please bring these lunch boxes, these are for all the committee, good job today.” Said one teacher as he gives 20 boxes for her to carry alone. Some the boxes are inside a bag she carries in one hand, but some also ended being held in her other arm, close to her body.
As Tsubaki walks with her hands full, two students deliberately hit their shoulders to hers, hard. Enough to make Tsubaki lost her balance and nearly trip over her feet, when…
“got you.” Tsubaki, falling backward but feeling her upper body floating, Keito has reached her and grab her from behind.
“th-thank you, Okamoto san.” As Tsubaki’s back to her feet, she wont stop bowing apologetic at him.
“here let me help you with that.” Keito reaches to the other bag still hanging in her other hand.
“Tsubaki.” When Tsubaki tries to refuse him, Keito calls her name in a strong commanding tone, so unusual to Keito it startled her a little bit.
“you should let people help you, or more to… you shouldn’t do things on your own, its alright to ask for help, we’re friends remember.” Keito returns to his usual gentleness and smile kindly.
“yes…forgive me… thank you.” As Tsubaki looks down to the lunch boxes in her arms, some of it has spilled all over her. “…”
“you should get change.” Keito quickly states, his eyes widen in concern.
“I will after we deliver all these lunch boxes.”
Both Tsubaki and Keito gave all the student committee their lunches, after that she looks down and couldn’t help but notice that the stains has been spreading all over her shirt.
She tries to look for her bag, but it was nowhere to be found. “someone must’ve been hiding it… now what do I do?”
“here.” From behind someone offering a clean shirt, she turns. Yuto holding out his own shirt he took from his bag.
“look at you.” He says his voice almost painful. “clean yourself and wear this until we get to the hotel.”
“…alright, thank you Yuto.”
She undressed inside the public bathroom and put Yuto’s shirt on. It seemed intimate to be wearing his clothing like this. She smiled at herself in the mirror. “Guys sure are big… even the sleeves covering my hands…” Yuto’s borrowing his long sleeve shirt, but Yuto’s tall so his sleeves were very long. “the scent… smells pretty much like Yuto…” She thought for a moment before leaving the bathroom wearing Yuto’s shirt.
“oh, y-Yuto!” Tsubaki is a bit surprise to find him waiting outside the bathroom. Yuto eyes blink before moving closer to her.
“wh-what is it…?” Tsubaki almost turns her face away seeing Yuto walking to her, expression flat.
“…” but after a moment of closing her eyes, Tsubaki slowly open it and notices that Yuto is folding her sleeves, neatly.
“it’s too long, you have to fold it otherwise it’ll bothers you.”
“I-I can do it myse-“
“I know you can do it yourself.” Yuto calmly cuts Tsubaki’s words. “just let me do it… “ his words stop at that, but she’s pretty sure, Yuto slightly opens his mouth to say something but decline it and close it again, tightly into thin line.
Tsubaki still looking down where Yuto’s hand folding the sleeves, slowly come to her elbow. His slender fingers carefully folding the fabric, once in awhile he accidently touches her skin. She feels each touch makes her heart grows hot.
Tsubaki watching him, his black hair shining from the sunlight. “he dumped me… yet I can never come to hate him… why?”
Yuto suddenly lifts his head and their eyes meeting each other, Yuto seeing the obvious blush on her and now a rush of adrenaline surges through their body, sending a blush straight to their cheeks.
“forgive me…I was staring at you…” Tsubaki turns away quickly.
“…its alright.” He pats as he starts to walk. “I like when you do that.” He whispers ever so gently. But his voice bites at her ears like the crack of a whip, stunning her into silence.
“…why…?” she whispers to herself. She turns where Yuto already walking, yet he stops and turn and their eyes meet once again. Then she suddenly thinks to herself as their eyes locking at each other. “the hardest thing is… keeping a distance from someone you really close before…but why is it because i…”
“Tsubaki.” The voice calling her name from behind her, snaps her from the daze, she looks from her shoulder, Ryosuke carrying her bag that was missing.
“A temple staff found it hidden under the bushes, over there.” Ryosuke points to a garden near the temple entrance. Someone must’ve hid it when she was busy arranging the visit. Luckily the name tag she always hang in all her bags make it easier to identify it by anyone who found it.
“check it, make sure nothing is missing.”
“okay, thank you so much Yamada san.” She smiles before opening her bag and checks all her belongings, Rysosuke on her side, helping her holding the bag.
Yuto watches them, his furrows knit.
At the last day of field trip, its free time for the students. Tsubaki even though staying in the same room as Hanayo, has been hard to get a hold of her. But she looks like she’s having fun with her new friend. Tsubaki too busy to watch over Hanayo, she forgot to have fun herself.
“sigh…” just before sunset, most students have return to hotel to get ready for the fireworks party prepared for the field trip closing ceremony. But Tsubaki sighing, sitting on the hotel yard.
“Tsubaki, you okay?” Ryosuke peers to her face, while holding out a canned coffee.
“thank you…” she took it, and Ryosuke sitting next to her.
“still worrying about Hanayo?”
“yes… I want to think positive, but somehow I cant… I don’t know why…”
“well… what I’m about to tell you will not make you better too.”
“Hanayo new friend…is apparently often hanging out with…some…Kitagawa most troublemaker gang.”
“but…I cant prove anything or proving that maybe he does any bullying…”
“…” Tsubaki suddenly feels a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach. “thank you, maybe I should look for her…” Tsubaki bows a bit before running towards the hotel building, to look for Hanayo in her room.
“Ryosuke, I think that’s enough.” The deep voice, startled him, as he follows the source of the voice. Yuto is standing in front of him, knitting his brows.
“what is…. Enough?” Ryosuke asks back, yet despite the confusion he shows he gets a bit annoyed.
“don’t think I didn’t know the little look out you’re been doing.”
“oh, you know about that, yet you never knew about the bullies happening at Kitagawa? Smart.” Ryosuke rolls his eyes, but he quickly stood up and put a wide smile on his face.
“I only do what a Student Relation has to do, gathering information. So you Disciplinary committee would know what to do next.”
“even when you never did that before?”
“yeah, cause I kinda forgot that certain someone ever told us to ignore any bullies.”
The two of them glaring at each other, each having an intense glare, it will only takes another spark to make them fight.
“fuuuuh… “ Ryosuke heaved a deep heavy sigh. “I just want to protect our school and everyone in it, its not your committee responsible alone… I should’ve realized that sooner. Imagine how they feel to get treated badly and people acted like they didn’t care…” Ryosuke eyes drifted downwards, expression painful. “its not hard to find who’s behind these bullies Yuto, I’ll give all the information to you after our field trip.” Ryosuke with one last deep sigh turns away and leave Yuto, alone. Not knowing people are watching, attracted by their loud exchanges.
Yuto too now, shows a disturbed look, he knows well who did it, what really happens yet… he let it happened… he does want all Fujiwara to leave school… yet will he really glad for making that wish?
Its nearly the time for the fireworks… tsubaki still sitting in her room, staring emptily, she’s unable to find hanayo.
“tsubaki, you’re not coming to the roof and watch fireworks?” Tsubaki’s door is open, Yuto standing in the door way.
“oh…yes, of course.” She nods a bit. Yuto looks hesitate yet he decides to leave her.
“I’ll just think that she’s fine…” she’s convincing herself and leave her room, yet soon she finally sees hanayo, entering one room, that’s definitely belong to the boys.
“what is she doing there?” but despite her confusion she let her be, knowing she enters the room herself, maybe she dates this guy from his class and need a privacy.
But when she was just reached the Hotel rooftop, Tsubaki’s quickly turns and run back down.
“oh, hey Tsubaki, where are you going, the show’s about to start!” Yuri’s shouting his hair a bit damp after the shower.
“just a moment!” Yuri watches where she went, then headed to the rooftop and joins the rest of juniors.
She stops in the front of the door, where she last sees Hanayo. Her heart beating in anticipation.
Knock Knock. She has to knock several times, maybe she disturbs them, but that’s alright she said, she has to make sure she’s okay, she need to see Hanayo.
It takes long time before someone opens it, just a slight, Tsubaki even can tell the room is dark.
“I asked to assemble everyone for the fireworks party.” She lied for reasons.
“thanks but…” he does look friendly, he puts a kind smile. “I don’t feel so well.”
“is that so, so…do you happen to see Hanayo. I cant find her anywhere.”
“No, I don’t, I don’t know where she is.” He still answers politely, from the door.
“is that so.”
Then from his room, a ringtone plays. Hidden behind her back, Tsubaki dialing Hanayo’s number.
“its clear that you’re lying.”
“what, n-no, she was here before maybe she just forget her cellphone.”
“then you wouldn’t mind if I went inside and take it for her?”
At her words that boy starts to look ashen, his smile that once covering him, missing and his furrows knit.
“we wouldn’t mind if you join the party!” suddenly the door open widely and Tsubaki’s arm grabbed from inside by different guy.
She stumbles forward, but before she could stand firmly, a strong arm holds her neck from behind. Soon she hears laughter, laughter that quickly fills every inches of her mind with sickness. “you have such silky hair… making me want to cut it.”
“!!!” didn’t wait for his words to finish he cuts her hair with a pocket knife. And In that dark space, in the bed, she sees something, something that making her loses control.
“Ryosuke!!! Ryosuke!!!” Ryosuke and Keito that stand side by side turn as Yuri calling out to them, fighting through the crowds.
“ah… this is not a way to enjoy a view.” He says a bit grumbling. “oh yeah, I see Tsubaki running downstairs to his room!”
By the word “his” Ryosuke knows who Yuri is talking about. His face tense and quickly runs leaving the party that just begun behind him.
“wait, I’m coming Ryosuke!” Keito shouting and follow him behind.
“wh-what… not again…I just got here!”
The whole area of hotel almost empty since everyone gathering at the rooftop, so no one noticing what is happening in particular room. Ryosuke, Keito and the panting Yuri arrives less than 3 minutes, even from the outside, faintly they could hear noises from inside.
“Keito and Yuri, look for teachers, now!”
“Got it!” Keito quickly run. “come on Yuri!”
The door is unlocked, fortunately. Ryosuke slammed it and found Tsubaki struggling to fight two men, one seems to be losing consciousness and the other seems bending holding a pain.
seeing Ryosuke at the door, they’re trying to get away, but not before Ryosuke charges one of them to the ground, making only one student escaping.
“argh let go!” he struggles from underneath him, pinned by Ryosuke’s elbow.
“Hanayo…” Tsubaki’s painful tone, echoing in that dark room.
In the bed, with her both hands tied above, her shirt lifts up covering her face and revealing her entire waist up. But Hanayo seems unconscious. Tsubaki covers her exposed body with a blanket lying on the same bed.
Tsubaki then crying while untying Hanayo’s wrists. “I’m sorry…I’m sorry…” she wont stop apologizing as she works herself to fix her. When Tsubaki could pull the shirt back to her body, she even sees bruises on her face. “oh Hanayo…”
“…” Ryosuke watches her, he looks calm yet he was furious and leash it out by pinned the guy underneath him even harder. Leaving him groaning in pain.
Hanayo has been taken to the hospital, and now Tsubaki sitting on a bench, looking to the floor.
“here, take this.” Ryosuke offers her a warm drink.
“oh, Ryosuke are you alright?” Tsubaki sees a small cut on his jaw, one of the escaped rascal hits him on his way out.
“that’s a relief.” She smiles faintly at him.
“don’t you think you need serious treatment, you’ve been refusing the hospital offers.”
“I’m fine, it may looks bad but its really nothing.”
“her beautiful face is marred with bruises and cuts, her gorgeous hair sheared away. And yet, she still has far more concern in her heart for other than she ever gives to herself.” Sitting on her side, Ryosuke caressed her cheek, the tip of her lips slightly cut.
Though it aches dully, when Ryosuke brushes her cheek with his fingertips… she feels as if she could forget the pain.
“Thank you Yamada san.”
“I’m so glad that you were there. I could never get through that alone.”
“…” Ryosuke could only give a weak smile, not knowing how to respond her genuine relief even when she’s in terrible state.
“tsubaki, here.” Yuto that has been attending this issue with the teachers, came to the hospital, in his hand, a cell phone.
“what is this…?” she asks before receiving the silver colored phone.
“they were taking Hanayo’s picture with that, I figure you should be the one keeping it, though I must say, it would be unpleasant to see.”
“…” Tsubaki look down to the phone in her two hands, she’s too occupied with her mind that she didn’t realize something about Yuto, yet Ryosuke notices bruises and bloods on Yuto’s hands.
He looks up immediately, Yuto make a faint shake, stares him down, his gaze icy, the unwillingness to be honest clear in his eyes. “its not mine.” That’s all he says in low whisper as he passes Ryosuke, Yuto leaves before Tsubaki notice anything about him.
Though Ryosuke agrees, the crease between his brows suggests he still isn’t happy about it.” Yuto isn’t the type to listen to anyone once he has made up his mind, is he…?”
Apparently while Keito look for the teachers, Yuri initiatively look for Yuto it is his responsibility as disciplinary committee to be notice. He saw one of the rascals escaping the room, and chased him down, and does more than just arresting him and retrieving the evidence.
Just a day after Kitagawa Juniors return from their field trip. Tsubaki and Mayu summoned to meet their principal along with the council board. As they all leaving the principal office, none of them say a word.
“for now, lets return to the council room.” Saori says, flat. Her grave expression shown clearly on her beautiful face.
“what… is…that…suppose…to…mean…?” later, Mayu weak voice heard in the closed meeting room. Tsubaki however returns Saori gaze emptily.
“like the principal has inform you, with this incident that happens to Hanayo, Fujiwara will no longer concern to what may happen to Kitagawa from now on, they’re on their own to save the school. Therefore, all remaining Fujiwara are to leave Kitagawa immediately.”
“…Saori…I don’t think… we can just leave.”
Mayu can only agreeing Tsubaki by giving a nod, even when it was unconvincing.
“then, return to Fujiwara or permanently become Kitagawa, your call.”
“excuse me?” Tsubaki deepen her furrows.
“saori… I don’t think that’s fair…” Kiara that has been quiet the whole time, finally interrupting.
“sigh, this is not my decision. I cannot change it.”
“of course you can.” Kiara tries to convince her, smile gently and tap her shoulder. “this is too much and too sudden for you two.” She continues, with an eerie smile. “but this is even a harder matter for us, it is our responsibility for whatever happens to Fujiwara students. We were lucky the seven students who returned here doesn’t too bother with the bullying anymore. Yet, what occurs to Hanayo has been consider as criminal and Fujiwara will be taking care of it as so, but… even now Kitagawa still stubbornly thinks that this is merely a teen bullying and protect those students.”
“Kitagawa always giving too much of “understanding” to their students. If only their council could do something about this.”
“then… as its older sister, don’t you think we should show them, the proper way?”
“what do you mean, Tsubaki?”
“we know they were wrong, yet… we will be worst if we leave them to make more mistakes.”
“Tsubaki, to be honest, I’m not in the mood for negotiation right now.”
“just… carefully think about this, you too Mayu chan. Go home and discuss this with your parents.” Kiara make her trademark sisterly smile as she politely demanding them to leave.
“…” Tsubaki gives a trouble look, she let out a heavy sigh before bowing and leave the room.
Mayu quickly following behind her, she wants to say something, but the look on Tsubaki’s face… Mayu’s words disappear behind her lips.