I feel as though KoiBane-sensei has gotten some sort of strange, new impression about me. It'll be troublesome if he starts bugging me about what I'm doing, but for now, I'll ignore him at any moment he questions me. As I walk through the hallways and up towards the stairs to the 2nd floor I notice the clock on the stair's wall. It seems it is already 6pm, the school will be closing soon. I need to hurry before the guard closes the school gates on me. I begin to rush up the stairs to the 2nd floor.
Arriving atop the 2nd floor I head straight to the library first to grab my bag, I still had the library key inside my pocket. Taking out the library key from my pocket I stick it inside the lock to the library door. Unlocking the door, I instantly spring myself towards the back of the counter and grab my bag which had been sitting behind the counter. I take out my earphones from my ears and take the book I had left on the counter and stuffed them into my bag. I bring my bag over my shoulder and carry it out with me making sure to lock the library door as I go out.
Locking the library's door, I turn myself towards the direction of the boy's bathroom and arrive at the storage closet's door. I pull out the key that KoiBane-sensei had handed to me and put it into the closet door's lock. As I turned the key around in the lock I could hear the sound of the door clicking to unlock. After hearing the click I slowly open the door and inside I see the one thing I was hoping it wasn't.
It was Shina Hayashi.
I stared at her as she was huddled in the middle of the storage closet with her head down on her knees hugging them together with her hands. Her black hair trailed across her face so I couldn't see her expression and the loose strands fell to the floor, blanketing the floor in near black. My heart began to pick up pace again as I was hoping that what those girls had said before wasn't what I was thinking.
I stood in front of her silent and said nothing. As if finally noticing me, she lifted her head up from her knees, tears were in her eyes it was different to what I was expecting. Her eyes were red from crying, but her they were still beautiful. She stared straight into my eyes, I could do nothing but look at her unable to respond. I didn't know what to say for this kind of situation. How was I to respond to this?
She slowly got up from where she was sitting on the ground and as she did she patted her butt and back from dust. After patting herself down she looked at me again and then...her tears began to fall more than it had been when I looked at her face earlier. Unable to respond to the sudden downpour of her tears, I panicked inside my head but my outward appearance was one where I showed nothing but a plain stare. I could only open my mouth and mumble quietly the best words I could think of. My heart had stopped skipping in surprise and flustered flowers, instead it skipped in panic as to how to stop her tears.
"A-are you okay?" I asked.
She didn't say anything. She continued to stare at me with tears streaming down her face. I didn't know what to say so I took my hand and rubbed the back of my neck in an uncomfortable atmosphere.
She spoke, but her voice trailed off in uncertainty.
"You know, when I was trying to open the door earlier... Why didn't you say anything?" I asked rubbing the back of my head while averting my eyes to the side. I was slightly embarrassed to be concerned about someone.
"I didn't think it was necessary as the janitor would usually open the door later in the night shift..."
It was obvious now. Shina Hayashi was being bullied. It was a definite fact. She had said "usually" which meant she was always practically being locked in the closet. The three girls must've locked her in here, which was why they were looking anxiously at me. It all clicked inside my head, I could tell now. But why? Why was she being bullied? Why was such a girl who gave off the feeling of perfection being bullied?
Ah... Perhaps it was already obvious as to why. It was because she is perfect. The girls must've been been jealous of her. The envy of women, is indeed, scary.
I couldn't retort anything. For such a reason she allowed herself to be locked in a closet the whole time? Why didn't she panic? Scream? Yell? I couldn't understand it. What could her reason be for staying in the closet of her own accord? I could only stare at her in blind shock to her words. Ah...man... She is the type of girl I can't handle. The incomprehensible type.
"What about you, Yukimura-kun? What gave you the impulse to open this door?" she asked while rubbing her eyes of her tears.
"J-just an impulse, I guess."
I was lying. The truth was that the three girls that I saw as I was going to the bathroom sparked something inside of me. When the three girls had whispered the name "Shina" I did not want it to be the Shina I knew. What pushed me even further to investigate the storage closet was the fact that I heard the insulting words that were mumbled alongside Shina's name. It wasn't just curiousity, it was something else inside me. It was something known as the feeling, fury. I was angry. I didn't know why. When I heard the name "Shina" I doubted it was the Shina I started to know on our first day back from spring break. However, inside of me I kept asking, "what if it is Shina Hayashi?" It was that single question that pushed my curiosity to investigating the storage closet as it was the first clue to the mystery. It was way too obvious, as the girls were standing in front of the closet.
"You're so strange" said Shina Hayashi. She then began to giggle a little with her eyes still covered in tears.
"I-I don't want to be told that by you!"
I answered angrily hiding my embarrassment. I blushed slightly at being laughed at.
Her laugh was incredibly cute for some reason. My heart skipped a beat as she smiled while continuing to giggle at me. My face became hotter. The tears in her eyes were still there on her face. On an impulse, I reached out my hand and touched her face, wiping the tears from her eye. The moment I did such a gesture, she froze and turned to look at me, staring straight at my face. I could feel my face getting hotter and hotter as she looked at me. My eyes glowered down a little more as I wiped away her tears.
"I don't understand you. You're being bullied, yet you... Not only that, you tell me how much of a loner I am and then you leave it at just that! You didn't talk to me all day until the very end of class and the moment you do, you ask for my name! Even more each class I was in you sat next to me and even joined the Library Management Club! Just what the hell are you!" I yelled while my hands continued to rub away the leftover tears in her eyes.
I was blabbering nonsense. It was the first time this has ever happened to me. What is going on? What is this feeling? I can feel my head swirling in chaos at the thoughts that filled my head.
Why does my heart beat to her words? Her gestures? Her expressions?
What am I doing? What the hell am I saying?
Why am I angry? Why am I yelling?
This isn't like me.
By the time I realized it, I had said all that was in my head. When I finally calmed down I panicked and blushed furiously and removed my hand from touching her face. How embarrassing. My arms flailed around as I desperately jumbled my words together. What is wrong with me?
I couldn't form the words for an excuse. I had no excuse. None. Desperately I flailed my arms about and mumbled the best words I could while facing her in red embarrassment.
"I-I didn't mean to! I... I'm sorry" I said in a frustrated tone.
Shina Hayashi looked at me and faintly smiled. Her smile was beautiful but had a hint of sadness in it. She touched my hand that was flailing around and gripped it tightly in her own hands. Her hands were soft as they firmly gripped my right hand. Surprised all of my words became silent as I looked at her hold my hand.
"Thank you" she said.
My heart accelerated with just those words. I couldn't say anything. "Thank you" she had said to me. The words I couldn't understand the most. Why had she thanked me? I had done nothing to help her. I had only opened the door of the storage closet. What is there to thank me for?
After saying those words to me she gave me another smile and let go of my hand. She picked up what seemed to be her bag inside the storage closet and walked down the hallway without turning back. She continued down the hallway until she had reached the stairs and went down. I could only watch as she left with a dumbfounded expression. My heart was beating fast. I looked at my right hand and gripped it tightly.
What is this feeling?
I thought hard about the throbbing of my heart, then I remembered stories I had read before. The countless books of romance floated into my head that explained a similar sensation to what I was feeling now. It couldn't possibly be...a loner like me? A feeling unexplainable by science or books I've read fully. Is this love?
Come to think of it... I didn't get the chance to ask her the question I wanted to ask. Why did she say those words to me?
"Ah... If only I could be like that."
Shaking off my thoughts, I sighed and pulled my bag closer to my shoulder and decided to head home it was getting late and the train might be leaving soon. I walk off in the hallway and head home while thinking solely about Shina Hayashi.