It took three weeks before the rumors about me and Shina finally died down, leaving us in peace for a short period of time. During the three weeks I kept by Shina's side although each time she would give me an unpleasant look. I was fine with staying near Shina no matter how much it took, but my heart would occassionally beat faster as I stood by her. It was such a strange occurence. However, after a few weeks passed, no bullying occured when I was around so I decided to take a chance and see how things would go when I wasn't near Shina. I didn't tell Shina however so she will probably get mad...or at least that's what I was thinking.
As I was loitering around in the classroom today, I read a book with my earphones in my ears. Shina had left to the bathroom as it was passing period for our next class. The girls who were bullying Shina were hanging around in the back of the classroom. I could see them from the corner of my eye. The girls were chatting quietly, but they would give me glances as they gossiped. I had a feeling they were planning something but because they were scared of me they didn't dare to do whatever it was they were planning. This would actually be a good chance to eliminate them, now that the rumors have died down. I wouldn't want everyone to notice me too much as I deal with the girls, so I have to somehow get rid of them quietly.
I continued to read my book until the start of class and the rest of the students seated themselves. Classes went on as usual as the weather was gradually beginning to cool from Spring. Shina's notes were also looking much better than they had at the beginning of the year. I was also having a much better time at concentrating when taking notes. Eventually when class came to an end I decided to head to the library room first ahead of Shina. Shina didn't say much when I told her. She nodded to my words and went to the bathroom and I grabbed two bento boxes. Since the day I suggested making her meals she stopped bringing her bento box to school and instead took the extra that I bring along with me. This way, the girls who were bullying Shina couldn't destroy her food.
As I headed out the door, the other students were also pouring out of the classroom heading to their respective hangout areas. The girls who were bullying Shina disappeared somewhere when I wasn't looking but I'm not too worried. If the girls plan on doing anything to Shina today, I'll use it to my advantage and take care of them. I feel as though I'm becoming more and more protective of Shina as the days continue. I don't want to lose sight of my initial goal of a peaceful highschool life though...but I also don't want Shina to suffer where I can see it.
Arriving in the library and unlocking the door, I let the students studying in and let myself inside of the library's private room. I set down two bento boxes on the table while flinging myself onto the chair by the table. I sigh heavily and rewind the past experiences of the three weeks. The first week, Shina was closed off to me and continued to ignore me where people could see us, however when it came to only us two she would quickly switch personality. The second week followed the same routine of Shina ignoring me, but she was opening up to me much more than before in private she was also being hit on more frequently by the male students now that she wasn't putting on as much of a sour face as before. Each time Shina was being hit on, I would step in between to which she would later giggle at me for. The third week, I prevented any attempts the girls made at trying to bully Shina, however their efforts went to waste the majority of the time. I was beginning to get tired of these routines.
What am I doing, honestly? Why am I trying so much for her?
If I did nothing and just relaxed I could be left alone and I won't have to deal with all this conflict. But something about leaving Shina alone ticks me off, there's also that feeling in my heart as though something is being pulled apart when I see her in pain. It seems so similar to the characters of a novel I read once, these feelings inside of me... I want to understand more. I want to know what Shina thinks of me. I want Shina to look at only me. This manipulative feeling inside of me is corrupting me. Its corrupting me.
Somehow I can't seem to stop my overflowing feelings for Shina... Still, I feel strangely happy when I feel that I'm actually human. I'm no longer a loner and its thanks to Shina always interacting with me. How strange... Did I always think in such a way?
As I was captivated by my private thoughts the door clicks open and Shina comes in. I turn to look at Shina whose emerald eyes meet mine, however I noticed that her long black hair is soaking wet. Something seemed to have happened. I kept quiet while gesturing her to take a seat as I get up to grab an extra towel from one of the drawers in the room. Shina locks the door and sits down.
Once I find a towel I hand her it and she begins to dry her hair. Her slender fingers brush her hair with the towel and her emerald eyes look downward. She wasn't smiling. It seems she is slightly troubled by whatever happened to her. I'm sure the girls from before probably poured water on her while she was in the bathroom even her uniform is soaked. Shina says nothing and only wipes herself clean of water although her hair is still wet.
"You're not going to ask?" asked Shina.
"Why would I need to? Everything is already being shown to me just by looking at you."
"They got you in the bathroom?" I ask her.
She nods again.
"I see... It can't be helped I'll talk to them later. For now, why don't we eat?"
"Thank you... Kazuki, you know I..."
Shina tries to say something but trails off. What does she want to say?
Shina is staring at the chopsticks that I hand her and shakes her head.
"No, its nothing."
"Alright then..." I don't know what is bothering her, but it seems best to not ask. I put my hands together and say, "thanks for the food" which is a traditional Japanese thanks to the food being eaten. Shina does the same.
After we say our thanks we begin to dig in. As usual Shina's face lights up brightly as she chomps down on the food I prepared. These days I cook more than I used to because each time I do; I get to see Shina's smiling face, which is adorable. We end our lunch break sitting quietly reading as Shina continued to dry herself up, while I went to get her spare clothing to use. Shina wore the spare outfit to class and lied to the teachers when asked why she was wearing spare clothing. She didn't want to involve the teachers so she lied. I wished she would just honestly ask someone for help.
"You'll save her."
KoiBane-Sensei's words flashed into my mind. That's right, I nearly forgot. If the teachers are unable to help her, then I just have to be the one to do it. Reaffirming these feelings I decided my plans for after school.
Once the bell had rang for the end of classes, I grabbed my bag and told Shina that there would be no club activities today. Shina didn't say anything and nodded. She grabbed her bag and headed out the door as the bully girls stared at her back. I waited a while before I moved towards the bullying group. I didn't want Shina to find out what I was doing.
The group of girls look at me. Their eyes begin to panic.
"Come with me to the back" I tell them while motioning my thumb to a pointing gesture. The girls cannot say anything for my glare if causing them to tremble. They say nothing though and follow me. It seems they are extremely afraid, although I have no intentions of hurting them.
When we arrive at the back of the school the sun is hanging heavily in the sky causing me to sweat slightly, however it wasn't as bad as the girls were. The girls were sweating vast amounts of water due to fear, not like I can't understand their feelings but...was I that scary?
In the background were the voices of students going home and students doing sports activities and other clubs. The girls were trembling as I stood on the opposite far end with my hands in my pockets. I was making a pose that was somewhat intimidating, but I wasn't doing it on purpose...its the way I stand normally...
"Quit messing with Shina" I say in a cold voice.
The girls tremble as I use my voice.
"I did tell you, didn't I? That I would "crush you" if you mess with her."
The girls nodded their heads rapidly but began to speak out loudly in angry voices out of fear.
"ITS NOT ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS ANYWAY, YUKIMURA-KUN!"
"WHY THE HELL ARE WE IN THIS SITUATION?! IN THE FIRST PLACE, IT WAS HER FAULT!"
"SHE WAS THE ONE WHORING HERSELF OUT!"
I couldn't help but sigh at the stupidity that I was hearing. They were trying to blame Shina without any justification and make it none of my business. They seem to not understand the situation they were in... I usually try not to involve any violence or hurt people, but...something inside of me snapped when they said Shina was whoring herself out. They never even tried to fully interact with her without any intentions, so who are they to judge her? Who are they to bully her without any justification as to why? They never even tried to be honest friends with her!
Who am I to talk? Honesty. Am I an honest person? I don't know... However the fact that they insulted Shina makes me feel so irritated. I don't understand my own feelings anymore. These complicated emotions inside of me are getting harder to understand. I become less of a reasonable person and into a person based solely around Shina Hayashi.
I clench my hands into balls of fists and swing out at the girl who seemed to be the leader. Ah... I'm doomed. I hit her. The other two girls looked at me in fear with their bodies shaking and their eyes shedding pellets of tear balls. They look like nothing but trash in my eyes though. My head is spinning. My world is revolving and I can't stand still. The blood is rising to my head. What am I?
The girl whom I punched lies on the ground knocked unconcious. My anger doesn't seem to want to subside. I slowly walk to the two girls trembling and they begin to fall down on their butts. Their bags also drop to the floor with them. They stare at me as I slowly walk towards them. What face am I making, now?
Just as I was about to swing my fist something heavy clings onto my arm and I hear a soft and sweet voice.
Ah... Its Shina... How did she get here? I thought she had gone home?
The instant she said my name my heart began to race and my anger dissipated. My head was no longer spinning. I stood with my arm being clung on by Shina and I stared aimlessly at her face. Shina clung onto my arm trembling. I wonder, if I made her think of something bad?
I turn my head to the girls who were both trembling on the ground. My eyes glared at them but I wasn't angry anymore.
"Get out and don't you dare tell anyone... Don't come near Shina anymore."
The girls nodded and ran away dragging the unconcious girl with them. Jealousy is indeed scary, but so is my anger. Which is scarier?
Shina clung onto my arm not letting go, however she was trembling. I made her see something unsightly. I need to apologize.
She flinches when I say her name. She looks at me and her emerald eyes are filled with tears.
"Eh...? S-Shina? I'm sorry did I scare you?" I begin to panic.
She shakes her head denying my question.
"Thank you, Kazuki... Thank you... Thank you... Than-" Shina continues to repeat the word thank you before I finally cut her off.
"W-wait! What are you thanking me for?"
"Thank you, Kazuki, for trying to help me."
Shina's tears fall from her face as she looks at me. My heart skips a beat and unconciously I put my hand to her cheek. I move my face in closer and our lips meet each other. I kiss Shina. I close my eyes as my lip touches her's and she accepts it with her eyes open, but gradually she too closes them. We share a kiss together. It was the first time I had ever kissed someone. Our kiss tasted like those of sweet strawberries mixed with blueberries.
Once we finished kissing, we parted our lips and I stared lovingly at Shina's eyes. What is this feeling? I tenderly stroke her cheek and she opens her eyes looking at me with them wide open. She is in shock at my kiss but doesn't seem to hate it. Her tears had stopped falling but leftover teardrops were in her eyes. She was beautiful even when she cried.
"Shina, you're like a lonely princess" I tell her while smiling.
She continues to look at me. It seems she is in too much shock. It can't be helped. I had just kissed her after all and I'm sure she thought of us as only friends, but I can no longer think that way after just now. I want to make her mine.
"Shina, I'm in love with you" I say steeling my face.
"Eh...?" Shina says.
I put my hands on her shoulder and push her away. I grab my bag which I must've dropped on the ground when I went to punch the girl.
"Shina, see you tomorrow. I don't expect an answer, by the way. Its my own selfishness that I kissed you after all."
Saying that I leave Shina who is still standing in the same spot. Her arms hang loosely as she stares at me leaving. She is unable to say anything and only watches me leave. Afterwords, I could tell as I turned the corner that she was blushing immensely while covering her face with her hands.
I hope that she'll talk to me tomorrow normally.