Chapter 4: The One-side Chase
In the following weeks Tadashi quickly learned that turning down these offers of his was becoming part of their interaction. San always curiously grinned when she did, which Tadashi suspected had something to do with his dumbfounded expression.
In spite of it Tadashi’s befriending efforts didn’t waver. But he had to be blind, really, to not see how it seemed rather one-sided. When conversation was attempted, San had replied civilly, but she kept him at a distance. It made him felt like chasing a shadow.
But Tadashi was in for an even bigger surprise when he realised San got along with his friends swimmingly, namely Go Go and Wasabi. It took stumbling and overhearing many conversations for him to come to this conclusion. Wasabi, with all his tidy-up tendencies, found a sympathetic soul in San. While the girl wasn’t as obsessed about ‘order and anarchy’ as his tall buddy, they shared a common appreciation for ultra-precision.
Go Go, of course, didn’t care much for Wasabi’s neat-picking habit. She and San perhaps shared the closest bond out of the rest of the gang. They were both athletic and loved biking, something the group discovered when San mentioned she’d been cycling for 8 years. Although Go Go and Wasabi and San would clash from time to time because the former kept ‘borrowing’ their stuff, Wasabi would always be the one to back down, while San just lets her female friend get away with messing up her table (because an instant later they would magically be pushed back into place).
San even got along with Fred and Honey Lemon, albeit to a lesser degree. Tadashi thought she tolerated the former’s antics (it helped that she knew of comics and could recommend him some). And San proved she could be surprisingly gentle and sincere when talking to the blond-haired girl. Honey even invited her to her boutique.
Everyone in the group loved her and accepted her. After a month, it felt as though San had been at SFIT for as long as they have.
Except for Tadashi. His relation with the Japanese girl was still odd and awkward. The only topic they’d comfortably discussed after the uni club tour was limited to pure academics, what each other thought about the latest lecture and so on. Their interactions had been clumsy, not through lack of understanding but some other kind of friction.
And why did it bother Tadashi? It was because this was the first time he found someone did not inherently like him. Yeah, that’s right. Believe it or not, Sanae was the very first person Tadashi had difficulty befriend. A teenager his age would usually have had their fair share of awkward silence and falling out. Not Tadashi, though. No one really disliked him, even those who had always made it a point that they didn’t like anyone. He had few problems conversing with people he just met, and even less when they were people he knew. They didn’t always listen to his advice, like Hiro for example, but they’d never dismiss him or be uncomfortable in his presence.
Why was it amongst his friends he was the one San couldn’t seem to get along? Tadashi was lost. He’d offered to take her out to lunch, he’d offered to help her when the tutors were dumping too much work on her despite her only recently arriving, he’d offered to lend her his notes and even his mobile charger that one time. But she’d decline it all.
It wasn’t out of pride that she did it. It was that she didn’t need it, and what she didn’t need she probably didn’t want. She caught up with their syllabus with such ease that sometimes Tadashi wondered if there was indeed a time when she hadn’t studied at SFIT.
He returned to his point. She was keeping him at a distance. When he’d step forward she’d let him, but only so far. When he volunteered, even with thes best of intentions, she’d refuse.
Tadashi wondered if he’d ever break the stalemate. It was fine, for the time being, he told himself. So long as they didn’t have to work closely together, it was fine the way things were.
But it wasn’t.