3rd Secret- The Truth
Third Secret: The Truth
After realising her feelings for Naru, Mai starts being a little self-conscious around him that seems to make Naru laugh because she always ends up looking like an idiot.
Well, at least he's laughing not crying. Even if I have to be laughed at… sigh. Seriously, why did I fall for him?
'Love is something that just happens!' … Right, I was the one who thought of it. It's been days since we found out about senpai's girlfriend. I wonder what's going to happen now.
Mai arrives to school and notices that the early students were crowding around the announcement board near the lockers. Curious, Mai quickly places her outdoor shoes into the locker and puts on her indoor shoes before heading to the board, pushing her way through despite the protests. What she saw was something she never expected.
"Oh my god, I can't believe they are like that!" One of the students comment.
"More like Davis is doing it one-sidedly. There's no way Yasuhara-san is like that!" Another chimed in.
Then the students began to talk about themselves, making a loud commotion.
Pinned up on the board is a picture of Naru in Yasuhara's headlock during their club practice. Below it, there is a caption: XXXXX's Gay Couple~ These two are all over each other!
Mai's fingers were curled in, making fists by her side, ready to punch something or someone. That's when someone in the crowd say something.
"That's so gay. Guess he was targeting Yasuhara the whole time!"
Mai turns around in a split second, facing the speaker and shouts, "What the hell do you even know about Naru!? Stop saying such things!"
Everyone instantly quieten down and Mai took the opportunity to tear down the stupid pined up picture. Just as she moves to throw away the pieces of papers in her hands, she spots a familiar person at the back of the crowd.
Right then, everyone turned as though they had heard Mai's thoughts. Most of them moved away from Naru, but some guys moved in closer to him and started taunting him.
"Hey, Davis. I know someone who is interested in guys. Want me to introduce you to him?"
"I betcha he only likes the goodlooking type."
"Then how about me? HAHAHAHA Too bad I am only interested in GIRLS. HAHAHA"
Naru grits his teeth and was about to rebut when Mai stomps in between him and the guys. She puts her hands out, as though to protect Naru and once again shouts, "Get lost you idiots! None of you are goodlooking, stop being such a jerk! I bet you are all a sissy. Naru is so much better than you!"
"Why you..," one of the bully spoke with anger but Mai continues to glare at him with determined eyes.
The bully raised his hand and was about to hit Mai but someone stopped it from happening.
…? It stopped? … Naru!?
Naru had moved in front and stopped the bully's attack from hitting Mai by holding on to the bully's wrist. The bully tried to pull his hand away but couldn't. At this, everyone else ran off to their classrooms, leaving only the three of them in the hallway.
"It seems that Mai is right for once. You are a sissy, all talk and no action. Exactly how weak are you?" Naru coldly breathes out, terrifying the person in front of him.
Mai could see that Naru was angry and was about to strike back when they heard a voice.
Naru's grip on the bully falter, allowing the latter to escape in the midst of confusion. When Yasuhara asked what happened, none of them said anything. Being the nice guy he is, Yasuhara didn't probe any further and they all went to their respective classrooms.
At first, nothing happens besides everyone pretending Naru didn't exist. Only Mai still treated him normally. Naru was also not bothered by the lack of interaction with the others because he does prefer solitary. Mai thought that it was pretty manageable, even with her own so-called friends trying not to talk to her because she associates with Naru. That ends when her friends from another class comes in to visit her.
Mai spots her friends standing by the door and waves them to come over.
Mai firstly points to Naru then Ayako then Houshou, "Guys, this is Naru. Naru, they are Ayako and Houshou."
Ayako and Houshou smiles brightly and tries to converse with Naru, which failed miserably. Suddenly, Houshou asks something.
"Mai-chan, you said he's Naru. Means he is Davis Oliver?" Mai nods her head.
Houshou continues obliviously, "So he's that guy you said was gay!"
The class reacted only at the word 'gay', causing them to turn their looks and attentions to Mai's group.
I forgot! I told Houshou and Ayako about it straight after!
Without reading the atmosphere, Houshou still continues, "So you are friends with this gay? It's true isn't it? One of my classmates even found 'evidence' as he calls it. It's really int—"
Ayako stops Houshou before it got even worse than it already it by hitting his head and dragging him out of the classroom. The rest resumed to whatever they were doing but Mai knew better. They were still listening to them. Now, Mai slowly turns to face Naru. She felt guilty. Of course she did! He trusted her yet she betrayed him!
I thought I saw wrong and just felt like telling someone about it. No, I'm just making excuses. I should have clarified it with them! HOW DARE THAT HOUSHOU—
Mai's train of thoughts stopped when she heard the sound of chair moving. Naru stood up, packed his things and walks out of the classroom without a word or even look at Mai. This crushed her heart.
I… I'm the cause…I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Naru…
Mai silently cries without caring if her classmates or anyone else saw or heard her cry.
For the next few weeks, Naru would disappear whenever it was lunch time and Mai would frantically look for him to no avail. Over the past few weeks, the irritating bully striked again but it soon died down but not fully. They would sometimes make crude joke when they see Naru but Naru would ignore them. Meanwhile, Houshou kept apologising to Mai over and over but she doesn't listen nor accept it.
"The one you have to apologise to is not me but Naru!"
I didn't find him today either…
Mai was resting her head on her table after school when the door to the classroom opens. It was Naru.
"Naru! I'm sorry! I really am. I've been wanting to apologise but you al—"
"You can stop defending me now. The rumours have already started to die down. Ah, but I guess it will never completely die down because.. it IS the truth," Naru interrupts Mai.
His voice coated malice but underneath it was full of sorrow. Mai couldn't say anything. She stayed as she was while Naru turns away and disappears. She felt like crying. She could feel the tears well up in her eyes, causing her vision to blue. However, she was numbed. Too numbed to even cry. She couldn't do anything to help him. She was useless. Not once had she make him smile like how Yasuhara could. She didn't have the power to do it. That's why right now, she doesn't have the right to cry. The one in the most pain is Naru.
I will find a way. No matter what, even if it is useless. I WILL find a way to stop his sadness.
The next day, right at the moment when the bell rung as a signal that it was lunch hour, Mai quickly follows Naru like a shadow. Although she was doing a bad job at it, Naru let her be. It wasn't like she was doing anything.
Where are we? Isn't this like pretty far away from our building?
When they arrived at a secluded area, Naru stops outside a door and slides it open. He then enters and left the door open. Taking the opportunity, Mai quickly dashes to the door and peeks inside. Naru had settle down on a chair, opened his bento and began to eat as he looks out of the window.
I can't see what he's looking at.
Mai thought of where she is by looking at her surroundings when she realised it.
So that is why…
Mai silently enters the room and takes a seat. She opens her obento and quietly eat. The both of them said nothing throughout the whole lunch break. Even the walk back was filled with silence. However the silence was a comfortable one. For the next following days, Mai and Naru ate in silence in the room. Sometimes, they'd sit side by side and Mai would talk about something all on her own.
"I'm sorry," Naru suddenly says one day.
Mai turns to her side to face him and asks, "Why are you apologising? I should be the one to—"
"You were trying to help me and I said those things. You've always been helping me, I just never said it out. That's why, Sorry and Thank you, Mai."
A small smile appears on Naru's face which made Mai smile broadly.
I am glad I didn't give up.
After making up, Mai and Naru walks back to their classroom with a different atmosphere around them. On their way back, they had to pass by the bully's class and as one would expect, Naru was given the harsh treatment again.
"Wow, he's got that girl with him. Maybe she's lesbian so she's in the same group as him! HAHAHA"
So this time it is targeted at me.
Instead of lashing back like what she would have done usually, Mai grits her teeth and continues walking with Naru to their classroom. The bully was left speechless.
"I'm telling you that chocolate chip mint is the nicest!" Mai argues with Naru as they packed up to go home.
Naru sighs and just before he was about to say something, someone else said it for him.
" 'It is a matter of one's preference.' Right, Noll?"
Yasuhara was standing by the entrance door, leaning against the door with his back.
"Mai will still argue even if I were to answer her with that," Naru says calmly.
Yasuhara laughs before saying, "Alright, since it's been a long time, let's get some ice cream! My treat!"
Mai's eyes sparkle at the thought of ice cream and the fact that it is free. Naru could only chuckle before joining the two out the door.
After the ice cream, they headed to a park. Mai and Yasuhara had small debates about ridiculous things while Naru plays as referee.
"Osamu is the winner," Naru nonchalantly announce.
Mai fumes, "I lost again!"
"Hahaha, I thought you'd win this one, Mai-chan. Maybe Noll is being biased because he likes me more than you," Yasuhara jokes.
Mai and Naru froze.
Osamu-senpai…you are pretty dense aren't you.
"Talking about like," Yasuhara turns to face the two, "There is this rumour going around that you like me, Noll. They even childishly made fun of me today. Haha kids. There's no way that it is true."
Mai kept quiet and so did Naru, with his head hung down. Yasuhara, sensing a weird atmosphere asks Naru why they are silent. Naru answers him while he faces the ground.
"It's true. I do like you, Osamu. Not just as a friend. I like you… That is the truth."
Gathering all his courage, Naru tilts his head up and faces Yasuhara. What met him was a look of disgust.
Naru reaches out his hand and Yasuhara swats his hand away before running away.
Naru clutches on to left side of his chest, his heart, as though he was going through a heart attack. His heart felt as though it was shattering, breaking into smaller pieces as time ticks by. His body felt heavy, causing him to fall to his knees.
"Naru! Naru!" Mai desperately calls out to him.
No matter what, Naru couldn't hear anything. At the moment, he was rid of all his senses. Just when it felt like he was about to fall into abyss, Mai's slap woke him up.
"NARU! Snap out of it!" Mai screams with tears streaming down her face.
When Naru's eyes were no longer distant, he began to tremble and broke down crying. Mai envelopes him wordlessly as both of them cry.
I know. I know that what hurt him the most isn't the fact that Osamu-senpai would never look at him the way he does. It is the look on Osamu-senpai when he told the truth that hurt him. They were supposed to be best friends. Osamu-senpai was supposed to have accepted the truth, not reject it. That way, Naru wouldn't be in so much pain. Why… one after another…
Minutes past and both their tears began to subside and Mai lets go of Naru. They stood up, dusting their clothes off. None of the two said a word until it was time to part ways.
"Thank you once again, Mai. I guess this is the end of it. I should have been prepared for this. I was too confident that he'd accept my feelings like you did," Naru begins.
Mai shakes her head, "No. I would have thought the same if I was you, Naru."
Continuing, Naru says, "Well, now there is no one that would accept me as I am."
I know that this is not the time.
"I know that, Mai. I was talking about—"
But I am not going to let you think you are a reject!
"I like you, Naru. I like you as you are. I like you, Naru," Mai says head-on, looking at Naru's eyes without flinching.
It took all of her willpower to not cry. It took even more for her to not let the tears pool in her eyes.
Naru's eyes widen in surprise before it softens and he smiles softly.
That was all he said before he turn around and walks away.
Was it the right choice? My heart hurts…