Last Secret- The Friendship
Last Secret: The Friendship
It's been days since Naru's confession to Yasuhara and Mai's confession to Naru. The rumours and teasing against Naru had died down, mainly due to the fact that none of the involved party reacted to it. Naru and Yasuhara hasn't spoken to each other ever since. Even during club practice, they would stay silent. The other team members could sense that something must have happened but didn't say a word about it and treat them both as normally as they could, choosing the right topics to talk about with cautious.
Meanwhile, Mai hasn't been talking to Naru as well. As much as she wants to talk to him as per normal, she rarely sees him because she keeps avoiding him. She knows that she shouldn't be avoiding him at this period of time but she is afraid to see him after her rejection. She's scared he would be uncomfortable around her and they are not able to speak as freely as before. Every single time their eyes would meet, Mai would avert her eyes away even when she knows that he is only trying to greet her.
What is with me? I'm so horrible! I should be with him now while he is still recovering from the shock! … Then what about me? I am also recovering from his rejection! … I just can't leave him alone…
Mai creeps her way into a classroom, the same classroom that she and Naru were having lunch in for days before the confessions incident. Slowly, she tiptoes in and found no one. The room is empty besides the tables, chairs and her. Sighing, Mai turns around when someone suddenly appears in her field of vision.
Being overly surprised, Mai tilts backwards, causing her to fall but the intruder saves her before it happens. Hand tightly wrapped around her wrist, pulled her, making her stand back on her two feet.
"What's up with you, Mai?" a cool stoic voice said.
Mai blinks her eyes once, twice, thrice before widening her eyes.
"Naru! I thought you weren't here so I..I thought you were some ghost! Then I was—Wait, what am I saying?" Mai blabbers out, making Naru laugh.
Naru calms himself down before answering her, "I went to buy a drink before coming here."
Naru puts up the cartoon of drink that he had bought earlier to show Mai. Mai sighs in relief and then they both took a seat.
It was silent. None of them said anything. The only sounds that can be heard are Mai chewing on her food, chopsticks hitting the bento box and Mai humming because her food is delicious. After finishing her food and putting down her chopsticks, Mai realises that Naru was already done with his as well. Usually, Naru would be packing his things but this time, he just sat there silently as he looks out of the window.
I knew it. There is no place in his heart for me. I am not even in his eyes, am I.
"Sorry. I never noticed your feelings. I.." Naru struggles to find the right words to say to Mai.
Mai smiles at him with melancholy, "It's okay. I have amazing rebounding skills! So I guess I'll start finding another guy. Hehe."
Naru knew that she was forcing herself to say that but he didn't say anything. Mai starts to pack her things. Once she was done, she looks at Naru and saw that he hasn't cleared up his things but instead was staring into space. She waves a hand in front of him, while thankfully snapped him out of his daze.
For the first time ever, Naru suggests something out of character, "Let's just skip the next lesson. It's boring anyways."
Naru wants to skip lessons!? I mean I know he is smart and all but I thought he was the 'upright' type of student that will attend all classes on time, like how he has been! Next lesson huh…it's math.
"Okay!" Mai didn't hesitate one bit after realising that the next period was math.
And so, the both of them skipped their math period and spent it in the 'abandoned' classroom. They talked for a while before Mai decided to take a short nap. The short nap lasted until the last period.
"Mai, stop being such a lazy pig and get up."
I recognise that voice…who?
"I am going to leave you if you don't wake up this instant."
Mmnn… but it's so comfortabl—
Suddenly Mai felt her head collide against the hard cold floor of the classroom. The impact woke her up instantaneously. Rubbing the sore spot on her head that collided against the concrete, she glares at Naru.
"You could have woke me up normally!" Mai says angrily.
Naru simply gives her a glace before heading to the door.
Mai scrambles for her things and runs after Naru.
When Naru and Mai arrives at their classroom for their last period, sadly the teacher was already there and it just so happen to be their homeroom teacher. That meant scolding and detention.
Mai and Naru was given the punishment of doing the class chores for the week and on the last day, they are to tidy up the storage room. So for the next few days, they reluctantly did their punishment with Mai complaining about it every single time and Naru expressing his dislike for the work by doing small pranks on the teacher secretly during classes.
It's already the last day of the week, which meant the last day of the punishments!
"I guess I'll go and get a new duster from the teachers' lounge," Mai tells Naru while yawning.
Naru gave her a brief nod and then she was off to her destination. Along the way, Houshou stops her, asking her for a brief moment to talk.
Mai stopped but glares at him without saying anything. Houshou bows deeply and once again begs for forgiveness once again.
Before Mai was able to interrupt him, Houshou says quickly, "I've already apologised to Davis so now I am asking you, Mai, for forgiveness as well! I'm really sorry."
He already apologised? When did that happened? Why didn't Naru mention it?
Mai stops glaring and sighs, "I am glad you already apologised. Sorry about ignoring you and all. I am not that mad at you. I am angrier at myself. So, there isn't a need for apology. Though I think you could offer me a tub of ice cream the next time you, Ayako and me hang out."
Houshou stands up straight and they both laugh. Afterwards, Mai continues to where she was originally headed to.
"Why do we have to clean up the storage room? This punishment is ridiculous," Mai complains.
Naru silently organises the files while dusting off some dust of them. Seeing that Naru wasn't complaining, Mai keeps her mouth shut and do what she is supposed to do. Without all the complaining from Mai, the room was dead silent besides the sound of files being stacked together. Somehow time seems to pass by fast for Mai but slow for Naru. The reason for it is unknown.
Once they were done, the sun was about to set and they headed to the teachers' lounge. When they arrived, their homeroom teacher gave them a lengthy lecture about the importance of classes. Just before they were let off, the teacher asks Mai to grab a box of confiscated items above the shelf since she was much closer to it. Mai moves to the said shelf and reaches out her arms to grab the box on top of the shelf. Due to her lack of height, even when she tiptoes, she is still unable to even graze the box. Suddenly, another pair of hands appears and took the box down with ease before passing it over to her.
"I didn't think you were this short," Naru comments.
"Hey! I am a girl so it doesn't matter," Mai rebuts
Naru looks at Mai from head to toe before he says, "I guess you are a girl after all."
WHAT!? He only notices that now!? What is he trying to say!
Even though she was angry at him, Mai still walks with him home. Mai's anger subside instantly when they saw who was waiting for them at the park where they'd always pass by.
"I think I'll head off first, Naru," Mai says to Naru before whispering something to him, "I guess it is time to sort things out with Senpai."
Mai wanted to smile at her once beloved senpai as she walked past, however, she couldn't do it because she has no idea what Yasuhara thinks of Naru now. Instead, Mai simply faces the ground as she walks away.
Naru and Yasuhara had taken a seat each on the swings but neither said anything. Naru's only thought was a question as to why Yasuhara wanted to talk to him. Yasuhara was thinking of…what to say. Then minutes past and Naru couldn't take it so he stood up.
"If you are not going to say anything, I'm leaving," Naru announces.
Silence was what he got. Before he was able to walk away, Yasuhara calls out to him.
"Noll. I…," Yasuhara paused before continuing, "I'm sorry."
Naru takes a deep breath before turning around to face Yasuhara head on. Yasuhara had a look of anguish. Naru knew that Yasuhara was being sincerely apologetic towards him. So he was prepared to listen to what Yasuhara was going to say. Before that, he wanted to say something but Yasuhara stopped him before he even began.
"I am supposed to be your best friend. I should have tried to understand you instead of pushing you away in disgust. It was really a surprise to me and I acted without thinking because of all the weird talks that have been going around in school. I didn't spare a thought for your feelings. I'm sorry. I can't even comfort you. I have a girlfriend that I love a lot, so I'm sorry," Yasuhara lets out with a strained voice and bows at the last part.
Once again, Naru takes a deep breath and faces the sky to stop himself from crying. He obviously knew he would be rejected but at least, Yasuhara wasn't rejecting him as a whole.
"Are you an idiot? I forgot all about it during the time I didn't see you," Naru laughs, pretending to be cool about it, and Yasuhara tilts his head up.
Then the two of them laughs together.
"We are still best friends, get it, Noll?" Yasuhara says with a goofy grin.
They shook hands and then Yasuhara walks away after whispering somethings to Naru. After Yasuhara was gone and far out of sight, Naru turns his attention to a tree two meters away from him.
"How long do you intend to hide, Mai?"
! How did he find out?
Mai sheepishly smiles as she steps out of her hiding place. She walks to Naru with a guilty look. She hadn't meant to eavesdrop but she couldn't help but worry. Even though she was the one who was intending to give them the privacy.
"I didn't mean to listen…," Mai says guiltily to Naru.
"At least now I don't have to repeat his words to you."
…wait, he was intending to tell me about it? I thought he wouldn't.
As though he read her thoughts, Naru answers, "I think you have a right to know because you've been supporting me all these while."
! he read my thoughts!
"I am not reading your thoughts, you are just obvious," Naru replies again without her saying anything.
Mai's face turns red due to embarrassment and Naru laughs at her. Then they resume their walk home. When it was at the intersection where they always part ways, Naru walks alongside Mai instead of going his normal route.
"Naru? You are going the wrong way. This leads to MY house," Mai asks quizzically.
"I need to make sure that it isn't dangerous for you to walk home alone when you have to go back late," Naru simply answers stoically.
Mai stops in her tracks and looks at Naru as though he was a ghost.
Mai hesitantly asks, "Are you in your right mind, Naru? Why would you want to make sure of such things?"
Naru sighs as though Mai was an idiot for even asking, "You are a girl, so stop being so oblivious of things."
Mai was still confused. Naru sighs exasperatedly before telling her, "Osamu just told me about someone following you without you knowing. He suspects it to be the molester that have been spotted around here. Now, do you get what I am saying?"
Nodding her head dumbly, Mai wonders if she should really be more cautious.
Why would a molester target me? I am not pretty, cute or busty. Unless the molester has a warp sense of pretty and cute.
Few meters away from her house, Mai realises that she had dropped her keychain.
"Naru, I'll be back in a moment," Mai says but was stopped by Naru.
"Why do you think you are going? Just get home," Naru reprimands.
Mai pries Naru's hand away.
"I dropped a keychain given by Ayako. It's definitely around the corner because I still had it when I took out my phone," Mai informs Naru, "Just wait here, okay."
Without Naru saying anything, Mai takes off. He could only sigh.
Phew.. I can't believe I lied to him and he didn't suspect anything! I need to find that stupid keychain. Stupid Ayako. Why did she have to give me a photo keychain with Naru in it!?
As Mai retrace her steps, someone lurking in the shadows approaches her.
Aha! Found it!
Mai picks up the keychain, dust it off and was about to turn around to rush back to Naru when a hand clasp over her mouth.
"You certainly are small in all areas…," a creepy voice whispers into Mai's ear.
Mai was alarmed. She tries to pry the hand on her mouth away so that she can shout but the person's grip on her was strong. While she was struggling, the culprit had started dragging her away into a dark isolated place.
…Why does it take so long for her to find her keychain when she knows where she dropped it? … I'll go and find her.
Naru begins to walk towards the direction where Mai had ran off. As he got closer, he senses that something is wrong so he picked up his pace until he started running. After turning the corner, there was no one in sight. Mai was gone.
Shit! I should have just went with her!
Naru looks around his surroundings.
Calm down. Panicking won't help. I need to figure out where Mai could be taken.
Meanwhile, at a certain alley, Mai is still trying her hardest to get away from the kidnapper.
"Now now. Aren't you a feisty one. This will be fun," the disgusting voice whispers into her ear again, causing Mai to cringe in disgust.
NO! I am not giving up! I..I'm not going to let this guy touch me any longer! …But how do I escape? …! I remembered Ayako saying something about this..
Suddenly Mai stopped moving and stood still. The pervert thinks that Mai had finally decided to comply him so he loosen his grip on her hands and mouth. Taking this opportunity, Mai pulls her hands away and elbows the guy in the rib, causing him to pull away from her as reflex. Using this chance, Mai turns around to run away but unfortunately, the man was able to recover quickly and grab her wrist before she got away. Instantly, Mai screams out, "NARU!"
Before the man was able to pull Mai back, his face collided with the hard concrete in a matter of split seconds. He starts screaming out in pain as the foot on his face grinds deeper, inflicting more pain, and he was forced to let go of Mai.
"You are not going to get away, you filthy trash," Naru's normally cool voice turns cold and menacing.
Naru takes out his phone from his pocket and said somethings through the phone. Mai leans against a nearby wall for support as they wait for the policemen to arrive. One of the policemen wanted Mai to give him her statement regarding the incident but Naru intervenes and answers for her instead. After the policemen had taken the molester away, Naru turns his attention to Mai.
"Are you feeling fine, Mai? Did he do anything else to you?" Naru asks with concern.
Mai nods her head and smiles widely, "Of course! Why would I not be? Hehe."
Thank goodness she's fine—
Naru looks at Mai properly and notices that Mai was trembling. He then looks at her face and notices that her smile is fake. She is lying.
"You are not fine. You are trembling, Mai."
Mai instantly drops her fake smile and she trembles more as tears well up in her eyes. Naru cautiously moves closer and wrap his arms around her. Mai leans to him and starts crying, dampening Naru's uniform in the process. He gently stokes her back, coaxing her to cry out.
"I was scared! I..I..," Mai whimpers out.
"I'm sorry," Naru whispers.
"I couldn't do anything.. I was helpless… I am scared, Naru..," Mai says in between her cry.
Once again Naru apologises and hugs her tighter, to reassure her that he is still there with her.
Why is it that I am unable to help her whenever she needs it? I am always on the receiving end… Even now, this is the only thing I can do for her.
After Mai stopped crying and her sobs subside, they slowly walked to Mai's house. Once they were outside, Naru tells her to enter the house first before he goes off. She does as she was told and that is how the day ended for them.
Months have passed by ever since the incident and Mai's relationship with Naru has increased from 'Friends' to 'Best friends'.
"…Mai, I can't believe that the two of you are still friends," Ayako suddenly says while having lunch with Mai.
Mai blushes, "We are BEST FRIENDS not friends."
"Hahaha, Mai, you do know that is still under the basis of 'friends' category, right?" Houshou laughs at Mai.
Mai then pouts. Ever since the incident, Naru would mostly walk her home when he doesn't have soccer practice. When he does, he'd personally tell either Ayako or Houshou to send her home. Somehow, he acts like an overprotective parent. Naru and Yasuhara are back to normal and they'd hang out after school with Mai as well sometimes. Naru still doesn't talk much to Ayako or Houshou and Mai would insist that it is because he is shy despite Naru's protest that it wasn't.
"He hasn't been walking home with you these day," Houshou remarks.
Mai sighs, "Well, the tournaments are coming up. The team wasn't able to practice much the month before because they had examinations."
"You sound disappointed, Mai," Ayako smirks at Mai, making her blush while sputtering 'no'.
Naru approaches Mai's table. There was a new sitting arrangement and this time, Naru was sitting behind her.
"I'll have your friends to bring you back again today," Naru says.
"But I'm fine already. I can go home alone. Also, it's still bright outside," Mai informs Naru.
Naru narrows his eyes, "No. I am not going to take the risk. If I catch you going home alone, you are so dead."
Mai gulps and nods her head in understanding. Then Naru heads off to his club.
At the soccer club, after practice…
"Hey Davis, haven't seen you walk your girlfriend home," a senior jokes.
Naru ignores the comment and continues changing.
Then the group of guys in the changing room starts teasing Naru about Mai being his girlfriend.
"Are you keeping quiet because it isn't true or because it is the truth?" Yasuhara joins in.
Everyone stays silent, anticipating Naru's answer.
"She isn't my girlfriend," Naru finally answers, emotionlessly
The soccer members sighs in disappointment and continues to change and pack their things. Naru, done packing, exits the changing room and so did Yasuhara.
"So, Noll," Yasuhara starts, "about Mai-chan."
Naru keeps quiet as they continue to walk.
"You like Mai-chan, don't you?"
Naru expected Yasuhara to pester him but he didn't. Yasuhara kept silent before bursting out laughing.
"HAHAHAHA. Alright. Keep the 'Friendship' status for as long as you want," Yasuhara tell Naru.
"What are you talking about?" Naru asks confused but didn't receive and answer.
You hesitated before answering me, Noll.