It's already New Years. Naru had just woken up when his phone vibrated, notifying him that there is a message. Rubbing his sleep off his eyes, Naru picks up his phone and read the message.
'Morning Naru! Do you want to go out today? I am bored!' –Mai
Naru blinks a few times before he registers the message. He then replies Mai with an 'Okay.'.
Just as Naru stood up to go to the washroom, his phone vibrates again. This time, he ignores it and goes to the washroom. After freshening himself up, he checks his phone. There are three messages, all from Mai.
'Naru! What's with the effortless reply!? I feel sad ;-;' –Mai
'Fine, ignore me all you want! Hmph.' –Mai
'So we meet up in two hours?' –Mai
Naru looks at the clock hanging on his wall. It read 7.30 a.m..
'I will meet you at 12 p.m..' –Naru.
Once he was done replying, he grab a book from one of his shelves and took a seat in his living room. Then he started to read and lost track of time. When he finally got his eyes off the book to look at the clock, he realises that he only had not more than thirty minutes to get ready and head out to where ever Mai must have texted him to meet.
Naru was ready to head out in a jiffy because he did not have much variety of clothes so it took him less than a minute to choose what to wear. He thinks that it looks good enough if he is going to be meeting Mai. However, he regretted not wearing something more casual and… less black.
"Naru! Here~" Mai says out when she spots him from afar.
Naru was wearing his signature all-black suit. Even his shoes were black loafers. He looked as though he just attended a funeral! Meanwhile, Mai was wearing a long sleeved peppermint dress with forest green sandals. She looks like she is going on a picnic, a style so different from what he expected. The two were total opposites.
Maybe I should have worn those clothes that Osamu got for me a few days ago.
Naru sighs internally and walks towards Mai. When he finally stopped in front of Mai, he then realises that they were not alone. There rest were there too. Ayako, Houshou, Yasuhara and even Masako, Yasuhara's girlfriend. Naru was really tempted to sigh out loud.
Wait. Why would I even feel disappointed? … No, I am just frustrated that she didn't tell me the rest would also be coming along.
"Naru, sadly you couldn't join us this morning. We all went to see our fortune! And the best part is that I had the best one out of everyone!" Mai chirps happily.
After Mai finishes rambling about how her morning went, Mai walks ahead and points at a store, indicating that she wants to start shopping there first. The rest follows while Naru took his time at the back. Naru was not amused. He can't believe she is making him spent his precious afternoon on shopping, with the rest. Grumbling to himself, he then notices that Yasuhara's girl was not participating actively in the shopping, as much as her boyfriend. He wonders why since it seems like she'd be the type to shop till she drops.
"I am sure you are wondering why I am not participating in such an activity, Mr Oliver," a soft voice spoke.
Naru turns to his side and saw the petite girl put a hand over her mouth, trying to hide the smile on her face. Naru pretended that he did not hear what she had said but she continued on.
"I just wondered how Osamu-kun acts around his group of friends. I do not wish to intrude, as I am just his girlfriend. It also seems that he has finally gotten something off his back. I am glad he has such nice friends," Masako says in a soft velvet voice.
I wonder if she meant me as well when she said nice friends.
Suddenly Yasuhara called out to his girlfriend and said in a loud voice, "Masako-chan! This would look absolutely perfect for you!"
Masako gives him a polite smile as she looks at the embarrassing outfit Yasuhara was showing her. It was a Lolita dress. The rest were snickering behind his back as he enthusiastically showed his girlfriend the other different Lolita dresses.
The next stop is a family restaurant. Since there were six of them, the girls sat on one side of the table while the guys sits opposite them. Ayako was seated against the window and opposite her was Houshou. In the centre was Mai and Naru, then Masako and Yasuhara took the outer seats.
After finishing their meal, they all decided on eating desserts. Ayako chose to eat the seven flavoured parfait, the same as Houshou which made them argue. Yasuhara chose the Special Couple Dessert, wanting to share it with Masako. Mai did not know what to pick and was going to ask Naru what he chose.
"I would like an English Tea."
Everyone turns to Naru, giving him the Are-you-serious look. He ignores them and nods to the waiter, as a sign of affirmation. Mai was unable to order her dessert due to the 'confusion'.
"How is tea a dessert, Naru?" Mai asks, forgetting about her dessert.
Naru didn't bother answering her because Yasuhara decided to do it for him.
"Hahaha, Noll would rather drink tea because he thinks that these type of desserts are too sweet and fattening," Yasuhara says with a laugh.
"Naru talking about fattening food? Ridiculous," Mai says disbelievingly.
This in turn made Naru say, "You should start caring, Mai. You seem to be gaining more weight."
Mai opens her mouth agape in shock. How could he say that to her face. Only the guys choked, trying to hold back their laughter while the girls glared at their respective partners from across the table. This made them stop instantly, besides Naru, who still had a small smile on his face which no one would have noticed if they didn't look at him closely.
Afterwards, Ayako was about to drag them to Round two of shopping but only Houshou was caught in it. Masako pulled Yasuhara away in time and they went to their own mini date somewhere while Naru, took it upon himself to walk Mai home.
The walk was excruciatingly quiet. Then they were about to turn the corner and walked past the alley where the incident had happened. It still terrifies Mai a little even though it had been months since it happened. Noticing how Mai's fingers started trembling as they walk past the alley, Naru decides to start a conversation. Sort of.
"Traditional Japanese Sweets are fine."
"Eh?" Mai turns to Naru in confusion.
Naru repeats himself and adds in, "As long it isn't the type sold in those cafés you always go."
Finally getting what Naru was saying, Mai's face lights up and she says, "So you like traditional sweets! That's so like you. Hehehe."
When they arrived outside Mai's house, Mai says, "I guess we'll see each other when school starts."
Should I try?
Before Mai entered her house, Naru suddenly grumbled about how he has nothing to do during the rest of the winter break. It took Mai a few seconds to processed that he was actually telling her that before she looks at him and asks, "..You already finished all the homework?!"
I knew I shouldn't have tried. She's an idiot.
Naru holds back his insults and walks away without explaining anything to Mai.
Then winter break ends and for some reasons, Naru hasn't seen much of Mai besides during class. Even during lunch, she would run off somewhere without saying a word to him. The other times he'd see her and actually talked to her is when he has club activities, which usually ends very late.
Not being able to take it anymore, he decided to ask her after his club activities.
"Why are you always staying back so late every day? You don't even allow me stay when I don't have club activities."
Mai smiles to herself and answers, "It's a Secret."
Naru sighs, knowing that when Mai says that, it would mean she would never tell him until she wants to. And so, the routine continues. It only stopped when February began. However, this time, Mai would always go home straight after class.
Now instead of staying late, she is going early? … exactly what is going on?
Naru goes to his club, sighing. This made the other team members look at him as though they've seen a ghost.
"Oliver is sighing."
"When does he ever do that?"
"He never did!"
"Then why is he..?"
Naru tries to ignore his team mates until someone suddenly said, "Maybe it's because his girlfriend hasn't been coming for the past few days?"
"So that's why! Don't worry Oliver, girls are like that in general. They like to play hard to get sometimes."
"Mai isn't like that," Naru replies instinctively.
For a moment, only silence can be heard in the changing room.
"Noll, so you admit Mai-chan is your girlfriend?" Yasuhara suddenly appeared.
Naru was going to deny but the others were too hyper about teasing Naru so his denial wasn't heard. He decided to just ignore them the whole day. This however continued no matter how much Naru ignored them. Truthfully, Naru wasn't really bothered. He just hoped Mai's friends, Ayako or Houshou, heard about it.
Two weeks have passed since February started and Naru chose to go to school early even though there wasn't any morning practice. The moment he stepped into the school building, a horde of girls rush to him and started thrusting a nicely wrapped box to him. All of them were saying, "Please accept my chocolate!"
It is valentines and Naru forgot all about it so he was quite shocked at the scene unfolding in front of him. As though it doesn't concern him, Naru went to his shoe locker. When he opened it, a flood of boxes came falling. Sighing internally, he pretended it never happened and took out his indoor shoes to get changed.
"He is as cold as everyone says!"
"I wonder why he won't even accept one."
"Then, it is true? The rumour about him liking guys—"
In the nick of time, Yasuhara appears and declared out loud, "Noll, you are waiting for her chocolates right?"
Naru wanted to say no but he knew that by saying that, it would make his situation worse. So he just nod his head. Then the girls went back to squealing and changed their target to Yasuhara. Yasuhara tried to decline their chocolates politely but Naru sabotaged him by announcing, "Osamu has a girlfriend by the way. She's a student from—"
It was too late, the girls had the eyes of a predator. While the girls were 'interrogating' Yasuhara about his secret girlfriend, Naru made his escape. Upon arriving in the classroom, Naru took his seat and noticed that Mai hasn't arrived. As students enter the classroom one by one, time ticks closer to the start of class and Mai was still nowhere to be seen. The bell indicating the start of lesson rung and Naru felt uneasy at the empty seat in front of him.
Does she have a cold?
First period felt extremely long for Naru. He wasn't even listening to the teacher because he already knew what was being taught. He wonders if he should just skip the rest of school for the day. Then the bell rung again. Second period was about to begin and suddenly the classroom door was opened harshly, causing the students in the room to cringe.
…I guess idiots really don't catch colds.
"Hahaha, sorry for being late!" Mai greets the class cheerfully.
Some greeted her back and she proceeds to her seat. Once seated, she turns behind and says hi to Naru.
"Hi, Naru. How was the group of girls this morning? Hehehe."
Just looking at Naru's expression, Mai knew how his morning went. Before Naru was able to say anything, the teacher enters the class and everyone quieten down.
…Why is there a sweet smell suddenly?
Lunch. Finally, for the first time, Mai invites Naru to eat with her and her friends. They went to Ayako and Houshou's classroom. When they arrived, the looks on Ayako and Houshou had Naru feeling unnerved. It was really weird because he hadn't seen nor spoken to them for so long. Yet they had a Cheshire-like smile. He pretended he never saw it because for some reasons, he felt that he should ask why.
School ended and Naru headed to the field and was about to enter the changing room when Mai stopped him. Mai was about to say something when suddenly Naru's team mates appears.
"Ah, it's that girl!"
"Oliver's girlfriend, Mai-chan!"
"Guess you got her back, Oliver."
Naru's team mates continued teasing and laughing until Naru got enough of it and told them to go away, which they complied with a smile on their face.
He LIKES her! Hehehehe
Once it was only the two of them again, Naru asks Mai what she was about to say. However, Mai shoves something to his stomach instead before running away. Naru looks down at what Mai pushed to him and found that it was a nicely wrapped up box. Just before he could open the box, his team mates appear, including Yasuhara. Guess they were hiding. The teasing continued again, making Naru blush. When Naru finally got some time alone, he opened the box and was surprised to see an assortment of Wagashi. Naru smiles to himself, not knowing that there were people watching him.
The next day, Mai enters school cautiously and was spooked when someone suddenly tapped her on the shoulder.
"Naru! Don't scare me…"
Naru only laughs at her reaction before continuing his way to the classroom.
Guess he didn't think much of it…I'm glad, I think.
And so, Naru treat Mai as per usual and their routine returned to normal. They would eat lunch together and go back together whenever they have nothing on after school.
Ayako eyes Mai and so did Houshou.
"Nothing happened okay," Mai says dejectedly.
"It's almost been a month! He can't be that dense. No, he isn't even dense!" Houshou remarked.
Then Ayako starts her side of complains, "I even had to stay with you after school and teach you how to make those Wagashis. How can he just do this! It is ridiculous."
Mai could only sigh.
Already the 13th of March huh… Maybe I should have given him a letter or something.
Meanwhile, Yasuhara is screaming his head off at Naru for not doing anything after what happened.
"You are really…I don't even know what to say. Are you sure about maintaining this boundary?"
Naru pretends not to understand and goes home without saying a word.
The next morning, in the Davis' household, every single member of the family wonders if some ghost possessed Naru. Naru was humming some song the moment he woke up and he was full of smiles. He didn't even care about him smiling being seen.
"Noll, Are you…okay?" Eugene, Naru's twin asks worriedly.
Naru simply shakes his head and then when he looks at the clock, his face suddenly reverts back to the poker faced. His family decided to let him be for the day. Then Naru heads to the door and wore his shoes. Before he opens the door, he grabbed something from the nearby table. This caught his brother's attention.
"Who's that gift for? And don't deny it because anyone can see that it is a gift."
Once again, Naru smiles and said, "It's for someone special."
The date today is: 14th March.
Hope you've enjoyed the short series. Thank you for reading. See you next time.