Chapter Three: Best Friends:
"Nobody sees me."
Asahi Sayako and Isobe Naomi grew up in different worlds. Sayako came from a rich family. She was attractive, bright, had a loving mother, respect from her peers, and was even the teachers' favorite. Most girls would envy the life that she led. Everyone called her the princess of Nagasaki.
Naomi came from the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. Like Sayako, she was a bright girl, top of her classes, in fact. However, that was about it. Her mother was barely around and her classmates ignored her. Even Naomi's long-time crush looked past her. She was, in short, invisible.
So, how are Sayako and Naomi best friends? It started when they were eight. All of the kids were playing in a public playground in Nagasaki. Even then, Naomi was alone and spent her days watching the other kids play as she sat in the moss with her toys. She looked down at her plastic horses and sighed. Suddenly, emerald green eyes stared deep into her brown ones. The little girl jumped back, startled. The one with green eyes smiled at her.
"Waiting for someone?" she asked. Naomi shook her head.
"No," she said, and was given an odd look.
"Then why are you sitting out here by yourself?" the little girl asked. Naomi shrugged and lowered her eyes to her feet. The other girl sat down next to her and looked at her face with a bright smile. Naomi tilted her head.
"What?" she asked. The green eyed child giggled.
"You're funny," she said. Naomi stared at her.
"I'm Sayako!" the little girl said, bowing.
"Naomi…" Naomi replied, uneasily. Sayako grinned as she leaned closer into her face.
"Let's be friends!" she said.
"Huh?" Naomi said again. Her new "friend" grabbed her by the wrists. The other little girl tried to grasp what was happening, but before she could speak, Sayako dragged Naomi onto the playground.
"Slow down!" the girl cried. "You're hurting me! Where are we going?" Sayako didn't listen; she kept running. The girl even laughed the whole time.
Sayako and Naomi looked rather odd together. Many wondered why they were friends in the first place. Naomi asked herself that question many times every day. She was grateful to have a friend that finally saw her, but still…
"Sayako," Naomi said in the girls' bathroom at their junior high school when they were twelve. Sayako put on her mascara in the mirror.
"Hm?" she asked. Her friend shuffled her feet next to her.
"Why exactly are we friends?" she asked. Sayako applied her lipstick as she glanced over at her friend.
"Say what now?" she asked. Naomi tried to put her words together before speaking.
"We have nothing in common," she pointed out. "You're highly popular in school and I'm a nobody. Everyone notices you more and we barely get any time together anymore."
"And?" Sayako asked.
"Why exactly are you and I friends in the first place?" her friend asked. The popular girl turned to her, smiling. She patted her on the shoulder.
"We just are," Sayako replied. Naomi gave her a strange look.
"That's it?" she asked.
"Yes," her friend answered with a glow in her eyes.
"Okay…" Naomi replied, with her eyes darting away from her. Sayako patted her on the shoulder.
"Come on, let's go," she said. "We have class."
"Yeah, of course," her friend said with an awkward smile. Naomi never questioned their friendship again after that. Not out aloud, anyway.
However lately, something changed. Naomi couldn't remember when it happened, but she hated it already. Sayako wasn't that oddly attractive girl that she met nine years ago. Naomi hoped that she was imagining things. She knew it was real but her innocent mind was trying to shield her from the truth. All doubts that she had before were laid to rest tonight.
Naomi was studying in her room when she heard a knock on her door. She didn't look up.
"Yes, mama?" the girl asked.
"It's me," a familiar voice croaked. Naomi froze this time.
"Sayako-chan?" she asked. The girl got up and opened her door a crack. Glassy panicked green eyes peeked inside. Naomi nearly jumped at the sight.
"Sayako-chan?" she asked. "What's wrong? What happened?"
"Let me in!" her friend pleaded. "Please let me in!"
"Okay," the other girl said quickly. She opened the door wide enough to let her friend in. The shock of that night changed everything. Naomi's hopes that all of it being in her head instantly died.