"What the hell was that?" Shin stood up abruptly and went running. Kai and Ren looked at each other with frightened eyes and ran after their friend. They turned the corner to reveal a broken fence. It had fallen outwards away from the school building, the edge dangling above the center of the school...along with Chou.
Oh shoot! She was here the whole time? Ren paused as Kai ran by to help Shin, who was keeping the fence from toppling down three stories.
The sides of the fence that kept the sections together had broken when Chou leaned back on it, resulting in it falling backwards. The base of the fence, however, remained connected until the amount of time it took Shin to arrive at the scene. The bases broke as well with the sudden friction from the bending and the whole section would have fallen along with Chou if Shin hadn't dived and grabbed on.
Oh no, Aoi-san! Ren dashed to help his friends grab a hold of the fence and pull it back onto the roof. Chou, who had held on for dear life, released the fence and tried to stand. Her legs became shaky and her breathing irregular. Afraid it was another attack Ren stood up and rushed to her side.
"Aoi-san? Daijoubunan desuka. Watashi no koe kikoerimasuka. (Are you alright? Can you hear my voice?)" Ren hovered closely trying to hear for an answer. Instead, Chou's legs gave out from underneath her, and Ren caught her before she hit the ground.
"S-souke-kun?" She didn't look up. Her face was still towards the ground, but her quivering hands gripped the arm around her. Chou started to gasp and shiver. Ren went into full panic mode until Chou turned her body around and cried into Ren's shoulder. Instantaneously, Ren went from being panicked to nervous. He sure didn't know what to do with a crying girl. He looked at Shin and Kai with a desperate look, but they only smiled sympathetically.
Damn it! They're just as clueless as I am. Ren sighed and started to stroke her head. Chou cried for barely a minute before she realized she was draped over Ren. She jumped away from him and turned light pink.
"Watashi ha ima daijoubu desukara. Jaa ne. Gome-iya. Arigatou.(I'm okay now so, see you later. Sor-no. Thanks)" Chou took a deep breath and smiled for the boys who helped her. Each one of them felt their heart pick up a little as she made her way to the door. The boys stayed stunned until the roof door closed with a final slam. Ren was the first to speak.
"Do you think she heard us?"
"A girl nearly fell to her death, and that's all you can think about?" Shin eyed his dark-haired friend. Ren ignored Shin's comment and looked to Kai for comfort. Kai started at Ren for a while before sighing.
"To tell you the truth, I don't know. Chances are she did, but I can't tell."
"Chikushou." (Damn it)" Ren looked away.
"There she goes." Shin mumbled, putting on his regular shoes. Ren couldn't help but seek her in the crowd of people exiting the school. Surprisingly, he found her fairly quickly. Her posture gave away none of her emotions other than a jubilant one. However, Ren knew better than to believe that façade. As he watched her carefully, he became aware of a group of upperclassmen guys studying her. An odd feeling ran through my body as they continued to watch Chou walk out of the school gates.
"Oi. Kai, Shin. You don't think—." Ren turned his head towards his friends, but his eyes never left the group of senpai's until the last moment. Both friends looked beyond Ren and spotted the pack. Neither responded, but they all walked on.
What am I supposed to think? Can I assume that he…no. I won't assume anything. He never said anything directly so I'm not going to take it seriously. Yep. That is what I'll do. Chou's head was spinning in circles before she even got halfway home. She was now in the city trying to get to a bus that will take her the rest of the way home. She passed store by store, not even giving them a glance. She didn't need to; she already knew all of them and their products.
She also knew she was being followed. It was possible she was just being paranoid, but it was getting more and more obvious as she got further along from the school. Something was up. However, she wasn't really worried about the group of boys following her. She was more worried about the alleyway that was coming up. She knew they wouldn't have the nerve to jump her in public with their uniforms on. However, in an alleyway, she wasn't so sure.
Unfortunately, this alleyway was a block and a half away from her bus stop. She couldn't cross the road until she passed this alleyway either. There was an overhead crossing that led her to the other side of the busy street, but it was a little ways in front of the alley. Chou took a deep breath as she neared the alley.
Suddenly, she turned to face the store she was passing. Luckily, it was a bakery, so I could admire it for as long as possible. After a while, it was getting suspicious, and Chou decided that she might as well see what they guys wanted.
She continued to walk and when she neared the alley, the boys drew near. When she got to the dreaded area, she abruptly turned around and faced her adversaries.
"Yes, boys? You needed something from me?" Chou smiled carefully.
"Not something from you. Why don't you join us for some fun? Don't worry your senpai's will treat you. Come on, sweetie." A guy with brown clean cut hair approached Chou.
He wasn't ugly in any sense. He was tall, had a narrow face, medium build, blue-gray eyes, and a nice smile. His friends, however, did not look as tender. With a larger build, two boys flanked him with a lankier boy behind. One of the larger guys had a buzz cut and red freckles covered his face, along with sea blue eyes. The other larger guy had platinum blonde hair that fell in wavy locks to caress his dirty green eyes. The lankier boy trailing this group had dark brown hair that fell to slightly cover his eyes, which were a piercing blue.
"Sorry. I have to catch my bus." Chou looked at the boys earnestly.
"No you don't, sweetheart. We'll give you a good long ride home after we hang out for a while." The boy who approached swung his arm around Chou. The other followers flanked the both of them and started to move. Chou tried to slip out from under the boy's arm, but he grabbed her wrists.
"Woah, there! Come on. I thought you were free today. Let's go." The boy forced the words between his teeth. Chou could feel the fear starting to creep into her mind. She needed to escape now, or she might be on the news as a victim of some sort. Her wrists, where his hands gripped, tingled with displeasure. Chou was becoming highly uncomfortable. She struggled to get out of the sempai's hold. She twisted her whole body and tried to pull away, with no avail. The pain of the grip brought tears to her eyes.
"Please. May I just leave? I really have to go home now. My parents are really over protective." Chou started to feel helpless. Tremors started to wreck through Chou's body. The boys started to laugh at her fear and continued to drag her deeper into the alleyway. She couldn't bring herself to shout for help. Oh, God. Someone stop them.
"Her parents' aren't the only protective ones." A boy was standing towards their destination. He was casually standing in the school uniform. His sandy blonde hair, which fell in locks across his face, was barely noticeable. He slowly approached the group of sempai's and the red head stepped forward.
"Kiosukete (Be careful)!" Chou yelled at Kai, concern making her heart ache. She didn't want anyone else to get hurt on her behalf. However, when she screamed in fright, it was from Kai snapping a punch across the red head's face. A sickening crack filled the alley, while the smell of blood started to adulterate the narrow passageway.
Another smack was heard in the alley, but it was from behind this time. The skinny sempai in the back was now on the ground crying. He held his arm and rocked back and forth. Above him was a dark haired duo; Shin and Ren.
"Who did you say was protective?" Ren yelled across the group of, now intimidated, sempai's. Kai shook his head slightly.
Ren growled in annoyance.
"He didn't, Ren." Shin pulled Ren back a little. "Plus, we can discuss that a little later, can't we?" Shin's voice changed slightly. It sounded as though he were excited and impatient; almost as though he wanted to fight.
"We can, after we dispose of some trash. Right sempai?" Ren walked with a swaying motion. The red head got up from the ground and started to rage at Kai, who was joined by the other buff guy and Shin. Ren went straight for the source of power and conflict. Chou was pushed aside, but she still had no place to run to. On either side of her were fighting boys. The sight, sound, and smell made her dizzy.
Finally, she collapsed on the ground and took deep breaths into her hands. Her eyes were closed so she relied on her ears to tell her when the fighting was over. She took one last deep breath and opened her eyes to see the concluded fight. The boys who were harassing her were on the ground softly moaning in pain. Her heroes were gathering and moving towards her.
"Oi. Daijoubu? Tatte. (You okay? Stand up.)" Ren and Kai offered a hand. Chou, overwhelmed with conflicting feelings, took a hand each and stood with their help. Shin was standing by the pain inflicted sempai's.
"Y-you could've gotten hurt." Chou whimpered. Her head looking everywhere except the boys around her and on the ground.
"Naw. Kai went to nationals for judo and Shin," Shin shot Ren a glare. "Well, Shin won't be defeated." Ren shrugged.
"Thank you very much. Now, I must get going." Chou dashed past the trio and weaved through the sempai's on the ground. Chou was intensely looking towards the ground, picking up her pace.
"Aoi-san!" Ren realized she wasn't stopping or turning as she approached the busy streets.
Ren dashed out of the alley and grabbed Chou by her waist, pulling her from a head on collision with an incoming car. Kai and Shin both ran to catch up with the duo. They helped Chou and Ren up from the ground, and Chou ducked her head and started to move again.
"Wait. Where are you going? What's gotten into you?" Ren grabbed Chou's arm and stopped her from walking away.
"I'm really sorry, and I'm really grateful. However, I really need to go home now. I'm going to miss my bus." Chou barely looked back up at her restrainer. Ren sighed heavily and let go.
"We'll walk you to the bus." Chou looked up at the boy abruptly to protest. "No. We're going to walk you to the bus." Ren repeated firmly. Chou closed her opened mouth and whispered her thanks. She turned around and continued to walk toward the bus stop, not turning to check if the boys were following. She knew they were. Once they arrived at the stop, Chou turned around and faced the boys.
"Thanks for all you have done. You guys should go home as well. Good bye." Chou bid her farewells as the bus pulled up. She got onto the bus and sat down without turning around once.
Faint sobs were heard from under the blankets as the night crept in. The sorrow in the wrecked voice could break the hearts of many.
Where is she? Where is she? Where is she! Ren couldn't stop pacing in between classes as he frantically looked to Chou's empty desk. He sat himself down in his seat, and abruptly stood up. He'd walk from one end of the classroom to the other, walk along the windows looking outside, and continuously tap his chin. Could she have been abducted? No, we saw her to the bus. Did she run away? Could she have had a seizure and not made it home? Is she in the hospital? Where is she?
Agonizingly, the time passed and lunch came around. The boys snuck back up onto the roof. Ren, however, would not relax.
"She'll be fine, Ren. You're just stressing." Kai was sprawled on the ground. Shin was quietly eating his bread.
"You don't get it. There's so many different things that could go wrong!" Ren dropped to the ground and sat, frustrated.
"Calm down, Ren. She could be like all the other absentees, sick or skipping." Kai sat up to face Ren. Ren shook his head slightly and ran scenario after scenario.
"There's something about her that constantly worries me. It was the same yesterday. Somehow my eyes wander, and I see her in unappealing predicaments. Last night I couldn't shake off the fact that something was wrong with her. My head just spins thinking about her. I'm going to kill myself with concern." Ren closed his eyes, sighed, and fell to his back.
Is he an idiot? Both Ren and Shin thought at the same time. They exchanged glances and a quiet conversation. That was definitely a confession, wasn't it? Definitely. He's a total idiot.
"Augh! I'm going to her house to calm myself down. Matta ashita (See you tomorrow)!" Ren sprung up and ran down the stairs to the shoe locker. He looked back and forth for any teachers and sneakily grabbed his regular shoes. Placing his indoor shoes back into the locker, he held his outdoor shoes and walked around to the back. As he hid under a window, a voice called out to him.
"Aoi Chou won't be able to see you today."
"Shoot! Ishida-sensei!" Ren jumped out of his skin. The school nurse was leaning out of her window casually looking down at the sneaky boy.
"I wouldn't try to leave either." She smiled, bored out of her mind.
"I'm going to get in trouble if someone catches me now or later so...see you!" Ren made a mad dash for the exit but was grabbed by another teacher who had teamed up with the nurse.
"Crap." Ren's anxiousness grew as he was sent to after school detention.
Ren was practically out of his chair, glaring at the ticking clock. It was almost time for the teacher to come into the classroom and dismiss him. He didn't do any work during the time he was locked away in the class. He was too busy thinking about Aoi Chou and why he was thinking about her. He drove himself crazy going in circles for hours in the classroom. He needed to see her more than anything. Now it wasn't just about making sure she was well. He needed to see her for him own benefit.
The door slid open and before the teacher could even enter the room, Ren grabbed his indoor shoes and bolted out the window. Outside, he threw on his sneakers and made a dash for the exit. This time successfully exiting the campus, he ran to the nearest phone booth to look out Chou's address. Without hesitation, Ren left for the girl's house.
Ren stopped abruptly in front of Chou's house and examined it a bit. It was a small two story single house with a cement wall around it like all the other house. There was a small gate that opened up to the driveway of the house. The garage consisted of a roof area of the driveway to the left of the house. The front door was in the middle of the front of the house. There were windows to the living room to the right of the door and the dining room windows to the left. There were covered windows everywhere on the second floor.
Ren walked straight into the house. He rang the doorbell and soon it was opened by the girl he wanted to see. At the sight of the beautiful girl, words spilled out of his mouth before they were formed in his mind.
"Aishiteru. (I love you) Please go out with me." Ren bowed quickly and held that position.