A/N: So here is chapter 12. This one goes into quite a few things, and I also took the liberty of editing this as much as I could quickly. I wanted to get the editing done quickly so I could bring this new chapter to all of you. Know that I'm in the process of editing the whole story whenever I get the free time and the mood to. So once the editing is done, I'll post up the edited chapters. Also if you readers, those who have read from chapter one, I said I would include an event from my personal life in regards to bonds, that's coming next chapter. It's in regards to a very precious friend I lost, so please be on the lookout for that and I hope it serves to drive the story forward in your minds. Enjoy!
-12- Confessional Aimi
A girl sat lonely in her room with the darkness trapping every bit of her room. Aimi the girl who fell in love and into jealousy, the girl who is slowly losing her mind and the girl who is still trying to fight a battle she may never be able to win. 'Nakami! Nakami! Nakami!' she thinks in anger; Nakami the girl who stole away Katsuo from her; or perhaps her chances with him. She curses Nakami for who she is, she curses her for going to the same school and she curses her existence. Madness, it takes its flow into the seeping roots of Aimi's mind. Her attempts all failed and now she is running out of options, just why is it so hard to come out and say it to him that she loves him? Why did the world make people so hesitant? She wonders with each deep breath she takes holding up a razor blade against her wrist. Her insanity had reached a point of nearly no return as she sought peace now from all the worries which weighed her down in the world. 'Drag the pure to insanity, drag the pure to insanity and ruin their life' was the only thought which coursed through Aimi's mind as she had a mad look of twisted determination.
It was Sunday night.
Nakami stood in her home kitchen with vegetables neatly all sorted out on the kitchen counter and different assortment of meats still packaged on another table. For the meat Nakami chose chicken. She decided to make teriyaki chicken. She set out what she would need:
270 grams of chicken thigh meat
3 table spoons of Sake
2 table spoons of Mirin
3 table spoons of either cane sugar or raw honey
3 table spoons of soy sauce
After checking off all that she needed, she reached out for the chicken and first washed it in cool water to make sure it clean and safe to cook. She then set the chicken out flat and poked all over with a knife, this allowed for the marinade to penetrate more easily and minimize the shrinkage. She then proceeded to cut about 90 grams of chicken of each thigh to make bite sized pieces.
She then poured the other ingredients in a glass bowl along with the chicken. Took a stir spoon and started mixing the ingredients together till it started to look as though the chicken was starting to absorb it all well, the smell also was a good indication when Nakami could no longer detect two different smells but a one whole mixed one. Nakami then left the mixed chicken for a little over ten minutes so the chicken could absorb any leftover materials in the glass bowl. Her mother noticed what Nakami was doing in the kitchen and offered her help, but she turned it down respectfully as she wanted to do this on her own, so in the end she would know she did it completely on her own. And that there are purely her feelings only in the food she is making.
She then fired up a stove top and took out a non-stick frying pan. Nakami took the glass bowl and drained the chicken of the marinade. She then took each piece of the chicken and laid it flat down on the frying pan as she could hear the sizzling sound. As the pan started to splutter, she quickly put on the lid and turns down the stove top to medium heat leaving the chicken alone for about four minutes. She then took off the lid and poured some of the left over marinated dressing onto the chicken and flipped it over. She had to judge this time around for how long to cook each piece as each of them varied somewhat in their thickness. She cooked each piece for about two to three minutes on an average; she knew they were done when they were all caramelized on the outside. To make sure the chicken was well cooked; she took a knife and poked through each of the pieces after turning off the stove top. Nakami knew they were good when there were no juices coming out when she poked the chicken pieces. Every one of them passed the test; the girl then took out the chicken pieces and drained any excess oil from them.
Her mother had come in to check again on her and how she was doing, she was however happy to see Nakami cooking as she commented, "It's nice to see you making your own lunch for once" and Nakami smiled whispering as her mother left, "Not likely" as she felt her heart beat jump thinking of the boy. Nakami put aside the chicken to cool off. She now focused her attention on the vegetables and decided to make a stir fry out of them to mix with the teriyaki chicken. Her mother again offered her help on making the "Yasai Itame" but Nakami again respectfully declined. What she would need for Yasai Itame was:
1 green pepper
1/2 medium onion
2 table spoons of oyster sauce
4 table spoons of soy sauce
1/2 tea spoon of sugar
1 table spoon of chicken powder
1 table spoon of sesame oil
A dash of salt and pepper
Nakami set out by cutting all the vegetables into proportioned slices. Once she had the vegetables cut, she took out a clean bowl and poured all the spices except for the sesame oil, salt and pepper and threw it all in to mix together. After a couple minutes of mixing, she checked for the color and smell, feeling it was enough as she fired up the frying pan again. She added a bit of sesame oil to the pan hearing the sizzling sound. The oil expanded throughout the pan and when it was ready, she poured in the vegetables cooking for about seven minutes over medium heat, and then she mixed in the spices and cooked for about two minutes on low heat. It was almost done, knowing Katsuo's taste from the time she cooked with him, she added in just enough salt and pepper to help adjust the taste of the vegetables. She turned off the stove top and let the vegetables cool before putting them in a container. She poured the chicken into one container and the vegetables into the other after draining the liquid from the pan and storing it in another container. It was dinner time as she was then soon after called to the dinner table where the whole family sat eating together. This made her realize Katsuo's loneliness more so than ever before, she is surrounded by people at a dinner table while he right now sits alone at home eating simple rice and curry. Life was so cruel, where as one knows the warmth of a family; there will always be someone who has lost that warmth. The world indeed was unfair.
Nakami made sure to get up early to reheat the chicken and the vegetables before putting them in a microwavable bento. She made sure to package the bento tightly in an effort to keep the warmth inside the bento in this cold Tokyo winter. Nakami left for school and stood in the same spot as the one she stood in on her first day going. Nostalgia hit her hard in the heart as she smiled remembering the first day of school, remembering how nervous Katsuo seemed and how they first made a connection with one another. On the very first day she was so nervous to be going to a new school where she knew no one but over time she made connections and all that nervousness had subsided. She boarded the bus as it pulled up and kept the warm bento close on her lap in a protective manner.
Katsuo opened his locker to find more love letters stuffed in there amongst his school shoes. He took out the letters, took out his shoes and exchanged them for his casual ones and put everything back in including the letters. He saw Nakami coming into the shoe locker room and blushed a little as he remembered her kiss on his cheeks. She smiled at him and he smiled back giving a little wave. Nakami put the bento in her bag safely as she then exchanged her casual shoes for her school ones. She met Miri on the way and they exchanged quick little greetings along the w ay as they each headed to their homeroom period.
Katsuo and Nakami stood in front of the classroom, as the teacher entered they said, "Stand!" and each student stood. "Bow!" Katsuo said and every student bowed in the classroom to the entering teacher as they all soon sat down again with the exception of Katsuo and Nakami. The girl came forth towards Katsuo bringing him a set of notes with the news he needed to announce written on it. "Alright so everyone, good job on making it through the midterm exam period. As you're all aware the stress of the exam periods is sometimes crushing for us and so the school has decided to organize a karaoke event in the gymnasium during the winter break. It will be a free of charge event and you're allowed to bring up to three people maximum that aren't related to this school. So please be on the lookout for the date release on this event. Now to onto the other points..." Katsuo covered the list he had to go through and soon the bell rang. The class once again gave a bow and departed for their first class for the day. Nakami quickly stored the bento and her bag in her locker and took out the needed materials for her class. She was headed to her class when she saw some students gathered around the boys' locker room. Nakami stopped and started to head in the direction of the crowd slowly and cautiously. She noticed many students holding their hands up to their mouths and their eyes with an expression of worry covering their face. Some were even trembling, so what could they possibly be looking at that causes them to shake in fear? Nakami knew she was about to find out. She heard a small scream, but it was subdued almost as though the person screaming was gagged. But it wasn't exactly a scream; it was more like someone crying in emotional pain. Nakami got to the crowd; she jumped up a little, standing on her toes to see what the whole crowd was for. Next thing she saw was a shock, she saw and her mouth parted wide open. Her eyes were filled with extreme worry, sadness and most of all fear. Hair lay on the ground around the slender body of a girl. A boy stood by the girl smiling while he does it, he takes a strong hold of her hair and slices it bit by bit off her head. She is crying in emotional pain, she is crying in humiliation and most of all she is crying because she feels helpless. The girl is Miri, and Nakami drops all her books on the floor suddenly in shock as, "Miri-chan!" she screams shoving past the students to the front where she was blocked by two male students. They looked at her with a very dangerous and fearsome look sending cold shivers down her spine as they took a hold of her shoulders and threw her back on the floor. The fall hit her hard as she squealed a bit in pain getting up; she then again screamed Miri's name as Miri looked at Nakami from the side of her eye.
"So you want to be a hair designer huh?!" spoke the boy with the knife, it was Teicho as he slashed another couple strands of hair off of Miri.
"How do you think you're going to do that you little wench!" he said as he pulled her hair holding her up by it. She screamed in pain even more, only to be subdued more by the gag but nothing stopped the painful tears and sight from being observed by the eyes of the countless students present at the scene. "How can you be a hair designer if you don't have any hair yourself?!" asked Teicho mockingly.
'Why isn't anyone willing to help her? Why? Why? Why?!' thought Nakami as she got up again making her way for Miri, but failed as she was again pushed back onto the floor. It was their fearsome stares and fabricated status of authority which froze the students in their spots; preventing them from doing anything, this was what absolute power was about to the senior gang, "The Outcasts". Teicho grabbed more hair from Miri's head and this time he slowly cut through each strand of the hair; smiling while he does it; and as he reaches the last strand he almost bursts out laughing at the expression Miri is making. He puts his shoe against her face saying, "How does it taste you bottom feeder?" taking pleasure in her tears as he then reaches down to lick them from her eyes. The two guarding the door feel a cold shiver go up their spine, this one was the wild kind; the one who was a loose cannon and they were about to let someone like this into their gang were he to do what he needed to. Teicho reached for Miri's face then and slowly licked it everywhere as he started to delve into his own sick insanity saying, "I told you to stay out of my way. I told you not to defend that little pathetic excuse for a boy Katsuo."
Teicho now slowly caressed her face as Miri's crying started to deepen more so, "Shh, don't cry. It's going to be alright. After all, I delivered on what I said didn't I? I had said you would regret getting in my way and this is my revenge for that...so be quiet" but Miri couldn't listen to reason right now, she had been violated physically. Her dignity was lost and there was a crowd watching, but not willing to do anything but stand and watch her humiliation take place. And the one person who could possibly help was too weak to do anything against the door body guards.
Miri cried as Teicho continued to caress her face telling her to be quiet. He noticed her hair, she was nearly all bald now and he laughs to himself, 'Where the hell are all the teachers?' questioned Nakami in her own mind. "Didn't I tell you to shut up? So shh!" Teicho started to get aggressive again. Miri cried. He tried to make her quiet again. She cried some more. He got pissed off some more. She cried more. He gritted his teeth. Her eyes were wide open with fear. He raised his hand. She gasped nearly chocking on her own crying. He shouted, "Shut up bitch!" as he slapped her across the floor, Miri hit the floor hard landing on the side of her head. Teicho then walked over to Miri slowly caressing her legs, moving up her legs towards her skirt and slowly moving her skirt upwards. "Such smooth skin" spoke Teicho scaring Miri more so than ever before, 'What is he going to do to me?' was the only thought running through Miri's mind. He took up his knife as he slowly ran it over Miri's leg, creating a small cut and said, "Now you can consider yourself defiled you dirty wench!"
Teicho then looked towards the strands of hairs on the floor and a garbage bin nearby. Nakami looked at Teicho who threw her a glare with an evil intent; it was as though he was silently saying that the same thing was going to happen to her if she didn't understand to stay away from Katsuo now. He took the hair on the floor and threw it into the bin, took out his lighter and a cigarette, lighted up a cigarette in his mouth as he breathed out the smoke on Miri's face. "Watch closely" he scowled. Teicho smoked a bit more of his cigarette with the windows open so as to not alert the fire system in the building and then threw it in the bin which then lit up on fire. The students looking in shock were awoken from their trance and ran away observing the fiery blaze. Miri cried looking at her hair burning, almost as though her dreams were burning right before her eyes. Nakami sat on the floor looking at the scene shocked and horrified and then noticed a girl staring at Nakami from one of the corners of the locker room. She looked strangely familiar however her memory failed her in this dire situation as she tried hard to remember. Then it clicked in, "Aimi?" Nakami questioned out loud as the girl then hid. Miri continued to cry as the flame soon started to escape the garbage bin and started to make its way down towards Miri. Teicho watched with a wicked intent on his face, almost as though he was hoping for Miri to burn.
'God dammit, move Nakami! Move your legs!' Nakami thought to herself watching the flames get ever so closer, 'Move girl!' she shouted in her head as she found the strength to get up. The two guarding the door had already lost their will to stay as they had fled through the window long ago as soon as the fire had started. It crept its way closer and closer to Miri who lay there in despair and it was then by luck one of the teachers was crossing their hallway as Nakami screamed out to him, "Mr. Takezo!" and the teacher noticed Nakami on the ground slightly bruised. He rushed over to her shouting, "What happened here?" as he smelled the burning fire. Teicho was long gone with Miri lying there just inches away from the fire and the teacher reacted quickly getting the fire extinguisher and putting out the fire. He noticed the abuse Miri had suffered and looked away as he asked Nakami to help him. Nakami went and got a towel to wrap Miri in as she helped walk her to the infirmary, the nurse there was shocked to see Miri's state and advised she go home and be treated at a proper medical hospital as soon as possible for both physical and emotional trauma. Nakami stood in front of Miri trying to explain what the nurse talked to Nakami about, but all Miri could think about were the moment of her public humiliation and abuse. To make matters worse, Teicho was still free from the consequences he should be rightly suffering right now. A fresh tear escaped Miri's eye as Nakami took notice gently brushing it off, Miri felt so cold at Nakami's touch as she jumped backwards onto the bed away from Nakami and squeezed herself into a ball; shivering and quivering with fear. Nakami felt she had to do something; she needed to reach out to her dear friend, Nakami needed to help. As she started to stretch her hand outward towards Miri she was stopped by the nurse, "This isn't the right time to help her, we can't do anything for her just on our own" spoke the nurse. Nakami knew the nurse was right, so she decided to leave Miri in the nurse's care as she looked back one last time and threw a smile at her. She tried to muster up the best 'it's going to be okay' smile she could.
Katsuo sat in the classroom thinking of what was taking Nakami so long to get to the class. The class was nearly finished and she still wasn't here, 'What's holding you up Nakami?' wondered Katsuo. Though little did he know that certain events had taken place which would dramatically change things in their lives.
Katsuo sat in the cafeteria quietly eating his lunch, all that ran through his mind was of where Nakami could be. He would eat one bite, look up, chew and digest, eat another bite, look up, chew and digest again. He continued his cycle until he finished his cafeteria bought sandwich. When he finished it, he could feel a slight, bland after taste of the sandwich, it was nothing like the Udon noodles Katsuo had made with Nakami. It was the little things which defined some of his most memorable moments in his life recently. But little did he know, another storm was brewing on the horizon of his relationships.
Nakami entered the cafeteria walking ever so slowly. Cautiously she looked around constantly worried about seeing Aimi's presence close by. She walked slowly past the heavy crowd; Katsuo felt so out of place and at unease in such a huge crowd. The girl spotted Katsuo and the boy simply stared at the large crowd. Nakami slowly walked towards the boy with her hands tightly gripping a neatly wrapped box, the bento. Katsuo sighed at the table he sat at feeling his energy being drained. No matter how much the boy might change, he we still the same at heart, the solitude seeking and peace loving kid, an introvert. He changed little, but not enough for him to handle such stressful situations. Nakami approached Katsuo from the back as he suddenly jumped noticing her presence, something seemed off with her. Katsuo studied her face for a moment, it was one filled with worry and perhaps a hint of fear in it as well. "C-Can we talk?" asked Nakami and Katsuo scooted over making room for Nakami to sit down. She shook her head as she pointed out the door, "I mean i-in the backfield" she spoke again. Katsuo looked at her with a worried expression and nodded as he followed her outside. Two piercing eyes followed the two figures exiting the cafeteria just as Nakami felt a sting in her heart beat. She tightly gripped her chest as she looked around again and found no one threatening close by. The shadow of the figure stalking the two followed close by through the hallways, hidden by the students in the hallway; it was the perfect camouflage and the perfect offense. Nakami burst outside through the doors with Katsuo following confused at Nakami's behaviour. 'She had never been this forceful before, what's driving her to be like this?' thought Katsuo as he looked back at the doors to check for any visible damage. Nakami saw Katsuo slowing down, looking back at the doors and in her impatience she grabbed Katsuo's wrist and forced him to walk her pace. "What's wrong Nakami? What's gotten into you?" Katsuo asked even more confused. She ignored his questions and simply walked onwards towards a private and secluded part of the school backfield. She suddenly let go of Katsuo's hand as he backed off a little with several questions in his mind.
"What's going on Nakami? Why did you suddenly drag me out here?!" asked Katsuo in a very demanding tone. Nakami remained quiet.
"Well?!" he shouted a bit this time.
The girl remained quiet as she simply offered him the box. Katsuo looked at it questioning, "Is that a bento box?" and the girl nodded. "For me?" and she nodded again.
"But why?" asked Katsuo only to be shouted back at, "Just take it!" Nakami yelled. Katsuo slowly held out his hands taking hold of the bento. His mouth was clenched tight in surprise and shock; this was very unusual behavior for Nakami indeed. Katsuo stepped forward holding Nakami's hand as she tried resisting, "Let go of me!" she said trying to control the force of her voice.
"Why? What's wrong?!" asked Katsuo.
"Nothing is wrong!"
"Then why does nothing make you act so coldly towards me?!" asked Katsuo. Nakami remained quiet as Katsuo then sighed. He unfolded the bento box and opened it. It was recently warmed, so a very delicious aroma escaped it. He looked up at Nakami who was still quiet, he smiled and said, "Thanks for the food" as she then started feel tears brimming at the edge of her eyes. She was sharing a moment with Katsuo while Miri suffered alone in a hospital bed, this wasn't right was it? She should be there by Miri's side instead of being here with Katsuo; but her heart wouldn't want to give up on this moment either. A conflict was tearing her heart and mind apart creating a borderline between the two choices. And she wanted to try and achieve both, but she knew she already tilted and fell towards the side of this choice; spending this moment with the boy. Katsuo took a bite of the chicken and several flavors from the marinating flooded his mouth as he chewed the chicken with pleasure. With each chew he thought of the hard work that may have gone into preparing it and looked at Nakami with a grateful look. She wanted to smile, but she couldn't, not after constantly recalling the terrified expression on Miri's face. And the thought, 'Do I deserve to be here with Katsuo?' crossed Nakami's mind again as she recalled her own incidence. But now that Teicho had taken care of Miri, he might come after Nakami as he had very well made that threat again to her through his glare. In the shadows from the corner of the school building stood a girl watching the two intently, she gritted her teeth with each bite Katsuo took. She clenched her hands, held onto the wall harder as though she was resisting; 'No, I've to stay here, I can't blow my cover!' thought the girl in the shadows. Nakami stepped forward bowing her head and said, "Thank you" and Katsuo looked at her confused, "For what?" he questioned.
"I just needed to say it" she replied as Katsuo stared at her somewhat understanding her response. And the girl in the shadows felt her last binding unhinge as she rushed out at the two lovers scene she perceived to be. She ran towards Katsuo who still stared at Nakami with a grateful look. She ran in between the two, raised her hand, let gravity help it come downwards and hit the bento. It went flying away from the three figures, the contents spilled everywhere on the ground as Katsuo looked at the bento, anger rose in him. 'Who would ruin Nakami's hard work?' he thought as he turned to look. Nakami's face was frozen with fear to find the girl who has plagued her mind finally made her move, it was Aimi. All anger in Katsuo's face disappeared into shock as he to noticed the girl with the familiar face and name. His mouth parted at the anger she held in her eyes which pierced straight into the boy, and then towards the girl who took a step back in defense. She took a deep breath in and then out as she shoved Nakami to the ground. Nakami came hitting the ground very hard as she felt strong pain course through her waist and legs area. "Why is it only you?!" shouts Aimi. Katsuo backs away from the mad girl slightly all the while showing concern on his face.
"Aimi-chan?" he asks wary of her current condition. "Why do you only care about her?!" she shouted at Katsuo.
"What are you talking about?" the boy asked.
"Don't take me for a fool!" Aimi replied.
"I don't understand what you're trying to say!" Katsuo shouted back this time as he tried convincing her. Aimi became even more angered by this as she pointed towards Nakami, "Her! I'm talking about this little wench!" and Nakami's mouth parted at the curse escaping Aimi's mouth.
"How dare you talk about Nakami like that?!" the boy spoke clearly angered.
"Shut up! I was there for you wasn't I?! Wasn't I good enough for you that you had to set your eyes on her?!"
"I don't know what you mean?!" shouted Katsuo in confusion.
"Don't you even think of lying to me like that! I know you know what I mean exactly!" Aimi insisted through her anger clouded mind. Nakami slowly got up as Aimi then pointed at her dangerously, "It's your entire fault, always has been!" she shouted at Nakami. Nakami remained quiet.
"Well? Say something!" spoke Aimi as she advanced towards Nakami raising her hand and Katsuo stopped her. She felt his touch now to be a threat, it was as though a foreign feeling. "Stop it Aimi-chan! Stop this nonsense!" shouted Katsuo and she retaliated in pushing him backwards from herself. "You think this is nonsense? You think my feelings are nonsense?" Aimi started quietly as she slowly raised her voice.
"That's not what I meant" Katsuo tried to reason. But he failed as he could see tears forming in her eyes. Sadness was taking over her angered mind. "Do you know how much I yearn for my wishes to come true?" asked Aimi confusing Katsuo again. This time it was wishes? But how does that have any connections to her anger earlier? The girl was completely off her rails. Katsuo backed away more and Aimi could tell the boy still did not understand.
"My feelings...I'm talking about my feelings for you..." Aimi spoke in a defeated manner.
Katsuo remained quiet trying to digest what Aimi just said. Katsuo reached out his hand towards her who just backed away and told him to do the same. "But what feelings?" he questioned.
"You really think I would be willing to spend so much time around you for no reason?" she questioned as she looked around frantically, "You really believe that I would give you so much time in my life without a solid reason behind it?!"
Katsuo's mouth parted as he realized she was right, she spent so much time with him; all the moments she spent with him could've been spent doing better things in her life. "I first only approached you because you were suddenly so popular" she confessed.
"What?" Katsuo commented shocked at her confession, "That's right, after all doesn't it make sense for two popular people to be in a relationship, to be at the top?" asked Aimi completely believing this delusion. "Do you seriously mean that?" asked Katsuo as he slightly approached Aimi. Nakami remained on the ground, watching the whole even unfold before her as mind sits on a ground of revelations. "I only did it for more popularity...but soon after spending more and more time with you...I-I-" Aimi hesitated as she tried to find the will to go on.
"You developed feelings for him" finished Nakami as the two looked over to her. Aimi pointed a finger at her warning her to shut her mouth as Katsuo's eyes widened at the confusion he just received. Why was life so confusing when it came to bonds sometimes? It truly is a mystery, sometimes people have difficulty determining in which zone they stand in with one another and sometimes people just don't find the perspective to perceive the boundaries in their relationships. Which one were the three in this whole unfolding situation stood in? Katsuo never truly knew where he stood with Nakami until he recently realized he may want something more from Nakami. Nakami felt the same but Aimi knew what she wanted from the start, whether it was based on genuine feelings or for popularity, she wanted Katsuo. Aimi nodded as tears escaped her eyes, she couldn't take this anymore; all this happening in her life bearing a heavy feeling upon her heart. She wanted to be rid of it, she wanted to run away, just run and never look back on this. She wanted to forget this; her feelings for Katsuo haven't brought her one shed of relief, they only brought her constant worry of him being stolen away. Jealousy was a poison, and she let that poison settle deep within the vast feelings in her heart and mind. Her legs trembled with the feeling of heaviness and the feeling to run; they started to turn away, Katsuo noticed as he took a strong hold of Aimi by her shoulders. She struggled as she screamed for him to let go, but he wouldn't oblige. "Please don't run away" he begged as she looked away from him.
"Let me go! I don't want to do this anymore!" shouted Aimi.
"I can't...I have to make a clear stand here rather than leave things as they are right now" explained Katsuo. Aimi listened to him and his reasoning, no matter how much she would want to deny it, his logic was right. "Aimi-chan...I can't return your feelings" and it was as though a spear went through her heart. She pushed Katsuo back hitting him hard on the chest as he stumbled back a bit. He rubbed his chest trying to subdue the pain as Aimi ran. She forced her legs to work harder and harder, forced her body to negate the fatigue she was feeling with the pure chaos her mind felt and she simply ran.
Katsuo stretched out his arm as he shouted, "Wait Aimi-chan! Please!" but she continued to run with sweat running down her face. Heavy breaths escaping her nose and soon her mouth, legs slowly starting to lose all feeling as she would stumble against the school wall for support, but she would simply continue walking finding the strength and paving the way for her to escape. Katsuo stopped just as he had started walking to look back at Nakami, who looked at him silently; shocked and mind blown at what had transpired thanks to Aimi's confession. Katsuo stumbled around confused on what to do, was it right for him to chase after Aimi after what happened? It didn't seem the right thing to do, especially because of how worked up Aimi was right now. Wouldn't it be better to give her some time to cool off? Katsuo thought about this situation in-depth. Sound of footsteps knocked Katsuo's mind back to reality as he blinked his eyes towards the spot where Nakami was at, he turned his head around seeing her slowly walk away, like a broken figure escaping disposal. Katsuo reached out his hands to both his sides, which one, Aimi or Nakami? Which one to chase indeed was the real question, the boy stood here torn between his two friends. Katsuo walked backwards slowly resting his back on the wall, "What have I done?" he whispered to himself knowing the trouble he was partially responsible for causing. He then slowly walked, his legs started to move faster and faster, he ran to the locker room; gathered his materials and exited the school building. Waiting at the bus stop he thought, 'What the hell am I thinking? Skipping out on school like this isn't right' he tried to reprimand himself from doing this. But his mind was set on going home, locking all doors, wrapping himself up in his bed and not getting out for the rest of the day. It was a long way down towards the road to depression he was taking right now and he was close to hitting rock bottom. The bus came stopping at the bus stop, Katsuo boarded it and paid the fair; he sat all the way in the back resting his head against the window with a heavy burden on his mind causing him a headache. The bus driver drove, cars, people and objects went past the bus as Katsuo's eyes gently started to close, the boy was tired, the boy wanted to rest and yet he could not. Life was not easy, life wouldn't allow for rests unless given the proper circumstances and opportunity.
The driver now took a turn leading into Katsuo's area as he pushed the "Stop" button and the bus driver stopped at the next closest stop. He walked home, like a dead broken shell of a human body. He walked along the wall for support, stopped midway, felt a tear rise up in his eyes and let it go. He crouched down, squeezed his head in tight as he just felt his tears go wild and free. Twenty minutes of crying, and the boy still didn't feel any better. This burden was far too heavy to let out in just one session. He walks home, stumbles home as he turns around the corner; what he next sees shoots his eyes wide open.
"N-Nee-san..." he whispers. Eri sits at the doorway of their house with a small bag by her side. 'Is she going to stay here or something?' wonders Katsuo as she suddenly notices him. She shoots up running towards him, gives him a hug and in excitements asks all sorts of questions, but when her excitement dies down; she realizes the boy should be in school.
"Say Katsuo, why aren't you in school?" asks Eri.
The boy remains quiet.
"Did something happen?"
And Katsuo remains quiet, feeling Eri's warmth seep into his body. It had been so long since he had seen his older sister. Without thinking, he lets his tears escape in recalling his burden today. "Katsuo, what's wrong?" Eri asked worriedly as she noticed the boy's tears. Katsuo looks up at Eri and embraces her tightly in his arms and Eri in a confused state, all she can say is, "Katsuo?" and what a start it was to her temporary stay with him.