SemisoftCheese

"First Service" (Ritsu Route 1-2)

May 4th, 2013
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  1. First Service
  2.  
  3.  
  4. It's been a few days since I sat down with Ritsu on the hill. Not much has passed since then.
  5.  
  6. I had lunch with Misha and Shizune again, then with Lilly and Hanako, and I went up to the hill yesterday, but Ritsu wasn't there.
  7.  
  8. I guess I'm just lonely for company. Everyone I meet I end up comparing to my old friends.
  9.  
  10. Emi's laugh reminds me a bit of Shin's dry chuckle. And Rin's silent, green gaze reminds me of Mai whenever we played too many video games at the arcade and she was starting to zone out.
  11.  
  12. I haven't seen them in six months now. They've probably forgotten all about me, or they would have written, or visited, or something.
  13.  
  14. Mutou's drone continues on in the background. Anes, alkanes, and -ols. Everything you don't need to know, in one convenient lecture.
  15.  
  16. I guess to be fair, our friendship was never anything serious. Yes, we were there for each other, but it was always superficial at best. The largest conflict we ever had was Takumi's constant loss of his wallet and one of us having to cover for him. There wasn't ever a major disaster where we had to band together, or help one member of the group out.
  17.  
  18. We were just kids. That's all.
  19.  
  20. The girl in a desk to the front and right of me has messy bangs with a yellow hairband pulling them back from her face. Her laptop is propped at a slight angle on her desk, revealing lines of text scrolling themselves neatly across the screen.
  21.  
  22. This wouldn't be strange, except for the fact that Ritsu's laptop is a shiny, silver Macbook Pro--far beyond what most students could afford. The other strange fact is that her notes seem to be taking themselves--her arms remain crossed loosely across her chest as she stares into space.
  23.  
  24. I guess the administration, because of her wrist condition, lets her use a text-to-speech program to take notes in class.
  25.  
  26. I'm a little jealous of the fact that she gets to use her computer in class, but I'd probably get distracted anyway.
  27.  
  28. Ritsu's wrist braces carry the same worn-out, faded white patches on them, neatly aligned squares. The neat, faded silk contrasts sharply with the black, utilitarian nylon of her braces.
  29.  
  30. A bored expression on her face, she turns and surveys the classroom. She locks eyes with me, and gives a slight tilt of her head towards Mutou, a bemused smirk on her face.
  31.  
  32. I can almost hear her voice in my head.
  33.  
  34. "Get a load of this guy."
  35.  
  36. I give her an apologetic smile, and she winks at me, a bemused smile on her face as she faces front again.
  37.  
  38. Speaking of which, I never got the opportunity to take up Ritsu's offer of lunch/dinner/a meal on the town.
  39.  
  40. Something tells me that it was more of a casual invitation, one that exists simply for politeness' sake, but she seems a like the kind of person who would be an excellent guide.
  41.  
  42. I look towards the window. It's a nice day outside. Maybe I'll spend time on the hill again. Even without Ritsu there, it's not a bad place to be.
  43.  
  44. I look back at Ritsu. She's opened a web browser on her computer and started looking at dresses online.
  45.  
  46. Well, a human being can only hold out for so long.
  47.  
  48. Mutou's voice knocks me out of my thoughts.
  49.  
  50. "Nakai, how many carbons in a pentane molecule?"
  51.  
  52. That's not too hard. Pent=five. The -ane suffix has to do with the hydrogens, I'm pretty sure.
  53.  
  54. "Five."
  55.  
  56. "Nice work, Nakai."
  57.  
  58. Having satisfied the beast, I go back to my previous task in morning class at Yamaku--doing absolutely nothing.
  59.  
  60. ==========
  61.  
  62. Lunchtime finally rolls around, and during the rest of Mutou's rambling lecture, I've finalized my plans.
  63.  
  64. I think I'm going to go take a nap on the hill. I stayed up pretty late finishing a book last night, and I'm pretty spent. A nap under the sun would do me some good.
  65.  
  66. I leisurely place my books in the desk as the students, followed by an ever-haggard looking Mutou, file out of the classroom in search of comestibles and entertainment. The two ever-present human desires. And, well, sex. But I doubt anyone's looking for that on a school lunch break.
  67.  
  68. A metallic tapping sound fills my ears, and I turn around. Ritsu's sitting at her desk, tapping away at the keyboard. I guess she's either buying a dress, or saving her notes.
  69.  
  70. Either way, she finishes in a few seconds and closes her laptop shut.
  71.  
  72. I finish packing books in my desk, then grab my bag and throw it on my shoulder.
  73.  
  74. It's time to greet Mr. Sandman.
  75.  
  76. As I look back at Ritsu, something's weird happening with her laptop.
  77.  
  78. She's managed to get her backpack propped open on her chair, but she's having a tough time gripping her laptop. It looks like her braces cover the entirety of her palm to immobilize her wrists completely, and as a result, she can't close her fingers completely to grip the laptop and drop it into her bag. As of now, she's trying to use her fingertips to hold the laptop like a waiter's tray, and then slide it into her huge backpack.
  79.  
  80. Well, I guess I should help her out. At least that would pay her back for giving me lunch the first day.
  81.  
  82. "Here, let me help."
  83.  
  84. I cross the room and lift her laptop, which is surprisingly heavy, into her dark heavy backprack.
  85.  
  86. "Thanks, Hisao."
  87.  
  88. "No problem."
  89.  
  90. She does the same routine from the hill--sliding her entire arm through the strap, up to her shoulder, before leveraging her torso and legs to lift it up on her back.
  91.  
  92. I walk to the door, holding it open for her to pass through, and she pauses, the same bemused grin on her face.
  93.  
  94. It's a slightly awkward scene--me holding the door open, as she leans casually on one of the front desks, eyeing me with a bemused, golden gaze.
  95.  
  96. She wipes the grin from her face, looking at me slightly as she does so, as if making a decision and coming through it. She passes through the door and I follow her, closing it quietly behind me.
  97.  
  98. It's a slightly awkward scene--Ritsu walking down the hallway in front of me, while I trail behind, not wanting to start an even more awkward conversation.
  99.  
  100. I guess she was going to eat lunch with me... or not. I shouldn't get my hopes up.
  101.  
  102. I wouldn't want to be caught eating lunch with the new kid either.
  103.  
  104. Sigh.
  105.  
  106. Well, she said that she normally likes to eat alone. I guess the best thing to do here is not take it personally. I doubt she's intentionally thinking about leaving me in the dust, or otherwise she wouldn't reached out on the hill a few days ago.
  107.  
  108. Blegh. Thinking about this is only making me more depressed. Maybe the nap will perk me up.
  109.  
  110. Ahead of me, Ritsu stops, and does a perfect 180.
  111.  
  112. Maybe she forgot something in the classroom>
  113.  
  114. She crosses her arms and looks at me lazily, a amused, small, smirk making it's way to her mouth.
  115.  
  116. She opens her mouth to speak, brushing her bangs from her face.
  117.  
  118. "Hisao, what are your plans for lunch today?"
  119.  
  120. Dami-fu--play it cool, Hisao, play it cool. Don't let her know your plan is to have no friends and take a nap on the hill.
  121.  
  122. "Nothing special. Why do you ask?"
  123.  
  124. The grin on her face gets bigger as her body posture relaxes, clearly in control of the conversation. She moves to the side of the hallway and leans on a locker, crossing her legs as she does so.
  125.  
  126. "Well, normally, Hisao, when people go to lunch they go with some friends to eat with them. You, however, are alone. Do you have some friends waiting for you in the lunchroom? Or do you have other plans for lunch?", she asks in a teasing tone.
  127.  
  128. Her smirk is impossibly large--like the Chesire Cat's--but it's not mean spirited in any way. She's getting at something, but I'm not sure what.
  129.  
  130. "I…"
  131.  
  132. Well, honesty is always the best policy.
  133.  
  134. "I actually don't have any plans for lunch. I was going to take a nap on that hill."
  135.  
  136. I point at the window for emphasis, a warm blush rising to my face. The gesture is more to give me something to do, instead of watching at her flash that spotlight of a grin at me.
  137.  
  138. The smirk disappears from her face as she flashes me a warm, apologetic, smile. She shrugs her backpack higher on her shoulders as she tilts her head to the side slightly.
  139.  
  140. "Still the new kid, huh, Hisao?"
  141.  
  142. I give her a slight nod, more heat rushing to my cheeks.
  143.  
  144. "Unfortunately, yes…"
  145.  
  146. She smiles warmly again before crossing her braces again in a semi-smooth motion, stopping at the last second as she stares at her nylon-clad arms. It's a momentary stop, but enough to remind her, and I guess me, that there are things we used to do, but we can't anymore.
  147.  
  148. The moment's fleeting, though, and the smile returns to her face as fast as it left.
  149.  
  150. She looks at me, her arms still relaxed in the same gesture.
  151.  
  152. "Well, Hisao, it's settled then."
  153.  
  154. "What's settled?"
  155.  
  156. She gets off the locker and pushes past me, using her forearm to corral me down the hallway.
  157.  
  158. "We're going into town."
  159.  
  160. Well, I'm pleased at this turn of events, but it's a Thursday. Don't we have class?
  161.  
  162. "Don't we have class? It's a Thursday."
  163.  
  164. She turns around mid-strike, her previously fast pace down the hallway halted mid-step.
  165.  
  166. She rolls her eyes at me, again shrugging her backpack higher on her shoulders.
  167.  
  168. "Come on, Hisao, are you the kind of guy who asks a girl out to town, and then backs out when she actually accepts?"
  169.  
  170. Well, when you put it that way….
  171.  
  172. "No… it's just… won't we get into…"
  173.  
  174. "They don't care. Come on."
  175.  
  176. She corrals me again with her forearm, brushing past me briefly as she pushes me gently towards the stairs.
  177.  
  178. With a shrug of my own, I start following the yellow-banded, brown-haired figure in front of me as she strolls down the hallway towards the stairs, a massive black backpack hiked up on her shoulders and her wrists dangling by her sides, a strange rhythm and purpose to her step.
  179.  
  180. I give a small smile.
  181.  
  182. I guess I'm not that kind of guy after all.
  183.  
  184.  
  185.  
  186. "Don't You Worry Child" is a song by Swedish House Mafia
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