Exactly one day had passed since the article in the school newspaper about Yasuda Shota and Revolver had been released. Overnight, Yasuda Shota had become one of the school’s most popular students.
And as the line of girls waiting to give Yasuda Shota a bento stretched out the door, the subject of their affections could do nothing but scratch his head in confusion. “But I really can’t eat this many bento.”
“Well, then have mine!” One of the girls spoke up, pushing her way ahead in line.
“No, mine! I was here first!” Another girl complained, shoving the first girl out of the way.
Yasu, panicking over the fact that a fight was about to start, turned to Ohkura and Maru for help. Ohkura, who only had five bento on his desk, looked slightly disappointed and turned away. Maru, on the other hand, stood up and turned in circles, panicking over what to do.
“Oi!” A voice called, and when Yasu looked up, Subaru was pushing his way into the classroom. “You’re in my way.”
The girls paused in their fight for a moment, glaring at Subaru. He stared back, crossing his arms over his chest, and refusing to back down. Seeing that, the girls started to back away, disappointed.
“I’ll take two today,” Yasu smiled. “And you can take turns bringing them from now on, okay? I don’t want to waste food.”
The first two girls in line stepped forward, and the rest of the girls cooed over how kind Yasuda was. He smiled at the girls, thanking them profusely for the food as he took the bento and set them gently on the window sill.
As soon as the crowd had filed out of the classroom, Yasuda turned to Subaru and mouthed a silent, “Thank you.”
And if Yasu wasn’t paying close attention, he would have missed the smile that passed Subaru’s lips as he nodded slightly.
Yasu felt nervous during class, and had trouble focusing as Murakami-sensei tried to explain algebraic equations using soccer statistics. The main reason he felt nervous, of course, was because he was having trouble understanding Shibutani Subaru.
Yesterday, during lunch break, Subaru had treated him as coldly as everyone else treated him. But the fact that he accepted Yasu’s bento had to mean something. Especially after the note that he left when returning the empty box. When the class ended, and Murakami signaled for the students to leave for lunch, Yasu’s nervousness hit its peak.
“Are you coming?” Maruyama called from the doorway.
Yasu looked up as Ohkura and Maru gazed questioningly at him. “I’ll be there in a few minutes. I want to use the bathroom first.”
They nodded, exiting the room, and soon Yasu was alone. From his bag, he pulled out a note. Setting his empty bento on Subaru’s desk, he gently placed the note on top of it.
He had decided that the easiest way to avoid Shibutani Subaru’s cold attitude would be to leave the bento for him secretly. Yasu thought, wisely, that Subaru must not trust him yet. If he continued to show kindness, Yasu knew that eventually he could win over Subaru’s trust.
He also knew that although Ohkura and Maru had not expressly forbid him to talk to Subaru, they did expect that he would not. For whatever reason Subaru had left, Ohkura and Maruyama had placed the blame of having to withdraw from competitions solely on the ex-lead singer.
Yasuda did not know the full story, nor did he really care to. If Subaru no longer wanted to be part of the band, then that was his decision alone to make. Yasu thought, that one of the most important things in life was being true to yourself and living with no regrets.
And though he knew that befriending Subaru would be discouraged by his new friends, Yasu found himself torn over what to do. In his mind, as long as he was not hurting them or endangering their band, why should they care who Yasu spent his time with?
Pausing at Subaru’s desk, he gazed down at the open notebook on Subaru’s desk. The handwriting was the same messy script that he recognized from the thank you note, accompanied by scribbles and scratched out lines of text.
At first glance, Yasu thought that it was poetry or some type of writing assignment, but as he continued reading the random lines on the paper, he realized that they were lyrics to a song Subaru must have been working on.
He glanced over his shoulder, quickly, making sure that no one was around. Safe from other’s eyes, Yasuda turned his attention back to the lyrics on the page. As he read the lines, a picture of heartbreak and unrequited love filled his head. Guiltily, he stopped reading the lyrics, for they seemed to personal to be shared.
Yasu made sure the note was secure on top of Subaru’s bento before sneaking out of the classroom with his own lunchbox. The halls were deserted, and Yasu, still thinking of Subaru’s haunting lyrics, hurried to the cafeteria.
On his way in, he passed by the vending machine, where Subaru was buying his coffee. Yasu smiled at him and Subaru smiled briefly before looking away.
At the lunch table, Ohkura, Maru and Ishigaki were surrounded by a group of girls. And for the first time in his life, Yasuda Shota would rather be sitting alone in a classroom during lunch than with all these people.
After school was dismissed for the day, Yasuda, packed up his belongings and prepared to leave for the day. Ohkura had cram school on Wednesday nights, so there was no band practice after school.
Yasu found himself feeling slightly disappointed as Subaru fled the classroom as soon as the chimes signaling the end of class had rung. The long-haired boy had made no acknowledgement of the bento or the note that Yasu had left him.
He was glad, as he trudged home by himself, that he had not brought his guitar with him. He was physically and mentally exhausted. For the past twenty-four hours, his mind had been a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings he had never experienced. Balancing his schoolwork, the band, and his friendship with Subaru was proving difficult.
The previous night, he had sat in bed for hours, thinking about how much moving to a new school had already changed his life. Answers used to come easily for Yasu. He would always trust his first instinct as the correct one and had never regretted his judgement.
But the situation with the band and his new friends and Subaru had certainly complicated things. He had no first instinct in this situation, and it confused the hell out of him. He wanted to be in the band. He wanted to be friends with Ohkura and Maru and Ishigaki. That part was easy. But he also wanted to be friends with Shibutani Subaru. And there in lay the problem for Yasu.
Perhaps figuring things out with Subaru would be easier if they could talk. So Yasu found himself outside the music shop for the third time that week, hoping that Subaru would be working that day.
Entering the shop, he felt slightly disappointed that it was just the boy called Ryo behind the counter. “Yasuda-kun!” Ryo called, smiling at Yasu.
“Hello,” Yasu smiled. “It’s Ryo, right?”
And Ryo blushed slightly. “You remembered.”
Yasu nodded, trying to look nonchalant as he looked around the shop for any sign of Subaru.
Ryo, aware of where Yasu’s curiosity lay, smiled. “Subaru had to run out and bring some sound equipment to one of our customers. You’re welcome to wait here until he gets back, though.”
“O-okay,” Yasu stammered, feeling embarrassed that Ryo had figured him out so easily.
Ryo, came around the counter, carrying a box of records to a crate in the corner. “You’re in Subaru-kun’s class?”
Yasu nodded, still feeling nervous and followed Ryo over to a sale bin where he was adding records. “You’re friends with him, right?”
Ryo nodded this time. “We’ve both been working here part time for over a year now.”
“So,” Yasu began, millions of questions flooding his mind now that he found somebody who had answers. There were an infinite number of things he wanted to know about Subaru, things that he felt he could use to get closer. But, embarrassingly, the first thing that came from his mouth was, “Does Subaru have a girlfriend?”
Ryo, paused, turning to Yasuda and burst out laughing.
“Wait,” Yasu sputtered. “I just mean…”
And Ryo laughed harder, doubling over as the door to the shop opened and Subaru walked back in.
“Huh?” Subaru questioned, gazing back and forth between the still laughing Ryo and the red-faced Yasuda.
As Ryo straightened up, trying to keep from laughing, he looked at Yasu. The pleading face, still red with embarrassment caused Ryo to break out into another peal of laughter.
“Whatever,” Subaru said, pushing an empty pallet cart towards the back of the store.
“Shibutani-san,” Yasuda called, tempted to stomp on Ryo’s foot as he walked by.
Subaru paused, his back still towards Yasu. “Are you busy?”
“No,” Ryo answered for him, sensing that Subaru was about to weasel out of talking to Yasu. “He’s free.”
“But,” Subaru began, pointing to the speakers at the back of the shop. “I still have another load to bring…”
And Ryo shook his head, taking the cart. He knew that Subaru must be really nervous, because it was not often that the older boy would turn down an offer to get out of having to do any physical labor. “You took the first load. I’ll take this load.”
“But…” Subaru protested, but when he saw that it was hopeless, he moved to help Ryo load the last of the speakers.
“Just go sit down,” Ryo grumbled, shooing Subaru away. “You’re slow, anyway. It’ll take you a half hour to do what I can do in five minutes.”
Subaru looked mildly uncomfortable as he stepped behind the counter, and Yasu followed him across the room, leaning against the counter as Subaru tried to busy himself sorting out pens and paperclips near the register.
“Hi,” Yasu said, not sure what to say to his classmate. He wanted to ask him about the bento, and the note, but decided against it.
“Hey,” Subaru returned the greeting, still not looking up from his busy work.
“Do you work here every day?” Yasu asked, looking around and trying to ease some of the awkward atmosphere.
“Pretty much,” Subaru commented.
“What about studying and school work?” Yasu asked, trying to find out more about the boy.
He shrugged. “I don’t really plan on getting into college. I’m only going to work as hard as I need to in order to graduate.”
A silence fell over the shop then and not sure what else to say, Subaru pulled an empty bento from under the counter. “Um. Thanks for this…”
“Ah,” Yasu smiled, watching as Subaru nervously held the empty box out to him. “Was it good?”
Subaru nodded, and when Yasu smiled at him, he felt the strange urge to smile back. And then Yasu’s fingertips were pressing against his hands and he felt his face getting warm. He pulled his hands back from the bento quickly, the heat of the Yasu’s hands still penetrating his skin. Blushing profusely, Subaru turned around, his back facing Yasu.
And Yasu watched, slightly amused by Subaru’s reaction, as he pulled his hair up into a ponytail. Then it occurred to Yasu “Hey, how come you got to come back to class even though you didn’t cut your hair?”
“Huh?” Subaru looked confused for a moment, then remembering the events of the first day of class, he continued, “Because it was never a problem before. I’ve kept my hair long for three years and the principal decided that it wouldn’t be fair to start punishing me for it now.”
Yasu thought then, that since Subaru had left Revolver, life had become excruciatingly difficult. In the short three days since school started, Yasu had already seen the signs that Subaru was being bullied. The whole situation seemed unfair. Just because he no longer wanted to be a part of Revolver, Subaru was ostracized by his classmates. He sat alone in the classroom during lunch breaks and avoided talking to anyone. Even Murakami, a teacher, harassed him for something that had never been a problem when he was still popular.
And Yasu tried to imagine what it was like for Subaru before he had left the band. Had he too enjoyed the attention from all the girls at school? Was he as admired and fawned over as Ohkura or Maru?
“Can I ask you something?” Yasu asked softly, leaning across the counter and closing distance the large gap of distance that Subaru had put between them.
Subaru, swallowed, feeling nervous. “Okay,” He answered, his back hitting the wall as he tried once more to put some space between him and Yasuda.
The door opened then, and Ryo entered. He paused, watching the scene with amusement for a moment before pushing his empty cart towards the back of the store. “Don’t mind me,” He snickered.
Yasu backed away from the counter, realizing that the way he was leaning his whole body in towards Subaru might have looked a bit strange to Ryo.
“You were going to ask me something?” Subaru asked, going around the counter with a rag in hand to dust off a shelf.
“Well,” Yasu began. “I can’t help but notice that the kids at school aren’t exactly nice to you.”
Subaru froze in place, “Yeah? Well, there’s nothing I can do about that. If you were smart, you too should at least ignore me.”
Yasu shook his head. “I don’t really care about that. You haven’t done anything to me to make me hate you.”
Subaru didn’t say anything, and from the corner of his eye, Yasu could see that Ryo was eavesdropping on their conversation.
“And,” Yasu decided to continue. “If it’s this bad why don’t you just join Revolver again?”
“What?” Subaru spun around to face Yasu.
“I mean, since you quit the band. Wouldn’t it be easier for you if you went back to Ohkura and Maru and apologized? I’m sure they’ll-”
“Is that what this is about?” Subaru asked, anger leaking into his usually calm voice.
“What? No I just mean-”
“Did Ohkura tell you to do this?” Subaru clenched his fists.
“No! I just thought I’d help you, that’s all.” Yasu countered, a desperate note entering his tone.
“I don’t need any help,” Subaru turned on his heel, stalking towards where Ryo was still watching the exchange. “Just go back to Maru and Ohkura and leave me the hell alone.” With that he walked into the store room, slamming the door shut behind him.
“What just happened?” Yasu turned to Ryo.
“This is bad,” Ryo fretted. “I’ve never seen him this mad before.”
“What did I do?”
“Yasu,” Ryo turned to his friend’s classmate. “Do you really not know?”
Ryo looked at Yasu sympathetically before continuing, “Subaru didn’t quit Revolver. Ohkura kicked him out.”
End Chapter 3
A/N: Sorry this chapter is so short. And that it took so long. Writer's block problems? XD Anyway, hope you enjoyed. I'll try to be quicker with the next update. (Feedback, esp of the concrit quality, is much appreciated).