Whoever decided to have school on Saturday was obviously a very bitter Imperialist who chose to seek vengeance on the future youth of the nation.
That’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.
Chapter Eighteen: A Day Half-Done
If there is some higher power running this joke of a universe, he or she has a very twisted sense of humor. I say this because my Saturday schedule has not only my worst subjects, but also some of my best. One period I’m getting eyed by a constipated math teacher, the next my English skills are being admired.
On the bright side, I managed to have a good night’s sleep for what feels like weeks, though it’s only been a few days.
On the other hand, Mutou-Sensei may or may not be hungover. It’s hard to tell with him, sometimes. The last class for the half-day, the haggard science teacher blearily scrawls some questions on the board with the heading “Group Work.”
Then he slumps down in his chair and plants his head firmly on his desk.
I barely have time to blink before Maiko is crouching next to my desk, forgoing such niceties as a chair in order to work with me.
We’re both terrible at science. This can only end in tears.
Beaming at me, the weary-looking girl grins and asks, “Wanna group together?”
Well, misery loves company, so I shrug and reply, “Sure. Maybe we should ask someone who’s good at the subject to help?”
Tact is not in my vocabulary, apparently.
Impressive considering my efforts at trilingualism, actually.
“…Fair point,” Maiko concedes, “Any suggestions?”
You’re the only person I talk to.
Instead of that, I shrug again and say, “No idea. You?”
Maiko shrugs and looks around, grasping for a lifeline to save us humanities experts from the tribulations of the sciences. After a few moments of scanning the class, she grins and waves over our class rep, Hayato Sonoda, who seems to be wandering around in search of a group. Sonoda waves back and heads for his desk.
Sonoda sits a few seats ahead of me and one row over, so it isn’t too hard for him to scoot his desk into position. Sensei’s started a mumbled series grumblings at the noise of shuffling desks, but doesn’t raise his head.
“Hey, Maiko,” Sonoda greets when he’s joined us, “Hello, Kim. Need a hand?”
Maiko nods and puts on her girliest pout, which is rather fetching when combined with her weary look, “Oh please, Haya-kun, save these poor damsels from the terrors of math with letters in it.”
I guess they know each other.
Not surprising, really; because the classes at Yamaku are mostly ordered by disability, it makes sense that the students in each class would be close. It’s just another layer to the already cliquey nature of high school. That’s what Kenji said, at least.
“Are these questions even in the book?” I ask, flipping to the page numbers written on the board, “I think this stuff is related, but the questions are different.”
Mutou-Sensei perks his head up long enough to state, “Being able to think outside the box is the sign of a true scientist.”
He then puts his head back down, holds one hand up in a thumbs-up gesture, and slowly lowers it. This earns him a few scattered chuckles from several students, Sonoda among them.
How did he even hear me?
Well, Kenji did say that Mutou-Sensei was more observant than he let on.
Sonoda clears his throat to collect himself from his snickering to say, “In other words, these questions aren’t in the book, though they do use these pages as a reference base. So we should probably get started. Maiko, is your penmanship still crap?”
Maiko nods, “Yeah, and Soon-hee is kinda handicapped because I’m in her writing space.”
Sonoda raises an eyebrow at Maiko before he connects the dots. Not a lot of lefty’s around, after all.
“You could move your desk over,” I suggest, “Crouching like that is bad for your knees.”
Maiko adjusts to a kneeling position, which makes it hard for her to see over the desk but also gives me some room so I can write. My penmanship isn’t the greatest, but I can write quickly and still keep it reasonably neat.
“I guess that works,” Sonoda says, “Best get to it, then….”
Unsurprisingly, Sonoda does most of the work, trying his best to lead us to the right answer without spoon-feeding it to us. Maiko’s better at the math aspect, while I’m good at finding patterns and helping balance the equations, so between the three of us we manage to get the work done before the end of class. Barely.
“Thanks for the help, Haya-kun,” Maiko says once the bell’s done ringing –which earns a loud groan from our weary Sensei.
“No problem,” Sonoda says, “All part of the job.”
“Speaking of, I gotta badger some club members,” Maiko declares, and heads back to her desk to grab her stuff.
While she does that, I stand and give an appreciative bow to the class rep, who smiles, nods, and puts his desk back to rights while organizing a cleaning duty detail.
Exempt from the task today, I grab my things and head next door to Class 2-2 to apologize to Shibasaki. She probably get’s enough grief about her condition outside of the school gates without idiots like me adding to it inside.
You’re not an idiot,
I hear Kenji’s voice chiding inside my head.
Maybe not, but I was rude.
Great, now I’m arguing with myself. Doc’s gonna love this.
A few students are cautiously making their way out of the 2-2 class, so I patiently wait for them to leave before entering the room. A quick scan of the room reveals Shibasaki, who’s sweeping the floor while chatting with a male student holding a dustpan.
I carefully weave my way to her left side so she can see me. Along the way I once again think about the contrast between her personality and how she looks in the school uniform. It also makes this a bit easier –I’m apologizing to her student to student, not student to whatever she is in the Club.
I could do without the audience, though.
Shibasaki’s eye shifts toward me as soon as I enter her vision.
“Hey Kim, somethin’ up?” she asks.
“I just wanted to apologize for yesterday,” I say, “I was rude to you at lunch when I didn’t mean to be, and it was disrespectful to you as a guest in our classroom.”
I bow for emphasis.
“What did you do this time, Midders?” the guy holding the dustpan asks, his dull brown eyes blankly not staring into the distance.
Shibasaki rolls her eye, ignoring him and turning to face me –bopping the guy in the head with her broom in the process.
“Do be careful with that,” he says.
“Sorry, didn’t see you there,” Shibasaki quips.
“Anyway,” Shibasaki says, “Kim, could you lift your head? It’s hard enough to look you in the eye.”
Was that remark necessary?
I reluctantly look up at Shibasaki, who looks both flustered and a bit amused. Looking at her is hard right now for several reasons, but I do it anyway.
“You weren’t rude, Kim,” Shibasaki states, “I was just worried if you had a problem with me.”
Not personally, at least.
“Well then there’s nothing to apologize for,” Shibasaki grins and pats my shoulder, which makes me shiver a bit, but she seems to take the motion for relief rather than anxiety.
Or maybe not, because she grimaces and removes her hand, “Anyway, I appreciate the sentiment, and I’m sorry the Captain bugged you with my bullshit.”
“Part of the job description,” I state.
Shibasaki shrugs, “I guess.”
“You done yet?” the guy asks, “No offense or anything, but it’s kinda boring just sitting here not staring off into space.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Shibasaki says, bopping him again with the broom.
“Sorry for keeping you,” I say. Struck by a sudden idea, I voice it before I can change my mind, “Would you like to come by for lunch Monday?”
Shibasaki grins, “Sure, I’ll bring drinks again, too.”
I bow again and leave the room.
I’m not entirely sure inviting her to lunch was a good idea. I mean it was a good idea from an interpersonal relationship standpoint, but it was a bad idea from a I hate having panic attacks standpoint.
Although looking at her hasn’t set me off yet.
Not that I’ve looked at her face for more than I’ve had to.
This I should bring up with the Doc.
If I ever want things between Shibasaki and me not to be awkward, I’m going to have to be able to look her in the eye.
'Fool that I am,' said he, 'that I did not tear out my heart the day I resolved to revenge myself.'
Were I man of less dignified disposition, I’d make a Batman joke here, because he’s the hero we need, not the one we deserve.
Wait, I made that joke last chapter.
Crap… Ilya! We’re going on a field trip! Bring the shotgun!