Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

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Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by Sharp-O » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:12 pm

“Didja miss me?”

I shake the borrowed umbrella in my right hand out onto the porch while offering up the plastic bag full of snacks to my thankful boyfriend. He sighs with a smile before pecking me on the cheek while I slot the umbrella back into its natural home, a large plastic vase next to the door.

“You have no idea… Shin and Iwanako have been trying to get Takumi involved in the conversation but he’s still not sure what to do.” Hisao offers a concerned frown as he tilts his head toward the living room. This just isn’t going to plan, is it?

Not that it was much of a plan to begin with… Our last day at Hisao’s home was pretty much going to be spent inside, the summer rains returning during the night to punish us for having a few nice, moderately sunny days.

Hisao hadn’t said it out loud but I could tell he was stressing out about the situation between his friends. Can’t say I hadn’t been mulling it over either but I had nothing. Well, not nothing, but it certainly wasn’t a great idea from what I recall.

“Hey…” I broke his concentration with a soft announcement, my eyes drifting from the drenched outside to my boyfriend who lay with his head in my lap watching TV.

“Yeah?” He answered in an almost bored-sounding drone. “What is it?”

I could have just stayed out of it but I really wanted Hisao to feel like we accomplished what he’d set out to do in the first place. Even if it wasn’t exactly what he had in mind.

“I was just thinking about this whole Mai-Iwanako thing… I don’t think you should force the issue. Mai’s stuck in aggro mode and she’s not likely to break out of it. ‘Nako’s happier since you two reconnected and she’s got Shin for support too, soooo… I dunno, I’m just throwing ideas out here.”

“I can’t exactly do nothing, can I?” He said, sitting up.

“I think this is one of those situations where things are always going to be weird. For a while at least. This isn’t a problem you can just fix with a quick patch, senpai. That kind of hurt can only fade with time. Hopefully.” I responded with as much insight as I could offer. This wasn’t something I really had experience with.

“I don’t think that’s going to help.” He muttered quietly. “Not that it could make things worse.”

“I don’t see how…” I said with a sigh. “I mean what’s the alternative? Put them in a room together and let them hash it out?” I offered with an almost sarcastic laugh but Hisao looked up at me with a curious expression. He rubbed his face and looked into the middle distance for a second before speaking again.

“Mai’s made it pretty clear that she doesn’t want to forgive Iwanako, even though I have, and I don’t want to put ‘Nako in a position where she’ll be uncomfortable…” He sighed forlornly, rapping his finger tips against his cheek. “But it’s probably still the best shot I’ve got to sort this mess out. I just want to fix this.”

I tried my best to look hopeful for Hisao but he looked even less convinced than I was trying to be. We’d only have one last night to do damage control on this whole situation and we barely had a plan.

Hours passed and, once they are awake and caffeinated, Hisao let his parents know what he—what we were planning. Naturally, his mom hated the idea but his dad applauded him for being mature and wanting to discuss the situation, shutting down any protests that his wife had. I can only imagine that, once we were out of ear-shot, Mrs Nakai had some choice words about the whole thing.

As soon as Hisao’s parents were out of the door, we began our preparation. It didn’t take long to clean the living room at all, so much so that we were practically pacing while waiting for whoever arrived first. Takumi was first, then Shin and Iwanako arrived and I opted to get us all some snacks while Hisao spoke tried to get his friends on board for what could ultimately be a failed intervention. Or a cat fight.

Hisao and I return to the living room, only to be greeted by three pairs of eyes looking desperate to escape from the awkwardness of being in the same room as one another.

“Hey, Rika! I hope my umbrella helped!” Takumi is the first to talk, probably hoping he can talk to me rather than his alienated friend.

“It did, thanks. What’re you guys talking about?” I smile graciously, even taking a seat next to him just to try and make him feel comfortable.

“Oh, y’know… What we’ve been up to over the summer…” He answers sheepishly before looking at Hisao.

“Sorry we haven’t had the chance to hang out, sir. You know how my dad gets in the summer…” He groans before straightening up and putting on a stern face and a gruff voice. “I’m gonna drill a work ethic into you yet, boy! No son of mine is gonna be a neet!”

Hisao and his friends laugh while ‘Nako and I look on in only mild amusement. At least I’m not the only one left out of the joke.

“I get it, don’t worry!” Hisao reassures Takumi, brushing some stray hairs out of his face. “Have your parents been on your case about university like mine?” He looks around at everyone, trying to get everyone involved.

“I think I’ve been doing odd jobs for damn near everyone in town. Granny keeps pimping me out to her widower friends to do yard work. I don’t want to see another lawnmower for the rest of my life!” Shin complains with a comically bored mime of pushing a lawnmower back and forth.

“Oh c’mon, Shin! You were probably a nice bit of eye candy for the dusty old crones.” Iwanako chuckles, playfully nudging him with her elbow. “I bet you’re a right little heart-breaker!”

“You know a thing or two about that, ‘Nako!” Takumi laughs and everyone else falls deathly silent. Oh my god.

“The fuck you say?!” Shin growls angrily.

“There’s no need for that, Takumi!” Hisao continues and I watch the colour drain from Iwanako’s face as she stares at Takumi.

With all eyes on him, Takumi suddenly shifts gears as panic sets in.

“No! No, no, oh shit, not l-like that! I just m-meant-” Takumi didn’t even get to stammer out an apology before ‘Nako had bolted for the door on the verge of tears and Shin had gotten out of his seat ready to deck Takumi.

“I can’t believe you’d say that, you little dickwad!” Shin lunges toward Takumi, making him fall back onto the sofa with his hands up.

“No! I j-j-just meant, l-like, before! When she was super-popular!”

“God, just stop!” Hisao grumbles, holding Shin’s arm to stop him from going any further.

“Everyone was joking around! I didn’t think about it that way!”

While the boys are arguing amongst themselves, I leave the living room and look up the stairs as I hear the bathroom door snap shut. I tread softly up the stairs and take the few steps toward the door, hearing the tell-tale sound of loud sniffling and choked-back tears.

“Iwanako?” I ask while softly rapping on the door with my knuckles. “Silly question, I know but… Are you okay?”

“Isniffw-will be. S-s-sorry.” Her faint voice calls out to me. “I d-d-didn’t expect that from T-Takumi…”

“I don’t think anyone did…” I answer honestly, before taking a few steps toward the landing rail to hear the faint sounds of a loud, heated discussion still going on. The soft click of the door opening behind me draws my attention back to Iwanako, her face red and puffy.

“Are th-they still…?”

“Don’t worry about them. Let’s get you some fresh air.” I place my arm delicately around her shoulder and guide her towards Hisao’s room. I open the door and enter but Iwanako stops at the threshold. Her eyes dart around the room before settling on me.

“I d-don’t think I sh-should…” She whimpers, shrinking back a little. I give her a reassuring smile and motion for her to follow me.

“It’s okay, Hisao won’t mind.”

Iwanako nods and takes a tentative step forward, closing the door behind her and into a world she probably never thought she’d see — Hisao’s bedroom. The weirdness of me, Hisao’s current girlfriend, inviting his ex-girlfriend into his bedroom isn’t lost on me.

It might seem odd to do this but this whole darn situation is odd. I slide the door open to Hisao’s balcony; the cool, wet smell of freshly falling rain wafts in and Iwanako stands beside me. She inhales deeply through her nose before letting out a long slow breath from her mouth. She repeats the motion then allows a smile to creep onto her face.

“This is so weird…” She chuckles as she wipes her face with both hands. “I never thought this would be how I saw Hisao’s room.”

“I know what you mean.” I laugh, taking a deep lungful of fresh air before looking down at the dividing line of wet and dry cement in front of us. “I expected you to be a lot different, y’know.”

“Oh? Thought I might be a uber-bitch rival?”

“Yeaaaah,” I look at the girl beside me with no hint of malice or hate. If anything, I feel bad for her. You could even say that I like her. “I expected I’d end up fighting for Hisao’s honour or something.”

“For what it’s worth, I was a little jealous when I first met you…” Iwanako admits quietly. “I didn’t expect Hisao to come back from his new school with a brand-new girlfriend in-tow, let alone someone who is like him. Someone who can help him.”

“I haven’t helped that much…” I don’t think I have anyway. My condition is fairly easy to manage once you know the ropes, much like Hisao’s.

“Considering what he was like when I last saw him in the hospital? I’d say you’ve done a lot. He’s so much like his old self but at the same time…”

“Different?” I offer and she nods.

“Is that weird to say? I don’t mean it in a bad way it’s just-Gah, I don’t even know. He’s still Hisao but not my Hisao, if that makes sense?” Iwanako furrows her brow, trying to make sense of her own thoughts.

“Kinda. You’re used to vanilla Hisao and now he’s just a different iteration.” New Hisao Plus. Super Hisao II Turbo. Don’t ruin this tender moment by saying those out loud, Rika…

“When I had the chance to talk to him alone… For the first time since before the heart attack, he seemed like the Hisao I knew. And that, the way he tells it, is all down to you treating him like a regular person rather than an invalid.”

I smile as my cheeks turn red. Iwanako’s earnest compliment fills me with a kind of pride that I haven’t really felt before. I mean, I’ve just been hanging out with Hisao like I would anyone else. Then we started dating and it felt so natural for both of us and… Heh, I guess I’ve been more helpful than I thought.

“Can I ask you something, Rika?” Iwanako looks at me with big curious eyes and I nod with a smile. I can’t deny her that! She scratches her forehead with a slightly bemused smile.

“Ummm… What’s… No, never mind!” Iwanako begins but turns around and walks toward Hisao’s bed, clearly flustered.

“What is it?” I chuckle, following her lead.

“It’s silly! Just pretend I didn’t say anything!” Her manic expression and spastic waving of hands as she sits on Hisao’s bed just makes me want to know more! This must be what Fuuka feels like when I don’t tell her things.

“C’moooon!” I tease, bouncing onto the bed beside her. “Just between you and me.”

She purses her lips and looks down at her feet, her hands gripping the edge of the mattress tightly.

“Wh-what’s… Is… Is Hisao a good k-kisser?” She asks quietly as her face turns crimson.

“You mean you guys never…?” I ask in a hushed voice and she shakes her head vehemently. Wow. I would have figured they’d have done at least that but then I remember what Hisao said about their ‘dates’ in the hospital being less than awesome.

“Okay, um… How do I even say this? I’ve only ever kissed one other guy for comparison so I can’t tell you what his technique is like but…” I can feel my own face getting redder now. “It’s nice. Really nice. It makes me feel all tingly. Like electricity.”

“R-Really?” I nod and we sit in silence for a few seconds, both not willing to look each other in the red face. I hope she doesn’t ask if we’ve gone further because I reeeally don’t want to get into that fiasco…

“That does sound nice… Did he ever tell you what happened when I tried to kiss him? In the hospital?” She offers with an almost amused smirk.

“N-no. He said that you spent a lot of time talking and holding hands but…” I remember a story he clearly didn’t want to tell.

“Well… Let’s just say it was the final nail in the coffin of our relationship. I pressed too hard on the issue, tried to get him to do something he wasn’t ready for… Trying to make it up to him I suppose, and I ended up hurting him. Again. Insult to injury, I guess. I… I just wanted to show him that I still cared.”

“Oh…” I don’t think I can take much more of this emotional rollercoaster. The more she talks, the more I feel like I’ve stolen Hisao from her…

“But I’m glad, y’know? That he found someone like you that he’s comfortable with.” She sniffs loudly, running her hands over her face and back over her hair, painting on a friendly smile.

“I-I honestly don’t know what to say to that.” I offer but before I can think of something more profound to say, Iwanako has pulled me into a hug. Her arms tighten around my shoulders.

“Look after him, okay? Can you do that for me?” She whispers and I freeze.

“I’ll, uh, I’ll do my best?” Is all I can muster, patting her gently on the back.

“I hope so. He’s a great guy.” She says forlornly. I’m about three seconds away from just throwing Hisao at her when a knock on the door interrupts us.

“Rika? ‘Nako? Are you guys in here?” Hisao. Perfect timing. Or not. Would the sight of us on his bed look like a tender moment or every teenage boy’s most sordid fantasy? Oh god, what if we trigger an episode…

“Yeah, we are, come in!” Iwanako, why? Thankfully she lets me go before Hisao appears from behind the door with Takumi looking guilty as sin. So he should, too!

Hisao motions to Takumi with stern look that I’ve never seen before. Is this Hisao legit angry? Takumi takes a couple steps forward before bowing so deeply his head could probably touch his knees.

“I’m sorry, Iwanako. I said something awful without thinking, and I cannot apologise enough. I hope I can make it up to you somehow!” He announces and my eyes drift to Iwanako who looks surprised. “I was-”

“Okay, okay, I get it, Takumi! Just… Stand up before you pull your back out or something!” Iwanako hastily says and Takumi does as he’s told, his face beet red, probably from a combination of embarrassment and gravity.

“I’m really sorry, ‘Nako. I was a complete ass-hat!” Takumi continues to apologise but Iwanako is quick to respond.

“It’s okay. You don’t have to put on this song and dance for Hisao’s benefit. If you hate me like Mai, I understa-”

“Hate you? I don’t hate you. Sure, I was angry in the beginning but what happened wasn’t your fault. I know that! I just… Opened my mouth without thinking.” Takumi looks down, rubbing the back of his head.

“Really?” Iwanako frowns. She doesn’t seem to be buying it, Takumi. If you’re sincere, you better make a good argument.

“Look, I know I hang out with Mai but that’s only because she’s still struggling with what happened to Hisao. She’s got…” Takumi glances back at Hisao before shaking his head. “Issues. Point is; I don’t hate you and I certainly don’t think it’s cool that you’ve taken all this shit. It’s wrong and I’m sorry if I made it seem like I was against you. I’ve always thought… I always thought you were pretty awesome.” He finishes, looking up with a sincere smile. Awwww!

“Oh! Um, thanks?” Iwanako’s bemused expression almost matches Hisao’s. Clearly this was a surprise to him too! “I appreciate the apology, Takumi. It was very sweet and I hope we can be friends.”

Ouch. He seems happy with that answer but that is a classic case of being shot down if ever I saw one. Not that I have but I’ve heard it can be brutal! Still, at least that’s one more on-side. Now for Mai…

We all end up downstairs again to find Shin on the phone having a heated argument with who I can only assume is Mai, herself.

“-Just like old times, the whole gang’s here! We’re just waiting on you.” He acknowledges our return as we take seats on the sofas; me and Hisao on the large one closest to Shin and ‘Nako and Takumi on the more intimate two-seater.

“Yeah, Rika’s here too.” He pauses for a moment. “Well, yeah, she’s here too. No, we talked about this the other night, Mai. You have to move past this. No, this is the same old BS and you know it! Hisao wants you here, we all do, but as usual you have to be difficult about it!”

“Shin, maybe it’s not best to-” Takumi tries to interject but is cut down by Shin speaking into the phone again. “If Takumi can get along with her, so can you. You know what, if you don’t get your ass here in the next five minutes, we’re coming over to get you. All of us!”

At this point I can practically hear Mai screaming down the phone at Shin, who looks annoyed more than anything else. Are we really going to Zerg rush her house? “Well if you’re not going to listen to reason… You’ve got five minutes. See you soon.”

And with that, his flip phone is snapped shut dramatically. He pinches the bridge of his nose with a groan before looking at Iwanako and Takumi.

“You two good now?”

“Um, yeah, we’re good… Is getting her all riled up the right idea, Shin?” Iwanako asks, giving voice to our collective concern

“Trust me, despite her attitude, she’s not going to let us give her grief on her Mom‘s door step.” Shin rolls his eyes with a smirk.

“Wow, that’s cold, man. You know her Mom’s sick…” Takumi frowns slightly.

“Shin, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with going over there…” Hisao mutters.

“Just… wait, okay?” She’ll show up. Trust me.” Shin assures Hisao.

After five awkward minutes or so, Mai still wasn't amongst us. There was more talking about what we should do. We didn’t go to her house. Instead; we ate snacks, told stories and jokes, and ended up having a pretty fun time. Hisao and his friends and me.

But despite the smiles and laughter, Mai’s absence was felt. I could tell it was playing on Hisao’s mind the whole time, because it was playing on mine too. Mai might not have come around but she could, given time but it wasn't going to be right now. Iwanako seems happier though and Shin and Takumi can hang out again…

Not every fight is a fight you can win; sometimes the best you can hope for is to take a round and that’s enough.

Author's notes: So, did you miss me? Hey, guys! Long time, no post. Been through a fair amount of shit since I last posted and had several little stories on the backburner that I've been picking away at but I felt now was the time to get back to it and finish this story up for people. More chapters will be on the way (in between marathon sessions of Mass Effect) and thank you, Zerobos! Welcome to the boards and thanks for checking out my story. See y'all soon!

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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by AlexFDSR » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:18 pm

It liiiiiives!! It's good to see you back, Sharp. Can't wait to see where the story goes.
If Iwanako had a route, would the tagline be "Can you find it in your heart?"

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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by azumeow » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:12 pm

Well...Mai certainly isn't winning anybody over to her side of the argument acting like that...
"I don’t want to be here anymore, I know there’s nothing left worth staying for.
Your paradise is something I’ve endured
See I don’t think I can fight this anymore, I’m listening with one foot out the door
And something has to die to be reborn-I don’t want to be here anymore"

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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by Dash9 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:07 am

Wow Sharp, that's one hell of a return. The chapter came out great! I love the parallel between the first line in the chapter and the author's notes, and yes, we did miss you.

Welcome back,

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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by Alpacalypse » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:10 am

Damn, did not expect this. Good to see you back, Sharp-O! :D
I am the harbinger of your destruction... By herbivorous, mountain dwelling quadrupeds... fear me
I also write now, apparently. Since everyone else does it, I'm putting it here
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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:11 am

And another story makes its comeback after an extended hiatus.
Seems there's a lot of that going on recently - welcome back!
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by TubaMirum » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:50 am

Yes! My favorite Rika makes a comeback after her own little hiatus! Though that said, this chapter was a bit on the serious bit stilted side. Makes sense considering it's all new territory for the poor girl... Both the poor girls? :(
Gustav Mahler wrote:If you find you're boring your audience, go slower not faster.

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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by MajorMadness » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:25 am

I was so happy to see an update for flutter in my email, now I'm more ecstatic after reading this chapter! Love how this story is going to pan out and glad you are still going strong mate! Keep up the fantastic work!
Trying to explain katawa shoujo to someone without them giving you the *oh its porn* look is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by Hoitash » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:54 pm

Huzzah! Glad to see you back and writing :). I missed genki Rika.
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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by emi » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:01 pm

Love your writing, just caught up.
Emi > Misha > Miki > Suzu > Lilly > Hanako > Rika > Saki > Rin > Shizune
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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by Feurox » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:40 pm

Oh Sharp-O, good you're back buddy. You know I always show up too late for anymore constructive criticism. But you also know I think your writing is superb so really, if I leave a comment on a forum, and no one needs to see it, did I really comment?

I did. And this is good.

As per. Glad you're back man :)

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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by Zerebos » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:59 pm

Sharp-O wrote:“Didja miss me?”
Absolutely, Sharp :wink:
Sharp-O wrote:New Hisao Plus. Super Hisao II Turbo. Don’t ruin this tender moment by saying those out loud, Rika…
She definitely should have said these out loud. :lol:

Great chapter of course and welcome back Sharp! Hope everything is on the right track for you now!

Also thanks for the shoutout in the author's note.

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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by Edible_Funk » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:02 am

Great chapter! Hope things are going well for you man.

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Re: Flutter - Level Twenty One: Footsies [25/3/17]

Post by Hesmiyu » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:43 am

And so another arises
A phoenix, from the ashes.

Welcome back Sharp-O. Sometimes struggle with words so I'll say just this; great chapter 😊
The line below is false.
The line above is true.

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