“Lunch like always, Hisao?”
“Sure, catch you later then.”
I give Lilly a small farewell kiss on her lips and go two doors further to my classroom.
I arrive a little bit early to class so only a few students are present. Hanako was one of them. Like always she is so absorbed in her book that her face is practically glued on the pages. She doesn’t even notice that I’m standing right in front of her.
Startled by my voice she finally realize that someone is standing at her table.
“H-Hey Hisao! S-Sorry, I didn’t n-noticed that y-you were here.”
“I could tell. You were so into it, that an atomic war could break out and you wouldn’t notice it.”
Hanako looks down in embarrassment, but suddenly makes a somewhat surprised face.
“Funny, this b-book is also about an a-atomic war.”
“Really? What a coincidence. What exactly is it about?”
“W-Well, it’s about an o-old and scarred s-soldier who is forced to l-live in the metro-tunnels with o-other survivors of an atomic w-war. He is t-trying to annihilate the d-dark threat to protect the m-metro dweller. O-On his way he meets s-some companion, like a y-young girl who he rescued from being k-killed. She accompanies him and t-together they travel the m-metro to defeat the dark t-threat.”
Hanako isn’t very talkative, but when it comes to books she is talking like a waterfall. It’s like that books reveal a completely new side of her.
“I’m not really into this post-apocalyptic stuff. From which author is it anyway?”
“S-Some Russian, I think. I don’t know how to p-pronounce his name.”
I take a quick glance at the cover to find out the author’s name. “Dmitry Glukhovsky”. The only thing I know about him is the fact that I can’t pronounce his name as well.
“Well his name sounds at least Russian.”
Before we can continue our conversation, Mutou enters the classroom and behind him was a young man, probably in the same age as me.
“Morning Class, as you can see we got a transfer student from Germany here. I know it’s a bit late for a transfer, but because of certain circumstances school administration allowed him to attend Yamaku at this time of the semester.”
The eyes of the new student were observing the class with a sleepy but analytical look.
Totally unfazed by situation he is in, he takes a step forward and speaks up:
“I’m Andrei Ivanovich Romanenko, but just call me Andrei.”
Very short black-brown hair, an angular face, slight case of a three-day stubble, relatively broad shoulders and he is way taller than Mutou or Lilly. Comments like “He’s a giant!” and “I ask myself if everything is big on him, hehe.” are whispered by the girls to each other.
His clothes are, how should I call them? Urban? His grey zip-hoody is half-closed so you can see his simple white t-shirt and the dogtag which is hanging from his neck. The loose fit jeans and the white sneakers are also matching to his style of clothing.
His ,somewhat cold, appearance and his slight accent are clearly stating that he is foreign. But I can’t figure out from where exactly he comes from. His accent is surprisingly not German, that’s what I can tell.
“….so let’s welcome our newest classmate.”
An unenthused clapping filled the room.
Apparently, I was so busy with the new student that I completely tuned out Mutou’s voice. I think I even did that when he was introducing me to the class.
“There is a free seat in the last row behind Hakamichi, the class representative. You can go and sit there Andrei.”
He simply nods and makes his way to the seat. I notice that he doesn’t fully support on his left leg so he’s walking with a limb, even if it’s a subtle one.
When he sits down; the limping leg of his is fully stretched. That can only mean that he can’t bend it fully.
“Today we have a group assignment, so please divide into groups of three or four.”
Before even Mutou finish his sentence, Misha and Shizune have laid eyes on their new victim for the recruitment into the student council.
“Nice to meet you, Andrei! I’m Misha and this Shicchan~!”
“So the class rep is deaf, huh?”
While I grouped up with Hanako and the other newspaper club members, I could easily eavesdrop their conversation since we are sitting right next to them, but I also think Misha’s carefree attitude to her surrounding also plays an important role.
*gasp* “How did you know?”
“Both of you were signing the whole time. So at least one of you must be deaf or you like to keep your conversations classified.”
“You are sharp one, aren’t you~? Wahahaha~!”
Misha’s well-known laugh echoed so loud through the class, that the others are already glaring at her. Not caring about their glare, the pink-haired girl keeps on talking with her usual voice-level.
“By the way, are you really from Germany?! I bet it’s fun over there!”
Shizune taps her finger impatiently on the table to get Misha’s attention and started signing to her without giving Andrei a chance to respond.
“Ah, sorry Shicchan but it’s just that he looks so interesting, right~? Anyway, she wants you to know that she’s the class rep, so if you have questions, feel free to ask her.”
As the conversation dies down (or after it bored me), I slowly start to tackle the assignment which is lying in front of me.
It’s nearly lunch-time and we just finished half of the assignment. Mainly because of Naomi and Natsume, who are gossiping the whole time instead to concentrate on the task at hand. It shouldn’t surprise me though, they do that all the time, but what surprises me is Hanako’s lacking concentration. I noticed it for a while now; her eyes are jumping between her notepad and the table beside us. To be precisely, she was eying the new student the whole time.
Now I’m curious.
“What’s so interesting over there, Hanako?”
While I ask her, I turn my upper body to get a better view on the table next to us.
Startled by my sudden question, she gives a really suspicious response.
“I-I-It’s nothing, r-really!”
“If it was nothing, than you wouldn’t look over there, am I right?”
“It’s j-just….that….h-he looks very….i-interesting…”
Hanako’s complexion gets a slight red tone..... and that brings genuine smile on my face. To be honest, I’m a little bit proud of her. She has more confidence than when I met her the first time, even though the difference is slight. It’s better anyway that she make small but safe steps. I’m fully convinced that she will grow to a lovely woman.
“Really? It’s true that he is foreign, so it shouldn’t surprising that he get some attention.”
After taking a closer look at the big transfer student, I notice something unusual about him. He is a picture of calm…. no, it’s more like everything is indifferent to him in some way. He is just staring out of the window and from what I can see he barely wrote down something.
The bell for lunch-time rings and everyone is leaving the classroom. Mutou is trying to say something but sees the futility of his action as his words go in the chattering of the leaving students under.
Hanako and I are heading towards the usual place. While talking about trivial things, Misha’s upbeat attitude echoed through the halls with Andrei in tow. Again, Hanako is looking at the new student longer than necessary. Once more I start to grin. I’m still amazed that this shy girl is actually interested in guys….well I think she always was but now she shows her interest.
Lilly should be very happy with this outcome, she was always smiling when Hanako made progress and with that, she should jump with joy.
We arrive at the tea room before Lilly, so Hanako is preparing the tea while I put the chess board on the table and arrange the pieces for the daily match between her and Lilly. I actually prefer watching them playing to playing myself. First of all I’m not very good at it and second, I enjoy it to see how Lilly’s long, dexterous fingers run across the board.
“My my, you are already here?”
Without us noticing, Lilly suddenly appears at the door, her eyes closed and her lips slightly puckered she is waiting for me to give her a kiss.
Even though we are already together for couple of months my heart is still beating so fast as if it were the first time.
After a long kiss of affection I part our lips because I notice that Hanako is looking at us with a blushed face.
“Good morning, Hanako. Sorry, we got carried away a little bit.”
“Ah! N-No! Y-You don’t need to a-apologize Lilly! It’s good t-that you are still happy t-together.”
Before Hanako is stating more embarrassing things, I direct the conversation into another direction.
“Tea should be ready, so we shouldn’t waste lunch with solely talking.”
Both are simply nodding and we start our lunch.
Our lunch times are usually quiet, the ticking clock and the sound of chess-pieces hitting the board are the only things what echoes through the room, but today it seems to be different.
“By the way, did you know that we go a new student in our class?”
“My, really? What an unusual time to get a new student.”
“More importantly, he is apparently so interesting that even Hanako got an eye on him.”
Just as I predicted, Lilly beams with joy like a little child while checking the layout of the pieces.
However, Hanako is blushing and trying to make excuses.
“H-Hisao! I-I told you it’s n-nothing like that! He is a new student, s-so it’s natural that I-I’m looking at him!”
*click* The pieces are advancing, trying to bring down the enemy king while protecting their own ruler.
“Like you looked at me when I was transferred here? You sure have a thing for new guys.”
While Lilly and I were giggling, she admits defeat and hangs her head to hide her tomato red face. I know for a while now that Hanako had a crush on me. It was my birthday, I think, and Hanako had a little too much wine and she suddenly confessed to me. The next day she was so embarrassed, I bet she would have tried to avoid me. I told her that it was okay and nothing to be embarrassed about. Well it was awkward, but this situation put us even closer and she still loves me. But I think our mutual love is more platonic.
“Well if he is that interesting, it couldn’t hurt to invite him for lunch, don’t you think Hanako? I think it would be amusing to eat lunch with him.”
*click* Hanako losses one piece after another.
“I-Inviting him for l-lunch? I-I-I can’t do that!”
*click* Her pawns are counter-attacking, hoping to gain the upper-hand.
“I think it’s a good idea. I mean he don’t know anyone here so we could befriend him. I was in the same situation and when Lilly offered me her company it was really helpful. And now I’m here; having a beautiful girlfriend and a very good friend with whom I have fun and enjoy my life together. If I didn’t met Lilly and you, my life would be completely different now.”
*click* The counter-attacks are failing. The enemy is closing in, seeking the death of the king.
Suddenly I feel someone’s hand on my cheek and I see Lilly’s smiling face closing in to mine. I turn my face to her and we press our lips together.
“And that’s why I love you, Hisao. You are thoughtful, sincere and always curious about everything and everyone.”
“Didn’t I heard this line before somewhere?”
Lilly and I are starting to giggle, but Hanako is still troubled by this idea and move.
“B-but still! I can’t just i-invite him! *nearly whispering* Not that I don’t want to...”
*click* The pieces are on total defense, desperately protecting the king by all means.
“You don’t have to invite him, but I hope you give it a thought.”
*click* The final piece is brought down, sealing the outcome of this game.
Hanako relaxes visibly as her shoulders slump down and she lets out a big sigh.
“Okay Lilly, I will think about it.”
After checking the situation on the board, Lilly also realize the winner of this match.
“My my, did I really win? I was quite lucky this time.“
The bell for the end of lunch-time is ringing. We pack up and go back to our classrooms.
The sky is already tinted in an orange tone when I leave my room. With a little bag, containing a pyjama, my toothpaste and my daily dose of pills, I am heading to Lilly’s room for our usual get-together. Right before I enter the entry hall, I hear a distant sound of music
This time, I can’t shrug off my curiosity and thus I follow the sound of the louder becoming music. The next thing I see after turning the corner surprises me twice; The fact that I never noticed that there was a basketball court on the campus is already surprising, but the person who is playing on the court surprises me even more.
With a basketball-jersey over his T-shirt, shorts and what I think is a knee brace on his left knee, Andrei is shooting at the hoop from any position while the boom box on the sideline is blasting music.
I am not a basketball expert, but from what I see he really knows how to throw the ball, hitting nearly every shot. Even his ball-handling seems superb, dribbling the ball between his legs and behind his back casually, but there is one thing what disturbs me.
His face is tense; it looks like he is stifling…..pain. With every shot, with every step his face is tensing up even more, but there is no sign that he has quitting in mind. He even pushes himself further as he takes a run-up for, what I assume it is a dunk.
Without hesitation he starts to run towards the basket, dribbling the ball with his left hand. Every step should be painful for him, but he doesn’t slow down. Instead he even put more force into them and takes off. The jump allows him to put the ball from the back of his head into the hoop with ease using both of his hands. The landing however wasn’t as smooth as his dunk. His left knee just give in, letting him fall on the back with quite a force.
For a minute he just lay there, heavily breathing. Before I shout out to him, he stands up with an unexpected grin on his face. With this grin, he limps away with after gathering his things. As he walks away, I faintly hear his voice….
“Right hand in the sky, I put this on the Bible.
I’mma fly high ‘cause I am undeniable.
This is indescribable; take it where you got to go
And I just thought that y’all should know, I am undeniable.”