It’s a huge relief to be done with class for the day. I mean, it’s usually a relief anyways, but especially today. The test this morning went better than expected, but it took a lot out of me, and the rest of the day was pretty much spent on autopilot. At lunch I found that Suzu felt the same - she said she “did well enough”, but also looked like a bit of a zombie. Hisao, on the other hand, looked no worse for wear. Even now, at the end of the day, he still looks pretty good. I guess I’m biased, though.
As the three of us walk to Suzu’s room, I decide that it’s probably good that at least one of us will be functioning during the upcoming conversation. I know roughly what I want to talk about, but I haven’t bothered with the specifics, figuring that I’d just wing it. It’s only now that I wonder if I’m not in great shape to be ‘winging’ anything... Ah well, better to just get it over with. The last thing I want is to delay all of this any longer.
Suzu opens the door to her room, and we follow her inside. She kicks her shoes off into one corner, then sits on the edge of her bed. I decide to sit next to her, while Hisao surveys the room. It’s actually a lot like his own - Suzu isn’t much of a decorator - but there are things here and there that make it distinctly hers. Various books are stacked in small piles against the walls, notebooks and loose paper sit with a folded-up sweater on her desk, and a sizeable collection of stuffed animals populate one corner of her bed. Having scanned over everything, Hisao decides to sit sideways on the chair at her desk, draping one arm over the backrest and facing us.
Not wanting to postpone things any longer, but also not entirely sure how to start, I open with “So, Suzu.”
“Hisao and I... had some stuff we wanted to talk to you about.”
She raises one eyebrow. “Is this an intervention? I know I sleep a lot, but I swear I can stop whenever I want.” Hisao laughs, and Suzu’s face breaks into a smile. I manage a chuckle, but quickly return to thinking about what to say next. Before I can figure it out, however, Suzu speaks again. “Seriously though, don’t worry about it. I already know.”
I freeze, and glance over at Hisao, who looks just as confused as I am. “Huh?”
Her grin is almost unsettling. “Come on, it’s pretty obvious you two are a thing.”
My cheeks suddenly feel hot, and my stomach tightens up. I guess that’s one less thing we need to tell her about. Hisao blushes, and wrings his hands nervously before replying. “Well... yes. We are dating. But we wanted to talk about some other stuff too.”
“Hmm...” She rubs her chin, then looks over at me. “If you’re asking for a threesome, then the answer is ‘maybe’.”
I burst out laughing, and Suzu follows suit. Hisao tries his best to stifle his laugh, but ends up joining us. I takes us all a bit to calm down, but once we do, I realize that the mood has changed. I was expecting this meeting to be very serious and somber, but Suzu’s jokes have reminded me that we’re friends, and there’s nothing to be afraid of. With that in mind, I decide to start the conversation.
“Okay, for real though, there are a few things we’ve kind of been keeping from you. We just wanted to get them all out in the open.”
She looks a bit puzzled, but nods. “Okay, shoot.”
Here goes nothing. “You know that I get phantom pains, right?” Another nod. I take a deep breath. “Well, they’re actually... They’re pretty bad. They’ll wake me up in the middle of the night sometimes, and I can’t get back to sleep until they calm down.” She’s about to say something, but I stop her. “So, way back when I first came to Yamaku, I started going out in the middle of the night and sprinting around campus, because it was the only way I knew how to deal with them.”
Suzu raises an eyebrow. “You’re kidding, right?”
I shake my head. “Nope, I’m serious. Bought a black outfit and everything so the night guards wouldn’t recognize me.”
She gives me a wide-eyed stare. “That is so
I roll my eyes, though I do feel a little flattered. “No, it was stupid, which is why I don’t do it anymore. It took me a while to realize that, partly because-” I consider talking about the time I ran into Hisao, but decide that it’s a relatively minor detail - he can bring it up if he wants to talk about it. “Because of Hisao. Speaking of which...” I gesture towards him, giving him his turn to talk.
Looking a little apprehensive, he begins. “I mostly just wanted to talk about why I’m here at Yamaku. I’ve got a heart condition, so being hit in the chest or exerting myself too much could cause a heart attack.” He stops for a moment, thinking of what to say next, but gets interrupted by Suzu.
“Wait, wait - the week you got here, Miki said you were a runner!” She shoots me an accusatory glance.
Hisao grins sheepishly, taking the heat off of me. “Actually, that first week, I kind of was. The nurse wanted me to start an exercise regime, so I started running, but it, uh... It was a bit too intense for me.” He points to me. “I ended up doing cooldown walks with Miki instead, which is more my pace.”
“Ah, okay.” Suzu nods. “And I’m guessing that’s how you two got to know each other so well?”
I don’t feel nearly as embarrassed at this second mention of our relationship, but I’m still glad when Hisao answers and I don’t have to. “That’s part of it. The other part is that my medications cause insomnia, so there were a couple of nights where I couldn’t sleep and Miki was up with phantom pains, and we ended up texting each other.”
“Yeah. I’ve been told that you’re experienced with it?”
Suzu smiles. “You could say that.”
We all sit around for a bit, not saying much, just kind of letting it sink in, until Hisao speaks again. “Well, I think that’s everything, since you already know about Miki and me. We’re trying to keep it kind of low-key for now, though, so...” He trails off as he notices me looking uneasy.
“About that.” I sigh. “Emi knows about us, and once she knows...”
Hisao looks surprised. “You told her?”
“Oh, no, I didn’t say anything. Apparently someone else saw us together on the bus on Sunday, and told her, and then she talked to me.”
Hisao nods, thinking that over, but Suzu is actually the next to speak. “Ah, right, Sunday
I wince. “Sorry. I know I kinda blew you off. But that’s why we decided to have this talk, so that it wouldn’t happen again.”
Suzu nods, then smiles. “Thanks.”
I reach over and pat her on the shoulder. “No problem. I couldn’t just keep my best friend in the dark, could I?”
She chuckles. “You meant you couldn’t do it any longer
I give an exaggerated shrug. “Details.”
Having said all we need to say, the three of us sit there for a bit, before Hisao notices the sky turning red outside. “Anyways, I should probably get going. Suzu, it was a pleasure talking to you.”
She nods. “Likewise.”
“I’ll see you two tomorrow, then.” He waves, and then heads out, leaving Suzu and me alone in her room.
I turn to Suzu. “Sorry again for not doing this earlier.”
“Don’t worry about it.” She waves dismissively. “Just remember that it’s not much of a secret. The part about you two dating, at least.”
“Yeah, I know. It’s gonna take a while to get used to it, though.”
Unexpectedly, Suzu sighs. “Heck, be glad you have something gossip-worthy - some of us have to live vicariously through our attractive friends.” It takes me a moment to figure out what she means, but before I can raise an objection, she continues, with an accusatory eyebrow raised. “Speaking of gossip-worthy, do you and Hisao really just
text when you’re both up?”
“Oh, uh... Well, no, I usually sneak over to his room so we can talk in person.”
“Hmm.” A mischievous grin grows on Suzu’s face. “Right, late-night ‘talking’. I get it.” She winks at me, and I roll my eyes.
“Yes, just talking. Get your mind out of the gutter.” That said, last time I was over, we did engage in a bit of cuddling. Come to think of it, in the context of our last date, we could probably do even more.
Before I can begin to excite myself with that prospect, however, Suzu continues with her accusatory tone. “Right, like that time you two ‘talked’ all night, and you came home the morning after?”
“I-” I guess she did
notice. Whoops. “Fine, I accidentally fell asleep in his room and ended up staying the night.” Her grin remains, and I have a feeling she’s about to continue her inquisition. “Come on, how many times have you fallen asleep in my room?”
“Oh, sure, I’ve conked out there plenty, but I’ve never fallen asleep in my lover’s warm embrace!”
I’m about to contest that, but realize that actually, that’s pretty much what happened. It sounds so strange when she puts it that way, though. “Look, he was very gentlemanly about it. He slept on the floor so I could have his bed.”
Suzu scoffs. “Figures he’d be a prude. I bet you two haven’t even kissed yet.”
I open my mouth to object, caught up in this tiny debate of ours, before catching myself and closing it again. It’s too late, though - Suzu’s eyes go wide, and smiles as she elicits an excited gasp. “You have
I sigh. As much as I expected to share my secrets with Suzu today, I didn’t expect to go quite this far. “Yes, we have.”
I shouldn’t be caught off guard, given how the past minute has gone, but somehow she still catches me by surprise. “What was it like?”
“I mean, it was good, right?”
I sit still for a moment, trying to wrap my head around that. I mean, it was
good, but I don’t really want to have this conversation with Suzu. Instead, I cross my arms. “That’s personal.”
She grins. “I’ll take that as ‘very good’, then.”
Alright, now I’ve had it. I huff, and roll my eyes. “Look, if you’re done invading my private life, I’m gonna get dinner.”
I expect another prod at my relationship, but instead I feel Suzu slowly lean over onto me and sigh. “Sorry.” I turn to look at her, and it’s clear her mood has changed. Now that I’m not on the defensive any more, I realize that I probably shouldn’t have been so bothered by what she said - after all, at my old school, when one of my friends got into a relationship, I’d ask them all about it too. “I’m just excited for you guys. You make a really good couple, you know?”
That catches my attention. I’ve spent the past day wondering about where Hisao and I are headed, and having Suzu vouch for us makes me feel a bit better about it all. “You really think so?”
“Yeah, definitely.” She grins. “I’m only surprised you two didn’t happen sooner.”
I know she meant it as a bit of a joke, but I’m too pleased with her appraisal to care, and I find myself smiling back, before putting one arm around her. “Thanks... that means a lot.”
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