Prologue: Summer Cicadas
The cicadas chirped from outside the classroom window.
They lazily clung to the trees, playing their intrinsic, yet undoubtedly annoying summertime songs. But no matter how hard they tried, no matter how hard they screeched, shrilled or squeaked, they couldn’t break through the chaos and noise that engulfed this classroom.
I sighed dejectedly, the obvious annoyance rising from deep within my throat.
While I originally wanted to zone out using their particularly persistent insect anthem, it was becoming clearer and clearer that the noise this damn class made was overpowering their quiet melody.
Well, although I complain, it was natural to be this noisy, after all, it was currently a free period, more so, it was the last class of the day, or rather, the last class of the school year. It was quite normal for there to be so much excitement and anticipation looming within a room filled with high schoolers.
It was just that...I was seriously regretting the fact that I forgot my headphones today.
Normally, on days like today or in my case, every day, I’d sit back, at the rear of the classroom, on that one spot in the corner between the back wall and the windows, and wait out the time, hiding my excitement through a stoic facade. I wouldn’t pay attention to anybody around me, and fortunately, the rest of the class would comply, ignoring my existence like I ignored theirs.
It’s not like I was bullied or anything, actually, I liked this particular arrangement.
I was the type that stayed out of everyone’s way. The shadow at the back of the room. I was the background character to a protagonist’s story.
If you said such remarks, they wouldn’t necessarily be false. After all, my own story isn’t really anything to write home about. I was a normal, boring, utterly boring person.
And I was okay with that.
Right now, I can’t help but chide myself for my lack of friends. I had to spend the rest of the class - a whole 45 minutes - alone, with nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs in idle boredom. The alone part I was fine with, it was the boredom that was killing me.
I would have tried sleeping if it wasn’t for the fact that every noise that exited everyone’s orifices, from their talking, farting, to their loud nose breathing, reverberated through the room like a deafening orchestra. I could hear everything, and that seriously annoyed me.
Also, truth be told, I was as excited as any other high schooler at the prospects of the coming summer. As the clock continually counted down the seconds and minutes until the bell rang, the tension that sprouted in my stomach increasingly intensified. At this point, it would be next to impossible to knock myself unconscious in my current overly hyped state of mind.
Once again I seriously regretted forgetting my precious equipment.
Usually, I brought headphones to school.
I had particularly sensitive ears, so I often used them to block out much of the constant noise that flitted throughout the room.
Today, I couldn’t do that, and naturally, my ears drifted to the most rambunctious space of the classroom. To the group of friends who made the most noise, and frankly, to the individuals who annoyed me the most.
At the center, was Kido. I never knew his last name, I didn’t think it was important. Actually, the only reason I remembered his first name, was because he was a seriously annoying guy. A seriously annoying guy indeed…
….whoops. Without noticing, I unconsciously began scowling.
I can’t just let my anger (jealousy) control me that easily. Restraint was important, especially during times of peace. In actuality, I doubt he was a bad guy, it’s just that...
...If I was a background character, then undoubtedly, Kido was the protagonist of this story.
A guy with average grades, average physical fitness… above average face… well, to make things short, he was average, so average it was almost unbearable. I hate to say this, but he was kind of a lot like me.
What made this guy special though was the type of company he hanged around with. Rather than friends, I’d say this annoying type of fellow hanged out with what could easily be labeled as a ‘harem’.
Actually, right now he was with his harem.
A group of three girls, all who flocked towards Kido like lost sheep while he acted as their shepherd.
One of the girls was a childhood friend type of character. A woman with indiscriminately large breasts and a model like figure. She always had on a rather loveable expression on her beautiful face and always doted on Kido like an overprotective mother.
So archetype one check.
The other girls were quite the characters as well. One of them was a bad mouthing, bipolar type of person, who could best be labeled as shy and volatile all at the same time. She was pretty childish, and by childish, I mean her appearance. A rather flat chested and petite person who gave off a cute and cuddly vibe.
Archetype two check.
And lastly, there was the transfer student. Ever since she transferred here 2 months ago, she gave off a sort of ‘mysterious’ vibe, which I interpreted as someone trying a bit too hard. But despite that, she was just as beautiful (and popular) as the other girls. She had long locks of black hair, and was somewhat intelligent.
Archetype three check.
….Really, this guy. He had all three of these girls firmly within his grasps, and I was pretty sure that the new female teacher from across the hall had the hots for him too… they all just naturally flocked to him like cats to catnip.
Really, just how the hell does he do it?
“Ne, ne, ne, Kido! Kido!”
While I was thinking such thoughts, the childish looking girl next to Kido suddenly blurted out with an annoyingly loud voice.
“Hmm? What is it Ami?” Kido nonchalantly asked, his mouth forming a slight smile as his eyes gently narrowed.
[Hoo~, so her name was Ami], I casually nodded to myself as I silently noted.
“What are you doing during the break?” She asked, looking up at him with anxious eyes. The slight flush in her cheeks did not go unnoticed.
Before he could reply, the transfer student who sat idly on the desk suddenly chimed in while simultaneously groping Kido’s innocent arm.
“Obviously Kido’s going to hang out with me. ...Isn’t that right, Kido~?”
She asked in sultry voice uncommon in regular high schoolers.
“A-ah, S-Saya, your c-ch-che….”
Kido’s cheeks were flushed red as he apathetically struggled in her grasps. His lips frantically trembled while the words he wanted to say refused to properly form a coherent sentence. All the while Saya (apparently that was her name) continued to press her breasts rather obscenely against his arm, oblivious of the other party’s apparent distress.
“Hmm~? What was that, K-I-D-O~?” She whispered into his ear, emphasizing each letter of his name.
Seeing this, the childish girl, er-- Ami, pouted, as she desperately struggled to match her competition. She grabbed Kido’s other arm, imitating the transfer student -- I mean, Saya -- as she began pressing his arm against her own chest. Unfortunately, this course of action didn’t have as much of an impact, especially since her chest was rather lacking, more so when compared with her overly developed competition.
A rather lofty giggle escaped from Transfer student (ah, whatever) as Childish girl looked on with a mix of jealousy and embarrassment.
Kido, who stood there dumbstruck, like he always does, did nothing, although, I bet he was secretly enjoying the female contact, that scum, trash, piece of-- oops, control, control.
Anyway, before things could escalate any further, his Childhood friend stepped in and stopped everyone.
She silently hugged Kido from behind while ruffling his head with a delicate looking hand. She had on a contented smile, as she knowingly or unknowingly pressed her mounds against the back of his neck.
“Now, now, girls~” She gently spoke. From the way she started her conversation to the way she took command of the whole situation, it seemed as if she was used to this type of commotion. Her slim neck tilted slightly to the side as she turned her narrowed eyes over to the other girls. With such a domineering presence, it was clear that she was here to remedy the argument.
“There’s no need to fight, after all, I’m afraid Kido’s going to be spending his entire summer with me~.”
Oops, I spoke too soon.
She stuck out her tongue, riling up the other girls even further.
“I won’t lose to you and your monster breasts!”
The other two girls retorted as their eyes blazed with unnatural passion.
Like this, this particular group of people enjoyed their lives like they always did, carefree and with no regard to the others around them.
The girls began horsing around, playfully squabbling over various topics, mostly revolving around Kido, while the man in question himself, being the guy he was, stood there with a weary smile and watched on as they continued to make even more noise.
Things escalated even more when Transfer student suddenly pulled out a crumpled envelope from within Childish girl’s bag.
“Oho~ What’s this~?” She playfully goaded as she flapped the envelope around the air.
“...Uuuu….” Childish girl’s face turned beet red, while her two scrunched up eyes glared reproachfully at both the envelope and Transfer student.
“Ami, you...oh my….” Childhood friend gasped, fully understanding the situation.
The envelope was crumpled, and heavily stained with pencil scratches and eraser marks. What made it stand out the most was the pink heart sticker that sealed the letter tightly closed.
In short, it was a love letter.
“G-g-give it back…” Childish girl stated weakly while her voice cracked numerous times.
Transfer student stopped and thought for a moment. She shifted her eyes from Childish girl to the letter in her hand. Looking at the letter, it was obvious that it was written fairly long ago, indicating that either Childish girl had no intention of ever giving it to the person she liked, or she lacked the confidence to do such a bold deed.
Realizing this, an impish smile formed on Transfer student’s face..
She lightly touched the crease of the letter, showing Childish girl that she had the power to open it at any time she wanted.
Childish girl’s eyes opened in understanding before she bolted forward and ran towards Transfer student. Transfer student laughed heartily, as she too ran around the classroom, leading Childish girl in a chaotic chase around the cramped room.
Unfortunately for me, this brought the pair near where I sat. Childish girl, who was apparently winded from that thirty second marathon, didn’t have as good a control on her limbs as usual, and accidentally bumped into my desk.
The impact caused the only thing I had on my table, an old mechanical pencil, to drop. I promptly picked it up, while a slight hint of annoyance flashed across my face.
“Oh..” Childish girl, who was the owner of the butt that knocked my desk around turned with an apologetic expression.
“S-sorry about that!” She declared while humbly bowing down. Her twin tailed hair bobbed up and down as her face flushed red, and whether that was from overexertion or embarrassment, I had no way of knowing.
“Um..um…” She struggled as she made a complicated face towards my direction.
The transfer student who noticed the commotion (and was actually the one that pushed Childish girl onto my desk), walked over, and began whispering ‘discreetly’ with Childish girl, all the while she directed inconspicuous glances towards me.
“What’s the matter Ami?” She whispered.
“U-um, I accidentally bumped into his desk, so I wanted to apologize.” Childish girl replied, also whispering.
“Then apologize, I don’t get what’s the problem.”
“I-I was going to apologize but…” She shot a glance in my direction.
“I-I don’t know his name….” She whispered at an even more hushed volume, probably thinking I couldn’t hear her.
Unfortunately I could, and no matter how cynical I was, it was still a bit embarrassing to find out a classmate didn't know your name, especially after a whole school year together… although granted, I hardly knew anyone else’s name myself, but still...
“EH~, What’s with that?” The transfer student’s tone of voice returned to its usual octave.
She turned to me, while speaking, “That’s easy, this is...um, this is….uh...”
Hearing her stumbling words, my face unconsciously cramped. When she looked at my face, she made an equally as awkward expression. It seemed like she didn’t know who I was either...
[Damn it, this exchange is just so…]
I could feel my face visibly flush. No matter how hard I fought it, my face couldn’t help but flush at the end of their awkward stares. I wanted so bad to just lay my head down and ignore these two, but I had an inkling that that would just be even more embarrassing.
Before my face could get any redder, Both Kido and his childhood friend walked over.
The childhood friend strutted to the front of my desk, while chiding the other two girls.
“What’s with you guys, you’re acting rude. You’re embarrassing--” She turned to look at me before her face turned rigid..
[Don’t tell me….]
Childhood friend turned to look over at her other two companions, who shared a knowing nod.
While this silent exchange was happening, Kido approached and apologized earnestly.
“S-sorry about that Hide...these girls can be…” He looked over to his harem- group of friends, who all bowed their heads down in apology.
Really, rather than how embarrassing this whole situation was, especially considering the fact that they drew everyone else’s attention, I was more pissed off at the fact that Kido was the only one who knew my name.
Seriously, that was quite a blow to my almost non-existent self esteem. And it only confirmed my growing theory that I wasn’t really all that popular with women...
Anyways, after a few minutes of them ardently apologizing, and me just casting awkward downward glances, they finally left, back to their usual spot in the front of the room.
I sighed and formed a relieved smile. Short term relief washed over me.
Cold sweat dripped down my back.
Although the situation had ended, I could still feel the heat of everyone’s penetrating stares.
Under the pressure of their constant glares, and together with my overactive imagination, my stoic face which I tried my damndest to maintain began to crumble and twitch.
Despite this, I fought the urge to run away or put my head down, or anything that remotely showed signs of defeat.
[I-it completely doesn’t matter that they don’t know my name...]
I struggled against the growing urge of embarrassment while I stared long and hard at the empty whiteboard in front of me. My face was a stiff as a board, while inside my head, a silent mantra repeated.
[It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter…]
Unfortunately, my fragile hormone induced psyche wasn’t as steadfast as I imagined.
I got up as quietly as possible, and while trying to not attract any more unwanted attention, I made my way to the doorway, hall pass in hand and with the restroom as my destination.