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Gateways to Casselonia chapter 1
It was late afternoon in the Adachi Ward Public Highschool and club activities were coming to an end. Those who remained on campus were picking up after themselves. Like the baseball club for instance. Club members were gathering their bats, catching mitts, and other equipment to put them back in the storage rooms next to the field. All under the yellowing sunset sky above, crows cawing in the distance.
On the fourth floor of the school building outside of his classroom near the windows that looked out onto that same baseball field, was Sorata Honda, a senior of the Adachi Ward Public HIghschool. He was mingling around on his smartphone while his three friends to his right were hyping about tomorrow's senior-class field trip.
It's not that he wasn't excited about the field trip to a wooded area in neighboring Saitama prefecture, he was actually looking forward to it to be honest. But his friends had been talking non-stop about how they were going to have fun with each of their girlfriends at the trip since the day before, and Sorata, because he was the only single guy in his group of friends, couldn't really join in on the conversation.
So with that said, he just pretended to do something important on his phone when he was actually waiting for his friends to call it a day. "Hey Sorata, let's go home now!" Sorata's childhood friend Takeru called out to him as the talk about tomorrow's field trip died down for the moment.Takeru had this kind of "cool guy" vibe to him, so to speak. He wore his uniform unbuttoned most of the time, and the white dress shirt underneath untucked. His slick black hair came down to mid-neck level and his front bangs almost covered his eyes, the frames on his glasses matching flawlessly with his overall style.
Sorata retorted and nodded his head. He proceeded to slip his phone into the pocket of his black chino pants and grabbed his school bag to finally head on home. "Hey, I hear we're gonna have a barbecue as soon as we get there. Sounds like fun, don'tcha think guys?" Sorata's friend Tsutomu asked the group as they all trekked down the stairs.
"Really? I think we should have it as soon as we're done hiking to build up an appetite. That way we won't have people leaving loads of plates half eaten. Honestly, and then they're gonna have to throw out perfectly edible food." Sousuke, another friend of Sorata's and the tallest of the four, let his concerns be known over what he feared could turn out to be a wasteful disaster. He was the kind of guy who always offered a kind smile to anyone, no matter who it may be.
The boys continued talking about the trip, but now it wasn't about girlfriends or kissing, or going over to the other groups to meet up with their girlfriends behind the teacher's backs. The topic this time was more wholesome relating to the hiking activities and fishing that was scheduled for the trip. Sorata felt more like he was part of the group now and smiled on as they walked down the stairs together.
On the first floor of the school building near the entrance, the sun's orange rays peeked in through the glass doors and casted shadows upon colliding with the shoe lockers where students would change into their school shoes and vice-versa when going home. There was an open hallway there too, where the arriving students used as a means to go either to the West building or the East building of the school, depending on their grade level. In that same hallway was a group of four girls walking over to the East Building. Among the quartet was a girl with long, black, shiny hair, walking one step ahead of her three friends like if she were their leader.
The group seemed more of an entourage than a group of friends because of how in-sync their walking patterns were in relation to the long, black haired girl. Nevertheless, as they were walking the hall, chatter about the school trip the next day echoed throughout the entrance of the school building."Hey, Mizuki." Hearing her name called out, the girl with long black hair turned her head and glanced back at her friend whose arms were raised in eagerness to be lent an ear. " We were thinking, like, we should totally sit in the back of the bus tomorrow so the teacher won't see us talking while he's giving his boring speech about safety before the trip. You know how you're the student council vice-president and all that, so there's no way Mr. Isshiki can say no to you."
Mizuki, the girl with the long black hair, smiled raising her left hand up to shoulder length with the palm of it facing upwards, cracking a pitied smile. "Truly a shame, but as much as I'd like to sit in the back with you all and avoid listening to the field trip protocol, we unfortunately have a seating arrangement for the trip tomorrow. The student council, myself included, all decided on that." She said with a high and mighty tone in her voice.
Upon hearing this new revelation, the enthusiastic expressions on the girls' faces turned to frowns accompanied by sighs and groans of discontent. "Ughh, come on. Can't you do anything about it?"
“Yeah! Since you are the vice-president of the student council you can be exempt from it and help us too!"
The three girls looked at Mizuki anxiously, hoping that the fact that they were friends with the vice-president of the student council, they could convince her to use her authority in their favor. "Sorry girls, but like you just said, I am the vice-president. Besides, there wouldn't even be enough time for a rule change in the first place, and doing so would only bring me trouble." The harsh reality was hard to accept for Mizuki's friends as they rolled their eyes at her.
Mizuki continued her speech after a short pause. "But don't fret girls, since this year is our last year attending Adachi Ward Private High School, I will take into great consideration your requests regarding our last school festival as a way to make up for this." Mizuki flipped her hair majestically with her right hand as she finished speaking. She knew that promising her friends the best school festival experience for their senior year would completely change her image from "dream crusher" to "savior" in the eyes of her friends. Needless to say, it worked like a charm.
"Awww, as expected of our senior class idol Mizuki Amamiya!" "Not only are you the most beautiful but you're the most pure at heart!"
Mizuki's friends squealed in excitement, and their eyes shined with the utmost joy and admiration, almost as if putting the vice-president on an Olympic pedestal. Mizuki turning her head forward again, she gave a very proud smile and placed her right hand on her chest. "Oh, you girls are too kind to me!" She basked in their praises, making her ego grow more and more. Mizuki was the kind of stereotypical rich girl with the financial power and physical power at her disposal, meaning she could use her good looks to get just about anything she wanted. Her grandfather was mayor of Adachi Ward and her father and mother both ran a large company in the middle of the city, so it was obvious that she would end up a self-centered person, most seventeen year-olds with that kind of background were bound to have some sort of narcissistic disorder.
Sorata and his friends were now on the first floor of the school building. They stopped only a few steps before turning to the right where the shoe lockers were. Sorata was in front of the group now and heard Takeru call out to him. "Hey Sorata. Now that I think about it, you're the only one out of us who's still single and all. Which brings me to my next question. You've never told any of us but ... Isn't there a girl you like?"
Sorata stopped walking and turned around only to see that his friends were smiling mischievously at him. Whatever his answer entailed, he knew some form of teasing would spring up because of it. Those grins and smirks called for a recipe for disaster. So being asked this particular question always made people uneasy, and Sorata was no different since he was much more introverted than his friends. They were curious about what he had to say, but their smiles just made the connotation of the question much harder to answer for him.
He turned his eyes away from them while seriously contemplating whether or not to be honest about his feelings. Even though they had all been good friends since the beginning of junior high, Takeru being the exception since Sorata and him had been together since kindergarten, Sorata never really mentioned any of his love interests to his friends.
And now that he was thinking about it, he figured how weird it was that he never talked to them about the girls he had ever liked. They were his best friends after all, so even introverts like him could speak their minds to their closest friends right? He went on to hesitantly mumble, "The girl I like is...A-Amamiya-"
Before he could even finish saying the girl's full name, Takeru abruptly interrupted with his own conclusion "Amamiya Kana!"
"Huh?" Sorata looked at Takeru as if asking him why he would be so rude as to cut him short, but huh was the only thing he could say because he wasn't expecting to be interrupted, or at least as fast as Takeru had just done to him.
"Amamiya Honoka!" Sorata's friend from junior high, Sousuke, blurted out the name of another girl with the last name Amamiya, thinking it might be her.
"No that's not-"
"Amamiya Christina! The half Japanese half American girl!" Sorata's other friend from junior high, Tsutomu, took his chance at guessing the girl whom Sorata liked.
"Amamiya Ayane!" Takeru guessed again but with the wrong Amamiya. "Amamiya Misao!" Sousuke came in once more but he was wrong. "Amamiya Junko!" The three boys were taking turns at guessing which girl with Amamiya as a last name was the right one. "Amamiya Yoshiko! Amamiya Yuki!" But as you might've guessed, there was no chance ever of that many Amamiya's attending the same school, so why were they spouting out random names to begin with? By now he figured they were just randomly calling out first names, adding Amamiya to make it seem legitimate. Every first name they mentioned never even came close to the actual girl's name whom Sorata had a crush on.
Sorata was now feeling annoyed by the fact that his friends seemed to be messing with him, not taking him seriously at all, nor giving him the slightest opportunity to give an answer to their question. To be honest, Sorata felt it was the right time to tell them about his love interest at first, but now his friends were getting on all his nerves and he knew he had to shut them up NOW.
"Dammit you guys, shut up!! Besides, just how many girls with the last name 'Amamiya' do you think there are in this school anyway!? This is just teasing on your part since you all have girlfriends and I don't." He came in flaring and shot them down swiftly, but no t enough to completely seal their lips.
"But Sorata..." Takeru looked at Sorata with almost a dead look in his eyes, as if he had just seen the gates of Hell. He stretched out his arms and put them on Sorata's left shoulders only to grip them tightly. Sorata flinched slightly upon feeling Takeru's firm grip on his shoulder, making his skin crawl out of creepiness. "You don't mean... you like, Amamiya-" right before Takeru could finish, Sorata interrupted him just as he had done a few moments earlier in a slightly more fed up voice as a way to show Takeru how it felt to get interrupted "Amamiya Mizuki! The girl I like is Amamiya Mizuki!" A smirk ran along Sorata's face. He felt a deep pride in his declaration and the way he said it without showing any signs of hesitation.
With this, he showed his friends just how much guts he had in him and he could bet every damn yen he had saved up since he started saving since his junior high school days from allowance money and part time jobs he took on in the summers, that they would be blown away.
Unfortunately though, Sorata was dead wrong. He had anticipated to be looked upon by Takeru, Sousuke, and Tsutomu alike with praise in their faces but instead the boys stood in silence for a few seconds and immediately burst out with laughter. Takeru tried keeping in his laughter by covering his mouth with his hands, but it was useless. Tsutomu and Sousuke looked as if they were about to fall over from laughter, but they used each other as support to keep it from happening and as a result, Sorata turned around as quickly as he could, red faced and wishing he could disappear on the spot.
"Y-yeah... some friends you guys are."
"Oh come on Sorata. We weren't expecting it, that's all!" Takeru wrapped his left arm around Sorata's neck and pulled him close as a way to show they were still the best of friends. "Okay look. Let me make it up to you then. I'll tell my girlfriend to help us out one way or another in getting Mizuki and you alone tomorrow, I promise. Hell, even these useless cherry boys behind us will lend a hand! Isn't that right, cherry boys." Pointing at Sousuke and Tsutomu with his left thumb, Takeru once again reassured Sorata that he was on his side.
"Hey what the hell Takeru! Weren't you laughing at him too just now!?"
"Says the guy who's practically feeling on other guy."
Sousuke and Tsutomu were not amused by Takeru's little insult to them. Nonetheless Sorata let out a sigh of repentance. He didn't want a little argument to get in the way of what he could accomplish. "Alright fine, but you guys better come around with your promise. I don't wanna see you all ignoring me tomorrow because you're off with your girlfriends. I swear I'll get back at you if you do."
"That's the spirit!" Takeru tightened his arm around Sorata's neck after hearing he would go through with their plan. "Starting tomorrow, our little Sorata is gonna take the biggest step in becoming a man!" The delighted Takeru took his arm off of Sorata, and then without warning, pushed him forward with all his might. Takeru's push was only horseplay between good friends, but Sorata was caught off-guard. Losing his balance, he stumbled wildly in an attempt to regain his footing on the ground.
Sorata was getting closer and closer to the corner as a result from being pushed from behind by his friend. If he made it past the corner, he would be in the hallway connecting to the shoe lockers at the entrance of the school. But it seemed he might not make it past the corner. Not because he was recovering from the push, but because someone else was now walking past that same corner.
"Kyaaaa!" The sound of a girl's cry filled the hallway.
Sorata's friends looked on at what had just happened. They didn't move a muscle, frozen stiff like popsicles because they couldn't believe whom Sorata had just collided with. By the way the terror had manifested on their teenage faces, Takeru, Sousuke, and Tsutomu were left with no choice but to pray that what had just happened never did.
On the ground, Sorata rubbed his head trying to relieve the pain from the impact. " What do you idiots think you're doing!?" Lifting his head up in the voice's direction, Sorata witnessed two very agitated girls fiercely yelling at his friends behind him. "The hallways aren't a playground for you lowlifes to fool around like this. You're all in bug trouble now for knocking down Mizuki. " That name, that oh-so familiar name Sorata knew so well to the point of making his very heart rate skyrocket just by hearing it alone, reverberated in his ears. In the blink of an eye, he turned his head to the left and saw Mizuki Amamiya, also known as, the most popular girl in the senior class and the girl he liked, on the floor being aided by one of her friends.
Sorata saw as Mizuki's friend helped her to her feet gently, acting as support.
"Are you hurt anywhere, Mizuki? We should probably go to the nurse's office. Just in case there's anything wrong." She closed her eyes and gave her friend a relieving smile.
"I'm okay, really... It's only a small bruise on my wrist." She let her friend see for herself the purple oval-shaped bruise sullying the white skin over where her hand and forearm were connected. The wrist had some minor swelling as well, but still needed to be treated.
The calm voice that came out of Mizuki's mouth then changed into a dark, threatening voice as she looked over at Sorata's friends. She spoke out not afraid to use whatever means to get her point across. "Do you boys not have an ounce of intelligence inside your useless heads!? This is a hallway, not a playground for you to be throwing yourselves around like animals!! What if something worse had come over me other than a bruise? How could you boys take responsibility for that?"
Takeru desperately tried explaining what had happened to Mizuki. He put in the amount of effort into his excuse to not come across as a mere teen who didn't know left from right. Not only that, but out of all his friends, including Sorata, he knew that trying to go toe-to-toe with someone from the student council was essentially the same as him digging his own grave. If he wanted to get out of this mess alive, taking the blame would be his best bet. "Look, miss vice-prez. We never meant to hurt anyone. Okay? This was all just horseplay on my part and I take all the blame. It was my fault. So I promise nothing like this will ever happen agai-" Takeru was then abruptly silenced by Mizuki, bulldozing her way in forcefully to cut him off.
"Shut up peasant! I don't remember giving you any permission to talk! When you're in my presence, you're supposed to look down at the grown and avoid eye contact. Know your place dog!" It looked like the Mizuki that everyone knew was in fact a totally different person once she had snapped. Only her friends didn't have a dumb look of confusion on their faces, they obviously knew about her bad side by now and they knew how to back her up when the time was right.
Mizuki then adjusted her blazing glare down onto Sorata who was still on the ground, almost as if staring directly into his soul through his to frighten the lights out of him. The situation couldn't have been any worse. The girl that Sorata liked was looking down at him menacingly and with disgust, almost like his existence was meaningless in her eyes. And if looks could kill, Sorata might as well been massacred by now and left in pieces like minced meat. "And as for you... you disgusting monkey. Do you not have even the slightest idea who I am? I am the vice-president of the student council: Mizuki Amamiya. And I am the granddaughter of the mayor of this town for your information. So not only do I hold power within the school, but within this entire town as well. Engrave this into that stupid head of yours."
Sorata's perfect image of Mizuki had now been completely destroyed by this point. He didn't want to believe it. The heart-wrenching feeling of disappointment sent him into a sudden state of denial he couldn't fight back against, wishing it was a mere bad dream. But the scene which had unfolded before him was all too real. He was dumbfounded, confused, and scared, all he could do was sit on the ground and take the insults thrown at him by the one girl he liked.
Mizuki spoke to Sorata one last time. "I would slap that ugly face of yours for what you did to me if we hadn't already made body contact. But I don't want to defile my remaining hand to the likes of some dirty old monkey." Following this, she squinted her eyes frighteningly to appear angrier, and spoke with a low voice which gave her a villainous aura of evil. "Now get out of my sight." Mizuki turned her body a full one eighty degrees in a stuck-up fashion to the right and took off walking. Her friends followed suit without wasting a second like ducklings, and now, the most humiliating moment in Sorata's life was finally over.
Standing below the shower head almost lifeless, Sorata turned off the running water. He opened the door of his room, now changed into blue shorts and a black shirt as pajamas, and walked inside. On his desk was his cellphone with a blinking green light which meant he had received a text. He picked it up and turned on the screen. It was a message from Takeru titled: "I'm so sorry!" Next to it was an apologetic emoji conveying Takeru's possible position if he was physically there. Sorata with a blank expression, saw that the message was received at 8:30 pm. It was now 8:42 pm, so it came in while he was showering. The message read: I am so so so so so so so so so sorry!!! It's my fault for pushing you! Please let me make it up to you tomorrow on the trip! The guys and I made a plea that we would do whatever we could to make you feel better! So please, forgive us!!!"
Unimpressed and lacking in emotion, Sorata responded to the message from his friend, "Don't worry yourself over it, forget what happened today." He typed it with a forced neutral response that placed no blame on anyone. He was faking it of course, but he'd rather fake it than create more problems between him and Takeru, though he did want to curse or maybe even give him a black eye or two because of it. Sorata was just that kind of person, he hid his true feelings even from his friends sometimes so as to not escalate any situation and instead kept it all inside.
Sorata hit the send button on the screen and then quickly turned off his cell phone because he didn't want to be bothered by more texts that would require him to remember how he got humiliated by Mizuki earlier that day.
He put his phone back on the desk, turned off the light in his room, laid face down on his bed, and turned his head to the side on his pillow. It was still pretty early to go to bed, but right now that was the last thing on Sorata's mind. He could only think of how Mizuki had told him off because he made her fall and as a result ended up bruising her wrist. By now, he knew that he would never be able to talk to Mizuki, let alone go out with her as a couple, and there was no way he could go back in time to re-do the day. The thought alone made Sorata feel depressed. The girl he had liked, now despised his entire being and he would only be remembered as "the guy that knocked her over and bruised her wrist".
My life is over.
Sorata muttered in a low voice with a blank look that could practically drill a hole into the wall next to him. Soon enough, his eyes became heavy and were blanketed with a sleepy essence that drove him to sleep in no time.