Himeko’s Demise (Pt.4)

Himeko, Kou, and Mei entered the school's library for their lunch break. The room's lull and quiet was a welcoming relief to help ease their tensions from the morning homeroom incident.

No one had noticed their entrance nor cared, since most of the others were seniors focused on their studies for university exams. 

They were able to claim one of the study tables and chairs near the far end of the room, between tall bookshelves.  A quiet corner to bury their worries and tension within their textbooks.

‘Shall we revise algebra?’ Kou whispered to Himeko and Mei and was answered with silence.

‘Okay,’ he sighed, and started reviewing his textbook on his own.

Ever since Duran walked into his childhood friend's classroom, he found himself more involved with Himeko, Aki, and Fumio. Especially, with Mei, whom he had harbored secret, unrequited feelings for since the time he first saw her at the school.  He wasn't sure if Duran and his foundering of the school music club was a harbinger of further troubles. But to him, the man had gifted him with many opportunities to be closer to Mei. The time he had spent with her at the music festival was a treasured and priceless moment he wouldn't forget.

Thank you, Kita and Suzuki. He blessed them in his head, whilst keeping his eyes on the book spread on the table before him.

Since the step-siblings had unwittingly gifted him with so many opportunities, he would help them overcome their present troubles. Of course, he wasn't going to allow bitchy rumors to taint both his memories of that time and Mei's good name.

Footfalls approached. He looked up and saw Aki and Fumio quietly join their table.

Fumio rarely lost his cool. A stylish guy with a razor-cut hairstyle. He rarely showed expression from his dark, almond eyes, except when he was about to gorge on his favorite food. Since he was physically attractive with a devil-may-care and no-nonsense attitude, he attracted a secret following of admirers. Mostly female.

If Fumio was Mr. Cool, Aki was considered a four-eyes short stack with a lively attitude and loose mouth. His eyes were mostly animated with interest on various topics that weren't academic. Like Fumio, he rarely held back his thoughts on matters, like now.

‘Hayashi and his harem. That's what peeps will say when they see the three of you together.’ Aki sighed as he eased into a seat next to Mei.

‘And you don't help matters by saying it, Fujita.’ Mei scolded him with a firm glare, which Aki entirely ignored.

Kou eyed the guys carefully. They had been in Mei and Himeko's life longer than he had, so he wondered if any of them harbored romantic feelings for either. Especially for Mei.  He suspected that Aki could be his rival.  Then again, Aki treated Mei in the same way he did for everyone else. So, he strongly suspected that the two boys weren't even close to being his rival for Mei's heart.

‘Hey,’ he greeted them with a low whisper.

‘So this is where we end up?’ Aki folded his arms over his chest and glanced around the towering bookshelves surrounding them.

‘See it as an opportunity to do maths revision since you skipped class,’ Kou sternly peered at Aki, which made the glasses-wearing boy shiver.

‘Spare me.’ He groaned and slumped forward to rest his forehead on the table.

Fumio poked Himeko’s forearm. She was staring, non-responsive, at her opened notebook. 

‘Right.’ He exhaled. Of course, she would be feeling numb after coming down from her adrenaline rush. The consequences of her actions would hit her. 

The best he could offer was his presence, since he knew Himeko enough to keep his words of comfort to himself when she was still mentally processing stuff. He glanced about the towering shelves hoarding outdated words.

‘I’ll prolly get expelled.’ Himeko heaved a sad sigh.

‘Yeah.’ Kou said and yelped at the firm pinch Mei gave his forearm.

‘Still.’ He added and flashed Himeko a weak smile. ‘You stuck up for Okada. That’s not a bad thing.’

Everyone looked at him, stupefied. Aki glanced at the red, Student Council armband over his long sleeve. 

‘What?’  He frowned at the group, who were still giving him odd looks.

‘I surely didn’t hear an upright, student council member condone a punch to a chick’s face.’ Aki gasped.

‘You’re feeding words in my mouth. Himeko’s actions, although they were drastic, had the correct intention. But, I wouldn’t say they were the right action. There are other ways to shut someone up without the violence.’ Kou levelly explained further.

It made Himeko perk up with a cocky grin. 

Kou groaned and flicked her forehead. ‘Don’t let it get to your head. And you will get in trouble.’

‘What would you have done if you’d heard Nakamura speak first?’ Mei soberly asked Kou, whilst keeping a stern watch for his reaction.

‘Separate her from her pack. A lone wolf is not a threat, but the alpha in a pack is.’ He knowingly answered with a smug expression.

Mei gritted her teeth. ‘And how would you have done that?  Nakamura, Himari, is a sociopathic troll.’

Fumio let out a low growl. He relaxed his voice and expression and placed a friendly hand over Mei’s. ‘Don’t think of it. What’s done is done. Just need to think of other stuff.’

They all nodded and began to talk about other things when a pack of girls stepped up to their table. 

Himeko growled at the sight of the girl they were just talking about. She stood at the center of her group of five girls, who were dwarfed by her smug stance. 

Himari Nakamura looked harmless on the surface with a skinny body, thin frame glasses over typical almond eyes, which balanced an oval-shaped face. Her bob cut framed her small round ears neatly. What distinguished her from her pack, was her light gray eyes and a black mole on her left cheek.   She wore her uniform according to regulation. Neat. Prim. Crease free. Upholding her fake image of a miss goody two shoes.  What came out of her mouth were black intentions and cheap shots aimed with the purpose to hurt.  At least, to those who were on the other end of her firing line.  To everyone else, she was a quick-witted and mature-thinking person beyond her age. 

Everyone glared at the large, square band-aid patch on the girl’s right cheek. 

‘Geeze, Hayashi, you keep your harem close to you.’ She snickered. ‘But Okada cheapens your side. Unless you’re also doing drugs.’ 

Her slight stirred up a cackle and giggles from the other girls. 

‘What’d yah want?!’ Himeko’s chair screeched across the library’s linoleum tiles when she abruptly rose to face off with the girl.

‘Want? Because of you, my cheek is swollen! I’m here to get my revenge.’ Himari coolly declared. ‘Unlike you, I’m not an ape. So, I won’t use my fists. Rather—’

A malicious expression contorted the girl’s face. ‘I heard from the principal that you’ll be expelled and a lot worse punishment to come.’  She pointed her finger at Himeko’s face. ‘I’m pressing charges. You’ll get yours with interest.’

She turned and clicked her fingers to call her girls to attention. 

‘I’m nice enough to warn you. It’s what civilized humans do. But you will pay, and soon,’  she threatened them with a low whispered.

The girls turned and strutted out of the library.