Yet again, we pretty much start where we left off last chapter, that is, with Futaba and Yuuri headed to a cafe. Futaba’s willing herself to tell Yuuri clearly about her feelings for Kou today, thinking that she’s really really GOING TO DO IT... whiiich is easy enough to say, she thinks, but she’ll probably end up losing her nerve again... and it’ll all continue in an endless loop... “Oh, I got it. If I don’t tell her today, I’m cutting off my hair!”
Nothing like threatening yourself to get things done.
They reach the shoe lockers, and Yuuri spots Murao, deciding to invite her as well. Futaba is like, whaaaat?! Because, well, telling Yuuri that she also likes Kou with Murao as spectator is bound to be an awkward affair. But Yuuri excitedly runs up to Murao, not noticing Futaba’s hesitation. (Murao’s coming too?! Interesting!)
While Futaba waits, Asumi walks by. Ah, we meet again. She comments, perhaps with slight disdain, though she’s pretty whatever about it, “You’re actually hanging around with Makita Yuuri. You’ve really changed, huh.” And Futaba’s like, “Thank you! I’ve been trying to, so I’ll take that as a compliment!” Yeah! Go Futaba. Asumi’s just like, “...Huh,” because she’s boring, go away, and Futaba narrates that while she used to be too scared of being disliked to speak her mind before, now she wants to be honest because her friends are important to her. Then Yuuri comes running back, happy to have scored another participant for their outing.
So then they’re sitting around a table together at some doughnut shop. Yuuri’s all abuzz, going on about the CD Kou lent her, Futaba’s worrying about saying what she needs to say with the right timing, and Murao’s looking at Futaba, probably noticing her discomfort.
Futaba reminds herself repeatedly that she’s going to cut her hair really short if she doesn’t say it today (Futaba must be fond of her hair?), her heart beats wildly, and she thinks, “I’m scared. I’m scared to tell her. Feels like my chest is being crushed. But...”
And then she says: “Yuuri... There’s something I really have to tell you.”
“Uh... Actually... I like Kou... as well. The same person as you. I’m sorry...”
YES I KNEW SHE’D SAY IIIIT. Loving Futaba right now. Wait. Always loving Futaba.
Yuuri says, “FUTABA-CHAN, YOU TOOOO?” ...like it’s the most charming news she’s ever heard. Okay, I NEVER saw that coming. I didn’t think she’d be angry, but I thought she’d have some trouble replying. WHAT. WHAT IS THIS. Is this shoujo?! Anyway, Yuuri goes on, “Well, Mabuchi-kun is really cool, after all! Right, right?” Murao slips in a, “You two sure there isn’t something wrong with your eyes?”
And Futaba’s all: “...Huh? If I’d known there was a possibility of it playing out like this... I would have told her sooner...” And she breathes a sigh of relief. (At the same time, Yuuri’s asking Murao what part of Kou she has a problem with, and Murao says, “the part that’s a damn brat.” Haha.)
Yuuri notes that she’s pretty much set to lose though, since Futaba’s already close with Kou, but Futaba protests, saying Kou’s made it clear that he doesn’t like her. When Yuuri wonders if she’s already confessed, Futaba’s prompted to give the whole story of how she and Kou liked each other in middle school, but after meeting again Kou told her that was all in the past, and she also used to think she didn’t like him anymore. But now...
So Yuuri goes, “Okay! Then there’ll be no hard feelings no matter which of us succeeds, right!” And then she excuses herself to go to the bathroom. Bathroom... Oh... Oh. Ohhh. I see.
When Yuuri’s gone, Futaba slumps a bit, saying, “That... was so scary...” And that even though she’d decided she had to say it, actually getting up the nerve to do so had been so hard... But she finally did it. Murao looks at her, seemingly a bit touched (at how seriously Futaba takes her friendship with Yuuri, I guess).
In the bathroom, Yuuri lets her brave face give way to tears, ahhhh. Yeah, I thought it was a bit weird how she actually seemed HAPPY about it. But this makes everything make sense. Really believable, really real, yay Sakisaka Io for writing shoujo with reason! /Fangirling again. Sorry.
Yuuri takes a moment to really take in the fact that she and Futaba likes the same person. But, she thinks, it must have been really hard on Futaba, telling her about it. So she wipes away her tears, and decides that they’ll just have to like him then, the both of them, and be fair and square about it. Yay Yuuri.
When she comes back, both Futaba and Murao notice the red around her eyes, and Futaba’s relief probably shrinks a bit, as she realizes Yuuri went to the bathroom to cry. Murao is awesome though, and diverts everyone’s attention by suddenly confessing: “I... like... Tanaka-sensei.” AHHHLOLOL. Futaba’s like, “WHAT?! Or rather, why tell us that all out of the blue?!” But then she notices that Yuuri’s... not surprised. When she asks if Yuuri already knew, Murao says she kinda accidentally found out about it. She’d thought she might tell Futaba about it, but Yuuri had kept the secret. “Makita-san’s a good person, right? Yoshioka-san, you know that too, which is why you did your best to tell her something that was hard for you to say. Somehow, looking at the two of you, I figured I wouldn’t mind even if you found out about who I like. So I decided to give it a go and tell you.” Then she says this is actually the first time since entering high school that she’s stopped by somewhere with someone on her way home from school, and Futaba’s all, BAAW MURAO-SAN...
Murao changes the topic again, saying that the one who’ll have to make a choice is Kou. Even if Futaba and Yuuri were to start a war about it, it wouldn’t have much meaning. Too TRUE. And in the end, he might not choose either of them. “If it does work out for one of you, at least I’ll always be a neutral party. Good luck, both of you.”
And the mood is nice and yay friendship and Murao comments yet again that they sure have strange tastes, the both of them, and they laugh and I love this.
It’s gotten dark by the time she’s on her way home, and Futaba thinks to herself that girls talk is a scary thing... (it’s a time-suck, yeah. Haha.)
She’s reached the station, and then Kou is there, playing with the black cat they both played with before. (YESSS IT’S KOU TIME.) They talk a bit about it (the cat), Kou noting how it seems to have gotten thinner, and Futaba suggesting he take it in, if he’s worried about it.
But Kou says he won’t. He’ll end up caring about it.
“Then go ahead and care?”
“When you have stuff you care about, it ends up wearing you out...”
Kou stands and says bye-bye as he starts walking towards the station. Futaba asks if he’s going to take a train, and wonders where he could be going this late. “Secret,” he says. You playing Mysterious Boy again? You think I’m gonna fall for that?! ...I’m so falling for that. SPILL ALREADY.
Futaba replays his last words in her mind, about it wearing him out to care, and wonders if that means he doesn’t care about school or friends or anything. “If so, then... I’m worried.”
...And so she ends up following him (hah! Yay) onto the train, then off the train and to an area with lots of youngsters hanging around. She sees him meet some people he’s obviously acquainted with, and watching him together with them, she thinks that he seems like a Kou of a different world. “I don’t like it.”
So she walks up to him, and he starts a bit when he sees her, asking what she’s doing there. She snaps that that’s what SHE wants to ask HIM, and he’s like, uh... why are YOU angry? She fumbles a bit, not actually sure what to say to that, and then ends up blurting something about midterms coming up and how he should be studying. Haha. Kou sits there, disgruntled, as a buddy on one side laughs and mockingly chides him for not studying when he should, and a buddy on his other side asks if Futaba’s his girlfriend, which he denies. So then the first buddy asks if it’s okay for him to hit on her then, ‘cause he likes her face. Kou gives a little “Heh...” and starts listing out all Futaba’s “bad points” (/tricks to ward off guys), “She’s messy, she eats more than me and her legs are fat (what?!), there’s nothing even remotely feminine about her?” Futaba’s like, huh? What? What are you talking about? (lol, she looks so lost and out of place...)
Buddy 1 isn’t convinced though, saying she looks plenty feminine to him. He whispers: “She looks like she’s decent THERE, you know?” People are calling out to Futaba, and she’s all eh, huh, what. Buddy 1 specifies what he’s talking about. “Breasts.”
He smiles at Kou, and Kou smiles back, though it’s quickly replaced by a glare as he says, “hearing that from a friend seriously disgusts me.”
Really now. Heh. (If anyone (for some reason? XD) happens to know a better way to translate マジ引くわ (rather than ‘disgust’), tell meee)
Kou gets up to leave, making a ‘come on’ movement with his head to make Futaba follow him, which she happily does. But then he’s pointing out the direction to the station, clearly not intending to go home yet himself. Futaba won’t have that, so instead of going home on her own, she continues her stalking. After a while, Kou shouts over his shoulder for her to give it up already, but she pretends not to hear him and sticks to it.
She thinks: “I mean, it’s just so frustrating! It’s like there’s no way to get close to him, and I can’t take it.”
Kou stops by a vending machine and buys her a drink. Heh, so you gave up getting rid of her.
They sit down on a grassy hill. Futaba asks him what kind of people they were, the ones he was with earlier. He says he doesn’t really know.
“Do you go there often? Why?”
“Just kinda ended up there, killing time.”
“...Are you... doing anything bad?”
“Like drinking or smoking?”
Futaba doesn’t say anything. Kou leans back on the grass, saying that yeah, sure, there are those who do that, too. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t go there because he wants to do stuff like that. “I’m really just talking with them.”
“If all you want is a conversation partner, then just talk to ME.”
Kou looks at her, taken a bit by surprise (I guess that was straightforward of her), and Futaba, realizing what she just said, blushes and adds, “That is, me or Kominato or Yuuri, for example? Anyway, there are lots of us available, see!”
Then she also lays down, returning him the favour of pointing out that friends like those other people are nothing but... fake friends. Haha.
But Kou’s mind has wandered elsewhere, and he sits up a little, going, “Don’t you think you’re a bit too careless? I might assault you, you know?” And Futaba’s like, “Whaaat, no way, hahaha. You don’t see me that way, anyway. And I know you wouldn’t do that sort of thing.” She’s blushing, not looking at him, but then he leans over her, grabs her wrists. “You take guys to lightly. If there’s a question of physical strength, you’re much weaker. And guys can perfectly well assault a girl whether they like her or not.” And he lowers his face towards hers, and he’s just inches away, AND THEN THEY---don’t kiss. (It’s too bad I already used that joke/lie/insufferable attempt at deception when I summ’d ch08, cause it would have been much more believable here... It’s an almost kiss! It’s an ALMOST KISS. It’s a “their lips were an inch apart (and Kou almost closed his eyes)” almost kiss! Excuse me for obsessing. BUT I MEAN!)
...He bumps his forehead (intentionally) into hers, then sits back up. She sits up too, confused, while Kou’s all, see, you were scared, right? He says the only reason she wasn’t really assaulted just now was because the other person happened to be him. Then he gets to the point, telling her that if she doesn’t want to experience stuff like that for real, she’d better not go to a place like that (where they were earlier) alone again. Futaba figures he did what he just did to make sure she’d really understand what he just told her, and then... she starts to cry. Kou’s all, “Huh, what? You’re crying? I’m sorry. I guess I overdid it.” (When she keeps crying, he goes like, “I said I’m sorry.” Haha. Cute.)
Futaba narrates: I was surprised. I was scared. But that’s not the only reason I’m crying. More than any of that, I’m crying because my heart was really racing just now, and I’m embarrassed at myself.
...But I won’t tell Kou that.
Bikkuri's notes: ijsfdnsai too much FUN. I actually shut the magazine when I first flipped to the page where he leans down and it looks like he’ll kiss her, and then I just sat there going NOWAY for an eternity. Though I did kinda know it wasn’t what it looked like... but the drawings are still... like... GAAAH. You know? You know. Ahhh really. Aoharaido brings me so much giggly joy. And also, FutabaxYuurixMurao friendship FTW! (BTW, the whole “guy pretends he’s gonna do Bad Thing to girl to prove a point and basically to protect her” thing has definitely been done before (like say, Kyouya in Ouran HSHC, anyone?), but I mean... 1. IT’S FUN and 2. doesn’t it... seem... like jealousy, and a need to protect, and LOVE? :D Kou hasn’t really blushed since middle school, haha, so it’s hard to tell what he feels... (or at least how conscious he is about it.)) Well anyway. Things are going in an interesting direction, I’m happy! <--- Minchi's note: Me toooo t.t