“Are you sure you’re not just following me around?”
“Now, why would I do that?” Miyuki asked innocently.
“I don’t know! So you can make my life a living hell all over again!”
“Haha! That sounds like a good idea, I might do that.” He laughed, causing Youichi to groan in annoyance as they treaded across campus to their dorms.
Youichi spent the past three years of high school with Miyuki only to come to Seidou University to not only study in the same place but also live in the same building with him again.
He questioned what he had done wrong in previous lives to deserve this fate.
The reception area to their dorm was small. It had bland walls and the space was decorated with a few old-looking couches on which a young woman sat with her phone in hand.
The sound of the door opening drew her attention to the two teens.
“Ah, I’m glad you made it.” She said, standing up and pocketing her phone before adjusting her glasses. “I’m Takashima Rei, your dorm director.”
Youichi nodded at the introduction, eyes dropping unintentionally to her chest before snapping his head back up. A gentle heat found its way to his cheeks.
“Here are your keys, err, Miyuki-kun?” She glanced between them for a second before said teen raised his hand.
“Ah, that’s me.”
“And that makes you Kuramochi-kun, correct?”
“Y-yeah. Thank you.” The shorter male replied with a nod.
“You’ve probably read the letter of introduction already, but I’ll brief you again just so we’re clear. Each floor has its own kitchen and dining area. You’re in charge of your own cooking and cleaning, whereas the bathroom, the cleaners will handle that. You’ll be sharing the facilities with eleven others on your floor so be nice and respectful of those around you. If you need anything, you can ask your upperclassmen or find me in my office over there,” she pointed to a door off to the side next to a flight of stairs. “Any questions for now?”
They shook their heads.
“Well, then, I’ll be in my office, have a good afternoon.”
“Thank you,” they replied together, before looking at their keys.
“2-6,” Youichi read.
“Mine says 1-2, so I guess I’m on the first floor.”
“Alright. Should we go into town for dinner later?”
“Yeah, how about 7 back here?”
“Sure.” They both exchanged a nod before Youichi grabbed his suitcase and climbed upstairs to his room.
It was a standard sized room. A single bed by one wall, a small bedside table with lamp atop it, a desk and chair along the opposite wall, a chest of draws, wardrobe and bookshelf.
Setting his suitcase aside, he went to pull open his curtains and crack his widow open to let in some fresh spring air. Youichi took a moment to enjoy his view as he did so. The fountain in the courtyard flowed silently, water decorated with cherry blossom petals from the blooming tress all around. Underneath them were benches and he could make out a couple sitting together.
“Must be nice,” he mumbled absentmindedly before tearing his gaze away. He unloaded his suitcase effortlessly. Clothes were hung up or folded away, laptop set up with his second monitor connected. His game consoles were set beside it, thanking his monitor that it could also be used as a TV. Then books and paper filled the desk and draws. And finally, with extreme care, he placed a few plain canvases on the bookshelf. His paint set beside them.
Despite coming to Seidou to study Modern National Language, he couldn’t leave his art equipment at home to rot. He figured he’d need it to de-stress or whatever so it was safer to bring it along.
Youichi still had some time before he had to meet Miyuki, so he took the opportunity to see the kitchen and bathroom.
On the way, he noticed that the odd number rooms were on one side, evens on the other. Some were decorated with stickers and name tags. There was also a notice board towards the staircase and a whiteboard which had various notes and doodles on.
Out of milk – March 17th
Movie night – March 20th
Dorm Inspection – March 25th
Youichi chuckled to himself as he read the other notes before arriving at the kitchen where four other people were.
“Oi Tetsu! It says crack the egg next.”
“I’m about to crack it,” the one called ‘Tetsu’ raised a fist into the air, presumably the egg in hand and Youichi was certain that he was about to throw the poor ovular object.
“No no no! It says crack! Not smash! You just... Ugghh!” The light haired teen groaned in frustration, running a hand over his face before reaching up to pinch the egg from the taller teen’s hand. “Give it here, I’ll do it.”
“Never thought I’d see the day Jun gives cooking advice,” a young man with brown hair commented from the table.
“Does that count as advice?” The person with shaven hair asked from beside him.
“Well,” the brunet trailed off with a chuckle before noticing Youichi at the doorway. “Oh, have you just moved in? Come have a seat,” he gestured to the seats before them.
“Ah, yeah. Hi! I’m in Room 6, Kuramochi Youichi.”
“Oh, so you’re the new kid,” the one called ‘Jun’ commented, pointing a spatula at Youichi. “I’m Isashiki Jun, Room 8. This here,” he then pointed the spatula at the taller teen who nearly destroyed an egg earlier, “he’s Tetsu, Room 3.” Tetsu simply nodded in response.
“And him there-” Jun went to point again but before he could finish Tetsu interrupted him.
“Jun, the egg’s burning.”
“Oh shit!” He cursed, turning the heat down immediately.
The two at the table simply shook their heads at this and Youichi couldn’t help but feel as if this was relatively normal.
“I’m Chris, I’m in Room 2,” the one who spotted him first introduced with a firm handshake.
“I’m Tanba, Room 1. Pleasure to meet you.” They, too, exchanged a handshake.
“You too, Tanba-san. And everyone else,” Youichi added with a small nod.
“So how do you like your room?” Jun called from where he was plating the cooked egg on top of some noodles.
“It’s nice! The view is amazing!” Youichi replied enthusiastically.
Chris nodded in agreement. “Yeah, we get the courtyard view but they get the city view. I admit, both are beautiful, it just depends which you prefer.”
Jun and Tetsu finally took their seats at the table, each with a bowl – no, it was more like a bucket – of noodles.
“Will you be cooking any time soon?” Tanba asked but Youichi could already tell that he was about to make a move to stand.
“No, I’m going into town with a friend. He moved in today too. He’s downstairs.”
“Oh, go to this ramen stand,” Jun said, thrusting his phone to Youichi with a picture of said ramen stand. “Their stuff is great and not bad for price too.” Youichi hastily texted the name to Miyuki before passing the phone back.
Tanba made his way to the fridge before pulling out a few things. “Chris, yesterday’s curry good for you?”
“We still have some left?” Chris questioned and received a nod in response. “Sure, that’ll be good, thank you.”
“So,” Youichi’s attention returned to Jun. “What’re you studying?”
“Oh, Modern National Language.”
“That’s-” Chris began to say but was cut off by Jun’s much louder voice.
“Oi Tanba, you have a kouhai studying the same thing as you!” Jun called over his shoulder at the other by the hob.
“Really?” In Tanba’s excitement in hearing that, he dropped a metal spoon on the counter, clattering loudly against the hard surface.
“Tanba,” Chris stood up from the table. “Go talk to Kuramochi, I’ll cook.”
“But-” He tried to argue but Chris raised a hand to stop any further protest before they switched places.
“So you’re studying it too?” Youichi asked as the older student took his previous seat.
“Yeah, I can brief you on the syllabus if you’d like.”
“Sure! That would be great, thank you!”
They fell into a deep conversation about the areas and topics Youichi will cover over the year. It continued even after Chris had plated his and Tanba’s food.
It was only until Youichi felt the vibrations of his phone was the conversation interrupted. Feeling a little irritated by this, Youichi picked up without looking at the caller ID.
There was a huff before Miyuki’s voice came though. “Hello, my ass. Where the hell are you?”
“Oh shit!” He stood up abruptly, looking around apologetically at his senpais as they gave him questioning looks. “S-Sorry, I have to go for dinner!” He bowed quickly before dashing out and down the stairs. He heard a faint “Be careful!” but didn’t bother to register who said it.
Youichi was thankful that he didn’t have to change or anything, his wallet and phone were already in his pocket before locking and leaving his room an hour ago.
“S-Sorry.” He panted as he approached Miyuki.
The brunet had a slight pout. “Jeez, what kept you?”
“A... A senpai studies the same thing, so we kinda just talked and...”
“Yeah yeah, okay.” Miyuki waved his hand dismissively, obviously uninterested in the topic of studies. “Let’s go to that ramen stand already. I’m damn hungry.”
“Sure, let’s go.”
By the time they returned to the dorms, the sun had long set and the walk there was so different to when they first arrived. The pathway was illuminated by streetlights, patches of grass were visible under the moonlight but some were shrouded by the darkness of night. The sky was clear and with a bit of squinting, stars could be seen above. Being on the outskirts of Tokyo, it was a lot quieter, only the distant night-time traffic could be heard but as they neared the courtyard, all sound was drowned out by the fountain’s running water. It was soothing and Youichi made a mental note to paint both a daytime courtyard and a night-time one.
After bidding goodnight to Miyuki, Youichi climbed up to the second floor and into his room. He grabbed a towel and a change of clothes before taking a quick shower.
It was late so he had the bath to himself. His thoughts drifted from middle school to high school to baseball to Miyuki to this dorm to his flatmates and Youichi thought he has had quite a peaceful past few years. He’s enjoyed it really, being able to do what he loved and enjoyed freely.
He returned to his room after his eyelids began going heavy.
And before long, he drifted off to a comfortable sleep, wondering what his lessons will be like the following day.