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Ignorance is Bliss

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Nagoya…

Usually, when one thinks of Japan, Tokyo is the first city that comes to mind, maybe Osaka. Even though it’s one of the most important cities in the country, the Aichi prefecture isn’t really talked about amongst foreigners so when Rara’s father informed her they would be moving to Nagoya starting next fall, she had to google the city up.

Rara’s family is Japanese but she grew up in Hawaii. Growing up, her father forced her to take Japanese lessons but she wasn’t particularly good at it and now…

Well, let’s just say she definitely regretted not paying more attention in class.

‘The Nagoya Academy for Gifted Girls’

That was the school Rara’s parents had chosen for her. She had never gone to an all-girls school before since it wasn’t common in the States but apparently it was the school her mother went to back when she was her age. It was the private school all the well-off intelligent girls in Nagoya would go to. It had a tennis court, good international programs suited for foreign exchange students and very cute uniforms. Rara had always been an honors student and she was also a legacy but even then, it hadn’t been an easy school to get into.

Still, stepping into the school for the first time, she thought it might’ve been worth it.

“Class 3–B? this building, second floor, third to your right” a stumpy girl with thick bangs instructed absentmindedly and Rara nodded robotically, barely understanding what was said to her.

She took the nearest staircase to the second floor and just walked around looking for her classroom. She was quick to spot the large sign with her class’ number and walked right in. The classroom was basically empty apart from three girls sitting close to the teacher’s desk, chatting. The conversation stopped for a second when they noticed Rara coming in and continued after she bowed to them lightly and greeted them with a shy “good morning”.

Rara first observation was the fact that all the desks were marked with kanji meaning everyone had their own assigned desk. Her’s was in the column close to the center almost at the back, there were just two tables behind her’s. She wasn’t good at kanji but she could recognize her own name since she had to type it out often during her application period.

Goto Fun Fun

What where were parents thinking? It’s almost as if they were begging her classmates to bully her.

She stared around anxiously before sitting down and taking out her phone, looking at her screen blankly, Her day had just started, but her friends were already finishing up their homework or going to bed. She had no one to talk to, so she started to take out her books and organizing them in her cubby locker near the entrance and putting her notebooks in the compartment beneath her desk.

Slowly, the classroom started filling up. Girls in uniforms with colorful backpacks entered the classroom talking excitedly, probably sharing their summer experiences. She caught a few glances from some of the girls and she reminded herself that for them, the school year was already one third in. So naturally, transfer students would stand out. Though that didn’t stop her from feeling left out.

Finally the teacher came in and started taking attendance.

Everyone was here, everyone but one girl.

When the name Matsui Jurina was called, all that could be heard were some whispers from the girls next to her and some giggles, but the girl was nowhere to be seen. The teacher wrote her absence down and she signaled the chatty girls to be quiet.

Rara looked around, her eyes scanning the room, trying to move her head as little as possible but she couldn’t spot the empty desk.

“Class, today we have a new transfer student…” the teacher started, “Goto-san”

Rara nodded and walked up to the front. The teacher handed her a piece of chalk and instructed her to write her name on the chalkboard.

Lala Goto

“Hello everyone, my name is Rara” she said in english. “I’m from America”

“Goto-san, you need to write your name in kanji” the teacher whispered into her ear.

“Oh” she blurted out a bit too loudly and the entire class laughed.

Red eared, she wrote down her name in kanji and as she expected, once she had put down the piece of chalk, laughter filled the classroom again.

“Raku raku” a girl in the back corner said to two of her friends and the three of them laughed.

“Class!” the teacher yelled and the girls stopped joking around.

“Hello, I’m Rara” she said in Japanese. “I grew up in America but my family is from Nagoya. My mom actually went to school here. Please treat me well”

She bowed and returned to her desk. As she walked back, she spotted the empty desk.

No wonder she didn’t see it, it was the one directly behind her’s.

松井珠理奈

Somehow she knew she’d remember that name from now on. The mysterious #19 of Class 3–B.

 




The first few classes were fine. Math was easy since numbers were the same no matter the language, Japanese was definitely gonna be her weak subject (as it had always been) and English was basically child’s play.

During the break, three girls approached her desk and introduced themselves. Their names were Sugawara Maya, Harada Aoi and Takeuchi Saki.

Sugawara seemed to be a very air headed sort of girl and she spoke rather slowly which made her easy to understand, even for Rara.

Harada Aoi was small and seemed very energetic, she radiated positive vibes but she moved around so much, at some point Rara got a bit dizzy from just looking at her.

Takeuchi Saki had been the girl in the hallway that had told her how to get to the classroom, she was surprisingly friendlier than she had initially seemed the first time they interacted.

They spoke throughout the entire break and they invited Rara to hang out with them after school, to which she had to decline because she had to get back home and finish helping her family unpack.

Still, seemed like things were off to a good start.

 


 

Weeks passed, and the missing girl never appeared. Rara started wondering if she was even a student at the school. She tried asking Sugawara about it once, but she replied that she thought she was busy.

Rara had no idea what that meant but it was definitely strange how no one batted an eye to a girl being missing for so long. No one in the classroom seemed to care but judging by the eye-rolls Aoi and Saki would often exchange when the teacher called out her name during roll-calls, people knew who she was was.

She got closer to the girls she had met the first day and in turn, they introduced her to their friends from other classrooms. Yonetani Nanami and Nakano Ikumi from Class 3–A, Fukuoka Seina from Class 3–C and Watanabe Miho and Asai Nanami from Class 3–D. The 8 of them would hang out often after school and invite Rara along.

Her new high school life was finally settling down, it was starting to become her new reality.

That all changed one fine day in late September…


She was running late as one always does when a life changing moment is about to happen. After stumbling around the hallway, she entered classroom 3–B in a hurry, such was the rush that she tripped on someone’s backpack right before was able to reach her desk. As she came crashing down, so did one of her classmates’ computer that she unconsciously held onto while falling.

A loud crash could be heard and Rara prayed it was one of her bones. Of course, it wasn’t and next to her was a very broken Macbook making very concerning clicking noises. She looked up to an unrecognizable face staring down at their broken computer in shock and jolted up filled with embarassment.

”I’m so sorry" she said awkwardly, bending down again to pick up the device that was starting to release foul-smelling smoke, but its owner was quicker and picked it up before she even had the chance to stretch her arm out for it.

”it’s okay” the stranger replied warmly. Rara looked up and met eyes with the girl who’s computer she had just broken.

”I’ll pay for it" Rara immediately blurted out in broken japanese.

”There’s no need, I was already planning on getting a new one” The girl chuckled “I’m Matsui Jurina by the way, I’m sure this wasn’t the introduction you wanted so lets just forget it ever happened”

“Seriously?” Rara asked, letting out a sigh of relief before her entire body froze the second she recognized the name.

Matsui Jurina, the mystery girl had made an appearance and the first thing she had done was break her computer. She was snapped out of thought by a cold hand on her shoulder.

“Seriously” Jurina nodded, “Don’t sweat it”

The girls behind Jurina whispered something amongst themselves which made Jurina frown. Rara’s Japanese wasn’t good enough to catch what they had said.

“Matsui...san, I really AM sorry”

“Like. I. Said. don’t worry about it” she replied with a wink that made Rara’s heart skip a beat.

Rara nodded awkwardly and hurried to sit on her desk. She heard Jurina slowly move her chair behind her and sit down. Everyone was staring at their direction. Rara wasn’t sure if they were staring at her for breaking the computer or at Jurina who had finally decided to pay her school a visit. Either way, she had a hard time breathing properly for the next 10 minutes or so, she felt guilty for the girl’s computer and was shocked at how cool she had been with it.

 




“That Matsui girl, sure is… nice” Rara mentioned to her friends during lunch time, staring at the girl a few tables away, eating calmly with 5 other girls that seemed to be asking her a lot of questions and eyeing Rara every once in a while.

Saki took an egg roll from her bento and stuck it in her mouth.

“What did she say to you after breaking her computer?”

“She said she was planning on getting a new one anyway. I know everyone here is well off but is she rich or something?”

There was a moment of silence before Saki started laughing.

“Can I tell her?” She whispered to Aoi who shook her head and put her hand over her mouth before proceeding to talk.

“Honestly, Goto-san, don’t worry too much about Jurina” Aoi said. “Being around her only brings you trouble so it’s best to keep your distance. Especially if she has already allowed you to do so... considering the circumstances.”

Rara cringed at the lack of honorifics when referring to Jurina.

“Besides, it’s not like she’ll get lonely. I mean, look at her” she pointed at Jurina that was happily replying to all the girls in her table talking to her at once.

“Aoitan’s right, Rara-san. It’s best to just stay away from her” Sugawara said, immersed in her meal.

Rara nodded. She gave the girl one final look before turning her chair against her, facing her friends. If even Sugawara was against it, there must definitely be something wrong with the girl.

But that didn't stop her from wondering what.

Chapter Text

Matsui Jurina was someone that naturally made people pay attention to her.

She had a long face, dyed short brown hair, small crescent moon eyes that would close whenever she smiled and deep dimples on both cheeks. Rara couldn’t deny she looked way older than she actually was, she had a mature vibe to her that definitely did not fit that of her classmates or even her own.

After that day with the computer, Rara started seeing Jurina around more often. Even if she usually arrived late or left early, she would come every day of the week. Though they never exchanged anything further than a “good morning” or “see you tomorrow”, there was something about her smile that made Rara want to get closer to Jurina, she wondered if the girl even knew her name.

She noticed Jurina was very smart, she got good grades and whenever she raised her hand to say the answer, she would always be right. It almost seemed as if Jurina was perfect and it seemed like a lot of her classmates thought so too because they would stick close to her any chance they got. Everyone but her friends, that was. Her friends wouldn’t necessarily trash talk Jurina but Rara could tell they weren’t very fond of her and weren’t interested in interacting with her more than they should.

It was definitely weird to Rara but she just assumed they weren’t fans of her flashy personality.




Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, Rara stayed after school to get tutoring from her Japanese teacher and while the classes were boring, she’d help her do her homework so her grades were doing really well. She’d leave her bag in her classroom and go back after the tutoring was done to leave her heavy Japanese text book in her cubby and pack up.

A week and a half had passed since the computer incident and Rara still couldn’t shake off the guilt.

She returned to her classroom deep in thought to pack her things when suddenly, two hands grabbed her by the shoulders. She jolted back and let out a loud yelp which was followed by laughter coming from the owner of the hands.

“I’m sorry! Calm down, I didn’t think you’d get this scared!”

It was Jurina.

“Matsui-san, you scared me!” Rara said grabbing her bag. “Why are you here?”

“I came to hand in some extra homework I owed, I stay after-hours when I can to make up for all the hours I lose” She explained with a shrug, pointing at her heavy looking bag. “What about you?”

“Japanese lessons” Rara mumbled.

“I see, you’re not from here, are you, Goto-san? even though you have a Japanese name you have an, er– accent”

She chuckled.

“I was born in Hawaii” Rara explained. “Would you mind if I asked you why you never come to school?”

Rara cringed, she was sure she hadn’t gotten the wording right, but Jurina didn’t seem phased by it. She studied her face with a calm expression before asking,

“You don’t know?”

Rara shook her head which made Jurina smile.

“I– let’s get going, shall we? I hate standing in the classroom in the dark like this” she motioned Rara to follow her out, which Rara did. She grabbed her bag from her desk and ran after her.

When she caught up to Jurina, she saw in her face a very weird expression which disappeared as soon as she noticed Rara’s presence next to her.

“You see, my parents got divorced when I was young” Jurina began, “My mom lives here in Nagoya but my dad lives in Tokyo. Because the way their marriage ended wasn’t good, the only way to maintain peace between them is if I go see my father in Tokyo often, I have a school there and everything. This school and my school in Tokyo are sister schools so the studying plan is similar and I basically just alternate between them, I guess”

Rara nodded.

“I see, but homework here still piles up?”

“Yeah, well that’s unavoidable since the teachers are different, but they do a lot to make this easier for me” Jurina chuckled.

Something about Jurina’s story didn’t click with Rara but she decided not to question it too much since there were details she probably misheard.

“What about you, Goto-san? what brings you to Nagoya?”

Rara stopped walking and a few steps later, so did Jurina who stared back at Rara in confusion.

“Please call me Rara, it’s weird to be called by my last name since that sort of thing isn’t really done where I’m from”

“Rara-sa–“

“Just Rara” Rara said gritting her teeth. She kept walking and passed by Jurina who followed after her.

“Rara…” Jurina tried out. “cool name, I like it, It’s different. How is it written?”

“Kanji for Fun, twice”

Jurina burst out laughing.

“Well Rara, I hope you and I have a lot of… fun together from now on” Rara didn’t laugh at first but the way Jurina laughed at herself as if her pun was genius made her laugh as well. She was an odd person.

They neared the entrance and took out their shoes, they were the last two remaining.

“Will you be coming tomorrow?” Rara blurted out as she watched Jurina put her slippers away.

“I will, though I might leave early cause I have a schedu– I mean, I’m scheduled to see my dentist”

Rara nodded.

“You are a very busy woman, Matsui-san” Rara joked.

“Oh but I am!” Jurina grinned. “and please don’t call me that, I’d rather you call me Jurina or Ojyuri”

“Ojyuri?!” Rara gasped. “There’s no way I’m calling you that! you’ll be Jurina-chan from now on”

Jurina shook her head with a chuckle and they both exited the building.

“I like you. You don’t do things just because I tell you to and you don’t try to be polite. We should definitely talk more from now on!”

“WE SHOULD!” Rara cried. “We definitely should! Maybe we can hang out one day and I’ll find a way to make it up to you for your…” she stopped, having forgotten the word she was gonna say.

Jurina stared at her blankly “computer?”

“Yes, computer! I’ll make it up to you, even if you won’t let me pay for it”

“You’re still worried about that?! seriously don’t sweat it, It gave me an excuse to not hand in the essay I hadn’t done. You basically bought me a lot of time for something I was already planning on replacing. Believe me, if you hadn’t broken it, I wouldn’t wrecked that thing myself”

“Well, if you say it’s fine…”

“Trust me” Jurina put her hands on Rara’s shoulders and leaned down, putting her face really close to Rara’s, her nose almost bumping against hers. “it’s. no. big. deal.”

Rara noticed her face turned warm as she felt Jurina’s breath hitting her skin, she prayed she wasn’t blushing and if she was, that it couldn’t be seen with the bad lighting.

“Ha… Jurina, you’re really close” Rara said nervously, looking frantically around trying to not make eye contact, and Jurina moved away.

“You’re the shy type, Lala!” Jurina pointed out “I’m gonna have so much fun with you”

“Cut it out!” Rara tried hit Jurina’s shoulder, but Jurina easily dodged her hit.

They kept walking and joking around until Jurina stopped.

“This is where we part ways” She pointed to her right, “My house is that way”

“Oh, well, see you tomorrow, Jurina-san”

“Goodbye, Rara”

…and with that Jurina was gone.




On her way home, Rara thought about her friends. She couldn’t understand why they would dislike someone as friendly as Jurina. The way Jurina approached her led her to think she didn’t even know who they were or at least how much they disliked her.

So it definitely had not been any sort of fight that had happened between them, it was something else.

Her mind moved on to Jurina’s story about her family. From what she had understood, her parents were divorced and her dad lived in Tokyo so she moved around and went to two schools. Still wouldn’t explain why she’d by late or leave early at times, but she guessed it would just be one of the many mysteries of Jurina.

To Rara, Matsui Jurina was a very mysterious person.

Chapter Text


During school hours, Rara attempted to limit her interactions with Jurina.

After school thought, they would always wait for each other and walk home together.

In that time she learned a lot about Jurina. Like the fact that she was close to her mother, that her actual close friends didn’t go to our school (she even promised Rara she’d introduce them to her someday). She got into dancing when she was very young, she had taken it up as a hobby because she’d get lonely at home since she was an only child.

In exchange, she told Jurina about her life in Hawaii. Apparently Jurina had gone to her city twice already. It was weird to think they could’ve bumped into each other and neither of them would’ve thought much about it, not knowing they’d become friends years later. At school, she usually felt awkward talking since her Japanese wasn’t very good but Jurina always made an effort to speak slowly, using simple words so Rara would understand and she’d even explain to her the meaning of words she didn’t know.

If she were to be honest, Rara would say she developed a certain attachment to Jurina, such that whenever she didn’t come to school, Rara felt her absence. Especially on her way back home. It seemed to Rara that Jurina had taken a liking to her too, but she had noticed that Jurina was the flirty type so there was no way of knowing for sure. Still, she felt bad for ignoring her at school, she wished she were brave enough to not care what her friends thought about her, but she wasn’t.

“What are you thinking about?” Jurina asked Rara as she packed her bag, deep in thought.

“AH!” Rara exclaimed in shock. “Please stop scaring me like that!” Rara hit Jurina on the shoulder but the taller girl just laughed.

Suddenly, there was a loud thunder and Rara screamed and jumped back, hugging Jurina on instinct. Jurina patted her head and chuckled.

“Rara, you’re such a scaredy cat, I swear…” Another thunder rumbled outside, making the hanging lights flicker a bit.

Jurina looked up quietly, as if analyzing the situation.

A third thunder boomed, this one much louder than the first two and with that, the lights turned off. This was followed by the sound of sudden heavy rain.

“Shit” Jurina mumbled.

This was the first time Rara had heard Jurina swear. Jurina was always very careful with her words even when she was alone with Rara, as if anything she said could be used against her.

“What’s wrong?” Rara asked. Realizing she was still clinging to Jurina, she let go slowly and looked up so they could meet eyes.

“Well, we can’t go home with this heavy rain. We’ll get sick and right now I– I don’t have that luxury”

“We can wait it out, maybe it’ll go away as quickly as it started” Rara suggested.

“It might,” Jurina thought out loud, “but won’t we get in trouble for staying here after hours? the teacher’s already gone so if the janitor spots us…”

“He doesn’t come ‘till 7:15, what time is it?”

“7:06” Jurina mumbled looking at her watch, “I guess we could hang around 5 more minutes, see if it calms down”

“What if it doesn’t? My house is pretty close, but yours is really far from school”

“My mom’s not in town so it’s not like we can call her” Jurina sighed.

“Isn’t there anyone that can pick us up?” Rara asked.

Jurina seemed to have thought of someone, but shook her head as if discarding that option. Suddenly, her eyes lit up again.

“Wait, where do you live?” she asked enthusiastically.

“Ajisai”

Jurina’s eyes lit up.

“I have a friend that lives in that neighborhood, I’ll tell her to come pick us up and I can sleep over at her house”

Rara bit her lip.

“You sure?” Rara didn’t like the idea of being picked up by a stranger but if it was a friend Jurina trusted enough to suddenly sleep over at their house…

“100%” Jurina reached out for her phone, “You know what? I’ll call her right now”

Jurina took out her phone and searched in her contacts until she found the person she was looking for and dialed the number.

“Ranran, it’s Ojyuri, I need your help” Jurina spoke. She covered the base of her phone and signaled to Rara that she was gonna leave the room.

Rara watched through the window as Jurina spoke on the phone, something was said to her that made her expression turn serious, she nodded and said something else before hanging up and returning to the classroom.

“What did she say?”

“She said she’ll come, she just needs to get something done first” she stared down at her watch “okay so it’s 7:12, she’ll be coming in around 10 to 20 minutes, so let’s stay here”

Rara sat on her own desk, playing games on her phone while Jurina sat on top of her table, deep in thought.

“What’s wrong?” Rara asked, “you seem concerned about something”

“Nothing really, I’m just–“

A loud clanking sound filled up the hallway.

“it’s the janitor” Rara stood up. “He’s finishing up 3–A, which means he’ll come here next. Will something really happen if he spots us?”

“You mean aside from possibly getting suspended for being in a classroom almost half an hour after the last teacher left?”

“Can that actually happen?” Rara protested.

“You don’t know this school, Rara, they’ll see us and think we’re here to steal exams or something”

The sound of the door of the classroom next door sliding closed could be heard.

“What do we do?!” Rara started freaking out.

Jurina looked around and grabbed Rara’s hand with one hand and Rara’s backpack with the other and ran towards the supply closet. As soon as they got in, the door to the classroom slid open.

“Fuck” Rara swore.

“shhh” Jurina put her hand over Rara’s mouth so she’d stop making noises.

The supplies closet was very small, and aside from the door, the only thing covering them were clothes hanging from a small rail above them. If the janitor opened the door, but wasn’t paying much attention, he wouldn’t notice them, but in order to stay hidden, they had to squeeze themselves one in front of the other, basically hugging.

Jurina removed her hand from Rara’s face and twisted her body slightly, using her newly freed hand to balance herself against the wall so she had some sight of what was going on through a small crack in the door.

Though Jurina’s face was completely calm but Rara could hear her heart beating really loudly. It was then that she noticed they were in a pretty compromising position, Jurina basically pinning her against the wall and with that, her pulse sped up as well.

“What’s wrong?” Jurina whispered, noticing the change in Rara’s heartbeat.

“hey, Jurina don’t you think this is a really bad position? I mean I’m not the awkward type, I mean I am but–“

Jurina leaned in, her nose bumping against Rara’s.

The closeness made Rara stop talking, her eyes nervously met Jurina’s dead serious ones.

What if she kisses you?

She thought to herself, but reality was quick to give her a slap in the face.

“shut…up” she hissed.

Rara nodded slowly, why did she even assume Jurina was gonna kiss her? it made no sense at all. She felt stupid for thinking something like that would even happen and felt confused as to why that thought had even crossed her mind.

After a few minutes of awkward silence, Jurina’s phone started vibrating.

“oh god…” Jurina mumbled. She let go of the bar above them that she was holding onto and took her phone out. With that her other arm gave in and she fell on top of Rara who hugged her with both arms to hold her up, supporting herself by leaning her back against the wall.

“Ranran, not now, I’ll call you later” Jurina whispered to her phone and hung up.

They stayed as they were for what seemed like an eternity until the sound of the sliding door being opened filled the room and they heard the cart being pushed out before the door closed again.

Jurina stretched out her arms to push herself back on her heels and she slowly pushed the clothes to the side so she could open the door. She peaked through the door and then walked out.

Rara followed quietly and leaned down to grab her bag. While this happened, Jurina called “Ranran” again.

“Sorry for not responding, I’ll explain in the car…” she said some other things Rara couldn’t quite make out and then the person on the other end of the line responded, Jurina nodded to herself and replied that she understood and hung up.

“okay, let’s hurry up” she looked at the window. “seems like it’s still raining, my friend is at the entrance, but we’re still gonna get a bit wet”

Rara nodded and followed Jurina along the hallway quietly. As they reached the entrance, they quickly changed their shoes and opened the door. They were lucky the janitor still had a few more classrooms to clean and the doors weren’t locked. Rara spotted a security guard in a raincoat watching tv in his little cabinet and they walked past him with their blazers over their heads as to blend in with the dark.

The rain felt cold against rara’s feet and she could feel the water slowly seeping through her blazer, they kept walking at a fast pace until she spotted a white Mercedes.

“That’s her” Jurina said, her voice could barely be heard in the loud rain.

Rara ran to the car and opened the car door, hoping in and slamming the door shut.

“Sorry to intrude” Rara called out.

The driver was a young woman, she looked about 3 years older than her, maybe a bit more.

“Hey Ranran, sorry for making you pick us up” Jurina apologized to the driver.

“Whatever, I was around the area anyway but…” she said something Rara couldn’t quite understand, Rara noticed she spoke in standard Japanese, her Nagoya dialect was stiff, as if she had adopted some words into her vocabulary from living here but she didn’t grow up with them.

“…anyway, when are you gonna introduce me to your friend?” She told Jurina angrily, pulling at her ear.

“Right! Ranran, this is Rara, Rara meet Suzuran, she’s a friend of mine from err– dance class”

Suzuran glared at Jurina, before turning to Rara with a smile.

“Hi”

“Suzuran-san” Rara said awkwardly, “thank you for picking us up, I hope I’m not being too much of a bother”

“it’s okay, I live near the area so it’s not too much of a hassle”

“speaking of a hassle” Jurina called out loudly, “Ranran, I’m gonna need to stay over at your house tonight, my mom isn’t––“

“I’m gonna stop you right there!” Suzuran interrupted. “I have stuff to do tomorrow morning and I can’t drive you to school”

“I can walk to school” Jurina argued.

“Ha! and you know what’s gonna happen if they see you walking to school alone, wearing your dirty uniform from the day before and coming from a route that does not lead back to your house!”

Jurina stayed quiet for a second, Rara didn’t understand what was going on or why it was such a big deal. Who were ‘they’? Rara wanted to ask, but she didn’t want to intervene in a conversation she had no say in. Still, her mouth was quicker than her head.

“What if you stay over at my house?” Rara chimed in. “Suzuran-san, if you’re worried about Jurina walking alone on an unknown route and wearing her dirty uniform, I can just lend her mine and she’ll walk home with me!”

“That does sound like a better idea” Suzuran thought out loud.

“My mom buys all my uniforms a size larger because she thinks I’m still growing” Rara pointed at her slightly oversized blazer. “it might still be a little small for you, but it’ll fit!”

“But will your parents be okay with a total stranger staying over?”

“They will not!” Rara cleared up. “but, I guess in this sort of situation, it’s not like it can be avoided, especially in this heavy rain”

Jurina nodded her head. “Call them, if they say it’s alright, I’m fine with it too. I just don’t want you to get in trouble with your parents because of me”

“Ehhh, Jurina-sannnnn” Suzuran chirped in a mocking tone before Jurina hit her with her elbow. “ow!”

Rara nodded and called her father, she knew he might not be as harsh about it as her mom.

“Hello?” A deep voice through her phone called out.

“Daddy, it’s me Lala” She answered in english, “I have a problem. A friend of mine can’t go home because of the rain would it be okay if she stayed over”

“Rara, you know I don’t like you having people I don’t know sleeping over” her dad said in a serious tone. “I guess at this point, I can’t really say no to you but we will be having a conversation about this tomorrow, young lady”

Rara gulped.

“Yes, daddy. Don’t worry, it’s a one time thing, I promise”

“Fine. See you at home, Rara. I’m assuming you’re taking long because of the rain”

Rara cringed, she wasn’t gonna tell her dad she had hitched a ride home, even if it was by someone her friend knew. her dad would kill her even more than he already was going to.

“Yes, but we’re almost there, see you soon, dad”

“goodbye” he replied coldly and hung up.

Rara let out a sigh of relief.

“He said it’s okay” She said in Japanese.

“okay so I’ll drop off both of you at your home, what number is your house”

“I think it’s best if you dropped us off at the corner, I kinda told my dad we walked home”

Suzuran nodded but looked at Jurina with a serious expression. “Take a warm bath after you get there, you can’t get sick right now”

Jurina nodded.

Suzuran and Jurina continued talking, Suzuran used a lot of words Rara couldn’t understand and she was too tired to try so she just spaced out until they arrived at their destination.

“Here, have my umbrella” Suzuran handed a large umbrella to Jurina.

“Once again thanks, Ran” Jurina said while getting out.

“Thank you a lot, Suzuran-san” Rara said with a small bow as she followed Jurina out.

“You’re welcome” she smiled at Rara.

“Be careful, Jurina” she told Jurina coldly.

…and with that Suzuran left.

Jurina opened the umbrella quickly and stood besides Rara.

“hold on to my arm” Jurina instructed and Rara did as she was told so the umbrella covered both of their heads.

“Let’s go”

Rara held on to Jurina’s arm tightly. She thanked god for the height difference between them that allowed them to walk like that…

…like a couple

The thought of Jurina and Rara as a couple made Rara feel warm for some reason.

Without realizing it, her head was rested on Jurina’s shoulder. The taller girl didn’t protest and in return leaned her head against Rara’s and let out a small sigh which made Rara’s heart skip a beat.

She didn’t want to move, but sadly, they soon reached Rara’s house and she was forced to pull away. After she did, she didn’t dare to look at Jurina in the face, feeling embarrassed over her own clinginess.

She robotically pressed the code on the panel near the entrance and the door buzzed and opened itself automatically.

At the door, they both dried their feet and took off their shoes.

“It’s a western styled house” Rara cleared up when Jurina started searching for a place to leave her shoes. “the shoes go inside”

They neared a large wooden door, suddenly the smell of tobacco filled the room.

“Wait for me here” Rara said to Jurina.

Rara went in and greeted her parents who said hello to her coldly.

“Where’s your friend?” her mom asked in english, “It better not be a boy”

“It’s not” Rara laughed. She motioned to Jurina to come inside. “Mom, Dad, this is my friend, Matsui Jurina”

Jurina cringed at the sound of her own name.

“Jurina, these are my parents” Rara pointed at her mother and father that stared at the taller girl skeptically.

“I’ve seen your face before” Rara’s dad began.

“I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you in the past, Goto-san” Jurina laughed nervously. “I must have a celebrity lookalike”

“You probably do” he sat back skeptically.

“Welcome, Matsui-san. If there’s anything you need, you can tell me” Rara’s mother said. “Rara, go prepare a bath, both of you are soaking wet and you’ll get sick if you sleep in this condition”

“Yes, Mom” Rara replied. “goodnight, Dad”

Rara grabbed Jurina’s wrist and guided her out of the kitchen. She closed the kitchen door carefully and let out a sigh.

“Okay, that was…okay, I don’t feel dead, they don’t seem angry”

“Yeah, they didn’t seem angry” Jurina assured.

Rara and Jurina walked up the stairs to Rara’s room. Jurina sat in Rara’s queen sized bed and watched Rara go into her walk-in closet and take out a pair of pajamas.

“Your house is pretty big” Jurina pointed out.

“Yeah, but your friend lives in the area so you’re probably not surprised” Rara replied sarcastically, handing Jurina her change of clothes.

Jurina chuckled. “I’m not”

“You can go first” Rara pointed to the bathroom.

After Rara explained to Jurina how to use the bath, the taller girl went in.

The sound of running water filled the room and Rara let herself fall on top of her bed. She laid on her back as the events of the day finally flushed back. She placed her hand over her lips, feeling self conscious and wondered what it would’ve felt like had Jurina come a few centimeters closer. Rara shook her head, she couldn’t be thinking about this, especially not when she was taking a shower in her own bathroom, wearing her clothes and would be sleeping in her bed.

Rara sat up.

The sound of her own beating heart making her ears buzz.

Her breath hitched as she heard the water stop flowing.

“Rara, I’m done” a high pitched voice called out.


Chapter Text

After Jurina came out of the bathroom, Rara rushed past her, unable to meet her eyes and embarrassed by the thoughts plaguing her mind. She showered quickly and unconsciously chose one of her cuter pajamas –or maybe there was a bit of consciousness to that– and tried to do her skincare routine as quickly as possible, scared that Jurina would get bored and start going through her things.

She opened the bathroom door to find Jurina laying in Rara’s bed, music in Japanese came from her phone at a very low volume and she was humming along to the beat of the song. As soon as she noticed Rara was watching her, she turned it off and greeted her with a smile.

“That was quicker than I thought”

“I didn’t want to keep you waiting” Rara explained. “what were you watching?”

“A video Ranran sent me” She said casually, but there was a stiffness to her voice. She sat up, “Sorry for laying in your bed, by the way”

“You’re so shameless, Jurina!” Rara rolled her eyes with a grin and Jurina chuckled. “Your friend seems nice by the way. You said she was in your dance class, right?”

“yeah” Jurina nodded. “don’t get too shocked, most of my friends are much older than me”

“Hope you can introduce them to me one day” Rara said with a smile, sitting in her bed facing Jurina.

“I’ll take you to Tokyo one day” Jurina assured which made Rara’s heart skip a beat.

Behind Jurina, Rara saw her clock.

11:34pm

“It’s getting late, we should go to sleep” Rara thought out loud.

“Will I be sleeping in the guest room or…?”

Rara was left speechless, she hadn’t thought about that teeny-tiny detail. I mean, she had technically assumed Jurina would be sleeping in her bed with her but telling Jurina to sleep with her was kind of embarrassing.

She grabbed the telephone and called downstairs to the kitchen where her parents were.

“Is the bed in the guest room made?” she asked in english.

“Of course not! we weren’t planning on having visits tonight, Rara” Her mom replied. “Can’t she just sleep in the blow up bed?”

“I don’t know where it is, it’s still in one of the unpacked boxes” Rara groaned.

“Well, she’s your guest. Guess you’re gonna have to share a bed” Her father said.

Rara eyed Jurina that was staring at her intently.

“I’ll see what I can do” Rara sighed. “Goodnight”

She hung up the phone before any of her parents could add anything else.

“Guess we’re gonna have to share a bed,” Rara shrugged. “I sleep on the left side”

Jurina helped her undo the bed and she quickly tucked herself in, the pajamas Rara gave her weren’t particularly warm and her room was always very cool.

Rara turned off the lights, feeling the human warmth as soon as she laid down.

Jurina curled up into a ball and turned towards Rara, snuggling close to her.

“Thanks for everything” Jurina smiled nuzzling her head against Rara’s shoulder.

“It’s nothing really” Rara chuckled, staring up at the ceiling. “As you can see, two people can easily fit in my bed and you were the one that gave me a ride home”

“Not that, silly” Jurina hit Rara playfully.

“I know your friends don’t like me” Jurina’s voice turned serious. “I don’t know what they’ve told you about me but I’ve seen the way they look at me.” “

Rara cringed. So Jurina does know.

“Either way, you still walk with me home and listen to me talk even though you don’t always understand what I’m saying.”

Jurina sighed.

“Walking home alone feels really lonely”

“Why do they hate you so much? what did you do to them?” Rara asked, she turned so she could see Jurina’s reaction but her face stayed blank, as far as she could tell in the dark at least.

“I don’t think I’ve ever properly interacted with them”

“Then why? what is it that would make someone that doesn’t know you dislike you so much?”

“Please don’t ask” Jurina stretched out her legs and turned to the other side, her back facing Rara now.

“Why not?”

“Because it’ll change the way you look at me and I…I don’t want that”

Rara could’ve sworn she heard Jurina’s voice cracked ever so slightly.

“I’ll tell you everything one day, but right now it’s getting late and I’m getting tired”

She faked a yawn. It didn’t convince Rara one bit, but hearing the way Jurina begged her to drop the topic, she decided to stop.

Instinctively, she rested her forehead against Jurina’s back. She felt Jurina’s pulse against her scalp, it was weird but also slightly soothing.

“Thank you too” Rara mumbled in english, sleepily “I get lonely when I walk home on my own too and I like listening to you talk, even if I don’t always understand what you’re saying”

Jurina didn’t answer, she probably didn’t understand what Rara had said.

Rara felt her eyelids get heavy. She shuffled back to her side of the bed and fell asleep almost instantly, Jurina’s weak voice the last thing on her mind.

Chapter Text


Rara woke up to her alarm ringing loudly. It was 6:45am, time to get ready for school.

She got up and walked to her closet to change her clothes, all while having this odd feeling she was forgetting something.

She washed her face and did her hair deep in thought.

“What am I forgetting…? what am I forgetting…?”

“You finally woke up!”

Rara almost choked herself with her own toothbrush.

That’s what she was forgetting.

She turned around to see Jurina already dressed and ready for school.

“You know, I’m lucky I always bring my toothbrush and make-up pouch in my bag” Jurina chuckled.

Rara stared at her in shock, “whe–“

“I wake up at 6am sharp everyday, your mom was kind enough to make breakfast for me, yours is waiting for you downstairs” Jurina smiled. “Thanks for the uniform by the way, the skirt was too small for me though so i’m wearing my own, but the shirt, socks and sweater are yours”

“uh–“

“want me to go with you downstairs? I can wait for you while you eat breakfast”

Rara nodded. It was too early to speak Japanese.

She ate her dinner quietly as Jurina chatted with her mom. Seems like while she slept, Jurina had befriended her mother that had willingly done breakfast for both of them, which was unusual to say the least.

“Nee-san, you’re from Nagoya, right?”

Rara almost spit out her drink.

Nee-san?!

She almost felt as if Jurina were flirting with her mother.

“We moved to Hawaii when Rara was just a baby” her mother chuckled, “That’s why her Japanese is so bad, her father tried to force her to speak Japanese at home when she was younger but Rara never budged”

“She probably regrets it now” Jurina pointed out and both of them laughed.

Rara let go of her spoon to hit Jurina and then proceeded to continue eating.

“Rara’s Japanese is fine” Rara mumbled in between munches.

“She started talking in third person” Rara’s mom chuckled.

“She does that whenever she’s embarrassed, doesn’t she?” Jurina whispered to her mom and her mom nodded.

“It’s so cute isn’t it?” Rara's mom said.

“Adorable”

Rara breathed out loudly through her nose and stood up red faced.

“I’m done!” and she stormed out of the kitchen and stomped her way up the stairs to her room.

Jurina followed after her.

“I’m sorry!” She apologized. “I wanted to make a good impression on your mom so you wouldn’t get in trouble, and i ended up making you feel bad”

“It’s okay” Rara sighed.

Jurina grabbed her backpack from Rara’s desk.

“We should get going”

“Wait!” Rara yelled, rushing to her bathroom. “I’m gonna brush my teeth again, I wasn’t counting on my mom making breakfast”

“Okay, go ahead”




Rara and Jurina walked to school together side by side, their hands occasionally bumping against each other leading to timid apologies from Rara part. The mood was quiet, neither of them said much but somehow it felt comfortable, to Rara at least.

“This is where we usually part ways” Jurina pointed at a stop sign in the middle of a Y shaped street.

“Now you know how to get to my house!” Rara joked. “Next time we hang out at yours”

“Not sure how good of an idea that is…” Jurina scratched the back of her neck.

“Why so?”

“It’s just a very busy area, we’re more likely get disturbed and all”

Rara nodded, not fully understanding what Jurina had just said. She changed the topic to avoid exposing herself.

“So… Jurina”

Jurina hummed.

“When’s the next time you disappear?”

Jurina stopped in her tracks. “Disappear?”

“As in, you suddenly stop coming to school for like a week or more”

Jurina hesitated for a second before continuing to walk. “Oh, that”

“Not sure, it depends a lot on the time of the year, right now is my least busy period so probably a while”

“busy?” Rara arched an eyebrow and Jurina’s eye twitched.

“Yeah…as in…having to travel” Jurina laughed nervously, “it’s a pain in the butt. Nagoya and Tokyo aren’t all that close and whenever I’m at my dad’s, I never have time to do homework cause he’s… always wanting to do activities together and all”

“ohhhh, yeah that makes sense”

“Don’t worry about it too much” Jurina patted Rara’s shoulder. “Even if I stop coming for a while, I’ll eventually come back. It’s not like I’ll permanently move to Tokyo or anything, my heart is in Nagoya!”

They walked quietly for almost a full minute before Rara spoke.

“I know it’s not my place to say it, but don't you think your parents are being unfair with you? expecting you to be in two places at the time”

“Don’t worry for me, Rara” She put her arm around her shoulder. “Everything I do, I do it because I want to”

Just as they were about to arrive, Rara heard a loud clicking sound behind them and Jurina quickly removed her arm and took a step to the side, before Rara could turn around to see where the sound came from, Jurina handed her her bag.

“You go ahead, I just realized we forgot our bentos so I’ll buy us something to eat” She pushed Rara through the gates of the school.

Rara discreetly looked back to see where Jurina was going and she noticed her approaching a man with a camera, she made eye contact with the guy and quickly turned around rushed to her classroom.

 


 

“huh, why are you holding Jurina-san’s bag, foreigner?” a girl with permed hair and a scrunchy called out as Rara entered the classroom.

“She told me to bring it inside since she had something to take care of”

“as expected, our Jurina-san works so hard!” two girls screamed loudly causing Aoi, that was already sitting in her desk, to roll her eyes.

“Are you her maid now, or something?” she asked, approaching Rara “I don’t think i’ve ever seen you interacting with her… aside from the laptop thing… is this your way of paying her back?”

Rara stayed quiet, not knowing what to answer.

“so it is? is she forcing you to do it?! you can’t let her get away with it, it was an accident”

At that same moment, Jurina walked into the classroom looking visibly annoyed.

“hey, you! who do you think you are?” Aoi walked up to Jurina, who did not look like she was in the mood to deal with Aoi.

“Aoi, stop!” Rara pulled her back.

“No! I’m tired of her attitude. Always skipping classes, expecting everyone here to treat you like a queen as if you don’t have enough people doing that already.” Aoi yelled, everyone turning towards them to see what was going on and Jurina noticeably panicking, looking at Rara, then Aoi and shaking her head.

“Don’t act so high and mighty just because you’re–“

“What’s going on here?” a voice boomed.

“Sensei, I–“ Rara began but quickly got interrupted.

“You three, outside!” she pointed at the door. “the rest of you, I want everyone’s homework in my desk by the time I get back, if you didn’t do it, you have until I return to the classroom”

The four of them stepped outside and the teacher closed the door.

“Now, someone please tell me what’s going on? Matsui-san, Harada-san, you two never get into trouble”

“Sensei, this girl is taking advantage of Rara-chan’s clumsiness”

“What?! that’s not true at all!” Jurina yelled.

“Yes it is, I saw Rara carrying your bag this morning, you bully!”

“Matsui-san, is this true?”

“It’s not! me and Rara are friends

“LIES!”

Both the teacher and Aoi stared at Rara who had been quiet until then, waiting for her to confirm or deny what Jurina had just said.

“It’s true, Jurina slept over at my house…”

“she what?!”

“…and I was carrying her bag because she had to stay behind before entering and told me to take her bag to her desk, I didn’t really think much of it”

“Why did you stay behind, Matsui-san?”

Jurina looked at Rara anxiously and leaned close to the teacher and whispered something in her ear.

Aoi seemed to have caught something, but Rara didn’t understand a single word.

The teacher eyed Rara and then Jurina who looked at her pleadingly.

“I see” the teacher mumbled, “and would you want us to…“

“please” Jurina interrupted.

The way she spoke, anyone would’ve been able to tell she was eager for the conversation to end.

“okay then, the three of you, return to your classrooms, I’ll be there in a minute”

Rara was about to ask Jurina what it was all about when Aoi pulled her back.

“Since when are you and Matsui friends?”

“Well, she’s nice to me and we talk sometimes. Her house is far and it was raining so I offered to let her stay over” Rara tried to speak as nonchalantly as possible.

Aoi looked like she was about to say something but noticed that Jurina was looking at her from afar and just shook her head.

“Do what you want, but don’t say I didn’t warn you” She sighed before whispering almost inaudibly “that girl is bad news”

She went inside the classroom.

Once she was out of sight, Jurina approached her.

“I’m sorry” she apologized, “is she mad at you now?”

“Don’t worry about her, I’m the one who’s sorry” Rara stretched her arms and put her hands on her shoulders so Jurina would be facing her. “It was unfair of me to get all friendly with you and then act like you don’t exist in school. I’m a really bad friend and I’m sorry”

For a split second, Jurina’s face changed entirely to an expression Rara couldn’t recognize.

“Rara, I…” there was a tinge of guilt in her voice.

Jurina removed Rara’s hands from her shoulders.

“I…” She stayed quiet as if searching for the right words.

“…you’re not a bad friend, don’t be sorry.”

Rara bit her lip. Rara wasn’t dumb, she knew that wasn’t what Jurina wanted to say but once again, she decided to accept the silence that followed instead.

Both of them stared at the floor awkwardly, none of them daring to be the one to leave first.

“Mastui-san, Goto-san” their teacher called as soon as she spotted them still standing in front of the entrance. “What are you doing? get back to the classroom!”

Both of them nodded but as Rara turned around to go in, she felt Jurina’s hand in hers.

She looked up to Jurina giving her a painful smile and her hand a squeeze before lightly pushing past her to go inside first.

After that, both rushed to their desks. Rara felt the stares of her classmates burn holes into her even after the class had begun, she could hear Jurina’s fingers tapping behind her, she suspected she was texting.

During lunch, Maya and Saki chatted with Rara as if nothing had happened while Aoi stayed quiet, sometimes shooting glares at Jurina who was happily eating with the girls she usually hung out with during breaks. Rara had to admit she felt a bit jealous even if she knew she’d still be able to hang out with Jurina after school the next day.

She thought about Jurina and wondered what it was that she wanted to tell her but couldn’t. She wondered if it had something to do with the reason her friends disliked her. It was possible, which meant just by asking her friends, all the mystery would be gone, but for some reason, she couldn’t bring herself to ask.

She wondered if it was cause she wanted to avoid the topic of her in front of Aoi or something else.

Like fear that whatever it is will ruin your image of her.

She tried to shake off that thought, even if deep inside, she knew it was true.

All along, she had idealized Jurina as the cool mysterious girl that had taken an interest in Rara, but learning something bad about her would destroy that.

She thought about Jurina, Jurina’s smile, the way she talked, how she slowed down and repeated her words when she sensed Rara hadn’t understood what she had said, her cute dimples and soft short hair…

“Rara-san!?” Saki asked. “you there?”

Rara came back to reality.

“Wha– yeah, yeah, sorry, just…”

Shit! she forgot the word.

“tired” she said in english.

Sugawara and Saki nodded, saying they understood and telling Rara to go to sleep earlier next time while Aoi eyed her suspiciously.

Rara joined in on their chat while Aoi just added something every once in a while.

Suddenly, everyone’s attention shifted when the bell rang but instead of their teacher coming in, a 40-something year old woman with a mean face stepped inside.

“Jurina…” She called out and everyone’s eyes went to the older looking girl.

Jurina stood up, grabbing her bag in one hand and her half empty bento Rara’s mom had prepared for them in the other. (In retrospective, she must’ve known Jurina was lying when she stayed back saying she was gonna buy food for them when she clearly remembered her mom handing both of them bentos)

“What’s wrong?” Jurina asked in confusion before her eyes went wide open, “Oh my god, I totally forgot”

Everyone in the classroom oo-ed and laughed.

“Let’s get going, Suda is waiting for us at the station”

“Daasu?” Sugawara whispered to Saki who nodded.

Rara furrowed her brows not knowing what that word meant.

“I’m so sorry” Jurina quickly packed her bags.

“Bye guys” she called out, but her eyes were on Rara who stared at this whole scene in disbelief.

“What’s going on?” she asked Saki after Jurina left the room.

“She probably forgot she had to go to Tokyo today” Saki explained.

“How would you know that, anyway?” Aoi questioned Saki.

“I have my sources” the girl responded with a chuckle.

Rara nodded, so she was supposed to go to Tokyo to see her father today?

But that woman, everyone in school was pretty well off but… that lady almost seemed like a body guard, could it be her dad was some sort of millionaire? a celebrity?

YAKUZA?!

That would explain why she wouldn’t want to talk about it with Rara…

…and would explain why her friends avoided Jurina like the plague.

Before she had any more time to think about it, the teacher came in and immediately told everyone to go back to their desks.

For the rest of the day, things went on normally.

Jurina wasn’t there but somehow that seemed to be the norm not the other way around.

Jurina.