Once Maya was done putting her clothes on after a warm and cozy bath, she twisted the knob of the bathroom door and stepped outside. Looking around, she noticed that everyone is already in the dorm, doing their own thing. The only difference is that Nana is currently approaching her with a note in hand, "Maya-chan, someone left a letter for you outside, here you go!"
Maya raised a brow at that, now that's unusual. Who would ever write her a letter? She silently pondered while staring at the note that Nana held out to her, before giving the blonde a small smile and taking the piece of paper, "Do you know the person who gave me this?"
Nana furrowed her brows a little, seeming to be in thought, before shaking her head and looking at Maya apologetically, "I'm sorry, but she doesn't seem to be from Seisho, and she didn't mention her name either."
"That's fine, thank you, Daiba-san." Maya then set aside the note, she'll read it later before sleeping.
"I'm glad to be of help! There's food in the table now as well, I forgot to mention that."
The brunette bowed her head in response, silently thanking her once more. She also couldn't help but smile fondly at the excited reactions of some of her dorm mates, especially Claudine, who beamed in a child-like way that just absolutely melted her heart.
After dinner, all of them cleaned up and hung out at the common room for a few hours, until they all collectively decided that it's time to sleep, accompanied by a few yawns here and there, as well as another one of Kaoruko's demands to Futaba to carry her to bed.
Closing her door, Maya walked towards her bed and laid down. Just as she was about to get the book she's been reading lately, she remembered that someone wrote her a letter. Hesitating on what to read first, she reluctantly reached for the note instead.
Sitting up on her bed, Maya opened the note.
This wasn't what she had expected. What she feels, she doesn't know. Sadness, anger, fear, humiliation? It could be either, maybe all of them. The fears that were buried inside her heart is coming to the surface and she can't do anything about it but unwillingly deal with it. To deal with the pain that is coming back to her, to suffocate her. She has dealt with the negative rumors, the harsh hushed whispers, the hidden pins and needles, the lost shoes, the stolen things she had, and the notes that directly attacked her insecurities that she shouldn't have shared long ago-
She simply didn't think it would come back, that she would experience it all over again. She let her guard down, and like a fool she could only stay still and let it overcome her.
"That sick bastard..." Maya tried to deny that she was affected, but she knows she can't.
She gripped the note in her hand, crumpled it into a ball, and threw it into her trash bin. In vain, she laid down and tried to sleep it off. But she couldn't, she tried to refrain from bursting into tears, but failed miserably. She tried to calm her rapid heartbeat down, but can't. She tried to stop her body from shaking uncontrollably, but just like her previous attemts-
And so she laid there all night, sobbing, and gripping at her sheets to ease the pain, but it couldn't help her. It was only when her tears ran out did she ever fall asleep.
Waking up from the loud knocks at her door, Maya groaned, for once she actually wants to stay in bed and do nothing. She's too tired and her non-existent willpower is really not helping. "Give me a moment..."
It was silent for awhile, and it seems the person at the door didn't like to be kept waiting as the door opened, revealing Claudine, with a glare directed at Maya. The brunette blinked as she looked agapae at Claudine who is currently storming over to her. She sat up and could only keep her mouth shut as Claudine talked.
"Tendou Maya! Why were you still asleep?! It's already 10AM! Everyone's been wondering why-"
Before Claudine kept going on and on, the blonde squinted her eyes at Maya as she looked at her from head to toe. The atmosphere became very tense for Maya to handle, so in a weak voice, Maya spoke, "S-Saijou-san? What is it?"
"Off?... What do you mean by that?"
"Your eyes look swollen, and overall you look like a mess" Though her usual frown was still there, Claudine's face softened. "What's wrong?"
Maya simply shook her head, "It's uh... Just a note-" She stopped talking and sighed, "Never mind, It's not a big deal."
Claudine looked ready to protest, but decided against it with a slight groan, "I don't want to push it so..." She looked to the side, a slight blush on her cheeks as she crossed her arms, "Just keep in that of yours that you have me, for whatever you're going through... A-and everyone else too, of course!"
Maya smiled in amusement, though she did feel some sort of warmth bloom in her chest from hearing such words from Claudine...
"Thank you so much, Saijou-san"
"Whatever, you infuriating woman, just don't let it get to your head."
"But didn't you just say-"
"Stop twisting my words, Merde!" The blonde huffed, unamused. "Once you're done getting ready, go to the common room, everyone's waiting for you."
Maya just nodded, so Claudine then took that as a cue to leave, closing the door gently afterward. The memories of the words from last night didn't mean anything to her now. They're nothing compared to her friends. After dressing up in casual clothes, she looked at herself in the mirror just to be sure before she went outside, closed her door, and headed to where everyone was at.
Before she could fully process the sight of the common room, she was tackled into a hug by Karen, the impact almost making her stumble, "Maya-Chan! Happy Birthday!" Maya had to regain her balance for awhile before smiling fondly and returning the hug, "Thank you, Aijou-san"
Maya didn't mind the hug. No, not at all, however, she really needed to breathe. Fortunately for her, Mahiru came to the rescue. "Karen, I think you're hugging her too tight." Maya shot a grateful smile at the blue-haired girl while Mahiru sent her a sheepish one in return, "Happy Birthday as well, Maya-chan"
Nudging Hikari, Mahiru gently pushed her towards Maya, encouraging her to say something. And so Hikari gave a small smile directed to Maya and took her hands away from her back to reveal her holding a Mr. White plush, "Happy Birthday, Tendou-san."
Maya was quite shocked for a moment- before reciprocating the expression on Hikari's face as she accepted the gifts into her own hands, "Thank you for this, Kagura-san."
This went on individually, Junna giving her a respectful bow of her head with a polite greeting, Futaba handing her lollipops accompanied by Kaoruko's box of candies as they casually greeted her, Nana giving her a big box full of Baumkuchen she baked last night with Junna, accompanied by a cake with a candle on top that they could share later, what shocked her was the light hug she received from the taller blonde, but she reciprocated it after a second and happily accepted the gift.
And last but not the least, Claudine was definitely not one to be outdone by Nana as she offered Maya a bouquet of red carnations that symbolize pride and bauty, accompanied by a small black box. Claudine, with a red face, almost shoved it in front of Maya, "Take it. Happy Birthday, Tendou Maya."
Maya swore she felt her heart skip a beat as she accepted the gifts from Claudine, "How sweet of you, Ma Claudine." Claudine glared at that, which evoked a teasing smirk from the brunette, and that irritated the blonde even further, "Tais-toi! You ungrateful woman!"
It seems that Maya can turn the switch quite quickly, surprising Claudine, as Maya gave her a sincere smile this time, "Thank you so much, Saijou-san."
Claudine rolled her eyes but smiled anyway, "You're welcome, Maya. Also, don't open the black box right now, just later, before you sleep."
Maya complied without question, and for the rest of the day, they indulged in the food Nana and Mahiru had prepared, rested in the common room by going on a movie marathon, and ate the leftover food from earlier as dinner.
Once all was said and done, they cleaned up and bid each other goodnight as they headed to their rooms. Before Maya could go inside hers, she was stopped as Claudine called her name, "Maya, wait."
Turning around, Maya rose a brow in question, "Yes?"
Claudine walked towards her, "Consider what I said in the note i left inside the box" Before Maya fully processed what she said, Claudine made her confusion worse by kissing the brunette on her cheek, "Bonne nuit, Ma Maya"
Later that night, Maya couldn't think straight, it's already 11PM and she still can't process what Claudine just did, until she remembered that she still had to open the box Claudine gave her. Slowly opening the box, she found a purple note on top of a purple diamond necklace encased by the box.
Speechless, Maya proceeded to read the words that were elegantly wrote on the note,
"Will you go out with me tomorrow? During Lunch?"