Chapter Twenty: The Bait:
Her morning started off positive. Naomi met Jun at the usual stop. The boy was still nursing a hangover. He looked up to see a smiling Naomi.
ï¿½Good morning!ï¿½ she cheered. Jun groaned.
ï¿½Not now,ï¿½ he complained.
ï¿½Okay,ï¿½ she said, upbeat. Jun blinked at her.
ï¿½What are you smiling for?ï¿½ he asked. Naomi giggled. Should she tell him? Nah, heï¿½s a grown boy. Let him figure it out. She leaned in closer.
ï¿½I just want to ask you one thing.ï¿½
Being a woman was an empowering thing. Naomi had it in her to keep talking. She gently took Junï¿½s hand.
ï¿½I was just wondering, what are you doing tonight?ï¿½
Naomi looked at him with a smile. ï¿½Go on a date with me.ï¿½
Jun jerked his head up to her. ï¿½What?ï¿½
She shrugged her shoulders at him. ï¿½You know, like on a date.ï¿½
He blinked at her. ï¿½Okayï¿½ï¿½
ï¿½So, what do you say?ï¿½
Jun paused before he shrugged.ï¿½Sure, why not?ï¿½
His old friend leapt up in joy. ï¿½Oh thank you!ï¿½ She gave him excited hug.
ï¿½Hey!ï¿½ Jun exclaimed. ï¿½Calm down! Calm down!ï¿½ Naomi pulled back.
ï¿½Sorry,ï¿½ she mumbled with pink cheeks. The Asahi car pulled up to the bus stop. Asahi-san lifted her shades and eyed them.
ï¿½Well, well, well,ï¿½ she said. ï¿½What is this?ï¿½ Naomi could only smile. She gave it her all not to brag about last night. Suddenly, Sayako didnï¿½t matter; nothing really mattered.
Naomi glowed all day. Jun on the other hand was in for a couple of surprises. Both arrived at his locker. He found a note taped to the door. Huh? Jun took down the pink note and read it to himself. No name on the outside. The boy sniffed the paper. Baby powder? Jun opened the note.
Missed you last night; I was so bored. Meet me tonight at Kiko's.
Jun stared at the paper. He had to read it again two more times. Wow! Suddenly, it all came back to him: Kenichi getting him drunk to have Sayako all to himself, Jun walking over to Naomi, him saying he liked her, him kissing her, her taking him back to her house, them in her bed during their romp of passion
Jun stepped back, blinking. Naomi-chan and Iï¿½ He shook his head. So, what does this mean now? Until today, Sayako had ruled his heart.
Jun raced down the hall to find his friend. Suddenly, someone grabbed him by the shoulder. The boy paused and looked behind him. Kenichi grinned at him.
"Hey buddy," he said. Jun frowned and pushed him off.
"What do you want?" he asked. Kenichi gave him a little pout.
"Oh come on, old friend," he said. "It was only a joke."
"Not a funny joke!"
"Come on, lighten up!"
Jun glared at him. Kenichi noticed the note in his hand.
"What'cha got there?" he asked.
"Nothing!" Jun snapped. The other boy already grabbed the paper out of his hand and read it before he could speak.
"Hey!" Jun yelled. Kenichi smirked as he read. He turned to the other boy.
"Ooo!" he said. "What is this?" Jun looked away, red-faced.
"Nothing!" he repeated.
"Nah!" Kenichi cheered. "Sayako-chan's invited you out tonight."
"It's not like that!" Jun yelled.
Kenichi laughed at him. "Oh please, it's all over your face!" Jun pressed his lips together.
"So?" Kenichi asked. "Are you going?" The other boy jerked his head around.
"What?!" he yelled. Kenichi patted him hard on the back. Jun winced as he took a heavy breath. The jerk grinned at him.
"Come on, man!" he cheered. "Go for it!" Jun looked at him with big eyes.
"Huh?!" he blurted out. Kenichi put his arm around his new "friend." The other boy tried to push him off.
"Come on, buddy!" the jerk said. "This is a rare opportunity. You can't let one night with your dream girl pass by, can you?" Jun paused and thought about that. One night with Sayako-chanï¿½ Wow! It could be worth it. Plus, he lost his virginity last night. A smile came across his face. Maybe I could impress Sayako-chan with the new skills I have learned! He turned to Kenichi.
"I'll do it!" Jun cheered. The jerk patted him on the back.
"Atta boy!" he said. The other boy gave him an uncomfortable smile. What about Naomi?
She had heard the whole conversation from around the corner of the lockers. Reality can be such a cruel bitch. Naomi's heart sank as she shed big tears. Was that all I was to him? A one-night stand test run and then I'm nothing? Is this how it's going to be? Am I just going to be invisible to Jun-kun from now on?
It all started to sink from there.
By six o'clock that evening, Jun made it out to Kiko's. The place looked busy as usual. The boy swallowed hard. Suddenly, this was turning into a bad idea already. Jun sighed. Too late now, he thought. He took slow steps into the juice bar.
Naomi sat alone in the park as the sun sank down over Nagasaki. She had been crying all day. Around dinnertime, she came to a realization. What's the point anymore? I don't want to suffer. I don't want to be invisible anymore!
She decided to fix the problem.
Jun looked around the party atmosphere and frowned at his surroundings. What was so great about this place? He could understand why Naomi hated this place. Jun felt his guilt sink in. Naomiï¿½
Jun suddenly spotted Sayako at the bar. He gave her a weak smile as he walked over to her.
Pills and Yamazaki; that was all Naomi needed tonight.
Jun sat down next to his longtime crush. Sayako glanced up at him from her fruit punch. He didn't notice that hazy, blank look in her eyes. The boy gave her a nervous smile.
"Hi," he said.
"Hey," she said back. Jun shuffled his feet. Here he was, sitting in Kiko's with the girl of his dreams. This doesn't feel right. I should be a happy son of a bitch now, butï¿½
He glanced at Sayako. "Nice night, huh?"
Jun shuffled an empty glass around on the bar. He tried to sit still. "So, uhï¿½ you want to dance?"
Sayako's face lit up with a smile. "Sure, I'd love to." They moved from the bar to the centre of the room.
Drink, pills, drink, pills, drink, pills. Naomi continued this pattern with dry tears in her eyes. She couldn't really cry anymore. Jun robbed her of everything last night and that morning. She just wanted to make it stop. Once both were gone, Naomi stood up in her long, lacy white dress and twirled around on the bench. Turn, turn, turn, turn, turn into nothing.
Jun fought to keep a brave face as he danced with Sayako. She still looked blank, but that wasn't on his mind. He kept thinking about Naomi. In those long seconds, he came to realize something. He didn't really love Sayako anymore. She had been something he wanted, but could never have. The boy's feelings were changing in a new direction. Maybe he loved Naomi now?
Suddenly, Kenichi walked over to the dancing couple and cut in to dance with them. Jun looked rather puzzled. Pretty soon, he found himself pushed out of the circle on the outside, watching the school jerk dance with his former crush.
He had been had.