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Ghost and Monster Page 34 on Patreon!

In a creepy town a boy named Nox is plagued by the memory of his friends gruesome suicide and the circumstances surrounding it. Now strange things happen around him all the time causing chaos in his psyche and also his love life. Suddenly a strange girl named Caedis shows up saying she wants a taste of this strange life of his. Could this be love? Or a secret agenda?

GMWebRead

Tapastic               SmackJeeves               Dighm Liting

Ghost and Monster Page 33 on Patreon!

GMpg33Update

In a creepy town a boy named Nox is plagued by the memory of his friends gruesome suicide and the circumstances surrounding it. Now strange things happen around him all the time causing chaos in his psyche and also his love life. Suddenly a strange girl named Caedis shows up saying she wants a taste of this strange life of his. Could this be love? Or a secret agenda?

GMWebRead

Tapastic               SmackJeeves               Dighm Liting

Caedis’s Weapon choices!

So earlier this month I made a post about Caedis’s fighting style in which I briefly mentioned that she can turn any object into a weapon. Let me elaborate on that!

In the illustration below we see Caedis with boxing gloves that are similar to the ones shown in the cover art for Love is Violence, which I did in the spur of the moment before I had really decided what I was going to do. It’s likely that in the chapter her gloves will end up looking like those instead of the ones in this pic and here’s why. Caedis has the power to turn any object into a weapon of her choice which she can transform at any time. These weapons become stronger depending on how much sentimental value the object has. Caedis doesn’t really own anything but the clothes on her back so they are the most sentimental things she has and so she tends to turn articles of clothing into weapons. In this picture, she’s turned her shirt into boxing gloves, but I’m thinking in the chapter she’ll probably use her shoes just because that makes more sense since there’s two of them.

SO! Now that that’s established, I’ll try not to spoil my plans and tell you what effect this has on the story and relationships. But I will say that I’ll be having fun with this by making her use as many different weapons as possible! So I’ll be posting some pics of Caedis using a bunch of different weapons. ^^ Look forward to it!

CaedisBoxing

Caedis’s Fighting Style!

CaedisKickBoxing

My Ghost & My Monster is reaching the finale of chapter one, aptly named “Love is Violence”! I’m excited about this because so far there’s been no REAL reason for the rating in my opinion besides that suicide is a touchy subject for a lot of people. For me, this story is cathartic is the sense that I get to talk about all the things that I am restricted from talking about without holding back. I think I’m a lot darker of a person than most of my friends and family believe me to be and with G&M I’m able to express that.

Anyway, without getting into all of that, basically shit is about to get messy and, in all honesty, I haven’t been entirely sure how I want Caedis to fight until now! But I’ve figured it out and here is my first pic of her!

Caedis’s fighting style will default to kickboxing, but her power is that she can turn any object into a weapon. I’ll elaborate more on that in the next couple of weeks but for now all you need to know is that she will literally be kicking ass pretty soon. Look forward to it!

Kleronmos, New Realeases, and a Hiatus

This will be a purely informative post. So! First thing’s first. I’m sorry to say that I’ll be going on a little hiatus from both Lucy’s Tail and My Ghost & My Monster. I’m only annoyed about this because I just got off of a short hiatus from G&M, but I’m really passionate about this story and I’d rather it be the way I want it instead of rushed because I have too much stuff to do. That being said, since this is to give me a breather, I don’t have a date the hiatus will be over. But I promise it won’t be more than a few months and I will definitely come back before the year is over.

Now for other projects I promised this summer.

KleronomosAnnouncement

The last time I posted about Kleronomos, I said that it would be released this summer. Well, a lot had happened since then and I’ve changed my mind about how I want to go about this story. However, it IS finished and I DID make a promise so I WILL be putting it up piece by piece for you guys to read. Starting July 23rd I’ll be posting it to read for free here on my website, on Fiction Press, and on Wattpad. I want people to read it and since I’ll be writing more of these books I figure I’ll simply publish it along with the sequel which will not be free.  In the meantime…

EnergyBook2Header

Energy! 24/6, Book 2 was scheduled to start soon, but seeing as though I’ll be serializing Kleronomos instead, that will have to be postponed a little longer. This might be disappointing to those of you who have been following, but I don’t plan on serializing “Love, Karin” until January of 2017. Sorry, guys, but I have too much going on right now to write it. But I do have it planned out and I promise it’ll be interesting when it does come out! :)

Last of all, but certainly not least!

SongBird Logo

It’s back! For now, I don’t have any new images, but I’m happy to let you all know that SongBird will be published in print! I will be releasing more info as the publishing process progresses, but for now this is all I have. So because of this new development and because I have a new job and new studies to focus on, I won’t have time to post as much as I used to. Sad as that makes me, I am really excited about the direction my life is heading right now so hopefully I’ll be able to share more projects soon! As usual, thanks for sticking with me. :D I love you guys.

Summer Energy

SummerKoAzu

Sorry if these colors are blindingly bright. I was experimenting. lol. I wanted to try something summery! I never really get into summer since I don’t really like it and I prefer drawing winter clothes so this is my attempt at something I don’t normally do and also since it’s summer at this point in the story! ^^ Can’t wait until these two become a bit closer. Sorry it’s so slowburn, but I wanted their relationship to develop at least a little realistically. xD

Energy! 24/6 [Book 1: Chapter 11]

EnergyBookOne

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ELEVEN

Narumi was talking. I only knew because I could hear him saying Azusa’s name every now and then and it reminded me that I was about to be face to face with her in her own home. It’s not like that was a big deal on its own, but I wasn’t really prepared for it. I wanted to talk things out, but how exactly was I going to do that with everyone else there? I’d be way too embarrassed.

“When you say it it gives her some merit, but in the end it still feels like Azusa’s playing hooky.” Saya walked easily next to Narumi, turning to him and shaking her head.

I walked behind them, Kazuto at my side. He had no problem navigating in and out of the conversation, but I guess I was the only one too awkward to say anything.

“Is that why she likes all that health food stuff?” Kazuto asked, his book bag dangling carelessly in the grip that rested behind his neck. I tried to tune in at that. Is what why she likes health food? What were they talking about?

“Oh, you noticed, huh?” Narumi chuckled. “I guess there are some things she can’t help but put effort into still. She used to be a lot more hard working and since mom was dead set on her being a doctor Azusa started studying health and nutrition. She was really good at it, but after the burn out she doesn’t really care about studies. I guess she’s just using what she learned to stay healthy. She gets really moody when she feels even a little bad so I can imagine why.”

“The burn out?” I blurted out.

“Yeah… well, I don’t really know what else to call it.” Narumi rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly as he came to a halt. We watched as he turned to us, guard down and eyes a bit pleading. “Azusa’s going to wring my neck when she finds out I’m telling you guys all of this… I know you aren’t that close. There’s no way you could be with the way she is, but if you can would you please try to be her friend?”

The three of us exchanged glances, probably taken aback by the request. Honestly I didn’t know what they were thinking, but I was sure that Saya would take the lead as always. To my surprise it was Kazuto who spoke up first.

“I know that dork isn’t closer to anyone else in school than us.” He smirked. “So doesn’t that make us friends already?”

Saya appraised him for a moment before smiling. “Well, she’s a pain my ass, but I do feel a sense of responsibility for her.”

“You don’t have to say anything, Kou.” Kazuto slapped me on the back. “We all know you’re pretty much obsessed with her.”

“I’m not! Don’t say that! That makes me sound like a stalker or something!”

My protests were ignored as we moved on and Narumi continued with his explanation. He told us about Azusa’s collapse in middle school and how her body has been weak ever since then. The doctors tell her she’ll be fine as long as she watched her stress levels and to just go on like normal. Somehow it didn’t surprise me. Thinking back, Azusa always seemed tired, like she was forcing herself to be cheerful. I had to wonder if that was a difficult thing to do.

As we approached the door Narumi turned to us again, hands clasped together. “Um, can you guys not tell her I told you all of that? She’s really scary when she’s mad, okay?”

Saya laughed. “Don’t worry, Narumi. We’ll behave. Right, boys?”

That bright smile lit up Narumi’s face as we nodded and he eagerly opened the door. “Welcome! Please make yourselves comfortable!”

Kazuto gawked shamelessly as we entered the expensive looking home, abandoning our shoes at the door. Narumi led us into the living room with that bright smile of his and I soon found myself face to face with a startled Azusa. We three stood in the archway to the living room watching as an orange slice slipped from her fingers and onto the short table. The low volume of the TV was loud in the silence of our impromptu staring contest.

Amber eyes shot toward Narumi who approached gleefully as if nothing was awry. “Narumi. What are they doing here?”

“I invited them! I thought you’d be happy to see your friends!” He grinned, but kept his distance as if he was anticipating a physical attack.

Azusa turned back to us, her hair falling a bit in her face without her hairclip. She was dressed so comfortably in a matching light green pajama set. It was casual and I felt like I was invading her privacy a bit, but it was really cute.

“Jeez, Azusa! Aren’t you going to welcome us? After we came all this way just to see if you were okay!” Saya marched fearlessly into the room, taking a seat at Azusa’s side. The action was enough to break the tension and Kazuto and I followed after toward the low table to sit. Saya’s scolding was light hearted and caring, but Azusa looked away with a pout. Her face was more expressive than I’d ever seen before. She looked so much less guarded than usual and a part of me wanted to take advantage of that somehow.

“How rude of you to barge in here like we’re friends after yelling at me.” Azusa jabbed childishly.

“Well I was going to apologize, but now that you’re acting like a five year old I’m not sure that I want to.” Saya folded her arms and turned away equally as childish.

Azusa looked like she was fighting with herself as she trained her eyes on her brother and Narumi offered her an encouraging smile before escaping to the kitchen for snacks.

“Were you really going to apologize?” She mumbled.

I’m not so much of a child that I can’t admit that I was being too pushy.” Saya quipped.

Azusa looked at me with a suspicious expression. “Did you… come to apologize too, Izumi?”

I inwardly panicked for a moment. What did I come for? My mind went blank and I nodded reflexively. I don’t think I was the only one who jumped a bit when Azusa dropped her arms to the table and buried her face.

“Seriously?” She whined. “Are you messing with me? You can’t possibly be this nice after I said all that stuff.”

Saya looked at me pointedly, gesturing toward Azusa. I could tell she wanted me to do what we talked about and fix things, but everyone was watching and I couldn’t remember what I wanted to say.

“Hey, Saya.” Kazuto suddenly stood. “Let’s go help Narumi in the kitchen, huh?”

“What? But Izumi is—!”

“Don’t worry about him, he’s fine.” He smirked, helping her up and practically dragging her away. “Koichi’s not good under pressure.” I heard him whisper. I might’ve protested that if I wasn’t so grateful, so instead I turned back to Azusa who was peeking over her arm to watch them go.

“I’m sorry, Amamiya. I didn’t mean to stress you out this much.” My eyes took to watching the grain of the table, traveling up and down the little grooves to avoid looking at Azusa.

“It’s not really your fault…” She sighed. “No… I guess it is a little your fault. But mostly it’s me.”

“It’s because I’m pushing you to make your hobby into a career, right? Does it bother you that much?”

“It’s not that it bothers me… It’s that… It’s not easy for me to say this.” Azusa looked at me and I met her eyes on accident.

“I’m not going to judge you.”

“It’s that. It’s you. You’re not at all what I thought. Even though I thought I’d figured you out when I took my notes, the more I learn about you the more I feel like I don’t understand you at all. I don’t get why you care so much and I want to care about it as much as you do but I don’t. I do care. Just not as much as you. But… what you want to do… what you want me to accomplish… it’s difficult. I think that, if it was you then you could do it. But it isn’t you. It’s me. And I can’t do anything.” She sat up. Her delicate hands played with the ends of her pajama shirt and I could tell she wanted to apologize, but I didn’t really care about that anymore.

“Then let me do it.” I found myself saying. Somehow, watching her in that delicate state gave me courage. “Let me be your ambition. Let me do everything that’s too hard. Let me help you.” I searched her eyes as they widened, looking for any sign that she might give in but Azusa didn’t say anything. She just watched me. “I really do believe in you, Amamiya. I believe that your stories are important. But in the end, making them a reality isn’t your dream. It’s mine. I know that it’s selfish of me, but I want to do this. So I’m okay with it if you only want to do the fun parts. All I’m asking is that when you do, you give it your all.”

“…I’m sorry, Izumi.” She finally spoke. I could feel myself deflating as I anticipated her answer. “For that stuff I said before. You’ve been working so hard all this time for my sake and I’ve been a jerk. I know I’m not really tactful and you’re pretty sensitive so I should’ve been more careful about what I was saying.”

I let that one slide, telling myself she must not have known how rude that last part sounded. “It’s fine. We were both frustrated.”

Azusa gave me a slightly sheepish look. “Do you think Takahashi would hear us out one more time?”

“It’s Saya.” The girl in question made her way to us with a tray of cookies, setting them delicately on the table. “It’s weird if I call you by your given name when you don’t do the same!”

Azusa looked a bit put off, but she caved quickly under Saya’s stare. “Saya…” She struggled. “Would you—?”

“Of course I would! Why would I come all the way over here if I wasn’t on board?” Saya smiled, seemingly satisfied. “And Izumi!” She pointed at me and I felt my back straighten up involuntarily. “Didn’t Narumi say earlier that there are more than one Amamiya’s here! It’s confusing if you don’t call her by her name.”

I locked eyes with Azusa and my face burned up. “A-Azusa…” I stuttered helplessly under Saya’s stare. My heart skipped a beat at the small smile Azusa tried to hide. I followed her eyes to her hands as they fiddled with her half eaten orange.

“Stop giving Kou a hard time. He has a weak heart.” Kazuto laughed, setting drinks down next to the cookies.

Narumi followed soon after with a bowl of pealed oranges. “If you guys are going to work on a project then I want to help!” His smile shined brightly as he took a seat next to his sister who lightly shoved him away.

“After midterms are over, naturally.” Kazuto sat casually beside me and the whole room froze.

“Ugh!” Azusa dropped her head back on the table. “I hate exams.” She complained earning her a scolding from Saya who warned her against slacking on something so important.

I relaxed at the atmosphere even though I was sure I was most likely in the room to fail in at least one class. Even so, at least I didn’t have to worry about Azusa anymore so I might finally be able to concentrate.

We left shortly after that when Azusa’s eyelids became noticeably heavy. It was a relief. I was able to make up with her and somehow my social circle had become a little bit bigger. The excitement was bubbling up inside me as I anticipated the project to come. We had a team and I couldn’t wait to see how it was going to come together.

“I can’t believe you didn’t confess to her.” Kazuto sighed, draping an arm around my shoulders.

Saya nodded in agreement, slapping me lightly on the arm. “Yeah, Izumi! We even left you alone!”

“Confess what?!” I near shouted.

“Your undying love, duh.” Kazuto looked at me like I was the crazy one and I shrugged out of his grasp.

“I am not in love with Azusa.” I blushed as I realized my mistake. “Amamiya.”

“Don’t back track, Izumi.” Saya scolded. “You made progress. Take advantage of it.”

“I’m not in love with her.” I repeated. “I meant what I said back there. Maybe it’s selfish of me but I can’t let go of this dream and I can’t do it without Azusa. Maybe I like her…” I admitted. “But I don’t want to rush at her with something I’m not sure of.”

They exchanged glances before smiling at me. I could tell they were sticking by their thoughts, but at least they would let it go for now. At the very least I knew we all had something to look forward to after the midterms were over. So we left it at that and walked home.

As I lay in bed that night I thought I realized after that I couldn’t do anything on my own, but neither could Azusa. All of the faith I had in her and the will I had to accomplish this tall fantasy was what she lacked. Azusa was never going to put in any effort unless I did first and somehow I was okay with that. I wanted that. Maybe I was hoping that if I pushed enough, someday, she would push back.

So I don’t know what you’re going to take out of all of this, but there are a couple of things I learned. You shouldn’t expect to get more out of anything, or anyone, than you put in yourself and if you really want something you can’t expect it fall in your lap. You have to fight for it as hard as you can. You can bet that that’s what I’m going to do from now on.

So thanks for listening.

Love, Koichi.

 

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Book 2: Love, Karin will begin serializing in September 2016.

Energy! 24/6 [Book 1: Chapter 9]

EnergyBookOne

[First] [<< Previous]     [Extras]     [Next Chapter on 5.28.16]

NINE

The days were getting warmer as April ended and I was starting to feel like things were going my way. As lunch period on Monday rolled around I made my way down the hall, determined to speak to Saya again. It wasn’t long before a got my chance and I saw light brown curls exiting Azusa’s classroom and heading toward the cafeteria. Looking at her now in her uniform I could see that she wasn’t frumpy at all. She looked a bit too mature to be a high school student. In fact I felt it was safe to assume her loose clothing was more of an attempt to stop guys from coming onto her than to hide anything. Suddenly calling out to her seemed to be much bigger of a task than I thought.

“Izumi Koichi?” Saya turned to me. I wondered how long I’d been staring when the girl next to her blushed and looked away. “Go on ahead, Umi. I’m going to talk to him.” The girl nodded shyly before walking off and Saya came up to me with a confidence in her step I hadn’t seen before.

“U-um. Taka… hashi… right?” I stammered. God, I hope I’m not turning into some hormonal teenage boy.

“Yes?” She placed her hands on her hips and I made the mistake of looking down once before training my eyes on her face. “Well, what is it? Did you want to apologize to me for running off the other day without a proper goodbye?”

“Uh, yes! I’m sorry. Kazuto is really self-conscious about what people think of him so he can be pretty forceful.” Not that I’m one to talk.

Saya’s laugh startled me before she smiled sweetly. “It’s alright. I’m not mad as long as you keep my secret. So did you have anything else to say?”

“Yes.” I answered, trying to get back to my earlier state of mind. Saya’s not Azusa. She’s an otaku, but she’s also a normal girl with a normal understanding of people and emotions. Taking a deep breath, I relaxed a bit. “I wanted to ask you if you’re willing to listen to Amamiya’s story. I know you probably prefer… a specific type of romance… but I promise that Amamiya’s stories are really interesting! I’m not asking you to draw it for her, but at least listen to what she has to say and then decide if you’d be willing to help her out.” I know I probably looked angry instead of determined, but I wanted to show my conviction as best I could. Saya didn’t give away what she was thinking.

“I don’t really mind, but why are you asking me if it’s Azusa’s story?”

“Because… I really want to see this story. Amamiya’s not the type to go out of her way to ask things of people. And it’s a love story so I thought you might be interested.”

“You must really like this story of hers, huh, Izumi Koichi?” Saya smirked, delicate curls framing her face as she tilted her head. Honestly, she was a little intimidating. “Tell me. What’s so great about it? What makes this story not just another romance?”

I cleared my throat and remembered my goal. “Amamiya makes it different. She puts so much time and thought into each person. What they like, what they don’t, their values and motivations. She spends so much time making them 3 dimensional.”

“Is that why you’re so intent on helping her?”

“It isn’t just that.” I felt a conclusion coming to me and I rolled with it. “They mean more. She looks at things differently. She thinks about things like how good people are for each other. It’s not just some pointless romance. They each have something the other lacks, yet they have so much in common, too. And it’s not just this story. She has things she wants to say and when I hear her talking about these characters and messages I can’t sit still. I believe that if a story is good it deserves to be told. Isn’t that reason enough?”

“That’s a good answer, Izumi Koichi!” Saya smiled.

“You… you don’t have to keep saying my full name like that.” I stammered.

“Alright then, Izumi. I will hear Azusa out. I’m not in any clubs so if you’re free after school we can meet somewhere.”

“The library!” I answered reflexively. My excitement got the better of me and before I knew it Saya was gone.

“Izumi.” I heard from the doorway and turned to see Azusa. “You’re actually really tenacious, aren’t you?”

“Amamiya!!” I near shouted, my heart racing from too many emotions to count. “How long have you been there?”

“Hmmm…” Azusa leaned against the doorway to her classroom, a thoughtful finger to her lips, and my whole system shut down when she answered. “Around ‘Amamiya makes it different’.” She grinned at me.

How embarrassing. “I! You know! That’s!”

“Appealing to a girl like that sounds like a real pain though…” She folded her arms, moving out of the way of some girls and leaning against the wall instead. She looked kind of tired again. “Takahashi is one of those one hundred and ten percent kind of people, you know? She nags me a lot when we have class duties together. She even went so far as to keep track of me during the physical exams.”

“I didn’t realize you had that kind of relationship.” The look of Azusa’s face when Saya spoke to her over the weekend was starting to make a little sense. Maybe Azusa was a much lazier person than I thought. “But this is a good opportunity for you!” I pushed. Even if she was lazy, she’d be an idiot to walk away from something like this, wouldn’t she?

“Yeah.” Azusa agreed, but that grin she always pointed at me was gone. “I guess it can’t hurt to talk to her.”

I felt a bit uneasy after that, waiting impatiently for classes to end so that I could be there for Saya and Azusa’s conversation. I was starting to get the idea that Azusa might ruin this somehow. Again, she puzzled me. She said that she wasn’t going to write it because it was too much work, right? Because she wasn’t good at writing, right? So here I was making everything easy on her and she still seemed to be put off. It didn’t make sense that a girl with commitment issues would ask someone out even if it was just to see what I’d say. But what more could there be to the situation that made her so opposed?

When school was over I was quick to collect my things. I asked Kazuto if he wanted to come too, but he just waved me off. He never liked nerve wracking situations like this and in the end he told me to just tell him how it turned out. That kind of made me nervous too. Suddenly this felt really important.

I tried not to run to the library. Azusa and Saya’s class was much closer to it so I figured that they would get there before me. I was used to walking in and seeing that mess of burgundy hair and that plastic smile, but this time the atmosphere was different. That room that was usually filled with Azusa’s lazy presence was now overwhelmed by Saya’s intimidating pressure.

“We don’t need to wait for Izumi. It’s your story so tell me about it. What’s the genre? The setting? Who does it center around? Do you have designs or would I be designing them?” Saya wasn’t sitting down. Instead she stood opposite of Azusa with her hand on the table in a demanding fashion. If I wasn’t so used to watching Azusa’s face I probably wouldn’t have noticed how uncomfortable she looked behind that smile.

“I don’t have designs, but I do have an idea of how they could look.” Azusa started, stopping as soon as she saw me. “Izumi! Come here! You’re better at this sort of thing.”

“Right!” I stammered, making my way to the table, but I stopped when Saya glared at me.

“What’s with that wishy washy attitude, Azusa? It’s your story. I want to hear it from you.”

I froze. I didn’t think Saya would be this obstinate.  As I feared, without the thought of escape Azusa gave me the impression she might willingly sabotage this and I panicked at that thought. This was really important to me for some reason and I had to do something before that forced smile turned into a scowl. So I steeled myself and took a seat beside Azusa, gesturing to the seat across the table.

“Takahashi. Why don’t you sit down?” I tried to smile, but I know it didn’t look right. I probably looked at least half as nervous as I felt and three times as annoyed but Saya didn’t mention it. Instead she took a seat and crossed her legs before fixating her gaze on Azusa.

“Go ahead then.” Saya said, more patiently this time and Azusa looked at me a bit helplessly. My heart swelled a bit, but I shook that thought away. Now was not the time.

“It’s alright, Amamiya.” I tried to sound certain. “You don’t need to pitch it. Just tell her about it like you told me. I’m sure she’ll see how interesting it is!”

Azusa stared at me for a moment like she was searching for something before turning back to Saya. She seemed to relax a little and I could have imagined it, but she might have been a tiny bit closer to me than before.

“Well, I don’t much care for romance stories, you see.” Azusa started as clinically as possible. “They always seem so forced. So I didn’t want to make a couple that just ended up together because I made them to. Instead I wanted a heroine that thinks she’s in love with someone because they’re close. Then he falls in love with someone else and in her desperate attempt to get back in the forefront of her mind she finds someone who’s better suited to her.” She pulled out her notebook and began to discuss the characters. She was kind enough not to tell Saya who she based them off of, instead sticking to basic details until Saya pressed further. Azusa had an answer to everything, delving deeper into the complex emotions of the characters and why the acted the way they did. It was going well. Saya seemed interested. Then, of course, Saya pushed in the direction I had hoped she wouldn’t.

“So what are your plans for it? You’re not really into manga so is it really alright to have it drawn? Or is this a by any means possible kind of thing?”

Azusa smiled calmly. “Oh, I don’t have any plans. It doesn’t really matter to me if it gets done or not.”

I paled. What is she thinking?! My mind was screaming. She knows Saya is a one hundred and ten kind of person!

“What? Are you serious? What kind of attitude is that? Do you really expect anyone to go into a project with someone who feels that way?” Saya stood again and Azusa leaned back a bit in her chair.

“Well, Izumi is—”

“What about Izumi? This is your story! I story is only as could as the care put into it. How do you expect me to be interested if you’re not?”

“Takahashi.” I tried to reason. “It’s true that I’m the one who really wants to do this, but after hearing all of the work she’s already put in can you really say Amamiya’s uninterested?”

Azusa is the one who created this.” Saya brought a steady palm down on the table and looked around at the empty library, wary of anyone we might be bothering. “It’s fine if you want to give it your all, Izumi, but a team is only as good as its weakest link.”

Azusa wasn’t smiling anymore and my heart sunk a little. That indifferent expression looked just as practiced as her usual smile and I was starting to see that Azusa wasn’t as emotionless as she let on. She looked away from us both, folding her arms and dropping her shoulders in the way someone might if they’ve had all they can take and didn’t care anymore.

“Well, then it’s probably better that there is no team.”

“So that’s it? A little road block and the trip is canceled?” Saya taunted. “I knew you were a quitter, Azusa, but I thought you’d give more effort into something you liked.”

I stood then. “That’s enough, Takahashi. That’s a bit much, don’t you think? If you two function so differently then shouldn’t there be a little compromise? You can’t expect Amamiya to suddenly change how she is if you aren’t willing to change a little too. You don’t have to be best friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work together. Would it be so difficult just because Amamiya’s not a passionate person? Didn’t I say that I was the one who really wanted to do this?”

“It’s fine, Izumi. You don’t need to go so far.” Azusa looked at me with those eyes that had already given up and I felt something snap. I was angry. I was angry at Azusa too.

“It’s because of that defeatist attitude that Takahashi won’t work with you, you know.” I knew I shouldn’t have but I ignored the look of surprise in her eyes and kept on going. “I get being daunted by a large goal, but are you really so lazy that you can’t put even a little more effort into this? Isn’t that why everyone’s always so mad at you? Would it kill you to try just a little bit harder?”

“Maybe it would. Why the hell do you care so much?” She glared, forcing me back a bit as she stood. Then a cruel smile crept onto her lips. “I don’t get you Izumi. Maybe you actually do have a crush on me, huh?”

I tensed when I saw that grin. She already knew how I felt. She was just teasing me on purpose. I looked away from her, turning towards Saya, but unable to look her in the eyes. I could feel the heat on my face all the way to my ears and I bowed my head further, trying to look like I was just being polite.

“I’m sorry, Takahashi. I didn’t call you out here just to have an argument.” I paused, composing myself. “I won’t waste your time anymore.”

I didn’t have to see her face to know she felt sorry for me. “It’s alright, Izumi. I kind of knew it would turn out like this anyway. I’ll see you later.” Saya picked up her bag from the back of the library chair and walked out. The sound of her footsteps felt louder than our conversation was, echoing on for way too long until Azusa broke the silence, sliding back into her chair with no effort to be discreet.

“She’s gone, you know. You don’t have to keep bowing like that.” She commented, her chin in one delicate hand, eyes off somewhere on the other side of the room.

“You know what, Amamiya? I really get why people call you insensitive now.” I blurted out.

“Really? I’m the one who’s insensitive?” She spoke calmly and I couldn’t tell if it hurt her feelings like I wanted it to since she still wouldn’t look at me. “Aren’t you the one who decided you wanted to do something and then forced it on me? I told you I had no intention of writing, Izumi. I told you I’m not ambitious like that. I told you she was pushy and annoying and working with her would be hard. I told you. I was clear. You were the one who didn’t consider how I felt about this, getting lost in your fantasies like always. Trapped in that concept of making something you like real and thinking it would just work out the way it does in stories.” She looked at me then and smiled, but I could tell she was trying really hard not to get angry. “This isn’t a book, Izumi. Things don’t happen because you want them to or even if you need them to.”

“You’re right. Things happen because you make them happen. That’s what I was trying to do.” I sighed. “You also said that I could have that story. Did you mean that? Or did you just say that because you were sure it wouldn’t work out.”

She thought for a while before shrugging and looking away again. “Well, I definitely didn’t think it would work out.”

It made me angrier than it should have but I didn’t know what else to say. I couldn’t bring myself to say something worse than that so I just picked up my bag and left as fast as I could.

I took me a long time to change my shoes. My frustration was so overwhelming I just threw them on the ground and stared at them for ages. I didn’t hear or see Azusa anywhere around that whole time so I assumed she was still in the library. I thought about waiting and apologizing, but I was still mad and my pride wouldn’t allow it. So I walked home. It took me almost twice as long as it normally did and I spent the entirety of that time thinking the same thought.

“Maybe you actually do have a crush on me, huh?”

That wouldn’t have made me so upset if it wasn’t true.

 

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