It’s Just Pretend – Chapter Two
by Dreams in Pink
|← Chapter One||Chapter Three →|
The school day had finally ended, yet Usagi was trapped in an empty classroom watching the hands on the clock slowly make their rounds. Normally she would have spent her entire detention cringing at the fact she was there to begin with, but after the events of that day, the quiet classroom had become her sanctuary. She slouched in her seat. She should have been working on an assignment, but any remnants of concentration had long fled her mind. All she could do was ask herself, ‘Why’. Why couldn’t she stop the lies from spilling from her lips? Why couldn’t she have just said yes to Yuuji? And why were her friends so damn nosey?
Her eyelids grew heavy; all the worrying, guilt, and intense thinking was wearing her out. The way she saw it there were two options: tell the truth or find a boyfriend. She desperately needed someone to consult and half-considered asking her teacher, Ms. Haruna, who was at her desk scratching away at papers. Striking that idea from her thoughts, Usagi settled for the next best option – a refreshing nap, which she would follow by discussing her problems with Motoki over a milkshake. With half an hour of detention to spare, Usagi propped up a textbook in front of her, laid her head on the desk and fell asleep.
The blonde murmured as she escaped into the world of dreams and fantasies, which were unfortunately invaded by a tall, raven-haired man. She had been keeping a secret; one she never intended to reveal. Despite Usagi’s constant efforts to convince herself that she could hardly stand Mamoru, something drew her to him and she found him to be a recurring image in her dreams. Something about him puzzled her, and piqued her interest.
Waking from her sleep Usagi grimaced. Why was it when she needed to dream of something refreshing, she dreamt of him? She figured she had enough to deal with and the last thing she wanted on her mind was his nagging insults and petty remarks. Her full detention time was finally served, so Usagi packed her belongings and headed over to her favourite hangout — the Crown Arcade.
— — — — — — — — — —
“Motoki!!” Mamoru pushed through the crowded entrance of the arcade, angrily making a beeline for his friend who was working behind the counter.
“Hey Mamoru,” he smiled. It was clear that Mamoru was not in a good mood.
“Who is he!?” Mamoru hissed.
“Who?” The blond quickly surveyed the room to see if there was something he was missing.
“Did you know she was seeing someone?” he growled. Motoki had never seen Mamoru this worked up.
“God dammit, Motoki!” Frustrated, his fist came down hard against the marble counter.
“What the hell are you carrying on about?” Motoki yelled, annoyed by the lack of answers he was receiving.
“Usagi! She’s going out with some guy,” Mamoru soon realized exactly what he was allowing himself to say, and a deep scowl stole all other expressions. How could he let her get to him? He fell onto a stool, tossing his jacket on the seat beside him.
“I haven’t heard a thing about it!” Motoki said honestly, shaking his head. Mamoru glared. “I’m serious! She hasn’t said a thing.” Motoki tried to keep the smirk off his face, “Why, are you jealous?”
“Fuck you,” he bit back, shooting his friend a piercing glare.
“So I’ll take that as a yes,” Motoki grinned despite being taken aback by Mamoru’s sharp tone and curt words.
“That hardly suffices as a ‘yes’,” He spat, huffing with disapproval.
“Okay, so then what’s your problem with her dating ‘some guy’?” The blond pushed, although he wasn’t quite sure where exactly he wanted the conversation to go. Was he expecting Mamoru to blatantly admit everything?
“You don’t have a problem with it?” Mamoru replied with an incredulous.
“What if this guy is no good for her?” He asked, confused by Motoki’s apathetic stance.
“And we’re supposed to be the judge of that?”
“Don’t you care about her?”
“Since when do you?” Motoki knew Mamoru cared deeply for the girl, but getting him to come to terms with his emotions was an entirely different matter.
“We’re not talking about me,” he retorted in defence.
“I’m not the one who flew in her in a mad, jealous rage,” Motoki stated, pointing first at himself and then at Mamoru.
“I told you I’m not jealous,” he sighed in exasperation.
“No, you said ‘fuck you’. Which in Mamoru talk means, don’t bug me about it because we both know the answer is something I don’t want to admit.”
“Seriously Motoki, cut the crap. Why the hell would I be jealous?” Mamoru rolled his eyes.
“Are we really going to have this discussion?”
“There’s nothing to discuss. I’m not interested in Odango,” Mamoru wondered how many times he would have to say it to make himself believe it.
“Aww, you used her pet name,” his voice rose, which only caused Mamoru to become more on edge.
“I’m going to punch you in the face,” he replied pointedly, feeling his chest tighten as he grew more irritated. Motoki had no idea if he was joking or not.
“Okay okay, but honestly, I know nothing,” Motoki waved his hands to show he was being completely sincere.
“I just don’t want her to end up with the wrong guy. She’s so… innocent and guys are…” he trailed off. He knew what guys were like – he was one of them, especially when it came to girls like her.
“So what, you propose that she stays single forever and never dates anyone?”
“No that’s not –” he started, but was cut short.
“Or maybe you should screen all eligible bachelors and pick one for her?”
“Motoki, you know –”
“Or maybe you think that the only one good enough for her is you,” he paused momentarily and when no interruption came, he continued, “I mean come on Mamoru, you shower that girl with attention. Negative attention albeit, but you give more to her than I’ve ever seen you give to anyone, including your girlfriends. And now look at you. You’re more pissed off than I think I’ve ever seen you!” Motoki finished, crossing his arms, feeling as if he has triumphed. However, he was soon shot down when his friend snatched his jacket, stood up and leaned towards him.
“That’s because you are pissing me off,” with that he stormed out of the arcade. Motoki watched after him, hoping that he at the very least, he had helped chip away at Mamoru’s stubborn exterior.
Mamoru stood outside of the arcade, his back pressed to the wall. Both his mind and heart were racing and he needed to take a minute to cool off. He half-heartedly wondered if Motoki was merely trying to get him worked up, but concluded that despite his motives, he was right. Mamoru had never had any problems when it came to women, so why was Usagi so different? He needed time to sort out his thoughts, but knew that he would simply bury them; it was more convenient that way. With a frown creased into his brow, he began heading home.
“Watch it, Mamoru-baka!” Usagi cried, as they collided for the second time that day. He had not been paying attention to where he was walking and Usagi was playing a game on her phone as she made her trek to the arcade. Upon hearing her voice, Mamoru stopped dead, shooting the girl an icy stare. “Hey…,” Usagi reworded her greeting and as he began to turn away from her, she instinctively grabbed his hand, “are you okay?” She had never seen Mamoru so tense. His jaw tightened.
“I’m fine.” He stated firmly, unsure of how to react to the slender fingers grasping his hand.
“I’m sorry,” she started, figuring his reaction was because she had gone too far earlier that day. “I didn’t mean it. I don’t hate you, Mamoru,” her voice faltered and she searched his eyes for some sort of answer. “And I didn’t spend my detention planning your demise,” she smiled apologetically.
“I know,” his features softened. The couple stood there momentarily in an awkward silence. When Usagi realized she was still clutching his hand, she immediately let go with a slight gasp.
“I’m sorry…,” she shook her head. Mamoru carefully raised his hand to her cheek, gently stroking her soft skin with his thumb. As he dropped his hand, the rigidness returned to his demeanour.
“I’ll see you later, Odango,” he said with a sigh. Usagi watched his retreating form, mouth agape. What the hell was that?
Usagi reached the arcade, staring up at the sign as she collected her thoughts. Her mind and stomach were in turmoil, her heart was still pounding, but she refused to admit that his gentle caress had any effect on her whatsoever. She wondered if her friends were still there singing their hearts out in their regular karaoke room. She hoped, for her own sake, that they had already retired for the day. Pulling herself together, she pushed forward.
Hard at work and still recovering from his encounter, Motoki scrubbed furiously at the already clean counter. Why couldn’t Mamoru just admit to what everyone already knew was true?
“Hey Motoki!” Usagi called, waving as she skipped over to the counter.
“Hi Usagi!” The sandy haired man waved back at her, “Detention again, huh?”
“Yeah,” she sighed. Even if her punishment allowed her time to think, she wouldn’t exactly say that she enjoyed extra hours at school. “Hey, what’s with Mamoru?” She asked curiously, hoping his best friend could shed some light on the situation.
“What do you mean?”
“Oh… nothing. I just… bumped into him and he was kinda… different,” she lacked the words to describe exactly how he was. Remembering his touch, a slight blushed crept to her cheeks.
“He’s… just had a rough day,” Motoki explained. Usagi nodded in understanding. “So, who is he?” He whispered, leaning over the counter ready to gossip.
“Ugh, how do you know!?”
“The girls were in here earlier, gossiping and speculating,” he applauded himself for thinking up such a believable answer on the spot, not that it was entirely a lie. Her friends had been in the arcade earlier and they were gossiping, he just didn’t know about what.
“So they’ve gone home already?” She asked hopefully.
“Yeah, about half an hour ago.” Motoki noticed the wave of relief that washed over her, “What’s wrong?” He questioned, knowing how unlike Usagi it was to want to avoid her friends.
“If I tell you something, you have to promise not to tell anyone,” she pleaded.
“Are you embarrassed to tell me who your mystery man is?!” He was far too excited; Usagi grimaced.
“Not… exactly,” her gaze focused on her hands, which were fidgeting in her lap, “I’m not seeing anyone.”
“You’re… you… you’re what?” He stuttered, shocked.
“Well, see, Yuuji asked me out and I didn’t want to say no so I lied and said I had a boyfriend that went to a different school and then everyone found out and all my friends think I have a boyfriend that I never told them about so they’re kinda mad and honestly, the WHOLE school knows and now I don’t know what to do so can you pretend to be my boyfriend just for like two weeks?” The words flew from her lips with incredible speed and Motoki remained silent for a few moments, allowing everything to sink in.
“Usagi…” He didn’t quite know what to tell her.
“I know I’m still a high school kid, but I can’t tell everyone that it was a lie now,” she looked at him, her innocent eyes wavering.
“Usagi, I would honestly love to help you, but I already have a girlfriend,” Motoki replied regretfully. He considered Usagi to be like a little sister to him, and as much as he would love to help, he was sure that Reika would hardly appreciate his noble efforts.
“I know, it was stupid of me to ask,” she said, embarrassed and deflated.
“No, it’s not like that. I will help you as much as I can though,” he promised. “You will!?” Her face brightened instantly.
“Well… I can play along… I’ll say I know him or whatever you need. Does that sound good?”
“It’s a start! Thanks Motoki!” Usagi felt a little bit better.
“Not a problem. But you have to promise to not be so hard on yourself… it’s not like you’re the first girl to do something like this,” he smiled warmly, causing Usagi to smile back.
“I promise. And… thank you!”
“It’s getting late,” he stated, pointing at the clock knowing the countless times she had gotten in trouble for missing dinner due to her involvement in arcade activities.
“Yeah, I better get home. I’ll see you later!” She flashed him another grin, and took off, the weight on her shoulders slightly decreased.
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