I was surprised at how quickly promoters had reached out to us. According to Hanabusa we had already been booked for seven different venues, I should have expected this, this company is ran by Hiroto Kanzaki, his connections run deep. Still, I wasn't prepared.
These past couple of days we've done nothing but practice and underground performances. I'd been wondering how to bring it up to Mom and Amara.
Surprisingly both were unfazed and happy for me, it was kinda disappointing, I expected dramatic reactions. Mom was the most shocking.
As soon as she heard the news, Mom started packing my bags and her own. She'd be visiting Dad in his apartment over the summer.
I felt bad. Like I had been keeping her from meeting him.
Should I have moved out for real so she could return to living with him? Why didn't she make the suggestion herself? Why does she have to make me feel like I need to abandon her for her to visit?
That morning, I hooked arms with Amara on my walk to school for consolation. She shot me looks but I ignored her and leaned my head on her shoulder. People stared but I didn't care.
I needed her black hole energy to suck away this pathetic feeling.
As we approached school her patience dried out. She softly patted my head, making sure not to mess up side bang.
"Don't be like that...lets make our relationship public!" There were a lot of people who didn't realize I was friends with Amara.
My behavior was often seen as bothering the foreign transfer student... that may have been true in the beginning but... we're friends now! It's fine isn't it?!
Amara cringed and ripped out a sigh. "Don't say misleading things!"
A girl with glasses greeted Amara at the gate.
Amara smiled in greeting.
It wasn't forced or awkward like last night but perfectly natural, I even felt warm just from looking at it.
"Good morning Arima-san, how was your week?"
How did she know this person?
More importantly, she was smiling. A rare thing for Amara, she barely ever smiled with me no matter how much I try! This was unfair! Betrayal!
Arima-san sensing nothing wrong continued talking. "It went well, my favorite mangaka released a new manga."
Manga? I see. Amara's mood improved wherever literature, manga, and anime were concerned.
I regretted not taking more interest in it sooner. Perhaps sharing the same interests, to begin with, would have made her open up to me sooner like this.
I felt dumb for not realizing this cheat.
I knew what she was interested in but I never made any effort to partake in them. Now she was all buddy-buddy with someone other than me. It was my loss.
"Really? What's its name?"
"Child of the Mountain."
Amara's eyes sparkled with interest before dimming slightly.
I'm beginning to realize she's pretty moody...
Amara hummed."Hmmm...what is that about?"
Arima-san opened and closed her mouth perhaps mentally summarizing the plot in her head. "Surpassing amazing parents."
Amara clapped her hands together, her eyes twinkling."Ah! So... the parents are the mountains? I see, that sounds like a good read."
I listened to their conversation in awe and jealousy.
"I thought I was your one and only!..." I whimpered but I also felt relieved. Amara wouldn't be lonely if I left... Of course she wouldn't be. She was a lot stronger than the image I had of her. I'm sorry for overestimating my importance to you.
Arima-san heard me and gawked. I rested my head on Amara's shoulder.
"Kagami...." Amara pursed her lips at me, perhaps resisting the urge to sigh. She unhooked our arms. "It's time to be a big boy now and walk on your own."
Ah, such savage condescension! But I'm not mad at it though, since it also hinted at our relationship to Arima-san.
"Don't leave me, Mom!" I latched onto her hand as she tried to walk ahead.
Amara seemed visibly exasperated. "What's wrong with him today?" those words were written all over her face. But what came out instead was,
"Shut up! If you don't behave I'll spank you!"
The notion itself made me excited as I tried to latch onto her once more. Perhaps sensing that, Amara elbowed me in my side, leaving me winded.
Arima-san seemed confused as she greeted me as well. I glared at her before dipping my head.
How did she know my name? Did Amara perhaps talk to her about me?
I learned later she was in our class... She sat right behind Amara! What the hell, some background character's trying to steal her away from me!
I couldn't help glaring at Arima-san during class and it got me in trouble with the teachers again.
During lunch, Arima-san walked over.
Amara made her own lunch to try her hand at making bentos. And my Mom made it in her mission in life to pack me lunches every day, so, we always ate in the classroom like this.
I don't know if Arima-san always ate her lunch in the classroom since I don't pay attention to the others. Still, I couldn't help glaring at her.
Amara frowned at me. She had always been sensitive to people's energies and I only realized it now.
She told me to stop.
I blinked at her. "But...I'm not doing anything!"
"You're intimidating her." She looked to Arima-san with the most gentle expression I've seen. "Don't let him fool you, he's harmless."
Arima-san nervously smiled and sat down next to Amara.
I scowled. She never treated me like this before! And why is she sitting next to her!
"No one would want to sit next to you if you're like that." Amara told me.
It was eerie how she could read me like that. Was I that obvious of a person? No, this is how connected we are!
Arima-san looked from her to me, then her lunchbox.
"Is that all you're eating, Arima-san?" Amara glanced at Arima-san's lunchbox. It looked like... she ordered a sub sandwich on her way to school.
"So you like subs?"
"I like subs too and paninis. Turkey basil pesto sandwiches are my favorite."
Arima-san blinked. "I think they have some at starbu**'s, my Mom loves those."
"Your Mom has good taste."
"Amara you just have an old taste."
"Huh?!" Amara's head whipped towards me and she squinted.
I added, "It's not a bad thing to have mature tastes."
Arima muttered, "Basil pesto is something anyone can like tho..."
I insisted. "Nah, I know a few who hate it."
Arima widened her eyes at me. "Eh? How can anyone hate basil pesto?! If they do it probably wasn't made properly..."
I ignored her. "It's okay to have special tastes, that's what I love about you, Amara. You're so cool."
Amara's mouth slowly opened at me, but then she just huffed.
"Seriously, what's with you today?"
"Ummm..." Arima-san spoke up.
We both looked to her.
"Are you guys perhaps dating?"
I raised my eyebrows, it's the second time I've heard someone ask about us.
I blinked at her while holding in a sigh.
"There are many different types of love, Arima-san." I told her.
"O-oh," she blinked at me.
I placed a hand across my heart. "The love I have for Amara isn't something jaded like that."
Amara stiffened. I didn't look her way but I could sense it.
Arima-san tilted her head, the light reflecting off her glasses made her expression unreadable as she adjusted them.
"Huh...but, aren't you always looking at her in class?"
Amara blinked a couple of times, her expression strained, she focused solely on eating without even making eye contact.
I had lowered my guard just for a second but to think Arima-san actually attacked like this. I felt exposed, even though I didn't do anything bad why...
"Well, there's a number of reasons I look at her." I say, in my peripheral, Amara dropped her futomaki.