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foolish girls, foolish hearts

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The first mistake Shiori remembers making is going out to play in the snow without her hat. She caught a terrible cold and had to stay in bed for a week while her mother chided her for being careless. Meanwhile, her older sister had forgotten her mittens and refused to button her coat all the way, and she was just fine.

The doctor said she was just more sensitive to the cold. But since then, Shiori's mistakes always seem to bring her more trouble than the average person.

Forgetting to study for a spelling test one week led to her choking and misspelling half the words, a grade of fifty, and the teacher giving her a lecture in front of the whole class on the importance of studying properly. Forgetting her lunch in junior high led to her fainting from starvation during P.E. class.

And of course, Juri. Every mistake she's made since junior high has revolved around Juri in some way or another, have caused her the most grief, and in her deeply damaged heart Shiori believes she deserves every moment of it.

She realizes by now that Juri never actually liked that boy in junior high, but by the time she did it was too late. The boy treated her like a cheap replacement; when he wasn't constantly pawing at her he was late for their dates or snapping at her in front of his friends, until he eventually dumped her. Now, though, at least she can be grateful that he dumped her in private before making the announcement that he was "free and single" again.

Thinking about Ruka makes her stomach churn and her skin crawl. That smile, the feel of his skin against her own, his touch, the thrill of him drawing his sword from her, and the bitter sting of defeat. The next day, he publicly denounced her in front of the entire student body.

You deserved it, though, you played with fire, and you got burned, her mind taunts her when she wakes up from the nightmares. Girls who play fast and loose with the boys deserve everything they get, you're a whore now, soiled goods, who would want you? Certainly not Juri.

Juri. She did it all to get at Juri, who still tried to help her even as the whole school whispered and chattered away about how stupid, stupid Shiori Takatsuki was, thinking a nothing like her could ever have a man like the glorious Ruka Tsuchiya.

Ruka is dead now. No one talks about him anymore, but Shiori remembers every time she looks at Juri, and it stings.

You deserve it. You treated Juri like shit, you broke her heart, what makes you think she could ever take you back?

This is growing up, becoming a woman. Making mistakes, and knowing you have no one to blame but yourself.

Because she hated herself for being attracted to another girl, she hurt her best friend. Because she let her anger take hold when Juri brushed her off, she betrayed her again. Because she still couldn't deal with the mess she made, she'd been used and tossed aside by a charmer.

She still can't face Juri. She wonders if she ever will again.