Shizuku sighed with irritation as she perceived the contents of her locker. Every open space on the walls within were covered with pictures and selfies of Kasumi. Some of them featured Shizuku, and she recognized that all of those were from their past dates. Kasumi must have wasted so many of her printing credits to print those pictures out. How did she even get inside her locker?
Shizuku slammed the door shut and grumbled angrily. She was tired of being the sole recipient of Kasumi’s pranks, which had intensified over a week of them not spending much time together. She had found bread stuffed into her shoes several times, found that her water bottle had been swapped with Kasumi’s on more than one occasion and even got pelted with silly string at some point. If they were reminders of Kasumi’s existence like she was theorizing, they were very childish and weak.
Above all else, they were unnecessary too. Shizuku would never forget about Kasumi. Not in a million years.
Unfortunately for Kasumi, Shizuku was the type of person to hold grudges, regardless of whether the transgression was slight or major. She was also the type of person to retain large volumes of unnecessary facts, gained either from acting experience or from late night internet rabbit holes. When she finally connected these two dots together the corresponding eureka effect rendered her entire being ecstatic. She finally felt like she had a good reply to Kasumi’s antics.
When she was next blessed with free time, she tracked Kasumi down to Nijigasaki’s sports hall. A days’ worth of use had removed the spotless shine on the wooden floor but it was still clean and presentable, matching the modern feel of the school around it. The opposite end of the rectangle shaped room was home to whiteboards, a monitor and other useful equipment while one of the longer sides was covered with a polished mirror. The large clear windows on the other long side bathed the room in light, rendering the powerful lights on the sloped roof useless.
Kasumi was in the center of the room, wiping herself down with a towel after a session of practice. She wore a simple yellow shirt and a pair of short black striped shorts. Her gold moon hairclip was displayed prominently in her hair. She perked up upon hearing the door open and her tired face lit up instantly upon noticing Shizuku.
“Shizuko!” Kasumi sprinted towards Shizuku, wrapping her arms around her in a jumping hug. “It feels like ages since I’ve seen you!”
“It has been quite a while since we’ve been alone together. We’ve both been busy with our silly little things…” Shizuku smiled politely. Shizuku struggled to not lean too far into Kasumi’s hug, which felt really warm. She almost forgot what she was planning.
“Your acting isn’t silly, Shizuko! All the catchup classes I have to take on the other hand…” Kasumi grumbled. Her voice trailed off into a pout.
Shizuku humored Kasumi with a soft chuckle. This was the perfect segue into her plan. “It’s funny you mention that Kasumi. I actually came here to tell you some fun facts.”
“More facts?! Shizuko, my brain isn’t built for this!” Kasumi groaned, pressing both of her hands against the side of her head for emphasis.
“Don’t worry, Kasumi!” Shizuku placed her hands behind her back and gave the sweetest smile she could muster. “I assure you, these facts are fun.”
“If you’re sure, then go ahead!” Kasumi moved back a step and leaned forward, placing one hand on her hip and the other by her ear. “What fun facts does my incredibly intelligent girlfriend have?”
Shizuku hesitated for a few seconds as she stifled her maniacal laughter. Kasumi was right where she wanted her.
“Did you know that numbers from one to nine-hundred-ninety-nine don’t have the letter ‘a’ in them?”
Kasumi’s smug, receptive stance was instantly broken and wracked with confusion. Clearly this wasn’t the tidbit of wisdom her ‘incredibly intelligent girlfriend’ had in mind. Shizuku’s completely monotone delivery probably helped contribute to that. “O…K? I think you’re right but that’s… so unnecessary?”
“I know I’m right Kasumi! Did you know that most oranges are actually green?”
“W-What?! I’ve never seen a green orange!” she countered, sounding somewhat angry.
“Perhaps if you focused more on your studies you’d know why oranges turn orange.” was the response on the tip of Shizuku’s tongue but she swallowed it down, deeming it best to move on. “Oh I’ve just remembered a good one! Did you know that you are 13.8% more likely to die on your birthday?!”
Kasumi didn’t enlighten Shizuku with a response, but her puzzled expression said it all. Shizuku picked that factoid deliberately knowing that Kasumi’s birthday was a week away. Obviously, she didn’t want Kasumi to die (she wouldn’t know what to do with herself if she did) but she was going for a sense of unease.
Kasumi’s silence provided a segue for Shizuku to continue. “Hey Kasumi, did you know that playing dance music can help ward off mosquitoes?” She remembered laughing for a good five minutes after first reading that, so she considered it a miracle that she recited it with a straight face.
“Why do you know that?!” Kasumi stepped to the side to try and maneuver around Shizuku but Shizuku mirrored her movements, stopping her in her tracks.
“I love these kinds of fun facts! Though I say that, this next ones quite sad. Did you know that cats can’t taste sweet things due to genetic defects?” Shizuku stepped forward, smiling indulgently when Kasumi felt intimidated enough to step back.
Perhaps a remark about Shizuku being a dog expert instead of a cat expert rested on Kasumi’s tongue, but she didn’t say anything. In her defence, what were you supposed to say to that?
“Hey Kasumi, did you know that the King of Hearts is the only king in a deck of cards that doesn’t have a moustache?” Shizuku stepped forward again, pushing Kasumi closer to the other end of the room.
“S-Shizuko-“ Kasumi struggled, raising her open palms in defence.
Never one to waste an opportunity, Shizuku quickly grabbed both of Kasumi’s hands, pushing her back again. “Did you know that a group of hippos is called a bloat?”
“S-Stop this!” Kasumi stammered. “You’re scaring me Shizuko!”
Shizuku couldn’t hold back her laughter anymore, which reverberated through the room. “Never! Did you know that babies are born without kneecaps?”
“And you’re about to lose yours if you don’t stop-“
“Oooo Kasumi! Did you know that peanut butter can turn into diamonds with enough pressure?” She squeezed Kasumi’s hands tighter for added effect, though not hard enough to hurt her.
“I’m already a shining diamond Shizuko stop putting pressure on me-“
“Did you know that Barbie and Ken broke up in 2004-“
“We’re about to do the same if you don’t stop!”
Shizuku instantly let go of Kasumi’s hands, stepping back in a daze. Her stupor quickly turned into ice cold terror when the implications of Kasumi’s words finally hit her. She had set out to respond to Kasumi’s pranks with a childish act of her own, but had her lust for revenge caused her to take it too far?
“Kasumi I…I didn’t mean to take it-“ Shizuku stammered. She took more steps back as she struggled with her own despair.
After hearing the sound of approaching footsteps, Shizuku felt the warm of Kasumi’s hands in her own. “I was kidding Shizuko, don’t worry! I just wanted you to stop.”
As Shizuku felt herself calm down, she felt one of Kasumi’s thumbs rub circles around her right palm. “I’m sorry Kasumi. I wanted to respond to all those pranks you did on me recently, but I think… I think I took it too far. I didn’t mean anything badly, I promise!”
Kasumi hummed to herself quietly in response, after which she pouted and averted her gaze. “I’m sorry for all those pranks. I just… I just didn’t want you to forget about me.”
“Forget about you?”
Kasumi nodded melancholically. “It sounds stupid but… we’ve both been super busy with clubs and schoolwork. It’s been so long since we hung out together.” Her voice was unusually meek and quiet.
“Oh Kasumi…” Shizuku carefully wrapped her arms around Kasumi. After making sure that Kasumi wasn’t trying to push her away she pulled in her closer. “I would never forget about you.” she reassured. “Everything about you, from your voice to the way you look and even the way you present yourself on stage, is unforgettable. Even if I could forget about you I would never want to.”
“You… really mean that?”
“I mean that wholeheartedly.” After debating with herself internally for a few seconds, she worked up the courage to place a soft kiss on Kasumi’s forehead. The girl below her shivered in response.
Kasumi rose her head, her eyes gazing downwards bashfully as she played with her bangs. “Thank you, Shizuko. Those words mean a lot to me. And that kiss… felt really nice.”
“Would you like another one?”
After adjusting their positions to be able to reach each other, Shizuku pulled Kasumi close and gently pressed her lips against Kasumi’s. As she closed her eyes, the electrifying feeling of Kasumi’s lips meeting her own and the feeling of Kasumi’s warm hands were the only senses she could register. The kiss only lasted for a few seconds, but the pair were breathless when they pulled away as if they had been embracing for longer.
“I don’t have any obligations with the theater club this weekend. Do you want to hang out together?” Shizuku asked fondly, still giddy from the kiss.
Kasumi nodded vigorously, almost knocking Shizuku’s forehead with her own. “I would love to, Shizuko!”