The Hentai Horde nonsense was moving into its third week. Akane was starting to get seriously tired of it, and her view of the male half of the school was dropping fast. She’d known boys were immature, but this was a new low.
The thing that was really bothering her, though, was the looks the girls had started giving her. The whispers not quite behind her back, as if they wanted to make sure she knew they were talking about her. She’d snapped earlier that morning, asking the girls she saw whispering just what they were talking about, and why they couldn’t share it with her. They’d been all smiles, and full of false claims they were just talking about the moves she’d used in her fight, but Akane knew better.
It had left a foul taste in her mouth as she flopped down for lunch with Yuka and Sayuri, the fresh air of May not brightening her mood.
“They’re getting almost as annoying as boys,” Akane muttered, half to herself, as she ate up some of the pickled veggies Kasumi had prepared her. “I wish I knew what they were saying, though. Then I could fix that...”
“Um, well...” Sayuri began, glancing at Yuka. “They’re kind of getting suspicious about how you’ve rejected every boy in the school.”
Akane felt her blood heating up. “What’s there to be suspicious of? They’re all hormonal idiots!”
“There’s, what, 600 guys at the school? And you could grab pretty well any guy you wanted. Everyone figures there’s got to be at least one guy that meets your standards,” Yuka said.
“Assuming it’s possible for a boy to meet your standards,” Sayuri added.
Akane grumbled something indistinct while shovelling some rice into her mouth. She wasn’t even sure what she would have said, she was too annoyed with her male peers to put her opinions of them into words.
“I think it’s best if you just move in front of the rumours,” Sayuri said, after having eaten a little of her own lunch. “Besides, coming out would probably smarten up at least some of the guys. A few would probably give up on the impossible.”
Akane had eaten a little bit more, before she froze, having processed what Sayuri meant. “Coming... I’m not gay!?”
Her friends both blinked, before staring at her.
“You’re not!?” they asked in unison.
Akane’s cheeks began to burn. “N-no. Definitely not!”
“Then why don’t you have a boyfriend? You could totally have any guy you wanted!” Yuka said.
“Yeah! How can a girl as cute as you be straight and not have a boyfriend?” Sayuri asked.
Akane felt herself panicking. Her friends really thought she was—and the rest of the school thought... Just saying she didn’t want a boyfriend wouldn’t solve this. She needed to say something that would solve the issue. But wha—
“I have a boyfriend,” Akane’s mouth said before her brain could stop it.
Her friends stared at her.
“Why haven’t we ever seen him?”
Growing somehow more flush, and panicking for something that sounded reasonable to escape this mess her instinctual defense had left her in, Akane’s brain grabbed on to the first vaguely rational thought that floated up. “He lives in Canada. It’s long distance.”
Her friends both nodded slowly. Akane responded by nodding quickly.
“...Does this Canadian boyfriend have a name?” Yuka asked.
“Uh...” Akane began, as she tried to think of something firmly English sounding. And very masculine, to prove her fictional boyfriend was manly, further proof she wasn’t a lesbian.
Some part of her brain reminded her of the detective show Nabiki had been watching. The lead detective was named Richard. Nabiki had laughed at his nickname, ‘Dick’, because... well, yeah. That was definitely a masculine name. Akane nodded to herself.
“Richard. He’s named Richard,” Akane said, nodding more.
Neither of her friends seemed to be buying it.
“Does he have a last name?”
Her brain cycled rapidly through her limited knowledge of English family names. Again comparing it to what she knew of the English language to try to make sure it sounded masculine. An option escaped her lips before she’d given it proper thought (her mouth was going to have a lot to answer for when her brain had a chance to address its attempted independence).
Yuka raised an eyebrow, while Sayuri seemed to be struggling not to laugh.
“Really, Akane? You want us to believe you’d got a boyfriend with the first name Richard, which shortens to Dick, and the last name Cox?” Yuka asked.
“Nah, you should totally go with that. It’s a perfectly believable name,” Sayuri said, before being overwhelmed by a giggling fit.
Akane was pretty sure her face was incandescent, it felt so red with embarrassment. “I... fine, okay. I don’t have a boyfriend right now, but... that doesn’t mean I’m a lesbian! I just... I want to focus on school.”
Her friends weren’t listening, though. They were busy giggling and repeating the name Akane had tried to give. If it were possible to die of embarrassment, Akane suspected she was pretty close.
Climbing towards this ‘Jusenkyo’ place his dad was rambling about, Ranma had the weirdest feeling like someone was talking about him. Sort of. It was confusing.