They say you have to suffer for art. I wonder who "they" are,
sometimes... but whoever they are, they're right. 'Here is
Devilwood' is a big hit throughout Ryokuto Academy, and part
of it was because of that damn kiss. It's mortifying, the way
everybody focuses in on that.
I suppose I should really feel sorry for Suka-chan. Everybody at Ryokuto thinks he's either an idiot or gay. He just shrugs the comments off, though... in his mind, he knows better than anyone who would saddle him with either epithet. He knows who I really am, after all.
Like I said, either an idiot...
Still, if that's what constitutes the bad news, I shouldn't complain. 'Here is Devilwood,' I hardly need to tell you, won the honors for best film, so we get to keep the Golden Palm, also known as the Palm Door (No apostrophe, I should mention. Some art student here ten years ago made a sculpture of a hand with a door frame around it, a knob on the thumb, and hinges along the side of the pinky. One of the student council members thought it would make a cute trophy for the film contest, had it gilded, and it's been travelling throughout Ryokuto for nearly a decade, now), in the dorm lobby for the year. It's a real coup, actually; usually the film festival is won by the drama class (we got second, actually) or the film club. We're the first dorm to actually pull this off in recent memory. And for all I know, the bravery of that kiss might have pushed it over, too...
Not only do we get the trophy, but the prize money isn't anything to sneeze at either. A hundred thousand yen buys quite a party - off campus, of course - well-supplied with beer and snacks. And of course, what with all the bets made on the festival winners, most everyone at Greenwood cleaned up quite nicely.
So I'm sitting at a table, nursing a drink and enjoying the music, when Mitsuru-sempai comes over to me and claps me on the shoulder. I look up at him. "Nice job, sempai... and a swell party, ne?"
He nods and looks around. "Yeah... we really should do this kind of thing more often." His head turns, and he looks straight at me. "We could have pulled one of these earlier, you know..."
I grin. "Not like this... not this big."
He shrugs. "No, probably not... but we'd have done SOMEthing..."
I cock my head at him. "You don't think I'd do something if I win?"
"How should I know? I'm not you." It's enough to get me laughing.
"Look, sempai, I promise... I'll do something real nice for him if I win."
"Are Shinobu and I invited?"
I stare at him as coldly as I can, given the circumstances. "That, I'm not gonna promise." It's not easy to sound icy when you're enjoying yourself like this.
He gives me a look of mock disappointment. "Aww... and I'd figured you two would need chaperones, too..." It's almost enough to make me wince, but he turns before he can notice my reaction. "Oh, hi there, Hasukawa... we were just talking about you."
Suka-chan's obviously had one or two; he's in a jovial mood, rather than his usual stern or agitated states. "All lies, too, coming from you, Sempai..."
Mitsuru-sempai grins and shrugs. "Hey... I gotta be me. Anyway, it's over and done with. What're ya gonna do now?"
"Let me guess," I interrupt. "He's supposed to say he's going to Tokyo Disneyland, right?"
Mitsuru-sempai frowns. "That's a hell of a thing to do..."
My turn to grin and shrug. "Hey... I gotta be me..." At this point, I figure I'd best get away from Mitsuru-sempai. I think if he had a rolled-up magazine in his hands right now, he'd hit me with it. Assuming, of course, that he didn't miss - for all I know, he may be aiming at three of me. I stand up and grab Suka-chan. "C'mon... let's dance..."
We're not the only couple on the dance floor - some of the guys have actually managed to wangle dates. And the sempais, when they're not off to the side with a drink, are dealing with a line of girls who want a turn with them. Lucky dogs...
However, when we step onto the floor, we get a LOT of stares. Suka-chan is much better at ignoring them; ah, the bliss of ignorance. And oddly enough, it turns out he's not a bad dancer. A bit frantic, but with all the high-velocity stuff, it's not out of place. I can hardly keep up with him.
Then, a slow dance comes on, and I head back to the table. I don't make it. There's a hand on my shoulder, and I know whose it is.
"Where d'you think you're going?" Suka-chan's grin is a bit lopsided, as if my departure might hurt if he were stone sober right now.
I look around frantically, and spot an out. "Uh... I was gonna try and rescue Shinobu-sempai, actually..." And to be honest, poor sempai could use a savior at the moment. The girl he's dancing with is acting singularly rude, sticking out her tongue at another girl glowering at the two of them from the edge of the dance floor. Clearly, these two have been fighting over him most of the evening, and his normally impassive face is starting to show signs of wear. I don't bother to find out if Suka-chan will give me his assent; I head over there, and tap the girl on the shoulder. "Mind if I cut in...?"
"I was here first... go away."
"Now, Akiko... you've had your turn. Let Shun have a chance, too..."
"Shun...?" She abruptly stops dancing and turns to look at me; evidently, she's heard of me. Her eyes scour me from top to bottom, trying to get a bead on exactly who or what I am. They settle on my chest momentarily, and she speaks. "You aren't... are you a... ?"
I just smile and nod as I take my spot before Shinobu-sempai. "Shall we?" He nods his head once, takes my right hand in his left, and wraps his left hand around my waist. As we begin, Akiko starts to back away from us, cautiously. I grin. "I don't think you'll be bothered by her anymore this evening, sempai."
"No, I don't suppose so... thank you, Shun."
"Heh... even dancing with a boy is preferable to her and her, uh... friend, ne?"
"You could say that, yes..." We don't say much else for the rest of the song, just move with the music and try to ignore the looks we're getting. When it comes to an end, we head back to our respective tables...
..where I run into a fuming Suka-chan. Before I can sit down, he stands up, grabs me by the wrist, and pulls me out of the room. "Hey... hey... HEY!! Whaddya think you're... let me go, Suka-chan!"
*sigh* Every scenario I can imagine, I always wind up slammed against a wall eventually. This is different, though, because Suka-chan still hasn't figured it out. He's just, well... "What is the deal with you? First Mitsuru-sempai, now Shinobu-sempai... I thought you weren't interested in the sempais! I thought I had a chance! What are you trying to do to me?!" ...jealous.
Oh, Kami-sama... think fast, Shun... "Suka-chan, what are you talking about? I never said I was interested in them! I told you flat out I'd never do anything like that with Mitsuru-sempai..."
"Oh, but Shinobu-sempai is another story, isn't he?"
I'm getting really tired of these accusations. I wrest myself free and glare at him. "Look, Suka-chan... I don't know if you'd noticed that... girl... Sempai was stuck with - I was just doing him a favor by getting rid of her. And I guarantee he'll be quite rid of her - you'll recall that most everyone here thinks I'm a boy." In spite of myself, I find myself smirking. "Of course, I've kinda ruined his reputation for awhile..."
Suka-chan looks pained. "But, Shun-chan... I thought you were my girl."
"Suka-chan... I'm not anyone's girl, okay?" I can feel the color rising to my cheeks, even as I'm saying this. "I'm not going to commit belonging to anybody, do you understand? I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong idea or anything..."
His shoulders sag, and my heart goes out to him. I latch onto his shoulders, and look him square in the eye. "Suka-chan, please listen... if there ever was a guy I could fall for..." and I decide to let my actions finish the sentance, as I lean over and give him a peck on the cheek.
The transformation is nothing short of amazing. Suka-chan's face melts from a jealous scowl to a grateful smile. His eyes look like they could tear up from joy. And then, he takes my by surprise into a tight bear hug.
My voice sounds a little muffled as I squeak out a protest. "Uh... can we get back to the party now? I... need... some... air...!" And quickly!
Disclaimer: Koko wa Greenwood is the creation of Yukie Nasu, and all characters and situations therein are the property of her and Hakusensha Inc., Victor Entertainment, and the Pierrot Project. No infringement is intended.