Strength representing courage, persuasion, influence, and compassion.
Even after a week of walking through the halls alone she could still feel the absence of her masked companion, it just felt wrong to be without her. Mary knew she needed to talk to Ririka… she just needed more time to gather her thoughts. She still couldn’t think about what happened without being haunted by those piercing blue eyes. But despite everything she still missed her presence. Not that she should ever admit that to anyone.
Mary frowned at her own thoughts; she shouldn’t be missing her. Especially not when she doesn’t completely trust the other girl. She shook her head continuing her walk through the halls. This is some Momobami mind trick, Mary decided, they get into your head and… and what? She blushed at where her mind was going to. The blonde shook her head trying to rid herself of the intrusive thoughts.
Distracted and not paying attention, Mary turned the corner and ran straight into someone. “Hey! Watch it!” She practically growled out. All this extra stress was causing her to be in an even worse mood than usual.
The towering face of Jun Kiwatari stared down at her, “You wanna say that again to me.” Voice low and threatening.
Mary eyed the necklace that dangled around his neck, “Yea, I said watch it pet .”
Kiwatari’s face grew red with anger, “You know what Saotome,” he stooped down to get in Mary’s face, “I’ve been wanting to run into you. You and your freak of a friend got me stuck like this and so far, it’s been a pain to deal with.”
The blonde girl looked at her watch bored, “Whatever, I’m going to be late to class.” She breezed by him, completely ignoring his sputtering.
“Hey! You can’t-.”
“Yes, I think I can. You are nothing to me.” She sneered and walked away not bothering to wait for a response.
She finally reached her classroom just barely before the bell. She sighed she couldn’t have any tardies, especially with the grades she had now.
Yumeko and Suzui made their way over as she sat down. “Good morning Mary!” Yumeko greeted, chipper as ever. “I’m gambling with a few other students at lunch today would you like to join?”
Mary cringed thinking about her lunch plans, “No I can’t I have to study.”
“Common! Just a quick gamble, I really need a partner. Suzui and I will help you study after school if you join.” Yumeko offered.
The blonde thought about it, she really could use the help studying. She had lost her old tutor when she started ignoring Ririka. She sighed again, “Okay fine. But we have to study after school, no gambles, okay?”
Yumeko clapped excitedly, “Deal!”
Ririka unclasped and clasped her hands restlessly. The student council had been stuck in a never-ending meeting with the Principle for several hours now. If she was being honest, she couldn’t say what the meeting was about, she had been distracted by her thoughts for most of it. A certain blonde was the culprit, even after not seeing her for a week Ririka was unable to banish her from her thoughts. If anything, she occupied them even more.
She hadn’t seen Mary since she ran off after the gamble. The blonde had offered little to no explanations, so it had left Ririka with only her assumptions. With how long it had been, the older girl was starting to believe their partnership was pretty much over. She had seen the blonde a few times in the halls, but every time Mary had gone out of her way to avoid her. Even after Kirari’s and Sayaka’s reassurances she still couldn’t help but assume the worst.
During the gamble Ririka couldn’t help but be smug, Rin and Ibara were too easy to trick into becoming overconfident. When the tables had finally turned, she couldn’t help herself and looked at Mary just to see her reaction. Secretly she wanted her to be proud of her. The younger girl was so surprised and Ririka was too high off the gamble to notice the fear that had made its way into her eyes. She remembered the moment, confident from the assured win she dragged her eyes down Mary’s frame. In any other situation she never would have dared do something this bold, but in the safety of her gambling persona she felt as if she could do anything. Then the gamble had ended, and she was finally able to drop the persona and soon after her world came crashing down around her.
Mary looked as if she was somewhere else, her eyes unfocused and distant. At first Ririka didn’t understand what was happening but all it took was one look, she understood when Mary met her eyes that last time. There was so much fear in them, she had looked at her as if she was a monster. And soon after Mary left with little to no explanation and Ririka didn’t know what to do so she let her go. She couldn’t bear to see that look in Mary’s eyes, much less when it was directed at herself.
It wasn’t until the next day that she realized the full effect of the encounter. When she turned the corner and saw Mary at the end of the hall, their eyes met and the blonde had immediately turned around and disappeared in the other direction.
It was that moment when Ririka’s heart broke. The pieces had not been put together since, living with the constant dull ache.
Movement around the room snapped her back to the present. Finally, the meeting was over, and they could all leave for lunch. “Vice President, can you please stay behind? I would like to have a few words with you.” Kirari said before Ririka had a chance to collect her things and leave.
They waited for everyone to leave the room before beginning. “What is it Kirari.” Slightly exasperated with her sister already, she removed her mask.
The younger twin frowned, “You’ve been moping around all week and I’m beginning to tire of it. Are you and Mary still not talking?”
Ririka sighed, “She’s been avoiding me ever since the gamble last week.”
“I heard she’s gambling today at lunch you could talk to her after.”
The older twin frowned, “No, I don’t want to bother her if she doesn’t want to talk to me.”
“Well, it’s obviously been bothering you. If she’s not going to be the one to make the move…” Kirari shrugged, not finishing the thought.
“Maybe, but I would rather see her after school. I don’t want to distract her from her studies.”
The younger twin smirked, “How considerate. Perfect, she’ll be in the library after school. She’s been doing a lot of studying lately.”
Ririka did a double take at her sister’s words, “Have you been watching her?”
“Of course, I have. She’s important to you so I’ve been keeping an eye on her.”
“Why would you do that?” Ririka groaned smacking her forehead, “She’s not a toy you can just play around with.”
Kirari raised her hands in defense, “I haven’t done anything. She’s just one of my more interesting fish, especially now that the two of you are fighting in the election together.”
Ririka deadpanned, “Stop that I know what you’re thinking.”
The younger girl’s smirk grew, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Mary dropped her head onto the library table and groaned. “Common Mary, the loss at lunch wasn’t that bad. At least we had fun right?” Yumeko attempted to console Mary.
“Yea! You really tried your best!” Suzui tried to join in.
Mary lifted her head to send a glare his way, “That was nowhere near my best,” she turned to Yumeko and pointed an accusing finger, “Yea it may have been fun for you cause you’re a rich gambling addict, but for me I’m out thirty thousand yen!” She groaned, dropping her head back on the table.
“Then we’ll help you with your studies to make up for it! Right Ryota!”
“Yea! Of course!”
“Something tells me the two of you aren’t gonna be much help.” Mary grumbled.
Suzui visibly deflated at the comment but Yummeko’s smile only grew, “Which subjects are you struggling in? I’m doing well in most of mine except Japanese.”
Mary’s mouth dropped, “What?! How are you doing well in anything? All you ever do is gamble!”
Yumeko shrugged, an easy and mysterious smile on her face, “I make time for my studies.”
The blonde shook her head, “You owe me anyways after dragging me into that gamble this morning.” A small smile formed on her face as she finally relented, letting Yumeko help her. Easy conversation flowed between the three of them for the next hour while they all studied.
Little did Mary know there was a masked girl across the room peeking around a bookcase silently watching for no more than a few moments. She had seen all she had needed to see; Mary was happy and having fun without her. A huge contrast to the scared look she last saw on the girl. Maybe this was better, she thought, if she just stayed away. Her heart felt like it was stuck in her throat, making it feel thick. She took a step back from the bookshelf, looking at Mary one last time, she said a silent goodbye.
Yumeko and Suzui had left a while ago now, Mary was still in the library continuing with her studying long after they had left. She breathed a final sigh while closing her book. It was beginning to grow dark out, signaling her to finally head home for the day. At this point the library was nearly empty only one or two students occupied the rest of the tables and almost none roamed the halls.
Mary stepped out into the cool air of the afternoon beginning her walk home. The sound of footsteps behind her, however, stopped her. She turned curious who was still here this late in the day. She groaned internally at the sight. Kiwatari and his goons surrounded her, all smelling faintly of B.O and snickering. “What the hell do you want now.” Mary growled out, too tired to deal with them.
The circle opened up allowing Kiwatari to step in, pet necklace jingling lightly around his neck. Without a word he stepped up to Mary getting in her face, he was so close she could see the stubble he missed on his cheek. Mary silently gagged at the sight. “Why so aggressive, we haven’t even done anything to you. Yet.” Something malicious sparked in his eyes as he peered down at Mary grinning at her. “Why don’t you come with us? I want to finish our conversation from this morning.”
Mary stuck her hands on her hips, “I’m not doing anything you say pet .”
His grin only widened, “Oh you don’t have a choice.”
Hands grabbed her arms from behind, yanking her forward and forcing her to comply to keep herself from face planting. “What the hell! You can’t do this! You’re a pet, you have to do what I say!”
They dragged her around the side of the school and slammed her up against the wall, “Oh, I think you’ll find that I can.” He was back in her face again, so close she could feel his breath against her face. Mary balked and started thrashing attempting to free herself of the hands that restrained her. Kiwatari laughed at her attempts to get free, “Good try, mittens .”
All the blood drained from Mary’s face, so this was how it was going to be. Kiwatari stepped away, letting another one of his goons step in close. He reached up as if he was going to stoke her face. Mary never gave him the chance. She sent a knee flying up nailing him straight in the groin. Instantly he collapsed on his knees causing the boys around him to erupt in laughter. “DO. NOT. TOUCH. ME.” She was screaming now, her voice the only thing they could not restrain.
“Now, now Saotome. There is no need to yell, we’re just having a bit of fun. After all we still have to decide how you’re going to pay me back for all the money you stole from me.”
“What?! What are you talking about? You’re insane, you lost, fair and square!”
“NO.” He rushed back into her space, bracketing her head with his arms and slamming his hands into the wall. “You and that other bitch cheated!” Mary turned her head, attempting to avoid the spittle flying from his mouth. “Now,” he grabbed her chin in his hands forcing her to face him, “How are you going to repay me?” He forced one of his legs between her own and moved his other hand to grab her waist. “Cause I have a few ideas.” Mary felt her heart drop into her stomach and bile rising in her throat at his touch. She gathered all the saliva in her mouth and sent a glob of spit flying at Kiwatari’s face, landing on his cheek with a wet splat. “You bitch!” He raged, bringing his hand up getting ready to hit her.
“Violence is not permitted at Hyakkaou Academy, I would advise you to step away before I have to take disciplinary action.”