Teen Heart Manga Stories presents:
a Dear My Shoujo production
1000 Cranes For Love
Second Fold: "New Cranes, Old Fears"
"Ohayo!" Seriko said as she opened the classroom door. A chorus of "Ohayos" greeted her in return. She threw her bag on the desk and sat down. The jarring motion of her descent caused a delicate pile of books -including a sheaf of origami-folding paper that had been stuffed inside to come crashing to the ground with an embarrassing rattle.
"Really, you are such a klutz," Junko said, helping to stack the books.
"Gomen, it's just that…"
"I know. You've got things on your mind," Junko supplied with a smile. "Well, at least I can help with the books."
She pushed back a lock of hair that was forever falling over her glasses.
"That Ryuusuke! Can't he leave things alone just once in his life?" Seriko complained, covering her face with her arms on the desk.
"Hmmm. Speaking of busybodies, where is Aihara-kun?" A girl asked.
"Oh we left him down at the shoe-lockers fuming. Heh, today is Odachi Sweets, on him." Seriko said.
The other girls squealed appreciatively.
"Lucky!' One said. "How did you wrangle a trip to Odachi out of him?"
Seriko waved the question off.
"Oh, we just threatened to air all his deepest, darkest secrets to the whole world," Junko said primly. "And poof...putty in our hands."
Everyone laughed, which turned a few heads in the corners.
"So, how goes the origami project, Seri?" A latecomer, one Sakuraba Ioko asked, noting the paper in Sakimoto's hand. Junko tried to hush her but it turned out too late. Seriko flushed at the question and groaned a deep wailing sound, guaranteed to scare off even hardened zombies.
"I just can't seem to get them right. And, I keep losing them. When I do get them right? It's not fair, at this rate, I'll never finish. I wonder if I should just give up?"
"Um..have you thought that maybe, just maybe Aihara-kun's throwing them out with the rest of the trash?" Girl A asked, a little too bluntly, missing Junko's frantic hand signals.
"Ah!" Seriko squealed. "I never thought of that! Why would he do such a thing?"
"Ma ma. I'm not saying he's doing it, just it's a possibility. I mean you do have a habit of leaving things everywhere, and Aihara-kun's always picking up after you so..." the girl backpedaled, trying to save face.
"True, true," Junko chimed in, much to Seriko's chagrin. "And if you think her desk's bad, you should see her room before Aihara gets to it, much less her corner of the club room, which is the one place Aihara can't get to!"
"Well, why don't you just leave your Origami at the club room?" The girl asked.
"First," Junko replied. "She'd have to clean up what she already has there."
"Well," the girl said. "Have you confronted him about it, yes?"
"Baka...of course not!" Seriko said, growing red. "How could I tell him a thing like that."
"Well then, there you go," the girl snapped her fingers. "He probably sees them as trash, so out they go."
"I'll be sure to confront him," Seriko promised just as the bell rang, and Ryuusuke came sliding in at the last minute. He was greeted with hoots and jeers from his peers. The teacher favored him with a patented Glare guaranteed to peel paint off walls. Plopping into his seat, he shot a 'v' sign to his friends and ignored Seriko, who merely rolled her eyes.
But, that afternoon at home, Seriko sang a different tone while standing at the foot of the steps.
"I definitely can't ask him, 'cause then he'll want to know why I'm so concerned about some imperfect origami."
"I'll just have to be more careful in the future, and find a way to keep him out," she said to herself. "I wonder if Junko knows any tricks, she lives with 3 brothers after all."
With that thought in mind, she reached into the middle drawer of her desk and brought out her diary -a dogeared, blue diary that had served her for a number of years- and began to write in it.
Tsuzuku / To Be Continued