Shirosaki LOVED the cycling. He panted inexorably, grinning like a madman in the heat. The police stopped the bike once to check Usa wasn't being exploited. Usa arrived at school promptly, but he had already been taught the lesson of the day- the most accurate term for mortification.
Struggling to maintain composure, he drank Sumiko’s hand brewed tea and stared into space.
It was rather unfortunate that Mayumi could not read moods.
“So,” Mayumi draped a meaty arm around Usa, “How was your first day of school as a handicapped student?”
“Oh yes, I'm perfectly fine,” Usa replied, infusing as much sarcasm as he could muster into his sentence. “Senpai won’t talk to me, I have a badly sprained ankle, and a masochist who is responsible for my plight is mothering me.”
“Oh, goodness, keep your pants on! You’re acting as though you’ve become a quadriplegic.”
Usa’s loathing for the scantily clad Mayumi boiled to new heights. But before he could hit back with a biting retort, Ritsu walked in.
"Your leg okay?”
To say Usa was shocked was an understatement. So was Mayumi, whose mouth hung open in disbelief. Ritsu had never been known to forgive and forget easily, much less be concerned towards someone she held a grudge against. So stunned was Mayumi that she didn’t dig up an insult to ruin the moment, but sat there mutely, listening to Usa fumble for a reply.
“Yeah… I’m okay.” Hopefully, Usa looked up. Perhaps Ritsu was staring at him with her dark soulful eyes, waiting for Usa to meet her gaze...
Ritsu’s eyes were glued to the book in her hands, and she nodded at Usa’s reply. “Great. Sumiko-san wants to eat outside, and she was worried about your leg.” Even before finishing her sentence, she was halfway out of the living room and walking away. “Be there by six.”
Amid Mayumi’s raucous laughter, Usa’s self-confidence deflated and shriveled up to nothingness.