“WHAT?!” Rin roared out loud, making both you and Makoto jump in fright.
“What?! Why?!” Nagisa questioned, leaning forward so as to not miss any of what you were going to say.
“Well, uh, Mako-chan’s father and my father both work/run the same company. His dad’s the President, and mine’s the Vice President. Um, it seems like the company’s not doing very well here in Japan, and they want a change of pace… So, uh, it’s been decided that our families are moving to China,” you murmured, eyes downcast.
“…For how long?” a hesitant question came from Haru.
“For… however long our parents decide to stay there,” you muttered, now looking off to the side.
You stared at the ground, the knowledge that you would burst into tears should you look up to gaze at the trio in front of you flashing brightly in your mind. “(Name)-chan…” you heard Haru’s voice murmur. Your head shot up, and beautiful, watery (eye color) met icy cerulean blue. The boy looked off to the side and whispered in a barely audible voice, “I’ll wait for you.”
[Time Skip to Beijing, China, the Saturday after the first week of school]
“(Name)-chan! How was your first week?” A bright, strangely cheery voice rang out, snapping you out of your reverie.
“M-mako-chan?! Oh, uh, it was alright… Why?”
“No reason~ But why are your eyes red?”
You sniffed, rubbing your eyes quickly to hide the tears that had left a trail down your cheeks. “N-no reason, either! It’s alright.”
“Are you sure? If you need help, you know, you can just ask me,” the brunette offered, smiling at you like always.
“It’s just… the Chinese language is so complicated! Chinese only has one tense for its verbs, and it’s really hard for me to talk about the past or future. The language sounds all weird, and the voice inflections are so hard to learn! Whenever I talk in class, trying to get by with my meager Chinese skills, the other kids all laugh at me. It’s humiliating, and I don’t like it one bit! There are so many phrases, and so many different characters. Japanese was so much simpler… I miss Japan, Mako-chan, I miss Japan!”
The boy smiled weakly at you, not entirely sure how to console you. “It’s alright, (Name)-chan. You’ll pick it up as you go, don’t worry!”
“Sniff… I bet you’re doing well in school, right, Mako-chan? I bet no one’s teasing you...” You wiped your nose and blew into a tissue, balling it up into a wad when you finished. “我……我不懂中文！太难啊……我不喜欢！[I… I don’t understand Chinese! It’s too hard… I don’t like it!]”
“Huh, (Name)-chan! Your Chinese isn’t all that bad; you learn fast! C’mon, don’t be so harsh on yourself~”
You tossed the balled-up tissue into a trash can as you walked by it, side-by-side with Makoto. “But… It’s still really hard…”
[Time Skip to your third week in China, right after school, at the school gates]
“你！新的学生！面对我，我在跟你说话呢。你怎么长得那么难看？我已经受不了你了…… [You! New student: Look at me when I’m talking to you. How did you grow to be so ugly? I already can’t stand you.]” A loud voice rang out, making you whirl around.
You stared at the speaker, the gears in your head slowly turning. Did he just… insult me…? Your hands balled up into fists, anger bubbling up within you. “你说我难看？你应该看看你自己。[You say I’m ugly? You should look at yourself.] ”
“新学生，你说了什么？我没听懂你的中文，你的说法真难听。你再说一次吧。[New student, what did you say? I can’t understand your Chinese; your pronunciation is terrible. How about you say that one more time?]” His tone was dripping with sarcasm, his eyes mocking you. The Chinese boy’s otherwise handsome face was twisted in a look of disgust, making you feel like the icky gum under his shoe that he had unwittingly stepped on. “你为什么不爬回你的石头底下呢？[Why don’t you crawl back under the rock you came from?]”
That was the last straw for you. Tears overflowing from your cheeks, you yelled at the cocky boy, “为什么你呢么卑劣？！[Why are you so mean to me?!]” and, fighting back burning hot tears, raced past the school gates. You ran past Makoto – who had been walking towards you – and didn’t notice the bewildered look he gave you as you passed.
[Time Skip to the evening of the same day, in the apartment complex where both you and Makoto’s families lived]
You could hear the loud voices of your and Makoto’s fathers as you sat on the couch in Makoto’s house, hugging a pillow softly to your chest.
“Mako-chan, why can’t your dad and my dad get along?”
“(Name)-chan, they do get along. It’s just because they’re overworked, and they’re in a new place; it’s stressful for them, you see.”
Makoto’s little brother and sister crawled up to you, snuggling into your sides. “Onee-chan, how do you say ‘candy’ in Chinese?” Ran asked you softly, her long, olive-green hair coming to rest on your lap as she lay her head on your legs.
“唐 [Candy/sugar],” you replied as you stroked her head. You giggled as Ren burrowed his head under your arm so that your arm rested in the crook of his neck.
“Ren, Ran, why don’t you go to bed? It’s a bit late for you two…” Makoto’s voice rang out as he smiled softly at his siblings, a loving look on his face. As you watched the duo out of the living room and beyond your line of sight, Makoto whispered to you. “(Name)-chan, it looks like our dads aren’t getting along that well…”
“I know… I just said that,” you replied, sweat-dropping at Makoto’s repetition. “What do you suggest we do?”
“Maybe we could pretend to date, just for now, to try to get them to get along?”
You turned to look the brunette in the eye, surprise evident on your face. “Date…? But how will that get them to work together better?”
“Well, if they see that we two can get along well enough, they might be inspired to try harder to cooperate. They might also cease their fighting for our sake, (Name)-chan~”
“We can always try it and see how it works out…” you murmured, gazing off to the side as a light blush dusted your cheeks.
“Great. See you later then, my new girlfriend~” Makoto landed a soft kiss on your cheek before making his way towards his room. “Sorry I can’t stay – I have homework to finish up.”