Story: Crossing Paths (chapter 3)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 3


Erstin Ho closed her locker, noting once again some of the wary glances that she got from her classmates. ‘Just remember,’ the blonde young woman reminded herself firmly, ‘your fifteen minutes of fame will pass eventually.’

“Hey, Erstin,” Arika Yumemiya said cheerfully as she reached her own locker, “can I borrow your chemistry homework?”

“Again?” Erstin asked with some amusement.

“I’m sorry,” Arika scratched at the back of her head, her red hair tied back into two braids, “cheerleading ran a bit long.”

Erstin shook her head with a smile as she said, “Okay, but you’ve got to try harder you know.” A bit more seriously she added, “If you flunk out on the exam, copying my homework won’t help you.”

“I know,” Arika nodded earnestly. Both girls set out together even as Arika quietly said, “Nina was asking about you.”

Erstin felt a mix of emotions, anger from Nina’s rejection combined with a odd flare of hope as she asked, “Oh?”

Arika shrugged slightly, “I think she was worried about you...”

“Hmm,” Erstin reigned in her emotions. “But she couldn’t actually come see me about it?” she asked with a sigh.

“Well...” Arika looked uncomfortable.

Erstin smiled a little sadly, “It’s okay, Arika, I understand it can’t be easy trying to be both of our friend right now.”

Both young women hurried to their seats, glad that they still had a few minutes left before class started. “Thank you,” Arika smiled as she took Erstin’s notebook then began to quickly copy out the answers into her own book.

“Thank upperclassman Kikukawa,” Erstin admitted, “she helped me a bit after our meeting last night.”

“The president of the executive committee?” Arika sounded impressed as she copied away, “What’s she like?”

“Very smart,” Erstin mused, “and patient, too. She has a way of looking at you through her glasses that feels very warm and nice.” She looked off into the distance a moment, thinking off the oddly mature older student who so willingly helped where needed.

“You sound like you like her,” Arika noted.

“I do,” Erstin agreed, “she’s very nice.”

Arika was about to say something else when the teacher arrived, and she hurriedly slipped Erstin her book back. “Good morning Miss Sugiura,” they all called out on cue.

“Morning class,” the busty redheaded teacher smiled as she swept into her spot behind the desk, “hopefully my time subbing for your regular teacher will be over soon.”

“We want to keep you, Midori!” a voice called out.

“Thanks, Rita,” Midori grinned, “but we all know that’s because I’m TOTALLY clueless on chemistry.” She moved up and down the rows of desks checking homework, her usual top knot of hair bouncing cheerfully.

“Please be okay,” Arika prayed softly.

“Miss Midori,” Erstin smiled, “Miss Kikukawa wanted me to say hi to you for her.”

“Yukino’s doing well, I see,” Midori grinned, “I’ll have to stop in and see her.” With that she breezed by, thankfully not taking too close a look at Arika’s hastily copied work.

Arika puffed out a sigh. “Thank you, Erstin,” she whispered as Midori returned to the front of the class.

Erstin smiled, “You’re welcome.”

Chemistry class barreled along as it usually did under Midori, their teacher barely grasping the subject more than her students. “All right class,” Midori concluded, “study pages 100-112, then solve the questions at the end of the chapter.”

“More reading,” Arika whimpered as they headed out, rushing back to their lockers to stow their texts and get the books for next class.

“And you’re going to have to do it,” Erstin noted as she twirled the dial on the lock, “I’m going to be busy with meetings tonight.”

Arika blinked as a sheet of paper fell from Erstin’s locker, “Oooh, a note!” She grabbed for it, “Let me see!”

“Arika,” Erstin flipped open the sheet then sighed. “More garbage,” she frowned as she crumpled it up angrily.

“What...?” Arika looked confused.

“Another note telling me to take my gay ass off campus,” Erstin sighed.

“Oh really?” a familiar voice said as she plucked the note from Erstin’s hand. Both turned quickly to see Yukino Kikukawa looking at the note, a very annoyed look on her face. She pushed she glasses up as she asked Erstin, “This has been happening often?”

“A few times,” Erstin looked away shyly.

Gentling her tone a bit Yukino continued, “I’m sorry, you should have told me.” She continued, “Can I take this? I think I can do something about it.”

“I...,” Erstin hesitated.

Arika reached out to squeeze her shoulder, “Let her, please.”

Erstin smiled shyly, “All right, thank you ma’am.”

“You’re welcome,” Yukino flashed a smile, “And didn’t we already have a talk about you just calling me Yukino?”

Erstin blushed, “I’ll try to remember.”

“You do that,” Yukino said with a bit of tease then hurried off.

“Wow,” Arika breathed out once Yukino had left, “she’s really impressive.”

“Oh yeah,” Erstin agreed before shaking herself. “Catch you later,” she said as she retrieved the books for her next class and hurried off.

Meanwhile, Yukino strode to the student council room with a expression on her face that could nearly be described as murderous. Alyssa Searrs, the vice president of the council looked up with a curious look, “Good afternoon, Yukino.”

“Alyssa,” Yukino said, hiding her discomfort at addressing the girl by her first name. Working together on the council had resulted in a lowering of the normal level of formality, but it still felt a bit odd.

“You look rather upset,” Miyu Greer said, the light blue haired woman always hovering near her precious Alyssa.

“What’s student policy on discrimination?” Yukino asked tersely as she took a seat.

That made Alyssa raise her eyebrows. “Discrimination based on race, sex, religion and sexuality is forbidden, officially,” she said.

“I’d say this qualifies,” Yukino said as she passed the unsigned note to Alyssa.

Alyssa read it, her frown looking remarkably old on such a young face. “Indeed,” she agreed, “who received the note?”

“Erstin, our secretary,” Yukino said as she took the note back. “Does that mean I have official permission to act?”

“Baring Reito vetoing, yes,” Alyssa agreed.

“Good,” Yukino excused herself and got her cellphone out. Dialing quickly she waited till it was answered, “Chie?”

“Ah, yes Yukino?” Chie answered her with an understandable degree of wariness. She was quite firmly in the doghouse over her outing Erstin, and only Aoi’s efforts had kept her out of more serious trouble.

“How would you like to get back in my good graces,” Yukino asked with a slight smile, “as well as help someone you’ve wronged?”

“How can I help?” Chie asked eagerly.

“In addition to verbal harassment someone’s dropping threatening notes in Erstin’s locker,” Yukino said grimly, “I want to know who.”

Reito Kanzaki entered just in time to hear that, his expression growing grim. “Alyssa?” he asked, not wanting to interrupt Yukino’s call.

“Vulgar threatening notes to one of our council members,” Alyssa answered promptly, “Yukino’s taking steps.”

“Thank you,” Yukino finished, closing her phone.

“If you need some muscle to end this,” Reito said calmly, with a dangerous twinkle in his eye, “I’m sure I can get Tate and the Kendo club to assist, too.”

“Let’s find out who’s leaving the notes,” Yukino surprised him a bit by adding, “but I’ll keep the offer in mind.”

To be continued...

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