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Japan-o-phile

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Who would have guessed that both I and the boy I liked would win a scholarship to attend high school in Japan for the same duration of about three months?
Definitely not I.
And by the look on his face as I walked into the guidance office about five minutes after my student number was summoned over the intercom during second period, neither was he.
I have to admit that look hurt a bit. It was as if he was thinking 'Good God, not her.'
In all honesty he had a good reason to think this: countless times he had caught me staring dreamily at him from afar, countless times had a well-meaning friend of mine hounded him with questions about his relationship status while pointedly bringing me into the conversation, countless times had he caught glimpses of the illustrations of my dreams involving him as a friend flipped through my sketchbook.
At any rate, we were both shocked.
The guidance counselor'a middle-aged woman with a sickeningly optimistic view about everything'did not notice our exchange.
'And here she is!' Mrs. Bachman smiled, gesturing for me to sit in the chair next to him. 'We were beginning to wonder if you were absent today'wouldn't that be horrible?'
He rolled his eyes discreetly, and I felt another pang of angst lance through my stomach.
'Sorry, Mrs. Ismail wouldn't let me out of class until I had turned in every single assignment due three months from now and then some.' I tried to joke so Mrs. Bachman wouldn't notice how skittish I was acting.
She didn't. 'There's nothing wrong with overachieving!' She cheered, flashing an ultra-white smile. If I didn't feel so nauseated by his obvious disdain, I would be vomiting from overexposure to Mrs. Sunshine'
'Perhaps I should introduce you two,' she said when neither of us showed any curiosity as to why we were here, 'This handsome young man to my right is Mr. Nin Lewis, and this young lady to my left is Miss Emily Brogan. Do you two know each other?' She asked brightly, looking from me to him. I swallowed thickly and threw an anxious glance at Nin from the corner of my eye.
He sighed. 'We have C block lunch.'
'Yeah, and a few of my friends know him.' I blurted. Damn, why did I say that? Only one of my friends knows him, and the others just help me stalk him!
Mrs. Bachman clapped her hands together and giggled like a little girl. 'Well, that's wonderful! It's always nice to know your traveling partner beforehand, isn't it?'
Nin and I sat up in our seats. ''Traveling partner?!''
'Why, yes,' she blinked, 'You both applied for the Kikkuman scholarship to Japan, and you both won. This is a great achievement, you know. There are only seven spots available, and two of our students won!'
Was is 'wonderful' for the us or the school? My hormones were screaming the former, but Nin's expression was pleading the latter, and the latter alone.
Mrs. Bachman's face dropped, but her tone stayed sunny, 'You two will be traveling to Osaka to attend the Minigawa School of the Arts, and that is final. Do you understand? This is a great achievement.' She said finally, repeating herself for emphasis as if to say 'If you back out, you disgrace the entire school.'
Nin leaned back in his chair. 'Fine. I'll go.' He said sulkily. Another pang in the stomach. I might have to pack a lifetime supply of Angst-B-Gone for the trip, the way things were going'
They both looked at me expectantly.
I took a deep breath, pushing back all the worst-case-scenarios that clouded my thoughts, and nodded bravely.
'I'm going, too.'
The guidance counselor beamed, and Nin curled his lip.
This was going to be a long three months.





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