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"Hey, hey... Hey, Hinata... Trade lunches with me!"

"No thank you."

"Awww... Why not?"

"It doesn't smell appetizing." It really didn't. The brown paper bag Kimiko was trying to push on Hinata smelled like sewage.

If you were more self-centered, you would have guessed this was Kimiko's attempt to get your gaze back on her. Any attention was good attention. She knew picking on Hinata would get a rise out of you. You'd been blatantly ignoring her very existence since that day in the library when she gave you a lollipop with a razor blade in it.

You knew better, though. This didn't have anything to do with you. Kimiko was just a jerk who liked to play meanspirited pranks on everybody, even her so-called friends.

Still, every fiber of her being, every action she performed, seemed to shout, Look at me, look at me, look at me! Look at how pretty I am! Look at how funny I'm being! She was so bright, like the sun, but staring at the sun too long would cause you to go blind. You just continued watching Minoru and Oshiro.

"Quit it!"

"Just let me-"

"I said quit it!"

Apparently, Oshiro decided to give herself an eyebrow slit. She couldn't just shave off a section of her eyebrows like a normal girl, though. No, instead she went the scarification route and made a deep cut where she wanted the slit.

Now Minoru wouldn't stop hovering around her like a hummingbird around a flower. She had her trusty first aid kit at the ready ever since she set eyes on the bloody gash. She had the works... Butterfly sutures, alcohol wipes, pain relieving gel.

Oshiro wouldn't let Minoru so much as put a bandage on her.

Kimiko eventually got fed up with pestering Hinata to accept her lunch and decided to just take what she wanted. Out of nowhere, Oshiro slapped her hand away.

"Quit trying to give her your bag of steaming dog shit!" Oshiro snapped, shoving the putrid-smelling brown paper bag away from Hinata. "Throw it away."

Everyone at the table looked at her in surprise. She had never stood up for Hinata before, bullying the timid girl herself or laughing along with Kimiko's pranks instead. It made you wonder if Oshiro was serious when she promised not to hurt Hinata anymore.

Kimiko pouted but didn't try pushing the bag on Hinata again. "I remember you being more fun, Oshiro," she whined.

"I remember you being more clever, Kimiko."

"What do you have there?" Minoru asked when you finally pulled out the bento box you made by yourself, for yourself. She made a face like you just dragged in roadkill from the side of the road and declared you were going to eat it.

You wanted to be more independent but didn't want to hurt her feelings. So, naturally, you lied. "My mom's been getting up early lately so she told me she'd be packing my lunch from now on."

"Tell her she doesn't have to."

"I can't tell my mom that." Just like I can't tell you I don't want your packed lunches, you thought.

Minoru's eyes went dark as your refusal. She huffed in annoyance and muttered something under her breath that you didn't quite catch. Meanwhile, Oshiro grinned at you proudly from across the table like you'd just done something amazing.

"You hear that, Mommy? Baby's real mom made her lunch. Isn't that sweet?" Kimiko crooned. You don't know who the dig was intended for, you or Minoru, but the queen bee didn't take it well.

"Shut up, Kimiko!" It was the first time you saw Minoru genuinely angry and not just annoyed. The entire table was shocked into silence. Kimiko flinched as if she had been slapped. Oshiro glared at Minoru as if she just ran over her dog in her fancy car. Hinata looked like she was about to cry.

Then Minoru stopped, took a few deep breaths, and apologized. "I'm sorry. That was uncalled for. I'm having a bad day, and I took it out on you."

"That... That's okay, Minoru." Kimiko said, suddenly quiet and demure. She was hunched over in her seat defensively, as if waiting for a blow. That wasn't the Kimiko you knew. She was reacting awfully strongly to Minoru raising her voice. "Can I have the lunch you packed for Aina? I was kinda banking on stealing Hinata's lunch."

"Yes, yes, of course," Minoru sighed, looking at you as she passed Kimiko the bento box. You couldn't shake the feeling that, although Kimiko was the one who had been yelled at, it was you she was frustrated with.

Unsure of what else to do, you focused on finishing your shitty lunch.


"I'll take Aina home today," Oshiro said once afterschool activities had concluded for the day and Minoru was ushering you and Hinata into her car. She tossed you a helmet, which you fumbled but managed not to drop.

Oshiro was straddling a little black motorcycle with silver trims. You couldn't help but admire it. It really matched her entire aesthetic. You never thought you'd be given the chance to ride it.

And you wouldn't if Minoru had any say in the matter.

"Oh no, you won't. That thing is a death trap."

"I wasn't asking."

The two girls stared each other down for a long minute.

You recognized what Oshiro was doing... Giving you a choice without making it seem like your fault if you chose something other than what Minoru wanted. It was a nice gesture, even if you hadn't yet forgiven her for what she had done to Hinata in the past. Still, you were technically friends now. You should act like it.

Without a word, you strode over to Oshiro and carefully climbed behind her on the bike.

"Dolls don't always sleep in the dollhouse, Minoru," Oshiro growled.

This felt like payback for Hinoru telling Kimiko to shut up at lunch, but you knew better than to voice it. She was the one who usually called you doll or dollface, after all. Probably because you were no more than a toy to her.

Feigning ignorance, you simply linked your arms around Oshiro's waist and gave Minoru a benign smile. Then the motorcycle lurched forward and you were clinging onto the larger girl for dear life as the two of you sped off down the street.

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