You’d been at Iwatobi High School about four months now. You’d grown close to all the swimming club members, including Coach Sasabe who came along occasionally during his work to help train us. You were all grateful for his help, plus all the equipment he had. Even Miss Amakata was incredibly kind and caring, as long as you didn’t get her in the wrong mood. The boys for some reason, especially Nagisa, kept reverting her into some scary monster. Now, for some reason, Kou was standing in front of you all, holding up a poster. It was an ocean swimming training camp.
“This again? Didn’t this end badly last time?” Rei asked, sounding almost a little scared. Kou smiled at them, looking a little evil.
“Yes, but [first name] hasn’t done this yet, and we need to build her stamina correct? What better training than the ocean?” Kou asked, giggling as the boys all glanced at each other. You looked between them, seeing the unsure expressions on their faces. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea? Just as Makoto was about to open his mouth to begin speaking, Kou suddenly grabbed you, pulling you to stand beside her, then cupped your cheeks in her hand, squeezing them in so you was making a ‘fish face’.
“And now you have to try and say no to this face! Now I know you won’t be able to refuse!” Kou exclaimed in victory. You didn’t really get what she meant but you saw Makoto falter, sighing. Kou let you go as she squealed in triumph, then began skipped along, tugging at your wrist so you was dragged behind her.
“W-Wait a minute! What’s going on!?” you asked, being almost pulled off your feet. Kou just giggled, continuing to pull you along. You turned to glance at the boys and they smiled, waving goodbye to you sadly.
“She’s not taking me to the slaughter you guys! Stop looking miserable!” You shouted back, seeing Nagisa smirk.
“She might be though!” he yelled back and you gasped in horror, looking at Kou to hear her giggling evilly. You turned back to glare at them.
“How can you just stand there and leave me like this! I’ll haunt you for the rest of your existence!” You shouted back, hearing them all chuckle. You was pulled into a room and Kou shut the door. She laid the poster on a table, then brought out a few more posters.
“Alright [first name], since you’re new to this event, I’ll explain it to you. This is a stamina training camp at the beach. You swim to all of these islands, each one is a kilometer away from each other. It’s three days, two nights. So pack what you need, but try to keep it light, cause you’ll be camping with the boys” Kou explained. You nodded, seeing no issue with that. Wait… Camp with the boys!? What on earth was she thinking!?
“Camp with the boys!? Isn’t there something a little wrong with that?” You asked, seeing her pause. Her face fell when she saw your problem, then smirked in triumph, giving you a thumbs up.
“No problem! I’ll just snatch the tent my brother has yet he never uses!” Kou stated, relieving some of your tension. You sighed in relief. Thank goodness, now you wouldn’t have to worry about that issue. Now you just needed to run it by your parents.
You sat down on the couch at home, watching your TV shows when the door opened. You turned to kneel on the couch, looking over to see Mum walk in. She placed her work bag on the ground, turning to glance at you with a small smile, then sat at the table. You heard the kettle begin boiling and knew she was making her cup of tea for the night. About ten minutes later, the door opened and Dad walked in. He had bags under his eyes and looked almost like a zombie.
“Hi Dad, how was work?” You asked, seeing him look at you with a nod, then sit at the table and let his head land on the table. Mum had finished her cup of tea and stood, walking off to the bedroom. You wondered when a good time would be to discuss the idea and stood, walking over to Dad.
“Dad? Can I talk to you? It’s about a school swimming camp excursion. Its three days and two nights. Can I go?” You asked, seeing him look up from the table. His hair was dark brown, darker than your own and was cut really short in a neat hairstyle. He had dark blue eyes and a moustache growing on his upper lip.
“A camp? Um… go ask your mother, okay honey?” he suggested, sitting up straight and standing, going to make himself a hot drink. You watched him go, feeling like you’d just been tossed aside for a second. Maybe Dad was just tired… You decided to go ask Mum. You stepped into the bedroom, pausing when you saw her in a really nice dress. She had her long, light brown wavy hair shaped around her shoulders and a black and white flower clip in the right side of her hair. She was wearing a black cocktail dress and her fancy heels. She turned to look at you with her emerald green eyes and smiled at you. She was in the middle of putting her make up on.
“Sweetie? What is it?” she asked and you stepped forward. Mum had always been really gorgeous, so you felt like you’d received the short end of the stick in a way. You’d taken more after Dad, the only thing of Mum’s you’d gotten were her eyes.
“Um, there’s a school excursion soon. It’s three days, two nights. It’s for the swimming club I’m in. Can I go?” You asked. Mum paused, adjusting her eyeliner, then looked back at you.
“Have you asked your father?” she questioned. You nodded, looking down. She paused, as if in thought.
“What did he say?” she asked again.
“To go ask you…” You answered and you saw the corner of her eye twitch as if she tried to hold something back. She quickly masked it away and beamed a smile at you.
“Of course you can go Sweetie. Just make sure there’s a teacher around, alright?” she stated. You felt a smile form as you nodded in agreement.
“Thank you Mum! You look very pretty by the way, may I ask where you’re going?” You asked. She smiled at you gratefully.
“Thank you Sweetie, I’m going out with the girls tonight” Mum replied, standing when she was certain her makeup was alright, then exited the bedroom. You went to follow behind her when a shout made you flinch and begin retreating.
“And where are you going!?” Dad shouted, sounding almost as if he was talking to you. You peeked out the room to see Mum ball her hands into fists.
“I’m going out with the girls tonight, and besides, I don’t need you telling me what I can and can’t do!” Mum shouted back, grabbing her handbag for when she went out, heading for the door. Dad turned the corner, grabbing her elbow to stop her.
“Oh no you don’t. You’re not dumping her on me!” Dad snarled. You blinked in shock, wondering what on earth had them growling at each other like that. Mum glared, shoving her arm away from him.
“She’s not difficult to look after. She’s a teenager, she practically looks after herself! And besides, you’re always dumping her on me with your work, why can’t I go out and socialize with my friends!?” Mum snapped back, heading further for the door. Dad didn’t move this time, he just stood there and growled darkly. Mum exited the house and shut the door with a slam behind her. Dad stood there for a few seconds before he took a few steps and swung his arm violently. He hit the vase on the end table, sending it smashing to pieces on the floor.
“Bitch!” he snarled, heading to the couch and sitting down. You turned away, looking back in the room as your shoulders shook. What on earth was that all about? How had you all gone from a kind, loving family, to one of those back stabbing families so quickly? Or had you always been like that and you was just never noticing? You just didn’t know any more.
You walked out the bedroom, ending up in the kitchen which was connected with the lounge room. Dad made a noise when he heard you enter, but didn’t say anything. You went to the counter to grab the rubber gloves used for dishes, then grabbed the dust pan and broom. You knelt, picking up the pieces of broken vase. You noticed the flowers were fresh ones, ones that Dad had bought Mum for their anniversary a month ago. They were beginning to wilt and die, just like their relationship. If something wasn’t done soon, you all could end up broken, just like all the pieces of this vase.
“[First name]? Just pick those up and get me a beer from the fridge” Dad stated, not even saying please or asking. You acknowledged him, finishing picking them up but you didn’t toss them away. You took the gloves off, then went to the fridge grabbing a can of beer for him. You handed it to him, having him snatch it away, not even thanking you. You decided not to make an issue of it, grabbing the dust pan and heading to your room. You closed the door, putting the vase pieces over the table. You grabbed the glue from the drawers and began to try and figure out what pieces were the bottom. Maybe if you fixed the vase, you could show them that their relationship could still be saved too. You worked on it till you fell asleep at the table.
(The next day)
You walked into the school grounds, having only gotten a few hours sleep. Mum hadn’t arrived home till late, and Dad had just started an argument that had turned into a screaming fest. You didn’t make it very far into the school grounds when someone jumped on your back.
“Good morning [first name]!” greeted Kou as she giggled at you. You managed a weak smile and nod back. You probably had bugs under your eyes and looked a little pale. Your hands looked pale to you, so you assumed the rest of you did too. Kou didn’t seem to notice, she was way too happy.
“Hey! It’s the boys! Let’s go say hi!” Kou stated, grabbing your wrist and pulling you behind her. You just managed to stay on your feet.
“Boys!” Kou shouted, grabbing their attention as they turned, smiling when they saw you both.
“Gou! [First name]!” Nagisa greeted, waving excitedly at you both.
“Kou! Not Gou!” Kou reminded him and Nagisa just smiled, sticking his tongue out. Rei nodded his head at you. Haru did the same and Makoto waved at you all.
“So, did you get the A-Okay from your parents?” Kou asked, turning to look back at you. You nodded, deciding not to trust your voice. It probably wasn’t very pleasant to listen to. Kou squealed in delight, hugging you tightly as she rubbed her cheek against yours. You blinked in shock, having never had this much bodily contact with another girl before.
“[First name]? Are you okay? You’re got bags under your eyes…” Makoto asked, looking at you worriedly. You blinked at him, before smiling and nodding. Makoto blinked in confusion. You covered your mouth with your hand, stifling a cough to try and show them you had a sore throat.
“Ah, she’s got a sore throat, that’s why she’s not speaking” Rei explained.
“Oh, I see. I guess that makes sense. Don’t worry, I’ll cover for you in class” Makoto reassured you, giving you a small wink. You nodded, smiling.
“So, this means we’re all going to the beach!” Kou exclaimed, giggling excitedly. Makoto looked down at the ground worriedly. You glanced up at him, wondering what was bothering him so much. You didn’t dare ask though, it wasn’t your place. If Makoto wanted to tell you, he’d tell you in his own time.
(A week later)
It was the day before the excursion. However as you were packing your stuff for the trip, sudden shouting in the lounge room caught your attention. You glanced at the almost finished vase and rushed out to see what the fight was about.
“You want me to quit my job!? Why!?” Mum shouted at Dad. Dad just sat on the couch, watching TV with a can of beer in his hand. He was flicking through the TV channels.
“So you can put your priorities on the house, as a wife should be doing. Your job is to keep the house clean and look after the kids, remember?” Dad stated, making Mum growl in anger. She balled her hands into fists, trembling in fury.
“What!? I never signed up to be your house bitch! I’m your wife, not your maid and babysitter! Everything you’ve just said is half your job as well as mine!” Mum yelled back. Dad just growled, making a clicking noise with his tongue. Great… they were arguing again, and you thought you were the topic this time.
“She goes off and does who knows what because there’s no adult in the house! She’s stuck looking after herself all the time, we don’t know what she could be getting caught up in! She might be hanging out with bad boys for all we know, all because you’re never home! What if she went and got herself pregnant or something!” Dad snapped and you suddenly heard a loud ‘SMACK’ sound. You gasped silently realizing Mum had slapped him.
“You’re just as able to quit your job and stay and watch her, but all you do when you get home is sit in front of the TV and drink beer! You don’t even talk to her anymore! If you did, like I do, you’d learn she’d never do a thing like that, she has self-respect! All you think of women as is baby making machines!” Mum yelled. You took a step back, feeling scared by the scary face Dad was making. You agreed, Mum shouldn’t have slapped him, but the look Dad was giving was enough to send any horror villain running in terror.
“Did you just slap me?” Dad asked, it not even sounding like a question. You gasped, taking a step back as Dad stood. They heard your gasp and turned to look back at you. You backed away a step, Dad still wearing his dark expression.
“Sweetie, you’d better go for a walk or something, kill some time” Mum suggested before Dad took a step. His step sounded more like a stomp, and that was enough to trigger you. You turned and bolted for the door. You could hear shouting behind you in the house but you just ran through the front yard and out into the street. You suddenly heard footsteps behind you and was grabbed from behind by your shoulder. You let out a yelp in fright but a hand quickly covered your mouth to prevent you from screaming. You were turned and you saw brown hair and green eyes. Makoto was giving you a worried expression. Once you’d stood there for a few seconds, he let go of your mouth and you turned to look at him.
“Family issues?” Makoto asked as you both heard yelling and some crashing from inside the house. You turned to see one of the lights flicker in the house. You glanced back at him sadly, nodding.
“Want to come round to my place? It’s not far, and it’s a nice environment” Makoto offered, giving you a small smile. You nodded, seeing him begin to walk away. You jogged a little to catch up with him then gently held the end of his sleeve. He glanced to look at you, seeing you look at your feet. He smiled gently, continuing to walk slowly as you followed behind, your hand still tightly clinging to the sleeve of his jacket. For a moment, it was just you two in the world, walking on that little brick road heading to Makoto’s, and you were happy.