❤︎Chapter 11: Daisuke the Shy Artist

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Daisuke jumped when he realized what was going on, but with confidence, he readjusted himself and decided to accept the challenge. For nearly 5 minutes, the two sat glaring at each other knowingly.

Daisuke was suddenly called to answer a question, breaking the staring contest. With the tie breaker, Tomomi looks back at his phone and decides to text the anonymous number back.

Tomomi: I have a feeling I know who you are. I think we should talk. Meet me in C hall after the lunch hour.

Tomomi hadn't expected one, but in mere minutes, he received a reply.

6357-9887: Fine.

With a deep breath, Tomomi slipped his phone back into his pocket, and he wouldn't look back at it until the lunch hour.

•••••••••••••

"This is so annoying, why do we have to go with you?"

Tadashi folds his arms behind his head of wild hair. Ryo walks down the hallway with the gang,looking especially ticked. Yuki is still scarfing down the last of his lunch.

So that you guys will be there to make sure I don't do anything I'll regret. Tomomi sighed at the thought.

Tomomi leads the small group, walking with a straight face down the darkened hallway. It may as well have been abandoned -- rarely anyone ventured this far down C hall.

"What if they don't show up?" Tadashi complained.

"Seeing as how they took it upon themselves to confront Tomomi through a text," Yuki adjusted his glasses, speaking through a mouthful of rice, "I'd say they're more than willing to show up. Especially if it's invoking Momoka."

"They're all just helpless nerds. It's likely they'll chicken out, though." Ryo says, cracking his knuckles. He got excited when it came to fights.

Even though this was going to merely be a conversation. Tomomi didn't intend to throw any punches.

But I would like to mess those punks up. How dare they act as if they own Momoka....I should really bash their faces in... Despite his calm, composed outer appearance, Tomomi's heart is quickening at the thought of punching Daisuke right in his nasty snot-nose. He hadn't thrown a punch since he was in elementary school. Holding back from all those near fights at basketball games really built up his anger.

"Never underestimate an intellectual group, Ryo..." Tomomi muttered.

"Yeah, whatever."

At that moment, Tomomi could make out 3 figures standing as tall as they could near the end of the hallway. Just design them in person, knowing they were the ones behind the threats really worked Tomomi's nerves.

Calm down, Tomomi. He said to himself. The last thing he wanted to do was hit someone and have his grandmother find out. Or worse -- Momoka.

She's in love with the fake version of me, after all. He thought sadly.

"Over here, Maruyama!" One of the figures stepped forward out of the shadows, the light from the window next to him illuminating his average face and jade green hair. It was Daisuke.

"Duh, we can see you." Tadashi rolled his eyes. Tomomi gave him a look that said "calm down," and his tall friend lifted his hands in surrender.

"Nice to finally speak with you in person." Tomomi said in an unemotional voice. It had a hint of annoyance within it. "Who are your friends?"

Daisuke looked as if he was putting on a brave face to seem more intimidating to Tomomi, but it was obvious from his trembling that he was nervous. Tomomi pitied him.

His other two friends stepped up, looking equally as nerdy and as smart as Daisuke. The one at Daisuke's left had fluffy brown hair and huge wire rimmed glasses. His hands clenched into fists at his sides, looking as if he wanted to throw a couple of punches, too.

The kid on Daisuke's right had his arms folded over his chest. He was a little bit on the chubby side, but he had great, neat blond hair. His presence gave off a "rich kid" aura.

"We're gonna fight these little punks?" Ryo sighed from behind. He cracked his knuckles again.

"Oi," Yuki spoke up, "How many knuckles do you have? Calm down."

"We're not fighting...at least not physically," Tomomi announced, "We're simply here to talk about a few things."

"To clear things up?" Daisuke asked.

"Right." Tomomi nodded.

The one at the right crossed his chubby arms over his chest, "Good. You've finally come to your senses about your false love."

Tomomi smirked, "No, I'm not here to give Momoka up. I'm going to do the opposite, actually. I'm going to stay with her no matter what."

"What?!" Daisuke looks infuriated.

"You all should have expected this. Since you assume that you know me too well."

Tomomi's friends all smirked at his side. They all agreed this was WAY better than a fist fight.

"How dare you show up here and claim her like she's some kind of....toy!" The tall lanky one to the left pointed his finger accusingly.

"I did not claim Momoka. She was much more braver than me, as she confessed her feelings first. But that doesn't matter now...I came to give YOU a warning. Stay away from me and Momoka."

"We can't accept this relationship! Momoka can't be with someone like you!"

"So, what, she should be with you, then?" Yuki had a bored look on his face.

All three of the Momo Squad member 's gazes wandered off as they began to fanboy about Momoka. Daisuke even started drooling.

"Ew..." Tadashi scrunched up his face.

Ryo walked up to all of them and smacked his hands together to snap them out of it. When they all came to their senses and Daisuke started talking again, Ryo simply walked back.

"That isn't the point! We know your secrets! We know who you really are on the inside!" Daisuke wiped the slobber from his chin.

"I don't believe that you do." Tomomi's beautiful eyes darkened. His cocky grin became a chilling smile. The boys slumped overs, as if defeated.

"I haven't shown my true self in years, and I don't plan to any time soon. I don't believe you'd have any evidence. Momoka's in love with this version of me, after all. I think this discussion is over."

Tomomi and his friends are preparing to turn around and leave before the bell can ring for class to start again, but the nerds aren't finished.

"You...it won't last long! We won't allow it!"

"Yeah! We'll show Momoka who you really are!"

"If she loves what you're using as a mask, then that's just false love!"

Tomomi stops in his tracks. When his friends turn to look at his face, he looks horrified. His face is pale and his eyes are huge. Tadashi puts his hand on Tomomi's back and starts to pull him along.

"This isn't over!" Daisuke shouts.

"Oh, shut up and and go play a video game." Yuki retorts.

•••••••

Tomomi lay across his bed the following night, the words of "false love" playing over and over and over and over again in his mind.

Was it really a false love?

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