Mami sighed heavily and ran her tired fingers through her messy blonde locks. The uniform skirt she wore flowed around her legs while she rubbed the back of her sore neck. She always hated the second day. The immediate aftermath of the beatings always did a number of Mami, but it was usually the day after that was even worse. Once Mami sufficiently slept it off for the night, the soreness and tenderness would always set in overnight. She would wake up in more pain than she had gone to sleep in. After a few days, the pain would slowly die down and disappear. It was just a matter of enduring it until she did.

By her side was Tomomi. The blonde had picked up her brunette companion just as she had promise. This would be the last day Mami would come pick her up of course, Tomomi would be back in school by tomorrow and then they could just walk over together with everyone else. Tomomi would be enjoying the silent time with Mami if it wasn’t for Mami’s troubling behaviors. The way she kept shifting as she walked and kept rubbing her neck were only confirming Tomomi’s fears that her mother must have done something to her. It was possible Mami’s obvious soreness was from a fight, but wouldn’t the others know if Mami had been in a fight without them? Even still, Tomomi hoped it was a simple fight with one of her peers and not a fight with her mother.

While the duo walked along, Tomomi searched her mind, looking for something to say. What did she say though? She couldn’t come out and tell Mami she knew her mother had hit her; that would be the definition of awkward. But she didn’t have anything else to say if she didn’t outright confess to Mami about knowing what was probably the blonde’s darkest secret. She could pass it off by assuming Mami had gotten into a fight but the last time she did that, she swore it seemed like she hurt Mami’s feelings by assuming that. She didn’t want to hurt the blonde again.

No matter which way Tomomi turned, it seemed like she was at a loss. It was killing her to stay silent and not comfort Mami but if she did try, she would have to either confess or spill the secret that she knew. The brunette couldn’t help the soft sigh that left her. She was always so useless; she never seemed to be able to help anyone despite how much she would want to help.

“So who are you planning to start tutoring first?” Mami asked, breaking the heavy silence that had fallen between the two women. Tomomi looked over at her quickly, her feet shuffling nervously, nearly making her trip. Tomomi’s plan was to tutor the easiest girls first but as she thought about it, she realized… None of them were going to make this easy on her.

“I’m not sure,” Tomomi answered truthfully. “I guess whoever wants to start first, we can start with.”

“Would you be interested in starting with me?” Tomomi’s footsteps stopped for a brief second but she managed to pick them up quickly, praying Mami didn’t see the falter in her steps. From the way the blonde continued to look forward and didn’t glance at her, Tomomi thought it was safe to say that Mami hadn’t noticed. But she knew she better answer soon or else the blonde would at least notice something was up.

“I wouldn’t mind starting with you if you’re okay with it,” Tomomi answered as calmly as she could. She didn’t even know where she was going to begin with this tutoring, especially not with Yukako and Haruna. They were both a year ahead of her, how was she supposed to get them ready for their exams? She hadn’t thought of that in her moment of courage. Everyone always told her courage was good to have but right now, after her impromptu moment, she was really regretting having any courage at all.

“Well I figured it would be best for you to start with someone you’re comfortable around, you know? Maybe it’ll be easier to do the others in that case,” Mami said. She paused her words, the ones she had just spoken hitting her. She only assumed Tomomi was comfortable around her. “You are comfortable around me… Right?”

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