Going All Out to Make a Proud Girl with a Nice Face Submit: A Yuri Story - Chapter 5 Part 1
Chapter 5 – The Belle Fleur in Full Bloom
The happiness I felt when I was chosen as the Tsubomi back then…I could remember it clearly.
I was in my third grade at the time and to me the Belle Fleur wasn’t merely a high schooler or a notable young adult, but an existence close to that of a Goddess.
But, there was another girl who was also chosen as the Tsubomi. A polite and quiet girl, wearing a blue ribbon.
‘I want to become the Belle Fleur! No, I will!’
That smile of hers was the spark for my admiration for the Belle Fleur’s position.
And that became a bitter memory of my first love.
* * *
The last Thursday of November. Everyone in school was talking about the upcoming vote for the Belle Fleur next Monday.
Contrary to the fourth-years who openly showed their excitement, the fifth-years did it in a more subtle way. Then again, I guess they wouldn’t just get all merry and cheery in front of Rui and me.
After school, Ryouko-chan caught me in the hallway, and we just kinda talked while walking.
“Will Saitou-san become the dress coordinator again this year?”
“Ah, yes! When I contacted her, she happily agreed to work with us again! Also, she said that she’ll also need to provide us with the underwear and the accessories that will go along with the dress! And also…uh…she said she needs to take your measurements and stuff, Sara-san. Ah, but there’s a chance that she could only measure it up on short notice, so it’ll be better if you give her the rough measurements beforehand…”
As I listened to Ryouko-chan’s confusing report, I let out a smile accompanied with a “Thank you.” Seeing her smiling sheepishly like this, it was hard to connect her to the same person who did that behind everyone’s back the other day.
“Alright, I’ll be in the meeting room for the rest of the day, so if you need me, just come over, okay?”
With that, Ryouko-chan dashed away. As I made my way toward the Cultural Affair Building, I became more conscious about the envelope in my bag.
When I entered the meeting room, Rui was sitting by herself there, flipping through three large files in a row while filling out a form.
After we exchanged our greetings, I sat down on a seat a distance away from Rui. Then, I reviewed the work that I had done yesterday, while going over the things that I needed to work on today.
Right, I had to assign who was in charge of guiding the guests to the parking lot. After that, I needed to make a timetable for the reception, then I needed to go to the Broadcasting Club to discuss who’d be the emcee for the event, then I also needed to discuss the flower arrangement with the Gardening Club…
And after I finished those things…
I kept my face locked in the direction of my notebook while moving my gaze upwards towards where Rui was. Her visage as she poured all her concentration in her work made a beautiful painting. Just by her being here, it soothed both my heart and soul. I probably sat dumbstruck there for a few seconds.
Thanks to that, she noticed my gaze and glanced back at me, tilting her head slightly. I let out an awkward smile, whispering “Later, okay?” to her. Receiving my message, a pretty smile bloomed on her face.
For the next hour and a half, I worked in a relaxed mood. Maybe this was what they said by losing one’s grip on reality?
A lot of people came to Rui, forcing her to postpone her work for a few times, but she never wore a disgruntled look on her face. She treated each and every one of them kindly. Everyone left the room, thanking her with a smile on their faces.
Seeing this appearance of hers, there shouldn’t be anyone in this school who would deny that this it was one that befit the Belle Fleur. Including me.
* * *
After practically everyone had left the school, I brought Rui to the chapel near the auditorium. The same chapel where the Belle Fleur would depart from on her way toward the auditorium during the final event of the Aitan Festival.
This place was big enough to accommodate two classes worth of students. Its ceilings were high, and there were sets of wooden benches neatly set up on either side of the room. Under the stained glass on the back, there was an altar, the place where they would start the ceremonies at.
Barely anyone would come and visit this place outside of such occasions.
The sun had already set, and the lighting inside the chapel wasn’t really reliable, so the place was dimly lit. Thanks to that, it felt like we were in a whole different world even though we were still within the school grounds.
“Why did you bring me all the way here?”
“To set the mood, of course. Don’t you think it’s more romantic this way?”
“Hm, I see. Then, do you want me to play the piano for you? An emotional song would fit the occasion.”
“If you can make a copy of yourself, sure, I’d love to hear some music right now.”
After that short conversation, we walked side by side down the path in the middle of the chapel. We both brought our bags and wore our coats here, so everyone would think that we went home already.
Which meant that we had all the time and space to ourselves, at least until Rui’s pickup came.
Enough time for us to settle this matter once and for all.
I knew that things between us wouldn’t end up on a happy note.
On the contrary, this would end in a really, really painful one…
I opened my bag and took out the envelope that I had been carrying. Seeing it, Rui’s gentle smile turned stiff as a nervous expression crept up onto her face.
“You said you want a love letter from me, didn’t you?”
“W-Well…s-since you’ve taken the trouble to write it, I-I guess it’s only right if I were to read it, right?”
I handed the envelope to her without saying anything. She received it with both hands, as if it was the most precious treasure in the world. Carefully, she tore the seal open and…
…Noticed that there was nothing there.
Unable to understand what was going on, Rui stared at my face. From her expression, it seemed like couldn’t decide what kind of emotion she should show. Anger? Sadness? Or maybe she wanted to brush it off and tease me about my inability to write a simple letter?
Whatever her emotion was, it was irrelevant. Without holding anything back, I told her, who had her back against the stained glass, what was in my mind.
“…’Please be my lover.’”
Those were the words she threw at me back then.
“Looking back, I completely failed to understand the meaning behind those words. At that time, I just took everything that you told me at face value.”
Rui’s expression stiffened. Her eyes widened in surprise as she placed a hand over her mouth.
I knew it.
“Yes. I noticed everything, Rui.”
Even at times like this, her low voice still got me going.
“I want to say that I’ve noticed it from the beginning, since it would be cooler that way, but sadly I only noticed it recently…”
I narrowed my eyes as I stared at her. Even in this dimly lit chapel, I could still see her face clearly. Now, I knew the reason why I was so attracted to her, and why I felt like her face checked all the marks for me.
It was all because she was my first love.
“I’ve never thought that I’d become lovers with the only person who’s ever dumped me.”
Rui averted her gaze from me.
“So, did you think because you once dumped me, you could do whatever you want to me? You could easily make me give in and get me to do whatever you want? Is that how it is? It should also be why you’ve been hiding this from me.”
She shook her head, her blue ribbon swayed in the air.
While my tone sounded like I was accusing her of all this, in truth, I wasn’t actually mad at her. It was my fault for not realizing it in the first place, so I had no reason to complain. Rui was the only one who thought that she was at fault here.
The reason why I did this was because I wanted to know why she had done this in the first place. Knowing her from back then, unless I used some strong words to pressure her, she would just find a way to run away.
And so, the stage was set.
Her voice was a pitch higher than usual, and hearing it pricked my heart a little.
“You’ve forgotten about it, haven’t you, Sara-san?”
Suddenly, she sent me an angry glare. At that moment, I felt my blood being drained from my face. ‘Not now,’ I told myself that, but I couldn’t stop it from happening. My heart started to beat faster and…
I started to spill out the painful emotions I felt back then…
“I’ve been trying to forget it.”
“Such a thing…”
“I don’t want to make myself feel miserable for the rest of my life. Such memories should be buried and forgotten to begin with.”
We had always been up against each other, so exchanging such harsh words wasn’t big of a deal for us. This was what we had always done.
Except that this time, we were determined to settle everything once and for all.
“We were still in grade school, it happened eight years ago, why are you still holding on to it?”
“Me? Holding on to it? Didn’t I tell you that I’ve been trying to forget it? Besides, you’re the one who hid everything away from me. You’re definitely planning something heinous since you went out of your way to do all that.”
I knew she wouldn’t do that. While Rui could be sly and cunning sometimes, she wouldn’t do cowardly things such as that.
Despite everything, we’ve been together for more than a month. Thanks to that, I was constantly reminded of how perfect she was as the Belle Fleur.
Though I knew this in my heart, harsh words kept on flowing out of my mouth, as if it had a mind of its own.
“I didn’t hide it, you never asked! And there’s no reason for me to bring it up anyway! Do you want me to prove it to you?”
“As if. I know how cunning you are, I know that you could just come up with a convenient excuse while we’re arguing like this.”
I could see that she was hurt by my words.
However, she immediately recovered from that. This girl was really good at hiding her emotions that people would unilaterally feel that she was indifferent to anything. But I knew that wasn’t the case. Because right now, she was baring all her hearts to me.
“That is not something I would do. I would never, ever even think of taking advantage of you. But, since you’re going to doubt my words anyway, there’s nothing I can do to convince you.”
“This is exactly the convenient excuse that I was talking about. Just say that you don’t want to be honest with me. That’s why you hid everything—”
“Rich words coming from someone who didn’t even remember anything just a few days ago.”
Seeing the tears welling up in the corner of her eyes, I realized something.
This was the outcome that I wanted.
To lash out at her, showering her with harsh words. As I did that, expressing all the negative emotions in my heart that coexisted in the same space as my adoration for her, Rui shot me a hateful glare.
Those negative emotions kept on coming out of my mouth, and I was powerless to stop them. Once again, I realized that this was probably what I wanted from the beginning.
“Let’s just stop this farce. Tell me, what are you up to exactly? I want to know the reason why you’re doing all this?”
“I didn’t plan anything. Rather, isn’t it you who are up to something? You were the one who gave me this empty envelope for no reason.”
No…I just couldn’t write a love letter for her. She might be deceiving me, planning to ditch me after everything was over, so there was no way I’d be able to open all my heart to her…
But I was unable to say those words out loud, so I selfishly attacked her instead. Because doing this was way easier…
“That’s not what—”
Rui walked towards me— no, towards the chapel’s door.
Her tone was ice cold.
As if declaring that this was the end of our relationship.
No, this wasn’t the outcome I wanted! I just wanted to know the reason why she was doing all this!
She passed me by. There was anger and sadness in her gait. Seeing it made my heart ache. Why did I have to go through this pain when she was the one who hid everything from me? This was all her fault…
‘You know, this wouldn’t happen if you didn’t dump me back then!’ I wanted to scream those words to her.
It wasn’t my fault, but hers…
I wouldn’t lose anything if she were to leave anyway. Since she ran away from me, that meant she really was hiding something from me.
Since that was the case, this showdown ended in my victory. My anger was completely justified and Rui was the one who ended up hurting more than I did. After all, she was the one who ran away.
Finally, I defeated Mareshino Rui! Even someone as powerful as her was no match for me!
It was worth getting hurt for this kind outcome!
At that moment, a certain memory flashed in my mind.
After hearing my confession, that girl…my first love…turned her back and ran away.
The sight of her back, running away from me, was etched into my mind.
At that time, I could only stand still, frozen, not knowing what to do, not knowing the reason why she left me just like that.
It was only when I was sitting in the car, on my way back home, that I realized that she rejected my confession. When I was lying down on my bed, I cried, wondering if she had rejected me because we were both girls.
Thinking back, it was truly stupid of me. All I had to do was to chase after her and ask her directly. If I had done that, I wouldn’t be so distressed.
All this year has passed, and I realized that I should not make the same mistake. That was why…
I turned around.
And grabbed Rui’s wrist.
She tried to break free, but I tightened my grip so that she wouldn’t be able to. I clenched my teeth as I gave her an intense stare.
With a determined tone, I called her name.
“This time, I won’t let you go.”
I was someone who constantly fought against all of my ugly desires and emotions just to practice self control.
This much should be nothing for me.
Seeing how determined I looked, there was a hint of fluster on Rui’s face. I grabbed her free hand and brought both of her hands closer to me.
“Why did you hide everything from me?”
“This time, I’ll believe your words.”
To bare your hearts out was always something scary. Especially when you didn’t know if the other person would receive it well. And I had always been having trouble with it, but that was a trivial matter now. I’d rather let my feelings bare than show an uncool side of myself.
Because I was Kureha Sara.
Our eyes met.
“I’ll believe you. Our time together might be short, but I know how sincere of a person you are.”
Rui’s eyes widened.
I loosened my grip on her hand. Even so, she didn’t try to run away. Her eyes swam around, but I could tell that she was trying to gather all the courage that she had.
If this was the kid Rui, like back then, she’d probably try to run away at this point. But like me, she had also grown stronger.
Both of us became more mature. That was why we were picked as the Belle Fleur candidates among hundreds of students.
That was why I believed in her. I believed in Mareshino Rui.
She would definitely tell me everything.
Her face contorted, as if in pain.
“W-When we met again back in middle school…I instantly recognized you…but you ignored me, Sara-san…actually, when you confessed to me, I was so happy…but at the same time…I was so scared that I ended up running away…s-so I thought…that you were just mad at me back then…b-but…y-you actually…forgot…”
I listened to her words without saying anything.
As if trying to receive her trembling words with all my being.
“I remembered everything, and I’ve always been beating myself over it, but you’ve forgotten everything, Sara-san! It’s unfair! But…I know that everything is my fault…because I didn’t give my answer properly back then…everything is my fault…”
Tears started to well up on her big eyes.
“I-I know that my regret came too late…way too late…a-and I’m completely at fault…b-but, the fact that you forgot, made me a little mad…I know it sounds petty, b-but…for five years…I’ve been holding on this feeling for five years…”
If it wasn’t for the current atmosphere, I woulda embraced her right here and then.
The way she expressed her emotions was too cute.
“So that’s why.”
“Since we’re going to graduate anyway, I-I figured that I might as well do it…to experience the result if I were to respond to your confession back then…I regret what happened, I really do…b-but at the same time, I don’t want everything to end just like that! It’s selfish, I know, but…”
I was about to say that it wasn’t selfish at all, but I held myself back.
What she needed at the moment wasn’t such superficial words of comfort.
“…I haven’t forgotten everything.”
“You see, the reason why I want to be the Belle Fleur…”
To Rui, who covered her mouth with her hand in surprise, I bared my feelings.
“…Is because you admired her so much.”
“Back then, I was taken in by the gaze of a certain girl who was looking at the Belle Fleur in such admiration. I figured that if I were to become the Belle Fleur, maybe I’d be able to get back at her. If I become a perfect woman, she would finally look at me and accept my love as it is.”
Hearing those words, a droplet of tears flowed down on Rui’s cheek.
“And so, I tried to put in the effort to make every girl love me. Stupid? Yeah, I know. I mean, just now I made you sad by forcing you to answer a question I don’t even care about. I really just want to know if you are planning to abandon me or not…because I like you…”
Smiling between her tears, Rui looked just like a pure saint.
“Sara-san…I…like you too…I like you too!”
Except that she wasn’t a pure saint, but a girl whose warmth I could touch with my hands.
“I’ll tell you my feelings right now, Rui.”
She stood still, like a bride who was about to be proposed to.
I held her hands tightly.
“Next month at the Aitan Festival, I’ll definitely become the Belle Fleur. I’ll become the prettiest Belle Fleur to ever exist, so pretty that I’ll outshine the girl in your memory, so that you could only think about me…remember about me…that’s why…”
I took a step closer to her.
“Please, entrust your dream to me.”
Amidst her crying, Rui started to laugh.
“Are you telling me to give up?”
No need to beat around the bush anymore.
“In exchange for that, you’ll have the right to take the Belle Fleur, the best girl of all, as your lover.”
“Pfft…what are you talking about, jeez…!”
She tried to laugh again, but instead she burst out into tears.
“Me to…I can also be a pretty Belle Fleur too…”
“Yes, I won’t deny that. But you won’t be better than me.”
“Why is that?”
“Isn’t your goal to become just like the Belle Fleur you’ve seen years ago? Well, mine is to surpass her so that you can only ever remember about me in your memories. From that, isn’t it obvious which one of us is better?”
This time, she was finally able to laugh.
“Well, yeah, I guess you can take it as that…”
Our foreheads touched. Rui put her hands behind my back.
“Ugh, now I can’t even think of a way to retort you…it feels like I should just surrender everything to you…so frustrating…”
“Well, let me put it in another way to make you feel better…”
I embraced her.
“I’ve been doing my best to woo you over for eight years, while you’ve only been doing it for five years at best. So isn’t it obvious who should win between the two of us?”
“Oh, jeez!” She groaned.
“I just can’t beat you, Sara-san…”
“Honestly, there’s no need for you to think about it too much. Just give in and leave everything to me. I’ll make you happy, don’t worry.”
I patted her on the back.
“It’ll all be fine, really. You can rest easy, Rui.”
I brought my lips closer to hers.
But, just before they were about to touch, I stopped.
“Just give everything to me, Rui.”
Then, I kissed her. I could see another droplet falling down from her cheek.
For a while, she resisted me, but eventually she gave in as she put her hands around my neck. Despite her decision to surrender everything to me, her face looked like she was drowning in bliss.
She pressed her lips against mine, all while wearing the purest, most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen from her.
Inside the chapel, under the dim light, we held each other tightly. After our long kiss had ended, Rui looked up to me with an embarrassed look.
Then, with a happy tone, she said…
“…I lost…completely…it’s your win…jeez…”
Thus, our long showdown had come to an end.
* * *
Mareshino Rui’s withdrawal from her candidacy before the voting even started caused quite a little bit of commotion. However, it quickly subsided because I was still there as the remaining candidate.
She did provide them with a made-up excuse on why she withdrew. She said that she’d rather do her job to ensure the Aitan Festival could go smoothly from behind the scenes rather than coming out under the spotlight.
That wasn’t exactly a lie, but it wasn’t the whole truth either.
Then again, there was no way she could go out of her way to say something like, ‘I withdrew because I want Sara-san to make me happy~ ♡‘
* * *
December passed in a blink of an eye.
Since the Aitan Festival was coming up, there was a sudden increase in my workload, so I had to suffer through that for quite some time.
In the meanwhile, my relationship with Rui reverted to back when we first started, because when I confessed to her, I said something along the lines of, ‘You’ll have the honor to become the lover of the greatest Belle Fleur ever’, and since I wasn’t the Belle Fleur yet…you know…
The other day, during our nighttime call, which had become our routine lately, she said, “If you actually don’t become the greatest Belle Fleur ever, I can’t become your lover, can I?” in a sulky tone. I nonchalantly replied, “Then I guess I’d just have to give up on you, Rui,” to tease her. The way she said, “…Stop bullying me…” as a response sounded so cute.
Anyway, since I talked the talk, I had to walk the walk too.
That was why.
I had been running around frantically as if my life depended on it, getting various things done, all while enduring the weather that had become even colder lately.