There was a push to extend the music program, but it gave way to the costlier Sports Complex and its associated programs. Now the music program is all but a memory, and a weekly 90-minute course in music theory. But all hope is not lost. Now that the sports programs are proving to be quite lucrative, St. Catherine’s is, again, looking to expand its portfolio and reintroduce a full music curriculum into its high school, as early as next year.
There was still time yet before the class was over. Kato finished up the assignment. When break was called, he headed out and down the hallway to get a drink of water.
As he was drinking from the fountain, he saw Handa coming his way. Kato did not want trouble this morning. He stopped drinking and stepped back towards the other side of the hall and watched.
Handa stopped at the fountain and winked at Kato. “Hey, little man. How’s it going?”
“What do you want?” Kato replied.
“I heard you refused to have sex with your seme,” he said in singsong.
“I heard he refused to have sex with you too,” Kato replied in the same tone.
“His loss. You wanna try me instead?” Handa said as he moved closer to Kato.
Kato backed up an inch. “Hell no. What’s wrong with you?”
“Come on, little man. I can make you feel real good. I’m a much better seme than he is.”
“You’re disgusting.” Kato looked and saw Takahashi standing off about 20 feet (6 m) away. He looked ready to kill. He noticed a crowd of students starting to grow behind Takahashi. No doubt they were looking for another show.
“Don’t know till you try, right?” Handa moved an inch closer.
Kato spoke assertively, “If I ever decided to, I would rather try it with Takahashi-san. At least I know he’s not interested in hurting me.”
Handa reached out and ran a finger down Kato’s cheek, causing Kato to cower back a little before he batted his hand way. “Well, if you change your mind, I’m always at your disposal.” He turned and looked at Takahashi. “Damn, Takahashi-kun. He smells nice. And he won’t let you fuck him.” He started laughing.
Takahashi started to jump but Kato was quicker. He ran around Handa, directly at Takahashi and wrapped his arms around him, burying his head in Takahashi’s chest, also causing Takahashi to yelp out in pain, “What the fuck?”
Kato yelled as he held tight, “Don’t do it!”
“Alright, but fuck, let go, you’re hurting me!” Takahashi yelled back.
Kato promptly let go and stood in front of him. Takahashi was breathing hard and watching Handa over Kato’s shoulder. He stretched a little, no doubt it back was hurting.
Handa laughed. “Damn, you two ukes are something else.” He shook his head and headed to the bathroom.
Takahashi looked down and growled. “What the fuck were you doing?”
“I was trying to fucking save you!” Kato yelled.
“What? I don’t need to be fucking saved!” Takahashi yelled back.
“The hell you don’t! Can’t you stop fighting for one goddamned minute!”
“Hey, what’s the problem?” Both boys stopped and looked over to see an adult approaching. He was a middle-aged man, tall and slender. He was armed with a book, a cane, and a displeased look.
Takahashi turned and bowed, “Sorry Father Benjamin. We were having a bit of an argument and it got out of hand.”
“Yeah, well from my count, you both earned yourself two canes.”
Kato spoke up quickly, “No, no, it was my fault. Completely. I accidently hit his back and he’s still injured from a recent caning. He spoke out in pain is all.”
“Fine then. He can write an essay on why foul language is not permitted at St. Catherine’s, and you can take two canes.”
Takahashi spoke up, “But Father—”
“Silence, Takahashi-san. Unless you two want more.”
They both remained quiet. Father Benjamin turned and barked at the students. “Get back to class, the show is over.”
The kids all turned and made their way back to the class. Takahashi and Kato started to move.
“Takahashi-san, you can go back. I want to have a little talk with Kato-san.”
“Takahashi-san! I said go.”
“Yes, Father.” Takahashi turned and walked back to the classroom.
“Kato-san. You have not made a good first impression. I don’t know what school you came from, but we do not use that kind of language here.”
“Yes sir,” Kato replied while looking at his feet.
“Since you’re new, I will spare you 1 cane. Turn around.”
Kato was frightened. He obeyed and turned around.
He felt a sharp crack of the cane Father Benjamin laid across his back, causing him to yelp and arch his back in pain. He felt that he was about to whimper.
“Turn around, Kato-san.”
“I will give you two pieces of advice. One, stay away from Takahashi-san. Two, remember what that cane felt like should you ever have the desire to curse again. Now, get back to class.”
“Yes, sir,” Kato replied as he bowed and walked hurriedly back to the classroom.
He walked in and noticed Handa had a big smug grin on his face. He turned to go to his seat and noticed Takahashi look up in concern. Kato waved him off and sat down. His back still smarted. He was sure he would remember that for a while. He also somewhat understood now some of the pain that Takahashi must have been in and he felt instantly sorry he hurt him by hugging him. He couldn’t lean back in his seat, so he leaned forward a little, resting his elbows on the desk.
Father Benjamin came back into class. He had Kato come up and get a book that was assigned to him and then had the whole class turn to the day’s lecture and assignment. Kato was a bit disappointed. He liked Chemistry. It was basically math, but applied math. It interested him greatly how he could take two atoms and their information and plug it into a formula and predict the outcome of a chemical reaction. Then actually doing the reaction and matching the results. It was fascinating. Unfortunately, he got off on the wrong foot with this nutjob of an instructor so it might not be as fun of a class as he hoped.
The chime announced the end of class and the teacher exited the room first and then the students filed out leaving Kato and Takahashi alone in the room.
Kato collected his stuff and looked back at Takahashi. He was a bit slow getting out of his desk. Kato walked over to see if he could do something.
Takahashi looked at him. “What?”
“Nothing,” Kato replied.
“Kato-san…” Takahashi warned.
“You look hurt, so I wanted to come help.”
“Hey! If I can’t lie to you, dammit. You can’t lie to me, you fucking hypocrite!” Kato complained loudly.
“Ok, fine. I’m in fucking pain right now. Okay?” Takahashi winced.
Kato crossed his arms and glared. “No, it’s not okay. What were you doing? Were you really gonna attack Handa-san?”
“Me? What were you doing? Why did you get in the way?” Takahashi started growling again.
“He wasn’t hurting me! Why did you have to get involved?”
Takahashi stood up, starting to turn red again, “Are we really gonna do this right here?”
Kato uncrossed his arms and balled his fists. He was ready to fight again and he indicated this by saying, “I’m game if you are. You don’t seem to listen to me unless I yell back.”
Takahashi stood there, returning the glare. “Forget it. I’m going to lunch.”
Kato yelled, “Fine. Go to lunch. Go sit at your stupid table and glare at me like you always do!”
Takahashi walked out of the classroom without saying another word.
Kato was upset. He just could not figure out how to communicate with Takahashi without fighting. It’s like he never listens to me, Kato complained to himself.
Kato was staring at his food when Murata sat down. He was feeling very grumpy at the moment.
Murata laughed. “Damn. You two at it again?”
Kato looked at Murata, even more irritated at Murata’s apparent enjoyment of Kato’s predicament. He nodded then looked down at his food, propping his head up with his hand, elbow resting on the table. He moved his food around with his chopsticks.
“You guys are like fire and gasoline.”
Kato nodded again.
“If I had to guess, I’d say he’s the fire. And you’re the gasoline.” Murata laughed.
“Why do you say that?” Kato asked.
“He’s already an ill-tempered fire. And you just make things worse by pouring gasoline all over him.”
Kato angrily sighed. “I don’t understand it. It’s like I’m always wrong. All we do is fight. I don’t know how to get him to listen.”
Murata chuckled. “I once read that a happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”
Kato grumbled. “We are not married.”
Murata burst out into laughter. “Oh yeah? You two fight like an old couple.”
Kato let go of his chopsticks and looked up at Murata. “Well, what the fuck is your secret then? How do you and Nakamura make such a wonderfully wedded couple?” Kato tried to put as much of a mocking tone in his voice as he could.
Murata grinned. “Communication. And a lot of it. And learning to be forgiving.”
“Yeah, well, every time I try to communicate with him, it turns into a fight!” Kato frowned.
“You and I don’t fight like that though, even when I got mad at you.”
“You’re easier to talk to.” Even if you’re an irritating know-it-all, he added in his head.
“Why do you think that is?”
Kato rolled his eyes. “If I knew that, I wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Murata lifted his hand with two fingers up. “Kato-san, my friend. Two things. There are two reasons I can think of.”
“Do tell,” Kato said.
“One, you listen to me. You seem to value my opinion.” Murata ticked off one of his fingers.
Murata ticked off the other finger and said, “You’re in love with him.”
Kato immediately got upset, “I am not in love with him. What’s the matter with you?” He felt so misunderstood.
Whatever dude. It’s pretty clear that you are.” Murata wore a stupid grin that irritated Kato even more. ”
“How could I love a guy like that? I’ve only known him for a week now.”
Murata chuckled. “Love at first sight?”
Kato barked back, “Shut up.”
Murata shrugged. “You give off all the signs. You don’t treat him as just a friend.”
“What do you know?” Kato sarcastically questioned.
“Come on, I’ve watched you two the past few days, and I saw that show you put on this morning. And I overheard your fight in the classroom.”
Kato glared again. “You were listening in on that? What? Were you in the hallway hoping to catch another show?”
Murata simply laughed. “No. I was waiting for you, to go to lunch. But then you two started yelling. How could I not have heard?”
“Well, whatever.” Kato looked away.
After a minute of silence, Murata sighed and said, “You still haven’t taken my advice, have you?”
“What advice?” Kato look back at Murata.
“Love him in return.”
“That’s the only way now, Kato-san. Either you end it with him right now, or you accept him. You’re out of options. And if you don’t act soon, you may be out of time when he ends it with you.”
Kato knew he didn’t want it to end, otherwise what would have been the point in being friends with Takahashi. But what he really wanted was to stop fighting, with Takahashi and Murata.
“Fine. Fine. I’ll communicate with him,” Kato said. He forced himself to eat. The food was good, but he wasn’t hungry.
Kato hurriedly got up before Takahashi could get up out of his seat and run off.
“Takahashi-san,” Kato spoke out.
Takahashi just looked at him with a face that said he was still irritated. Marriage of two good forgivers, my ass. Tell that to Takahashi, Kato thought.
“I’m really sorry, earlier. I was just concerned and wanted—”
“Stop.” Takahashi interrupted him.
Kato stopped, looking at Takahashi, trying to ascertain his next move.
“Instead of returning to your room, come with me to mine. Let’s have a little talk.”
Kato couldn’t figure out from Takahashi’s tone if this was going to be a fight or not. But if it was, at least it would be in a private place for once. He replied, “Okay.”
They both left the chow hall and he followed Takahashi onto his wing, and they went into his room. It was just the two of them there. He hadn’t been in this room since that day he got the T-shirt and goodies.