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NARRATOR: "I make it in time for class, though not in time for breakfast. The classroom is bathing in the gentle light of the sun. This means that it's going to be intolerably hot in the afternoon. For now, though, it's pleasant. I look at Misha and Shizune's animated discussion about whatever, Hanako staring out of the classroom window, Mutou stumbling into the classroom four minutes late and with no recollection of what he's supposed to be teaching today. I could never imagine dropping out of school just like that, even if it's only for a few weeks. On the other hand, Rin doesn't seem to have a problem with the idea, or going through with it. Then again, somehow I got caught along in her insane isolation, even if we ended up hurting each other. Or did we? Maybe only I got hurt. It takes me until late in the afternoon to realize that today is Monday. The art club meets today. Not just that. Due to the exams, this will be the last art club meeting before summer vacation."

NARRATOR: "I have no real business going there... But I want to talk with the teacher. So, I end up loitering awkwardly in front of the art room, waiting for the meeting to end."

NOMIYA: "That's it for this trimester, everyone!"

NARRATOR: "His voice is loud enough to be heard through the door and way too enthusiastic for it to be genuine."

NOMIYA: "The next meeting is after summer vacations, on the Monday of the first week of next term. I hope to see everyone there again! Have a nice vacation!"

NARRATOR: "There's a confused answering chorus of voices, and the door to the classroom opens, releasing a flow of students. I wait for everyone else to leave, so that I can talk to Nomiya alone. It's almost dinnertime, so I don't have to wait too long."

NARRATOR: "Without Rin, it feels pretty pointless to go there, but I want to talk with the teacher. The meeting itself isn't noteworthy, just as my skills with water colors are not worth mentioning. Nomiya tries to encourage and advise me without sounding too condescending, but he's not doing a very good job of it. If nothing else, joining the art club has taught me that I like art. It would be nice if I could actually try and make some art in the art club, though. After the fruits of everyone's labor have been piled into a neat stack on the teacher's desk, he clears his throat to give a little speech."

NOMIYA: "That's it for this trimester, everyone!"

NARRATOR: "His voice is pretty loud and way too enthusiastic for it to be genuine."

NOMIYA: "The next meeting is after summer vacations, on the Monday of the first week of next term. I hope to see everyone there again! Have a nice vacation!"

NARRATOR: "Everyone wishes him a nice vacation back as they file out the door. I stay behind, waiting until the two of us are alone. It's almost dinnertime, so I don't have to wait long."

NARRATOR: "Nomiya is looking through the paintings, some of which are actually pretty nice. Rin might outclass everyone else in the art club, but she isn't the only one with talent."

HISAO: "Excuse me, teacher..."

NOMIYA: "Hmm? What is it, Nakai?"

NARRATOR: "He raises his eyebrows questioningly, smiling widely."

HISAO: "It's about Rin..."

NOMIYA: "Oh? Is something wrong with Tezuka?"

HISAO: "No, but..."

NARRATOR: "I hesitate for a split second, not certain how to say what I want to say, giving Nomiya enough time to start blabbering by himself."

NOMIYA: "I saw her a few days ago when I was passing by at Sae's gallery. She said she'd get one or two more paintings done for the exhibition. I was quite pleased, she's a surprisingly hard worker. I'd always thought she was a bit lazy, doing what she wants instead of the assignments..."

NARRATOR: "He seems to notice my anxiety and realizes he is digressing, shutting up before finishing the thought."

NOMIYA: "Ah, but you had something to talk about. What is it?"

HISAO: "I don't know... she feels detached from everything, as if she can't think of anything but the exhibition."

NOMIYA: "Well, isn't that good? She is focused on her painting, as she should be."

HISAO: "Yeah, but this is different. It's like she's obsessed. I went to see her, and..."

NOMIYA: "Have you been bothering her?"

NARRATOR: "He cuts in before I finish saying what I meant to say, instantly looking quite irritated."

HISAO: "No... I don't... think so. I'm just concerned because she's stopped coming to school completely. She feels strange, too. Stranger than usual, at the very least."

NOMIYA: "Humbug! This is much more important for her than some lousy math class, or physics, or whatever. This is exactly why this school is so flexible, to give every student a chance to fulfill themselves. Tezuka is a painter, so she should paint, no? And have an exhibition. That's what artists do. She should be allowed to concentrate on that, not these other frivolous classes. She should be encouraged. If you think about it, it's really quite obvious."

NARRATOR: "His counterarguments are not very convincing, but I'm having a hard time trying to make any kind of rebuttal. My grudging silence is interpreted as assent, and Nomiya turns to shuffle the stack of turned-in assignments on his desk like a deck of cards."

NOMIYA: "I have to say, while we're talking about Tezuka's exhibition... I'm very excited to see how it turns out. She's still so young, yet has such wonderful skill, and style!"

NARRATOR: "He's talking to the air, to relax the mood that got a bit too negative."

NOMIYA: "I take it that you will be attending?"

HISAO: "Yeah, I guess so."

NOMIYA: "Well, we'll meet there next."

NARRATOR: "I take that as my cue to leave. And I do, although I'm not happy about it. My message didn't get through, to say the least."

Next Scene: Demused

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