LILLY: "Is that you, Hisao? The door is open, you can come in."
NARRATOR: "Lilly's voice lilts through the door and soothes my nerves. This is the first time I've been invited to a girl's room after dark. Even though I know there is no ulterior motive behind this invitation, it doesn't stop my mind running wild with possibilities. One guy. Two girls. In a dorm room. With a tea set. When I put it like that, it sounds a little dodgy. Giving a small sigh to steady myself, I gingerly put my hand on the handle and open the door, craning my head to see inside."
NARRATOR: "The door opens completely and I catch my first glimpse of Lilly's room. Her furniture looks almost antique, but the bare walls and flat surfaces are barely decorated at all. In the center of the room sits a low table, where I see a small tea set at rest. It seems that everything in this room has its place, possibly excepting the several piles of books stacked up against the wall. My sense of vision isn't the only one to be stimulated; the faint smell of something can be picked up on the air. Nail polish, perfume, makeup... it's hard to describe in any way other than “girly”. My eyes finish their quick sweep of the room, before returning their position onto the girls."
NARRATOR: "Lilly sits next to the small table, wearing very dark blue pajamas. Dark blue pajamas with shorts that show off plenty of her alluring pale legs. Opposite her, Hanako sits adorned in a conservative light pink gown. Her hands are firmly fixed between her legs, her shoulders forward, and her head down, as if trying to hide herself in it. It would be easy for her to do; it looks about two sizes too big for her. Waves of flannel flow from her frame, making her look like a child playing dress-up in her parents' clothes. She looks up to confirm my identity, and the beginnings of a thin smile creep across her face, before vanishing so fast that I can't be sure they ever were there."
LILLY: "There's no point in you standing in the doorway, Hisao."
NARRATOR: "I take a step into the room, closing the door behind me."
LILLY: "My my, I'm afraid this really is a small room for the three of us. Would you like to take a seat?"
NARRATOR: "I slowly walk to the table and sit down, trying my hardest not to disturb anything along the way. I also can't help but steal a quick glance into Lilly's top as I sit. To be robbed of sight would be a most terrible fate."
LILLY: "Well now, how about some tea. Hanako, could you please pour?"
HANAKO: "S... sure. Hi... sao... would... ..would you... ...would you like..."
HISAO: "I would love some tea. Do you need a hand?"
HANAKO: "N... no, I'm fine... Thank you..."
NARRATOR: "Lilly finds it difficult to resist a smile at her companion's nervousness, something I can't really blame her for."
HISAO: "Been a tiring day?"
HANAKO: "Y... yeah."
NARRATOR: "I relax at my place, opposite of the cabinet. To my left is the blue-clad Lilly and to my right sits the pink Hanako. The tea set on the table looks cute as well as practical; painted red with a floral motif. It looks odd when contrasted with Lilly's plain but generally sophisticated-looking furniture, which leads me to think that Hanako might have picked it out. There is a slight “ting” when Hanako accidentally clips the teapot on a cup as she is pouring. She breathes in sharply; she must be really nervous, as it's not the kind of thing anyone would worry about. Hanako quivers at her mistake."
LILLY: "It's okay, Hanako. There's no need to be nervous."
NARRATOR: "Hanako seems to find some confidence in Lilly's reassuringly soft-spoken words and deftly pours the next two cups."
HANAKO: "Here you are, Hisao... Lilly."
NARRATOR: "Hanako carefully places a cup and saucer in front of Lilly and myself. I could get used to service like this."
LILLY: "Thank you, Hanako."
HISAO: "Yeah, thanks."
HANAKO: "Y-you're welcome."
NARRATOR: "Lilly searches for her cup, and upon finding it, sips delicately. I do the same. This tea tastes somewhat better than the tea we usually have at school."
HISAO: "This is nice, it's so different from any tea I had before..."
LILLY: "Looks like you picked the right one, Hanako. You've done well, even if it was a bold move."
NARRATOR: "Hanako's smile returns, redoubled. Even with her blighted face, her shy smile couldn't be called anything but “cute”."
HANAKO: "I'm glad you like it..."
NARRATOR: "Hanako, finally beginning to relax, sips from her cup."
NARRATOR: "I think back to my chat with Misha the other day. Is Hanako's behavior something to be concerned about, or is she just shy? And then there was Lilly earlier this morning. The concern from both of them seemed to be genuine, and they know the situation better than I. But, really, how could I possibly help? I'm no plastic surgeon, so I can't really help her appearance. Nor am I a psychologist that can make her more sociable. So what the hell do Lilly and Misha want me to do? It's frustrating. Hanako and I are quickly becoming friends on our own accord, and because of that, it's like everyone wants me to solve all her problems. And I have no idea how to do that. No one can cure my heart, nor Lilly's eyes, nor anyone who is here, in this school. However, I see no harm in becoming better friends with Hanako. Now that she's warming up to me I kind of enjoy hanging out with her."
NARRATOR: "Something about this makes me think about Lilly's question at breakfast. Why am I friends with Hanako? Lilly seems genuinely concerned for Hanako's well being, but it's not like I can do anything to help her. As far as I can tell, her scars don't hold her back physically, and everyone I've met seems to have overcome their disabilities to some extent. I don't have any ulterior motives to hang out with Hanako, we just share similar interests. Isn't that enough?"
LILLY: "So, Hisao, are you enjoying yourself?"
NARRATOR: "Lilly's words break me out of my reverie, and I take a second to reconsider where I am. I'm in a room with two girls in their bedclothes. This is something to be enjoyed."
HISAO: "Yeah, it's relaxing. Almost like I'm not in the school any more. Do you do this often?"
LILLY: "Quite often, but not as often as we take tea in the school building."
NARRATOR: "Considering they do that nearly every day, that's not a big surprise. As I move to take another sip from my teacup, I find it sadly empty."
HISAO: "That was delicious. Thank you Hanako, Lilly."
HANAKO: "You're welcome."
LILLY: "Yes, you're most welcome Hisao. It's nice to have a third person here."
HISAO: "Well, any time you need someone to fill that position, I'm always available. Always."
NARRATOR: "One must be sure to get one's point across in these circumstances. Lilly lets loose a yawn, which she unsuccessfully hides with her hand."
LILLY: "Pardon me, I think I'm a little tired."
HANAKO: "I think we're all a little tired..."
LILLY: "My my, how astute we are tonight, Hanako. We really should head to bed; we all have class tomorrow."
HISAO: "Yeah... I should go."
LILLY: "Thank you for your presence, Hisao."
HANAKO: "Th... thanks. You'll come again?"
HISAO: "Not even a whole army could stop me."
LILLY: "I'm impressed by your determination, Hisao."
HISAO: "Either way, you're right. We'd best get going."
NARRATOR: "I stand up, and make for the door. Hanako gingerly stands up behind me. I stop and face her."
HISAO: "Are you coming with me?"
NARRATOR: "Hanako instantly blossoms into full blush."
HANAKO: "No... I... not... this room... isn't..."
HISAO: "It's okay, I was only joking."
HANAKO: "Oh... okay... good night..."
LILLY: "Good night, Hanako. Good night, Hisao."
HISAO: "Night all."
NARRATOR: "And with that, our tea party finishes. I'm still not sure what it is that Lilly wants me to do for Hanako, but I don't want to let her down. I wait until the door has closed behind us before turning to Hanako."
HISAO: "Hey, Hanako, you know, you don't have to be nervous around me or anything."
HISAO: "I mean, we're friends, right?"
HANAKO: "R-right. We're... friends."
HISAO: "If you ever want to hang out or anything, just let me know. We still need to have that chess rematch, remember?"
HANAKO: "S-sure... B-but I don't think you'll win..."
HISAO: "It wouldn't be any fun if it was easy."
NARRATOR: "Hanako seems to give a muted laugh, but she could have just as easily been exhaling."
HANAKO: "G-good night Hisao..."
NARRATOR: "With that, Hanako quickly retreats into her room, located next to Lilly's. I start to walk back to my dorm, but the simple act of walking seems to drain me of my energy. I barely make it to my room before I am hit by a wave of exhaustion. I kick off my shoes, fall into bed and fall asleep by the time my head hits the pillow."
Next Scene: Small Change