NARRATOR: "The next day, Misha is back in class, although still looking pretty sullen. Not that I was expecting her to magically feel better; that would be asking the impossible considering what happened. This time it's Shizune who's out. At first, it almost makes me laugh that suddenly whenever one is in class the other isn't. But thinking about it, there's nothing funny at all about it. In fact, I find it hard to concentrate on my work because of it. It could be that she's just sick. Or she could simply be skipping class. It could also be something more serious, and I'm tempted to ask Misha if she knows, but I end up doing nothing. I don't regret stepping in yesterday, scared that Misha would do something rash."

NARRATOR: "But now I feel like I should give her some space. Eventually, the bell rings, and Misha gets up for lunch along with everyone else. I decide to eat lunch in an empty classroom today... just not this one. Unfortunately, a lot of other students seem to have the same idea, so there aren't a whole lot of empty classrooms to go around. Finally, as I'm about to give up on the idea, I find a dark one at the end of the hall. On turning the lights on, however, I find out that this one isn't empty either. Lilly's head turns in my direction, which freaks me out before I realize she probably heard me flipping the light switch."

LILLY: "Hello."

HISAO: "Hey, Lilly. I didn't think anyone else would be here."

LILLY: "Is that you, Hisao?"

HISAO: "Yeah, but you probably knew that already."

NARRATOR: "I turn to leave, which prompts Lilly to quickly speak up."

LILLY: "You don't have to leave so quickly. We can both have lunch in the same room. As a matter of fact, I would prefer to eat with someone else."

NARRATOR: "I'm about to ask her how she knew I was here to eat lunch, but brush it aside. It's just simple common sense, and I don't want to seem too easily impressed. I take a seat at the desk in front of Lilly, after reversing it to face hers. I've heard that our minds fill in a lot of what we see based on how we remember seeing it once before, or our expectations. Mostly for efficiency, so as to not have to process everything you look at individually. Lilly never seems to stop to question any noise. So, I wonder, is it because her mind is filling in context every time? Or does she not care and just sort of accept things as they fall into place? On her desk there are just a few cookies and a thermos of tea. She must be one of those light lunch types. I bite into my sandwich. Some of the ingredients spill out the back end."

LILLY: "We haven't spoken in a long time, I'm surprised that you still remember my name."

HISAO: "Mmphffmm?"

LILLY: "It must be very busy in the Student Council."

HISAO: "It's different every week. Some weeks are pretty slow, some weeks I consider taking a sick day."

NARRATOR: "Hold on, Lilly, I need a second to catch my breath from inhaling that sandwich."

LILLY: "And how has it been lately?"

HISAO: "Unpredictable."

NARRATOR: "I snap my fingers, which, from her facial expression, upsets her a lot."

LILLY: "I think that you have been hanging out around those two too much."

HISAO: "I guess it is one of Shizune's trademarks. Personally, I like it."

LILLY: "I ignore it."

NARRATOR: "Her tone doesn't change even slightly, but Lilly's mood has obviously dipped."

HISAO: "Doesn't seem like it would be easy to. I've been trying to figure out how she can make it so loud, but I think I'm damaging my knuckles."

LILLY: "Even if it were loud enough to break the windows, I would ignore it. I'm not a trained seal; I have that luxury."

HISAO: "Are you still mad about that?"

NARRATOR: "I ask the question as carefully and diplomatically as possible, although in the end I'm only asking to satisfy my curiosity."

LILLY: "No, of course not, although I don't like Shizune. We were in the Student Council together for a brief time."

HISAO: "I heard."

LILLY: "I wish you hadn't been so quick to join. I don't like the way Shizune runs the Student Council. Did you know that she scared off most of the old members? That is why I think she tries to surround herself with people who won't oppose her. And they don't. It's like a dependency bubble."

NARRATOR: "I'm sure that Shizune is aware of what Lilly is saying. After all, I can remember her specifically denying it a couple times, which I'd always thought was strange. They say that the more specific a denial is, the more likely it is that the allegations are true. In this case, I think I'd disagree. Shizune is the one subject on which her opinion could be called less than objective."

HISAO: "Did you tell her that?"

LILLY: "Very often."

NARRATOR: "Lilly stops to polish off the last of her tea. I'm running behind on finishing my own lunch and take advantage of the pause to eat as much as possible."

LILLY: "All of her friends are related to the Student Council, like Misha. I heard things are touchy between her and Misha. Did they have a fight?"

HISAO: "Not really."

LILLY: "Is that so? Either way, there is no point in attempting to force them to make up. Always try to confront everything head-on is what Shizune would do, but it doesn't work in the real world. At some point, it's just being stubborn, not bravery or good intentions."

HISAO: "That's a little general, don't you think?"

LILLY: "Hm, I suppose. What do you think is the best to have with tea? Cookies, or scones? I like them both, in different ways. I couldn't possibly choose. I don't like people who constantly force me to pick sides or want to turn everything into a contest. When I joined the Student Council, I thought it would just mean helping everything run smoothly and helping people out, like being the class representative. Instead, every day consisted of having Shizune stomp around, using Misha like a megaphone, to talk about how we had to outdo the last Student Council, and create more and more events, and make them increasingly larger."

HISAO: "But then the two of you basically want the same thing. All that stuff makes things exciting. I didn't really get it at first, but it's not some ego project. People like fireworks, and soba huts, candied apples, and dress-up days, or whatever. The more the Student Council does, the more responsibility the school gives us. It means extra work, but in a way, it also means more freedom. You have the pull to do things like organize a big festival, and they'll think you're capable enough to handle it instead of just rejecting it instantly. Anyway, I want that too, now. It's got its share of pointless busywork, but there are moments that make it worth it when everything comes together. It gives me something to do. If I were to just go to school day in, day out, I think I'd explode."

LILLY: "I think Yamaku is much more easygoing than other schools."

NARRATOR: "Yamaku isn't other schools, though. I start slipping into another, familiar mentality. In some ways, it's almost too easygoing. And if I were a different person I'm sure that I would find how easygoing it was to be stifling, though in any other school, such easiness would just be the normal flow of life. But here, the uneventfulness would be compounded. It would feel different, because I'm not a normal person, after all. I'd be reminded of it every time I heard the blood beating in my temples. I'd feel patronized and weak, and my bitterness would only grow."

HISAO: "Yeah, sure. The point is, I think I understand what it's all about now. You're really giving Shizune too much of a hard time."

LILLY: "That might be true, but when it comes to how she treats individual people, she doesn't do very well."

NARRATOR: "Unfortunately, that one is a little harder to argue."

LILLY: "Do you have the time? I like to go to class ten minutes before the bell."

HISAO: "Then you're right on time if you go now."

NARRATOR: "Excusing herself, Lilly leaves, and I sit listening to the clicking of her cane on the floor fading into the mumble of other students having conversations in the other classrooms and in the hall. I feel exhausted, and completely forget that I wanted to talk to Shizune today."

Next Scene: Spiral