Cracked Gem

Ruby wasn’t coming out of her room, and Dia was worried.

When Ruby hadn’t shown up for practice yesterday, Dia had gone home afterwards prepared to give her sister an earful. Only to find her sobbing in her room.

Ruby was a delicate soul, and easily upset, but Dia had never seen anything like this.

She had held her little sister for a while, but Ruby had refused to tell her anything about what had happened. She had just clung to Dia and cried until she fell asleep from exhaustion.

And now Ruby was refusing to come out of her room. She had sounded outright furious when Dia had tried to force her to come down for breakfast and to go to school. It wasn’t the first time Dia’d had a plush or two thrown at her, but there was something so raw about the anger Ruby had displayed.

The only way Dia could have gotten her out of there would have been to physically carry and drag her. She might be tough on Ruby at times, but she couldn’t bring herself to go that far.

In the end Dia had relented and brought breakfast to Ruby’s room. She had gotten Ruby to promise to eat, but Dia had to get going. It had helped to hear a faint ‘thank you’ from Ruby as she patted her head.

Reluctantly Dia left her sister alone as she headed to school. She was tempted to stay behind, but there were important things to see to. When Dia found out who or what had hurt Ruby so deeply, then… µ’s help them.

Ruby was never coming out of her room ever again. She hated Yoshiko.

Ruby had found the courage all on her own. She had gone to confess to Yoshiko. All on her own. Not even Hanamaru knew. Ruby had done her Rubesty. And Yoshiko hadn’t believed her. Yoshiko had laughed! Stupid Yoshiko.

Next thing she knew, Ruby was in her room. She could barely remember how she had made it home. Apparently she had managed to grab all her stuff. Except her umbrella. Dia said she had brought that with her.

She squeezed her favourite plushies tight.

To convey how serious she was, Ruby had even called her Yohane! Yoshiko was a little weird, but Ruby liked that about her. Yoshiko’s world seemed far more fantastical than the one of the rest of them were in. Ruby didn’t always get it, but Yoshiko was really into it, in a way that made Ruby want to support her regardless. She had yearned to be part of that world…

But Yoshiko thought it was just a joke. Ruby didn’t know how to deal with that. There wasn’t anything she had managed to respond to that, so she had just ran away. With a broken heart. Stupid Yoshiko.

The breakfast tray Dia had left was still there, so Ruby dragged herself over to it. She had promised, after all. Everything tasted empty, but Ruby ate it anyway.

Ruby hated Yoshiko. How could she be so cruel? Except… Ruby also loved…

“Yoshiko-chan…” Tears were falling onto her food.

She had done her Rubesty, but it hadn’t been enough. Stupid Ruby.

Ruby hadn’t shown up to class, and Yoshiko was having second thoughts.

Yesterday had been just a joke, right? It had to be. Ruby never would have called her Yohane if she was being serious, right? There’s no way. She had just ran away because she was embarrassed at being found out, right? That sounded like something Ruby would do. There hadn’t actually been tears in Ruby’s eyes… right? There’s no way someone like her would…

Zuramaru had put her up to it, right? Zuramaru liked pranks, right? Trying to make Yoshiko feel all embarrassed. Except Zuramaru hadn’t said anything. Not at practice, not today. She didn’t seem to know where Ruby had gone any more than the rest of them.

Maybe Zuramaru was just feigning ignorance. Still trying to make Yoshiko fall for the prank. Right? But would they have gone so far as have Ruby stay home from school just for a prank?

Yoshiko had fully intended to bring it up with Zuramaru today, but for some reason she hadn’t managed to do it. When she came into class, Zuramaru had asked her whether she had heard anything from Ruby. At first Yoshiko thought that was confirmation it was just a prank. Why would Ruby talk to her first? But… Zuramaru had sounded sincerely worried. She didn’t think Zuramaru was that good an actor.

If Ruby had been serious… Yoshiko’s thoughts were interrupted as Dia came into the classroom during the first break.

“Hanamaru-san, Yoshiko-san, do either of you know if anything happened to Ruby yesterday?” Dia asked them.

“I don’t know,” Zuramaru replied first. “She said she had something to do before practice, and went off on her own, zura. I haven’t seen her since.” Damn, Zuramaru really sounded sincere.

“I-I haven’t seen her either,” Yoshiko lied. She wanted to ask why Ruby wasn’t at school, but the words refused to come out.

“She won’t come out of her room,” Dia said with a sigh. “I was hoping you two would know why.”

“Why? What’s happened, zura?” Zuramaru asked. Yoshiko was dreading hearing the answer.

“I really don’t know,” Dia replied. “I can’t get her to tell me about it. All she does is stay in bed and cry.” Yoshiko felt like she’d just been stabbed in the heart.

“That’s horrible, zura! Can I come over and see her?” Dia smiled at Zuramaru.

“I would appreciate it. Maybe she’ll tell you what she won’t tell me,” Dia replied, and sighed again. “Even though I’m her sister… if you find out anything, let me know, okay? When I learn what’s happened and who did it…” She left the rest of that sentence hanging, and up to the imagination. Yoshiko swallowed nervously as Dia left the room. Second period was about to start.

I love you, Yosh- Yohane! The words kept echoing in Yoshiko’s mind. This angel might have fallen too far this time.

[Sequel: A Good Friend]



Posted on May 4, 2017, in Fiction, Storytime and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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