This is the final (not counting the flat chapter) chapter of School Rumble volume 12. It’s building up to a massive climax in volume 13. Or at least, it was supposed to be. Damn I got the Japanese volume 13 today and it was mildly disappointing. But that’s another post.
Summary! Btw at the end of writing, I had not read volume 13 yet. I always write the post first and then the intro and unfortunately I am too lazy to edit it now. SO YA!!
#152 – Charlie and Louise
Nakamura is having dinner with the Suou family. The parents treat him well and thank him for taking care of their daughter. They think he is Asou.
Nakamura comments that he’s envious that she and Asou’s romance are progressing so well. Mikoto asks how he knows so much. Nakamura says his ojousama tells him everything about her friends happily and in great detail. Mikoto is slightly touched.
Nakamura adds that Eri says Mikoto loves to seduce men with her beauty and then act as though she doesn’t care about relationships, to let them fantasise.
Harima and Eri stop by at a shrine for a rest. They sit on opposite sides of the hall with Eri wrapped up in their only blanket for warmth. Harima is furiously fantasising about Tenma’s cuteness winning over the matchmakee. And so he figets about nervously.
Eri mistakes his fidgeting for shivering from the cold. She contemplates sharing the one blanket with him because he’s suffering for her sake but decides that it’s too embarrassing. She blushes to herself as she’s caught between embarrassment and her sense of duty.
Harima mistakes Eri’s fidgeting as a sign that she’s afraid he’ll assault her. He grumbles to himself about how the ojou thinks she’s so pretty and all the guys love her and decides that she’s irritating and the type of girl he hates most.
Eri plans her strategy. First she’ll make some small talk, and then get closer, finally offering to share the blanket. She’s oblivious to the raging Harima. She begins the chitchat by asking him how long he has worked for Suou. Harima replies that it was since last year.
Eri remarks that he looks really young and inquires whether he is in university. She also asks if he has a girlfriend. Harima says he doesn’t and Eri smiles happily.
Harima is by now very shocked, since Eri isn’t behaving her normal spiteful way. He wonders if she’s trying to frame him.
Eri asks what Harima wants to do in the future. Unable to tell the truth, Harima glazes over by saying he’s currently involved in a big project, something involving technical design.
Eri then asks if there’s anything around him that is interfering with his work. Harima curtly replies there is one right now, but he won’t give up and with his own hands, he’ll overcome the enemy.
Eri marvels at how strong-willed Harima is and wonders to herself what is the difference between them. She asks herself what she can do to become stronger and to resist what the world has given her.
Harima admits that it’s tough on him too but he just smiles in the face of adversity and does his best to overcome them. Eri goes all fangirlish and squeals, “You’re awesome!” and in one swift movement, slides up next to Harima and throws the blanket over him.
Harima realises that he and Eri are now sitting together, side by side sharing the same blanket, almost in a coupley fashion. Eri puts on her pretty face and says, “You’ll catch a cold otherwise…”
Harima is totally confused and cannot believe how different Eri is from her normal self. Eri asks if he does not want her to do this, but Harima mumbles that it is alright.
Eri confesses that she was been feeling very dejected but since he appeared, she has found renewed hope and motivation. She asks Harima to do her a favour – go with her to the match-making session.
Harima’s shocked by the request. Eri hurriedly clarifies that it’s only for the sake of making the other side give up on her and while she should do it herself, she really wants his help.
Harima agrees. Eri thanks him and falls asleep on his shoulder. Harima looks at her and thinks, “Damn these rich people. They finish what they want to say and just fall asleep without any care for others. But for just one moment, I really thought she was a nice girl.”
Eri mumbles in her sleep, “Hige, you suck…” and Harima promptly draws some moustache on her with black marker.
Asou was actually headed to meet Suou’s family for dinner! In other words, Asou is close enough to meet Mikoto’s parents. Which means they are attached. But poor guy, being turned away at the door after going to such great lengths dressing up for the occasion. Even Nakamura remarks that the Asou x Mikoto romance is progressing so well, he’s envious.
This is a major major turning point of the Flag. For the first time, Eri is openly pushing forward and trying to get what she wants, thanks to inspiration from Harima. While she doesn’t know it’s him, Eri seems to have fallen for the “employee”. Her normally guarded, masked facade is totally dropped and she initiates close physical contact. It’s obviously not because Harima was shivering but more of her inner desire to be with him. The cold was just an excuse and she has not reached the point where she can totally do something against her outer mask without an excuse.
She likes the employee because he has the qualities she lacks – courage, frankness and determination to follow his heart. It helps that he shows no interest in her so isn’t “one of the dirty loser boys”. She’s used to tonnes of guys all dying to go out/bed her, so Harima’s lack of interest in spite of their current physical closeness, to her, is a sign that he is honourable, upright and trustworthy.
Eri is very impressed by Harima’s drive to overcome the challenges in his life and that is the catalyst for her decision to get closer to him. She realises that is the way she wants to live and straightaway, she takes control of her own life by getting closer to the guy she likes, instead of waiting for him. In other words, she’s an aggressive Dere Dere.
Harima’s impression of Eri seems to have gotten better. But the Flag is still far far away.
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