Awkward Sobbing

Two strangers meet beside a path. What follows is a story of awkwardness and inner turmoil.

Date: 2019-01-27
Pose Count: 16
Natsumi Matsumoto 2019-01-28 00:03:43 103102
Despite the coolness of January, Natsumi Matsumoto had taken a day to host an event for younger kids in King Penguin Park, sponsored by the nearby library. It was over by now, and she was carefully putting up the various star-gazing equipment she'd brought to show them, and shooing off kids asking when she was going to host an actual stargazing event.

This task was something she was doing quite meticulously, and at this point she was putting up an older brass and glass telescope from her collection by carefully tucking it into a foam-lined box. A few other telescopes were still on their stands in a small semi-circle around her, just a little off the path from the centre of the park to the library door.
Kotomi Kobana 2019-01-28 00:13:18 103103
Kotomi happens to be stepping out of the library at the moment! She's wearing a navy blue jacket over a simple pink dress, and has a tote bag with a bunch of books slung under one shoulder. (Kotomi is the type of person who would have stuffed it with more books than she could actually read before the due date if she wasn't stopped by the weight.)

She pauses as she sees Natsumi putting all the stuff away. "Oh right," she murmurs; she'd meant to catch part of it, or just the end of it, but she'd gotten distracted. As it is, she just stands there for a few moments, watching with curious interest.
Natsumi Matsumoto 2019-01-28 00:17:32 103104
Natsumi rose up, dusting her hands off habitually against a pair of faded denims. She glanced up, sending the hood of her brown hoodie whipping around behind her with the motion as she notices Kotomi. "Hi there, you just missed the event, I'm afraid. If you've any questions about anything still out though, I'd be more than happy to answer them. My name is Natsumi, Matsumoto Natsumi. I was the host of the event.".
Kotomi Kobana 2019-01-28 00:21:21 103105
Kotomi just manages not to recoil or act defensive. "Y-yeah, uh ..." She nods, and bows. "I'm Kotomi Kobana," she says. "Yeah, sorry I missed it, I was sort of ..." She hefts the bag of books and forces a smile. "... distracted." She doesn't exactly have the girliest voice, but it's still obviously feminine. She pauses. "... and also, I'm absolutely terrible at coming up with questions, ahaha ..."
Natsumi Matsumoto 2019-01-28 00:24:08 103106
Natsumi gives Kotomi a warm smile, rolling her shoulders dismissively. "If you like you can hang around a moment and see if you can think of one? I've a few more pieces of equipment to put up anyway. I can even ask you a question to help get the ball rolling, so to speak. What sort of books have you got there? Certainly looks like a fair haul.".
Kotomi Kobana 2019-01-28 00:32:43 103107
Kotomi actually starts looking somewhat uncomfortable. This is starting to turn into a Social Situation. "Oh! Uh, th-that's all right," she says hurriedly. "Or, I mean, uh ... yeah."

She becomes slightly more comfortable, however, when Natsumi asks her about the bag. "Oh, um, mostly fantasy books," she says. "I've sort of ... been interested in vampire romances and stuff for the past ... week or so." She hefts the bag, then winces slightly, unzips the top of her jacket, removes a rectangular trans-flag pin from her dress, and transfers it to the lapel of her jacket before zipping it back up again.

She pauses, and looks hesitant. "I've also been ... well, I was looking up newspaper articles and stuff on that girl who went missing, Norie Okana," she says, somewhat pointedly.

... Subtle, she ain't.
Natsumi Matsumoto 2019-01-28 00:37:07 103108
At the mention of Norie Okana, everything about Natsumi's outgoingness changes. Mostly in that is isn't there any more. Without the concept of stars, books, or astrology being involved she's like a hermit crab. Her fingers find the charm bracelet on her wrist, toying with it absent-mindedly as she looks towards Kotomi's feet.

"Ah... I... Sort of knew her. Has anyone heard anything else about her of late?".
Kotomi Kobana 2019-01-28 00:43:17 103109
Kotomi finds herself slightly panicking at the fact that she had that kind of effect on someone. Not to mention asking that kind of question! She takes a step back, looking awkward and guilty. "Nnnnnnot r-really?" she says, eyes going shifty in what is probably the most suspicious way she could have answered that.
Natsumi Matsumoto 2019-01-28 00:48:31 103110
Natsumi nods softly, gulping down some air and composing herself. As she pulls her fingers away from her charm bracelet the largest charm, a crab, grasps a claw at her fingertip for a moment. "Well, I hope she's okay. I can't imagine being away from people you love and care about like that with no way to contact them can be anything but the worst.". She sighs, moving to one of the other telescopes.

"So vampire romance novels huh?". Her voice is wistful, a sign she may not really be listening to the answer as her mind is elsewhere. Her hands move about the task of dismantling the telescope robotically, the motions of habit taking control of her.
Kotomi Kobana 2019-01-28 00:52:22 103111
Kotomi takes half a step back. Ohh crap, she totally screwed this up, now this girl's going to think she's a weirdo, this is the worst-case scenario for social situations --

She does a double-take at the ... movement? ... of the crab charm. For a few seconds, her mind is just a rotating blur of "what."

And then she just up and blurts out, "Lacrima."
Natsumi Matsumoto 2019-01-28 00:57:27 103112
The name breaks through the miasma of memories drifting lazily through Natsumi's head, and her hands still against the telescope. When she speaks next, the sound of tears are heavy on her voice. One drops down near the charm and it scuttles to the side across the foam of the telescope case. She doesn't look at Kotomi at all, hiding her face for sure.

"Yes, I know who Lacrima is... I knew a lot about her, things people probably still want to know. She never wants to talk to me again though...". She looks up at Kotomi, and her eyes glisten like a starlit sky with rising tears. "I cared a lot about her, and I hope she's doing okay so much right now.".
Kotomi Kobana 2019-01-28 01:01:03 103113
Kotomi is red-faced by the time Natsumi turned back towards her. "... She's doing fine," she says, visibly and audibly uncomfortable. "Uh. She got ... a new roommate. Unmei-san. I, uh, visit to watch magical girl anime." She laughs nervously. "... of all things." She hesitates. "I'm, uh, I'm not a magical girl, I just have ... 'potential', or something." And then she stops, because she's realizing that this is getting kind of off-topic.
Natsumi Matsumoto 2019-01-28 01:08:31 103115
Her hand drifting to her bracelet, Natsumi sniffs and pulls it away from it to rub at her eyes, rubbing away the tears. "I guess I'm sort of a magical girl. I don't do much though. Sort of like a platypus. They also don't do much.". She chuckles softly, using her own dry humour to pull her out of the spiralling depths of despair.

"It's good to hear that Norie is okay... Even if she doesn't want to see me, I still care about her. I felt hurt, but that doesn't stop the care, you know? So really glad she's alright. She was having issues with things when I last talked to her...". She sighs and closes the case of the telescope. She moves to the last one, but pauses to look at Kotomi. "I'm thinking of hosting a stargazing party sometime soon. Would you like to come? We can swap contact details or something, and I can tell you win. Though if you visit the library often enough you'll hear about it. They help me set up these sort of events...".
Kotomi Kobana 2019-01-28 01:16:33 103116
Kotomi just feels completely out of her depth at this point in the conversation.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), that last part provides something for her to focus on. "Uh, I'm sorry, but I am just really not good with parties at all," she says hurriedly. "I am just a social disaster, and, and, uh, yeah."

She shrugs. "Um. I ... wouldn't mind getting contact info, though," she adds. "Like ... I dunno. Just ... so we're, uh, in touch with each other, maybe. Just in case."
Natsumi Matsumoto 2019-01-28 01:19:51 103118
Natsumi steps away from the telescopes and shuffles through a backpack of stuff until she produces a piece of paper and a pen. She scribbles on it, and steps over to pass it on to Kotomi. "Give me a ring then, and maybe I can setup something one on one if you're interested in stargazing. I also do astrology readings, but not as many people seem to be interested in those. I've got to finish packing up, if that's alright. It was a real pleasure to meet you. Sorry about the crying. It just happens sometimes.". She smiles weakly, trying to make a joke of it.
Kotomi Kobana 2019-01-28 01:21:02 103119
Kotomi nods. "Okay, thanks," she says, slipping the paper into her book bag. "I'll, um, I'll try to be in touch!" She says this as though there's a realistic possibility she might fail. She bows. "I'll see you later, then, Matsumoto-san!"