3 03 - The Other Side

Nozomi met Ojiro when they were in high school. She was from a different school but their clans knew each other. While Ojiro's clan provides priestesses for the shrines, Nozomi's clan provides them with charms and purification materials to use. Both Nozomi and Ojiro's grandmothers would say that they were predestined for each other as part of keeping the bloodlines pure but Ojiro was already feeling otherwise.

"I'm Nozomi! It's nice to finally meet you!" Nozomi bowed, trying so hard not to make Ojiro see her face flush. "I'm Ojiro," he mumbled back to her as he extended his hand. Nozomi took it and smiled at him. There was something about Ojiro that made her heart leap. Was it because of what her grandmother told her? Was it because of that feeling? All throughout that first meeting, Nozomi stole glances at Ojiro who was busy with his phone.

"I apologize for Jiro's behavior. Ever since he started being friends with Kyouko, he was like that." Mrs. Kusonagi said wryly making Ojiro scowl. Nozomi wondered who that Kyouko was and why is he or she affecting Ojiro that way.. "Leave her out of this, mom." Ojiro snapped at his mother. "See? He's being irritated with me," Mrs. Kusonagi replied. Nozomi could only wonder who was Kyouko and was she that important to Ojiro? Little did she know, she was about to find that out.

"Nozomi, this is Kyo. Kyo, this is Nozomi. She's..." Ojiro trailed off, unsure of how to introduce Nozomi to Kyouko. "I'm Ojiro's childhood friend!" Nozomi chimed seeing the uncertainty on Ojiro's face. "Oh? A childhood friend? I thought I was the only childhood friend, Jiro." Kyouko teased, "Stop it." Ojiro's face was flustered. Nozomi was in shock. "Just kidding! I'm Kyouko Mizuhara. It's nice to meet you!" Kyouko gave Nozomi a playful grin. "So this was the famous Kyouko." Nozomi thought to herself as she stared at Ojiro and Kyouko who started chatting with each other.

"Huh? Me? Liking Ojiro?! No way!"

"But you've been together since elementary and even now-"

"Ojiro's like the brother I never had. And I'm like the sister he never had. That's our relationship."

"Oh... I see..."

"You like him?"

Nozomi stopped in her tracks.

"Look, you're suited to be with Ojiro. You're a good match for him if I say so myself." Kyouko smiled at her and continued walking along the hallway.

"Did she really mean it?"

"Nozomi, you should make sure to look out after Ojiro at all costs. He has formed a close bond with Kyouko and it's dangerous! I can sense danger with that girl. Ojiro's abilities are yet to be awakened but it should be you who awakens it and not Kyouko. If that happens, it will be the end of both our clans." Ojiro's grandmother said in a warning tone. Nozomi was confused. It's been months and Kyouko has been treating her really well. She's a good friend but why did Ojiro's grandmother suddenly give her this warning? What was the meaning of this?

"Kyouko, have you met Jiro's grandmother before?"

"Oh... that. You could ask Jiro. I briefly met her a long time ago."

"Is that the reason why you don't come to his place often?"

"Let's put it this way, I feel awkward in their place so I don't hang there often."

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Nozomi succeeded in splitting up Ojiro and Kyouko. For a whole semester, she was always with Ojiro from going to school and coming home from school but little did she know that Kyouko noticed it.

"How's Jiro?" Kyouko randomly asked Nozomi. "Oh, he's fine. We'll watch a movie this weekend." Nozomi said cheerfully, "And am I not invited?" Kyouko asked, Nozomi looked at her and saw the disappointment in her eyes. "Well, uhh..." Nozomi trailed off, "It's fine. I don't know why you're doing this but you have to let Jiro know. I know that his family doesn't really like me but I find it unfair that you're splitting us up. I've been nothing but kind to you and this is what I get?" Kyouko said indignantly. "Nozomi? Kyouko?" it was Ojiro. "I- I'm sorry!" Nozomi burst into tears. "I told you, I'm the evil one." Kyouko scoffed at Ojiro and went out of the classroom.

Nozomi and Ojiro had a long talk that day and he told her about Kyouko's meeting with his grandmother.

"Look, I know we're destined to be together but I'm so young to be thinking about that right now."

"Do you like her?"

"I..."

"So I could stop these feelings that I have for you..."

Ojiro looked at Nozomi and saw her in a different light for the first time. Sure, he loved Kyouko but there was this girl who's also in love with him. "I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings. Kyouko's like a sister to me. I don't want to ruin my friendship with her. And she's right, she treated you well too so I think we should stop this splitting us up thing because it's too unfair for her." Nozomi gave him a nod.

After their final exams, Nozomi had to go home ahead so Ojiro and Kyouko walked home together but Nozomi saw them as their car passed by the road where Ojiro and Kyouko were talking. She was about to say hi but her heart sank the way Ojiro looked at Kyouko - he was in love with her, Nozomi cried herself to sleep that night.

"Can we talk?" Nozomi approached Jiro as he was waiting for Kyouko to buy food at the school cafeteria. Ojiro nodded and followed her out. "What do you want to talk about?" Ojiro asked as he looked at her hands that were fidgeting. "I think I asked you the wrong question before." she said, "Question?" Ojiro asked curiously, "I think the right question should be, do you love Kyouko?" Nozomi confronted him. Ojiro sighed, "I knew you'd find out. And I don't want to lie to you. Yes, I love her but she doesn't love me. I'm just like her brother." Ojiro explained, defeated. "Thank you for letting me know. At least now, I could stop liking you and believing in destiny." she gave him a small chuckle. "Nozomi, I'll learn how to love you but I hope you give me time to let go of my feelings for Kyo," Ojiro told her as he held her hand. Nozomi was taken by surprise. "OY! Love birds! Class is gonna start soon!" Kyouko shouted at them through the cafeteria window. Ojiro laughed. "I like seeing you laugh and I know she's the only one who can make you laugh like that," Nozomi said, letting go of Ojiro's hand. "No, you just don't notice the way you make me laugh too because you're jealous," Ojiro pointed out as he smiled at her. This took Nozomi by surprise.

After graduating from senior high school, Ojiro and Nozomi announced that they were already a couple which made Kyouko their third wheel. She hated it but she was happy for both of her friends. The three of them entered the same university but Ojiro was in a different college while Kyouko and Nozomi were in the same major.

All's well that ends well. Or so Kyouko thought.

"Nozomi, this is a huge request. You are the only one who can stop Kyouko from awakening Ojiro's abilities."

"I understand. I'll be the one to put an end to her."

TO BE CONTINUED.

A/N:

Hello there! Thank you for supporting Paralyzed. I hope you're having fun reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. Let me hear your thoughts! See you next update! <3 -J.

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