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The Weakest Link (Part 3: Karen)

Yukan Club
The Weakest Link
Part 3, Karen
A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.  Or, strong because of it's weakest link.


Karen should have hated them all on sight. Yuri had no concept of propriety; it was embarrassing to be standing next to her. Noriko did, in spades; standing next to her was embarrassing for the opposite reason. Seishiro hated girls like Karen, and responded coldly, and Karen treated him likewise. (The fact that she had lost her chance with yet another rich man meant nothing. Really.) Miroku, while the most likeable, was always busy with that guitar, tuning out what he didn’t care about, which included most of what she had to say.

And then there was Bido.

The feeling of walking into a party, wearing the most wonderful dress you had, knowing everyone else would admire it (and therefore, you), then finding that another person had worn the same dress was equivalent to meeting Bido. You were no longer original, no longer special.

Bido had the hearts of the girls, and some of the boys. He was everything she was, got just as many love letters, if not more. He was just as flashy, just as attractive and he spoke foreign languages.

Too bad he was a total moron.

It was epic, how their war raged. The Student Union already sat precariously, with Yuri, Seishiro and Noriko all in the same room. (Apparently, they were friends as kids, and there was a bit of history going on there.) Adding in Karen and Bido made the situation positively volatile, the two of them slinging verbal vitriol around. It got to the point where even Miroku couldn’t look on with amusement.

And it was at that point where Karen gained an unexpected upper hand. Her life goal was to marry a rich man, increasing her status with her style and body. What did Bido strive for? Nothing, that’s what! He was a useless sponge on society, no ambition, not even a shallow one. “You,” she informed him, “are a pathetic human being.”

Bido flashed her a smile that clearly expressed what he thought of that. “You,” she tried again, deciding to persist with her argument, “are leading all these girls on.” Never mind that she was doing the same thing with the boys. Bido had no intentions of getting married, of going steady. He got nothing out of flirting, out of being nice to girls, or flaunting his looks all over campus. That was what was wrong with it all.

“I’m sharing,” he replied, playfully haughty. “It would be wrong not to share these good looks with the world.” (Seishiro excused himself, probably to go be sick.) Karen was furious, but she could still think of one last biting retort to take Bido off his throne.

“You’re so pathetic,” she repeated, “If everybody can have something, nobody wants it. Things are only valuable when they’re rare. That’s why nobody’s ever going to love you.” That was how it worked with jewels. Nobody ever wanted a simple rock; anybody could get a rock, they were everywhere. People wanted diamonds and rubies, because there were so few, and they always wanted the biggest and the best, ones that no one else could have. Therefore, no one would want Bido, who gave himself to everybody.

“You’re nothing special anyway,” she continued. “You look valuable, but there’s really nothing to you. You’re just glass, transparent and worthless.” And she, Karen, was a diamond. And that was why she was better than Bido. That was why she deserved to be at the top. No one deserved to be admired as much as her, least of all Bido.

Bido’s reaction was a little unexpected, in that he was quiet. She expected a protest, or a long tirade, or something involving Bido actually doing something. What she got was... well, she wasn’t really sure what it was. Bido looked away, didn’t answer her, and became terribly fixated with the four-square rubix cube. “What? Can’t you hear me?”

“Leave the pretty boy alone,” Miroku drawled from over in the corner, somehow managing to pull himself from his and Yuri’s Guitar Club. Noriko nodded silently, but Karen hardly cared what they thought now. Nobody ignored her and got away with it.

“Hello? Anybody home?” She called, half-playfully, half-maliciously rapping on his head. “Can you hear me? Helloooo!”

“That’s enough, Karen,” Noriko interjected, while Seishiro just snorted, not even looking up from their Go game. Karen sighed dramatically, turning on her heel with all the air of someone who had won. Clearly, she was superior to Bido, in every way, didn’t they all see how she took him down?

Later, near the end of lunch period, the usual pounding on the door could be heard, heralding the arrival of so many fans, and with them, love letters. As always, the Student Union staved off their fellow students until the last minute, before letting them indulge in their adulation. As always, Noriko received more love letters than Karen. (Irksome, but it wasn’t as if Noriko would ever do anything about it.) As always, Bido received more than both Karen and Noriko put together.

But unlike always, Bido didn’t stay to sign autographs, or bask in the love of his peers. He slipped out the door (a difficult feat) during the stampede as Yuri opened the door to the clubroom, and by the time they realized he was missing, he was long gone. No one knew what to make of that.

The next day, Bido didn’t skip class as usual, but there was a large package on the table for Karen. For several minutes, she and the rest of Yukan Club circled the package, wondering what to make of it. It was big, pretty, but not heavy. Seishiro went to question the postman, Miroku held it to his ear to listen for ticking, until finally, Karen couldn’t take it anymore and ripped the bow and wrapping paper off.

It was empty.

“Who’s that from?” Bido asked when he finally waltzed into the room. He seemed smug about something. “What was it?”

“A diamond,” Karen stated evenly, shooting a glare at the others, demanding they not say a word to the contrary. As it was, they were too bored to actually do anything about it- one of the perks of Yukan Club.

“A giant box like that? Just for a tiny diamond?”

“Tiny? It was humungous, bigger than a coconut.” He appeared distrustful. “Bigger than your over inflated head.”

“Really? Who from?”

“A rich person, who else?” Karen replied haughtily. “One of my many admirers.”

“Who?” Bido asked again. Karen felt herself grow uncomfortable, as Bido’s smirk grew bigger.

“Does it matter?”

“I suppose it doesn’t,” he conceded, confidently gliding away. “But it might interest you to check the bottom of the package.” He clapped his hands. “Anything arrive for me?”

“Over by the window,” Noriko directed.

“Yuri probably ate it,” Miroku supplied. Meanwhile, Karen hesitantly lifted up the large box, turning it upside down.

It was from Bido.

Her head shot up, swiveling to find Bido’s grinning face. He winked at her, then returned to his stack of love letters without another word.

369369369369369369369369

“I do have something I want,” he said once.

“What?” Karen had to ask. Their war had been so long ago, tapered off into a friendly rivalry so far back in the past that she’d forgotten what might have brought this on, and Bido had to remind her.

“I don’t have any ambition,” he confessed. “But I do have a wish.”

He never told her what it was. She wondered if she already knew.

369369369369369369369369

She wondered why it never happened, some days. Days when she was bored, and had nothing else to occupy her mind with. Why not?

Indeed, why not? They were a good team. He was rich, she was rich. He made her laugh, she made him laugh, they had similar interests, he had a good lead in ballroom dance... In fact, every trait she’d ever required in her ideal man could be found in Bido. Moreover, Bido, being both Swedish and an ambassador’s son, would be more in a position to take her around the world to all the exotic places she’d dreamed of seeing.

Indeed, why not Bido? All it would take would be for one of them to ask...

In that case, why hadn’t Bido said anything? Wasn’t she good enough?

But Bido would never ask, even if there were anything of the sort going on. “The women of the world wouldn’t be able to handle it if I were tied down to one woman,” he would say with a flourish, but Karen suspected there was more to it than that.

So, she could ask. She could use Bido to up her status, get everything she’d ever wanted. They were friends, it’s not like it would be horrible to be together. They liked each other well enough, and ever since Seishiro became engaged to Yuri, the idea of possibly marrying someone from the club had crossed everyone’s minds. (Mostly Seishiro’s.) Was the idea so odd? Karen used people, Bido let others use him, therefore, it was the perfect relationship.

Except...

“To my beloved Bido-sama, Merry Christmas.” He kissed the envelope, smiling contentedly and wearing that bright pink scarf. She looked down at the diamond-studded necklace that had been given her. Who would have thought that this particular person could have such good taste?

Karen was a flirt. She used boys, to get attention, expensive gifts, and one day, marry a rich man and rise to the top of high society. Bido was a flirt. He gave himself to girls, made them feel special, and the receiving of gifts made him feel special, and that’s as far as his designs went.

And, knowing that, knowing everything else, she just couldn’t...well...

It would never have worked out anyway. Bido looked too good in a dress to be taken seriously as a man.

 

 

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