|Period 25: Friendly Apartment Complex|
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|Next||Period 26: Scarecrow Teacher|
A young girl moves into a new apartment complex with her outlook bleak until she realizes how kind everyone is to one-another. But after expressing an interest in leaving, things begin to seem different...
Yomi floats outside of an apartment complex and asks the Readers if they know of any where they live. She mentions how its a living space for close knit neighbors, and in a sense its a singular place. She tells the readers how this will be the theme of the story.
Picking up some items, Aki is instructed by her mother to head upstairs to their brand new apartment -305- while she goes to greet their new neighbors. She observes some girls running by on their way to school as she heads up a row of stairs and into her brand new home- which is less than impressive.
Breaking into Narration, Aki explains how she doesn't attend school right now due to some issues that took place roughly two months ago at her old place. She got into a big fight with her friends and it was so horrendous that she had been afraid of returning.
Suddenly, her father calls to ask how she is handling the move. Awkwardly Aki attempts to speak to him for a moment, but when he suddenly tells her that he can always return come and stay with him. He tells her that moving won't solve anything- and unwilling to listen anymore Aki hangs up on him as her mom returns. She asks who she was speaking to, going silent after being told it was her husband, then she smiles and claims that Aki will be fine there. She won't have to deal with the drama of school anymore, and her father won't be around to force her to either.
In narration again, Aki explains how troubled her parents relationship has been as of late. She feels a heavy burden as a result, due to it involving her most of the time.
It's then their door bell rings and they find a bunch of neighbors have come to greet them. They apologize for forming a crowd like this but they all wished to come together. As Aki's mother talks to them, one happens to notice Aki and asks her about school. In order to respect her wishes, her mother says some things have come up and she isn't able to attend right now, delighting Oda, who mentions that her daughter can help teach her, as she tutors a girl from 207 who is around Aki's age. Her mother sees no harm in this and agrees. They prepare to leave, but they mention that they will come back the following day.
With that, Aki and her mother observe the large amount of food items they were given before remarking on how they won't need to go shopping now. As Aki pulls on her boots, she remains stunned by how kind the neighbors are. She remembers her catty old neighbors, who often spent time gossiping about her, and the idea of having a fresh start fills her with relief.
The next day Aki and Yukie, the girl from 207, are being taught by Oda's daughter and right away they appear to take to her. Aki is happy but she wonders if Yukie is like her when Oda comes by with lunch for the girls. Seeing Aki's surprise, Oda explains how they never waste time shopping, because they have a field they plow and tend to for fresh, healthy foods. Not only that but everyone likes it so much that they never leave, so Aki is very lucky to have gotten the recently opened apartment- even if it was free. Aki apologizes for being another mouth to feed but Oda claims it's fine, because they are like one giant family and everyone is happy to help another. Aki is delighted to feel so welcomed, and she cheers up as her mother returns, happy to see her daughter is feeling better.
Aki's phone begins to ring, but she ignores its buzzing until it eventually stops.
A while later, Aki notices that her notebook is almost out of pages, so she will need to buy a new one since the girls had planned a study group. She grabs her money and prepares to leave when Oda and a few neighbors notice her and stop to ask her what she was doing, and once Aki explains having to run to the nearby convenience store, Oda momentarily goes silent before bluntly saying she doesn't have to leave. Aki attempts to explain how she needs a new notebook though, remaining confused until the women begin telling her that they have supplies she would need and she can just have them instead.
It's then her phone begins ringing and she sees its her father again. Aki prepares to answer it, but to her shock Oda suddenly swipes it from her hands and smashes it beneath her shoe. They take off, much to her alarm, and in this time she started to notice that things were off about this place. No matter what the apartment complex had everything a person could want: food, clothing, stationery- even friends. It's been a month and she hasn't left it even once.
Later, Aki takes shelter in a nearby bush as the women attempt to find her for the study session she had planned. Aki thinks about how strange their behavior was and decides to remain hidden for the time being, until she is able to quickly flee for her apartment. But to her surprise she finds a few neighbors digging through the trash. They pick out a few things and chastise her for having "foreign items" like packaged pudding in the apartment, saying she could have just as easily asked Sato, from room 107 to make some for her. Aki is horrified to see this, staring in shock until her mother approaches. She attempts to tell her what happened, but when she sees her mother is behaving the same way she starts panicking. Her mother reveals that she quit her job, so now she won't have to leave, and now they can stay there forever and never have to worry about anything again.
The terrified young girl pulls away as their neighbors begin to surround her. She runs into their apartment and locks the door before taking shelter in her bedroom in an attempt to determine what to do. She tearfully listens as they try to get inside, saying that if she doesn't want to get along with them then she isn't needed anymore, causing her to wonder what happened to the old resident of her home. She recalls what Oda had said earlier and fears the worst when the phone begins to ring again; her mothers. As her mother quit her job and never left the place, she still has it there due to not unpacking yet.
Aki is relieved when she realizes it's her dad on the other end, and she quickly answers and recollects everything that has happened. She begs for him to come and get her and he agrees, saying hey can be a family again. She breaks down on the spot and apologizes for her earlier behavior, blaming herself for not noticing that anything had been wrong sooner, but he reassuringly tells her that it will be okay, and he promises that once they leave they can talk it over.
As time passes Aki anxiously awaits for his arrival, still in her bedroom. Suddenly the door bell rings and hearing him, she gets up and approaches the door- only stopping to check and make sure it's actually him before she opens it. But to her horror she finds the several other neighbors behind him, and he asks why she isn't letting them inside. Aki slams the door shut again and locks it as he asks her what the problem is and wonders why she would behave like this. He asks her if she doesn't like being there due to how kind everyone is, then admits that he has been relieved knowing she was doing better lately. He had been so worried since she quit school, and he assures her that she doesn't need to think about the pain from the past anymore. He also explains how he quit his job to move in with them, so that they can be a family again.
Aki remains in her spot while thinking about her painful memories. Realizing that she can move on and forget about being in pain, she hesitantly gets up and unlocks the door to see everyone happily accepting of her again.
After a while, Aki is shown writing a letter to her old teacher. She explains that she probably won't be returning to school. She's happy at her new home now and gets the schooling she needs there.
More time passes when two women walking by remark on the strange apartment complex. Despite how friendly they are, the people from within it refuse to show the same courtesy; and they never see anyone who enters it leave, so they wonder what could be going on in there.
As they walk away, Aki is shown observing them from the shadows of her curtained room, smiling.
Yomi mentions how rare it is for people to all get along in an apartment complex these days. However, Aki and her family are probably really happy living in their ignorance. She asks if everyone would like to live in this kind of complex.