THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING VIII: Tomoko Tries Something New
Ami and Minoru watched from the stands as their friends competed.
Kotomi finished a marvelous ribbon routine and was applauded for her efforts.
Tomoko was about to start her rope event. She looked angry as she went over to the bench where Kotomi had just sat down.
"Where's my rope, Takanashi?"
"Why would I have it?"
"You wanted to practice with it."
"Last week. I'm sure I gave it back."
Tomoko made a move toward Kotomi's bag. Kotomi tried to block her. As Tomoko tried again, Kotomi rose to her feet to stop her.
Ami stood up in her seat. "Stop fighting!"
"She has my competition rope!"
"No I don't!"
The coach came by. "Use this one, Saeki. You're up."
Ami sat down. Next to her, a puzzled Minoru wondered whether he had done the right thing by texting Tomoko's name. He figured he would follow up tomorrow.

Misao went by the station, going straight to the chief's office.
Pictures of the girls hung on the wall. Printouts of the SIMGirls website and the Fukoma yearbook confirmed Ami, Kotomi, and Tomoko as three of the six. The name of the fourth, known only as Cat on the SIMGirls site, was scribbled next to the picture.
"Any clues on five and six?" The chief asked.
"Not yet. We figured a blonde girl would be an easy find in that school, but no similar pics show up in the yearbook. Same with the tall girl. I do have one change."
Misao went over to the board and wrote "Karin" in blue ink over "Cat".
"Minoru texted me one of these girls' names and ROPE. What do you think that means?"
The chief looked at the yearbook pages. "Saeki and Takanashi are both gymnasts. If this rope is something they use, we might have our first clue."
He looked at the rest of the board. And we need to do something, he told himself.

Akira walked into her classroom. After hours, the room was dark, save the lights from the parking lot.
Tomoko followed. She had changed back into her school uniform after the competition. She closed the door behind her.
Akira turned towards her. "Now, what was the question?"
Tomoko sighed. "I'll just say it. Am I attractive?"
"Of course you are. Why would you think otherwise?"
"Ryuuji just wanted me as arm candy. Rakki just wanted to steal things. And when I started with girls, they kept running back to their men. And this new kid, Minoru. What a hunk he is! But he's hitting on Ami, of all people. What's wrong with me?"
"I never had much use for a man," Akira replied. "But there's parts of men that can be put to good use." She went to her desk and unlocked the lowest drawer. She returned with a red cylindrical object, rounded on one side.
"They call this one Red Rover."
"Powered?"
"Rechargeable."
"Not used, I hope."
"You'll be the first."
"Nice." Tomoko hopped on the desk and pulled her knees up. She moved her panties aside and leaned back.
Akira moved behind her and began to kiss her neck. Tomoko tilted her head back as the humm of Red Rover became more and more muffled.