Learning the blues. Act 3: Scene 2 revives from the grave

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griffon8
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 9 up!

Post by griffon8 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:45 pm

Well, the grammar took a noticeable hit by not being looked over, but it’s up to your standard writing quality. There were a lot of your missing apostrophes & periods and I-me confusions.

And, committing what seems to have become my biggest peeve about Japanese cultural mistakes, you had Hisao leave a tip. Japan has no culture of tipping.
I found out about Katawa Shoujo through the forums of Misfile. There, I am the editor of Misfiled Dreams.

Completed: 100%, including bonus picture. Shizune>Emi>Lilly>Hanako>Rin

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CloudGrain
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 9 up!

Post by CloudGrain » Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:50 pm

Image

Currently indisposed to making other comments because booze. But hey, it was fluffy. :lol:
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 9 up!

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:02 pm

I'm on my phone so I'm gonna have too leave my reply short. Suffice to say, another great chapter. Looks like Misha is at least giving Fujiko a chance, which should be interesting.
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 9 up!

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:26 pm

griffon wrote:Well, the grammar took a noticeable hit by not being looked over, but it’s up to your standard writing quality. There were a lot of your missing apostrophes & periods and I-me confusions.

And, committing what seems to have become my biggest peeve about Japanese cultural mistakes, you had Hisao leave a tip. Japan has no culture of tipping.
I was attending a wedding this weekend, so betaing got a bit delayed, but the edited version addresses that - and hopefully most apostrophes and punctuation issues.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 9 up!

Post by TheTealeaf » Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:41 pm

Thanks to Mirages beta reading. You sir are awesome! -tips hat-
AntonSlavik020 wrote:. Suffice to say, another great chapter. Looks like Misha is at least giving Fujiko a chance, which should be interesting.
Oh Anton you are really going to like the next chapter 8) -cackles-

Anyway beta version is now up and about, again, thanks to mirage and work on Scene 10 I can feel it in the air is about halfway through.

Once I finish my planning for tomorrow, I'll get back on it.

Oh and cloud, that gif always makes me giggle. Despicable me = one of my fav films.
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 9 (beta) up!

Post by TheTealeaf » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:07 pm

2014-10-08 18.43.06.jpg
"'Cmon Hisao, what're you waiting for? An invitation?"
2014-10-08 18.43.06.jpg (1.57 MiB) Viewed 2436 times
The very foreign urge to draw overtook me after doing marking today... so here's a very bad attempt at Ayane and a bad umbrella, as it was raining. And forgive me for the size >< I am not tech savvy.
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

Cooking is like love. Enter with abandon or not at all

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Scene 10: "I can feel it in the air tonight" Part 1

Post by TheTealeaf » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:28 pm

Ah, I love the smell of a fresh post in the evening!

Thanks to my beta readers for beta reading you guys are awesome!

This chapter brought to you via the musical strains of the RWBY soundtrack.

*******
Act 2

Scene 10


“I can feel it in the air tonight”

A couple of school weeks pass by with not much deviation from the normal routine. It’s the Sunday - today - that I’m both looking forward to and dreading.

I’m looking forward to seeing Hisao in a suit, but I loathe going shopping for myself. As I’ve stated before I’m not a girly girl. I’m more comfortable in trousers than in skirts, and the very idea of being in a dress for any length of time sends shivers of fear down my spine.

Basically it boils down to ‘my mother is a bitch.’ I need to attend this ball, so that means I need a new dress for the event, and if mother is footing the bill for both a suit and a dress, I’m not going to complain too much.

Fine, I am complaining but not about the money being spent!

At least Akiho will be sharing my misery with me - she’s more comfortable in a suit than a dress. Shizune will be with us too, since Arashi manned up and gave Shizune an invite, so now there are four of us learning to dance in Akiho’s apartment.

It’s beginning to get a little crowded, but we’re learning.

Which brings us to the present. Chopin is playing again as I dance with my brother. It’s harder for Shizune as with her deafness she can’t – quite obviously – hear the rhythm of the music. She’s trying, though - and learning, giving it her best. I think she’s made a bet or deal of some kind with Arashi becuase she has that bobcat expression on her face as she watches Arashi and me dance.

Arashi releases me on the final beat, and I give him a half sarcastic bow at which he rolls his eyes. Shizune moves up, taking my place, and I flop on the couch next to Hisao, taking a gulp of the iced tea that Akiho had prepared for us earlier. We watch the two dance for a moment, the music floating around us. “They’re pretty good,” Hisao remarks evenly.

I flap my arm about in a vague gesture. “Arashi has always had a natural grace about him. Shizune is doing well, all things considered.”

Hisao gives an agreeing nod, and his arm slips around my waist, his bare fingertips skimming across the base of my spine. A delightful shiver runs up my spine at his touch, and I lean on his shoulder gently. Over the past couple of weeks Hisao and I have become more comfortable with gentle skin-to-skin touches.

We’re not groping each other, but little feather light touches are exchanged between us. Mostly running fingers down spines, touching cheeks and once or twice hands exploring tummies. We’ve become closer, and while we haven’t said it to each other yet, it’s basically common knowledge around the whole school that Hisao and I are dating.

It seems a little silly to put labels on what we are. We know we care about each other; we’ve just never really spoken about it. It doesn’t really need to be spoken about. It just is.

There’s not much difference between a ‘friend’ and a ‘girlfriend’. Seems like it’s exactly the same thing just with more… physical intimacy. Although you could argue that the emotional closeness is different from what you’d have with someone who is a platonic friend.

Ramblings aside, it’s nice. There was some good weather yesterday, so we had another book picnic after classes ended. It was lovely sitting in that small dappled area with good reading material. It was also a way for Hisao to practise his English as he was reading his way through the Dresden files. I’d turned him into a convert, and it was awesome to have a fellow reader.

I shake myself from my thoughts as Shizune and Arashi finish up their dance. Akiho congratulates them on a job well done, and now it’s our turn again. Hisao wipes the sweat off his brow, hoists himself off the couch and extends a hand to me.

I take it, and we stand in the centre of the floor, one of my hands on Hisao’s shoulder and the other clasped in his. He rests his free hand on my shoulder blade and we begin.

The music restarts, and we launch into the waltz that we’ve been practicing. We’re certainly improving and are able to dance without hurting ourselves – or my feet - but I don’t think we’ll ever be professional dancers. Not that I mind. I’d rather be reading than dancing, but the closeness to Hisao is always appreciated.

Around and around we go, as thoughts spin round my mind. Part of me wants to throw this whole charade out the window, turn around and say ‘screw you mother’. Another larger part of me is still a scared five year old, fearing her mother’s wrath, trying desperately to placate her, although in this case her wrath would be cutting my education off.

I love the academy. More accurately I love the people I’ve met there. Fujiko, Misha, Shizune and Hisao - all people I’ve met at Yamaku, and in a short space of time I’ve quickly grown to care for them all in my own unique way.

If I don’t do this, mother will cut my funding. It is as simple as that. She controls the purse strings, and Yamaku is rather expensive. I’m sure Akihiro or Akiho would help me out if push came to shove, but I’d rather put up with my mother than impose on them in that way.

I hate dancing to her tune, but for the moment I need to comply until I can cut the strings and go on my own way. Difficult but I’m playing the long game here. Arashi is in the same boat and making the same, if slightly different plans.

Suddenly, I stumble and meet the floor, nearly dragging Hisao to the floor with me, jarring my elbow and knee. “Fuck it” I hiss through clenched teeth as pain lances through me.

Hisao helps me to my feet, his eyes glimmering with concern. “What happened?”

I shoot him a glance and he gives an awkward grin, “Dumb question I know.” He says softly, helping me to the couch.

“I got distracted,” I say bitterly, “thinking about an unpleasant topic,” I admit, teeth clenched. I sit down gingerly on the couch and roll up my trousers, exposing my rapidly developing bruise.

Looks like it will be a fetching shade of purple. Akiho presses an ice block into my hands, and I place it on my knee, sucking in a breath at the sensation.

[What was distracting you?] Arashi asks. [Thinking about alone time with cowlick?]

I resist the urge to throw the ice block at his head and snarl furiously, “No, I was thinking about mother and how we’re jumping to her tune by doing this!”

The suddenness of my angry snarl - half brought about by pain and me fuming at my own idiocy – sends the room into a sudden, still silence. “I don’t know why you two are still trying to please her, she’s not even your mother” My tone is bitter and waspish, and I see Akiho flinch at the accusation.

“Oi, you grumpy brat,” Akihiro interjects, striding across the room. “Why the fuck do you think we’re doing this?”

He comes over to me, kneels and then flicks me in my forehead. I jerk back in surprise as he continues. “We’re doing it for you, you fucking idiot. Both you and Arashi are our brother and sister and the reason we’re doing this, this stupid fucking charade, is because we care, you shitty little brat.” His tirade rocks me back, and I blink in surprise as he carries on. “If we didn’t ‘toe the line’” –and here he makes air quotes with his fingers – “Both Akiho and I are pretty damn sure that she would make it very difficult for us to see you. We don’t want that, obviously.”

The last word is said in a tone that is dripping with sarcasm. My brother, as crass and as bluntly as he’s said it, is right. Mother has access to the money and the power to delay, hassle and make it difficult for my siblings to see Arashi and me. She’d probably move us halfway across the country or something equally ridiculous – I’m not quite sure what - but she would do her level best to get her way.

I chuckle dryly. “I am being a stupid brat aren’t I?” I ask rhetorically, sighing as I lean back on the couch.

“’Course you are,” is Akihiro’s cheerful reply. “But you’re our sister, and we love you even when you’re being a shitty brat.”

“I stand by what Akihiro says,” Akiho says evenly, “Even if he could have phrased it less crassly.” Disapproval is evident in her tone. Akihiro’s swearing habit is something she has never agreed with.

She comes over to me and kneels, taking one hand. “As brother stated. You are family, and we love you.” The sheer simple sincerity in her voice knocks the wind out of me.

[We love you too!] Arashi signs, rolling his eyes as he does so. Akihiro sees him signing and grins in response, loops an arm around his shoulder and drags Arashi over to Akiho and me.

“Family hug!” Akihiro cheers and then dives on Akiho and me. Akiho has time to utter an undignified squawk of surprise before we’re buried under the pair of them, and the couch topples over. I’m buried under the bodies and engulfed by the body heat. I’m glad Hisao wasn’t sitting next to me as that could’ve been problematic and potentially fatal.

Instead he’s leaning on the doorway to the kitchen in Akiho’s apartment, and I spy through the tangle of limbs, he’s nearly doubled over in laughter. Shizune is near him and her facial expression looks as if she’s not sure if she should laugh or be disapproving.

“Cease this behaviour at once!” Akiho grumbles from the dog pile of bodies. “I am struggling to breathe properly!” She insists forcefully, beginning to push Akihiro up off her.

“Oh all right you stick in the mud,” Akihiro says with laughter in his voice.

“How on earth I’m related to you I’ve never understood,” Akiho grumbles, dusting her dress off as she stands up right. Arashi helps me to my feet, my knee and arm still hurting slightly.

“You’re all crazy,” Hisao says, shaking his head ruefully.

“You’re the one that voluntarily joined this crazy family,” I shoot back, making my way over to Hisao gingerly and leaning against him. I sign what I just said, and Shizune rolls her eyes at my comment.

[You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family,] she signs with a sage nod, adjusting her glasses.

[Should I be worried or glad you picked me?] Arashi signs, lazing on the recovered couch.

[Honoured,] is the razor sharp response given, and I giggle at the mock offended look on Arashi’s face.

While I may be smiling on the outside, my thoughts still whirl around in ever decreasing circles. My siblings have basically declared their support, so I guess at the ball we’ll stand united against mother. I rub the bridge of my nose and hiss under my breath in frustration.

Part of me wants to take the coward’s route and simply run for the hills, with Hisao in tow and have as little to do with my extended family as possible. In an ideal world this would be possible.

Guess I’m just going to have to suck this up, grin and bear it.

Another thought skitters across my frontal lobe, and I scowl. I hate going back to the house I grew up in. Too many memories - both good and bad - are entombed within the walls of my childhood home.

Hisao sees me scowl from the corner of his eye as he curls an arm around me in a hug and places a kiss on the top of my head. I feel some of my tension melt away at his touch and unconsciously lean further into his embrace.

Music is sounding again as Shizune and Arashi have taken the opportunity to sneak another practice in. I idly look up at the clock and realise it will be the last dance as time is running short for the day, and we still have clothes to get in preparation for mothers ball.

The pair draws their dance to a close and Shizune gives my brother a hug and a peck on the cheek, a faint blush on her cheeks. Akiho shimmies us out the door, heading down out of the apartment and to a booked taxi that is already waiting for us.

***

The taxi ride is short and drops us off right outside the shop. It’s what appears to be a rather classy clothing boutique catering to both men and women. I gird myself for the unpleasant experience to come.

Fujiko would probably be having a field day at a place like this, but I just can’t bring much enthusiasm to the table.

We enter, and a bell gives shrill ring above us as the door opens. A shop worker, a young man in his twenties who seems to be oozing charm and sophistication in spades, instantly greets us. He’s so fake; I nearly gag at his bowing and scraping.

Akiho simply raises an eyebrow and gestures to the men in the group and comments that they need suits. The young man’s head bobs up and down in rapid agreement, and we’re led through racks of dark clothing and white shirts.

Akiho, Shizune and I have all come to an unspoken agreement. We get to see the guys in suits first. Then they see us in our ball gowns.

Akihiro waves off needing an entirely new suit. He simply noses around the shop, waving off assistance, for a new bow tie and some cufflinks.

Arashi needs a new jacket and shirt as he’s outgrown his last pair. After some indecision Akiho and Shizune settle on him wearing a burgundy coloured shirt, which I would describe as a spilled wine colour. A black pinstripe jacket is selected next and with his thin frame, it fits him nicely. I can see a definite smile of approval from Shizune, and they are signing rapidly to each other.

Hisao needs everything. I leave most of the decision making to Akiho; she has a better eye for suits than most men. In fact she dismisses the attendant early on as his inane comments seem to be driving her to the edge of distraction. I sit nearby, watching as Akiho tries different combinations on Hisao. The trousers are selected pretty quickly, a dark charcoal colour. The suit part is going to be the same colour, but Akiho can’t decide on a cut. She settles on a traditional dinner jacket style and then she begins deciding on a shirt.

It is then that I notice something from the corner of my good eye. It’s a dark forest green shirt with faint glimmering threads catching the light every so often. I consider the shirt for a moment and then make up my mind.

I take the shirt from the rack and wander over to the dressing area. Akiho is frowning at something as I pass the shirt to her. “He seems unusually shy,” she remarks, one emerald eye fixed on the dressing room.

I catch her attention then point at my chest and whisper in a low voice, “I think he may have surgical scars”.

The light dawns in Akiho’s eyes. She takes the shirt I offer her and when Hisao emerges from the drawing room he takes it with a suffering sigh and goes back in.

A few moments later he emerges from the dressing room, and I feel my breath catch in my throat. He looks so handsome. His hair a mess, and his brown eyes slightly bloodshot, but he still makes my heart skip a beat in that dark suit and green shirt, his gaze never wavering from mine. “I think we have a winner,” Akiho murmurs, watching me slyly. “And now for the final touch,” she adds, approaching Hisao and tying a scarlet bow tie around his neck.

It adds a splash of colour to his outfit and my morbid sense of humour rears its head and suggests it looks as if someone’s slit his throat. It does look very, very good on him, and the whole ensemble gives Hisao a very dashing appearance.

“Looking good,” I say with a leer and wink, and he simply shakes his head at my antics, going back into the dressing room and undressing.

Hisao re-emerges from the dressing room in his casual wear and ever-present sweater vest. “So,” he asks, with a twinkle in his eyes. “Your turn now?”

I groan in response and earn a laugh from Hisao as he takes my arm and leads me into the women’s section of the store.

Akiho has already got a dress. Typical. She’s always been the organized one of the family; I guess that’s one of the reasons she makes a good teacher.

Shizune has picked something out, and it makes my brother's jaw drop. I can hear Akihiro baying like a hyena at Arashi’s reaction, but I can kind of understand it.

Shizune is wearing a black dress. Nearly backless, it hugs her figure like a glove, accentuating all of her generous curves. It suits her perfectly, and judging by the proud smirk on her face, I think she’s enjoying the reaction she’s getting from my brother.

[All right,] I sign, catching her attention. [Get back in the changing rooms before my brother has a brain haemorrhage].

Shizune smiles triumphantly. [I think I’ve found the perfect dress.] She then saunters off back into the changing room with a definite swing in her hips.

I thump Arashi in the shoulder. [Stop drooling brother, before you flood the shop.]

I receive a glare from him. [I was not drooling!]

[You so were.]

[So what? I’m allowed to look!]

[But there is such a thing as being discreet about it,] I sign back, a smug grin on my face.

“Children!” Akiho interjects, levelling a look at us. “Stop bickering.” Akiho turns to me. “Now, Ayane, we simply have you left to shop for,” she states with a firm finality.

***

It takes nearly an hour of searching and trying different dresses, but eventually we find one that suits me.

It is – according to Akiho and the female assistant who helped – a mermaid scoop style dress. It’s not as daring as Shizune’s but it accentuates my less generous curves, coming up to my shoulders and leaving them bare. Below my waist the dress flares out gently until it touches the ground.

It’s in the same shade as Hisao’s bow tie, a vivid shade of scarlet, and I have to – grudgingly – admit that, yes, the dress does look good on me.

Hisao seems to think so too, as the lustful gaze he gives me when I emerge from the changing rooms is strong enough to send a shiver down my spine.

Still, I can relax a little now. The dreaded shopping trip is officially over, and once we’ve paid and had our items packed, we head back into town where Shizune, Hisao, Arashi and I all head back to school by bus.

By the time we get back to school, I’m feeling rather drained from today’s activities, as is Hisao, so we give each other a quick kiss and then head to our respective rooms.

I’m out like a light as soon as my head touches the pillow and sleep claims me.

End part 1
Last edited by TheTealeaf on Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

Cooking is like love. Enter with abandon or not at all

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Scene 10: "I can feel it in the air tonight" Part 2

Post by TheTealeaf » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:35 pm

Part 2 of 'I can feel it in the air tonight'

*****

I’m shaken awake by Fujiko. I blearily glance at the clock, my eyes gummy with sleep. “Am I running late?” I ask, voice slightly husky.

“You will be,” Fujiko scolds me, getting a uniform out of my wardrobe as she speaks. “I’ll start your coffee. You’ve got time for a quick five-minute shower. Go!”

The urgency in her voice – and the promise of coffee – gets me moving out of bed and dragging myself into the shower, where the hot water gives me back some semblance of humanity.

I hurriedly brush my teeth and head back into my room, towelling myself down as I do so. Fujiko is holding a steaming mug of coffee, and I feel myself begin to drool slightly. I take the mug, the scalding heat almost burning my hands as I say, “Marry me.”

“Careful what you say darling,” Fujiko says, tone semi-serious. I give a small chuckle, rapidly down my pills and my coffee, nearly singeing my tongue and get dressed as Fujiko sits on my bed, idly flicking through a book.

I finish dressing and open the curtains. It’s rather dreary outside, grey and rainy. “Cafeteria breakfast?” I ask Fujiko.

She hops off the bed and gestures at me to follow her. I follow her down to the dorm kitchens where she’s already laid out a plate of toast for me. I tuck in and then get a sinking feeling. “What’re you trying to butter me up for?” I ask slowly, chewing on a piece of toast.

Fujiko tries to look innocent and fails miserably. “Okay, guilty as charged” She admits, giving a small giggle.

“So, confess” I say with a joking tone, “What is it you’re after?”

Fujiko fidgets on the spot for a moment then blurts out a sentence all at once and so fast I can’t hear it. I simply stare at her, a piece of toast hanging from my mouth. Fujiko coughs and relaxes before saying more slowly. “I was hoping that you would like to help me host a girly night in.”

I relax and then realise something. “Normally our girly nights in are just you, me, pizza and horror movies. Why go to so much trouble to ask?”

“I want to invite Shizune and Misha.”

I hide a small, evil little giggle. Those two don’t know Fujiko’s taste in movies. This has the potential to be entertaining! “I’ve got no problem with getting the pizza.” Fujiko is, in a rather roundabout way, asking for me to buy the pizza for this little shindig.

Fujiko is here on a scholarship and needs to keep her grades up to stay here. Her parents aren’t exactly well off so Fujiko doesn’t have much spare cash. I don’t mind helping out. She’s my friend; she’s just too embarrassed to ask up front if I mind spending for four instead of two.

I don’t.

“So you want to do this tonight?” I ask. Fujiko nods. “Actually given those two an invite?”

Fujiko shakes her head vigorously, hair flying about. “I’ll get on that,” she says with a small smile. “I’ve already picked the movies.” There is an undertone of almost sadistic glee in her voice.

“I dread to think,” I say with a tremble in my voice, scoffing down my last slice of toast. No, I really do dread to think what Fujiko has to offer. I’m generally not that easy to scare, but Fujiko always manages to find the films that scare the living daylights out of me.

If her cackle of glee was any indication, Fujiko has some horrific choices lined up for us.

I worry what state my sanity is going to be in after Fujiko and her films are through with it. I think that’s a worry for later though - now it’s time for class.

***

Fujiko finds Misha and Shizune at lunch. They’re about to head off somewhere, possibly the council room, but Fujiko manages to shanghai them before they vanish.

The conversation is short, but from down the corridor I hear Misha’s distinctive “Whahahahaha, of course we’ll be there! We’re looking forward to it and the challenge of the films!”

Oh that is all Shizune. Offer her a challenge, and she can’t back down. Clever, Fujiko, very clever. Fujiko almost skips back towards me.

“So, we’re all set then,” I say, as we head to the cafeteria.

“Yes!” Fujiko chirps. “I can’t wait for tonight!”

Tonight, as it turns out, is five pm. Misha knocks on my door and then barges in, carrying a rolled futon and a small fabric bag.

I jump out of embarrassment as I’m only in my bra and panties. “Misha!” I yell as she gives me a sly grin. “Fujiko isn’t even here yet!” I splutter, hastily throwing on some casual clothes.

“Better early than late Ayachan!” Misha chirps.

As my head emerges from my t-shirt I sigh. “Yes, but I thought Fujiko had told you six.” I think I sound exasperated. Misha simply gives me a cheeky grin at my look. “What’re you going to want to eat?” I ask, as I brush my hair and give a critical look at my coloured lock. The dye is fading so I’m probably going to want to re-dye it sometime soon.

I notice that Misha is wearing a t-shirt with an American political slogan on. Why is she wearing that? My mind boggles. She’s most certainly not American…

I am never going to fully understand Misha. Not in a million lifetimes.

“What’re we having, Ayachan?” Misha asks with childlike glee.

“Pizza,” I say absentmindedly. “My treat.”

“From the place in town?”

I give her a nod, and she laughs exuberantly.

“Yay!” She cheers. “I want pepperoni!” I laugh at her childish antics as she whirls around and lands on my bed.

“Pepperoni, sure, that won’t be a problem. Any idea what Shizune will want?”

Misha holds one finger to her chin, looking at the ceiling. “Ummmm. I think Shicchan would like something spicy.”

Something spicy, all right. I know Fujiko will want seafood. “Want to watch something before the others get here?”

“Sure! What do you have in mind Ayachan?”

“I mainly have anime,” I say, gesturing to my collection. “Choose anything you want!”

Misha – of course – chooses one of my girly ones. A childhood classic, Card Captor Sakura. The DVD goes in, and we’re whisked away into a world of magical girls capturing cards.

We’re three episodes in when there is a very loud knocking at my door. “Oh, that’ll be Shiichan!” Misha says, bouncing over to the door. When she does that, all of her bounces, and I feel a little jealous. I don’t have the assets for that kind of bounce.

The door is practically yanked off of its hinges by Misha, and Shizune strides in, almost as if she owns the place. She’s in casual wear, a small bag with her. She’ll be using my futon then.

Seconds later, Fujiko comes in through the open door, with her own roll and bag. My floor is going to be crowded tonight, not that I mind. The company is always appreciated.

While Shizune and Fujiko exchange greetings, aided by Misha of course, I phone and place the order for the pizza.

We all settle down, futons spread out, laughter both silent and not silent bouncing off the walls of my room.

It makes the place lighter and brighter. It’s a nice feeling.

Then Fujiko reaches into her bag and produces several DVDs. I feel an ominous shiver travel down my spine.

There are several choice films there, and I know ‘Alien’ all too well. The selection also includes ‘The Thing,’ ‘Arachnophobia,’ ‘The Grudge,’ ‘The Exorcist’ and last but not least some new film called ‘Paranormal Activity’. That one must’ve been one from her parents as the other ones are gifts from friends. Movies are all she asks from us on birthdays and Christmas.

I am so not getting any sleep tonight.

Fujiko pops the first choice in, ‘The Grudge,’ and we settle down to watch the film after putting on the subtitles for Shizune to enjoy the film as well. She has that intense look on her, almost as if she’s preparing herself for battle.

Battle with Fujiko’s choice of film of course.

The food arrives somewhere a little way into ‘The Grudge.’ The scent of pizza fills my room, and we spread the boxes out, happily chowing down as the film continues.

Misha is practically clinging to Shizune at this point, hair frazzled and her eyes wide and darting around and it's only the first film.

Fujiko must be a sadist, as I think she genuinely enjoys watching other people’s reactions to her choice of films. I swear she gets a kick out of it.

We’re halfway though the film when the first flash of lightning illuminates the night sky through my curtains. The rumble of thunder follows soon after, and I cringe reflexively. I wrap myself in my duvet and concentrate on the film, even as blood splatters across the screen and everyone in the room collectively cringes at the gory death.

We wrap the film session up just after midnight, and we all change into our sleepwear and head to bed. Slumber follows rapidly as soon as my head hits the pillow.

***

A clash of thunder wakes me from my sleep, and I feel dots of sweat bead on my brow.

My room is pitch black, the brief second of lighting from the lightning sending crazy silhouettes over my walls, and I burrow further into my bed.

It’s hard to explain, but something about thunder and lightning sets my lizard brain off, and I have to fight panic. Fortunately it only seems to be a brief clash. The sounds fade after a few moments, and I relax as I drift back off to sleep again.

***

I wake up, fuzzy from a memory of my childhood. A painful one. It’s a memory of the gilded cage I grew up in and a night of thunder and lightning. I remember trying to find my parents in the large house, wandering through corridor after corridor, hunting for anyone to hold me and give me comfort.

This memory-dream though, I just keep going in endless corridors, turn upon turn and doors everywhere, while my reedy childish voice wails for Mama and Papa and Mother’s voice taunts me from patches of shadow.

I shiver under my duvet and feel myself weeping silently.

I want Hisao.

I must sound like a child, but it’s the only thought pounding against the edge of my skull. I want Hisao. I want to fall asleep enveloped in his scent and with his arms wrapped around me.

It is then I hear Fujiko’s whisper in the dark of my room. “Misha?”

“Yes Fuchan?” is the response.

There is a rustle of bed sheets and the suggestion of movement. I hear a soft sigh come from Fujiko. “You’re warm.”

“Your feet are cold Fuchan!” Misha squeals softly. “Are you sure Ayachan isn’t awake?” I hear the tremor in her voice, also the slight thrill.

“She sleeps like the dead unless she has a nightmare,” Fujiko hisses back.

Part of me wants to say something, but another part of me can’t stop eavesdropping. It’s like watching a train wreck about to occur, you know it’s wrong but you simply can’t look away.

“Fuchan…” Misha’s voice carries a note of warning. “I’m not sure we should be doing this.”

“Why?”

There is another rustle, more movement before Misha answers, oddly serious. “I enjoyed our last day out Fuchan, but – “

Fujiko kissing her cuts off whatever she wants to say, as the sound of lips crashing into lips reverberates in the stillness of my room. “Enough talking Misha.” Fujiko sounds like a scalded cat. She’s a little angry. ‘Enough dancing around the subject. I know you confessed to Shizune last year, and I’m trying to help you, Misha.”

“I’m scared Fuchan,” Misha whimpers.

“So am I,” Fujiko admits in a light whisper. “I am so very, very scared but I want you Misha, why is that so hard to believe?”

Fujiko is almost begging, and I feel so fucking awful for listening in. There is a moment of hushed silence, almost as if the world is holding its breath for something.

“I’m ugly Fuchan, I -"

Fujiko cuts her off again with a kiss that goes on. I can hear their breathless little sighs and the faint, faint sound of hands sliding over clothes. The image I paint in my head is of Fujiko sliding over Misha, her delicate hands dancing all over Mishas soft skin, caressing and touching her.

“Fuchan!” Misha exclaims suddenly in the dark. I hear soft sounds that I can’t identify, and I suddenly feel like a voyeur. I shouldn’t be hearing this.

I feel sick.

I stretch and fake a yawn and the noises stop suddenly. There is another rustle and more quiet noises, and then a guilty silence settles in the room.

No.

No more.

I’m not staying in my room a moment longer.

I get up; throw on the lights, not looking at the tangled mess of Fujiko’s hair, Misha’s bruising lips or the smell of arousal in the air. I ignore it all.

I slip on my slippers, a jacket, grab my phone and keys and leave my room, turning the lights off as I leave.

I have one thought on my mind as I open my phone.

Hisao.

I can’t - won’t - spend tonight alone. I need Hisao’s arms wrapped around me.

Hisao answers on the third ring, voice tired but alert. “Ayane?” He sounds worried.

“I can’t sleep,” I confess in a rush. “I need to see you, please.”

“Sure,” is his swift unhesitating response. “I’ll get the door.”

I hear the sound of movement from the other end of the phone and quick, hurried footsteps. A few moments later I hear a sigh of relief as Hisao says, “You’re in luck. Guard’s asleep at his post.”

My heart surges with love for Hisao. He doesn’t seem to mind that I’m calling him at some ungodly hour in the morning and barging in on him. Then again, I don’t think most people would complain when someone calls you to cuddle with them.

I dart across the grounds in the dark, feeling like a thief in the night as I surge across shadowed ground, my pace hurried and stride large.

Hisao is right; the guard is asleep at his post, and I slide past him into the dorms as Hisao holds the door open.

He doesn’t say anything, simply takes my hand and leads me to his room. I settle into his bed as he changes into his sleep wear in the bathroom. When he comes back, he sinks into the bed, gives me a hug and kisses the top of my forehead.

“Goodnight,” Hisao whispers tenderly.

“Goodnight,” I whisper back, pecking him on the cheek as we settle down.

The irregular rhythm of Hisao’s heartbeat sends me off to sleep, this time for the rest of the night.

End Scene 10.
Last edited by TheTealeaf on Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 10 up!

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:18 pm

I hope Fukiko is able to help Misha get over Shizune's rejection of her. Additionally, I hope Misha won't simply use Fujiko as a rebound. Either way, Fujiko has her work cut out for her, but we can't control who we have feelings for.

Onto a happier note, the scene at the very end was sweet, even if it came as the result of a nightmare.

And even though I know I'm going to hate her, I'm oddly looking forward to the confrontation with the mother.

Also, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I love Fujoko's taste in movies. I'm a horror buff myself, and I loved the Grudge, though the sequels(as horror sequels tend to be) were trash. Come to think of it, Alien was the same way, with the exception of "Aliens".
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 10 up!

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:27 pm

Hmm... I read up the plot summary when I edited this chapter...
It's basically A murders B in a House. Ghost of B kills A.
C comes into the house and is murdered by one of the ghosts. Phones D beforehand
D comes into the house looking for C and is murdered by one of the ghosts. Phones E beforehand.
E comes into the house looking for D and is murdered by one of the ghosts. Phones F beforehand.
F comes into the house looking for E and is murdered by one of the ghosts. Phones G beforehand.
G tries to burn down the house but fails and is murdered by one of the ghosts.

It's not a synopsis that woke my interest in the movie...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 10 up!

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:02 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:Hmm... I read up the plot summary when I edited this chapter...
It's basically A murders B in a House. Ghost of B kills A.
C comes into the house and is murdered by one of the ghosts. Phones D beforehand
D comes into the house looking for C and is murdered by one of the ghosts. Phones E beforehand.
E comes into the house looking for D and is murdered by one of the ghosts. Phones F beforehand.
F comes into the house looking for E and is murdered by one of the ghosts. Phones G beforehand.
G tries to burn down the house but fails and is murdered by one of the ghosts.

It's not a synopsis that woke my interest in the movie...
There's more to it than that. You can make any movie sound uninteresting if you remove all context. But if it's not your kind of movie, that's fine. I happened to like it.
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 10 up!

Post by TheTealeaf » Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:38 am

AntonSlavik020 wrote:I hope Fukiko is able to help Misha get over Shizune's rejection of her. Additionally, I hope Misha won't simply use Fujiko as a rebound. Either way, Fujiko has her work cut out for her, but we can't control who we have feelings for.

Onto a happier note, the scene at the very end was sweet, even if it came as the result of a nightmare.

And even though I know I'm going to hate her, I'm oddly looking forward to the confrontation with the mother.

Also, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I love Fujoko's taste in movies. I'm a horror buff myself, and I loved the Grudge, though the sequels(as horror sequels tend to be) were trash. Come to think of it, Alien was the same way, with the exception of "Aliens".
Yup, Fujiko does indeed have her work cut out for her!

Even with Ayane and co's well intentioned meddling later.

Well after scene 11 (which is going up at some point later this evening I hope) things begin to pick up pace for the crescendo of Act 2 and we then move on to Act 3. So the confrontation is coming up soon! :twisted:

I'm a horror buff myself too, although I confess I've never seen the grudge. I've heard the Japanese version is better... Alien and Aliens two of my favs hands down.

I do like the hand held camera ones although they can be a bit crap, (Blair witch, Cloverfield, paranormal activity etc)
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 10 up!

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:56 am

TheTealeaf wrote:
AntonSlavik020 wrote:
And even though I know I'm going to hate her, I'm oddly looking forward to the confrontation with the mother.

Also, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I love Fujoko's taste in movies. I'm a horror buff myself, and I loved the Grudge, though the sequels(as horror sequels tend to be) were trash. Come to think of it, Alien was the same way, with the exception of "Aliens".
I'm a horror buff myself too, although I confess I've never seen the grudge. I've heard the Japanese version is better... Alien and Aliens two of my favs hands down.

I do like the hand held camera ones although they can be a bit crap, (Blair witch, Cloverfield, paranormal activity etc)
The Japanese version is always better than the American version, though the only movie I've seen both versions of is Dark Water(I think that was the name). The Japanese version was significantly better.

And I like the hand held camera ones too, though the paranormal activity series has gone on for to long, though I did really like the first one.
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Act 2 Scene 11.

Post by TheTealeaf » Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:08 pm

Scene 11! After this scene we have the crescendo for Act 2. Some teenage over angst in this chapter and a little bit of family history.

***********
Act 2

Scene 11


Doin’ the jitterbug.

Hisao’s raised voice rouses me from sleep. He’s arguing with someone very nearby.

Sounds like a one sided argument though, as I can’t hear anyone else responding to Hisao’s raised voice.

Do I need to call the men in white coats? Has Hisao gone bonkers? Is he arguing with himself?

I yawn and stretch, stirring in the covers of Hisao’s bed. It smells of him, and it tickles my senses as I awaken. My good eye rackets open, and blearily I regard the tableau presented before me.

Hisao stands in his bedroom doorway, my brother looming in the hallway outside even though he’s shorter than Hisao. He looks pissed, tapping his whiteboard against his thigh.

Really, really pissed off.

The pair is staring at me as I yawn and stretch again, feeling muscles pop and stretch in my back. “Mornin,” I say mid yawn, jaw cracking.

[Good morning?] My brother signs, throwing his arms in the air, his way of showing his exasperation. [Do you have any idea how worried your friends are?]

I cock my head to one side. “Uh…” I trail off. A flash of memory pops across my synapses.

Thunder and lightning, some twisted up memory of a dream and… Fujiko and Misha. I feel shame creep down my spine at that particular memory. [Oops?] I offer lamely to my brother.

[Oops?] My brother’s hands explode into motion. [Shizune has been looking for you since six a.m., and you haven’t picked up your phone! Be glad I found you first!]

“I get the feeling you’re being told off,” Hisao says dryly. I give him a flat look as my brother fumes silently.

“I am,” I say bluntly. “Shizune is looking for me.”

“Why?”

I shift uncomfortably. “We were having a girly night in with some films.”

Understanding dawns in Hisao’s eyes, along with mounting terror. “So when they woke up you weren’t there, and they panicked.”

“Misha and Fujiko saw me leave,” I mutter sourly. I sign this to Arashi as well as I talk.

“Then why didn’t they stop you?” Hisao asks.

I shrug, burrowing my face into Hisao’s bed covers. “Don’t know.” That’s a small fib. I think they may have thought that I was annoyed or something at them. I left pretty abruptly during the middle of the… session they were having.

Arashi’s dark eyes are narrowed to near slits. He can smell me lying from a mile away. I simply return his look, and with a long-suffering heave of his shoulders he drops the subject. He makes a slashing motion at Hisao, and somehow, the message gets through.

[You should get out of here before Shizune finds you,] Arashi signs. [I have half a mind to turn you in myself.]

He’s being serious.

I cast an apologetic glance at Hisao. “Sorry,” I say with a light smile, “I may have got you in trouble.”

“Don’t worry about it. Risk and reward remember?” Hisao reminds me.

I swivel and place my feet on the floor, getting off Hisao’s bed, slipping on my shoes and putting on the coat I’d brought over last night.

“I’ll walk you out,” Hisao says. With a jolt I realize he’s in his running gear. “I was going to go running and then wake you when I got back,” he confesses with a gentle smile.

“What about running into anyone else?” I ask, as Arashi regards Hisao with no small amount of hostility.

[Cut it out,] I sign at him. He simply frowns at me again. [Why are you being such a pain? You know that we’re pretty much dating.]

[I know,] Arashi admits, lips pursed in a thin line, [but my brotherly instincts are telling me to thump him.]

[We didn’t have sex if that’s what you’re concerned about,] I sign, glaring at my brother. [Not that it is any of your concern!] I add with a flourish.

[Yes it is!]

[You’re not my parent!] I sign angrily, Hisao looking concerned at the speed of the signing. [If you lost your virginity to Shizune I’d throw you a party!]

That throws Arashi right off his argument. [I…] He blinks, shakes his head once then signs, [Fine, fine… Just never, ever throw that kind of party.]

[Don’t act like a parent, and I won't.] I get the last word in, and he simply gives a long silent sigh, shrugs and crosses the hall into his room.

“What was that about?” Hisao queries as we leave his room.

I chuckle and say with a teasing tone, “Arashi was channeling ‘brother mode’ and was worried that you’d made off with my chastity during the night.”

The color that Hisao’s face goes is an interesting shade - an odd mix of red, green and white. “Ah,” He finally says. “Is he… angry?”

“Worried he’ll come across the hall and kill you in your sleep?”

“Maybe a little?” Hisao says hesitantly.

“Don’t worry,” I say with a small chuckle. “I made a small threat and he backed off.”

“Do I want to know?” He warily asks.

I tell Hisao the half in jest threat I made to Arashi. The look on Hisao’s face is priceless. “Knowing you, you’d follow through with that threat!”

The Cheshire Cat grin I give him answers that statement.

As we cross the grounds, I’m thankful it’s early. One or two people give me a strange look, but it’s almost deserted. I give Hisao a peck on the cheek and head towards the girl’s dorms, while Hisao heads to the track for his morning run with Emi.

Shortly my feet draw me to the front door of the dorms. I swallow nervously. Time to face the music I guess.

I slowly push the door to the dorms open and gingerly venture inside. I’m almost on tiptoe, like a cartoon cat trying to sneak past a burly guard dog. I’m creeping my way past the lounge area when I hear tapping of feet to my left. I turn and face a rather angry looking Shizune.

[Hi?] I sign lamely, trying to give a little grin… and failing miserably.

The scowl on her face could crack rocks as she signs, almost faster than I can follow. [Where have you been?]

[Out?] The flippant reply does nothing to soothe her ire as she stomps her feet, signing once again.

[Do you have any idea how worried Fujiko has been?] She signs, hands blurring, [Any idea how worried I have been? Misha? Why did you get up and leave?]

Best bite the bullet I think. [Had a nightmare,] I sign, giving a shrug.

[To be expected, we were watching horror films.] Shizune gives a dismissive gesture.

[It wasn’t about the films.] Shizune gestures at me to continue. [Memory. Childhood one.] There is a pause, and then I silently say sorry to Hisao. [Went and stayed the night in Hisao’s room.]

If looks could kill I would be vaporized on the spot. Shizune is pretty pissed. [Unacceptable!] She signs, but it feels more like a death sentence falling upon my head. [Both you and Hisao will be punished.] She signs firmly, nodding once. [But first you must get dressed!]

I don’t even have time to question she simply pushes me towards my room, up the stairs. I open my door, and the room is almost spotless. The pizza boxes are gone, futons rolled and tucked into a corner.

[Misha did this.] Shizune signs. [She only cleans when she’s feeling guilty.] She pauses. [Why? Why is she feeling guilty?]

Although phrased as a question it is unquestionably a command - one that I refuse to obey, as it is not my place to air Misha and Fujiko’s dirty laundry. Shizune undoubtedly knows about Misha’s preferences if the conversation I overheard last night was correct.

I simply stare at Shizune, the silence between us stretching into minutes. It simply screams that I know why Misha is feeling guilty.

Shizune cracks first. [Why?]

[Not my story, or place, to tell.] I shake my head as I sign. [I’m sorry for leaving and for making all of you worry.]

Shizune relents, very unusual for her. [Fine. But this conversation is not over.] She warns. [Your punishment shall be temporary enrollment to the student council along with your boyfriend.]

I can feel a headache coming on.

Paperwork.

Oh the humanity!

And I’ve dragged Hisao into this as well.

Sorry Hisao!

***

Shizune makes good of her threat, and both Hisao and I are turned into gophers for the student council. Hisao takes it in good humor, but the experience is incredibly awkward for me.

Misha can’t look me in the eyes for more than two seconds before looking away and Fujiko…

I’ve never seen her this way with me. She can’t even stay in the same room with me and refuses to look at, or even speak to me.

It makes my heart ache.

Fujiko and I have been friends since we arrived at Yamaku. As much as I’m not a social butterfly, Fujiko was even worse and incredibly shy. She felt that people judge her for her face, which is the main reason she grows her hair so long.

We became fast friends. I helped her break out of her shell, and she helped me through some of my tougher times.

She stuck by me through the dark times of losing Dad, even when I was lashing out at the world and the people around me.

It hurts for her to look at me with such emotion in her eyes.

Does she think I’m ashamed of her?

I’m not homophobic, I mean we’re at a school for the disabled, prejudice is something of a taboo here, so why would I even entertain the thought of being homophobic, and Fuji - sweet little Fuji, the girl who adores horror films - is my best friend. I don’t give a flying monkey who she dates, likes or fucks, as far as I’m concerned it’s a free world, and we’re allowed to live as we please.

Live and let live.

She’s even changed seats in class. Tatsuki sits next to me now, back from her emergency trip home. Her mother recovered nicely and is now just on the long road of physical therapy, so Tatsuki and Ichigo came back to school last week.

My head slowly rests against the desk I’m sitting at, and I wave the paper I’m working on above my head. “I surrender!” I croak out. “I’m done! No more… please.” The last part is said in a whine, and I can feel my wrist cramping from writing.

“I think we’re done when Shizune says we’re done, Ayane,” Hisao says with a dry chuckle.

“She’s a slave driver,” I grumble.

I feel a hand take the piece of paper from me, and I look up into the glasses of Shizune. [Had enough?] she asks, [has the lesson sunk in yet?]

[I’d still do it again in a heartbeat,] I stay stubborn and stick to my guns.

Shizune huffs silently, glasses glimmering as she signs. [Then your punishment continues.]

[As if you wouldn’t sneak into Arashi’s room,] I fire back.

I can feel my temper beginning to bubble. It’s been a week since this started, and my nerves are beginning to fray. Tomorrow is Wednesday, and then it’s the train ride home on Thursday evening for the three-day weekend.

Shizune signs back, a sweet and simple but very firm, [No.]

[Liar.]

The air between us is charged with an almost crackling tension. We meet each other’s gaze, and I deliberately brush my dyed lock of hair out of the way to bring my damaged eye into play.

I’m not above playing dirty.

There is only a small, almost unnoticeable flinch from Shizune but it’s enough for me, and I let a satisfied smirk emerge onto my features. [Don’t be a hypocrite Shizune! Let’s face it. Sooner or later you will find yourself in Arashi’s room or vice versa, and we all know that you won’t be playing risk in there.]

[That behavior is unacceptable in school!] Is her furious response.

I throw my head back and laugh. [If you think for one moment, that in a school full of teenagers, some with very short lifespan, nobody is fucking at all, then you have a screw loose, darling.] I use the vulgarity to shock Shizune, and it works.

I push back from the table and stand, as does Hisao. Out loud and signing as well I say, “We’re done here. No more.”

Shizune doesn’t even know how to respond; she simply stares at me.

“I think we should let them go Shicchan.” Misha’s melancholy voice shocks me out of my slowly simmering wrath. She’s talking and signing at the same time as she continues, “Ayachan is right you know. We can’t stop it and everyone is… careful about it. Even the faculty let it slide Shicchan, you know this.”

Shizune sits down and then slumps onto the desk. [I know.]

I sigh and turn to Misha. “Thank you.”

She still can’t look me in the eyes. “It’s alright, Ayachan. You know how Shicchan is a stickler for the rules.”

This wasn’t about the rules, I realize with a sudden start. This whole thing was about Misha. Shizune was trying to get me to spill my guts about the whole thing. She wanted to help her friend. “Misha,” I say aloud, getting the pink haired girls attention. “You should talk to Shizune.”

“About what, Ayachan?”

“Talk to her about you and Fujiko.” Hisao startles besides me. I simply shake my head at him, and he quiets down but gives me a look. I nod, giving him a look that says I’ll explain later.

“You should talk to Fuchan, too,” Misha says softly.

“Little bit difficult when she won’t even stay in the same room with me,” I complain, folding my arms with a huff.

“That I can help with,” Misha says with a small, sad smile. “She’s with the newspaper club at the moment, up near the library.”

“I know the place.” I begin to leave but turn around once more. “Thank you, Misha, and just for the record… I think you make Fuji happy.” The shocked yet happy look on Misha’s face will stay etched in my memory for a long time.

Hisao and I leave the student council room, leaving Misha to have a heart to heart with Shizune. “Want to tell me what that was about?” Hisao asks, leaning down to whisper in my ear.

“Misha bats for the other team as does Fujiko,” I state, snaking my hand into his. “They had a heart to heart during the girly night-in we had earlier last week. I… accidentally overheard it, then left, and that may have given the wrong impression to Fujiko.”

“She thinks you don’t like her sexuality.”

Ding! Give that man a prize! Hisao’s not stupid, maybe dense occasionally, but most certainly not stupid.

I simply nod to confirm his statement and then he says, - with a small twinge of nervousness in his voice – “And now you’re going to speak to her in a small room whilst she’s annoyed with you.”

I nod again.

“Why do I get the feeling I’m going to need to call the nurse?” Hisao asks rhetorically.

We head up the stairs. We pass some members of the newspaper club, and their eyes widen as they realize our destination. They signal us to turn back, but I simply smile at them.

It’s what my brother calls the ‘smile of death’. I brush my lock of hair out of the way and give a wide grin, all teeth and gums, my more pointed than average canines exposed.

Arashi has always and still does maintain that it looks as if I’m about to pounce and swallow him whole.

The two girls from the newspaper club – Ooe and Inoue I believe – back off almost straight away. Combined, the grin and my eye make for a very unpleasant image. Shaken the two girls run down the stairs, and I turn back to Hisao.

“Lets hurry before one of them gains some common sense and uses a phone!” I hiss.

I bolt up the stairs, Hisao lagging behind, continue into the corridor, making several turns before skidding to a halt in front of a plain door with a piece of paper that simply says ‘Newsroom’ tacked to the door.

I pause, gather my thoughts for a second, then barge straight in.

“Oh, Naomi did you leave something…” Fujiko’s voice trails off, and her eyes harden at the sight of me standing in the doorway, her hands tensing up above the keyboard, as she sits in front of the computer.

“Evening,” I say very casually as Hisao catches up with me. “Can you make sure we’re not disturbed?” I ask Hisao.

He nods. “But I’m coming in if I hear furniture being smashed or screams of any kind.” Then he steps out and closes the door.

I’m left alone with Fujiko. “Say your piece Ayane, and then be gone,” she says in a dead tone. She sounds beaten, a little world-weary.

“My piece?” I say, hands on hips. “I came to say I’m sorry, and I also came to say that you, my dear Fujiko are being an idiot.”

“Excuse me?” Fujiko’s voice just dropped to sub-zero temperatures.

“You. Are. Being. An. Idiot.” I enunciate carefully, still not moving from near the door.

“How?”

I sigh and move forward, speaking as I do so. Fujiko stays frozen in her seat, eyes darting around as if she’s a cornered animal. “Have I ever once said that I dislike you Fujiko? What on earth has possessed you to decide that I’m offended by your sexuality?”

I step closer.

“News flash to Ms Jakuzure, I don’t! Never have been, never will be, but I will always be your friend!”

There is silence for a moment as Fujiko processes and digests what I’ve just said.

Her eyes begin to water.

Her bottom lip trembles and she bursts into tears. They are heartbreaking, wrenching sobs as she bawls, “I thought… I thought…” She launches herself at me and I catch her in a hug, as tears cascade down her face, the rest of her sentence vanishing into an incoherent mess.

I feel her tears begin to soak through my uniform shirt. I let her cry for a few minutes longer, great hiccupping sobs, simply rubbing one hand on her back. “Misha’s good for you Fujiko.” I whisper, and there is a small hesitant nod against my chest.

“Why’d you leave?” She asks in a small voice.

“Had a nightmare, wanted Hisao,” I say candidly. “It was just bad timing, and I didn’t think about the message me leaving would send across… I’m sorry, Fujiko.”

“Why are you sorry?” She hiccups, “I’m the one that’s been a giant bitch to you! I’ve ignored you for a week! What kind of friend does that?”

“Role reversal then, normally it’s the other way around,” I joke, then get serious. “Fuji don’t worry about it, it’s what friends do, we forgive and we forget.”

She opens her mouth to speak, but I cut her off. “Water under the bridge.” I say firmly. She nods once then sighs.

“I’m going to be lonely for the three day weekend though.”

I grin. “I may have a solution to that,” I say cheerfully.

“Oh?”

“Akihiro reserved you a table at his restaurant on the Friday, his treat for you and one other person. He said he’d arranged something else as well, but you’ll find out after the dinner.”

Fujiko’s eyes light up. “Really?”

“You’re practically part of the family, too. So enjoy it, alright?”

A small smile crosses Fujiko’s face, and then she stands on tiptoes and kisses me on the lips. Her lips are warm and salty from her tears, and she tastes just faintly of roses. I rear back in shock and stare at her. “Always wanted to do that.” She confesses, one hand over her lips. “Always wanted to steal a kiss from you, Ayane.”

“I’m not sure what to think of that,” I confess. “Do you…?”

“Fancy you?” Fujiko says, stepping back to the computer and hitting several keys. “No, I’ve just always wondered what you taste like, and now I have my answer.”

“And the answer is?”

“Black coffee with a faint hint of mango and melon,” she says without a hint of shame. “Now shoo, I have a deadline to meet.”

I take that as my cue to leave, but as I open the door I hear Fujiko say from behind me. “Thank you, Ayane, for understanding.”

I simply smile, give her a wave and head out of the clubroom.

Scene 11 part one end.
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

Cooking is like love. Enter with abandon or not at all

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TheTealeaf
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Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:43 pm
Location: England

Act 2 scene 11, part 2

Post by TheTealeaf » Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:11 pm

Part 2 of Scene 11: 'Doin the jitterbug'

The following day arrives far too quickly for my tastes as I groan and roll out of bed. I wobble over to my desk, put my electric kettle on and then sit back down, stretching the kinks out of my back.

I stir out of my stupor when the kettle clicks and make myself a coffee. I drain the coffee slowly, along with my medication and blearily read the note I left myself on the desk.

To do list:

· See Nurse
· Speak to Akiho and Akihiro.


Well the second item on my list is doable now. Both of my siblings are early risers so they should be up and about now. I scramble for my phone and decide to phone Akihiro first.

He picks up on the fifth ring. “What dragged you out of bed this early?”

“Something called an alarm clock,” I reply sourly. “Just wanted to check to see when you’re arriving at home for the ball.”

“Friday evening,” Is his prompt response.

“Bringing anyone?” I ask in jest. The silence after the question is very, very telling. “No! Really?” I nearly squeal down the phone. “Who is she? She can put up with you?”

“You’ll fucking find out on Friday,” my brother’s embarrassed grumble, rumbles down the phone.

I drop the subject and move on to another topic. “And Fujiko?”

“All arranged and booked. Akiho sprang for some hot spring resort tickets, so one of the waiters will slip them to Fujiko after the meal.”

“Thank you, Akihiro.”

There is a snort from the other end of the line. “Don’t thank me, thank Akiho. She’s the one that organised it. I’ll see you on Friday alright? I’ve got to get shift started here.”

“Sure. I’ll let you get on. See you soon brother.”

“You too brat.” The phone beeps into my ear as Akihiro hangs up.

I put my phone down, head into the bathroom and perform my morning rituals before heading back into my room and picking up my phone again, this time phoning Akiho.

She picks up almost immediately with a short, almost brusque, “Ayane? Are you feeling well?”

“I’m fine,” I answer puzzled. “Why wouldn’t I be fine?”

“You’re never up this early.”

I feel myself wilt at the comment. “I’m fine,” I assure my sister. “Just ringing to check when you’re arriving at home.”

“Friday evening, depending on traffic I’m aiming for half past seven.” She says, and then her voice turns hesitant and almost shy. “And… I’m bringing Shirou, too.”

I laugh. “Well, that’s all four of us bringing a plus one then!”

“Even Akihiro?” The amazement in her voice makes me giggle.

“Indeed! We’ll find out on Friday, as he’s arriving Friday evening as well.”

“Wonders will never cease to exist,” Akiho murmurs in amazement. “I shall see you Friday then, Ayane.”

“See you then,” I repeat. “Have a good day teaching, Sis.”

That earns a chuckle from her. “And you have a good day in school sister.” The phone once again beeps in my ear as she hangs up.

One job crossed off my list.

***

The next and last job on my list I can’t carry out until lunchtime. I have to wave off Hisao and the others and head over to the nurses office.

The office door is slightly ajar when I arrive, and I knock hesitantly. “Come in!” is the swift cheerful response from the nurse, so I push the door open and venture inside.

The nurse is sitting on his chair at his desk, idly tapping the keys on his keyboard as he stares at the computer screen. He stops and spins on the chair and gives me a cheerful grin. “Ah! Ms. Tsukino how nice of you to stop by!”

I restrain myself from rolling my eyes and instead offer him the sleep diary I’ve been keeping. He takes the small A5 book and flicks through it, making small noises as he flicks through the pages.

“Good, good,” he says finally, snapping the book shut. “It looks like your sleep schedule is getting back on track. This does help, Ayane.”

“I know” I say flatly, “But it is hard.”

“I’m not doubting that,” he responds. “I am the one in charge of your health, but it’s a two way street.” He pauses for a moment and taps the book on his chin, brow furrowed in concentration. “How have you been feeling? No dizzy spells or nausea?”

“None. I’ve been positively healthy the past few weeks.” Nurse nods and checks the diary one last time.

“The only thing I would recommend is avoiding too many late nights. I see several in here. Most with Hisao or others studying and one sleepover. I’m not one to stop students from being students, but your sleep is important, Ayane.” I nod at his serious face, and he smiles again. “Okay, boring stuff over. While you’re here I have something for you.”

He gets up, wanders over to a cupboard, pulls a set of keys from his belt loop and unlocks the it. I hear him muttering something under his breath and tracking something with his fingers before he makes an “Ah ha!” noise and pulls out a pillbox.

Oh.

My face heats up as I remember the conversation we had here last time.

Nurse puts the box next to me and gives me a very wide grin. “As we discussed last time, some oral contraception. Should help with your monthlies too,” he adds.

I hold the box up. “Is this going to interfere with anything I’m currently taking?”

“I double checked with the doctors, and they’ve assured me that they won't. What I will say is they don’t come into effect for a couple of days, so don’t go engaging in any risky activities until then.” I feel the heat in my cheeks and just give him a swift nod as he chuckles. “Well then, that’s all from me, just pop back anytime if you feel you need to.”

I nod mutely then bolt from the room, the nurse’s “Enjoy the weekend!” following me down the corridor.

As I clutch the box in my hand, I realize I only have to pack and I’m ready for the weekend.

Packing is done after classes end for the day. One suitcase, my dress in a protective sheath and everything is packed neatly. Feeling rather impressed with myself I fall asleep with a satisfied smile on my face for a job well done.

***

I wake Thursday morning with a nervous twitch in my stomach.

I barely eat breakfast, and my coffee is tasteless compared to normal. As I place the cup back on the table I realize that my hand is trembling.

I breathe out through my nose and try to calm tattered nerves.

I look up at the clock. It’s half past seven in the morning. I groan, place my head on the kitchen table and realize that today is really going to drag.

***

By the time the final bell rings I’m almost a nervous wreck.

I leave the classroom, the happy babbling of my classmates floating around me. I find Hisao waiting for me in the hallway, a gentle smile on his features. He doesn’t say anything, simply takes me by my elbow and walks me down the corridors outside.

The day, although warmish, is slightly overcast, and clouds are scattered across the sky. “Where are we going?” I ask Hisao.

“To your favorite spot,” he answers me, waving a bag at me. “We’ve got several hours until the train leaves. Its four now, train leaves at seven yes?” I give a nod. “So we’ve got time to relax a little. Fujiko grabbed me at lunch and said she was worried about you,” Hisao continues. “I have some books, some drinks and we are going to sit down for an hour, so you can unwind. Am I clear?”

I snap a salute at Hisao and mockingly say, “Aye, aye sir.”

He snorts, slips his hand into mine, and we vanish out the side gate into the wood and head to my secret little area.

Hisao is right, I do need to unwind. The prospect of the whole scenario is screwing with me and throwing me all out of sync. As we settle on the soft grass and moss, Hisao produces books from his bag, sets a timer on his phone and passes me a drink.

I gratefully take it and pop the can open taking a hefty swig. I settle my head in Hisao’s lap and peruse his selection of reading material before deciding on re-reading the book I had lent him far earlier in the term, Storm Front: The Dresden Files.

What can I say, I like re-reading books.

We settle into comfortable silence for a good half hour, contently reading our respective books in the dappled shade of the trees.

It is at this point I put my book down and look up at Hisao. He’s looking down at me, an enigmatic look in his eyes. “You are so beautiful,” he says out the blue.

I think my jaw drops at his statement, and I splutter, “Where did that come from?”

Hisao shrugs “Not sure but it’s true.”

I give a small laugh at his corniness, “Shut up and kiss me!” I demand.

Hisao happily obliges.

***

We agreed earlier in the week that we would meet at the gates at six p.m. sharp.

Hisao and I arrive five minutes early, and my brother and Shizune are already waiting for us. We exchange greetings, and at six on the dot a taxi pulls up for us.

The driver is exceedingly helpful and loads up our luggage for us. I think he’s used to dealing with students from Yamaku as he doesn’t gawk at the rapid signing between Arashi and Shizune.

With our luggage packed, we make our way into the taxi and to the train station.

***

The train leaves at seven, and we make it to the station for just after half past six. The train is waiting in the station as this is the first station it leaves from. We make our way onto the platform with our luggage, and after showing our tickets we board the first class carriages.

All four of us are sharing a compartment. The sofa things can fold out into beds but we likely won’t be using them as our destination is only roughly three hours away.

Luggage is stored, and we settle into the compartment, taking the weight off our feet. I rest my head on Hisao’s shoulder and let myself drift to sleep.

***

The movement of the train wakes me up, and I find myself lying on my side, drooling slightly. I stir, rub my face and see Shizune look at me over her book she’s reading.

[Where are the boys?] I ask as I get into a sitting position.

[The train has a food car.] Shizune signs after putting down her book. [The tickets allow us to purchase food from the car up to a certain amount.]

I look down at my watch, and it reads ten minutes past eight. I’ve been asleep for over an hour. I stretch and yawn, and as I do the boys come back with plates of steaming food and chopsticks.

It’s some kind of noodle dish, and I devour it rapidly, satisfying my ravenous belly.

“Did you need that?” Hisao asks as he finishes his own plate several minutes later. I nod, and my jaw cracks as I yawn again.

For a moment I watch lights dart by the window as the train drives on in the night. I exchange a look with Arashi as he slurps the last of his noodles. He gives me a nod in return.

“I suppose,” I murmur as I settle my head in Hisao’s lap, “that it is time that you learn a little about the Tsukino family.” I see Arashi translate, and I sigh and gather my thoughts.

“First, Akiho and Akihiro are our half siblings. They have a different mother than we, and that is where we get the Tsukino name.” I see Hisao raise an eyebrow, and I explain further, “Dad was British, and it was in England where he met Akiho and Akihiro’s mother. She was British born and raised but was second generation, as her parents had come from Japan. Her name was Tsukino Amaya.”

“Your dad took on her last name?” Hisao seems confused.

I nod in response. “He did. Dad was… an unusual sort. Akiho was born in England, but the three of them moved over to Japan when Akiho was two. Akihiro was born a year later.” I pause and take a small drink to wet my throat.

“It was during this time that Dad began to expand his restaurant empire with the help of the Tsukino family. It was also during this time he met the Kurosawa family and my mother. She became his accountant and financial advisor and the business really took off. It was when Akiho was six and Akihiro three that it happened.”

“What happened?” Hisao asks, as I suddenly realize we’re laying side by side on the seats.

“There was a car accident. Amaya and her parents died.” I sigh. “The rest of the story goes on from there. My mother got closer to Dad, and two years later Arashi and myself were born.”

I see Shizune watching Arashi intently as he signs.

“But,” I say, raising my finger, “what I am most concerned about is my mother and her family, the Kurosawas. You’ve met one of my uncles already.”

“Gendo.” Hisao supplies, eyes narrowing.

“Indeed,” I say softly, “along with three others.”

“Three?”

“Three.” I confirm. I hold up one finger.

“The oldest of my uncles. Kurosawa Gin. Private accountant for various firms and individuals, some shady, always has a smile on his face, silver hair. Loves wordplay and all those kind of things. Has a vicious tongue and temper to match.”

I hold up another finger. “Next is Kurosawa Kabuto. Lawyer for the family, rich, loves young women, good food and wine. Fat, but don’t say it to his face.”

I hold up a third finger. “Third is Kurosawa Yuuki. Stockbroker, I think, no-one’s really sure what he does, effeminate, rest of the family suspects he’s gay. Has a thing for fast cars.”

I hold up another finger, “And lastly, the youngest of the male Kurosawas is Kurosawa Gendo. Blunt, mean tempered and all round general asshole; but you’ve already met him.” I say sweetly.

“How do you know all of this?” Hisao asks astounded.

“Akiho and Akihiro filled me in on some points, Dad told me some before he died, and other more distant family members and my grandfather on Dads side of the family all filled me in with various dates and facts,” I say with a shrug. “Mother is very cagey about details of her own family and siblings, so I had to do my own research.”

“How many people are going to be there?” Hisao asks, with trepidation in his voice.

“Direct family, family associates, spouses and partners, business partners. It’s a general ass kissing event. The main people who are likely to ruin our evening are our mother and uncles. I doubt Gendo will be at the dance, he’ll likely be organizing the cars and security.” I yawn and stretch, giving Hisao a quick kiss on the lips. “Wake me when we arrive.”

I then fall asleep, head on Hisao’s chest.

***

Hisao shakes me awake when the train pulls in to our stop.

It’s dark, and our luggage is being packed by a porter and loaded into our waiting car. Fortunately it’s not Uncle Gendo that is driving - one small mercy I suppose.

The car peels away into the night, and we drive for a half hour, the majority of the drive up a long winding private road. I can feel my pulse throbbing in my temple, and my mouth is dry with nerves as the car makes its way up the dark road, the only illumination coming from the headlights.

Arashi seems just as nervous as I am, and we silently take each other’s hands as we approach our childhood home.

Home sweet home…

As if.

More like home sweet nightmare.

This weekend can’t go fast enough.

End Scene 11.
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

Cooking is like love. Enter with abandon or not at all

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