Chapter Three- A Change of Clothes
We were walking along a busy street, silently, heading towards the mall. A car past, which I barely took notice to, but Tasuki whipped out his tessen in self defense. The car was too fast, and Tasuki began putting his tessen back, crying shrilly, What the fuck was that?!
Akai chuckled, Its a car. You ride in them to get to places quickly. Sort of like a carriage, only faster and not drawn by horses.
I looked to Amiboshi, who was as pale as a sheet, his eyes big. I smiled to myself and asked, Are you all right?
He looked to me sharply, coming out of his frightened reveire, Oh, uh...yeah. A...a car?
Uh huh. Its actually really fun riding in them sometimes. I commented.
Sometimes, Akai emphasized, it depends whos driving.
We reached the mall considerably soon. We stood in front of it and Akai and I noticed Amiboshi and Tasuki staring up at the building in awe.
This place is fuckin huge! Tasuki exclaimed loudly just as an old couple walked past us. They looked at him strangely and I heard the old man mutter, Punk. It was probably better Tasuki didnt hear him.
We went inside the mall and began to recieve a lot of odd looks from people, particularly teenagers. I had to look at the seishi myself. Amiboshi had long blue pants on that ended just at his ankles, and small black slippers that reminded me so much of ballet shoes it was scary. He wore a dark blue shirt under a light purple jacket-like thing with gold braided trim, and tied with a dark blue belt at the waist. And, of course, the infamous Boshi twins dark blue headband.
Tasuki was ten times worse. To start with, he wore black knee high boots with red trim around the ankles. And (this is the best part) beige pants that he tucks into his boots. Over that, a huge (I mean, huge!) black jacket lined with blue trim and a white shirt underneth. His jacket looked more like a trench coat with shoulder pads. And then, his Koji-earring and beads. Over all, they stuck out pretty well.
First priority, Akai said, were hitting the nearest store that has guys clothes.
Aw, I smiled teasingly at them, but they look so cute in their ancient China clothes!
Amiboshi gave me a look that said what? and really? at the same time.
Whatdya mean cute? Tasuki demanded.
Exactly what I said, I smirked, you two are just so good looking I can hardly stand it, I choked in my head, wondering where the hell that had come from and how Id ever had enough guts to say it aloud.
Tasuki smirked and smoothed his hair, I guess I am pretty good lookin, when ya get right down to it.
I thought of a wickedly mean thing comeback and couldnt resist to say it, I probably shouldnt have said two. I wasnt really talking about you. More choking in my head. Where was this coming from?
Nishiko...? I heard Amiboshi say softly.
I...I was just kidding, I forced a laugh to save face, then turned with a lighthearted grin and a bit of blush still in my cheeks.
Oh.. Amiboshi said thoughtfully, and I felt stupid for saying that. For some reason, I have a tendancy to push guys away by making them think I think theyre replusive. Idiot!
Hey, we should go inside, Akai said uneasily.
I turned to her, cocking an eyebrow, Uh, we are inside.
Oh! Why, so we are. Hey, I knew that! she put a hand to the back of her neck.
Tasuki rapped a fist gently on her head, Sure, you did.
I did! she insisted, grinning and pushing him away. Tasuki snorted and rolled his eyes. I smiled quietly, considering making a comment to Amiboshi about how cute their flirting was.
Elements? I suggested guesturing to the store in front of us.
Mmm hmm. Theyve got great guy clothes in here, Akai ageed. Amiboshi and Tasuki looked nervous. We went in--okay, we sort of pleaded with them to go in--and Akai and I started sifting through guys clothes.
Oh, this is cute!
Oh, hed look so good in this!
Yeah! Oh, hey, look at this! Hey, its even blue!
Cool. Wow, he would look...wow.
And, again, Tasuki and Amiboshi looked like they were getting so nervous, they were even exchanging glances. Okay, theyd exchange glances and Tasuki would realize who he was exchanging glances with, glare and turn away.
Hey, Tasuki! Cmere! Akai called motioning him over. I saw him wander over to Akai reluctantly, and turned to Amiboshi, taking a silent breath, Well, lets see, you would like blue, wouldnt you?
He gave me a confused look and replied, shrugging, Uh, I dunno. I suppose...
I held up a long sleeved blue shirt. As far as I was concerned, hed look good in anything.
Well... I started.
Hey, Nishi-chan, come over here, I heard Akai call from a little ways over. I turned and grabbed Amiboshis hand, taking him with me.
Hmmm? I asked, seeing her holding up pants to a very unsure and confused Tasuki.
What do you think? Thirty-three? Thirty-four? she asked.
I servayed him silently, then turned to Akai, Hes real skinny, so he might need a belt, no matter what size.
Yeah, I think youre right...
We stood and stared at him till he spoke up, Whyre ya starin at me like that?! Shit, I feel like Im bein inspected or somethin!
You are, Akai said matter-o-factly.
Why dontchya go pick on flute-boy for awhile, huh? Tasuki demanded.
I turned to Amiboshi and held up the blue shirt I was still holding, looking over at Akai, Well, what do you think? Maybe with a fleece vest, you know, like Akio wears? And maybe some khakis? I could feel myself babbling, but I was always rather nervous around guys, and being around this guy, well... I was just a tad more nervous.
Hmmm, yeah, thatd look cute. she nodded. I gave Amiboshi a hold on a sec sign and went to find the clothes Id just listed. I found them, more or less and gave them to Amiboshi, saying, Try these on.
He gave me a bewildered look and it occured to me he had no idea what I was telling him to do.
These arent my clothes, he protested quietly.
Yes, but were seeing if they look okay on you and fit, I tried to explain.
But... he still looked confused, these arent my clothes.
Yes, I sighed, but if we like them, they can be.
He still looked confused.
Okay, I began, these are stores that sell clothes. You are allowed to try them on to see if you like them before you buy them. If you like them, we pay for them and you can wear them. If you dont like them, we put them back where we got them and leave. Okay?
He looked like he got it, but a new problem had arrisen. He held up the clothes, blushing heavily, and asked quietly, How do you put them on?
It was my turn to blush. Oh, god, how the hell was I going to get through this one?
Uh... I bit my lips and took the pants, okay, you put these on just like any other pair of pants, but this is how you keep them on, I demonstrated, then gave them back to him, and this shirt, you just pull it over your head like any other shirt, and the vest, you just put on. Then youre set!
He looked at me unsurely, but went off tot he dressing room, hesitating before going into it. He closed the door and I breathed a sigh of relief, hoping he could figure it out.
I raised a worried eyebrow as I heard my name called from the dressing room, Uh...yeah? I asked hesitantly, coming up to the dressing room door.
I...uh...have a problem..
Oh, God, no. Scenes from Theres Something About Mary flashed in my head and I almost fainted. I really dont think I should be the one to--
Yeah, Im here, I bit my lip, do...you have pants on?
Okay, Im, er, coming in, I opened the door and slipped in. He stood with the pants on perfectly (Ill admit, I was surprised), but...that was all. He stood, shirtless, and blushing heavily.
Again, I drew in a silent breath, Whats the problem?
He looked exceedingly embarrassed, I...dont know which one to put on first.
He held up the shirt and the vest, and I chuckled softly, then felt bad for doing so. I smiled, relieved and said, You put on the blue shirt first, I said, handing it to him. He pulled it over his head and got it on, okay, and now the vest goes over it, I put it around him as he put his arms through. Then I stood back to look at him. Wow. He looked incredibly...ah, there are so many words to descibe it: cute, handsome, good-looking, gorgeous, etc...
What do you think? I asked him breathlessly, turning him around to look at himself in the mirror behind him. He raised his eyebrows in surprise, and I noticed one more thing.
Oh, I turned him around and touched my hand to his headband, this kinda has to go.
I painfully slipped it off his head. I could tell he didnt like it anymore than I did. Sorry, I said softly, I like it a lot too.
I saw a faint smile grow on his lips. Then it occured to me, Uh, wed better go out there.
I opened the door and we slipped out. To my horror, I turned to see Akai grinning at me with a preditory gleam in her eyes. Oh shit, I thought, this does not look anywhere near good.
She siddled up next to me, grinning manically, Hello, Nishi-chan, she said sweetly, so, what have we been up to? Anything...interesting? she leaned closer to me and whispered, does yoroshiko1 mean anything to you?
I shot out my fist to punch her in the arm, Dont even. You know very well--
Oh, yes, I know all right. I know exactly what was going on in that little dressing room, she cackled wickedly.
I glared at her and grabbed her hair roughly, yanking her close enough to whisper in her ear, Look, he had a problem with the shirt and was embarrassed. I didnt want to embarrass him anymore. If you embarrass him at all, Ill kill you.
She chuckled softly, Okay, okay, you win. No more comments from the peanut gallery.
Thank you, I sighed, letting go of her and turning back to Amiboshi, who was watching us with a strange look on his face.
There was the sound of the dressing room door opening and we turned to see Tasuki in a tightish black t-shirt and baggy blue jeans, that were, well, pretty loose. Akai servayed him, then grabbed a chain belt off the rack and tossed it to him, Nishiko was right, youre awfully skinny.
Tasuki looked annoyed, but began to put it on, Whaddya think?
I... Akai trailed off. I whistled at him and he gave me a weird look. I just grinned at him.
Akai sucked in her breath, It...really suits you, she said, and I could tell she
was trying harder than shed ever had to before not to faint right then and there.
Looks great, gotta pay, I said quickly, ushering us to the counter. I heard Akai and Amiboshi murmur something to each other, but I leaned over the counter, smiling at the cashier. I think she must have beem viewing all this and must think we were loonitics.
Uh, theyre going to wear them out of the store, Akai explained to the salewoman.
Okay, but Ill need the tags.
She handed us scissors and we snipped off all the tags and gave them to her. She added up the total, told us it and looked at us expectantly. I looked at Akai. She looked at me. Expressions of horror grew on our faces.
Nothing... we murmured in unison.
Were...broke... Akai whispered, followed by a stream of words I do not desire to repeat. I simply raised my eyebrows. Akai doesnt cuss that much--or, at least, she didnt until two guys from Ancient China showed up in her house.
Uh, sorry, I dont usually do that, she apologized, then looked around at Tasuki and Amiboshi, who looked surprised, what? Havent you ever heard a girl cuss before?
Tasuki looked actually impressed, but our attention was brought back to the saleswoman, Excuse me, but if you cant pay...
Uh, right. We...dont have any money. I started.
Akai suddenly looked like she had an idea, Hey! I know! We can call Kissechi! She always has money! We can bum some off her.
Hmm, I glanced at my watch, its 1:32. I dont know if shed appreciate is waking her up...
Yeah, but we have to get these clothes! Akai protested.
Akai, I said firmly, taking ahold of both her arms, we can come back. Its not impossible.
But were always broke! she whined, Chi-chan2 is the only one who ever has any money.
All right, I nodded, heres what well do: theyll change back into their original clothes, ask the lady to hold these clothes, go get money from Chi-chan, come back, and buy the clothes. Okay?
She nodded happily, Yeah, lets go.
We got to Chi-chans house quickly, getting tons of odd looks from people as we walked down a busy street with two guys in the before explained clothes. We stopped at the door and rang the bell. No reply. We rang again. No reply.
Ah, jeez, I muttered a swear word and opened the door annoyedly, were here enough, it should be all right.
Yeah, Akai agreed, and we all stepped in. We headed downstairs to Kissechis room and stepped inside.
Kissechis room was littered with clothes and papers and in the middle, on her bed, she lay fast asleep.
I glanced at Akai, All right. I dont think we should let anyone, not even Kissechi, know about Tasuki and Amiboshi. We should make them wait in the hall. Ill... I took a brave breath, Ill risk it.
I stepped closer to the bed, and I swear I could hear the suspense music being cued. I got close enough to see her face and took a deep breath before saying loudly, Chi-chan! Wake up!
I stood back, preparing to dodge a fist. But there was no response.
Hey, Chi-chan, get your ass out of bed! I exclaimed loudly, shoving her in the shoulder.
Not a good idea.
OW! Shit, Kissechi! I grasped my jaw where Id just been punched--really hard. She glared at me with a kill-my-best-friend kinda look. Good, youre up, I muttered, rubbing my sore jaw.
I am going to-- she started and I feared for my life.
Hey, look! A big Tama-neko!
I whirled around, seeing Tasuki standing in the doorway, holding up Kissechis huge cat, O.J. He had a huge grin on his face. I flinched, not even wanting to see Chi-chans reaction.
There was a pause, then I heard a sleepy muttering about stale twinkies and kaluha, See what happens when you wake me up so early? I start hallucinating. Why you have to wake me up at the crack on dawn, when any self-respecting citizen should be in bed is beyond me. Im tired, I have a headache, and Im imagining Tasuki, holding my cat, standing in my bedroom no da. Now go. Away. And. Let. Me. Sleep. No. Da.
I raised an eyebrow, impressed she was able to get out this much, plus the no das at the crack of dawn as she so put it. Of course, dear, well leave you alone...as soon as you give us some money.
Before she could answer, a startled cry came from behind me, and I whirled around, wide eyed. There stood Tasuki, gaping at Kissechis imfamous Chichiri wall.
What the fuck?! he exclaimed, wide eyed. Oh, thats right, Kissechis extremely obsessive about Chichiri. I turned back around to Kissechi, who was still under the covers. I thought I told you to go away, she said in a calm, frightening voice. As much as I wanted to get out of her sight right then, I still persisted, Okay, just tell us where some money is and were gone.
I flinched, Yeah, well pay you back. I swear.
From under the covers, I heard a loud, derisive snort, Yeah, like the time you paid me back last time? And the time before that?
I rolled my eyes, That was Akai. Im trustworthy.
Akai snorted and Chi-chan said, Bullshit no da.
Why do you keep saying no da. Tasuki demanded, still gaping at the Chichiri wall.
There came a pained groan from under the covers, Great. Now my hallucinations are talking to me no da.
What exactly did you do last night? Akai asked nervously, or do I want to know?
Chi-chan groaned again, It was my Tasuki complex last night. I think I outdrank him last night. Thats probably why his image is haunting me this morning no da.
Doesnt explain why Amiboshis image is haunting you, I cocked an eyebrow, looking over at Amiboshi, who was also staring frightenedly at the wall.
Tasuki looked offended, Nobody, especially a woman, could outdrink me.
Akai smacked him and I just sort of growled, resisting the urge to start a feminist protest.
Amiboshis image is not haunting me, Chi-chan declared. I pulled the covers off her and pointed. Her mouth fell open, what the fuck?!
Thats right, but its just a hallucination, so give us money and itll all go away, I sighed. This was turningout harder than Id thought it would.
A bunch of strange, undecipherable sounds came out of Chi-chans mouth, and she looked extremely confused, What no da?
At least she didnt pass out, Akai commented, shes doing better than both of us.
I chuckled, remembering my little meeting with the stairs, Yeah, but shes got a hangover.
True. We should get her sobered up, Akai pointed out, then turned to Kissechi, do you want some tea or coffee?
I want Chichiri, she muttered, but Ill settle for a cup of tea and a couple of asprins.
It took awhile to get Kissechi out of bed, but we were soon all sitting around the table with tea (not me, I hate tea) and discussing things. Okay, Amiboshi, Akai, Kissechi and I were sitting around the table, Tasuki was sprawled out on the floor playing with O.J.
I began, All right, Akai woke up on Monday morning and they were--
Heh, heh! Youre so cute! Yes, you are! Hah!
I tossed an I dont want to know glance at Tasuki then went back to Chi-chan, anyway, she called me and they stayed at her house for the night. Now were trying to buy them modern clothes, but we dont have any money, I finished.
Ha! What a big kitty!
Chi-chan stood up, barely regarding Tasuki at all, went to the cupboard, murmuring, I need a drink.
I leaped up and grabbed her, No, no, we wont be doing that.
Something to drink? Tasukis attention was drawn at the change of conversation.
No. I declared firmly, nobodys having a drink.
Tasuki narrowed his eyes, giving me a death glare, muttering something under his breath and went back to O.J.
At leat, not until we get back from the mall, Akai smiled wickedly, your parents are out of town, arent they, Chi-chan?
Akai! I exclaimed, how bad you are! But, Id probably get home after the mall. You guys can do whatever you want.
Amiboshi gave me a frightened look.
Oh, Im sorry, I apologized to him, I cant leave Amiboshi alone with you two. I pointed out, dragging Chi-chan back to the table. The whole situation of acohol made me edgy and mad. I felt a little angry at Akai for even joking about it, and shot back in the only way I could think of, Im surprised, though, thatd youd lower yourself to Namidas level on drinking.
Akais eyes grew cold and she didnt reply. I suddenly realized Id gone below the belt and murmured softly, Sorry. I just dont like the idea of alcohol after...everything.
When Akai and I had hung out with Kagami and Namida, Kagamis mom had been very loose. Shed given us alcohol and Namida had gotten drunk a number of times, even taken advantage of Kagami when she was drunk once, we heard, after wed left the little group. The whole experience had turned me off from alcohol and i guess I thought Akai would be too. He had been her boyfriend, after all.
Its okay, she said, and I could tell it was forced. There she went again, covering up whatever was wrong, and doing it badly.
So, I looked hopefully at Chi-chan, hoping to lighten the mood, will you please lend us some money? Weve gotten enought weird looks already.
Weird looks? Why? Tasuki asked suddenly. So he was listening.
I cast a look at him, Youre clothes are exactly up-to-date, dea...er, Tasuki.
Tasuki hmmpht3 unhappily and Chi-chan said, Well, I dunno. I was awakened rather rudely this morning.
Oh, God, please dont make us beg, I pleaded quietly under my breath.
Cmon, Chi-chan, its for a good cause, Akai added.
Kissechi looked skeptical, almost thoughtful, What do I get out of it?
I groaned, The same amount of money you loaned us?
Ha. Yeah right. Youll have to do better than that, Kissechi said.
Im sorry, we cant get Chichiris kasa. This has screwed up time enough already without taking away a very vital thing in the series to Chichiri. I sighed. I was currently getting a mental image of Chichiri at the Kutou palace, trying to help Miaka save Tamahome. He sees Kutou guards coming towards him and reached for--but wait! Theres no kasa!
NO! Akai, Nishiko no da! What have you done to me no da?! he screams as the guards close in on him and hes taken away.
I shook the scene from my head and continued wearily, What do you want?
Kissechi got a wicked gleam in her eyes. Akai stopped before she could act on that wicked gleam, Chichiri and chocolate pudding isnt an option.
Shit, she snapped her fingers, then turned to Tasuki suggestively, you know, I am a member of the DTFC...
Akai jumped in front of Tasuki defensively, Absolutely not! Dont even think about it! We are not bargaining seishi here.
Spoilsport. Chi-chan muttered as Akai slowly sat back down.
Huh? Tasuki glanced at each one of us with a confused look.
Dont ask, Akai told him, resting her head in her hands, for Suzakus sake, dont ask.
After a short silence, Kissechi sighed discouragely, Oh fine. Since you two are going to be so boring, I suppose I can lend you the money, as long as you pay me back.
My face lit up, Great! Where is it?
Greedy, greedy, Nishi-chan! Chi-chan scolded, tsking at me, Ill go get it.
Vic-tor-y! Akai cried as soon as shed left the room, giving a V for Victory sign. I turned to smile at Amiboshi (why Amiboshi, I dont know) and waited till Chi-chan got back. She approached me and held out a hell of a lot of money. I reached for it and she pulled it back.
Do you swear on Tasuki and Amiboshis manhood that youll pay it back? she demanded. I heard an outraged cry from Tasuki and a choke from Amiboshi, but I replied, Absolutely, and she handed it to me.
No, she doesnt! Tasuki exclaimed.
I smirked at him, What exactly are you saying, Tasuki?
Tasuki choked, No! I...I...shit! Dont I get a say in this?!
Not usually, Akai said, but dont worry, she shot a look at me, Ill make sure she pays it back.
Me?! I exclaimed, putting a hand on my chest, Im not the only one payin it back, dumbass!
Yeah, but Im not the one who swore, she pointed out.
I smiled assuredly, Youll pay half-back, Akai-chan. But wed better get going, I got up.
Uh, yeah, Akai said, getting up and followed by the guys, Thanks, Chi-chan.
Yes, thanks! I agreed.
Just dont forget, she warned.
We wont! I called as we raced out the door and on our way back to the mall.
We returned to the mall, changed the boys into modern clothing again (I stayed out of Amiboshis dressing room this time, much to Akais dismay), and went up to the counter.
Will you be paying for these now? the saleswoman asked wryly.
Yeah, we have it now, I let out a nervous laugh and handed her the money. She gave us the reciept and a forced, Have a nice day.
We left gratefully, carrying their Ancient China clothes in the bags. What a difference. Girls all over the mall stared at the two guys, giving flirtatious smiles, glared at Akai and I, perhaps for being with them.
You guys hungry? I asked, a probably very obvious question, considering it was around 3:30 and we hadnt eaten anything all day. A chorus of yess echoed and we walked to the food court.
We have Chinese here, I suggested, fitting, huh?
We went to the Chinese booth and ordered stuff Amiboshi would actually eat (it occured to me that Amiboshi hadnt eaten anything for more than a day. Hed never said anything, my poor thing!), and we sat down at a table. Everyone basically dug in.
I looked up in time to see two girls walking (or rather, wriggling with swaying hips) towards us, smiling suggestively at Tasuki and Amiboshi.
Hi, guys. Im Shiai, and this is Hakike4. Can we have your numbers? one blonde on said, scooting up a chair next to Tasuki. The red head, Hakike, pulled up a chair next to Amiboshi. If steam could have come out Akai and my ears, Im sure it would have.
Numbers? Amiboshi asked nervously, staring at the red head and her revealing clothing.
Phone numbers, Hakike clairified. Both girls were scooting closer and completely ignoring Akai and me, pushing out of the way.
Uh-- I started.
You guys are just so cute, we couldnt resist asking, Shiai giggled.
Look, Akai said, standing up, I have no idea who you two are, but youre obviously sluts, so why dont you take your little bimbo asses, and let us eat lunch with out wanting to vomit.
I let out a whistle, slightly impressed.
The blonde regarded Akai with a cold glare, then turned to Tasuki, Now, do you really want a girlfriend whos such a bitch?
Better than a common street whore, Akai shot back fiercly.
Shiais mouth fell open, Look, you have no right to be calling me and my friend whores. You dont even know us.
Akai snorted, Its not very hard to see.
The blonde narrowed her eyes.
Look, I intervened before Akai got into a cat fight and got herself arrested, do you have any self respect? How pathetic to hit on guys with girlfriends, in front of their girlfriends? I knew I was lying. Tasuki and Amiboshi stared at me, bewildered, so please get some dignity and hit on guys who arent attached.
The two girls glared coldly at me, but just got up and quickly huffed off.
I looked down, knowing I was blushing. Amiboshi and Tasuki were still staring at me. Sorry, I murmured, I had to lie. They would have never left if they knew we were just friends.
Im surprised they left at all, the stupid bimbos, Akai muttered defensively.
Whyd you get so mad, Tasuki asked Akai suddenly.
I just hate girls like that, she laughed mercilessly, they probably remind me of Kagami.
I laughed also, reminded of Kagamis slutty ways, but Amiboshi asked, Whos Kagami? I looked at Akai.
Its a...girl we know, Akai said uneasily, its a long story.
Is she as bossy as you two? Tasuki smirked in the way only he can, and brushed some hair out of his eyes. I glanced at Akai to see if she was swooning.
Oh, youre so nice, I laughed, then turned to Akai, expecting her to explain.
Probably worse, Akai joked. I raised an eyebrow, remembering--knowing-- how disgusting and pathetic Kagami was.
Dont wanna meet her, Tasuki decided swiftly, leaning back in his chair. I let out a laugh, wondering what Akai would think of this.
Thats good to know, Akai said softly, if she met you, shed be all over you so fast you wouldnt know what hit you.
Tasuki looked surprised, then grinned, Whats wrong with that?
Nothing, if you like slutty litte traitors, she replied hostily.
Whoa-ho-ho! I exclaimed, lets get off this subject. I knew Akai wouldnt want to talk about it anymore than I did. Akai nodded.
We took them around the city, showing them interesting sites that amazed them, stuff like that.We began walking home and soon reached the street where Akai and I have to go our seperate ways.
Well, I guess Ill see you guys tomorrow, I said reluctantly, really not wanting to leave Amiboshi.
Yeah? Akai said, looking almost worried.
See ya, I said, beginning to walk off as did the other three. When they all were turned away, I turned back around and watched Amiboshi, never wanting to forget anything about him. He turned to look over his shoulder suddenly, and my eyes widened. I waved nervously, embarrassed at being caught, but he smiled and waved back, turned turned around around and continued walking. I turned and began walking to my house. It was rather cold out, and me, being stupid, had forgotten my coat. I hugged myself to keep warm against the harsh wind.
I reached my house and went around back, slipping in the back door, only to see my father standing in the kitchen, making dinner.
Well, hi! he said, laughing a little, who are you?
I forced a laugh, trying to make my dad feel good about his dumb joke, Sorry Ive been gone so much, I said, turning to lock the back door.
I should say so, he smiled a little, did you have a good time at Akais?
Whatd you guys do?
Nothing, really... I smiled fakely at hm, then turned to go up to my room.
When in my room, I flopped down onto my bed and stared at the ceiling. Glow in the dark letter stickers spelled out Akio. I smiled softly, remembering that Id put the name up on the ceiling so no one could see it, but whenever I looked up, Id be reminded of him.
But now my mind was on a different guy. Amiboshi floated through my head, especially his eyes, how he looked at me. I let out a dreamy sigh, smiling goofily. Could he ever love me back, I thought dramtically. What if he loves Akai? I furrowed my brow. Whered that come from? He barely knows either of us, let alone be in love with one of us.
Dinner! came my dads call from downstairs. I sigh once again and got up, nearly floating down the stairs. I barely ate my dinner that night. I pushed my food around with my fork, staring off into space, thinking of his perfectly shaped lips and imagining what it would be like to kiss him. He had such wonderful hands. I could just feel him running them gently through my hair--
Nishiko! What is with you? my dad interrupted my thoughts. I jumped, straightening up and looking at him.
Youve barely touched your dinner and you havent said a word all night, my mom was looking at me strangly.
Thats unusual for you, my dad pointed out, usually we cant shut you up.
I looked over at Jiyu, who was giving me a look, but keeping silent (God bless him).
Um, Im just a little tired, I said, then forced a smile and shoved a huge spoonful of mashed potatoes in my mouth, chewing and smacking loudly, Mmm, mrum!
My parents gave me more weird looks but went back to talking amoungst themselves. I couldnt really eat, to tell the truth. I had the weirdest feeling in my stomach. It was like the feeling Id gotten when Id thought of Akio...wait. I stopped myself. The same feeling as Id...no, I shook it off. Amiboshis just cute and nice, thats all, heh, heh.
I finished dinner and excused myself, going back up to my room. I threw myself back onto my bed and sighed loudly again. I realized that when I get dramtic and dreamy about a guy, I tend to sigh a whole hell of a lot.
Suddenly, a thought struck me.
I raced to the office, nearly dropping the phone as I grabbed it off the reciever. I quickly dialed Akais number and waited.
Hello? came Akais voice, sounding stressed. In the background I could hear, What the fuck was that?
Hey, Akai-chan, I said causally, knowing the background voice was Tasuki, sorry, did Tasuki try to flame the phone? Id sort of forgotten about the culture shock.
No, its all right, she said, can you hold on a second?
She seemed to move the phone from her mouth and hissed, Calm down! Its just the phone! Its not going to hurt you! And stop brandishing that thing at me, will ya? Its making me nervous!
I quickly thought of the tessen.
Sorry, she said, coming back to me.
Whats going on? I asked curiously.
Well, I got them into TV, and my TV survived, so I guess thats an accomplishment, huh? she snickered, I think theyre watching Friends.
I chuckled softly, Do they like it?
I think so, actually. I dont know if they understand it, though.
Whats to understand? I asked, its Friends.
In the background, I heard Tasukis voice, Are you talking to yourself, Akai?
Akai laughed, talking to Tasuki, No, Im talking to Nishiko. Thats what phones do. They let you talk to people who are far away, pause, wanna try it? longer pause, its okay, just put it up to your ear.
There was another pause, but now I could hear Tasukis breathing on the other end.
Hi, Tasuki. Its me, Nishiko. I said, smiling a little.
I heard a slight gasp, Where is she? Tasuki cried frantically, where is she hiding? he seemed to demand of Akai.
Tasuki, Tasuki! Im at my house, Im not there! I reassured him, you can just hear my voice and I can just hear yours through the phone.
Oh... he said, very slowly.
So, howre ya doing, Tasuki? Akais treating you okay? I asked.
I guess so. How bout you? he replied, his voice still a little wary.
Im pretty good. Really bored, though. So, I paused, are you feeling a little better towards Amiboshi?
There was a derisive snort from the other line, Ya mean the traitor?
I frowned to myself at this, Tasuki, why cant you just get along with him?
Because he totally screwed up the callin ceremony, thats why!
I sighed, Hes not such a bad guy, once you get to know him...
How would you know? he demanded fiercly.
I paused, Well, I dont, really, but... I sighed again, ...its just really hard for me and Akai when you two are always at each others throats. Could you at least try to get a long with him?
There was a hesitation, then he said gruffly, Whatever. Well see what happens. there was a pause, then he said in a childish voice, he starts it.
I rolled my eyes, You are such a baby.
Nothing, I smiled, then decided to me daring, hey, Tasuki? Could I...talk to Amiboshi?
I bit my lip, Maybe I could talk to him about getting along, like I did with you?
Well, he paused, I guess. Er...what do I do?
Give the phone--the thing youre holding--to Amiboshi and tell him to hold it up to his ear just like youre doing. And... I smiled, go talk to Akai, wherever she is.
Okay, see ya, Nishiko. he said, and I heard him bounding off, there was a slight pause, and I heard a soft, nervous, Hello?
Hi, Amiboshi. Its me, Nishiko.
Nishiko? Where are you?
Im at my house. Its okay, were able to hear each other through the phone, I explained for the second time.
Youre...youre at your house? Thats amazing, that your world can do this... he said, and I think he was smiling.
Yeah, we take it for granted, but when we actually stop and think of the technology, its amazing.
So...what are you doing?
I glanced down, entwining my fingers in the phone cord, Ah, not much. JUst stuff. Do you like TV?
TV? Oh, yeah, its neat. The stories, the plots are a lot like real life.
I laughed, Most are suppose to be. Except TV makes things more intersting, more dramtic.
Uh huh. And they almost always have happy endings.
Real life doesnt?
I paused, You should know that. Your life hasnt been all that great, has it?
He was silent, thinking, then, No, not really. Howd you know?
Like I said, your lives are on a TV show.
Oh. Hey, Nishiko?
Does my life have a happy ending? his voice was soft, and so innocent, and almost sad. I felt my breath caught in my throat. What could I say to this?
I took a deep breath and let it out, You know, Amiboshi, I...I cant say, I lowered my eyes, I really hope so. Youve already been put through so much, and youve got such a peaceful soul, you deserve a happy ending. If it wasnt happy, or at least someone good, youd be getting majorly jipped and something would just be wrong with the way the world works.
He was quiet, then said in a very soft voice, W...what you said...you...really believe it?
I nodded, even though he couldnt see me, Of course. Youre a wonderful person, and I wish you all the best of happiness in your life, wherever it may be.
T...thank you, he was quiet again, then sighed almost silently, do you think Ill ever get home?
I immediatly was choked up and felt like I was going to cry. I felt so bad for him. Already, hed gone through such pain and death in his hell of a life, and his tone was just so meloncholy.
I...I dont know, in a way, I felt bad because I kind of didnt want him to leave. I expected it was only natural. I finally get to meet the guy Ive been swooning over for months, and of course, I wouldnt want to let him go. But he had a life, a brother. It would be selfish to want him to stay.
Yeah, I guess well see, he sighed, then, hey, Nishiko? You never talk about your life. Is it happy?
I bit my lip. My life? Happy? Well, I suppose... I started slowly.
You dont sound so sure, he pointed out.
I thought a moment, My lifes not bad. It could be alot worse...my parents dont beat me, I have clothes and food, and a wonderful house, I have friends--
He cut me off, Is it happy, though?
I paused again, Define happy.
He let out a sigh, Nishiko!
Sorry, sorry, I raked my fingers through my hair, thinking. I wasnt miserable, if thats what he meant. But yet, there was the fact that no guys liked me, my father repressed my opinions and made me so frustrated I could just scream, Id gone through so many different groups in the past year I had absolutely no idea where I fit in, and the overall depressing fact that I had no idea who I was.
Yeah, its happy, I lied through my teeth, then went in for a quick change of subject, so, what do you think of Akai and my world?
He was silent, then answered, Its amazing. All the...whatd you call it?
Yeah! All the technology is great. I cant wait to learn about the music here.
I laughed, Oh yeah! Youre going to love music here. Theres so many instruments and you can listen to music other people have made on whats called a tape or CD.
Music other people made?
Yeah. Um...okay, lets say theres another flute player who you really like listening to. What happens when hes not there and you want to hear his songs? Well, in this world, people can record their songs onto whats called a tape or a CD and people can listen to it whenever they want!
Amazing! he exclaimed.
Yeah, sometime Ill have you listen to some. And youre going to have a blast with the other instruments here. Theres way more wind instruments here.
Really? Like what?
Lets see: there the saxaphone--one of my favorites--, trumpets, trombones, baritones, piccolo, clarinet, french horn, tuba, bassoon... but I still really love your flute music.
Uh huh. Its beautiful.
Ill...Ill play for you sometime.
Thats be great.
There was a nice, warm, fuzzy silence between us, and I felt the butterflies in my stomach and that dreamy sensation again. But at the same time, I felt tired. I touched the mouse on my computer to get the screen save off, then looked at the time.
Holy crap! I cried, its 1:43! AM!
Uh...whats that mean exactly?
Id forgotten time probably wasnt essential in Ancient China and sighed, Never mind, it just means its really late. Listen, I gotta go. My parentll kill me if they knew I was on this long, I said, getting up. How had time flown so quickly. It didnt seem like Id been on that long.
Yeah, okay. Ill see what Tasuki and Akai are up to, he paused, hey, Nishiko? Are you coming over tomorrow?
Yeah, course. Ill be over, I smiled, goodnight, Amiboshi.
Good night, Nishiko. Sleep well.
You too. Bye.
I hung up the phone and sunk back into the chair, sighing dramtically. Hes so wonderful! I thought wistfully. And cute too! Oh, God, why cant he be real? Why cant he be able to live in this world?
I got up silently and crept to my bedroom. I changed into my night clothes and snuggled under the covers of my bed, clutching the stuffed lion I always slept with tight to me. Before I could think more wistful thoughts, I drifted off to sleep.
1 This is taken from a fic by Ritz called Yoroshiko Gomen nasai, Ritz! Dont kill us!
2 Chi-chan is Kissechi. She decided that she wanted to use the end of her name with a suffex instead of being Kiss-chan.
3 *laughes* How are you suppose to spell that? Hopefully you all know what that mean. =.)
4 These names are funny little punns. shiai means competition, and hakike means nauseated. So basically, Shiai is saying, Hi, guys, Im competiton, and this is nauseating. =.)
|Prolouge||Chapter One||Chapter Two|
|Chapter Three||Chapter Four||Chapter Five|
|Chapter Six||Chapter Seven||Chapter Eight|
|Chapter Nine||Chapter Ten||Chapter Eleven|