Shantel (sheeuh) wrote in writers_project,
Shantel
sheeuh
writers_project

Unrequited Love: Chapters 4-6



Chapter 4 Jealous kisses

"Well, Himejima. How do you like that?" Smiled a girl wickedly beside her. She licked her lips, and placed a finger onto the cement, dancing it around impatiently. Fujio twitched a little, afraid of the little girl's sudden approach to her. She jumped up from where she sat, standing at least two feet away from her.


"Ma...Mala!!" Fujio almost choked trying to say. "What do you want?!?"


The blonde girl grinned, flashing her eyes at her. She gave Fujio an unpleasant chill. Her smile was devilish. As Fujio turned to leave, she felt a hand grab her, pulling her down to the floor. She almost cried out in pain, but Mala didn't let her. Mala wrapped her hands around her throat and mouth, edging her sharp red nails against Fujio's sensitive skin. She was beginning to feel small quantities of blood trickle down her nails and onto her skin. Mala leaned her chin closer to Fujio's head, grinning.


"What is it with young tough girls. They think they can do everything, and gain some of their independance. You don't need a mother or father to take care of you." She dug her nails deeper. Fujio began to panick. She tried grabbing Mala by the arms. She figured if she did this, she could easily toss Mala over her head. But if she did so, Mala would find a way to get back at her. This was her way. She had Fujio locked in her arms. Why was Mala this difficult to move? "I know martial arts too..." She chuckled, whispering closely in Fujio's ear.


"Let me go!!" She cried out.


Mala complied with just that. She roughly threw Fujio to the ground, making her turn over. She drove her heal into her chest, making Fujio scream. Mala laughed in such a devilish manner. Fujio met her match. She had only wished someone was hearing her cries of pain. She let herself be abused by the only girl who identified her as a menace for the break-up of the two supposed lovers.


Fujio held her breath and grasped onto Mala's foot. She quickly tripped her, and immediately jumped up in time to pin her attacker to the ground.


"How dare you!!!" Fujio found herself screaming with all her might. She was angry and saddened that of all days, this would be a reproach for the worst. Mala immediately took a grab of Fujio's pigtail, pulling her to the ground.


Akira watched from the window, unable to find words to say. He quickly left that spot where he had watched Fujio and ran to them. He was almost too angry to speak. He threw his arms around Fujio's body, pulling her off of his vicious former girlfriend."


"Let me go!!! Let me at her!!" Fujio screamed at him, struggling to get out of his arms. He latched onto her tightly, making it harder for her to move.


"Calm down, Himejima."


"No, please. I can beat her!!!" She continued.


Mala pulled herself up, wiping the excess dirt from her school uniform. "What a poor excuse for a fighter. Why don't you go home and run to your mommy or daddy because you are SO not worth my time."


"Why don't you shut up and wipe that smirk off your face." He shot her a death glare.


Mala flinched a bit, then shrugged it off. "I'm only doing what's best for my Fukae-kun." She tossed her long blonde locks back and perked her head up in a snotty manner. "I'd be careful, Himejima. Don't dream anything too prevocative." She laughed aloud to herself and started walking in her own direction home. Akira couldn't find an end to his deadly glare. That is until he realized Himejima was still securely wrapped in his arms. He immediately released her, blushing furiously. She fell to the ground, feeling helpless and out of shape. She began coughing, trying to take in as much air. She could see her own blood drops on the ground, still falling fresh from the cuts in her neck. She placed a finger against her gaping wounds, and examined the fresh blood now running down her fingers.


"Does it hurt?" He asked her.


"It does...a little."


He kneeled beside her, taking her hands away from her neck. "Don't touch. It will get infected."


"Akira..." She tint of red highlighted her face. She was almost embarassed. No, ashamed. Here he was helping her. She felt helpless. "You don't have to do all this."


He looked up at her, directly into her eyes. She blushed furiously, and looked quickly to the ground. Her heart began to pound against her chest, wanting to jump out almost. He stood up, looking down at her. That smile of his made her want him all over again. She wanted to love him. She wanted all those feelings for him to come back. She tried her best to hide those emotions. She still had no idea why he was helping her. Had his feelings for her revived? She wish she knew.


He held out his hand to her. "Come. We can go see the nurse."


Fujio nodded silently. She felt a little shakey, unable to balance perfectly as she was standing up. She let him take her arm, pulling her towards him.


"You can lean on my shoulder if you want. Just hurry up!"


She only nodded again, unable to find the right words to say. She leaned against his shoulder, still blushing. She smiled to herself, never taking her eyes off the floor. She remained like this beside Akira all the way into the nurses office. The school was still open only an hour after classes were dismissed, so Fujio and Akira were in luck.


"What's the problem?" The nurse at the counter was neither sweet nor rude. She was simple, but very much concerned when she saw Akira guiding Fujio into the room.


"Oh no. What do I tell her?" Thought Fujio. "Well I-"


"Miss Himejima was an object of senseless violence because a group of girls that didn't even attend our local school found it funny that Fujio happens to wear pigtails."


"WHA?!?!" Fujio sweatdropped. Her eyes grew small, and she felt rather embarassed. She turned away. "Fukae thinks my pigtails are silly..."


"Oh, you poor girl." Said the school nurse aloud. She went over to escort them into a private room where a bed was already prepared for Fujio. "A victim of violence. You will be alright now." She terned to look at Akira. He couldn't tell if she was either happy or upset until she displayed a frown. She began by pointing at him. "For now on, you escort her home, boy. We can't let this happen again."


Akira was surprised by this. He watched carefully as the nurse ran back and forth with first aid materials. She rubbed liquid onto a cotton, and lightly tapped it around Fujio's cuts.


"Ow!!! It burns!!" She gritted her teeth together in discomfort.


"Don't worry. It will be fine." She finished by putting small bandages around her neck. "Just rest here." At the sound of the phone ringing, the nurse rushed out of the room to answer. Akira walked over to Fujio's bed and sat down beside her. She just lie there watching him curiously.


"I should get going." He said to her.


"No."


"Huh?!?"


"Please stay, Fukae-kun."


He complied, and just sat there waiting until the nurse re-entered the room.


"Sorry, kids. I got a call from the head office. They need me for a few minutes. You don't mind staying here til I get back, do you? I won't be long." She immediately left the room, closing the door behind her.


"Absent-minded, isn't she?" He said suddenly.


"Yeah." Fujio laughed.


For a minute or two, they remained silent. He often would look at her. She'd catch him doing so, and both found themselves turning away. He noticed a bandage wrapped around her arm. It wasn't too noticeable but he couldn't help to look.


"Himejima?"


"Hai?"


"What is that?" He pointed to her arm.


"Oh?" She quickly hid her arm under the covers from embarassment. "It's...nothing."


"No. It's something." He quickly tried to take her arm from under the covers. "Let me see."


"NO wait!!!" She cried. "Fukae, it's nothing really!!!"


"Hold still!" He snatched her arm to examine it. Fujio instantly grew pale. "Where did you get this from?"


"Um...I..." Come on, think fast. "From my surfing." Please buy that, she thought nervously.


"Be more careful."


"Oh no...he's...smiling again." Fujio quickly pulled back her arm, throwing the covers over her head. She blushed furiously under the covers.


//"What you see is what you get..."//


"Huh?" Akira looked towards the nearest window curiously.


"Is something the matter?"


"What?" He turned to her. "No. I just thought I heard something."


//"You made that wound.//


He looked over at her arm, examining it closer. "Himejima?"


"Hai?"


"Are you sure it was an accident?"


"You don't believe me?"


"I really don't know." He took her arm again. Surprised, Fujio tried to pull back her arm, but he refused to let go. "Wait, hold still."


"NO!! It hurts!" She took her free arm, trying desperately to take back her arm now jolting in unbelievable pain. He felt himself pulled forward, not expecting the next most heart rushing moment for possibly both of them. She had pulled him on top of her body. He had slowly lifted his head, finding himself staring right into her eyes. He gulped, but didn't move. He was too stunned to move another inch. She found herself staring into his blue eyes unable to speak. "Fu...Fukae...." She felt really warm under his body heat. He wanted to jump away and apologize.


The next thing he knew, he was leaning in towards her, waiting to discover her lips. She had no idea. She wanted to hold back and push him away, but she found it...hard. Did she still want this? She only closed her eyes and waited for his lips to brush against hers.


His lips met hers, sharing each others longing passion. She wanted to push him away, telling herself she didn't want this. Her heart still wanted him though. She listened to her heart drum wildly against his chest. He could feel it. He brushed his lips against her's and finally let go. It was a rather small kiss. He went for it again. Again, Fujio didn't refuse. She felt his taint of love caressing her, melting her. She didn't know if she could or wished for anything more. She loved him.


She felt his arms around her. Almost scared, he released his lips from hers, and rested his head against her chest. Fujio was too astonished for words. She found herself gazing at the ceiling in disbelief. A tear silently cornered her eye, dripping down the side of her face and onto the pillow. He lie there motionless with his head still against her chest.


"Himejima-san..." He whispered her name. She heard him, but couldn't find the courage to answer him in return. She was afraid, and happy all at once. Her body shook from fear and nervousness.


"What just happened between Fukae-kun and me?" She thought to herself. "Two months ago...This would have been my dream. What I always wanted. My Fukae-kun. But..."


"Fujio...I..."


"Dear god...what do I do. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I gave up on love. He can't possibly..." Her head began to pound from all these thoughts. She wanted desperately to love him all over again. Something or someone would tell her not to. She didn't know what to do. Mixed emotions dripped like water in her mind. She wanted to run away all over again from the same love she had desperately hoped to achieve. "We are just friends. Fukae and I..."


"I've returned." The nurse's voice interrupted their thoughts. Akira immediately sat up while Fujio threw the covers over her head to hide her bright red face. He looked out the window, pretending nothing had happened. She came in rather quickly, and in moments, stood beside Akira and Fujio. "I'll take care of her, sir Fukae. You can go ahead and go home now." He nodded and silently walked out the door, not daring to look back. He lightly closed it behind him, blushing slightly as he commenced to walk home. The nurse pulled the covers off of Fujio, witnessing her bright red face. Fujio felt herself panic. "Oh dear me." She placed her hand over the young girls forehead. "Fever."


"Fever?"


"Aha. Stay in bed and get some rest. I'll have someone phone your parents to pick you up."


"My...parents?" Fujio sank deeper into the covers. "Mom's in the hospital. Dad's...never around."


"..." The nurse stood quite for a moment. Then she spoke. "I'm sorry to hear that. Do you dorm?"


"I do..."


"Thank you." Fujio forced a smile. She fell asleep shortly after.


***


He found himself fleeing from his school where he left Fujio in the care of the nurse. He was rather shocked. His heart wouldn't rest, feeling it beating passed his intentional heart rate under his skin. The whether was rather cool, calming him a bit. He hadn't noticed how much he had been sweating. He quickly wiped the sweat away from his forehead, bringing his hand at a distance to examine it. The sun was setting quickly. He had no idea how long he really had been at the comfort of his classmate. No...she wasn't just any classmate. He brought his fingers to his lips. They were warm. The print of their kiss lie fresh in his mind. He had surprised himself before.


//"It's obvious. Can't you see?"//


"I love her. There's no doubt."


//"You love her..."//


"I don't care what it is I'm even thinking anymore. I won't deny her anymore. I'm going to tell her. This time I won't back down." Akira found himself yelling at no one. His own thoughts wanted to separate from him. One side would tell him what he would rather hear. The other side of him...the boy who was long ago locked away. He did that to himself. No one could add to the pain and misery he felt mentally about being in love. He wanted to love Fujio. The other side of him was still loyal to Fuuko, even though she doesn't love him in return. He wanted his anger to leave him for good. "I'm not in love with Fuuko anymore." He placed his fingertips over his lips, feeling around where he had kissed Fujio once again. His face reddened. He took out a piece of paper and pen, and began jotting notes down quickly. He took an envelop, and sat to think of what more he could possibly write. "I want to tell her. How do I possibly confess. What should I do?" He paused, forcing himself to calm down. He found a wall to lean against, wishing someone could just tell him what to do. He sighed, thinking. "The play."





Chapter 5 Confessions

Everyone was content when the play was over. Akira was waiting impatiently for he felt in his heart that he might explode from nervousness. He wanted to tell her tonight. Now was his one and only chance. He immediately rushed backstage to try and look for her.


As soon as the play was over, Fujio rushed into her dressing room almost in tears. She quickly sat in front of her dresser mirror, burying her face in her hands. Miho peeped in suddenly, just as Akira turned to corner of the hallway. He quickly hid behind the door, and hoped Miho or Fujio wouldn't misunderstand him if they managed to see him spying.


"Fujio!!!! I'm so proud of you!!" Declared her overly excited friend. "You made a great princess!"


"Stop it, Miho. You're embarassing me." She blushed a little. Miho lightly patted Fujio's back, grinning.


"Why don't we enjoy the rest of the night? My treat!"


"Um...wait. Miho, I have to change first."


"Oh come on!! You look beautiful the way you are! You will greet everyone, and stand out as the beautiful princess of the ball!!"


"No..." Fujio stared at her mirror. She didn't know what to think. Walking around the festival dressed in her costume was an embarassing thought. She nervously tapped her fingers together. "I don't have anything nice to wear. I'll just go back to the dorms for the night."


"Stop sulking! With that attitude, you won't even get a boyfriend!" Said Miho jokingly. "I have the perfect yukata for you to wear!! I didn't bring it for nothing, ya know?" Miho placed a neatly wrapped pink bag on Fujio's dresser. "You decide. If you don't want to wear it..."


Fujio stared at the package for a long time before coming to a decision. "Ok...I'll wear it."


Miho's expression brightened. "Awesome! I knew you'd see it my way!!" Miho walked towards the door. Before exiting, she turned to Fujio. "Don't take long now!!" She waved and closed the door behind her.


Akira froze. Too late to run for Miho had turned around and came face to face with him. She almost jumped back in shock. Akira immediately covered her mouth.


"Don't...say a word." He let go.


Miho stuck her chin up and turned away. "How rude, Fukae. HEY!! What in the world are you doing here anyway? Don't you know this is a girls dressing room??" Miho turned bright red, and made a very devious grin while watching Fukae suspiciously. "YOU PERV-"


Akira covered her mouth once again, hissing for her to shut up. "It's not like that!"


"So...what are you doing here?" She nudged the blushing boy in the arm. He brushed her off and turned away. "AW, come on!"


"I just...wanted to tell her..."


Miho's eyes widened in delightful thinking. "So Fukae really is in love with my dear best friend. What ever happened to that? You rejected her before."


"It's different now!!"


"She would be really happy if this were two months ago, you know."


"What do you mean?"


"Well...time changes people. But since this a matter between the two of you, I'll let you lovers be." She stepped further away from him.


"Miho...I still don't understand what you are talking about." He yelled at her. He then glanced nervously at the door, fearing that Fujio would overhear the conversation or walk out at any moment. "Hey...I'm just going to go outside."


"Well, if you insist."


"Please don't tell Fujio I came by." Akira made his way passed her.


Miho watched him with quick curiosity as he made his way out of her sight. It was then that she was beginning to recall memories of those two months before. "He made her cry." She thought about what Fujio had said to her that day. Those words of rejection. She choked those words out of her while sobbing. Her hair was a mess. One of Fujio's ribbons were missing. at first, Miho thought that perhaps Akira might have mocked her or used violence on her explaining the reason to her messy hair. "The ribbon." She noticed the green ribbon in Akira's hand.


***


He watched from the very same place Fujio had confessed her love to him. He took a small green ribbin from his pocket, watching over it protectively. The moon was out and still. He watched the festival going on from the roof top. The glimmering lights, and the sight of all those people made him feel empty.


***


"I know where he is now." Thought Miho suspiciously. She quickly back-tracked, entering into Fujio's dressing room. "Hey!!"


"Oh, Miho. You're back. Is something up?"


"Can I have a word with you?" She clapped her hands together in a begging manner, while smiling innocently.


"Sure." Fujio just sweatdropped. "I hope I don't have to deliver a love letter for you or anything like that!! This is a favor, right?"


"Oh no!" Miho chuckled. "Actually, I was going to say that I'll be going on ahead. My boyfriend invited me out to dinner."


"Is that it? Well, have fun then."


"Well, that's not all!" Fujio looked at her. "You see. Seiko's been rather...well...she's been so depressed lately. She's got no company for the festival. Do you think..."


"Of course I'll accompany Seiko!" Fujio thought about this. "This is odd. Seiko isn't the type to get all depressed. She would have just gone home."


"Well, let's just say it's one of those days. She's never been to a festival in a while, and I promised her you'd meet her!" Miho sighed with relief. "She's just sitting up at the schools roof top waiting." Miho quickly walked to the door, standing just a little behind it. "See you later, Fujio!!!" Miho departed.


Fujio glanced over at herself in the mirror. Miho left her a really pretty pink yukata perfect for the festival. Fujio couldn't believe she was wearing it. It was just too pretty. She felt too low to wear something this pretty. To match up her hair, she attached pretty cherries on each side of her pigtails.


"I wonder why Seiko would be so depressed and isolate herself like that. She really isn't like that at all. In fact...Seiko's got a boyfriend now. I wonder why he isn't with her?"


***


The stairs weren't too far from the auditorium. Fujio made quickly for them. "It's so dark." She thought. "Why would she be back here?" There was hardly any lighting from the classrooms. She couldn't go too fast for she fear of falling down the stairs. The steps were very hard to see. "Seiko wouldn't be here. There's something very fishy about all of this." Fujio grabbed the door handle, slowly pushing it open.


He turned around at the sound of footsteps getting closer. Fujio's expression became clear as she saw who it really was waiting for her. Her eyes grew big.


"Fukae-kun?" She knew she wouldn't find Seiko here. Seiko didn't tend to do too well in the dark. But to see Akira...is a complete surprise. "What was Miho thinking?"


"Himejima-san..."


Fujio froze. "Oh no." She recalled this to be the place where she had confessed her love to him. Her heart began to race, and her stomach began turning wildly. Her healed wounds suddenly returned to being broken. "What does he want?" She thought to herself.


"Um..." He began. She folded her hands together in front of her stomach while staring at the floor.


"Yes, Fukae-kun?"


"Sorry. I guess I'm making you uncomfortable. I was just about to go down and see the festival. If you want...I mean...do you mind?"


"I'll accompany you."


They both sighed with relief. She almost lost it that moment. He felt his heart wanting to collapse. He walked closer to her, holding out his hand for her to take. He turned his head towards the sky to avoid eye contact with her. This was one of Akira's usual habits when displaying feelings of nervousness. Fujio nodded, quickly taking his hand.


***


"Why can't I confess?" He staggered upon his thoughts more and more.


"Oh!! Look, Fukae-kun!" Fujio pointed excitedly at a little booth selling charms. Akira snapped out of his thoughts and turned over to where she was directing his attention. "Aww...so cute..." She smiled widely at them."


"She is cute...when she's not fighting." He thought to himself. "Do you want one?" He glanced over at the cute yet funny looking charms displayed at the table.


Fujio turned to him in surprise. "Yes! My favorite is this little bunny." She pointed. Akira immediately set the money on the table.


"Fukae, you don't have to."


"Take it."


She gratefully did. "Aren't you going to get one for yourself? We can share one!"


"It's my gift to you." He smiled at her warmly. Fujio blushed, quickly taking the charm in her hands. She embraced it close to her face.


"Thank you so much, Fukae-kun!!" She smiled gratefully at him. "It's so cute. I'll treasure it forever!" She clutched it happily. "You didn't have to spend money on me though..."


"But I wanted to." He finished quickly .


"I see." Fujio took his arm. "Fukae-kun, you seem so different lately." He didn't reply. He had no idea what to say to her. "I'm almost afraid." Thought Fujio. "But I can't ignore that day..." She thought about his accident, slipping over her enough so that their lips locked passionately? Too passionate for words alone. "That was my first kis. Of all people...it was with my dear Fukae-kun. Does he...is he in love with me? I don't know what to do. I'm so nervous. My stomach..."


"Fujio?"


"Yes?"


"Are you hungry?"


"EH??" She blushed furiously. Her stomach began growling at the sudden thought of food. She laughed nervously. "Well I..."


"I'll treat you." He almost laughed at her. Fujio couldn't help but to laugh along. He hardly ever laughed now that she thought about it.


"It's ok, Fukae."


"Fujio..." He looked into her eyes. Fujio felt herself growing pale again. She tripped a little, falling against his chest. He caught her just in time. "Are you alright?"


"..." She blushed and jumped away. "I know!! Let's have some miso soup!!" She laughed out loud. "Some souba noodles! Sushi!!"


"Alright." He quickly took her arm, accompanying her to wherever the scent of food could lead them. Akira would look at Fujio from the corner of his eyes, taking note of her beauty and sudden excitement. He felt happy that she wasn't miserable around him. He thought back to Miho's words, feeling a pinch of fear in the back of his mind. He clutched his chest with his free hand. "I have to tell her." He thought to himself.


***


"These noodles are delicious!!" Fujio cried out cheerfully.


"I agree." He smiled while he ate. From time to time, he would glance at her while she ate. She also noticed this. He could feel her warm heart. Her smile made him smile. In the first place, Fukae was thankful she didn't refuse to come along with him. She had a charm that he wish he could have seen sooner. He was blind to so much before he began to develop feelings for her. She also reminded him so much of Fuuko. She had somewhat of a caring and happy personality. She cared so much about the feelings of others almost before her own. He didn't love her because she just happened to be Fuuko's best friend. He didn't want it to seem like he was only loving her as a substitute or to try and get over his rejection from Fuuko.


"Oh...look." Mala barged in on them in disgust. Fujio froze. Anger suddenly emerged in her heart as well as fear. She glared hatefully at her, remembering those bruises the hostile junior gave to her.


"Leave us alone. If you dare lay a finger on Himegima, you will never see out of those eyes of yours!"


"Akira, you are just too thoughtful." She watched Fujio the entire time, not even acknowledging Akira's presense all that much. "Akira, you best be watchful." She concluded, walking over to Fujio. Fujio's hateful glare turned into fear. Mala instantly grabbed hold of Fujio's hair forcefully, tearing the cherry flower to pieces. She reached again viciously trying harder to pull out her hair. Akira instantly rose from his seat, smacking Mala across the face. She glared angrily at him. "How dare you hurt me? You dare hurt a woman?"


"Get away from Himejima, you low life. You obviously have NO idea how she feels nor do you care."


Mala just got up and left. "I don't need you, Akira Fukae. I've found someone a lot better than you anyway. No loss."


Akira immediately went to Fujio's aid. He leaned over her, helping her up. "Are you hurt?" She reacted by pushing away from him and got up. Without thinking, she ran off. "Fujio!!!!" He called after her. Quickly, he ran for her. The disassembled cherry now lie on the ground from where Fujio once sat. "Himejima-san! Please stop!"


She refused. Droplets fell against his skin. "Rain?" Within moments, it started pouring. Fujio's pretty pink yukata was now drenched. She slipped and fell right into the mud. Instead of getting back up and running, she just sat there in tears. He finally caught up to her.


"Fujio..." He knelt beside her. "Hurry and come with me."


"Where?" She said in a low voice.


"I know you are in a lot of pain."


"You don't..."


"Yes I do!!" He threw his arms around her in a tight embrace. "I do understand." Tears forced their way out of his eyes. This was also very new to her. Always tough and cold, Akira loostened the knott on his heart. She could feel his warm body over her protectively. She sat there in his warms wanting badly to touch his face. She reached forward, trying to feel his face.


"Fukae..." She whispered.


"Please..."


"You are crying."


He pulled her up, carrying her over his back. "Don't be stubborn. We have to find shelter." He told her. "It wasn't suppose to rain today." He thought to himself.


He finally found shelter under the schools roof.


"The festival is over."


"Fukae..." Fujio cried out. "I'm so sorry."


"What for? You didn't do anything." He gently placed her against the wall and took a seat beside her. "We can stay here til the rain stops." Fujio only nodded and sighed.


"It's the same as before, isn't it?" She looked over at him. "I mean...you and I...taking shelter from the rain. It's just like before."


"Fujio?"


"Hmm?"


"Um..." He felt his heart against his chest, and blushed a little. Fujio could tell it was something. She wanted to know. She just smiled warmly at him while clutching the bunny charm close to her heart. Seeing her smile made him calm down a little bit. "If you don't mind. I know this is kind of sudden. Please Fujio..."


Her eyes widened.


"I love you. Please...be with me." Without further notice, he took her, and pulled her forward into a kiss. Fujio felt herself losing her breathe. She couldn't close her eyes. She was scared and happy all at once. She felt his love rushing through her entire body with this one kiss. Tears filled her eyes. She suddenly didn't know why or what was wrong with her when she pushed him away.


"I...I'm sorry." She cried.


"You don't love me..." He looked away in disappointment.


"That's not it!! Fukae-kun, I'm still in love with you. But I can't. I can't return your love.


"What?!?" He couldn't understand.


Fujio turned away. She tried to be courageous. She tried very hard to keep her tears hidden. "I'm going to America."


His face became downcast. He sat there feeling his heart shattered all over again.


"I can't return your heart..."


"Why...why do you have to go?"


Fujio thought about the most appropriate words to say at this moment. It was hard for her. She didn't want to leave. She wish she could stay and be in love with Fukae. She still loved him. She was also scared. "Dad's business moved. Mom is sick. His contract will be over in four years. I can't come back until then. I know that you might even forget all about me by then."


"No!" He grabbed her arm forcefully. "I'm better than that. I'll wait forever. I'll wait forever for ONLY you!!!"


Fujio placed her hands over his heart. She too was heartbroken. She wanted to be in love. She wanted him. Now she would have to go far away and force herself to forget all about him. While she pushed away, it seemed to just hurt Fukae so much more. She was hurting.


//"I'm sorry, Fujio. There's nothng we can do. You have a week to tell your friends the news."//


"I'm so sorry!!" Fujio fled from him, leaving a trail of tears for him to capture. He stood there for a long time. He gritted his teeth together.


"Why..." He yelled out angrily. "Why this..."


***


Fujio held the bunny charm over her, letting the moonlight hit it. The shadow danced on her bed sheets. Tonight was her last night in the dorms. She hadn't even told her own friends about her move. They weren't even back yet. "Fukae..." She cried again. "I promise I'll come back one day."





Chapter 6 Four Years Later

Four years had passed since Fujio's sudden leave for America. She stepped off the plane on Japan soil once again, taking a deep breathe of relief. She smiled widely. "I'm here!!" She declared cheerfully. "Now to look for a place to live."


The 14 year old Fujio was now 18 and a beauty at that. Her hair was much longer. Although she kept her natural look, so make up was never an option for her. She had become more mature and responsible each day. She had the perfect figure of a model.


She continued her journey to the familiar little place close to Seito Sanamiyo. "Gochiso." She walked up to the door, lightly knocking.


"Yeah, coming!!" Came a voice from the other end. The door slightly opened, revealing a rather short old woman. "Yeah, who is it? May I help you miss?"


"Baa-chan..."


"Excuse me??" She looked at her sternly. "Do I know you?"


"Oh pardon me!!!" Fujio bowed politely. "How rude of me. I'm Hime Fu...Fujiko, and if it's alright, I came for a place to stay for a while just until I get settled here in town." Fujio stared at the ground shyly. She noticed the strange woman looking her up and down curiously. She slightly changed her name to keep her real identity hidden for now.


"Hime, eh? I know I've heard that name somewhere before. "Well, Fujiko. I'd gladly take you in. Got enough to pay for the rent?"


"Maam...I promise I will pay rent. I just arrived from America, so I don't have much of a place to go right now. I'm currently looking for a job. If you don't mind... if it's not too much trouble..."


"Of course not. But as long as you pay the rent, you are guaranteed to stay, young woman." Baa-chan pushed the door further open, inviting 'Fujiko' to come on in. She escorted her to a small table, and sat on opposite ends from her.


"Oh thank you so much, Baa-chan!!!"


"I'm rather curious to know something, miss Fujiko."


"Ha...hai?" Fujio felt herself getting nervous. She waited patiently.


"Only certain people call me Baa-chan. Why in the world do you call me that? Unless we've met before."


"Oh, I'm terribly sorry!!" Fujio bowed her head. "It's just...you um...remind me so much of my own Baa-chan back in America."


"Oh!! America? You came a long way then." She nodded and looked over at Fujio. "I'll prepare a room for you then. How long do you suppose you will take before getting a job."


"Very soon maam. I promise you! I'm ever so grateful!!"


"Hmm..." Baa-chan eyed her feature once again. "How old are you?"


"I'm eighteen."


"And already independent. That's good to hear."


"Um. Baa-chan? Do you know of any local high schools I can attend around here? I'm not very familiar with this place. It's been a few years."


"Oh, of course I do.


***


"Alright, settle down class. We have a new student joining us today!! Go on, please introduce yourself."


Fujio made her way towards the center of the class, keeping her head lowered the entire time. Shyly, she looked up at her classmates. "Good morning. My name is Hime Fujiko, and I'm a transfer student from America." Her classmates began whispering amongst one another about the interesting girl from America.


"Are American girls exactly like this girl?"


"She aint that bad looking."


Fujio blushed. She waited for her sensei to direct her to a seat.


"My name is Hibiki Amawa and I will be teaching Gym class. It's a real pleasure meeting you, Miss Hime. Now please take a seat over next to Fukae."


Fujio's head shot up over the shock of hearing two familiar names. She glanced over at Hibiki Amawa. "He returned...that means..." She then glanced over at Fukae, who just raised his hand to indicate there was an empty desk beside his. Fujio nodded and walked over to her empty seat. "Fukae..." Her sudden memories were returning to her. She clutched her hand over her heart in pain. She made a small glance from the corner of her eyes. "He's here...and still so very handsome."


Fukae didn't care much about the new girl. He was rather bored of class as usual. She was very pretty when he took a single glance at her. However, he was too embarassed. A shiney object from the corner of his vision caught his attention. There on Fujio's book bag, was a familiar bunny charm dangling excitedly against the buckle.


"Could it be?" He thought to himself. "Hey..." Fujio turned to him in surprise.


"Yes?"


"Can I ask you where you got that charm, Fujiko?" He pointed to her book bag.


"Oh! This?" She grabbed hold of it. "It was given to me by a special someone four years ago." She smiled sweetly at him and reverted her attention to Hibiki Amawa's homeroom session. Nothing much happened in homeroom. Fujio decided to rest her head against the cool desk.


"A special someone four years ago?" Thought Akira.


//"This is the last time I'll forget you..."//


"Akira-sempai!!!" Fujio turned her attention to a girl that had just approached his desk. She presented him with a special made lunch box while smiling. "Please, enjoy this lunch I dedicated my heart into making it for you."


"Thanks." He replied dully.


She walked away happily.


"Don't mind her." Said Fukae suddenly. "She's in love with me."


"Oh...I see." Fujio stared sadly at her desk. Akira took note of her sudden reaction suspiciously.


"Is something wrong?"


"Eh...I'm very sorry." Fujio quickly got up and raised her hand. Hibiki turned to her in concern. "I'm sorry, sensei. I'm not feeling very well. May I see a nurse?"


"Sure. Would you like some company? I'll have Kuzuha go with you!" A young girl immediately jumped up excitedly at the sound of her name being called. She walked towards the door, waiting for Fujio to join her.


***


"Hi!!! My name is Fuuko Kuzuha!! I really hope you like our school, Fujiko-san!!"


Fujio looked at her, smiling. "Fuuko has matured and grown so beautiful, hasn't she?" Thought Fujio. "I wonder if she even remembers who I am."


"Miss Fujiko?"


"Yeah?"


"What's America like?"


"Oh...well." Fujio smiled. "It's a lot modern like it is here. Schools and hours are different over there. For example, we have no school on Saturday and our classes end short. Summer days are always so hott. Our summer vacations are three months before the new quarter begins."


"Really??" Fuuko was very interested. Her sweet personality was still the same as four years ago. Her smile was ever so pleasant. Fujio couldn't help but feel so warm whenever she was around Fuuko. She hardly recognized the girl. Fuuko had much longer hair, and wore her hair band the opposite way. She grew taller and fuller, just as tall as Fujio. "By the way, Fujiko-san. Why do you need to go to the nurse?"


"I don't want to pass out in the middle of class. I was starting to see black. It would have caused some controversy if I stayed in class."


"Anemia?"


"No, I'm not really sure."


//"I'll wait for you..."//


"Oh no!! Fujiko-san!!" Fuuko cried out. She immediately came to Fujio's aid for she had suddenly collapsed on the way down the stairs. "Please, someone help!!" She cried out, but no one was around to hear her pleas. "Oh no. Please stay still, Fujiko-san!! I'll go get Hibiki-sensei!!!" Fuuko immediately left her side, and ran back to her homeroom to find her dear sensei.


***


"I havn't been here...in such a long time. Why am I hear now?" Fujio lie on the floor curled up in a ball. She felt droplets of water all over her body. It was raining. "It's so cold and dark."


"You remember this place, don't you?"


"I do..." Answered Fujio softly. "I inflicted my self pain when I could no longer take the hint...that Fukae loved Fuuko and not me. My wound was reopened in this very place. You tried to breathe in the remainder of my life. You tried to control my thoughts. You are my depression...my hope...my everything. I love him still...so why do I have to think this way? He confessed his love to me. Isn't that enough?"


"What are you so afraid of?"


"Myself..." Fujio clutched onto her knees tightly. "And Fukae-kun."


"Why Fukae-kun?"


"What if..." Fujio hesitated a little before answering. "What if Fukae...hates me now..."


"Fujio..."


"Fukae?" Fujio perked her head up at the sound of his voice. "I hear him!! Where is he?" Fujio looked down at her legs. There was a smear of blood trickling down her right leg, making it difficult for her to move. "What is this?!?" She screamed. "It's an illusion, isn't it?!?"


"Fujio?"


"Please don't leave!!"


***


Fujio's eyes shot open. The first thing she did when she saw Hibiki standing before her, was throw her arms around him. "Fukae..." She cried out. "Oh god..." Hibiki was thrown back in surprise. He blushed a little with discomfort, but didn't want to be rude by prying the girl off of him. Fuuko watched from the end of the room. Her reaction went from a blush to a hint of anger.


"Hime-san, are you alright?"


"Huh...?" Fujio looked around the nurses room. She quickly released her grip of Hibiki, blushing. "I'm so sorry."


"She said Fukae's name..." Thought Fuuko. "Does she know him?"


Fujio sunk back into the covers, too embarassed to show her face. She coughed a little.


"I'm glad she's alright now. It's just a little anemia." Said Hibiki. "You must have had a nightmare."


"Nightmare." Thought Fujio. "It was almost too real. I hate this inner pain..."


"Well, now that you are alright, get some rest. I'll be heading back to class." He turned to Fuuko. "Thank you very much, Kuzuha. You can return to class now!"


"Yes!" Fuuko bowed politely and exited the room.


"NO wait!!! Please stay." Fujio said suddenly. "I need...advice."


Fuuko paused as she reached a safe place to spy behind the door. She was curious to know what the new girl had to say. She was almost jealous in a way. She knew it wasn't right to spy, but she couldn't help herself. She was a little saddened.


Hibiki sat on a chair beside her bed, scooting a little closer. Fujio looked up towards the ceiling. He knew something was troubling her deeply. He just hoped he could be helpful to his student as a kyoshi.


"Hibiki-sensei. I had a horrible dream about my past."


"Does it have something to do with Fukae?"


"How did you know?"


"You shouted his name in your sleep."


"Well..." Fujio blushed. "Yes...it does. You see. Four years ago, I was in love with a boy named Fukae. I left for America because my dad's business moved, and my mom spent her last days in the hospital over there."


"I'm very sorry." Said Hibiki sadly.


Fujio shook her head. "It's fine. I'm over it now. It's just... my life was here."


"Himejima...is it?"


She felt a shock by the mention of her name. "How..."


"Hime...jima??" Fuuko's eyes grew big at the sound of that familiar name. "But that's Fujio's name..."


"Please, sensei!! Don't tell anyone I'm Himejima!! I'm really scared."


"I won't...I promise. But you are going to have to face Fukae and your friends eventually."


Fujio paused for a long time before speaking. "Sensei...can you tell me about Fukae? How is he and everyone?"


Hibiki smiled. "Miho, Kuzuha, and Seiko are doing well. I didn't get to have Seiko and Miho in my homeroom this year. Fukae...is still very much in love with his Himejima." Hibiki could only continue smiling as he got up from his seat and headed towards the door. By this time, Fuuko had immediately returned to her class. "I'm really glad you are back."


"Hibiki-sensei...I'm so glad you are back too. It feels just like middle school again..."


***


"I need a job." Thought Fujio. She was directed by Hibiki and Baa-chan to take a look downtown for job openings. She took note of a cafe. Being a waitress didn't sound too difficult. She would get by with the rent for now. She wandered into the shop, looking around for the manager. She saw some customers enjoying their delicate treats. She could smell the sweet aura of cinnimon rolls freshly made with the scent of french vanilla mocha.


"Can I help you, miss?"


"Hai!!" Fujio bowed. "My name is Hime Fujiko! I am looking for a job, maam. I noticed the sign in your window that says you are now hiring! If it's alright...may I work here?"


"You are in luck." Said the woman. "There's an opening for a waittress and a cashier. Do you have any work experience?"


"I do. I have somewhat of an experience back home in America. I worked part time."


"That's good to know. Can you start tomorrow?"


"AH!!!" Fujio was surprised by this. "Wait. Don't I need an interview or anything?"


"Not here. Don't worry about it. Just as long as you can come in around 16:00, you are good."


"Oh, wow!!" Fujio grinned, almost too happy for words. "Thank you so much!! I promise to work hard!!" Fujio bowed once again and departed for Gochiso.


***


"So, did you get the job?"


"Yes, I did!!" Fujio said cheerfully as she sat down before Baa-chan's table. Baa-chan just nodded in approval.


"Good, then rent will be no problem for you."


"I'm really glad. The woman hired me as a waitress, so I start tomorrow."


"So soon? So how was your first day of school?"


Fujio paused for a bit. "It was...great."


"You don't seem to be so enthusiastic, Hime-san."


"It's not that." Fujio thought of something better to say. She didn't want to reveal her identity. Hibiki already figured it out. She somehow suspicioned that Baa-chan also knew. The reactions she felt from seeing Fuuko, Fukae, and Hibiki again were constantly lurking in her mind. "Baa-chan...it's so hard to come back to a place I left behind four years ago."


"It isn't easy. It never was meant to be." She replied. "Why don't you get some rest? You must save your energy for school and work."


"I know, but I'm not tired at all." Fujio slowly placed the chop sticks containing rice into her mouth, chewing very slowly. Baa-chan could tell something was terribly wrong with the girl. She wanted to help out, but Fujio was just too mysterious. She would think of asking Hibiki since he had close ties with his students. She decided to just wait it out and see what happens. It's been a while since she had a female for company. The stress of getting the rent would be one less.


"I remember this place very well." Thought Fujio to herself. "I always misunderstood our sensei...the bra man. It was always those two men from Gochiso that always came snooping into Fuuko's room. At first...I wanted to find out for sure. It was the pride that kept me going. Now...it's not even that anymore. I was doing it because I was protecting Fuuko. I've always wanted to be close to her, but I put it in the back of my mind. Besides... if a tomboy suddenly became open or emotional...Fuuko might not like me very much. She was always the cute one. I was the tomboy. Miho had the body. Seiko was the classy one. I wish I had someone who could understand my pain. If I told Baa-chan, she might disapprove of me for lying. How can I possibly approach Fukae now? Maybe he forgot all about me. Hibiki said...he still loves Himejima. That's right...Himejima Fujio...not Hime Fujiko."


"So...you are the little anemic, aren't you?"


Fujio could only nodd and reply softly. "I had no idea."


"Maybe it's the weather. You have to adjust to Japan again. Why not rest? You look like you are going to faint on the table. I don't want to have to clean up any more mess!!"


"I'm truly sorry. If you will excuse me." Fujio got up and departed for her room. "Good night, Baa-chan."


Fujio quickly slipped on her night gown. She hadn't even done her homework. She was too tired to think. She managed to brush her teeth and hair without falling asleep in the sink. She hit hard against the bed, burying her face in the pillow. Her long hair was everywhere. "I just hope I don't have another anemia attack tomorrow..."


***


Fujio yawned on her way to class. This was only her second day. She just hoped no one would remember her little anemia attack. She quickly walked in, making her way to her seat. Hibiki glanced at her then back to the board. He quickly wrote down a few words before addressing his class.


"Ok, class. There's been a change of schedule. We are going to be having gym class for first period today." The class gave an exhausting look at their sensei. He grinned. Another proud day of being a gym kyoshi. "Alright, no excuses. Hurry up and get ready."


The class immediately responded by grabbing their belongings, heading towards the changing lockers. Akira looked over at Fujio just out of curiosity before leaving the room. She was the last to make her way down the aisle.


"Sensei..." Fujio blushed, giving her attention to the floor. "I don't have a uniform."


"Don't worry. I came prepared." He handed her a bag. She quickly took it, almost too embarassed. "Don't worry. You will do just fine, Himejim- I mean Hime-san." He almost laughed nervously. "Sorry, I'll try harder not to forget." Fujio nodded, quickly following the other girls to their lockers.


***


"Buruma..." Fujio blushed. She held it up at an angle.


"Well, are you going to try it on or not? You aren't suppose to stare at buruma, you know." Fuuko poked in on her, smiling widely. "Fujiko, why so embarassed?"


"Oh...Fuuko-san...it's just."


"Too provocative? Don't worry. All the girls have to wear them."


"You are right." Fujio slid the buruma up her skirt, almost tripping on herself in the process. "I just forgot how it felt to wear these strange things again.


"Hey Fujiko, if we get to pick partners, do you want to be mine?"


"Ah!!" She jumped up excitedly. "Sure!!"


"K!" Fuuko hugged her. "I hope you don't mind. I like making new friends. Since your new, I wanted to pay some attention to you too."


***


"Alright class, today we are doing boy/girl pairing."


Fuuko was disappointed that she wouldn't be able to partner with Fujio. She was delighted in the fact that she could be Hibiki's partner. Fujio only nodded at her. She was hopeful that her new friend wasn't angry with her. Fujio's smile made her more comfortable. The class scattered around to find their boy/girl partners. Fujio just stood there feeling shy. She had a feeling that asking Fukae would be a mistake. That girl might have him. Her name was Miako and she was rather cute. Fujio felt a tap on her shoulder.


"Miss Hime...I'll be your partner."


Fujio blushed. "Wouldn't you rather be Miako's partner?"


Akira laughed. "She will squeeze my hand way too tight. Besides, you are just by yourself. It doesn't help if you start out being a loner."


"Thanks." He was just the same old Fukae she knew. She smiled at the thought of being chosen over someone she thought to be more suitable than her.


"Alright, today we are running in partners."


"Running?" Thought Fujio.


"Is something wrong, Fujiko?"


"No. I just don't know if I will be able to keep up."


"Don't worry. Just pace yourself and you will do fine." He said rather harshly. Fujio just nodded.


***


"Running beside Fukae-kun..." Fujio smiled warmly at the thought of it. "Does he still love me...?"


***


"FUJIKO!!!" Fukae cried out. Everyone stopped and back-tracked to where Fujio and Fukae were. Fujio had fainted beside him. He tried to lift her in his arms. "She's fainted!!" He turned to Hibiki.


"Hurry and take her to the nurse. It's her anemia again."


Akira nodded. He placed Fujio on his back, and quickly carried her to the nurses room. "She was pushing herself. Why?" He thought over and over again.


"Nurse, where's your available room? There's a girl who needs urgent care!!!!"


"I knew that Fujiko girl would be back. Her anemia seems to be hitting hard." The nurse lead Fukae into an empty room where Fukae placed Fujio's body gently. She placed a hand over Fujio's forehead. "She's got a fever. Please keep watch while I get her some medicine!"


Fukae nodded and sat at the edge of the bed to wait patiently. He often glanced at her. "She looks so familiar. Like someone I once knew."


"Fukae..." Fujio grabbed hold of his hand instantly. "Please don't leave me alone."


Fukae blushed. "Fujiko...you were being too hard on yourself."


"I'm so sorry. I didn't know this would happen." Fujio sat up on her bed, playfully tapping her fingers together. "Ever since yesterday, I saw Fukae for the first time in four years. How much longer do I have to hide myself from him." Thought Fujio to herself.


"Fujiko..."


"Yeah?


"It's strange. You remind me of a girl I was in love with."


"..."


"Sorry. I shouldn't be telling you all of this. We only just met."


"No I don't mind at all. What was she like?"


"She was everything to me. She had a pure heart hidden inside of her."


"I'm very sorry. What happened to her?"


"She moved to America. You are from America, right?"


Fujio looked towards the edge of the bed with a sad look on her face. "Fukae..." She desperately wanted to reach out and touch him. She wanted to throw her arms around him tightly, and cry against his back. She held it in as much as she could. "I'm Fujiko. I'm not the girl you loved."


"Yeah..." He got up and headed out the door. "I'm sure you are alright now."


"Thank you for taking care of me!" Fujio called out as he left the nurses room.


Fujio was just about to get up when Fuuko came right in.


"Fujiko? I'm so glad you are alright!!" Fuuko embraced Fujio.


"I'm so sorry, Fuuko. I have to get to work." Fujio quickly got free from Fuuko's grasp, running for the door. Fuuko stared at her.


"I want to know for sure..." Thought Fuuko as she decided on following her.


***


Fujio was on her way to her job for the first day. She was partially excited about it. She needed the money since she was running short from whatever little her father gave her. Fuuko trailed behind at a distance, advancing closer at every step Fujio seemed to make. She entered the small cafe.


"I'm here!!!"


"Welcome, miss Hime!! Just in time!!" The woman greeted her with a package. "Here, your apron." Fujio quickly took it, and fastened it over her shoulders.


"I think I can handle it from here!!"

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