Paradise for the Fragile Heart

author: okenakab

disclaimer: all similarities with situations and people in real life are purely coincidental. general storyline and characters belong to yours truly.

How long has it been . . . like 8 months . . .which isn't so bad when you compare it to Average Girl, which has been neglected for about a year. Oo;; Forgive me! I don't know what happened, but time just freaking flew by and I STILL don't have my own computer to work on. Grr . . .

Anyway, please accept this humble chapter from the lowly author. What would I do without you R & Rers?! Thank you guys so much!


chapter three: questions in play (again, again) – third contact

Y.U.M.I.


"Guess what, Yu-chan?!"

I grunted in response, concentrating on my homework.

"Shu, don't be so loud. It's the library," said Aki. I sighed inwardly, thankful that Aki, at least, was behaving himself for once.

Shu pouted, and Aki smirked. Shit.

"Well, you could always continue, really really loudly, and then I can shut you up with a kis – "

Several people, including the librarian, looked up at the resounding smack that followed. I gave them a fake, plastered smile. "Oh, I'm sorry, I just dropped my books."

"Yeah, on my freakin' head!" hissed Aki.

I gladly stepped on his foot.

The librarian shooed us out after a few more minor scuffles between Aki and me caused some people to complain. I was pissed at Aki, Aki was pissed at me, and Shu was scurrying back and forth between both of us. That was when he mentioned it.

"Ah, Yu-chan, what I meant to say earlier was – guess what?!"

"Uh . . . what?" I responded rather dully to his enthusiastic question.

"Our class is putting on a drama!"

"What, like a soap opera?" asked Aki.

"No! Like, a Greek play! I think it's by Aristotle or somebody like that."

"Shu, Aristotle was a philosopher." I was already bored by his great announcement, and I started to shuffle through the papers in my binder. Plays . . . I was never in any school activities, and plays definitely did not make my list.

Shu didn't seem to pick up on my disinterest. "Well! They're having auditions, and the main character is some girl who buries her brother and gets punished for it – "

I looked up. "Are you talking about 'Antigone'? That's by Sophocles." Aki and Shu looked at me, surprised.

"Wow – do you actually pay attention in class now, Yu-chan?"

I glared at Shu. "What do you mean, 'actually'? I NEVER pay attention in class. I just know this stuff from last year's history book."

Aki grinned, again. Double shit. "Wow – do you actually READ, Yumi?"

"DIE."


"So, today we'll be choosing the cast members for 'Antigone'," said Sai with his much-too-cheery-for-me-but-damn-I-can't-wipe-it-off-his-face smile. "Um, any suggestions?"

"KYAAA!! SAI-KUN!!" came the usual scream. I desperately tried not to immediately desert my seat and run out the door. "YOU SHOULD BE PRINCE HAEMON!!" screamed Maya in her incredibly high-pitched squawk.

"Ah . . . I mean, for the other roles? H-how about, um, Antigone?"

"PICK ME PICK ME PICKMEEE!!!!!" I was hit by a couple of overzealous hands waving in the air, and amidst the chaos, I saw Maya trip over a chair. Heh.

"Hey, what happened to Maya?" "Maya, are you okay?"

"Who gives a damn," I muttered under my breath.

"Settle down! Class!" Shiba-sensei had finally had enough. "We'll decide this fairly!"

A couple of squeaky markers and a large piece of cardboard later, we had designed a long maze with the available roles at the top and all the students on the bottom.

"Okay, here goes . . ." Sai picked up the designated blue marker. "First, the role of Antigone goes to . . . um, Miwabuki Shuro?"

Shu blinked. I snorted. "Me?" he asked, eyes wide with surprise. "Me??"

Aki smirked and draped his arms over Shu's shoulders. "Of course, honey! You're perfect for the role. Suicidal drama queen . . . what could be better than that?"

Shu's eyes, if possible, became even rounder. "Suicide??!!"

Sai slowly turned back to the board. "Um, for Creon, we have . . . Chiharu Yumi."

I was immediately eyed by everyone in the room. "What?" I asked, dully. So what if I was playing a man, let alone an OLDER man? Look at Shu!

"For Haemon, Shizuhara Aki?" Aki literally leapt a foot into the air. "YES!"

Shu stared at him, bewildered. "What are you so happy about?"

Aki's smirk was absolutely feral. "I get to play your lover," he breathed lightly into Shu's ear, and Shu ended up blushing madly. I breathed in a sigh of relief. At least Aki didn't kiss him – again.

"Ismene is Hinokaru Nami." A dainty-looking girl nodded primly in response.

"The chorus leader will be Asura Tanako." Another girl I didn't know smiled and blushed when Sai looked her way. He then proceeded to rattle off a bunch of people who would essentially be statues on the stage, only joining in as the spectators. None of them caught my attention until –

"The messenger is Awayuki Maya." No response. Sai turned around, looking for her pink head. "Maya-san?"

"Maya's on the floor," I volunteered helpfully.

Sai decided not to comment.

"And, the sentry will be . . . uh, Minamo Sai. I mean, me." Sai grinned sheepishly, and a bunch of girls groaned. "Sai-kun, you should be the prince!!"

I tried not to puke. Didn't they already know he wasn't going to be Haemon when Aki's name was called? Why humans held on to such foolish hopes was beyond me.

Crap. I didn't want to be in the same play as Aki and Shu – especially if they were going to play star-crossed lovers, of all things. Just as I raised my hand, Shiba-sensei stood up. "Well, I'm sure you all got your parts, so please study hard for them! No changes can be made – we'll make sure you can't back out!" She smiled rather forcefully (well, she HAD wasted an entire period on this stupid play) and sat down, watching the murmurs break forth out of the students.

"Oh my GOD. A gay couple as the main lovers? THAT'S SO AWESOME." "Give me a break. I'm totally not coming." "You should invite your friend! Isn't she into yaoi?" "Why didn't Sai get to be Haemon? We all gave him our votes!" "Ah, Maya-san! You're awake!"

I turned around to see a confused Maya stand up. "Wh-what happened? Who got Antigone?"

Shu timidly raised his hand. "Um, me . . . "

Maya glared at him. "Why, you . . . "

Aki suddenly appeared between them. "Don't worry, dear Maya-chan," he said snidely (he hated Maya just as much as I did), "I'm playin' Haemon." For dramatic effect, he paused and drew Shu to him, hugging him right in front of Maya's eyes. "Oh, and you, darling, will be playing the MESSENGER." Aki then proceeded to flounce off with Shu in tow.

I watched, highly amused, as Maya's resolve wavered and she fainted. Again.


"ABSOLUTELY NOT." I glared at Sai as if he was the physical manifestation of insanity.

"But – you should – " Sai tried to argue, but I cut him off again.

"NO, I will absolutely not. I'm fine with playing a guy, but I WILL NOT WEAR A BEARD." Not to mention the fact that my father had a beard. Well, I don't know if he still has one now, but he did. And that was the face that I remembered most clearly.

Sai opened his mouth, but seemed to think better of it and closed it instead. "Well, I guess it doesn't have to be mandatory."

"It better not be," I mumbled, turning away and packing my books into my bag.

Sai looked lost for a moment as he fumbled for something to say. "Well, uh, Yumi-san, could you tell Aki-kun that his store's ice cream was really good?"

I stared at him blankly. "Why didn't you tell him yourself?"

Sai grinned sheepishly. "I didn't know if he'd still remember me," he said, laughing.

"Ugh, you idiot," I sighed. "Anyway, good luck playing the sentry. And make sure that slut Maya doesn't faint on stage."

"Y-Yumi-san!" Sai spluttered, but I shot him a wicked grin and slammed the classroom door shut.

"NO WAY IN HELL." I thought I had my daily dose of insanity already. WHY??

"Pleaaaaaase, Yumi, help us!"

"Yeah, you're a girl, after all."

"WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?! SHU'S MORE OF A GIRL THAN I AM!" I burst out, aggravated.

"But . . . don't you think it'll be weird if Shu asks to try on a dress?"

I silently wished that I could have shot both of them on the spot.

"Fine. GODDAMIT, I HATE YOU GUYS!"

"We love you, too, Yumi," said Shu in an unusually bubbly voice.

Aki pushed me rather forcefully into the store, which was filled with dresses decorated with all kinds of lace and beads and other bright, Maya-like things. "How can I help you, ma'am, sirs?" asked the freckle-faced girl behind the counter.

"You can leave me alone – " Aki slapped a hand over my mouth.

"Uh, yes, we're looking for a wedding-style dress for this COOPERATIVE, DOCILE girl here." Shu quickly held my hands at my side so that I wouldn't retaliate. Dammit, these guys know me too well.

As our school was completely uninterested in authenticity, we had decided to change the play's setting to modern day Japan, with everything from the language to the costumes being updated accordingly. Unfortunately, with the lead female role being played by a male, we were bound to run into some complications about the costumes. At least girls could wear pants; if I had Shu and Aki pick out something for Creon to wear, I'd probably end up looking like a neon Las Vegas billboard.

"This one . . . this one . . ." I snapped out of my thoughts of revenge to see Aki and Shu poking through the white dresses and picking them out indiscriminately. At the rate they were choosing, I was going to have to try on every dress in the store. "Okay, come on, dressing room already!" I snapped impatiently as the freckle-faced girl looked on in disbelief (What, like the world was going to end if two guys were picking out wedding dresses? Sheesh).

"O – K! Here you go!" Aki and Shu shoved me into the cramped space, loaded the dresses in my arms, and shut the door.

Shit, double shit, and damn.


s.a.i.
"Well, Sai-kun, this is a nice store! Why don't we go in?"

"I . . . uh . . . "

"What? You really think so? I think it's a nice store, too!" Maya then proceeded to drag me into the shop.

"Er," said the girl behind the counter, giving me a weird look, "are you here for wedding dresses, too?"

Maya beamed. "Oh, how clever of you! Yes, we are. We're getting married, you see."

The girl nodded slowly. "I . . . see. Come this way please, then."

I waited in the corner as Maya picked out dresses that she wanted. I had no idea how she managed to get it into her head that we were marrying, but I was pretty sure it'd be a passing phase.

Hopefully.

"Well, darling, I'm going in. Tell me which one you like, okay?"

"Uh . . . "

She slammed the dressing door closed.

I sighed, completely at a loss. I had thought we were looking for a messenger's outfit, but wedding dresses were completely off the mark.

Not a minute later, the door banged open.

I looked up, expecting to see Maya – and instead, looked into the eyes of a Very Furious Yumi.

"Aki! Shu! WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?" The said companions immediately appeared and began to inspect her.

"Hm . . . I don't really like this lace on the side . . . do you think I could still fall dramatically into your arms with that on, Aki?"

"You can fall into my arms anytime, darling," purred the black-haired boy.

Yumi immediately whipped them both with the hem of her dress. "Make. Up. Your. Mind. NOW."

"Um . . ."

All three turned to look at me.

"I think it looks nice," I offered.

Yumi's face turned a dark shade of red that I had never seen before and ran back into the dressing room.

Aki and Shu stared at me.

"What? It did look nice."

They groaned.


Again, a VERY VERY VERY huge apology for the lateness of this chapter. Thank you for your support!