Chapter 02 – Trapped
I am a cat
In a bottle
In a tightly sealed
Prison of glass
I tried to escape
I clawed at the walls
Pushed at the lid
And slowly sank to the ground
Only to be
This endless cycle
I am a
I trapped myself in a bottle
She gripped the door handle and hesitantly pulled it inwards before pushing the door open. One foot followed the other as she shakily slid out of the car to stand on the hard pavement. Yuu turned to look at the woman standing by the gates. The woman scrutinized her, displeasure etched on her pretty features.
"Come girl." The woman commanded, annoyance evident in her voice.
Yuu took a cautious step towards the woman, only to fall to the floor, courtesy of a plain looking rock she had overlooked.
"You stupid, clumsy girl!" The woman bellowed as she strode towards Yuu. Roughly gripping the girl's right arm, she pulled her to her feet none too gently. "How am I suppose to pass you off as Aki if you can't even walk properly!"
"I'm sorry, Karen…"
"Don't apologize! Aki never apologizes! Aki is proud, confident and will never admit his faults! That's what makes his so charismatic!" Karen almost screamed. She can feel her control slipping. Looking at the helpless girl in front of her, she had the sudden urge to slap the girl. Yes, that would definitely make her happier… but terrifying the girl further would not help the situation any. Karen was used to the defiant, rebellious Aki who never did anything that was told of him. He was challenging to handle but Karen knew how to manipulate him… Oh yes, what fun that had been… too bad he had to go and die. A pity. Now she was stuck with this… weak, stupid girl. Sighing, Karen released her grip on the girl and tried a gentler approach. "Look Yuu, I can use amnesia as an excuse to reason away your obliviousness but that's not going to explain your sudden change in attitude."
"Karen, I don't think this is going to work."
"You're not even trying!" Karen screamed. The girl flinched and itched away from her. "Look, take this key and this map and go and find your dorm. I can't deal with you today. I'll come and see you tomorrow before your classes."
Yuu hesitantly nodded. She carefully took the items from Karen's outstretched hands as if afraid her hand may be bitten off. Once the items were in her possession, she quickly disappeared through the gates.
Stepping back into her vehicle, Karen drove off while using one hand to massage her temple. Aki was a handful, Karen decided, but this girl gave her much worst headaches than Aki ever did. Now what to do with the girl… what to do…
The campus was big. The map was confusing. Yuu was lost. And there was no one around to ask for directions.
Sighing in defeat, she took up residence on one of the many benches that was situated around a large fountain. Why was there a large fountain in the middle of nowhere? Yuu had no idea.
She had tried one of the buildings in this area earlier, hoping that someone inside would help her, but the door was locked. She then proceeded to peek through one of the large windows only to discover that the place was abandoned. In fact, much of the furniture was covered in white cloths as if the place hasn't been in use for many years. The rest of the buildings appeared to be in the same state. Why were there abandoned buildings? Yuu had no idea.
Drawing her legs up to her chest, Yuu thought back to the last few days. Since she awakened, precisely 6 days ago, Karen had not stopped terrorizing her. In Karen's eyes, Yuu can't do anything right because she wasn't Aki. She wasn't perfect like Aki. It was useless to argue with Karen, the woman just simply wouldn't listen. And Yuu doesn't like arguing. She could never express herself right, at least not verbally. Yuu was fine in writing but then again, with writing, she has time to organize her thoughts and choose the proper words to use.
So basically, her conscious stay at the hospital was anything but pleasant. If Karen wasn't yelling at her, she was busy trying to explain to Yuu who Aki was (and failing miserably). If she wasn't doing either one of those two things then she was happily wrapping Yuu up in bandages. So tightly that Yuu could barely breathe. Karen had told Yuu that she should be thankful she has a flat chest.
Surprisingly, her bandaged chest wasn't too uncomfortable. Probably because she had remained bandaged through her coma (for her injuries of course) so her body had grown accustomed to it.
One month… her body had remained unmoving for one month. Had it been any longer, the doctors told her, her body would have slowly deteriorated and cease to function. "Even an unconscious body needs exercise."
'Nobody cared enough to come and take care of me.' She thought bitterly. 'Or rather, Aki.' For she suddenly remembered that even in her comatose state, she had unconsciously posed as Aki. 'Did no one cared enough about him to take care of him? Or did that awful woman, Karen, simply kept everyone away?'
'Had I been myself… would anyone been there to take care of me?' She thought of her family. Her mother… wished she didn't exist. Her stepfather promptly ignored her existence. And her stepsister… 'She's too embarrassed to be seen with me. Why? Am I really that horrible?'
'Did they even go to my funeral? Do they miss me? Do they care? Do they even know I'm gone?' Yuu didn't know… and frankly, she was afraid to find out.
Reaching into her bag, she withdrew a rolled up piece of glossy paper. It was a poster. A poster of the band Inferno. She unrolled the poster and stared at the familiar face of her brother. They looked alike, they truly did. There were subtle differences but according to Karen, no one was close enough to Aki to notice.
"He's not a nice person." Karen had told her. "He's aggressive, mean and ruthless."
"He has no friends."
Staring at the man, Yuu tried to pick out those traits… and failed. His face, although not smiling, was anything but ruthless. Yuu tried to recall the only day she had spent with her brother. He seemed guarded but he didn't come across as mean or ill tempered. In fact, he had been quite gentle and kind to her.
It was a purecoincidencethey met. Yuu was walking out of her favourite bookstore when she bumped into him, literally. The collision had sent her glasses flying. So while she was kneeling and searching for her glasses, she heard a sharp intake of air beside her. Through her hazy vision, she made out a face that looked oddly like hers but before she could ponder any further, she was dragged away. Lots of screams and the echoes of footsteps trailed after them.
"My stuff…" she weakly protested.
"I'll pay for its replacements." Came the curt reply. He did not once turn to look at her. He led her through various alleyways and stores trying to throw off his followers. Who were those people running after him? Yuu didn't know then. But they were actually his fans. His obsessive adoring fans.
They ended up going to his house. Why did she allow herself to be led to a stranger's house? Yuu didn't know. Perhaps it was because they looked similar. Or maybe it was because she felt as odd sense of familiarity from him. They talked afterwards, not for long for the fire soon started.
For some weird reason, try as she might, Yuu can't seem to recall their conversation. 'I'm sure it was nothing hostile…'
"He's not a nice person." Karen's shrill voice echoed in her head.
"Who are you?" Yuu asked the familiar face staring back at her.
'How am I supposed to become someone I don't even know?'
"Aki. Aki?" A singsong voice interrupted Yuu's reverence.
Turning towards the source of the voice, she was greeted by the sight of a smiling young man with light hair. 'He looks familiar…' Looking back down at the poster, Yuu realized that he was indeed one of Inferno's band members.
"What? Did you forget your best buddy's name?"
'Aki has no friends.'
Yuu frowned. Was Karen lying to her or was this stranger merely messing with her mind? Did she truly believe Karen? No… probably not. But this stranger… who's to say he's not dangerous?
"Gin." His voice interrupted her musing.
"What?" Her frown deepened.
"Don't look so confused. I merely told you my name. It's Gin." He said good-naturedly, "When they told us you had amnesia… I didn't expect it to be this severe."
"Um… yeah." She flushed in embarrassment. 'What a great first impression.' Yuu thought bitterly, 'But then again, I suppose this isn't exactly a first impression since I'm posing as Aki and…'
"Who are you?" His abrupt question totally caught her off guard.
"What?" To say that she was surprised would be an understatement. She glanced at the man. All traces of his smile were nowhere to be found. He looked dead serious.
"You're not really Aki, are you?"
Yuu suddenly felt very nervous and had an overwhelming desire to run away. 'Am I really this horrible of an actress? Did this man realize that I'm just a fake? Oh what am I going to do…'
"Who are you?" The man said as he slowly approached Yuu.
"I…" Yuu uttered as she unconsciously itched away. 'I'm so dead.' She thought as she squeezed her eyes shout. 'Now I'll be exposed as the fraud that I am! Karen will kill me! She'll skin me alive and then she'll cook me and…"
And then she heard laughter. Cracking open an eye, Yuu saw that Gin was smiling again. In fact, he looked greatly amused at her discomfort.
"Don't be so nervous. I was just kidding."
Yuu nervously studied him. 'Is he suspecting me?' Yuu didn't know. And his smiling face did not offer any hints.
"Would you like some help?" He offered while eyeing the map lying on top of her book bag.
"Um… please." She answered sheepishly. Had she been more observant, Yuu would've realized that for a mere few seconds, his eyes narrowed slightly at her words.
"Just follow this path and you'll arrive at your dorm." He kindly told her while tracing the route with his fingertip. "You are heading to your dorm, aren't you?"
Yuu dumbly nodded.
"Um… thank you." She uttered timidly. She moved to gather her books when she was abruptly stopped. He had laid his hand under her chin and gently tilted it so that their faces were now mere inches apart.
Yuu could feel her face heat up. She had never been this close to a guy before. She unconsciously squirmed under his scrutinizing gaze.
Yuu didn't know how long they stayed like that. Seconds, most likely but to her, it had felt like forever.
"You're wearing contacts." He finally stated before backing away, looking satisfied.
Yuu nodded and quickly turned her head away. She hoped that he hadn't noticed her faint blush. How weird would that look?
Wanted to get away from this man as soon as possible, she hastily began to stuff her items back into her book bag.
"I didn't know you needed glasses." She heard him ponder thoughtfully.
"I… after the fire… my eyesight has gotten worst…" She heard herself say. It was a weak lie, she knew. But Yuu had never been the best of liars.
"Ah. I see."
"Well, um… I 'll see you later." She said as soon as she finished packing and quickly walked down the road the man had indicated to her. She knew he was watching her. It took all of her self-control not to run down the path. He unnerved her. She didn't know why but he really did. She glanced back at him just before she turned the corner and saw him wave happily at her. Yuu involuntarily shivered. She quickened her pace. Once the thick shrubs obscured her from view, she ran all the way towards her dorm.
Had Yuu been more observant, she would've realized that more than one pair of eyes were watching her.
There was no doubt about it, Gin decided as he watched Aki hurry away. The person he had just spoken to was not the Aki he knew. Gin didn't know much about amnesia but he doubt it could alter a person's personality this drastically. There was definitely something wrong with that Aki. Gin didn't know what but he intent to find out. After all, he had his own score to settle with the man.
He supposed he should've followed Aki. Follow, not stalk. Gin was not a stalker. He would merely be traveling along the same path only a few paces behind… after all, they lived in the same dormitory.
But he had more immediate issues to take care of first. Gin didn't like being watched. In fact, he hated it.
"Loom, how long do you plan on hiding behind that tree?" Smiling happily, Gin turned towards the tree behind him. He liked challenges. And Loom's mind was definitely difficult to mess with. But sometimes the unresponsive man got annoying. Really annoying.
A shadow appeared from behind the tree. It glided gracefully into the sunlight to reveal a tall lengthy male with blue hair. "Gin." He curtly acknowledge with a nod.
"Did you enjoy eavesdropping on our conversation?"
The man did not answer. He merely kept an impassive face.
"Not feeling very talkative today, Lulu?"
"Your trick doesn't work on me." The man replied in his usual monotone. "Your nicknames won't deter me from my original purpose. I am not like Key who is easily manipulated by you. I don't care what you call me. A name is merely a symbol. A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet."
"How… deeply philosophical." Gin replied with a chuckle, "My my, I don't think I've ever heard you speak so many words at one time. Our relationship is definitely improving, don't you think?"
A pause then, "Gin, did you have anything to do with that fire?"
"Fire? What fire?" Gin inquired innocently.
"Don't play dumb."
"Ever the blunt one. You always get right to the point. That kills all the fun, don't you think?"
"I'm hurt." Gin replied, feigning a hurt expression, "How could you accuse me of such a thing? I thought you knew me better than that, Loom."
"I don't know you. I doubt anyone really does. And you're definitely cunning enough to pull it off and hide it well. And you must admit, you have your grudges."
"Ah, but don't we all?" Gin replied. His eyes glinting mischievously, "I can tell you now that I had nothing to do with that fire."
The tall man continued to regard him.
"Can I trust your words?"
"If you don't believe me Loom, then what is the point of this conversation?"
The man continued to stare for a few more seconds before he abruptly turned around and walked towards the tree from hence he originally appeared. "Good day." He uttered in his usual monotone.
"Bye, Lulu!" Gin waved enthusiastically at the retreating figure, "Enjoyable talk, don't you think? We should definitely do this more often!"
The man merely ignored him.
Spinning around, Gin happily started for the path that would lead him to his dorm when he spotted his favourite prey coming his way.
"Key key!" He exclaimed loudly in his singsong voice. He watched with satisfaction as the said man visibly tensed.
Yup, Gin decided. It was definitely more fun when they responded to his teasing. Definitely more fun.
I died only to be reborn as a stranger.
Yuu collapsed on her king sized bed, exhausted. She had finally found her dorm. It took a lot of work, mind you. She had to ask a few quite a few people for directions. Not because she was stupid and couldn't follow directions of course but because fan girls kept popping up everywhere. When you're concentrating on running away, you don't really have time to pay attention to where you're going. Gin had a hard life, Yuu decided. Running away from fan girls is definitely hard work.
Sighing she closed her eyelids. She was not looking forward to tomorrow. Not looking forward to it at all. Tomorrow marked her first day of classes as Aki Faye. 'What fun.' Yuu thought bitterly. 'I'll be posing as someone I don't even know. How convincing that should turn out to be.'
Yuu was not looking forward to tomorrow. Not looking forward to it at all.