:: P R O L O G U E::

"Am I that scary?"

I slurped on my straw and contemplated that question. Yummy-today I discovered that I had strawberry milk in my bento box.

"Eh...do you want me to tell the truth or make you feel good?" My best friend asked while raising an eyebrow.

"Saa--" I mumbled and lowered my head in defeat.

"What a strange question. Have you never realized that people think you're scary, Suki?" She stretched out lazily besides me and started plucking blades of grass from the ground.

I shook my head. It was true. I'd always heard people murmuring about that 'scary witch girl in Class 2-A' but I never, ever, thought it was me until today. I wanted to know what time second period started so I tapped the girl sitting next to me and she looked terrified out of her mind. Like I was a rabid dog or something. --

"It's because you don't smile a lot. And you wear black all the time when we're not in uniform," Junko told me wisely. "You might not realize it but you have a really scary expression on your face in the mornings. Like you're about to take out a gun and shoot the first person who comes near you. On top of that, you have a personal bodyguard who escorts you to school every day in a black limousine and picks you up promptly when school ends."

"So?" I whined and threw down my milk carton. "You know that I'm never a morning person. Black is a practical color and it looks good on everyone. If you wear all black, you never have to worry about it matching or not because it always does! It's not my fault that my mouth muscles don't function properly. Is that expression really scary?"

"To others it is," she told me nodding her head. Then she put a severe frown on her face, wrinkled her eyebrows, and puckered her lips as if she were constipated. "That's what it looks like!"

"Gah! You're lying. I don't ever have that kind of expression on my face:o"

"Look in the mirror sometime during first period and you'll see that I'm not lying. Did you know that there are a lot of rumors floating around that you're the daughter of a high-ranking yakuza leader?"

"WHAT?" I stood up abruptly and my eyes widened in shock. "Y-yakuza?"

(Yakuza Japanese gang, like the high level kind that run the black market and stuff)

"Yeah. Now, come to think of it, what exactly does your dad do?" Junko asked suspiciously.

I spluttered defensively: "He's the president of Glico!"

"No way! That means you must have loads of POCKY at home. I'm so jealous. How come you never told me this? I've been trying to get my hands on the Vanilla-Banana flavor for a while," my friend whined and poked me not so gently.

I mumbled something inaudible in response and brushed crumbs off of my uniform skirt carefully.

It was true. My father was the president of a very successful candy/snack company. However he always told me not to tell anyone else or else all my friends would only come to my house for POCKY. It's pretty sad isn't it? Befriending someone for food. So I kept my mouth shut. My parents never allowed me to have any of the snacks that the company made. They knew that it wasn't healthy and I always had to keep my image up for my parents' business parties and such.

At school, I always kept a pretty low-key social status. My only close friend was Junko and we'd been friends since middle school. The other 'friends' I had were part of the Photography Club. I'd always really looked up to Junko because not only was she pretty, she was really cool and down-to-earth. Junko was the type of girl who had college student boyfriends and even though she sometimes skipped classes, she still got good grades. A lot of girls at school are hostile though because they're jealous of her good looks and coolness—pah--

Plus, I heard that she even has a fanclub. The members are all male though.

As for me, everyone knew of me but on that day, I realized that it was infamy. I was the Vice President of the Student Council and president of the Photography Club. I always received rather good grades and ranked number one in our class. But I didn't have a lot of friends. It never really bothered me though because I had Junko and the Photography Club.

Because it was an extracurricular activity, admission to the Photography Club was technically open to the whole school but I was always really picky about the members. I always conducted unofficial 'trials' to gauge the talent of the potential members. I didn't want them to waste film over stupid stuff. That's why the Club is so small- there's only eight members but they're all really competent and love photography almost as much as me. You could have called us 'friends' but that term is used loosely because we're all so different people and the only thing we shared was our love affair with the camera.

I think one of the reasons that I never had many friends is my personality. Junko told me once that I'm always really cold to strangers. (Her actual words were: "You're like the scary little girl in horror movies. You look adorable but there's something eerie and untoucheable about you; it's ike you're secretly a cannibal or a murderer with a fetish for making Voodoo dolls.") But I can't help it. It's not that I have an introverted personality- it's just that it takes me a while to trust people and open up to them. That's why I seem so distant to a lot of people. I don't really like meeting new people because then I have to go out of my way to be nice to them and say 'hi' if I meet them and all the other social niceties.

On top of that, I'm very serious. It's not like I want to be so serious all the time but I am! I can't help it. I'm always sensitive to what my friends say and mull over things for twice as long as everyone else. And when I do attempt a joke, no one really understands it. For instance, a couple days ago, I was announcing to our class about the winter festival…

Me: We'll make this years' festival so good that even the birds will want to fly back and see it! waits for reaction

Class: ...

Girl #1+whispers+ Was that a joke?

Girl #2: I think so. So we should probably laugh.

Boy#1+in a loud voice+ But technically, not all the birds migrate to the south when winter arrives! Aish, as the top of our class, Suki-san should've known that.

Boy #2: Shut up! You're going to get her angry and then her father will send his gang after you.

Boy #1+shaky laughter+ But it was a funny joke...ahahaha...

Class+forced laugh+

Me: --;;

I wasn't technically a social outcast but I was labeled as the 'scary gangster girl.' It was to the point that my own younger brother didn't want to be seen with me at school.

"Suki I can't believe you're my own sister. You're so uncute and scary..." Tori told me. "From now on, don't address me as 'niichan' in public okay? I don't want you to scare all the girls away."

"NANI? What kind of a brother are you?" I smacked him lightly and scowled.

"Hey, hey, I don't want my reputation to go down the drain because of you. I have an image to maintain!" He protested.

Isn't it sad? My own brother had forsaken me. He's the polar opposite of me too. Sometimes even I can't believe that I'm related to him. Maybe he was switched at birth or something.Or maybe I was. But then...he wouldn't look so much alike as me.

We both have the same naturally wavy-ish light brown hair but Tori dyed his a strawberry blonde. Large dark brown eyes, carp-like almost, and thin, relatively elvin frame. Except of course, Tori is super popular among the female population at my school. Even a lot of the upperclassmen girls like him! He's only a first year and he's already established his presence at the school.

I had a completely different reputation.

But I was relatively content with my life and wasn't going to change it for anyone else. That is, until he came into my life. Then everything became tangled and twisted and changed forever.


When I came home that day, there was a large U-Haul truck in front of our driveway. I should've paid attention to it before or else I wouldn't have been so surprised when I first met him.

I should've known that something was up when I came home one day to find the house empty. My parents often went on impromptu business trips. I was used to it already- in elementary school, I used to travel with them but as school became more demanding, they made me stay home with my brother and Mrs. Oosaki.

In the corner of my eye, I spied a piece of bright orange paper against the black surface of the refrigerator. I read it once, and then twice, and then three times again just to confirm what it said:


We're going to America for two months with the Hyes. You remember them right? They have that adorable son, Shinichi. He's around the same age as you. Anyways, he'll be staying with you and Tori for the next two months.

Remember to not to eat too much sweet stuff and to keep up your schoolwork! Oh, and you can discipline Tori for me if he starts doing stupid things. If I even hear one complaint from a teacher that he cut class, I will personally punish him!

I'll call you every other night to keep updated, okay?

Hope you and Shinichi get along. He's an adorable young man.



Young man? Living with Tori and me? I sat in utter stupor as I grasped the note in my hand. What if he was unhygienic? What if he threw crazy parties every Friday night? My mind swam at the possibilities of chaos and destruction the boy could wreak. For all I knew, he could have been one of those stereotypical rich boys who lead fast lifestyles involving cars, martinis, and women.

A voice cut me abruptly from my thoughts and I felt the impact of something hitting the back of my head.

"Oi, thief, drop what you're holding!"

In disbelief, I raised my eyes to the figure standing at the top of the stairs. Before I knew it, the person leapt from the top of the stairs and headed...oh gosh...in my direction...no! DIRECTLY ON TOP OF ME!

I was tackled onto the ground by a much stronger and heavier person. I had the wind knocked out of me and I wheezed helplessly as I was pinned to the ground by a pair of slender arms. When I looked up to see my attacker, I almost died from shock.

Had I died and gone to heaven?

A white face, surrounded by unruly thick dark blue-black locks. Creamy white skin, a complexion that girls would kill for, full lips- not too pouty but enough to suggest how kissable they were. Straight nose, aristocratic cheekbones...a pair of inquisitive grey blue eyes peered down at me. It was the face of such a pretty creature- I had never seen anyone as pretty as it before.

There was an ethereal elegance to the face that made me believe it wasn't a girl. True, the person had thick black lashes but there was something powerful and raw about those feminine features.

Then the angel spoke and his voice was unnervingly low and husky, "I got you, thief!"

Perhaps it wasn't heaven after all.

Chou Chou's Ramblings

More coming up soon! Since it's the prologue, I had an excuse for it not being as long as my usual chapters (which are roughly 6-7 pages on Microsoft word). This story may not progress as quickly as MODERN ALICE but I hope you guys like it.

The main character has a really different personality from the stereotypical heroine. The boy will be too. But I'm really looking forward to writing more of this story.

Please review, comment, and criticize! Feedback is greatly appreciated.