Author's Note: The last chapter. D: I'm going to miss writing OWiH... But, you know, it's gotta end somewhere and I do have a sequel planned. Might take a while to get up, but it will be put up eventually.
One Week in Heaven
Chapter Ten: I Love You
I have to do this.
I have to do this.
I have to do this.
I'm scared as hell.
I don't want to do this anymore.
But I have to.
My mantra wasn't working to mentally prepare myself anymore. The closer I got to the school, the faster my determination dissipated. By the time I had made it to the gates, I was honestly considering just turning around and going back.
"You can do this," I told myself mentally, finding my pace slowing as I closed the distance between me and the open gate. Already, I could hear the music coming from the gym.
"Are you just going to stare at the gate or are you going to go in?" A female voice called from behind me. I turned around and Miho grinned at me, waving. To her right was a (very, very tall) man, dressed up nearly as much as she was. That must have been Seiji, her husband. Though, to her left, were Hikaru and Rie.
"Well.. I was going to go inside, but now that you're here, I might have to reconsider," I joked, falling into line with the rest of the group as they walked inside.
I felt sort of stupid, being dressed in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt when everyone else was in dresses and, in Seiji's case, a tux. But I was only planning to stay for ten or fifteen minutes, so there really was no reason for me to rent anything to wear even if I had had time to return it afterwards. As it was, I only had about an hour and a half before I had to be at the airport and in my seat on the plane.
"So, you're really leaving, aren't you?" Miho asked after a moment as we strolled down the path to the gym, looking over at me.
"Yeah," I confirmed, giving her a weak smile, "Do you still not want me to call you ever again?"
"I was joking! If you don't call me, I'll catch a plane over there and kill you!" She replied, her tone indignant, "And I'm being serious."
"The same goes for me," Hikaru added. I couldn't help but smile. I really would miss these guys.
There was a bit of small talk amongst us as we finished walking down the path and joined the line of people waiting to get inside. I didn't see why I had to buy a ticket, though. It wasn't like I was going to stay and dance or anything.
By the time we got to the door, I was nervous again. The attendant at the door trying to pester me about my clothes wasn't helping either. She was a senior, but apparently she didn't recognize me. After she had tried to kick me out once, I just wasn't in the mood to argue.
"Look! You can't get in without being in formal wear! It's the rule!" She tried to explain again. I glared at her.
"Excuse me, but I work here. I'm only going to be here for a few minutes to talk to someone," I tried to keep myself calm, but my voice was definitely tense. But, the good thing was that she looked dumbfounded now. Good! She remembered who I was now!
"I'm so sorry, Mazaki-sensei! I didn't recognize you!" She gasped, "G-go on in! I'm so sorry!"
"Don't worry about it," I mumbled, continuing inside as the other handed in their tickets and followed after me. Hikaru laughed as soon as she reached me, seeming utterly amused.
"You're such a liar! Still, though, you got in free! I'm jealous," She laughed again, "But her face was priceless! Guess word hasn't gotten around yet that you've quit."
I shrugged, not finding the situation too funny. I wasn't fond of lying, but now that I had managed to drag myself to this dance, I wasn't letting some kid stop me from doing what I came here to do.
"I'm going to go find Shinobu, alright?" I said at length, looking around but unable to find my target immediately, "So I guess this will be the last time I see you in a long time…"
Before I could even turn around all the way, Miho had latched onto me. She wasn't crying this time, but she wasn't her usual happy self anymore. I returned the small hug with a smile, giving another one to Hikaru whenever her older sister finally decided to let go of me.
"Remember… You better call us and write to us and send us emails and everything," Miho mumbled, "We'll miss you."
"Oh come on! It's not like I'll be gone forever! I'll still visit!" I tried to sound cheerful, though the statement just made me seem like I was going to start crying at any moment. So, before I did start crying, I started to walk off, "See you guys!"
- : Eien's Point of View : -
Usually, I don't like school-sponsored dances or whatever. There isn't anything fun to do when the school is watching over you all the time. But, this dance was going to be different.
Well, hopefully it would be different.
At current, though, it was just as boring as it could possibly be. There wasn't any good music—mostly just slow music for the couples to dance to or classical music during the breaks. No one had spiked the punch. There wasn't any drama going on. No one that I knew had bothered to show up yet.
It wasn't long until someone did come to the dance, though. In fact, I had been waiting for him for quite a while now. He was the sole reason I had even came to the dance, just because I knew that he would show up and mope around. I was going to change that, though.
I pushed myself up off of the bench on the opposite side of the room, taking my time in catching up with this person. Making it through the crowd of people wasn't easy, but I didn't lose sight of him, thankfully. Now I was in range. Good.
"Haru," I called in my usual flat tone. The addressed stopped and turned to look back at me, a bit shocked.
"Eien? I thought you weren't coming to the dance?" He asked me, "You've never came to one before. Why the sudden change of mind?"
Well, I could've responded a number of ways… It was hard to decide, really.
"Do you really want to know?" I asked, adopting a smirk.
"If I didn't, I wouldn't have asked, would I?" He replied. Admittedly, this was not the slickest way to start a conversation with him.
"I thought you would be here, so I decided to come," I stated, clever smirk still in place. However, instead of some sort of shocked expression, he just looked at me like I was stupid.
"You're hopeless!" I sighed, frustrated, "You're in a terrible mood because Shinobu doesn't want to date you and now it's next to impossible to talk to you without getting myself injured!"
"Is that all you wanted to tell me?" He asked. Obviously, he was still mad at me from the other day and the way I was choosing to go about this wasn't working. Hell, I had never asked anyone out before! How was I supposed to know what to say?!
So, instead of words, I decided to go for the direct approach. Screw this lovey-dovey shit.
"Give me your hand," I commanded. He gave me an odd look, "I'm serious. Give me your hand."
"Why the hell do you want my hand?" He asked. Alright, if he wasn't going to cooperate, I was going to make him. I reached out quickly and grabbed his hand, determined not to let go of him. This was my chance and I was taking it! I sifted through my pocket and pulled out the silver ring I had bought two days prior. Before he could protest, I slid it onto his finger.
"I'm tired of seeing you all depressed over Shinobu constantly!" I said, finally letting go of his hand. Great. Now he seemed shocked. I ignored his expression and continued, "I don't want to see you like that anymore. I hate it when you fawn over him just to be sad again the next day."
I stopped for a second, looking out the corner of my eye. We had attracted the attention of a small group of people. Most were the girls that had had crushes on me through the years that I hadn't paid any attention to. They seemed disgusted.
"I guess you could call that jealousy," I looked back to Haru, shrugging.
"You… are such an idiot," He mumbled at last. Again, not the response I had expected.
"Well, I'm glad to see you think I'm stupid," I rolled my eyes, turning to leave. I give up. Dating is too complicated for me. But, before I could leave, he caught the back of my jacket and wouldn't let me go. What the hell did he want now?
I turned around, about to snap at him when I found he was much closer than he had been before. He leaned in even further and pressed his lips quickly to mine.
Sure, it wasn't an earth-shattering, mind-blowing kiss, but it was a start. That was all I was asking for.
"You're stupid for not telling me sooner," He stated as he pulled back, rolling his eyes. I smiled, shrugging one of my shoulders.
"You're stupid for not noticing. But, I forgive you."
- : Kiyoshi's Point of View : -
I really wished that I wasn't at the dance at the moment. There were too many people stuffed into the gym at once and all of them seemed determined to stop me and ask me where I had been. It was annoying to walk a few feet, stop, try to back out of an unwanted conversation, and repeat. Even worse was that Shinobu was no where to be found. I kept telling those that stopped me to let him know I was looking for me if they saw him, but no one had saw him thus far.
So, I did what I do best. I gave up.
As much as I didn't want Shinobu to hate me, there wasn't anything I could do. He wasn't coming to the dance and my flight left in just a little while. I didn't have time to wait around, as sad as it was. I wanted to say 'good bye' to him before I left, but I couldn't.
I pushed my way through the crowd of people and out the door, stepping outside into the dark again. The 'entrance' door didn't really have a line now and things had calmed down. Everyone who had planned on coming to the dance was here, it seemed, and Shinobu wasn't coming after all.
My feet started moving before I even knew what I was doing. Instead of walking back to the front gate, I was just taking a last, quick stroll around the school grounds. It was strange that I had so many fond memories of the school I'd only taught a year at, but I knew leaving it behind would've been hard from the very beginning when I first arranged my out-of-country move. So, why was I so sad about it now?
After quick walk around the dormitory buildings and sports courts, I decided to head back to the front gate. That was more than enough for me. Hanging around the school just served to make me sad now.
I froze immediately as someone called the all-too-familiar name. I had barely made it to the front gate when the equally familiar voice caught my attention. Instead of turning around, though, I just dropped my head and waited.
"Arisa-chan! Why are you here? I thought you transferred schools again?"
It was Shinobu and he still thought that I was Arisa. On one hand, it made me angry and on the other, it made me want to cry.
"I came to say good bye," I mumbled, still not turning around. Shinobu had stopped behind me now and moved to face me, but I turned around to prevent him from doing so. I didn't want him to see my face, "I came to say good bye to you, because I'll never see you again."
"O-oh…" Shinobu was shocked and unsure what to say, or so it sounded like. He hadn't been put through many of these awkward-type conversations before, had he? "About the other day… Haru and I aren't…"
"I know," I replied quickly, "I don't care. You can't help it if I'm not the one you love, so I don't blame you for it."
There was a silence between us for a few seconds as the awkwardness of the conversation multiplied by the second. After about ten long seconds had passed, Shinobu cleared his throat and began again.
"So, you said you wouldn't ever see me again… Are you really never coming back?" He asked.
"Maybe I'll visit," I replied truthfully, "But I doubt I'll see you."
"Why would you doubt that? I'll miss you. I still consider you a friend, after all. You should call whenever you come for a visit and I'll meet up with you."
"I can't," I shook my head slowly, "Neither can Arisa."
"Huh? What?" He stuttered, not sure why I was referring to 'myself' in third-person.
"Arisa doesn't exist anymore."
Another silence fell between us.
"What do you mean, you don't exist?" He asked, quite clearly confused. I suppose it was bound to happen when I had to state the situation in such a cryptic way.
"Not 'you', but 'she'. She doesn't exist anymore," I explained, finally turning around on my heels. A smile was resting on my lips despite how crappy I felt at the moment. Shinobu, however, looked absolutely stunned now that he realized who he was talking to.
"M-Mazaki-sensei?" He inquired, "You're…"
"Yep! It's me!" My voice was unnaturally cheerful, especially for the situation. I had to be cheery, though, or I would've started to cry. Even with my cheeriness, it was getting hard not to just break down and bawl. To keep myself from doing such, I closed in the few feet between me and the other boy, stopping just in front of him to reach into my pocket, "Here… I've got this for you."
When I withdrew my hand and held it out to him, the red ribbon 'Arisa' had wore was crumpled up in my hand. I looked up at him and grinned.
"Arisa would want you to have it, Shinobu-kun," I ignored the fact that he was stunned beyond all belief as he reached forward to gently pluck the ribbon from my hands, "You know, she really loved you."
I stopped for a second as my grin faded. I couldn't act cheerful anymore.
"I did, too."
If it was even possible, Shinobu looked one-hundred times more shocked at my confession. I bit my lip, now sure what else to follow such a statement up with.
"So… Erm… I guess this is good bye, isn't it?" I mumbled, "I won't be coming back to Japan for a long time."
"You're leaving?" He finally choked out.
"Yeah, I just told you that," I shrugged one of my shoulders half-heartedly, "I'm leaving tonight and going to America."
Another sigh left me as I explained, suddenly not wanting to go anymore. I knew this would happen if I saw Shinobu. I knew that if I saw him again, I wouldn't want to go. But, there was no other choice. It was either go and try to be happy or stay and be miserable.
"I've… got to go," I ignored the question, turning around to walk off again. I looked over my shoulder at Shinobu as I retreated, waving good bye, "I'm sorry, Shinobu-kun… Good bye."
He didn't even respond when I said my final farewell. I think he was as shocked as I was sad about leaving. It was disappointing, though, how he didn't try to stop me. He just watched as I left and walked back to my apartment.
A few hours had passed since I'd left the dance. As soon as I got back to the apartment, I broke down and cried. I didn't want to go. In fact, I almost missed my flight due to my breakdown. Almost.
Now, I was on the plane, heading to New York City all the way over in America. We hadn't taken off yet, but I was internally urging it to hurry along. I wanted to go and I wanted to stay at the same time. My mind was fighting itself relentlessly and I felt like I was going to have another breakdown. It sucked.
"Passengers, please fasten your seatbelts now. We will be taking off shortly," A stewardess announced sweetly. Finally, we were about ready to leave. She went on to explain about the safety procedures and the like, but I tuned it out completely as I looked out of the window.
This was it. I was leaving everything behind in Japan and I couldn't turn back now. My friends, some of my more distant family, and a truckload of memories were going to be left behind when I started anew.
Shouldn't I have felt a bit better about this? Shouldn't I have been happy to have a second chance? Why wasn't I?
Stupid question, I know.
"Please enjoy your flight!"
I was snapped back to reality as the stewardess finished her lecture and the plane started to move. I wasn't concerned in the least about the take off. Instead, I was just waiting to see if something would happen. Would someone come to stop me? Had someone found out that I was going to America and decided to leave everything behind to go and be with me?
Minutes passed as the airplane slowly moved to the runway and began the take-off. I waited and waited, looking around. Something had to happen… Someone had to try and make one last, desperate effort to get me to stay, didn't they?
Apparently, they didn't. No one on the aircraft even knew who I was, much less were they concerned with why I was fleeing the country.
So, this was it. There wasn't any way to turn back now.
I really had made the wrong choice, hadn't I?
Okay. In the original ending, there wasn't a sad ending. Kiyo went to the dance as Arisa and told Shinobu the truth. Instead of just being all shocked and such, Shinobu admitted that Kiyo was the one he broke up with Arisa for. It was just a cheesy ending in general. So, I changed it to this--the sad ending with the big, left-wide-open-for-a-sequel, cliffhanger-esqueending. This also changed the original sequel, though, which I'll never rework into a sequel, so I may as well tell you what it was.
After Kiyo and Shinobu got together at the end of the original OWiH, Kiyoshi quit his job at Ishinomori and found a job at a bookstore he liked better. Shinobu graduated and when he went to college, he moved in with Kiyo and kept up with his tennis playing and got really good. To sum up the story in the nutshell, Kiyoshi gets in a bad accident while Shinobu is off at a National Tennis Championship competition. He lives, of course, but something happens to his right arm (his dominant hand) leaving him unable to draw or paint anymore. He gets depressed over it and he ends up getting in a bad fight with Shinobu. Basically, that's all the happens, other than the oh-so-obvious fact that they get back together at the end. I just don't feel like explaining it in detail right now. XD
So, about the actual upcoming sequel... I can't tell you much, but here goes the only big spoiler you're getting... Kiyo's still living in NYC and has found himself anew boyfriend.
Alright, one more really unimportant spoiler... There will be more of Seiji and Rie in the sequel. They didn't get as much action in this story as I would've liked them to. Poor things.
Thanks again for all the support guys. So glad I could finally finish a story! Love you guys and can't wait to get the sequel out to you.