(n) (1) details, whole story, sequence of events, particulars, how it started, how things got this way
(2) complications, position.
By: Talyn Gray
She was different.
I realize that a lot of men start stories like that—a clichéd line that's used in novels across the globe. I also realize that boys the age of fifteen could hardly say the phrase with true honesty in their voices; and adults laugh at teenagers who declare they found love. Honestly, I don't know how I could still love her three years later, but the one thing that I really do know is that she was—no, is different from any other girl I know.
"Flight 147, now boarding—Bailey City to Henderson, Nevada. Flight 147 now boarding…"
I sighed and picked up my carry-on backpack before fishing out the boarding pass out of my pocket. I boarded the plane and smiled to the fact that I had a window seat. The sun was starting to fade to reds and oranges, and I was reminded of Akina's eyes. I was always reminded of her in the most trivial form. A sunset, a rainbow; some wild flowers. And when I had finally noticed how bad I had it for her, I realized it was too late.
A woman in her late forties took a seat next to me and regarded me with stony blue eyes. It was a look I was rather familiar with in the states. I kind of smirked to myself and took out my phone to play out a scene she'd already seen in her mind. The plane hadn't announced to turn off cells, so I was still in the clear.
I quickly looked up 'Yuka' in my contacts before pressing on the little green telephone and cradling the phone to my ear.
"Hello?" her familiar voice asked.
"Moshi moooooosh!" I greeted enthusiastically, my voice purposefully loud and obnoxious. "Yuka-san, ogenki desu kaa? Ano ne, Akina wa—" (How are you, Yuka? Hey, you know, Akina—)
"Kouki-kun?" she asked, almost incredulously. "Is that you?
"Mocchiron!" (Of course!) The lady beside me kept giving me those sharp glances. I kept on playing the part of 'retarded Asian guy that can't speak English.'
"Why are you speaking in… you always spoke to me in English before…"
"Ah!" I said, "U-do yu raza mi supikku inu engurishi?!" (Would you rather me speak in English?) Yuka paused, as if not knowing what to say to my obvious broken 'Engrish.'
"Ano… Kouki-kun… daijoubu desu ka?" (Uhm… Kouki, are you okay?)
"Passengers, please turn off any electronic devices and cell phones, we are about to leave Bailey City for Nevada, and the use of phones and other cellular devices will not be tolerated."
"Ah, gomen ne, Yuka-san. Ai habu to goh na-u." (Ah, sorry Yuka, I have to go now.) She said a hesitant goodbye and I shut off the phone and turned to grin at the lady next to me, who was scowling and giving me a look that gave me a clear idea of the supposed FOB that was sitting next to her. This time I smiled kindly at her and extended a hand. "Hello," I greeted, "My name's Kou—Scott, how are you?" I always forget to introduce myself with my American name… But I had introduced myself in perfect English. Hah. Take that.
She glanced at my hand and shook it, clearly shocked that I could speak Engrishso well. "Ashley Johnson," she answered tightly. I smiled again that 'charming smile' before leaning back in my seat.
"Nice to meet you. I hope you don't mind if I fall asleep during the flight, would you?"
"N…Not at all…"
I grinned at her and closed my eyes—prepared to sleep the entire way. Staying awake during flights were always more tiring than when you slept in them. But before I drifted off, I thought of the sunset, a rainbow, and some wild flowers.
"I'm not a child. I've been to America before. I was born there."
That's what I'd said to my mother and father when we first moved back to the states. But I guess that a country could change in the past twelve years. My English was a little broken, but it wasn't bad. At least I hope not.
I'd turned fifteen just a week ago, celebrated with my buds Youji, Kazuya, and Tatsuya before we packed and left Tokyo for the U.S.. Again. Life was never boring living with two corporate geniuses—not to mention all the affairs my mother has with the gophers, and all of the affairs my father has with his secretaries. But now it was only me and them in the city known as Forester.
I stood outside a classroom door in my new school for about ten minutes, nerving myself up to finally knock on the door and tell them that I was the transfer student from Nihon (Japan). At last I took a deep breath and rapped on the door with my knuckles. There were a few moments of silence before the door swung open and a girl peered out. To my surprise, she looked Japanese—if not a little punk mixed in there. She had dark black eyeliner around her almond eyes, and large plastic pink bubbles as earrings.
When her eyes landed on me, she blinked. I saw the class peering to the door to see who it was—including the teacher. "Can I help you?" the teacher questioned. I walked in and the girl stepped aside. I almost forgot that I was carrying the note the ladies at the office gave me. I walked over to the teacher and handed it to her.
Her eyes skimmed over the passage before nodding. "Welcome…Scott. I'm your homeroom teacher," she greeted with a smile. I smiled back easily and turned around to survey the class. The girl with plastic earrings sat down next to a guy who had a baseball cap on, and there were other various faces. Most of them were white, but I saw some Mexican and other Asians around. I noticed though, that the girl who answered the door seemed to be the only one that was Japanese. The teacher also turned and faced the class. "This is Scott—he's a transfer student from Japan." After she said that, she pointed me towards the only empty seat in the room—next to a guy with raggedy blond hair.
Homeroom didn't last long and I didn't really say anything. To be quite frank, the guy next to me (whose name was Frank), scared me. There are a lot of scary guys in Japan, but this guy was just plain 'boo-hoo slit my wrists worship Satan' kind of guy that you didn't want to say hi to. Mrs. Dart (the teacher) read off school announcements. Most of it was about an upcoming dance within the next month, and the other was about various clubs on campus and their fundraising endeavors.
When the bell finally rang, I glanced at my schedule. It read that I was to go to English next, in room A-34. I'd passed the A building on my way to homeroom, so it I didn't need a guide or helper. But to my pleasant surprise, the girl that had opened the door for me in homeroom ran up to me.
"Anata wa Nihonjin desu ka? Nihongo wo hanashimasu ka?" (Are you Japanese? Can you speak Japanese?) she questioned. I smiled and nodded.
"Aa. Demo Eigo mo hanashimasu," (Yeah, but I speak English too.) I replied. She smiled kindly.
"I see. My name's Yuka. Hajimemashite." (Nice to meet you.) Since we were walking, she didn't really bow.
"Scott is my American name, but I prefer Kouki," I responded, "Hajimemashite."
"Ima doko e ikuno?" (Where are you going right now?)
"English. In room A-34?"
"Oh! Me too," she answered with a delighted smile. We continued walking and chatted a little bit before we saw the A-34 room ahead. "I have a friend in this class too, her name's Akina," Yuka informed me. I just nodded.
When we entered the class, I went to the teacher and handed him my note. He nodded and said I could sit where ever I wanted—and Yuka was flagging me down, so I sat next to her. There was neither hide nor hair of her friend named 'Akina' anywhere, but as soon as the bell rang, a girl came flying in through the door, a band-aid on her cheek and dark hair flying behind her.
"Alex," Mr. Anderson warned, "That's the third tardy this week. Another one and I'll have to give you a referral."
"I'm sorry," she answered earnestly, and then when the teacher turned his back, Alex stuck out her tongue. Somehow, though the gesture was immature, I found it oddly adorable. She made her way towards Yuka and plopped herself down with an angry huff.
"Mou," (Jeez) she muttered. "I told him that I had to go to the bathroom right when the bell rang," she grumbled. Yuka smiled at her and then tapped Alex on the shoulder.
"Aki-chan," she said, "There was an exchange student in my homeroom today, he's from Japan." So this girl was Akina. Aki turned her head, and her gaze fell on me. "This is Kouki-kun. Hontou ni yasashii da yo." (He's really nice.)
As it turns out, Akina was in baseball along with Yuka. While Aki struck me as the sporty type, I somehow hadn't expected it of Yuka. And as it also turned out, I had four classes with Akina and two with Yuka, and two with their friend, Mark, who I had yet to meet.
I migrated from class to class with them, and for some reason I felt some kind of magnetism towards Aki. I don't even know why, but she just seemed like the kind of girl you could… I don't know… She was different. She was talkative and friendly, and a little cynical, but I felt that her entire personality was magnetic—as did most of the student body. People were constantly saying hello to her but it seemed she was unaware of her popularity. Akina was a year younger than me—fourteen.
I learned a little about her family—her father was Caucasian and her mother was Japanese, but she'd lived for awhile in Japan when she was younger, and moved back to the states—bringing her grandparents along with her and her family. She had a little brother and an older half brother—it's actually kind of amazing how much you could learn about a person in a measly school day.
Once, we were assigned a project and had gone to my house… needless to say, she was surprised at how big and empty it was. I guess it surprised her a little that my parents cared so little about me and how they were so uninvolved with my life. Instead of doing the project that night, I showed her my pathetic side—the inner attention hog that I was and told her everything about my life and parents. Their shameless affairs while I was in the house.
I'd made her cry.
I explained everything in such a casual, uncaring voice. I could never understand why Akina held family so dear, but I guess after seeing her family with her, loving her, caring for her as well as Rei, I was able to comprehend it a little better.
After that day, she realized that I was left to walk home after school (about an hour walk), or wait for my parents to pick me up two hours after school ended. Her mother of father would either take me to their house, or drive me home. Her family was so different from mine, and I envied her for it.
By the end of the month—two weeks before the dance, I had it pretty bad for her. Girls had never cried for me. It had been an odd thing to live through, and I had had no idea what to do. Akina was just so different from anyone I had ever met—in fact, all the people in Forester seemed to be different from the people I was used to meeting. But she was the only one that stood out, the only one that I really wanted to hold.
Sometime in the middle of me falling head over heels infatuated with her, I met her older brother. He was tall. Very tall and very built. You wanna know why? Because he was in minor league baseball and on his way to the majors. Imagine what it was like going up to a big brother that was actually a real big brother and telling them how you felt about their little sister.
People could call me stupid for telling him that, but I had never been the type to hide the way I really feel. Funny thing about that is I have trouble expressing how I feel without getting in trouble for it. Anyway, I had planned subconsciously to try and be with Aki—that was why I told Kei-san (her brother) the way I felt. There was no dancing around a subject that was going to come out anyway. Sooner better than later.
The males in her life didn't seem to like me. Mark was always glaring at me whenever no one but me was looking, and her brother was always cold. Not only that, but the entire baseball team would give me dirty looks. They seemed to think of Aki as a little sister. She was the youngest one of them all and had never had a boyfriend.
I know I told you earlier that I'm usually blunt with the way I feel. But I also mentioned earlier that Akina was different, therefore my actions with her were different. I really liked her. I really wanted to be with her, and I hoped that someday I would be able to call her my girlfriend. However, that hope was almost always shattered by the doubt about how she felt about me. But of course, there was always the wild best friend card—Yuka.
"You like her, don't you? Ne? NE?" she'd ask me on a daily basis two weeks after my transfer. I would always evade the question or lie to her face, but I never told Yuka the truth. Not until after the fact, anyway.
Akina and I talked a lot on the phone and in person. I guess to anyone who didn't know of our friendship always seemed to think we were together because we were pretty much inseparable. We talked about everything—life, love, family—and eventually, she knew my parents just as much as I did: nothing other than the fact that they had their American affairs all over the house. The worst part is—my parents knew about each others infidelities, but were too stubborn to admit that they didn't love each other any more. And they maintained a 'happy' relationship for the sake of reputation. In some ways, I love my parents, but in the same ways, I hate them. I spent a lot of time at Akina's house playing board games and doing homework (as I mentioned before).
Aki always seemed to take in the account of others before she thought of herself. It was a characteristic that was foreign to me, and it drew me towards her even more.
Finally, Yuka managed to push me to ask her to the upcoming dance, despite the fact that I couldn't dance and neither could Akina. I'm disappointed to say that at the time I didn't have enough courage to ask her out in person, so I did so by sending her a note and a single long stem rose from my parent's garden.
The next day she approached me with a blush across her cheeks and said she would go with me to the dance, but that she didn't know how to dance worth a crap. I'd laughed and told her than I couldn't dance either, but we agreed to go anyway and eat the food.
I don't think I'll ever forget that night. She'd looked stunning, but still innocent enough to be fourteen. We'd taken a picture or two in front of school and arrived a little late—too late for the food. We were too embarrassed to attempt and dance, so we sat at the table, talking as we usually did, and I found myself wondering how I could get her alone; how I could get closer to her. I offered a walk and she accepted.
I have to tell you that at this time, we were both still calling each other 'Aki-san' and 'Kouki-kun.' It had just been something we'd picked up, and I really wished she'd just call me Kouki instead, and I could just call her Aki or Akina. We were to the point where she was my best friend, and I was a second or third best friend to her—even though we used useless honorifics.
I walked next to her, breathing in the cool night air and looking up at the sky. The usual navy velvet was marred with gray clouds that made it look like someone had smudged the sky with paint. "Looks like rain," I commented. Aki looked up and smiled.
"Yeah," she agreed, closing her eyes and breathing in. "I always love it when it rains," she said, opening her eyes. We were in a park, not too far off from the school or our houses. It was almost completely deserted. Teenagers were at the dance and it was too late for kids to be out. It almost felt intimate, and without the eyes of others, I somehow gained confidence. Suddenly, she emitted a rather funny sound. It was halfway between a delighted squeak and a cry of laughter, and I glanced at her with an eyebrow raised.
Akina was blushing, seemingly realizing the noise she'd made, but pointed towards the rotating platform. I can't remember the name of it, but it was circular and had a web of poles where small children would grab onto it and spin around. "I haven't been on one of those in a long time," I informed her.
"Me too," she agreed, then looked up at me with an impish grin. "Let's get on."
"Aren't we too heavy now?"
Aki shrugged her shoulders, "Only one way to find out!"
She grabbed my fingers and began to drag me over to the…circle thing, and I silently smiled to myself and laced my fingers around hers. I gave her hand a light squeeze, and I noticed her hesitate before a blush crept across her cheeks and she threw me onto the platform. "Aren't you joining me?" I asked. Aki shook her head.
"Someone needs to push!" With that, she grabbed one of the handles and (with I'm assuming) all of her might, jerked the thing until I was going in circles. It was actually quite funny because with all of the effort it seemed to take her to spin it; I was going at the pace of a snail. The bearings squeaked in protest, and I couldn't help but laugh.
She puffed her cheeks with annoyance as I hopped off. "Somehow I remember it going faster," she commented. I shrugged and took a step forward. Somehow the mood of the day—the darkness of the night and the scent of oncoming rain made me want to hold her and kiss her. Confidence seemed to have elevated it me, and I moved closer and dropped my forehead on hers. As expected, she was a little surprised, but didn't back away. I smiled down at her, and brushed a stray piece of hair out of her face. I lifted both hands to cup her face, and she stared up at me with an expression that clearly said 'what expression should I be wearing right now?'
I chuckled and at last her name rolled off my tongue without the usual suffix. "A-ki-na," I said, my voice oddly casual and collected. She took the cue.
It was funny how in those two names we uttered; we somehow understood each other completely for a moment. I grinned and leaned down, my lips a breath away from hers, and all of a sudden, that delicious confidence began to slip away. I hesitated, feeling her breath tickle my before I finally thought 'Oh, what the hell' and slid my face down to meet hers in a kiss.
My heart was fluttering uncontrollably in my chest when I felt her respond. Her arms wrapped around my chest and waist, and I moved my own until they were around her petite shoulders. The kiss had not been as passionate as I had wanted it to be. We were both hesitant, and the last girl I'd kissed was when I was seven. When we both realized that neither was going to reject the other, I separated from her and caressed her jaw with the back of my fingers.
"Aki…" I said, her name feeling so different on my tongue now. She stared up at me with those beautiful eyes of hers and I somehow found strength to continue. "Aki," I repeated. "I really…really like you," I admitted, feeling some kind of relief rush through me. At last I had told her. After the kiss I was confident that she would reply with a positive answer. But when the silence stretched longer than expected, I started getting nervous again.
Finally, she smiled again—that soft smile of hers that could make any man or boy want to do anything for her. Aki went on her tippy-toes and closed her eyes before we kissed again. It was a pleasant surprise, and now that I knew she accepted me, I allowed my restrain to virtually disappear. My arms grew tighter, and the heat that I felt from her body seemed to warm me from my toes to our conjoined mouths. I gently suckled on her bottom lip before tilting my head to allow myself to access her mouth better. The palm of my hand trailed from the small of her back to her shoulders, then down again. My tongue slid warmly into her mouth where she hesitantly, but passionately received me. I desperately needed air, but I couldn't bring myself to stop.
But finally I had to pull away from air, and she looked up at me with a cute, owlish look on her beautiful face. "Why did you stop?"
I chuckled, "What? You don't breath?"
She laughed a little and momentarily rest her head on my shoulder before sighing. "Idiot, you're supposed to breath through your nose."
I rose an eyebrow, "Oh really?"
I took her chin in my fingers and stared into her eyes, "Well then," I told her, "Should we see if I can hone that particular skill?"
"What skill?" She had already forgotten.
"Breathing through my nose," I answered, my face growing closer to hers. She didn't answer because I didn't give her enough time to respond—but she didn't mind, and neither did I.
After that day, we were more inseparable than before. We had forged an odd relationship. After that night, we didn't talk about our relationship—rather it was something so odd that we understood it with our hearts instead of our heads. We weren't exactly girlfriend and boyfriend, but neither were we just friends with benefits. The feelings were there, but she didn't know whether or not she was really ready for a boyfriend.
Looking back on it now, I realized that we were really young. Not that we're much older now, but it seems like the ages of fourteen and fifteen seem so young and tender. Not to mention hormones speaking instead of feelings. But I did notice that Yuka seemed happier with me, and Mark and the rest of the baseball team seemed to hate me more than ever.
A month after the kiss, we got together officially as a couple. It's funny how people take 'official' couples different ways. For us, it was that we acknowledged each other completely that we wanted to be labeled as such. For others, they assumed we'd slept together. Neither of us really cared because we knew the truth, and personally, I would never be the one to break up with her.
Over the months that we were together, we'd been voted, 'cutest couple' by the yearbook, I went to almost all of her games, and we hung out at least three times a week. Her smile was enough to make me happy, seeing her seemed to make my heart lighter, and the abandonment of my parents' sting less. I realized that I loved her earlier on in our relationship, but kept those words to myself. I didn't want to scare her. But I also realized that there were different levels of love. I don't know how it works with other people, but that's how it worked with me. I wasn't deeply in love with her within the first six months, but when…
Anyway, Akina simply drove me crazy. She seemed to be the only thing I thought of for awhile, and that caused me to do some extremely romantic things Yuka would make fun of me later for. I left roses in her locker and surprised her after her classes. But don't let my romantic notions fool you. We had fights. Many in fact, more towards when she broke up with me. I wanted to spend more time with her and she wanted more time with her family. That was also the time when I got into a fistfight with her older brother at the park. I have a feeling he'd been holding back on me—I'd only been a scrawny fifteen year old back then and sending a young boy to the hospital wouldn't look good an a major league application. Nevertheless, we both walked away with at least one black eye and other bruises in places I didn't know I had.
But when we were happy, we were happy. It was like there could be nothing to stand in our way—or at least my way. When I told my three friends in Japan, Youji, Kazuya, and Tatsuya about me having a girlfriend seven months after the fact, the question they asked me first was if we had had sex. And I'd responded in a calm voice that, no, we hadn't.
However, three months later, ten months since our getting together and eleven months after our first kiss, we came close. Very close.
We had gotten close before, but never like this time. Before we'd never been on top of a bed almost completely naked.
It had been at my house during the summer, my parents gone, as usual. We'd been in my room talking and having a good time. I can remember that day clearly in my mind. She'd been sitting on my bed and I'd been attempting to twirl a basketball on the tip of my finger. After about a half an hour of talking about nothing and not being able to spin the damn ball, I sat down next to her.
We started kissing and I'd pushed her back on the bed, making her lay down so my back wouldn't ache later on for the odd angle I would have to be at if I'd kissed her sitting down. Akina hadn't seemed to mind and we'd pretty much just made out on my bed for awhile. But being a guy, I began to touch her a little more intimately than before. A lot more intimately. Soon my shirt was off and my hand was crawling beneath hers to massage the soft, flawless flesh below. I took off her shirt and almost her pants, all I really knew was that I wanted her. Now, later, and forever.
I kissed her mouth, her neck, and her face, so lost in what I'd been doing that I didn't realize she was crying. When I finally did notice, I quickly lifted myself up, looming above her.
"Akina… what's wrong…?" I asked my tone breathy. Her hands lifted to her face to cover her tears.
"K-Kouki," she stuttered. "I don't want… I can't…"
I understood and suddenly felt guilt wash over me for trying to push so hard, and I quickly got off of her to sit on my heels. She hurriedly sat up, curling her legs underneath her, and hands still covering her face. "Aki…" I said, lifting a hand to her shoulders. "It's okay…"
"I'm sorry," she told me, sniffing. "I'm just not… I can't… it feels so…"
My eyebrows knitted together and I offered a strained smile before reaching forward and hugging her. The lace of her bra caused goose bumps to arise on me and the feeling of her soft skin against mine made me shudder, but she stiffened. "It's okay, Aki, I understand," I assured her. "I won't push you, you have to remember that."
"I know," she answered wiping her eyes and looking up at me. What little light there was gleamed off of her tears. "I just… I just feel so guilty… I want to… but I just… I can't…"
I'd wanted to stay with her more and assure her everything was fine, but I had to go to the bathroom, so I excused myself. I walked across the hall, feeling the cold tile beneath my feet and tried to make myself calm down before I went into the bathroom.
When I came out and went back into my room, she wasn't there and neither was her stuff. There was a note that said she'd gone home and nothing else. That day something funny settled inside my chest; something that I still feel to this day but can't fully comprehend—even now.
But afterwards, she seemed to be just fine. Happier than usual. I'd thought that maybe that's what the tension had been earlier. We had never talked about sex before and when we thought what the appropriate time to do it, so maybe that now that she knew I wouldn't push her relieved her? We spent more time together at the mall, in the movies, walking, going to her games, hanging around each others houses…
It was on our one year anniversary that I decided to tell her that I loved her. So foolishly, I'd gone to her house and took her for a walk, ignoring her odd composure. And just as I was about to say, "I want to tell you something," she beat me to the chase. And again I'd foolishly thought that she would say the three words that I had been about to utter to her.
But the last thing I had expected her to say was that we should break up.
Akina went on and on, rambling about nonsense reasons, but she kept saying how we were too different to ever make our relationship work. And I had stood there like a moron with my heart shattered. When she was done babbling, I did what I knew best. I pasted a fake smile on my face and said I understood, said that of course, we would always be friends. And then I walked away without saying goodbye.
Four weeks later I was on an airplane back to Japan.
My parents were transferring again and I went with them without qualm. I hadn't told Akina until I called her from the airport in Tokyo. She hadn't even answered her phone, so I left a message saying that she would always be in my heart, that I cared about her, and that we would see each other again someday as friends.
So two years passed in Japan. Two years without Yuka's blunt help or Mark's glares. Two years of barely having conversations with Aki, two years of empty emails, and two years without being able to look into her shattered-rainbow eyes. After the first six months I was able to kick her out of my mind. I was able to get a new girlfriend at my new school. Yukie Tanaka. After Yukie, there was Kyoko, then Sakura, then An, and finally, Akane. Before you ask or wonder, I'll answer. Yes, I did get serious with them fast, and yes, I slept with all of them except Yukie.
And through it all, the one and only person I thought about when I graduated was Akina. It was like the other girls had never existed, and again, like the stupid fifteen year old I had been, I wanted only her.
My shoulder was moving, and my eyes finally slid open. I looked up and realized that I was still in the plane that was taking me to Nevada. "Scott? Scott, the plane's landing," Mrs. Johnson said, the woman who was sitting next to me.
"Oh, thanks," I answered and fastened my seatbelt just as the lights turned on. The old woman glanced at me through the corner of her eye, but I ignored it.
Akina had certainly grown more beautiful than before, but my attempts to win her back during my visit were futile.
The plane shook and then jolted as the wheels hit the pavement.
Somehow I knew…
Someone had already taken her heart.
A/N: Wheee… that was fun to write. A little rushed, I think. Will rewrite later when I have the time. :D but there's Kouki's story in a nutshell. This story hasn't really been edited except by me, so there may be some errors…
K for Catcher has been nominated for 'Most Creative Plot' for the SKOW awards!! Vote for me if you think I should win!!
W w w . f r e e w e b s . c o m / s k o w
(take away the spaces…)
Also, a new chapter for kfc should be coming soon, and I think ya'll might hate me…
Review and VOTE FOR ME please!!