Chapter 1

After a long, edgy sigh, Michiko stepped onto the scale with her eyes closed tightly shut. She gripped the towel wrapped around her body subconsciously. A few seconds rolled by while she waited for the numbers to stop spinning behind the plastic. Unwillingly she looked down. The bathroom was still somewhat steamy from her shower; however, she could read the number clearly.

135

With a heavy heart, she got off the scale and started to dry herself off with the towel. How could this have happened? She'd actually gained 2 pounds rather then lost them. All the exercises she did several times a day obviously weren't helping. What was worse was that it was her first day of high school. All throughout her Jr. High life she'd wanted to weigh 96 pounds before she began high school. Here it was the big day and she had yet to lose the weight.

Wiping a few unnoticed tears off her face, Michiko picked her new uniform off the hanger. She dressed and glanced at herself in the full length mirror. The steam had already started to clear from the glass, enabling her to see a girl with brown hair and dark circles under her eyes. The uniform she wore was a slightly altered version of Hinobe High's, with a much longer plaid black and red skirt and oversized tan blazer. She'd ordered the blazer a few sizes too big to hide her curves. The skirt her mother made for her to hide her chunky legs. All in all she hated it. The more she stared at her reflection the more she hated herself.

A loud and brash knock at the bathroom door started her.

"Michiko! I know there's more of you to wash but geeze! It's my turn." Her older sister's voice sounded irritated.

Hurt by the comment but not wanting to start anything, Michiko unlocked the door. Before she had her hand on the knob her sister barged in, nearly knocking her over. Aiko was a second year student at Hinobe High with high scores in school and tons of popular friends. Her face was that of a doll, with the body of one as well. Perfect lean legs, small bust, tiny waist, and long flowing chestnut hair. No guy could resist her, or so it seemed. At the moment the beautiful face that smiled cheerfully any other time was contorted into a grimace.

"What the hell's wrong with you? God, don't you know that I have to be at school early to meet my friends?"

"I…uh…sorry, Aiko, I just-"

"You just shut up and get out. I have to straighten my hair."

Michiko was dismissed from the bathroom and headed downstairs to the kitchen. Their mother stood at the stove cooking something that smelled like eggs. She turned around when she heard the girl's shoes hit the linoleum floor. Mrs. Kawasaki no doubt gave Aiko her good looks. Michiko wondered for the millionth time whether she'd been adopted or not.

"Michiko, what was all that yelling about? Did you do something to upset your sister again?" Mrs. Kawasaki asked.

The girl opened the refrigerator to find something to eat. "No, I just took a little too long in the bathroom I guess."

Her mother hmped. "Well, you know how your sister is, Michiko. You're just going to have to let her in the bathroom first from now on."

"Ok…."

She found a bag of apples that her mom bought at the store yesterday and took one, closing the refrigerator. Her mom looked at her oddly but said nothing, knowing of her younger daughters need to loose weight. A door slammed open from upstairs, Aiko hurrying down the stairs seconds later with her hair straightened and pony tailed neatly.

"Gotta go! See ya-"

"Hold on, Aiko!" Michiko piped. "I need you to show me the way to school."

Aiko stopped. "Say what? Are you kidding me? Like I'd want people to see me with you. Totally embarrassing." She grabbed her things and hurried to the front door. "Hinobe is right by our old Jr. High. You can't miss it."

"But-"

The door slammed shut and Aiko was gone. Without her.

Mrs. Kawasaki sighed and folded her arms. "You'd better get going; Michiko, or you'll be late your first day."

"Yeah, I hope I can find it. Bye, mom, I love you."

She left the house hoping she was traveling in the right direction.


"Hey! There she is….Aiko! Aiko, over here, babe!" hooted a long haired guy from across the hallway.

A few other guys were around him, all of them making googly eyes at the Hinobe Princess. Aiko winked at them, absolutely loving the attention she was getting. Her friends chattered amongst each other about how lucky she was to get a pick of any and every guy she wanted.

"Hiya, Matsumura-kun!" she called sweetly, waving.

Some of the guys started to surround her and her friends, using cheesy pick up lines to get a date from her. All was going great until she came. The fat freak she dared not call her sister. Michiko was huffing and puffing as she walked down the hallway, her hair a total mess from the wind.

Aiko let out a disgusted 'ugh' sound.

One of the guys noticed Michiko and snorted laughter. "Who's the ugly girl?"

"She must be a new first year. Damn, what a fatty." another guy said.

"Ewwww….Aiko, do you know her? She's staring at you." one of her friends said, pulling on her sleeve.

"No way in hell…do I know that pig." Aiko said coolly. "Let's head to class, guys. The bell's about to ring anyway."

The group walked right past Michiko, one of the guys pushing her out of the way and into the wall. Laughter ensued from the display. Michiko's face became hot as she held back her tears. She took off down the hallway covering her face with her arm. How could Aiko be so cruel to her? What had she ever really done wrong?

Just as she was about to remove her arm from her face so she could see where she was going, her body collided with someone else's. Knocked backwards, she landed on her tailbone, sending fresh tears of pain to her eyes.

"OW!!!" she yelped. "Owwww…ch….ow…"

"Gah, sorry, girl. You ok?" a smooth voice asked from above her.

She looked up to see a face as smooth as the voice, with shorter blond hair tousled stylishly and daring blue eyes. Speechless, all the girl could manage to do was gape at him stupidly. Finally he took her by the arms and helped her up.

Finally finding her voice, Michiko began apologizing at once. "I-I'm so sorry, I wasn't paying attention to where I was going."

"Whoa, whoa, calm down, it was my fault to. I wasn't looking either. In a hurry and all that." the guy said reasonably. "Don't worry about it. You're a first year, right?"

She nodded hesitantly.

"Hmmm, well, do you know where your class is?"

"Uhhh…actually no….I don't."

"Want me to take you there?"

"Eh? But I thought you were in a hurry."

"They let upperclassman be a little late if we show a first year around. It's no problem at all."

"Ok, thank you so much."

She followed him down the hallway, where he informed her that in Hinobe the first years were on the first floor, second years on the second floor, and so forth. It was a very clean, well managed school, she saw. Although, what mostly had her interest was the boy showing her around. Obviously he was either a second or third year student. But he seemed really cool. Too cool to want to talk to someone like her.

Don't think too deeply into it, she told herself. I bet he's only doing this because he wants to miss some of his class. Either that or he's just being way too nice.

They found class 1-D and he surprised her by holding out his hand. She looked at it like it was going to bite her.

"Uhh…umm…"

"My name's Iwasawa Tetsuya, nice to meet you…."

"O-Oh!" She took the offered hand shakily. "I'm Kawasaki Michiko; it's very nice to meet you to…"

He chuckled and dropped his hand. "I bet it is. Well, I'll see you around, ok? Later."

Unsure of whether or not she'd detected a hint of arrogance from the boy, Michiko went into her classroom. The teacher was halfway through explaining all of the rules regulations that they had to go over every year. Michiko was shown to her seat next to a ganguro looking girl. She sighed heavily and slumped down in her seat.

Michiko had a feeling her high school life would be anything but great.