Deep Love : First Year

by

Shizumi Kurohane

Prologue

Seyoi Private Academy was located in the heart of Hyôgo's suburban capital city of Kobe on the largest of Japan's islands: Honshû. It was a respected institution for many of Hyôgo and Kobe's residents. Some students even came all the way from the Ryûkyû Islands just to attend. And while Tôkyô University was still the most sought-after, those wanting a bit of peace and quiet in the small, homely district of Chuo strived for Seyoi. However, getting in was no easy feat, either. You had to have the brains as well as the money to back it up.

For two students, Seyoi Private Academy was the only choice. And it was within their reach.

His room was becoming more and more undistinguished. Another box joined many others into his hand-me-down Mitsubishi's trunk. Soon only a few boxes and other furniture were all that was left of his room.

"Kotaru-kun?"

He snapped out of his slight daze. "Yes, Mother?" he asked.

"Are you going to make your dear-middle-aged-mother carry all these boxes out to the car by herself?" Riri complained; her weight on one leg in imitation of her hands on her hips, a pout caressing her facial features.

Kotaru sweatdropped. "Of course not, Mother," he said. Wearing comfortable jeans and t-shirt, he took the huge box she was already carrying from her. But she just grabbed another of equal weight in defiance. Kotaru sighed happily and helplessly at his mother's stubbornness. They finished the loading process quickly and painlessly.

"Take it easy over there, Ko-kun!" his brother Kentarou said, eyes holding a gleam, his hand raised in farewell.

Kotaru smiled cheerfully at him, waving as he got into the car with his mother. They were on their way to Seyoi Private Academy.

----

They arrived at Seyoi's front gate a little less than an hour later. The security officer took Kotaru's acceptance letter and read it over. He smiled at him and then let them pass, waving at him and his mother as they drove through the gate.

In the parking lot, several security officials and the headmaster, Furuyama Kusagi, greeted them with smiling faces. Furuyama was a plump man of about forty-five years of age and had continually graying hair and soft, kind, brown eyes. "Welcome to our prestigious academy, Higashii Kotaru-kun. Please, leave your things here and these officials will take them to your room. I'd like to personally give you a tour."

"Oh. Uhh… Thank you, Headmaster Furuyama-san, but if my mother won't be necessary in helping with the things, I'll drive her home—"

"Now, now, Kotaru," his mother interrupted, "I'll be fine. Go on now."

"If you like, I can have someone escort you home, Higashii-san," the headmaster offered.

"Oh, how charming! But I'll be fine. I've already arranged for my husband to pick me up after I helped Kotaru. I'll just call him quickly…"

----

"And this," the headmaster said, "…is the dormitory branch of our academy."

Kusagi then turned to the young blond and continued, "So, Higashii-kun, I hope you have a wonderful time here at Seyoi Private Academy. We're all very proud to have a prestigious student such as yourself here."

Kotaru bowed in modesty, shutting his aqua-turquoise eyes as he did to show his gratefulness, "Thank you very much for having me, Headmaster."

Kusagi smiled, thinking, "What a polite and upright young man…"

"Now," the headmaster voiced aloud, handing him a card of about two inches in height and three and a half in width, "this is your ID card with all your information. As you can see, you're in room 367. This means you're on the third floor in room sixty-seven. Do you think you can find your room yourself?"

Kotaru nodded.

"Good. The elevators are over there. Here's your room key. Your things should already be there."

----

As the elevator doors opened, Kotaru quickly stepped onto the red carpet of the third floor and looked around. The floor was cylindrical and the doors, he found, were, going right, 301, 302, 303, et cetera, and left, 399, 398, 397, et cetera.

Soon, he stood before a door labeled in gold numbers: 367.

"Umm…" Kotaru murmured as he knocked on the door. Prestigious or not, he was still a student; he figured he must have gotten a roommate.

"Excuse me for the intrusion…" he said as he unlocked and opened the door.

----

Upon opening the door, he stepped into a traditional Japanese entranceway. The room that was laid out before him was neat and orderly. The floor was wooden and shiny. There was a low table with a heater embedded into the floor below it, in the center of the living room. Off to his right was a small kitchen-like, enclosed area. From what he could see, there was a small fridge, some cabinets and a counter. Next to that, towards him, was a closed door he assumed was a bathroom. In front of him was a window that was currently covered, and off to the left of it was a desk. On his left was a single step, almost like a porch, at the top of which was a door. There were two windows to either side. He assumed this door led to the bedroom he would share.

The door to what he assumed was the bedroom opened to reveal his roommate. He had dark-blue hair—almost black if not for the shine that gave way to the blue—and it was very long—down to his backside even though it was tied back in a hair tie—and he was clad in dark jeans and a black button-down shirt. The hair fell off the broad shoulder as the body turned slightly to meet him, eyebrows raised in slight surprise. Striking blue eyes—as deep as the faraway ocean or even an abyss swallowing him up—met aqua-turquoise eyes, wide with surprise and awe. Kotaru did a double take.

"What am I thinking?"

The awe-inspiring teen crossed the room to the genkan to greet his new roommate. And Kotaru—without thinking—backed away slightly. But the tall individual only smiled and chuckled at him.

"Are you afraid of me?" a deep, rich voice said to him, laughter in the tone. But his eyes held a friendly gaze. Kotaru blinked, realizing what he had done.

"Oh! I'm sorry!" He bowed. "My name is Higashii Kotaru. I'm your new roommate as of today. Please forgive my rudeness."

"It's fine. I'm Takeishi Monaru. Nice to meet you, Kotaru-kun," Monaru said, emphasizing the 'kun' suffix at the end of his name, and his first name at that. They were already on a first name basis—and 'kun', not 'san'? Kotaru should have been outraged at this. But somehow, the deep voice declaring his name in such an intimate way gave him shivers rather than rage...