Why Do You Get All The Love In The World?
Chapter One: Can't Stop, Addicted To The Shindig
11232007 – 0853P
AN: So this story… should speak for itself. Please enjoy it. :)
Also, it has a very long title. It may be changed/shortened later. And the college may or may not exist. My apologies either way.
Music: "All The Love In The World" by Nine Inch Nails.
I stared at him coldly, bringing my cigarette to my lips. They were chapped and after I took a drag and pulled the filter away, I was dimly aware that they clung to it as if it were their life source; which, in a twisted way, I guess it was. I'm not nice when I don't get my nicotine.
"Please," he appealed again. I narrowed my eyes. I couldn't believe that after all he had put me through, he was back again.
"Sometimes you made me feel so small," I hissed. They were the first words I had spoken in this exchange. "Now you can live with it. I'm done."
Mine and Andrew's story didn't start in my senior year of high school; not really. It started in my freshman year of college. But we did meet in high school. It was an awkward sort of friendship: the type where you say hello in the halls and pass notes in Anatomy, but not one where you hang out in the town center or watch movies at each other's houses on weekends.
When we got to college, however, we found ourselves the only Fairdale High graduates to go to Art University F in Tokyo. That wasn't surprising, of course. Not many American students move across the world to attend a Japanese university, and it was one of the things we had discussed. But to run into each other like that, call me naïve or a dreamer or whatever, but I thought it may be a sign.
In retrospect, Andrew was probably just lonely and awkward in such a place, and didn't see it the same way. But I was so convinced…
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Flashback to Tokyo commencing…
I was ready to cry. I couldn't find my apartment, and I was convinced that I had gotten off at the wrong stop on the bullet train. I knew I didn't have enough money for a cab, the train had already stopped running (thanks to my psycho flight schedule), and aside from that, I had no idea where I was.
I felt my phone vibrate and I pulled it out. The caller ID read Andrew. I flipped it open.
"Do you have any idea how much roaming is when it's yesterday in the states?" I demanded, ignoring the fact that I could have not answered.
"I thought that was you," he said with laughter in his voice.
"What?" I asked, surprised.
"I'm across the street from you. See you in a minute. Stay there."
I did as I was told, utterly bewildered. I had forgotten to cry and I was staring around, wide eyed, searching the crowd for (non-bleached) blonde hair and green eyes. Call me naïve again, but I fell heavily into stereotypes back then. I mean, they are stereotypes for a reason, right?
I finally spotted him and started walking forward. He was smiling. I'm sure my expression was one of intense relief.
"Hey," he greeted me. "What are you doing in Tokyo?"
"I live here now. Sort of," I explained sheepishly.
"Yeah. I kind of don't know where my apartment is." I held up the paper with the address printed on it. He perused it for a minute, a serious expression taking over his features before he broke into a grin again.
"You're shitting me."
"Afraid not," I admitted, wondering what was so funny about the fact that I was hopelessly lost in a foreign city.
"Well, that's my building. Come on," he said, still chuckling to himself as he led me through the crowd. My heels clicked on the pavement as we went along only to be drowned out by the chatter of the late-night crowds of Tokyo.
Heels, by the way, are not the best shoes to wear when you are going to be on a twelve-hour flight, the bullet train, and the streets of a foreign city.
We walked about five city blocks before there it was looming over us: one of the most massive apartment buildings I've seen to date.
"Welcome home, Lacey." I stared at Andrew, tears starting to well up in my eyes. I'm sure to him, and to you, it seems stupid for me to start crying then, but here's the thing: my parents died when I was eight. I haven't had a steady home since. I've never had a place to really call home. And now… I suddenly did.
I went with him to the elevator in silence, and when we got to the fourth floor, he hugged me and said goodnight before leaving me to make my way up to the eighteenth floor. I really hoped the elevators never broke down. Knock on wood.
I took a look around my apartment as soon as I got there. I had had my furniture sent ahead of me, but it was still barely enough to fill the large space. It was remarkably expansive, especially for a Japanese apartment. The western furniture looked distinctly out of place, especially the wooden Americanized futon. I decided that I would soon move the mattress off of it to make it more authentic. But what good would that do when everything else was so obviously out of place?
I took out my pack of Camel 9s and lit one, bringing it to my lips for a deep drag.
I would do okay there. I had to.
Three years of Japanese as a Second Language at Fairdale had done little to prepare me for the real thing. No matter how many Sumimasen's I threw out there, no one stopped to help me with directions. It was just as well, I supposed, considering I probably wouldn't have known enough to ask them where to go or understand them when they told me.
But by the grace of God, I managed to run into Andrew outside of Nana Café, and I was extrememly relieved to spot a messenger bag at his side. That meant he was going to the university, right?
"Why are you coming out of Nana Café?" I asked. Even I knew that that was a girly bistro.
"The real question is, why wouldn't I be?" he threw back at me. I raised an eyebrow and he reached into the paper bag in his hand, carefully drawing out the most beautiful confection ever. It was a piece of white layer cake, complete with strawberry filling between the layers, fluffy mounds of white icing sweeping over the expanse of the top, and deliciously ripe-looking strawberries. I gawked at it, in complete shock. "I always get one to eat after Intro to Modern Art is over. Trust me, it's necessary." He smiled good-naturedly.
"I want to get one!" I announced, bouncing up and down. He smiled and walked inside with me. I looked at the menu. A piece of cake like Andrew's was ¥350, and a large coffee (which I desperately needed) was ¥250. That was kind of a lot for food. But, as weird as it sounds, I didn't want Andrew to know how little money I had. So I drew a ¥1000 bill out of my wallet and waited in line, making a mental note to find something cheaper for after Intro the Modern Art.
"Now, are you lost again?" Andrew asked once we were out on the bustling street again.
"No," I replied haughtily.
"Okay then. Lead the way, oh master," he said, mock-bowing. I smirked and walked past, heading in the direction that I had previously been traveling. "Oh, wrong answer. Now I get to be the leader," he said cheerily. I glowered. Of course it was the wrong way. It was me, wasn't it?
Andrew led me to the busy train station and up the stairs to the platform. I raised an eyebrow.
"We have to take a train to get to class?" I asked in surprise.
"Yeah, and there are only two going there this time of day, so you have to be sure to get there in time, or you'll miss class and then you'll be needing more than just a piece of cake."
I nodded. As we waited for the train, I surveyed Andrew out of the corner of my eye. He was tall, taller than me by about a foot; not that that was saying much. I was only five-foot-four. He was also good-looking, but not in the classically handsome or baby-faced ways. He had sharp, angular features and was a little too thin for my tastes. He had long, thin fingers and his eyes were slightly almond-shaped, their green hues glittering. In fact, he reminded me a bit of a wood nymph, or something like that.
"What?" he finally asked and I realized I was now blatantly staring at him. I blushed and looked down, shaking my head. He would croak if I told him that he looked like a mystical woodland creature.
I took a sip of my coffee as I tried not to look at him and my mouth tightened a bit.
It's really cold, I realized as the train pulled up. As I had been looking at Andrew, my coffee had turned stone cold.
Andrew and I took text-centered classes, which meant that we went to class for any visual aides offered, and for the student experience, but that if we simply read our English-translated textbooks, we could still pass the class. These classes were specially offered for students who spoke a different language, but they were open to native speakers as well.
I listened to the teacher as she read from the book, pausing every now and then to elaborate a bit, and followed along in the text, comparing it to the English pages. I desperately wanted to be able to understand her.
I slowly began to realize what Andrew meant by needing a piece of cake for after class. For one, I had had no breakfast, and I could feel my blood sugar drop, and for two, Yamamoto-sensei's voice kept me on edge all through the class and I desperately needed something to calm my nerves. Being the type of person I am, that meant eating.
Andrew and I sat on the stairs by the west entrance as we unwrapped our cake. He had stopped at one of the vending machines and bought both of us strong black coffee, which I was grateful for, as I was slowly beginning to feel the insistent throb of a caffeine headache, probably from my inability to drink cold coffee. We ate in silence, but after we were done eating and we each lit up (my Camel 9s and his Marlboro Lights), conversation came much easier.
"I've always wanted to go to school in Tokyo. I was so focused on doing it that it didn't even occur to me to take Japanese back at Fairdale. I took Spanish instead," Andrew explained. "But I guess it doesn't matter much, does it? You took three years of Japanese and look at you. You don't know left from right down here, do you?"
"Are they different here?" I asked, shocked. That was one of my dumber moments, I realized as Andrew started laughing.
"My parents weren't too happy about this, though," he continued when he had overcome his laughter. "They said that I was too anxious to leave, that I didn't have affairs settled, and that I didn't have enough money… They even went as far as to say that if I went, I could just consider myself without family."
"Wow," I said, as he took a drag from his cigarette. "I was raised without parents. They died when I was little. But I can't imagine them being alive and not wanting me."
"Yeah, it kind of sucks," Andrew agreed. "But I'm here now. I've got to make the best of it, right?" I nodded. Andrew stomped out his cigarette. "Come on, it's time for Art History."
AN: Yay. Chappy one is done. I hope I've done a good job of developing the characters. I get the feeling I've fallen short.
Well, please review. They're really helpful and inspiring. :)