The sunlight seeped into my room, outlining on my bed the shape of the blind that still covered most of the window. I rested my arm across my forehead, shading my eyes as they adjusted to the new light. The only thing in my view was the same blank ceiling I saw every morning as I awoke the same way. I stared wondering if it would ever change or if it was meant to be the same forever. I rolled over and turned off my alarm clock, pushing my covers away as I pulled myself to sit at the edge of my bed waiting for the world to be thrown off balance. But as usual it was the same as always, just another day. Or so I thought.
"Yuki, good morning"
"Good morning." I walked into the kitchen, my sister sitting at the table in her middle school uniform I had worn years ago, as my mother was busy making something while watching some infomercials on the mini television on the counter. "Did dad already leave for work?"
"Of course, you know your father. Oh look at that one." I grabbed a paper bag set on the table and walked over to where my schoolbag and shoes sat near the front door, my mom still watching the t.v. as my sister was flipping through some teen magazine she had recently bought. I had just started to open the door to leave as my mother pulled her attention away from the money scheming advertisements. "Oh you're leaving already, Yuki. What about breakfast?"
"I'll grab something on the way." I said walking out the door before she protested. I didn't have much of an appetite in the morning, so I would always lie to avoid being forced to sit down and eat.
"That boy is going to waste away to nothing." The older woman turned back to the television just as a new advertisement came on for energy bars. "Maybe I should buy him some of those."
"Oh, please mom. Mr. Honor student will never learn. You're better off trying to convince dad to eat weird health things." The young girl turned back to her magazine as she continued to eat some cereal, just glancing up at the clock. "Ah! Shizuka is gonna be here soon." She ran up the stairs, for what seemed like only a second as she came back down again with a bag in her hand, grabbing her magazine and lunch as she ran past the kitchen to the front door where her shoes lay scattered.
"Yumi, please don't run in the house." Her mother said as she continued to watch the small box, mesmerized as she mixed a bowl of some mystery goo.
"Sorry mom." Yumi finished slipping on her doll like shoes and grabbed her bag as she hurried out the door, her friend waiting for her near the front gate of the small house. They walked off together, Yumi showing her something in the new magazine she had been looking at during breakfast, both of them giggling as they continued to school.
"Yuki" I had just sat down at my desk as Miyako walked over, gently smiling as she always did. "Good morning."
"Good morning, Miyako. Where's Kazu?" It was unusual to not see Kazu lurking somewhere nearby, nevermind hearing him. The three of us have been close friends since pre-school, I couldn't imagine not seeing their familiar faces each day.
She smiled gently, still looking down at me as she stood next to my desk. "He went to talk to Itsuki." I didn't look at her, busy trying to pry my books out of my bag. Miyako and I had been placed in the same class this year and although it was upsetting for the three of us to be separated, somehow I felt relief that Kazu was in another class, along with our other overly energized friends Itsuki and Kumiko. Miyako seemed to miss having him around more than I did.
"Another day of his incessant lecturing." Miyako and I both looked to the other side of my desk and a girl with long hair, tucked behind one ear, stopped and leaned against an empty desk.
"Oh hi Naoki." Miyako smiled at the girl who was busy looking elsewhere to notice.
"If you don't like our teacher, why don't you request a class change?" She turned back, setting her attention on me. I didn't bother looking at her, knowing she was giving me her classic eyebrow lift as if I said something so ridiculously stupid. Naoki hung around with us and we didn't mind, except when her superior attitude would surface, which was all too often. She was a smart girl, her grades ranking alongside my own, but she tended to mistreat people whose IQ wasn't up to par with hers, which didn't sit too well with Miyako.
"Class is probably going to start soon. I better sit down." Miyako walked away towards the front of the room where her desk was. I knew Naoki had once again made her feel uncomfortable, so I had just given her a look of understanding, before returning to the textbook in front of me. I flipped through the pages ignoring Naoki, only noticing her leave as a voice caught everyone's attention.
"Sit down." Our teacher, Mr. Aragi, stood upright at the front of the room, peering through his thick glasses as his monotone voice began calling students name. He was a middle aged man but you'd think he was nearly sixty by the way he acted. I still couldn't figure out if he was deaf or just ignored students goofing off while his back was turned during lessons.
"Nanami, Yuki." I pulled my attention back to my surroundings as my name rung in my ears.
"Present." I raised my hand to reassure he knew I was there. He continued on with roll call until he finally began the lesson, everyone opening their textbooks to the correct page as we copied notes he scribbled on the bored in white chalk, mumbling inaudibly.
As usual, I was bored from the lesson finding it hard to stay focused, just as most students were, but they managed to find other means of entertainment. My book rocked on the edge of my desk as it sat at an angle nearly in my lap. I looked at the students I could see, most of them chatting, sleeping or just goofing off somehow. It was only a few days into the new school year and already our teacher had managed to kill any interest in the subject that was possibly left, though most of it seemed similar to what we studied the previous year anyways. Watching the two girls that sat in front of me talking and giggling with so much happiness made me feel my life was dull and boring. I wished I could laugh and feel so happy and carefree about such little things as they did, but somehow joy just didn't exist anywhere in my life.
I noticed everyone stop and sit properly as the classroom door opened and the principal stood looking towards our teacher who glanced at the shorter, white haired man before walking over to him. Everyone sat silently trying to hear them as they talked. I watched just as everyone else did, as the principal eventually disappeared and our teacher turned to return to the lecture, but another person followed him into the room.
Just as everyone else, my eyes were locked onto the strange person who walked to the front of the room, wearing a uniform like my own. I could barely hear my teacher introducing him as I stared at the calm face of perfection that looked over the gossiping, admiring room of average kids that he would now call his classmates. "My name is Hanada Xinen, It's nice to meet you."
His voice echoed through my mind, hitting something as though to tell me I was staring at reality and not some dream I imagined out of my boredom. I didn't realize it then, but something inside told me that the man that had just walked into the room would be the one thing I had been looking for in my seemingly dull life, the one thing that may change my world…forever.
I looked down at my book trying to focus as my teacher continued the lesson and the new student taking a seat at the back, only a few desks away from me. I bit down on my lip as I felt heat growing in my face. I felt foolish thinking he could be looking at me, just as foolish as I was for blushing for someone whose name was the only thing I knew about them. I couldn't wait for the class to end.
When lunch finally came, Miyako and Kazu met me in the hall so we could eat together. I had only wished I was paying more attention as I walked down the hall, but I was too late. I had accidentally bumped someone while walking and as I turned to apologize I didn't expect what would happen.
"Yuki-kun" A girl I had known from my class had pounced forward from a group in excitement. "Have you met Xinen-kun?" I looked at the person I had just bumped into, only to come face to face with the one person I wanted to avoid.
I tried to be casual and held out my hand to greet him. "It's nice to meet you. I'm Nanami, Yuki." When his hand touched my own it felt so gentle and warm, it was comforting.
"Nice to meet you Nanami, Yuki." I looked at him as he spoke my name and he smiled. I felt a shiver run down my spine.
I pulled my hand away, afraid of my nerves reacting. I turned away, trying to ignore his fading smile. "Sorry. My friends are waiting for me. It was nice to meet you though."
I walked away, trying to act natural, paranoid that he was watching me. I caught up with Kazu and Miyako feeling at ease. "Isn't that the new guy?"
As the three of us continued down the hall I looked over my shoulder at Xinen, just as Kazu was, glad he had turned his attention in the other direction. "I heard he's a model. He is quite gorgeous, so it's no surprise." I turned my head back, watching blankly ahead of me, as my friends talked about the person that had managed to zone out my surroundings and locked himself in my mind. "Yuki. Did you hear me?"
I blinked, snapping my head towards the girl who had waved her hand in front of my face, brining me back from my daydream. "Sorry Miyako. What did you ask me?"
I heard her giggle as I looked ahead again, knowing we were close to the stairwell. "I think you've been studying too hard."
An arm feel across my shoulders as Kazu laughed. "That's why he's one of the top students. You've got to study hard to get into a good university."
"Is that why you're always sleeping in?" I smiled slightly, still keeping my focus ahead as Miyako laughed.
"Hey. I study…just not as much as you is all. Not everyone cares for perfect grades." My smile faded as I stepped forward, heading downstairs ahead of the two continuing the conversation. It's not that I needed the best grades or to be seen as some sort of genius. I wasn't even sure why I spent so much time studying for something that was slowly beginning to seem useless to me anyways. Perhaps it was the only thing I felt I had.
"Mom, I'm home." I pulled my shoes off and walked into the living room, setting my bag down behind a chair.
"Is that you Yuki?" I could hear her voice calling from upstairs. I didn't bother to yell back knowing she probably wouldn't hear me and we'd get caught up in a repetitive yelling conversation.
"Welcome home big brother." Yumi was sitting on the floor at the wooden table, using a cushion to soften her seating. "Look who's here."
I glanced to the other girl sitting adjacent to my sister. She had dark brown hair falling down her back, pulled back by her temples with two red ribbons. "Hi Shizuka." I loosened my tie and dropped my body onto the green patterned couch.
"Hi, Yuki." I tried to ignore my sister giggling at Shizuka's obvious blushing. She was a cute girl, but she was not only in junior high she was my sister's best friend.
Shizuka kept waving off Yumi's attempts to get her to say more. It was beginning to irritate me, so I pulled myself to the edge of the couch to get up, but noticed the magazine on the table open to a picture of a male model.
"Yumi. Who's that model?" Knowing my sister's goofy stage of boy obsession she would know exactly who it was, considering she was looking at his picture. The man was wearing a hat, but something told me he looked familiar.
"What. Him?" She looked at me questionably then at her magazine. She clasped her hands together in delight and seemed to look into space as if daydreaming. "One of the dreamiest models."
"That's not what I meant." I rolled my eyes at my sister's ridiculous display. I couldn't wait for her to get a real boyfriend so she'd stay interested in one man at a time.
She turned, folding her arms onto the couch, looking up at me. "His name is Xinen if you really need to know."
"Hanada, Xinen?" I had been staring at the picture, but turned to my sister not expecting to hear that name, though it made sense why he looked familiar.
She grabbed onto the edge of the couch and peered up at me. "You now him?"
I calmed my expression. "Not really. He just started at my school." I knew he was a model but I didn't expect him to be in a professional magazine trying to sell some designer name clothing.
I covered my ears as Yumi screamed, Shizuka nearly about to do the same. I stuffed a pillow in my sister's face to shut her up. "Oh my god. Xinen goes to your school." She hopped up onto the couch on her knees, clasping her hands together again, but began shaking them at me. "You have to get me an autograph, please."
"Forget it." I really didn't want to get dragged into a surrender and end up having to talk to him, especially for such an embarrassing reason. I stood up and walked away, my mom coming down the stairs at that moment.
"What is all the screaming about?" She brushed her bobbed hair cut, which gave her a very round faced look, but it suited her. "Oh Yuki, welcome home."
"Mom. A really gorgeous model goes to Yuki's school and he won't get me his autograph." She was now perched on the couch were I had been sitting.
"Shizuka, do you want to stay for dinner?" My mother had a knack for dealing with any argument without getting involved.
"No thank you. My parents are expecting me home." Shizuka peered around the chair to speak properly to my mother. Yumi half fell off the couch, her ponytail brushing the hardwood, knowing she had lost any hopes of getting mom on her side. As relieved as I was, I knew my mother couldn't get me out of running into him ever again. I just had to hope it wasn't anytime soon.