Introduction

The polished wooden door swung open. A girl with long black hair and grey eyes stumbled out, grudgingly fixing the crimped collar on her shirt. Toriko hated school uniforms, but at least Belleview high had the option of buying uniform pants instead of those stupid overated skirts.

She raised her hand to shield her eyes from the rare Vancouver sunshine, trying not to deepen the light tan she had developed over the past few weeks.

"Toriko! You forgot your lunch!" A woman walked out of the open door, drying her wet hands on the side of her shirt and holding up a plastic bag.

"Whoops! Thanks mum!" Toriko took the bag and immediately looked inside, "Cookies! Yes!!" Today was going to be a good day, she could feel it.

She waved over her shoulder and ran confidently down the spiral staircase off the porch, towards her school. She speed walked past the parked car out of which a creepy old man was leering at her; Avoiding a potential predator as her mother often warned her to do.

She grinned at the hole in a front lawn of the house next to the neighbourhood pet store. It was previously occupied by a "for sale" sign. She wondered what kind of people had moved in. There weren't many people her age living on the block.

"Hey, beautiful! Gimme your number!" Toriko turned her head. A boy around twenty years old called out to her from the porch of the newly sold house. He lowered his head, grinning, and then winked at her.

"Uh...? Oh... Get a life, you pervert!... I'm only 16!!" Toriko yelled back angrily, pretending she didn't notice how good looking he was. He had an olive complexion and dark brown hair tied in a short ponytail.

The handsome young man chuckled and then turned his bright green eyes back to her, "Don't worry, that's old enough." His voice was deep and he had spoken calmly. Toriko flushed bright red, disturbed and embarrassed. He burst out laughing.

Another younger boy stepped out of the door behind him, holding a broom. He looked at his brother disapprovingly. Two pairs of the same bright green coloured eyes stared at each other.

"We just moved here and you're already hitting on random strangers? You womanizer..." The boy said, hitting his brother on the head with the broom handle. Toriko felt slightly guilty; she was standing on the sidewalk at the edge of their lawn, staring dreamily at the two handsome strangers. She recalled that the young man was the one at fault.

What is it about this neighbourhood that draws in all these perverts? she wondered.

"Com'on, Sabishii... chill! I was just asking the pretty little girl for directions to the nearest... uh... convenience store..." said the young man with his lips pouted, batting his eyelashes.

The younger boy talked to Toriko while narrowing his eyes on his brother, "Hey man, my name's Sabishii, and this perverted brother of mine is Tasuke. Sorry about his rudeness earlier."

The whole time Sabishii hadn't even glanced up at Toriko, he looked up at the sound of her laughter, "Whoa... What the-? You... Tasuke, can you see right??"

"Uh huh... why?" Tasuke asked, confused, as Toriko tilted her head awkwardly at the two brothers. Sabishii talked in a hissed whisper which came out louder and more harsh-sounding than it would have if he had talked normally.

"You called that girl 'beautiful'?!"

BANG!

"What's that supposed to mean, YOU JERK!?" Toriko yelled after throwing her backpack at Sabishii's head, she slid her watch around her wrist to look at the time. 8:40. "Ah man! I'm gonna be late!"

Toriko grabbed her bag, stepped purposely on Sabishii's foot... hard... and waved, "Bye pervert! Bye jerk!"

"That reminds me, don't you have to go to..." Tasuke's voice trailed off as Toriko stomped away, outraged. She couldn't believe that that guy had called her 'unbeautiful'.

"Correction..." she thought aloud, "My neighbourhood draws perverts and idiots with bad taste. Then again, maybe that's not what he meant... that couldn't possibly be what he meant! Com'on, me? Unbeautiful??"

"Yeah! Beautiful is an understatement, baby, you're gorgeous!" a deep voice said behind her, she turned around, "Boo!"

Behind Toriko stood a white bed sheet with a Wal-Mart tag sticking out of its corner, wearing worn down sneakers and carrying a school bag. Taken by surprise, Toriko didn't notice those details.

She took a deep breathe, gaping at the bedsheet in wide eyed fear. She took a step back and ducked her face immediately into her hands,

The bed sheet fell over laughing a high pitched laugh. A hand from under the sheet reached out and pulled it off, revealing Toriko's best friend, Midori Keith.

"It's me, you scaredy cat!" said a girl with short auburn hair and dark eyes shining with tears of laughter, "I can't believe you fell for that! Last night, I was leaving work and I saw a sale on bed sheets and I immediately thought of you!"

Toriko took a breath, quickly steadying herself, "Midori... you bum, that was mean! You've got a job and you still manage to find time to torment me?" she complained. Midori shrugged, brushing a hand over her shoulder with a giant grin on her face, "Yeah, you got me... So now you're just the... 'epitome of coolness', aren't you, Midori?"

"'Coolness'! Wicked word - see my talents are wiping off on you!" Midori praised herself while Toriko kept grumbling, "Oh right! We should be getting to class!" They had completely forgotten about getting to school. They looked east, where they could see the top of their school building on the horizon. Then they looked back at each other, grinning maliciously.

"Last one there's a rotten egg!" they screeched simultaneously; evidently, having done this before. They were off, running as fast as they could, flailing their arms, cackling at the top of their lungs. They finally made it to class, twenty minutes late, still panting and grinning as they faced their frustrated teacher.

"Stand outside!" the lean teacher screamed in his shrill voice, his hands comically on his hips, "How could you get twenty minutes late if you live eight minutes away?!"

___________________________________

Toriko and Midori stood in the hallway, "How does Mr. Shika yell in such a high-pitched voice? Makes him sound like my grandmother - plus or minus a few litres of helium; now that's what I call talent," joked Midori, trying to brighten the mood. Toriko sighed. They heard loud voices coming from the classroom across the hall.

"How come class 11B gets to have fun when 11A is actually expected to learn!? This school really hates us, doesn't it? Curse this cruel, cruel world," Toriko stared longingly across the hall. Midori shrugged and walked cautiously over to the classroom's open door.

"Oooh... a new student! He's pretty cute too... the girls are all over him," Midori laughed mischeaveously, "they're so desperate! That poor boy won't survive his first day in the school!"

Toriko walked over, curious to see which guy deserved to be the first she had heard Midori consider good-looking. "He'll regret coming to Belleview High if he really is good-looking. Belleview girls are so beyond desperate!" Toriko didn't realize that she was also insulting herself until Midori mouthed, "That includes you!" to her. They elbowed each other and giggled into their hands. Then they redirected their attention in to the classroom.

The new student had brown hair that reached slightly past his bright green eyes. There were about twelve girls in the class, all of whom had pulled their chairs as close as they could get to him. And this made him very nervous.

"Do you have a girlfriend yet?" asked a freckled girl who twirled a few strands of her ginger hair on her finger.

"Do you like anyone at this school?" asked a second girl, frantically pushing the first girl aside. She slapped her hand on to his, which he quickly retreated from his desk to his side.

A third girl pulled her way into the seat beside the new student; she sucked in a breath, trying unsuccessfully to pronounce her flat chest and asked in a forcefully sweet voice, "Do you think I'm pretty??"

The girls in Sabishii's new class had surrounded him and were burying him with questions. He was afraid to respond. He shrugged, scratching his nose nervously and this made all of the girls around him squeal "awww!" in unison. He was frustrated and overwhelmed.

I don't know anyone at this school who I can pretend to like and if I say I don't like anyone, they'll never leave me alone! What do I do? he thought of ways to get himself out of his situation Maybe if I say I like some common name for girls like a 'Mary' or a 'Jane'... There's probably 'Mary's and 'Jane's at this school! But argg! It's so common that there's probably more than one! And these leeches will want last names... Aahh maan!

Sabishii let out his frustration by banging his head on his desk, confusing all the girls surrounding him. It hurt more than he had expected and then he remembered what had happened that morning. He accidentally let out his anger out loud, "That stupid, ugly girl from this morning and her stupid hard ass backpack!!"

"Who are you calling 'ugly', JERK?!?" Toriko's scream filled the classroom. Sabishii looked up at the doorway and saw Toriko with her backpack lifted over her head, ready to throw it at him. Sabishii gulped.

"Do you know him, Toriko?" Midori asked, worriedly yanking the backpack out of Toriko's hands.

Hmmm... 'Toriko'... 'Toriko'... 'Toriko'! A plan! Sabishii thought fast.

"He's the bastard that called-" Toriko started explaining to Midori.

"Toriko!" Sabishii exclaimed, interrupting her, "Oh, I missed you, babe! You came all the way to my class to see me?? That's so thoughtful! I don't deserve you!" Sabishii said through his teeth as he pulled Toriko into a half hug-half headlock. Her eyes flamed with anger and her mind filled with murderous plots. This idiot had called her ugly twice today and was now attempting to sexually harass her!

"All guys are retarded perverts!!!" Toriko screamed as Sabishii dragged her out of the classroom by the arm, with a big innocent smile of his face. Toriko continued insulting all of mankind at the top of her lungs while Sabishii pulled her down the hall and out the school's front doors.

"Oww..." Toriko rubbed the arm that Sabishii had pulled her by. She pouted, bringing her eyebrows closer together at the centre.

"I'm sorry." Sabishii said - so genuinely that it shocked Toriko. He grabbed her hand and squeezed it lightly. Her eyes opened wide and her hearted skipped a beat. Mind you, she wasn't one of Belleview High's 'desperate chicks' but things like this didn't happen to her - much less most Belleview girls - every day. Seeing Sabishii's holding back his laughter, Toriko snapped back to reality.

"Sorry! I've just always wondered if that worked in real life! Haah, Girls!" Sabishii chuckled.

"What the hell did you think you were doing?!" Toriko yelled at Sabishii, as she yanked her hand out of his. He continued making his half-laughing-half-smiling face. He could get any girl with that face... Toriko thought as her expression momentarily turned dreamy.

"So you're one of those desperate girls, too?" he guessed from the look on her face. Toriko turned bright red again.

"Not even! I'm-" she started.

"Can you go out with me." Sabishii interrupted Toriko, the unexpected caught the air in her throat.

She managed a "What?"

"Just think about it and meet me here at lunch..." Sabishii replied awkwardly. The bell for the end of first period rang loudly over the school grounds.

"Saved by the bell..." they both mumbled under their breath as they rushed in opposite directions towards their second period classes.