Author's Note:

Contains some drinking. If you are underaged, don't drink! It causes odd things to happen.

Chapter 7

Strike two!

Nanase glanced around for Kaoru Ootori. She wanted to prove to him that she kept the promise, despite all the setbacks. Circumstances could have landed her in front of the television, watching dramas. As soon as she saw she saw her ruined dress, Nanase assumed the worst. However, her fairy godmother came to her rescue. It turned out the fairy was her mother.

Rumi quickly took charge, calmed her daughter and called all the people she knew for emergencies. Within an hour, Nanase was ready for the Ball. She left home with Yamato snapping pictures and Rumi promising to make Akira's life a living hell. No one was allowed to sabotage Rumi's daughter and get away with it.

Nanase saw a young man approaching her in a white penguin tuxedo suit. She could not help, but smile.

"Hi," she said.

"Hi," Kaoru smiled, warmly, "you clean yourself up well."

"You won't believe how much."

A new score was beginning to play by the orchestra. Without hesitation, Kaoru offered his hand for hers and bowed, "It would be my honour to take this dance with you."

She placed her hand in his, "The honour is mine."

They walked over to the dance floor. She saw the attendees' faces contained the looks of bewilderment. They seemed to be wondering who she was. She felt like yelling, 'It's me! Paint girl!' The feeling subsided as Kaoru placed his hands on her waist and led the dance.

As they spun around, she looked for the faces she wanted to see. Russell was easy to spot with his blond hair. He gave her thumbs up and winked in typical Russell fashion. Takeru was more difficult to find. She was so used to seeing him in glasses, but there was no Takeru in glasses. She assumed he decided to stay home and avoid his Student Council duties.

Kaoru asked, while he spun her in arm's length, "So, tell me your story?"

"Story," she said, as she returned into his arms, "hmm, let me see. I got paint dumped on me, and then a guy tells me to come to an enchanted ball. Next an evil sorcerer destroys my first dress and my fairy godmother comes to save the day. "

"Great story."

"Thanks. What's yours?"

"The usual. Guy waits on Girl, Girl comes to Guy and they dance."

Coco gasped, "They look so cute together."

Akira glared at the dancing couple, "More like the most boring couple."

"Someone's in a bad mood," she nudged.

"Yeah right."

He stared at the girl, angered she came. How did she fix herself so fast? He was sure the dress was destroyed. Carefully, he looked at the dress and realized it was completely different from the first one. Maybe he should not have underestimated her.

Jealousy began to consume him. He was not jealous of Kaoru, but of the girl. Akira wished Yuri Hasuhimi had come. Maybe it could have been them on the dance floor and having everyone watching them. Realizing what he was thinking about, he shook his head chasing away the thoughts. Yuri Hasuhimi was an oddball, everyone said so. Yet, she made him curious.

"I'm going to get some punch," he said to Coco.

Simply, she waved him to go. She was too fixated on the dancing couple. Akira rolled his eyes. He took note to never bring her to balls ever again.

As he was pouring himself punch, Miyuki Souno came to the table. She wore a halter dress that made Akira wish to be with her. Unknown to him that was the effect she wanted.

"Hey," she greeted, "how's it going?"

"Miserable. Did you know I destroyed her first dress?"

"Really," she said, not sounding surprised.

"Yeah and she still manages to come."

He noticed something was different about the punch. He sniffed it, but she confirmed his suspicions before his nose. "Someone spiked the punch. How juvenile," she said, taking out a bottle of Jack Daniels from her purse.

"How did you-,"

"Purses are a girl's best friend," she opened the bottle cap and took a swig from the bottle.

Akira was impressed to encounter a true rebel of society at Blooming. He was sure everyone was uptight and conservative. Miyuki proved him wrong.

"Won't you be noticed?"

She extended her hand to give him the bottle, "No, that's the beauty of money. Money makes the world go round."

He took the bottle and gulped the drink. "Hey," she cried, "Don't finish it!"

"Sorry," he hiccupped, "I love alcohol."

"Me too."

Akira felt the floor spinning. He was getting drunk too soon.

He slurred, "Won't it be noticeable that we are drinking in broad daylight."

"Dude, it is night time."

"I know that," he said, cutting the air with his hand. He looked at his victim and saw she was still dancing with the guy he admired. She captured the captain's attentions, but Akira could not. Apparently, the captain and Izaumi (the coach) were part of Akira's haters list. They joined Hater No1 Nanase Kamiya Stines on the list.

"I really don't like that girl. She's so, so, so-,"


"No, that's not the word, but she is that too. What was it? Oh yes, anal!"

Miyuki laughed, "That's a good one."

"Yeah, I have an excellent judge of character."

A thought occurred to him. What if he destroyed this dress too?

"I'll be back," he said, "don't move. I promise this will be good."

He refilled his cup and walked over to the couple. They just stopped dancing, by the time he arrived. Along with the rest of the people, the girl was applauding for an encore.

"Nee-chan," moaned Akira, "I have a present."

"I don't want any-," he interrupted her by thrusting the drink on the new dress. He flailed the cup until every drop of punch was on the dress.

"Oh," he said, "I'm sorry. My hand slipped."

Nanase stared at the punk, her eyes as wide as they possibly can go. He destroyed another dress of hers. Twice in one day. Instead of laughter, the crowd remained silent. Everyone was surprised to see the stunt that was just pulled by him.

From the crowd, Nanase heard Russell's voice shouting, "Let me at him!"

Kaoru, on the other hand, was not ready to pound the punk. He seized her hand and motioned her to come with him. But she would not permit herself to. Enough was enough.

She launched herself on the punk and began to punch him. In self-defence, he grabbed her hands to keep them from damaging his face. Eventually, the professional fighting led them to roll over on the floor. Each one was trying to pull the other's hair, yank at the clothes and claw through to victory. At some point, they found themselves being torn apart.

The punk was removed from her by a teacher she never talked to. She recognized him as the soccer coach, whatever his name was. Nanase found herself being held back by Kaoru. There was no point in fighting against him, since he was stronger than her.

The teacher yelled, "What the hell is the matter with you two?!"

Nanase pointed, "He started it. You saw him."

"No, you started it," cried Akira, "for being anal!"

"I'm not anal!"

"You said so yourself!"

She removed her shoe and threw it at his direction. Unfortunately, it hit the teacher instead.

"See! She's a threat to society!"

"Enough," yelled the teacher, silencing the two, "why are two random strangers fighting?"

Kaoru explained, "They're siblings."

"Step siblings," they corrected in unison. Once they heard what the other said, they cried foul play and other nonsense.

The teacher said, "Murokashi apologize to your sister-," Nanase opened her mouth to yell error, but the teacher silenced her, "you shut up."

A girl escaped from the crowd and ran over to the debacle. The girl was Coco, the punk's nice friend.

She said, "I'm so sorry. I forgot to watch him. I apologize on his behalf."

"Who are you?"

Akira moaned, "My mother, friend, lover and sister."

The Muro-kun Fan Club cried earnest tears. Nanase assumed they heard the word 'lover' and believed the worst.

Coco said, "No, I'm not that. I'm just his friend, who questions why the hell she's friends with him.

"Right," said the teacher, uninterestedly.

Nanase yelled, "Aren't you going to penalize him or something? Do what teachers do best!"

The moment the teacher glared at her, she felt the need to curl up and hide in a ditch. She thought he was on her side and listen to her suggestions.

The teacher said, "I've come to a decision. We will call your parents."

"No," cried Nanase, as she was trying very hard to get out Kaoru's viper grip, "don't call them? They're really busy. The wedding is tomorrow."

The punk cried, in the similar tone as her, "Bring them on!"

Coco looked at him and asked, "Akira, are you drunk?"

Akira sat on his favourite office chair, slouching as he did earlier that day. He was alone with the girl, who was sitting on the chair on his left. Of course his chair kicked her chair's ass when it came down to comfortableness. To him, it did not matter that the chairs were identical. His chair dominated.

For a drunken person, Akira was aware of what happening around him. He knew he poured punch on the dress, about the fight and the call to the PARENTS. If he was present in a court, the judge and prosecutor would say he was of 'sound mind'.

The call to the PARENTS was not pleasant. In order to be perceived as one of those 'tough love' teachers, Izaumi made Akira and the girl tell them what happened over speakerphone. To say they were furious was an understatement. Akira heard his father cursing and threatening to place each one on a pike, leave them on an electric post and watch the crows pick at their rotting corpses. Rumi, on the other hand, was quiet. He did not hear a single peep from her. He assumed Rumi would go ballistic as soon as she steps through the doors.

The girl was still angry, but she managed to calm down. She did not glance at Akira nor did she utter a word. She was giving him the infamous 'Silent Treatment'. She was not going to continue this shenanigan, because Akira knew she would scream at him. All anal people screamed, it was one of those universal truths.

Akira said, drowsily, "Can you please stop doing that?"

For the past forty-five minutes, the girl was tapping her nails on the wooden arm chair. Her noise evolved from quiet tappings to a jack-hammer hammering in Akira's head. Was a migraine coming?

She stopped and began another action that was far worse for him. She cracked her knuckles. The knuckles were divided into different parts and she cracked every single one of them.


"Seriously," he yelled, giving himself another bout of headaches, "just stop."

The girl placed her hands down on her lap. A few minutes later, she rose up and disappeared from his sight. What part of 'Don't move' did she not hear from Izaumi?

Next thing Akira knew was the screeching noises of a fire alarm.

'Please evacuate. Evacuate," said the incessant mechanical voice of a super-computer.

He covered his ears, hoping the pain would minimize. All it did was make it worse.

Akira saw through his slit eyes the girl returning. Calmly, she sat down on her chair and began to look though a Marie Claire magazine. Apparently, the noises did not seem to bother her.