"Bold" = Speaking in french of English

"Italics" =thoughts

Everyone talks in Japanese.


Stranger in Strange Lands

Chapter 6

It was funny to see how quickly the rumors and hate died after Lena started hanging out with Ami and her friends. People probably realized she wouldn't bite anyone and then tried to talk to her. By the end of December, Lena was more or less appreciated by almost everyone in her grade. That's what you can call an improvement. The most hated girl in the whole school became everybody's friend. So when she said she was going back home, her class and Ami's made a big mess of it.

"What? What do you mean by that?"

"You can't go now, we just became friends!"

"Can my texts reach you in Canada?"

"You didn't tell anyone you stayed only one trimester, that's just not fair..."

"Whoa, guys, calm down!" Lena chuckled "I'm going home for Christmas, but I'm coming back after that, don't worry."

That sent both class in another mess. A quieter mess, indeed, but a mess nonetheless. They complained about how they wanted her to come to karaoke with them and how she wouldn't be here for whatever party they were going to go... Lena just smiled and half-heartedly apologized. Then she turned to Ami and made fun of their classmate and the fuss they were making about it. Ami faked a laugh.

The truth is, Ami was just as upset, if not more. She had looked forward to spending Christmas with her, but she guessed she couldn't really bother Lena if she wanted to spend the holiday with her family...

Ami observed her from afar as she spoke to her classmate, disappointed.

Lena's flight was on the 21th of December. Days passed and so did Christmas. Ami spent the holiday with Rina and Mitsuko at the karaoke and had met a bunch of classmate over there. Not that it'd been boring but... something was just missing. She guessed she had gotten a lot more used to the exchange student than she wanted to admit. It was okay though, she constantly had to remind herself, because she was coming back just before the last trimester.

And now, one the 31th, Ami had to admit she was being ridiculous. She couldn't do anything. It was nearing noon, but she hadn't made a single move to get up. She just turned around in her bed, wondering what Lena was up to. If she was awake, of course, but Ami couldn't care less about the time difference. She just wanted to know when Lena was coming. No news from her though, none at all. She probably was having a fantastic time...

Yep, she was being ridiculous.

No one missed friends like that. It just never happened. They didn't leave for the other end of the globe and they spent Christmas together and they texted each other every day. That's what friends did. But not Lena. And maybe that was the irony of the whole situation; if she had texted Ami, then she probably wouldn't even miss her, or lying in her bed, wondering what she was going to do today...

Well, she knew. Kind of... She was going to the fireworks with Hana for the New Year. They were supposed to meet at 8, so that left plenty of time to Ami to aimlessly stare at the bed above her head. Until her mother kicked the out of the room and forced her to do something with her life while she was young.

...Fine, she would take a bath then. And she would soak in there for half an hour.

How did anyone come to this? Being so obsessive about someone... Well, being saved repeatedly from the same pervert sure helped in her case. And, just maybe, the fact that she was just so different made her a lot more special than expected. She had no idea when she was supposed to bow down, called almost everyone by their first name and didn't understand why they had to change shoes in school even though there was no snow outside. The weirdest she did was probably to touch every tree she came across as if it was gold. Maybe they didn't have a lot of trees in her country... She didn't talk about it at all and neither did Hana, so Ami wouldn't know.

Ami blinked and it was already 8 o'clock. She was standing outside in the cold, waiting for Hana to show up. She had just called her to say she was on her way, so it shouldn't be too long...

A lot of people walked by; couples, friends, families... all wrapped in their warm clothes and holding each other's hand, excited to see the fireworks. Speaking of hands, an ungloved pair covered up Ami's eyes and Hana sweet perfume suddenly invaded her nostrils. She could already picture her, even when blinded by her hands; bid fluffy scarf around her neck, a matching toque and her eyes sparkling with joy.

"Well hello, Hana," greeted Ami with a laugh. She gently pushed Hana's hands off her face and turned around. There she was, exactly the way she had picture her... but she was far. Too far to have covered her eyes. Lena giggled at Ami's stunned face.

"You didn't expect that, did you?"

No she didn't.

"Why-what are you doing here? You're supposed to be—"

"Back home? Yeah, but I came back for New Years Eve. You didn't really think I'd miss the chance to see how you guys celebrate the new year here? Hana told me it was awesome, with the fireworks and all that."

Gee, she made it sound so simple. Or maybe it really was...

Ami took a step back and examined Lena. What the...

"Lena, what are you doing in a Yukata? It's winter right now, you're going to catch a cold!"

"No I won't," she chuckled.

"Yes you will! Didn't anyone tell you? These clothes are for summer festivals, you'll freeze in no time."

"Oh please..." Lena lifted her left sleeve to show she was wearing more clothing under it, but that barely reassured her Japanese friend. She sighed. "Do you know how cold it is in my country right now? Minus 25oC. And I come back here and it's like, minus 1oC. It's freaking hot right now. So, can we go now?"

She didn't wait for an answer and grabbed her two friends arm to drag them to the temple. Hana giggled happily as the Canadian girl kept rambling on how it was so hot right now they had no idea and that she was gonna eat as many rice cake as she could. Ami thought she heard her say something about giving them cards, but she kept switching back to French so she was pretty hard to follow.

Once they made it to the temple, Lena got the attention of so many people it was embarrassing. Not like she noticed or anything... she was too busy talking loudly to Hana in every language she knew except Japanese. But, yeah, Ami could understand the staring; it was weird to see a stranger in a Yukata on New Year Eve. And it suited her...

The Yukata smelled like Hana's perfume, so she guessed Lena just borrowed it. It was black with printed white flowers all over it, and a matching hair ornament pulled most of Lena's black hair to the back of her head. Yeah... she looked beautiful in it.

The rest of the night basically consisted of following Lena around while she tried and talk to anyone and anything she'd find. They even met a bunch of classmate, and they all fussed over her Yukata or how she'd be sick the next day. Then she described the snow in Canada, how big the piles of snow were and how cold it was.

And when the fireworks started, Lena looked softly at Ami with a wide smile on her lips and the colored lights on her face.

"Happy new year, Friend."

(Lena gave her a card later that night. She'd tried to write in Japanese, but it had so many mistakes Ami couldn't understand what it said. Nevermind that, there was a heart inside the card, and that made her happy.)

Aaaaand another chapter. Pretty please leave a review! It can be very short, I don't mind, I'd just like to know how I'm doing or what could be improved. Thanks!