~ Chapter One ~
Kita Lee could stand it no longer. Her younger brother's side of the dorm room resembled a disaster and the air smelled cursed. She crawled up under her younger brother's bed. Upon closer exposure to his sneakers, she pinched her nose with a cough and thought, He really needs to straighten his act out! Her hand came into contact with something sticky and wet. Her eyes widened with a gasp as she yanked back and pulled a disgusted face. "EGAH, oh my gosh, ew-ew-ew-ew!" Her eyes watered and she felt her skin crawl and the hair on the back of her neck and on her head and arms stand on end.
Quickly, she shoved his sneakers and the sticky, wet object out from under the bed with a shrill scream. "KRIS LEE!" Oh, why must I suffer?
Kris heard his older sister's scream and sighed as he thought, I did it again, didn't I? Eyes closed, he turned around and groped about for the silver handle. His fingertips touched something lukewarm and wet from water and steam. He wrapped his fingers around the silver handle, remembered which way to turn it in order to shut off the water flow from the silver showerhead and turned it towards the middle.
The shower shut off and he reached for the thick, white towel that hung on the white rail above his head. He pressed the towel against his closed eyes and wiped at the droplets of water that came from his orangey blonde hair. He quickly and messily wrapped the towel around his tall, thin frame, slid the plastic, white shower curtain to the right, emerged from the shower stall and made his way towards the dorm room he shared with his sister.
Water slipped along his flesh and created a wet, slippery trail. When he placed his hand upon the silver handle of the worn, brown dorm room door, a drop of water fell from the tip and landed on the cold, hard floor. He swung the door open and it rattled when it hit the wall. He entered the dorm room.
Kita emerged from under her younger brother's bed, her lips pressed tightly together in a firm line, her jaw pulled tight and her teeth clenched. Her amber eyes glowed with anger. She got to her feet and pointed her right index finger at him. "Kris, you lazy slob!"
I know my side of the dorm room looks bad, but does it really matter? Kris held his hands up in front of him and his lips spread into an awkward half-smile. "Okay, okay, I'll clean up later. Just chill, Neat Freak."
Uh! He's got some nerve! A pillow in a dirty pillowcase not far from her feet caught her attention and she grinned from ear-to-ear as a light bulb lit up in her brain. Laughter escaped her as she stooped to pick up the pillow.
He shrugged his shoulders and spoke with sarcasm. "Oh, gee, what's the worst that could happen? Chain me up, drag me away to a cold, dark, damp dungeon and leave me to die?"
Muscles tensed, she snatched the pillow from the floor and stood. A wild energy rushed through her as she squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath. She raised the pillow above her head. When she leaned backwards slightly with the intent of more force in her throw, her teeth grinded and she grunted. "Nnnnrr…" She tossed the pillow in her younger brother's direction. "Guh!"
A forceful gasp burst from her body and her lips parted to reveal clenched teeth. "Teh!" Out of breath and energy, she opened her eyes and stared at her younger brother with a sleepy expression in her eyes. Her heart pounded and sparkles and black lines invaded her vision. She felt physically and mentally drained. "D-Don't…be a…smart-aleck."
With a sigh and the roll of his eyes, he swept his older sister from her feet and carried her towards her neatly made bed. Sympathy entered his heart as he laid her down and he told her, "You really want me to clean up my side of the dorm room, fine then, I'll do it."
She fought not to laugh as she averted her eyes and turned over onto her side, her back to him. A dark, red line appeared across her nose and cheeks and she coughed. "Dude, your towel." Her blinks slowed and her muscles relaxed. With a yawn and a sleepy sigh, her world faded into dreams.
A crimson color emerged along his nose and cheeks. "Please, don't say stuff like that! It's embarrassing!" He looked down, noticed that his towel had indeed slipped a little. Self-conscious, he fixed the towel.
Across the tiny entrance area, Sara Moonbeam sat at her desk, laptop in front of her, eyes glued to the screen, pink and black ear buds in her ears, The Last Night by Skillet coming from the tiny speakers. Lost in thought, her fingers tapped the computer keys without her having to mentally tell them to do so.
Out of the blue, her cell phone buzzed and her younger sister's name appeared on the screen. Keeping her eyes on the screen in front of her, she reached for her cell phone. Her eyes moved from the computer screen and she stared down at the screen of her cell phone. With her fingertips, she tapped the screen and held the phone up to her ear and mouth. Professionalism in her voice, she answered her younger sister's call with a, "Hello?"
Downstairs in the bigger of lounges, Leia Moonbeam sat in a wooden framed chair with its dark blue cushions. A tiny, wooden table set to her left and more chairs set to her right. The television mounted on the wall in front of her displayed the local news. Her stomach growled loudly as she thought of all the food items in the cafeteria. Eager to eat supper and hyper as the result of the chocolate and soft drink she had at lunch, she spoke in a high-pitched, childish voice. "Hi-ya, sis!"
Sara laughed a little and she knew her younger sister would be awake most of the night. "Sheesh, you're hyper."
Leia lost train of thought and fought to get it back. She poked her lips outward and lightly touched the center with the fingertip of her right index finger. "Ummm…Ummm…I know!" She almost remembered what she was about to say and the rest of her words came after a slight pause. "It's almost time for supper. Why don't you, Kita and Kris come downstairs?"
Professionalism in her voice, she replied. "Alright, Leia, I'll tell Kita and Kris right away."
She pulled the phone away from the side of her face and her fingertips tapped the screen as she ended the call. Not really wanting to deal with her younger sister, she placed the cell phone down on the desk, leaned forward, folded her arms near the edge of the desk, laid her head down and closed her eyes. A few minutes passed before she made a decision.
Silence rang in her ears like an extremely heavy weight and every tap on the mouse pad as well as every mouse click sounded muffled, yet as if such small things created such echoes throughout the walls of the dorm room. Her project saved to the black and white flash drive, she shut down the computer.
The floor vibrated and a racket filled the dorm room as she pushed the chair out. She stood and the floor vibrated once more and the same racket filled the dorm room as she pushed the chair in.
Professionalism in each step, she approached the door, pushed down on the silver handle, pulled the door towards her and exited the dorm room. The door shut behind her with a click and a rattle.
That's when she noticed Kris with only a towel wrapped around him and froze. Should I go back inside the dorm room before he notices me? Shy, timid and confused, she approached the doorway. "U-Ummm…"
Kris didn't turn around. The situation just got worse. He hesitated to address her presence and frantically prayed to be invisible.
She spoke with concern. "A-Are you…okay?"
Guilt pricked at his heart with her voice and he gulped as he turned around to face her. A nervous smile spread along his lips and sweat dripped along his wrinkled forehead.
Sara knew his forehead wrinkled in the most intense moments and couldn't help but to laugh. "Awww…that's so cute!" She walked closer to him, the click of her white high heels echoing about the walls of the tiny hallway.
Inside his mind, the words twisted and what he originally wanted to say left him. His tongue felt thickened and numb and he struggled to find his voice. "Dee-dee-I…I uh…" That didn't sound intelligent! He struggled to look her in the eye as he closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against the doorframe.
She reached up and twirled a piece of his hair around her fingers. "Ah, come on, silly. You'll catch a cold if you just stand here wet and with only a towel wrapped around you."
He wanted to be invisible at that moment more than a few moments before. Awareness of how close they stood scared him and he had the urge to run and hide. The pounds of his heart echoed in his eardrums and his body felt as if on fire. I-I can't take much more of this! "C-Can you go, please?"
She blinked for an instant before her eyes widened with a gasp and she felt foolish. "Oh, I'm so sorry! I'll move out of your way!" She stepped aside to let him pass.
He began to walk away, but stopped in the bathroom doorway, turned around and with a gentle smile and the same gentleness in his emerald eyes told her, "Don't worry about it. I actually like your company."
Her face heated up, stunned by his words, and her reply faded from her brain and left her lips as she could only stand there and smile.
Amused, he turned back towards the bathroom and entered. He approached the shower stall he used earlier, stripped from the towel, entered the shower stall, pulled the curtains closed and turned the water on. He adjusted the stream of water as to where it wouldn't freeze or boil him. Standing under the water, he massaged his scalp and ran his fingers through his hair. He heard splashes behind him as water dropped against the shower floor and he felt suds tickle his flesh as rivers of shampoo ran from his hair all the way down his neck and then his back.
Leia's request popped into her mind and she approached the bathroom doorway. Not giving thought to a guy in the shower and the fact that she was a girl, she popped her head in and turned her head right, the direction of running water. She stared at the curtain of the shower stall Kris occupied and called out to him. "Um, Kris!" Not sure where to take things, she hesitated.
Kris squeezed some conditioner into his right hand, closed the container with his left, and rubbed his hands together. "Yeah?" From his scalp to the ends of his hair, he ran his conditioner filled hands and fingers.
Her blush deepened and she nervously twiddled her fingers. "Well…you see…" Determination reflected in her ruby eyes, she curled her hands into fists, gulped and took a deep breath. She squeezed her eyes shut and threw her words at him. "Leia wants you, Kita and me to eat supper with her!" Heart pounding, she released her breath in a burst and panted. Sweat tickled her flesh.
He took the green and white soap at his feet and the drenched washcloth beside it. Rubbing the soap against the towel, he called back to the red head, "Sure." He dropped the soap and rubbed portions of the towel against each other. I've got nothing better to do. He bathed his body then rinsed.
Sara heard the water cease its flow and snapped her physical self around the left corner of the bathroom doorway into the tiny entrance area of the four dorms. It's not nice to be in the bathroom with a nude male.
Kris rubbed his hair with the towel. He knew he'd have strands sticking up everywhere and a smile crept along his lips as he laughed. He dried his body and wrapped himself in the big, white towel afterwards. He opened the curtains, emerged from the shower and gathered his things into the small, blue and black duffle bag that set on the floor beside the shower. He made his way to the bathroom stall diagonally across from him and knocked on the door. When no one answered, he opened the door, entered, locked himself inside and anyone else outside, placed his bag at his feet and removed the towel. He dug inside his bag for his clothes and pulled out a clean pair of underwear, blue jeans, socks and a clean, white tee-shirt. He dressed himself and then stood before the mirror with a black, wide tooth comb. Gently he calmed his hair from bottom to top. Afterwards, he washed his face. He placed the comb and what he washed his face with inside the bag, zipped the bag and slung the straps over his left shoulder. He then grabbed his dirty clothes and held them balled up under his right arm. When he unlocked the bathroom stall door and opened it, a young woman, her hair pink, eyes emerald and flesh pale, appeared in front of him.
The woman cleared her throat and stepped aside. Feeling as if she had just caused someone trouble, she spoke softly to him. "Oh, I apologize. I didn't mean to get in your way."
Kris exited the bathroom stall, turned to her with a smile and told her, "No harm done."
She nodded, entered the bathroom stall, closed the door and locked it.
Kris made his way towards the dorm room. When he noticed Sara with her back against the wall and her right foot raised, the bottom against the wall, he stopped to ask her, "Who is the young woman with the pink hair and emerald eyes?" Maybe she knows.
Sara stared at her toes and shrugged her shoulders. "Mmm-mm," she mumbled.
He entered the dorm room, tossed his dirty clothes into the basket under the desk on his side of the room and, like an excited, mischievous child, jumped onto Kita's bed.
Beside her, Kita felt a body bounce in her bed and she knew exactly who it was. Her eyes flew open as she grabbed the pillow behind her head and smacked Kris. "Kris, you imbecile! Are you trying to kill me?" She noticed Sara standing in the doorway and sat up. She asked, "Has my idiot brother troubled you?"
Sara shook her head. "Ummm…Actually…Leia is waiting downstairs in the lounge for us."
Her stomach growled loudly and her nose and cheeks turned a pinkish color. She slid from the bed and onto her feet. Then, she got down onto her hands and knees, reached under the bed and pulled out a pair of black slides, each with a pink Nike symbol on the top. She slipped into her slides and then went over to Kris' bed, thought a moment about where he might have placed his slides last, and finally noticed them on top the desk on his side of the dorm room. She retrieved his slides and slipped them onto his feet. "There, now you're ready. Come on, Kris, before the cafeteria quits serving supper." She turned her back to him and began to walk away.
Kris stood from the bed and, with quick steps, tried to catch up with Kita and Sara. "Okay, okay, I'm coming! Yeesh!" Jeez, Kita! You're so bossy! He spun around. "Oh, right! I forgot! The key!" He struggled to remember where he had the key last.
Kita sighed and rolled her eyes as she reached to the left belt loop of her blue jeans, unhooked the pink keychain and handed the set of keys to him. "Here. Just use this."
He walked out into the tiny entrance hallway, pulled the door shut behind him, took the keys from the red head, turned around and then locked the door.
"Okay, hold on a sec." Sara went across the tiny entrance hallway to the dorm room where she stayed, reached inside her skirt pocket, took out the dorm room key, pulled the door closed and then locked it. "If Leia doesn't have her key, well then, too bad because I'm not her servant."
Kita snatched the set of keys from him. "Thank-you! I'll take these off your hands." My brother is such an irresponsible child.
Sara smiled and clapped her hands together in finality. "Okay. I think we're ready."
"That's great!" Kita turned to the door on the right, reached out, grabbed the silver handle and pulled the door towards her. The door felt heavy, but she managed to pull it all the way open. She pressed her back against the door and held it against the wall as Sara and Kris passed through the doorway. When everyone had gone through, she released the door and proceeded to catch up to her friend and younger brother.
Sara opened the door to a set of concrete stairs. This time, she held the door open so that Kita and Kris could pass through the doorway. It was her turn to be the caboose. As she entered the stairwell, she noticed that each footstep echoed amongst the walls.
Kita cautiously took the steps one at a time, clinging to the black, metal bar at the side. What if I fall? I'm dead! It unnerved her that the stairs were concrete and the frame was metal. It unnerved her even more when she noticed a sign that said: CAREFUL! WET FLOOR!
Kris had already made it to the bottom and he stood at the door and waited for his older sister and friend. He noticed Kita's struggle and wondered if he should go back up the steps and help her.
Sara passed Kita as she made her way towards Kris.
Kita was the last one to make it to the bottom of the stairs.
Kris turned around and opened the door in front of him, emerging into the biggest of lounges in the entire school. His eyes exposed to sudden, intense light, he grimaced.
Leia noticed them and waved. "What took you guys so long? I'm hungry!" She stood from the chair and waited for them to reach her.
Kris gave her blonde pigtails a gentle tug and playfully teased her. "I apologize, Princess."
Kita clapped her hands over her mouth in an effort to stifle a sudden fit of laughter. At that particular moment, she heard someone nearby speak in a harsh yet strained tone and when she followed the sound, she noticed a young woman and a man. She pointed in the direction of the young woman and said, "Hey. I think that's Shema Morie."
Sara followed her finger. "Yeah, but who is she with?"
Shema noticed a shadow over her and the voice she heard behind her sounded familiar. She knew exactly who asked her if she would be his girlfriend and she didn't even look at him. "No, Eriko. I'm not going to be your girlfriend."
Eriko Florine clenched his fists and grinded his teeth. "Tch, whatever!" He walked away, towards the art room where he knew his friend would be. She rejected a man as good as me?
To Shema, it seemed Eriko may very well have gotten the message and maybe he would leave her alone. However, she noticed two shadows over her. By now she had enough and shut down her laptop, closed it, stood from the chair, reached behind it and unplugged her laptop charger. She reached for her black computer case she had set at her feet an hour ago, set it on the seat of the chair, opened it and put away her laptop and its charger. As she zipped her black laptop case shut, slung the strap over her left shoulder and turned around to make her leave, another man dropped onto his knees in front of her and stared her in the eye. "Please, I'm begging you. Eriko is too shy to ask you himself and that's why I am doing so for him."
A storm brewed in her ruby eyes. "Go away, you couple of perverted weirdoes. I said I didn't want to. Are you deaf or what?" I'm not stupid! Along with that same thought, she also wished to just say that she would be Eriko's girlfriend just to make him and his friend shut up and go away. Maybe she just wanted a little romantic adventure, too. A voice inside her head told her to remain strong and not to give in. Those two don't have the right intentions. They are both nothing but grief.
"Please," begged Eriko's friend. The guy portrayed a cunning individual. He wasn't helpless as he so appeared. In fact, his intentions were evil.
She felt a strong wave of evil and balled up her fists and stomped her feet. "No, now keep it up and you're seriously going to push my buttons!"
"I just want to be your boyfriend," said Eriko. Just like his friend, he too portrayed a cunning person and just like his friend, his intentions were evil.
"Alright, fine then, have it your way! Just don't go crying to security because you two have clearly asked for it!" With all the strength she thought she could possibly muster, she kicked them in the spot in between their legs. "You think I'm gullible, but I think all you guys want is to satisfy your meat packages! You both disgust me!"
Eriko doubled over and groaned. "Ouch. That really hurt."
"Ha! Serves you right!" She motioned with her hand for the guys to shoo. "Shoo, shoo, go away, you couple of flies."
Leia laughed. "Well, it looks like she's got things under control."
Kris approached the situation. "Hey, what are you guys doing? You ought to know better than to harass Shema."
Shema smiled when she noticed Kris. "Oh, hi, Kris!"