"It's your turn to go and advertise," a girl said, tapping the powdered white skin of a rather creepy-looking girl.
Reika turned abruptly, having been startled from her thoughts. "Yui-chan! You scared me there for a minute," she said, laughing.
Yui scanned over Reika's costume, taking in the ripped short dress; the white skin, contrasted by the bloody scratches and cuts; the bright white hair; all paired with what seemed to be bloody eye sockets, except, without the eyes.
She shuddered, smiling at Reika before saying, "Have fun, and don't try to scare people out there!" She turned, heading back into the room she had come from, laughing slightly.
Reika stares after Yui, shaking her head in disbelief of her friend's odd manner before grabbing a stack of flyers from the table outside their haunted house. Starting down the hallways, she began passing out flyers to groups of people, ignoring the frightened looks she received, and instead smiling through the gruesome makeup.
One floor up and on the opposite side of the school, boys were lined up outside of class 2-A's door, shifting in excitement. A simple "Maid Café" sign stood outside the door, letting all who passed by know just what they could expect from inside the room. Many of them were whispering amongst themselves, chattering about the pretty maid that had caught everyone's attention, boy and girl alike.
As a group of boys were hurried to tables, a rather pretty maid was spotted, and the boys stared in awe. Her long blonde hair drifted around her waist, almost like a cloud, framing a soft, pretty face. Smiling softly, the blonde greeted the customers warmly before turning back to the table she was attending to.
Only a moment later, a classmate waved at her, catching her attention. Seeing the distraction, she glanced towards him, quirking an eyebrow upwards.
"Ai-chan, you can take your break now," he said, excusing her from the job before taking drinks to the table full of girls that he currently waited on. She nodded, acknowledging him, before leaving the classroom, heading for the stairs in the center of the hall, her blonde hair trailing behind her lightly.
It caught the boys' attention, and most left the line, following behind the girl. "Ai-chan! Ai-chan!" a group of boys chanted, practically running to catch up to her.
"Wait!" one called, his face red from exertion. "We just want to see if you'd like us to get anything for you! Maybe a drink or something to eat." The boys finally slowed to a walk beside her, nodding in agreement with the one who spoke. All of them were red in the face, because of both the exertion and the presence of the angelic-looking girl before them.
Ai backed away slowly, smiling tightly as she shook her head. Just that movement alone enraptured the group.
"Ano… No thanks, I don't need anything," she stated quietly. But her rather high voice seemed to have the opposite effect, only making the determination in their eyes grow. In the instant that they remained stunned by the girl's appearance, though, she dashed to the stairs, slamming down them to the lower floor. The boys followed, having regained their senses, calling out her name as she ran down a hallway, breathing hard.
She rounded a corner, and as she did so, she chanced a glance behind her, noting that the boys were rapidly gaining ground. Before she had a chance to look back where she was going though, she slammed straight into someone's chest, knocking the last of breath from her body as she fell to the ground, faintly noticing the sheets of paper floating to the ground around them.
Ai looked up at the obstacle—which had, evidently, fallen to the ground as well—only to be startled by the girl in front of her, who seemed to be bleeding.
"Ai-chan! Ai-chan!" The chants made her jump; the boys were almost there now, and she no longer knew what to do.
Reika glanced at the girl that had run into her, finding she was speechless at the pretty girl in front of her; she hadn't assumed that somebody could look so beautiful. Her long blonde hair was splayed about her, and a look which Reika assumed was frightened was displayed on her face.
The noise from group of boys brought her from her trance. She connected the two events together and quickly climbed to her feet, offering the girl her hand. She grasped it, and Reika promptly pulled her to her feet.
"Come on," Reika said quietly, dashing away at an impossible speed and dragging Ai along behind her. As she ran with Ai, she completely forgot about the original task she was set, this new one taking priority over handing out flyers.
She took a left, heading down a hall away from the guys, only to realize they had come upon a dead-end, with the boys still hot on their heels. With a sense of emergency and panic, she rapidly began trying the doors located in the hall.
She bit her cheek; two doors, no luck, and the boys were getting closer. Finally, she pulled open an unlocked door and, without noticing just what the room was, she pulled Ai in behind her, sliding the lock in place.
Reika took a deep breath, only feeling slightly tired from the fast run. She glanced again at Ai, who sat on the floor, her hands over her stomach. The pretty girl was breathing hard, exhausted from the sprint. A look of panic just faintly lingered on her face, instead being overcome by the exhaustion she seemed to feel.
"Sorry," Reika whispered. "I was just thinking that you wanted to get away from those boys. I guess I didn't think that you couldn't run like me."
She smiled apologetically, sinking to the floor across from Ai and pulling her knees up to her chest, resting her head on them. The sounds of the boys neared, still calling for Ai, who remained silent besides panting.
Reika took the time to survey the rather cramped and dim room they sat in. It was small, and around them were a few moveable drawers, seemingly stuffed full of papers, pencils, sharpeners and all other school supplies. It was like a small closet for extra supplies.
With her conclusion, she turned her attention to the girl across from her, having not had enough time to study her originally. She panted lightly, having caught her breath from sitting still for a bit. She wore a cute maid's dress, and Reika recalled seeing flyers for a maid café two floors up from her class.
Ai must be from that class.
Her blonde hair fell in her face and over her shoulders, almost glowing in the room. She was red in the face, enhancing the cuteness in it; and her eyes were large and blue, looking quite exhausted from the day's events.
The knob twisted suddenly, though, catching both the girls' attentions, and they waited in anticipation, breathing a quiet sigh of relief when the knob stuck from the lock.
"Locked!" the boy called. Others repeated the call throughout the group until they all stomped away, starting up the chants of Ai's name again, and their voices became even more distant.
Reika let out a large sigh of relief, not noticing that she had been holding her breath until then. "Good, they're gone."
Ai nodded shyly in response. "Thanks," she breathed, still slightly out of breath from the run. "I don't think I would have been able to outrun those guys."
Reika nodded, smiling satisfactorily at her success, and said, "No problem. Anything to help a fellow girl!" She barely noticed as the girl opened her mouth, about to say something. "I think we should get out of here though," Reika continued, beginning to slide the lock open. "Hm, you may be spotted though. I guess we'll have to be sneaky about it. Where should we go, though? I don't really think it'd be a good idea to bring you back to your classroom. Maybe—"
She cut herself off; Ai had cleared her throat multiple times, but Reika had been talking over her. "Um, yeah?"
Ai inhaled deeply before biting her lip. "Well," she started, her voice suddenly a little lower than it had been originally. "I thought I should tell you something."
Reika raised an eyebrow, cocking her head curiously. "Yeah?"
"Well, you see, I'm not actually a girl." Before Reika had time to register what the assumed girl had said, Ai tugged hard at the end of her long hair and it came tumbling off, a few clips attached to the bangs. Reika mentally freaked out a bit as she watched the golden locks fall, before turning her attention to the person in front of her.
Messy brown hair that reached down to the shoulders was in place of the golden blonde hair that had been there just a few moments ago.
Reika opened her mouth, found no words to say, and then closed it again. The "boy" in front of her had such girly looks, and she assumed that even without the makeup that was so obviously added to his face, he looked pretty feminine. His lashes were long, and his face was very round and full, much like a girl's. Not to mention that he was rather short; especially compared to her.
"Y-you… you're a guy?" Reika choked in disbelief, finally finding words to speak. "Ai-kun?" As she said that, she couldn't help but notice that she was alone with him in a rather cramped closet. She flushed red, and she hoped it was too dim to see the blush that had reached her cheeks.
He coughed slightly; he didn't seem to have taken any notice of her blush either. "It's Aoi. Wareno Aoi. And yes, I am a guy, for your information," he added, slightly bitter.
"Oh, um…" She trailed off, just faintly recognizing the name. He was thirteen; she was twelve. He was her senpai, and she came to the realization with a start. "Sorry, senpai!" she immediately said, bowing her head slightly. He just cocked his head, somewhat confused. "I'm Takeshita Reika."
At her introduction, Aoi nodded. "Ah, I've heard that name before," he said. "You're that really athletic girl? I've heard that you're fast."
She flushed even more red and waved off the compliment. "Sort of, I guess. I mean, I'm okay; there are others that are even better than me."
He shrugged, much to her surprise. She was almost expecting something along the lines of, "Well, you're fast for a girl," but she was somewhat relieved that he hadn't said it.
His name returned to mind, and Reika couldn't help but think it sounded familiar, though she couldn't seem to place it. In about a second, though, the reason came to mind and she blurted, "Hey! I've heard your name too! It's 'cause I've heard that you look a lot like a girl, and you've got this nickname and—"
She cut herself off, noticing just how rude that sounded. "I-I'm sorry!" she exclaimed at the sight of his face. It seemed to have darkened just slightly.
But he smiled—and it just made his looks more feminine, in Reika's opinion—and shrugged, sighing quietly. "Yeah, I guess I do," he laughed, a slightly bitter tone in his voice. "But that's fine; I don't really care."
Still, Reika could help but feel guilty and apologized once again, her face burning. "Really though, I'm sorry for saying that."
Again, he shrugged and gestured to the door, attempting to change subjects. "I guess it's safe to leave, right?" He reached for the wig and messed with the clips and his hair until it sat back on his head properly.
Reika nodded, her embarrassment faded, and turned the knob, peeking left and right before signaling Aoi to come out. He did, dressed fully as a beautiful girl once again, and she wondered just how he could look so cute when he was a boy.
"I guess we have to go back to your class for your things, right? I don't think you'd want to walk around like that," Reika said hesitantly. How exactly would they be able to do that without attracting too much attention?
"Yeah. You can go get my things," he suggested, as if reading her mind. "I mean so as not to attract too much attention." He looked her up and down. "Though, I guess you'd attract a different type of attention in that outfit. It's kind of creepy," he said honestly, averting his eyes slightly.
"I guess it is, isn't it?" she laughed. "I can get your things, though I may just have to scare them into giving them to me."
He shrugged, but smiled. "I don't really care. Scare 'em out of their skins for all I care. That's what they deserve for putting me in this getup," he said, grinning.
"Works for me! Stay put," Reika said, giggling a little. She quickly made her way back up the halls until she reached where Aoi had run into her. The flyers still lay on the ground, spread about the white tile, scattered everywhere. The sight of them brought a grin to her face as she gathered them up. This plan would be perfect.
She snaked her way through the halls until she came to the last corner before 2-A. Abruptly, she stepped out, tossing all the flyers in the air. Heads turned her way, watching as the girl glared her hardest, hunching over. A few kids ran off as the flyers fell to the ground. "Come see our haunted house!" she exclaimed, cackling before pushing past the stunned crowd and into the classroom, where she confronted a butler about Aoi's things.
She snatched them up as soon as she found them, and darted back through the halls, avoiding the flyers that had fallen on the ground.
There, I did my job of advertising.
"Hey, Wareno-senpai!" she called as the blonde came into view. "Got 'em!"
He tilted his head and raised an eyebrow at the grin on her face. "What'd you do? Ah, never mind that, just give me my clothes. She passed them to him and he nodded his thanks. "I'll be right back."
Reika watched as he slipped into the nearest bathroom, coming out only a few minutes later back in the school uniform, his backpack slung neatly over on shoulder, and his maid outfit and wig curled up under his other arm. His makeup had been removed as quickly as possible, but even then, his face remained feminine.
"You're fast," she remarked as they headed for the school's exit. He just shrugged in response, keeping his eyes forward. She stretched, smiling. "I think I've done my share of work for today! The haunted house can work without me anyway," she laughed.
Aoi chuckled. "I've definitely done my share of the job. I think it's about time to head home," he agreed, pushing open the doors to the exit.
Reika nodded. "Yep! I'm exhausted!"
"Hey, you weren't the one to have to run from hordes of guys in a dress," he pointed out. "My day has been harder than yours."
"Yeah, but I'm the one who saved the damsel in distress. And then found out that she was actually a he. I think my day has been pretty difficult."
He laughed, and Reika joined in. "I guess you're right. And thanks again for, y'know, saving me from them," he added, running his hands through his hair.
"No problem," she laughed. The two had been walking along the same path for a bit, practically entering into the same neighborhood now. "Hey, err, you don't have to walk me home or anything," she said, biting her lip.
Aoi looked puzzled. "What? I thought you were the one following me. Like," he laughed, "a body guard."
Reika chuckled and cocked her head; they were still heading down the same street. "But, you couldn't live on the same exact street; that'd be weird," she joked. Her house came into view as they rounded a corner.
"Ha, yeah. That would be pretty awkward." She noticed Aoi's eyes were fixed on the house right before hers, and Reika looked at it in confusion. Could he have some sort of relation to it?
As she reached the front of her home, she glanced at Aoi, who was stopped in front of the house he had stared at. "Uh, bye," she said, starting towards the doors.
Aoi cocked and eyebrow and glanced at her as he started for the door of the other house. He laughed in realization. "Really? We're neighbors?"
"What?" she exclaimed, stopping in her tracks. "You live there? Really?"
"I think I know where I live," he chuckled. "That's interesting, huh? I guess I'll see you tomorrow!"
He headed towards the door and opened it, waving at Reika warmly before stepping inside.
We live next door to each other? That's insane!
Resuming her tracks, she laughed. "So weird," she muttered, stepping inside.
AN - Reviews and/or flames always welcome. Hope everyone enjoys the story. This is a collaboration with KoriNeko18, so make sure give her props as well. She does read the reviews along with me.