Reika blinked, allowing the morning light to filter in through her vision. Her vision cleared, she sat up and stretched, smiling, and yawning. "Mm." She slid off her bed and padded softly to her closet to take out a pair of baggy black jeans and one of her brother's old t-shirts. The girl rubbed her eyes and closed the closet doors before grabbing fresh undergarments from her dresser and walking from her room.
She headed towards the bathroom—there was nothing like a nice, warm shower before breakfast. As she placed her clothes on the sink and turned the shower on, allowing it time to warm up, yesterday's events flash through her mind for a brief second, but she simply ignored the thought, still only half-awake. Shutting and locking the bathroom door, she proceeded to strip from her night clothes and step into the shower.
"Ah, so warm," she sighed, happily letting the warm water fall against her skin. She scrubbed at her face to wake herself up, and the familiar annoyance of not knowing something struck her. "That girl…," she muttered. Who was she? Why did Aoi look so much like her? "Whatever."
She dismissed the thought, not wanting to think on such a thing right after waking. Stepping out of the shower, she grabbed a towel and dried off thoroughly before wrapping the towel around her wet hair. She grabbed her panties, pulling them up onto her slender hips before stepping into her jeans. She tugged them on and buttoned them, letting them settle low around her waist. Pulling on her sports bra and the superhero tee, she put on a pair of socks before pulling the towel from her now damp hair and hanging it up to dry.
Reika glanced at the hair dryer and her stomach growled for food. She stared at it for a moment before sighing and picking the dryer up anyway, not wanting to chance any sort of cold. The girl's barely shoulder-length hair dried quickly and she carelessly ran a brush through it. Placing the dryer back on the countertop, she tossed her dirty clothes into the hamper before turning to unlock the door and get something to eat. She caught her reflection in the mirror.
"God, I look so much like a boy," she muttered, shaking her head. The tall, lanky girl with the short, dark hair and old t-shirt stared back at her with the same expression. Reika sighed before walking down the hall. Halting in front of yet another door, she knocked lightly on it before calling, "I'll be going out later today."
The girl didn't wait for a reply and she shot down the stairs and into the kitchen for something to eat.
She rummaged through the fridge before pulling out the many ingredients for a sandwich; her arms full and a plastic bag held between her teeth, she shouldered the refrigerator doors closed and dropped everything on the countertop. Halfway through making her sandwich, though, something caught her eye and she glanced out the window, only to drop everything she held, including her composure.
"Wh-what?" she exclaimed, her eyes wide. Reika made sure to rub her eyes to see if she was simply hallucinating; but after doing that, the sight was still there.
The mysterious brunette from yesterday was walking out of Aoi's house! Reika quickly finished her almost-done sandwich and sloppily shoved all of the things back into the fridge in a hurry to get outside. Frantically slipping into an old pair of boy's sneakers, the girl practically swallowed her sandwich whole. Observing the sunny day, she grabbed a pair of sunglasses and a baseball cap before quickly swiping up her house keys and some cash for later. She was out the door in a second, and shoving her hands into her pockets, she began tailing the girl.
Staying a little behind the girl, Reika made sure that she never lost sight of the brunette. She pulled her baseball cap down low, only to realize just how suspicious she must have looked. Rather than risking the chance of being called a stalker, the girl pushed the cap up slightly and angled the rim to her right.
Who is she? Why did she come out from Aoi's house? Reika asked herself. Her mind whirled with all of the possibilities and question that she couldn't answer. Could Aoi be crossdressing for money? That's horrible! But he doesn't seem to be very keen on looking and acting like a girl… Maybe it's like, his long-lost twin and she's selling herself because she's trying to help out with the Warenos' taxes? Either way, I've gotta find out where she's going!
Reika didn't imagine she'd be spending her Sunday like this: trailing a girl who may or may not be one of her best friends and may or may not be selling herself. She certainly didn't imagine that she would end up standing in front of a boy's only agency—the exact same one that she had originally seen the girl standing in front of the previous day.
Reika had managed to follow the girl the whole way, but she had stopped directly in front of the famous agency as soon as the girl entered without any word. She pulled her cap and sunglasses off, staring up at the large company.
"Why would she go in there…?" she wondered aloud, staring up at the many floors. How could she go in there?
"Hey! No lingering around the entrance! This is a male talent agency; go in or out but stop loitering around!" A security guard stumbled towards her and she threw her hands up while taking a few steps back.
"Sorry!" she called, darting off the premises and over to a bench. Collapsing onto the bench in defeat, she stared wistfully at the agency. Had that security guard mistaken her for a guy? Did she really seem so much like a boy from a distance? She sighed before realizing just what an asset it could be. It could help her get into the agency! About to jump to her feet, a thought struck her.
Why do I even need to get in there? Why did she feel such a compulsion to get in and follow the girl?
Because she may be in trouble! What if she was forced into the whole thing with that band member? What if she's simply so poor that she has to do such a thing? I could help her, couldn't I? And what if she is Aoi? That—that just gives me more of a reason to help, right?
"…but he has his own life, doesn't he? He has the right to make his own decisions… unless he was forced into doing it. What if he's been forced into the whole thing against his will?" Reika muttered to herself. "I've gotta make sure he isn't in trouble or anything! It's only natural that a friend would help another friend!"
Reika jumped to her feet with a newfound confidence and nodded firmly before placing her cap back on, allowing it to shadow her face slightly. She tucked her sunglasses into her pocket and headed towards the agency once again, determined to find Aoi somehow.
As she reached the entrance, a guard eyed her up and down. He opened his mouth to say something, but Reika quickly pushed through the automatic doors and into the lobby.
Score! Stepping inside, Reika waited her eyes adjust to the dimmer interior of the agency's lobby. Glancing around, she caught a glimpse of a floral patterned skirt turning a corner to her right. It had to be that girl.
Turning on her heel quickly, she ran after the girl, stopping before the corner that she had disappeared around. Ignoring the odd looks sent her way, she peered around the corner and was glad to see the girl was walking alone. Unsure of what she should say, or do, in order to get the girl's attention, she simply decided to just play it by ear.
Reika walked quickly to catch up to the girl, allowing her presence to be known to prevent startling her. Standing behind her, Reika placed her hand on the girl's shoulder. "Excuse me?" she asked, deepening her voice slightly. The girl turned around and cocked her head.
"Hmm?" she asked, glancing up. Her eyes widened slightly as she took in the features of Reika. "W-what?"
"Do you know...?" Reika paused slightly, taking in the familiar face. Even with the make-up, long hair, and feminine clothing, there was no denying those features. "A-Aoi?" she whispered, her voice carrying a disbelieving tone. "You…"
His identity revealed, Aoi bit his lip, pondering what to do. He glanced around in alarm before grabbing her arm and dragging her further down the hall to where it widened into a small, deserted lobby.
"Wha-!" Reika cried out, stumbling along behind him. She hadn't been prepared to be dragged around by him, let alone actually find him.
Tugging her to the back of the empty lobby, he came to a halt, his cheek between his teeth. "What are you doing here?" he asked in a harsh whisper, his expression showing that he was trying to figure the answer out.
"I-I-I..." she mumbled while chewing on her lip, trying to make sense in her head that the brunette was actually Aoi.
Snapping her eyes from the floor back to his, she gritted her teeth and attempted to explain. "I thought maybe she—er—you, were in trouble. I saw what happened yesterday, and then this morning, I saw the same girl come out of your house..." The girl trailed off, sighing quietly.
His eyes burned into her, silently accusing her. Of what, neither were sure of the answer. "You still shouldn't be here," he finally said, shaking his head. "And what do you mean by what happened yesterday?" The boy thought for a minute, and Reika stayed silent. His expression changed as he realized what she was talking about. "You mean my being paid? It was a paycheck," he explained, his lips pursed in disapproval of her having followed him.
"So that's what it is? You were getting paid for services rendered?" she ground out through her clenched teeth. He stayed silent, but Reika seemed to miss the confused expression on his face. "How could you, Aoi?" she whispered, the anger draining from her as she looked down at her feet. "I thought we were friends. You could have come to me about this. You... You didn't have to-" Her voice dropped down several notches, and he could barely catch what she said. "-sell yourself."
She swallowed hard, frowning.
"What?" he exclaimed, his voice almost reaching a shout. Realizing the mistake, he glanced around to be sure that nobody was there. Reassured that there wasn't anybody, he turned back to Reika, the bewildered expression still on face. "What are you even talking about? Is that what you've been thinking? I've sold myself? No. I work here, Reika. I-I'm an employee, I suppose you could say."
He sighed and shook his head before quickly adding, "A-and we are friends! I would never have kept that a secret from you, okay?"
Reika looked back into his eyes, glad to see that the boy's expression had melted into more of a worrisome one. "Do you promise? Promise you would tell me if something was wrong or if you needed..." She was cut off by the sound of fast approaching footsteps.
Abruptly, a rather tall young man speed-walked around the corner, mumbling under his breath, though the two couldn't hear his words.
Please don't notice me!
Several feet away from where Aoi and Reika were standing and staring, he seemed to sense their presence and came to a sudden halt. His head snapped in their direction and, raking his eyes over the pair, his eyes caught a glint that hadn't been there before. His mumbling became more rapid as a satisfied smile slowly appeared on his face, causing Reika and Aoi to glance at each other apprehensively before looking back at him.
"Hmm…" He looked them over one more time before a larger broke out on his face. "Ha ha!" he laughed, an almost insane tone in it, "Perfect! Just perfect. You two, come with me."
Without giving them a chance to process what he was doing, he grabbed them both by the arm—Aoi on the left and Reika on the right—before starting drag him back that way he came. "This will be perfect, just perfect, I tell ya," he said, grinning like a child.
Reika swallowed and looked over at Aoi, whose expression was that of utter horror, before turning back to the man pulling them along.
"Wha-" Reika groaned softly as her voice broke from fear. Clearing her throat, she tried again, pleased that her voice came out stronger this time. "What do you want from us?"
He looked back at the two and his grin grew larger. Without missing a beat, he told them bluntly, still grinning, "Your bodies."
A/N - Hi guys, once again. I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to read our - KoriNeko18 and I - story. As always, any reviews, or flames are welcomed. As we are already working on the newest chapter, hopefully it will be out within the next week or two.