Chapter 1

She Feels Empty

He really did disappear…

She had no idea where he was, but he wasn't in her life anymore.

No longer would she see that stupid smile or that blasted messy red hair. Or even his famed scarred-brow and that infamous cloth he kept tied around his wrist. Gone were the stupid arguments or embarrassing situations she found herself in whenever she was around that man.

There was not even a hint of disruption in her life anymore.

{[Tried to take a picture… of love…]}

Her sanctuary, the one where she had dreamed up back during her years of young… it had finally come to fruition. She was now the queen of the gourmet world, and everyone in the cooking industry bowed at her feet. She was the head of the Nakiri family, and the only person with more sway than her was probably her grandfather; and she wouldn't have it any other way. She loved him dearly and appreciated all the feedback and knowledge he provided being her direct advisor in running the family business.

It was perfect…

Too perfect…

{[Didn't think I'd miss him… that much…]}

Erina balled up her fists. She had it all! So why did she feel so god damn EMPTY! Her entire being, from the tips of her toes all the way to the roots of her hair, FELT. SO. VOID…

This feeling… this stupid lingering feeling! She had felt a strand of it that day… the day he… he disappeared. That forsaken day, a month or so into their final year, that stupid redhead was a no-show for one of their routine council meetings like usual. She thought nothing of it at first; though she did find it strange he was missing with no warning.

But as the days went on, she realized he truly was gone. She first thought it to be a prank; something she could imagine him playing on her. But when she brought the subject up and saw the looks on his closest friends, she knew it to be not.

That was when she felt it for the first time. That pang. You know, the one where you feel as if someone ripped something important out of you…

{[I want to fill this new frame… but it's empty…]}

At that moment, a seed of pure hollowness had rooted itself in her heart.

And that feeling only continued to grow as time went on. The feeling of absolute nothingness; she felt it at its upmost peak the day she graduated, number one of her class, like it even meant anything to her now. It was a title that no longer carried any weight once he was gone. In her eyes, she was simply Nakiri Erina, a false number one of the "Jewels Generation," which not only contained the most talent-filled and diversified group, but also the largest graduating class in Tōtsuki history.

It was supposed to be a moment to cherish, one where it would be celebrated for years to come. And it was, by all… all not named Erina and the rest of the 92nd Generation. They all knew someone was missing. That someone being that red-haired idiot. He should have been there. He DESERVED to be there. Heck, he could have even, possibly been number one... at least she felt that way. He was that good in her eyes. Whether she would tell anyone that… well that's a discussion for another day.

If only he didn't just up and leave like that.

{[Tried to write a letter… in ink…]}

To those that were lucky enough to have spoken to him before he left on his, as Erina dubbed it, so called adventure to find himself, he had promised he would keep in touch with them. And for the most part he did. He wrote letters, sent gifts, and did all the little things to let them know he was alive and doing well. Judging by the gifts and letters he's sent, he's constantly shifting locations. Just last week, Akira received a bottle of spices from India. And a few weeks before that, he sent some special edition Russian magazine to Ryō letting him know about some blackspotted pike that were in season.

Hell, practically everyone got something from him! Everyone except her! Not one single mail, gift, or anything for that matter! Would it be wrong if she expected something? Just a simple stupid card would suffice. That's all she wanted. Just one thing from him! If he did send a card, it didn't even have to say much. He could just write her name on it for all she cared. All she wanted was one sign that he actually thought of her.

That he actually considered them to be… friends?

It drove her absolutely wild! Well… she had no idea why she was so upset anyways. They weren't friends to even begin with right? At least she never treated him like one. So it should matter not that he never wrote or sent her anything…



It mattered like hell! Literally every time she heard he had sent something to one of her former classmates, a little piece of her died inside. In fact, let's be honest, from the amount of things the others received, she was six feet under, buried, tombstone-planted, and just rotting away at this point.

That man... why was she the only one to never get anything? At this point, Erina figured he was sending a message. Well she received it loud and clear! He obviously didn't give a damn about her!

And it hurt, it honestly did.

Especially when all the former alumni would get together periodically and speak about the things they received from him. She would try not to listen but she couldn't help it; anything that involved that man… she had to know! Silly right? She would feign like she didn't care, or just act downright uninterested. But it was killing her softly. Like poison eating her from the inside.

Now in her mid twenties, her heart was nothing more but just a stupid numb organ; numb from all the pain he caused. For it's only purpose in life at this point was to keep her alive in this wretched nightmare.

{[It's been getting better… I think…]}

What? You haven't guessed it by now? Yes! Fine, she'll admit it!

SHE MISSES HIM! She hates that she misses him. She hates him for just going away like that! She hates him! She HATES him! But… she misses him...

It sounds stupid but she even hates the fact that she ADMITS, that she misses him…

When finding herself with any form of spare time, all their stupid moments they shared in high school would come crashing back to her like a tidal wave. Those three years, it all seemed so insignificant back then. It took her a while to realize how important they were to her now. At first, her memories were triggered by little nuances that didn't go her way. It reminded her of him, always being that thorn in her side. However slowly but surely, she found herself thinking of him more and more. To the point now that whenever she sees an egg related dish, her mind instantly jumps to the boy without caution. His smile. The way his eyes sparkled like no other. The way he would look at her and the shivers it sent down her spine.

Who would of thought, those would be her most treasured memories. Even more treasured than the photo she had of his father and her younger self.

{[I got a piece of paper… but it's empty…]}

Erina grit her teeth. What made it worse was he was everything like his father…

What's with all the men in her life? Why do they all just up and leave when they feel like it? First his father left when she was young, and then as fate would have it, his son leaves in the latter.

She would never admit it to anyone but as the years went by, she started to relish the challenge he provided. No one pushed her like he did. Everyday, she would wake up ready to prove him wrong. Once he was gone… what was the point of even waking up anymore? What was her reason for becoming the best again? Everything felt like a blur.

To make the situation worse, everyone seems to be happy. Even her aide Hisako is enjoying life at the moment, having recently gotten into a relationship with one of the Aldini twins. You know, the one that changes weight as the seasons go. Well apparently he's now one-hundred-percent skinny all the time. Can you believe that? Probably thanks to Hisako's healthy cooking and his own personal need to please her aesthetically.

Not that she was jealous. She would never be of Hisako. She was overjoyed for her best friend who was practically like a sister to her. If Hisako was happy, she was happy. Yet… she couldn't help the feeling that she was being left behind.

Everyone seemed to have moved on with his or her lives. Yet here she was, even with the world at her feet, still dwelling on one man.

{[I'm empty…]}

Life can be stupid like that. Even when you think you have everything, you realize you have nothing at all.

She was empty. She was numb.

Yukihira Sōma… that man. How she longed to see him again…

{[I'm empty…]}

Edit: 12/12/15, 6:25PM

Updated the errors. Thanks once again Kusabi!

Author's Note: There you have it. The beginning to my new Sorina story. I hope I've set the mood right with this introductory chapter. I have a full plot written out for this story and I know which direction I want to take it. You won't be waiting years for an update like in Year Three. Most likely I will be putting out a chapter once a month or maybe even sooner if we're lucky.

The song is called "Empty" by The Click Five. It's an oldie but when it came to writing this chapter I found I could not get it out of my head. I changed a few words from the actual song, obviously because I want it to reflect on how Erina's feeling. I don't normally add music in stories. I find it mainly distracts the reader more than supplement the content. However I couldn't find myself removing it. Eventually I deleted most of the lyrics but kept the few I wanted for punch. Try actually listening to the song while reading this; it'll enhance the feeling I hope. Hopefully it does not change the mood I want to set.

All-in-all, I'm very pleased with this first chapter. Normally that's never the case when I write new stories but I think this one is off to a good start. If I can have even half of the support I had in Year Three I will die happy. Now sit back, re-watch/re-read Sorina moments for the feels, and get ready for another Erina/Sōma adventure

See you all in the next chapter. Hypocrisy.