Love Panic

Chapter 1 – Arrival

By: Diana-Jae

Aya Hoshino tentatively tucked a stray strand of dark-brown hair behind her ear as she tried to take in the view in front of her. Not believing her hazel eyes, she carefully fished through her purse for a piece a crumpled up sheet of paper on which was written the address of the house she was going to reside in for the remainder of her high school career. Upon reading the numbers written on the piece of paper and matching it onto that posted in embossed gold pieces by the polished wooden door, Aya turned around to face the driver of the cab she had hired.

Smiling nervously, she poked her head into the cab and asked the driver if he were sure that he had taken her to the right place.

"Of course," he barked. "I've been in this line of work for over twenty years, and after driving people here and there, I can practically drive in this city with my eyes closed."

Aya blushed. "Sorry. I…" she paused to look once more at the very expensive piece of property that stood just at the other end of the iron gate, "…well, it's just that I wasn't expecting to be staying in such a… well, a mansion."

The man behind the wheel softened and let his eyes roam out to the house he had parked in front and gave a whistle. "Yup, that is definitely something alright. But you gotta understand that we're in higher class territory, girly."

"Mm. I'm going to be finishing high school here so my parents arranged some sort of negotiation with the couple living here."

The cab driver shut off the meter and then turned off the engine of the car. "So you know the people that live here then?"

Aya shook her head as she began to grab the small bags in the back seat. "Actually, only my parents know them. So these people are complete strangers to me. They've only agreed to let me stay because they're close to my parents business-wise. I'd rather live in an apartment complex if I had a choice, but since this is closer, my parents thought it would be a good idea if I did without the whole commuting ordeal," she paused for a moment, struck by something, and then quickly added, "although I, personally, wouldn't mind."

"There's definitely sense in their reasoning, kid, but to live with total strangers, that's something else." He stepped out of the cab and walked over to the back where he popped open the trunk and pulled out the young woman's suitcase. "Well, it shouldn't be too bad, but I hope everything turns out good for you."

Aya offered him a small smile and thanked him as she took the suitcase from his hands. Fishing through her purse again, she pulled out her wallet and handed over the amount she owed him plus a little something extra for tip. Grabbing her belongings, she walked over to the gate and gently pushed it open.

She had to follow quite a long pebbled path to the front steps of the house where she was immediately greeted by a young man reading a book and paying absolutely no attention to her. Judging by the empty cup atop the wooden side table, he had obviously been sitting there for quite some time. Aya simply had not seen him earlier because he was sitting in a spot just out of view from the gate, and even if she could have seen him, he was partially blocked off by the blossoming cherry flowers just outside the veranda.

The petite girl debated whether or not he should interrupt him to let him know that she was there so that he wouldn't think she was rude. Putting her bag down, she gently cleared her throat, and was rewarded with the reaction she had expected.

He moved the book down and slowly raised his eyes up to meet hers. Aya could feel her cheeks turn a pinkish hue as she realized her voice had suddenly decided to lodge in her throat. She had no idea who this young man was or what he was like, but his looks certainly told her that he was definitely the type to attract. To describe him simply as good looking was far from the truth. This boy was just beyond gorgeous, and at this sudden thought, Aya blushed even more and mentally berated herself for even thinking that.

"Hoshino." Aya blurted out. She suddenly pursed her lips and felt like punching herself for letting her mouth run away with words even before she could tell it to. "I mean… Hi. I'm Aya Hoshino." Again, she felt like hurting herself. Why was it that such an intelligent young woman like herself gifted with a broad sense of vocabulary could be rendered stupid and subjected to such embarrassment when faced with the opposite sex?

Her hazel-colored eyes automatically disengaged themselves from his intent stare. Aya had not been able to detect a single emotion upon the lad's features the entire time, thus intimidating her. She was beginning to think that perhaps the boy was deaf and mute, but to her surprise she heard his deep voice speak.

"Rei Otohata," he replied tersely. "You're the girl renting out one of our rooms?"

Not usually one to disrespect her family, it was an odd thing when Aya suddenly felt the urge to go and yell at her parents for ever bothering to ask for this favor. The boy sitting coolly on the wooden chair had made it sound as if she could not find another place to stay and therefore had to board with them. She felt the embarrassment creep up again as she nodded in response to his query.

The boy, Rei, put his book beside the empty cup of tea on the table and stood up, now towering over Aya's small frame. Picking up her suitcase, he motioned his head towards the front door. "Come on. I'll tell mom and dad you're here."

"Uh, I…" she trailed off when he disappeared through the front door. Grabbing the other smaller bags she had brought with her, she quickly followed him, instantly feeling cool air touch her skin as she entered the home of the Otohatas. The interior of the house looked very well the way she had expected it to from her earlier assumption just by gazing at the exterior. There was a marble table with a vase full of exotic flowers in the foyer alone and a bronze-rimmed mirror adorned the wall upon which the table stood.

Aya took off her shoes and proceeded to neatly place it beside the other pairs. Rei had already disappeared by the time she had gone inside, so choosing to walk past the foray and finding herself in a small area just short of their grand living room, she decided she would wait for the boy to return lest she get lost.

Placing her belongings back on the floor, Aya found herself fidgeting and gently playing with the tips of her hair, a particular habit she had when nervous. The girl didn't wait for too long when she heard footsteps down one of the hallways followed by a few chattering voices.

"Aya," a middle-aged woman with very light skin and dark colored hair pulled into a bun walked up to her with a very gentle smile on her features and greeted her. "Welcome."

Author Notes: My first Rei x Aya (or GALS, for that matter) fanfic. I haven't watched the anime nor have I read the manga so this is based purely on word of mouth. ; Also a note, about 99.9 of my written works have been AU, therefore, the conclusion to be drawn from that is that this fic will be AU. The main reason why my stuff is AU is because the fanfics I write are usually about anime or manga that I haven't seen or read before or have only seen or read parts of it. So if I end up writing something completely out of the original storyline, I can point my finger at the big sign that says AU. TT;;

Also, I apologize for the short chapter and lack of Rei and Aya interaction. Upcoming parts will be longer, but it will definitely be a while before the whole Rei x Aya stuff happens. I'll get them talking a little more, but nothing major. And, of course, other GALS characters will soon be making their appearances. Thank you for reading. Hope you liked, and if you didn't… umm… sorry?

Comments, suggestions, flames, constructive and destructive criticisms are most welcome.

Standard disclaimers apply.