It's not like I hate my life coz I don't! Not really, not anymore than the next person that is. Personally, life's a bitch but I get by. Nothing is too unbearable that would ultimately force me to pull that trigger. Besides, it's too messy that way. I don't like blood, it's smelly and I don't like the color of red so that doesn't help things either. Ultimately, it's a good thing I don't like blood because if I became tolerant of that icky stuff then I wouldn't have any hesitation running that blade over my pale, bony wrists years ago.

Lovely thoughts from a teenager, isn't it?

I must have stared at my reflection in the mirror for the hundredth time that morning. I could hear my mom bellowing downstairs for me to hurry up and eat my breakfast. I shouted back that I'm coming even if in truth I'm not. People tend to do that but I do it more often than normal people.

I went back to my reflection and stared again. I'm not a vain person, mind you. It would be foolish to do so because vain people are usually good-looking little prats with noses that are perpetually sticking up in the air because they know how gorgeous they are. I'm not good looking, heck I don't even know if I'm worth looking at all.

I'm staring at my image against the mirror because of one, simple thing- I hate my face! I don't understand why other girls my age could have a perfect skin, perfect hair, perfect smile and perfect body while I get stuck with the complete opposite of those traits! I have sickly-pale complexion. My hair would never obey the strokes of the hairbrush. I can't smile without showing a strip of railroad tracks plastered on my front teeth. And my body is a certified first-placer in Ms. Broomstick pageant, four years running.

"Kaoru!" my mom screeched in a warning tone. I rolled my eyes and hollered, "Coming!"

I sighed and finally went downstairs. The smell of waffles and hot chocolate did strange things to my stomach and my nose instinctively followed the scent towards the kitchen. My mom looked up from the stove and frowned at my hair. "You should really think of letting your hair down Kaoru, you look like an old maid!"

I unconsciously tugged at the ends of my ponytail and retorted defensively, "They're okay mom! I don't want them to get wind-blown. Besides, you know that my hair tends to get really messy when I let it down."

"And another thing," my mother was in front of me as she handed the waffles and poured me some hot chocolate in my mug. "Those clothes really don't become you! I'm willing to give you money for new clothes as long as you get rid off those-"

"Mom!" I gritted my teeth. "My clothes are okay! Stop trying to change me!"

I looked down at my conservative, pristine-white skirt that reached below my knees and the plain-blue, button-up blouse that I was wearing. I don't see anything wrong or distasteful about my choice of wardrobe that's why I can't understand why my mother hated it so much.

"It's just that you'd be prettier if only you know how to dress right," she sighed to which I snorted sarcastically as I drank my hot chocolate. She knows as well as I do that I could never be pretty! She brushed her hands to her own luxurious crown of wavy, russet curls in exasperation. Her sophisticated eyebrow was raised as she scanned my body up and down with those beautiful pair of sea-green eyes. She smoothed down the skirt of her cream-colored, tailored suit before finally facing away.

I know how much of a fashion disappointment I am to her. Imagine, a fashion designer having a daughter who spells STYLE DISASTER with a capital S and D. My mom was everything I'm not, either when she was still young or as she is now. She's always had been beautiful and popular.

I quelled down my own insecurities with a vengeful bite on my waffle. After I'm finished I asked my mom if she knows where my glasses were. Mrs. Kamiya frowned even more as she pointed to the case on top of the fireplace in the den.

That's also another thing my mother and I argue about a lot. Because she's a working mother and there's only the two of us that she has to support, she assured me that she could afford to buy me contacts. But I adamantly refused. She told me that glasses are so old fashioned but I remained stubborn.

I put my glasses on and waved goodbye to my mother. She offered to drive me to school but I refused. Can you imagine a seventeen-year-old girl still being driven by her parent to school? That is what you'd call social suicide even though my social life already died long ago!

I walked towards the bus stop and waited. I looked down at the pavement below me and counted the indentations on the concrete slab to pass the time. I wasn't even halfway to counting them all when I realized how pathetic that was and decided to just wait and do nothing.

Thunder rumbled overhead and I took my black umbrella out of my bag. Just in time, the rain started to fall in angry torrents. This time of the year in Japan always bring the worst weather at the worst times.

But I didn't mind the rain. In fact I loved it, loved the way it hid me from the rest of the world in those watery curtains. I let myself be fascinated by each drop that fell from the tips of my umbrella.

I guess I must be so engrossed with watching the raindrops that I didn't hear the car that was fast approaching my side of the road. To my horror, the red mustang sped by me, sending a shower of mud in my direction.

"Aaahhh," I couldn't use my umbrella to protect me in time. Splatters of mud tainted me from my pristine skirt and up to the very bangs of my hair. My eyelids were closed to save my eyes from the dirt and when I opened them, I felt like screaming again.

Angrily, I turned to the car that stopped only a few feet away when the driver realized what happened. The window on the driver's side rolled down and the obscenities that I was about to utter was cut short when I realized who the jerk was that ruined my dress and my day.

A familiar redhead peeked out from the window. His mischievous lavender eyes smirked at me and his teasing, sensual lips curved to form a haughty smile, "Whoops!"

My cheeks flamed red when I realized how ridiculous I looked. What made the situation even worse is the fact that I looked silly in front of my sworn childhood enemy- Kenshin Himura!

As usual, though I was shaking with anger and indignation, I have to restrain my tongue from lashing out. Really, what could you say against the most popular guy in Seirin High without getting a posse of his adoring fans hungry for your blood? Besides, nothing bothers someone as thickheaded as Kenshin Himura was.

It's probably because of the fact that he knew he was great and no one could ever attest otherwise.

So like always, like the ugly, timid, defenseless, stupid little girl I always had been for so many years- I remained silent. I faced away from him and begged to God that this ordeal would be quick and I would not end up crying like last time.

I don't know what Himura's beef with me. We knew each other since our baby daycare center days and even back then he always had been a monster to me. He always kept the best crayons and art materials. He scared the wits out of me by dropping the occasional spider down my collar. He even went as far as putting a dead bug inside my sandwich and I knew he got an earful from his mom when our nursery teacher reported the act.

It continued to our elementary and junior high days. He graduated from the insect-in-the-sandwich trick to something more mature but nothing less painful. He would play dirty tricks like tripping me in the hallways and lots of other pranks like that. He seduced all the female partners I ever had in my school projects so I'd end up frantically beating the deadline and had to resort to working alone. If my partner was a male, he'd buddy up with the guy and ultimately entice him away from me and the project at hand. Oh I could go on and on about the evil things Kenshin has done to me in the last thirteen to fourteen years that we have known each other.

And for the most part I have learned to accept it as part of my pathetic life. I could never stand up to Mr. Popularity Kenshin Himura- heck I can't even defend myself from a spider, a class bully or my abusive dad so what made me think that I can start fighting someone like Kenshin?

I thought there was nothing he can do to hurt me anymore. I have grown accustomed to every torture he could subject me to. I went so far as to even think that I'm numb to the pain now…

But I was wrong…

I saw a familiar pretty face get out of his car. Her beautiful eyes and caring lips formed a worried line on her face. Tomoe Yukishiro opened her own pink umbrella and went up to me and directed an ugly look towards her boyfriend. "You're so immature!" she spat out at Kenshin. She took a handkerchief from the pocket of her form-fitting jeans and wiped the mud off my face, "Oh Kaoru I'm so sorry. It's was an accident and I'm sure he didn't mean it and-"

"I'm okay," I avoided her hand. My heart squeezed at the fact that she was defending him again like always. The man could probably run me over and Tomoe would still say that 'it was an accident'.

She looked hurt with my evasive motions. At this, I felt a surge of anger bubble inside me. How dare she give me that betrayed look when she was the one who turned her back on me!

Tomoe Yukishiro, Seirin High's most popular girl: beautiful, smart, graceful- you name it she got it! She's very nice so she's everyone's friend…and she happened to be my only friend…my bestfriend.

We were friends since we were babies. Our mothers were bestfriends and naturally so are we. She was the only one who understood me, who comforted me and who was there for me especially during the dark period of my parent's separation and court battles. She was not just my friend, she was my sister…

And then he came!

I knew even back then that Tomoe had a crush on Kenshin. Unfortunately for her, even though she is considered as one of the most popular and most beautiful girls in our school, he was never interested in her. Tomoe nursed her love for him day by day even though she knew how badly he treated me. I didn't take this against her because I know it's not her fault that she fell for him. It's really hard not to fall for those lovely violet eyes, those teasing lips and sexy grin.- and don't forget that super-model physique of his! So no, I can't blame Tomoe for being attracted to him…

Besides, her infatuation on my nemesis didn't bother me because I know Kenshin would never have anything to do with the people who are close to me. So I was confident that he'd never take my bestfriend.

Until last year…

Tomoe and I were walking towards the school; we used to take the bus together. We were laughing and joking around but just before Tomoe entered our classroom I saw Kenshin across the hallway looking at us so intently. He pushed himself away from the wall where he was leaning to and walked towards me.

My blood ran cold and I prepared myself for his assault. I purposely even lagged behind and didn't enter the classroom right aftermy friend because I didn't want Tomoe to see whatever Kenshin is going to do to me.

With a determined look I asked him, "What?" when he was near enough. I tried to make my voice sound calm but as usual it came out as a squeak. I tried looking at him directly in the eye but was unable to take the intensity in those lavender eyes so I directed my gaze to the floor instead.

He smirked at this, then nudged his head towards the classroom door, "Friend of yours?"

"Only for the last sixteen years," I wanted to strike back but managed only a weak nod. God, I was so pathetic!

"Pretty one you have there," he whistled. "You two are seeing each other?"

His voice was composed but it shocked me to no end, even up to this day, that he had the gall to ask such a malicious question. "No!" I shook my head vigorously, blushing furiously. "She's my bestfriend!"

"Oh? You two always looked so close and are always together that I just thought…" he shrugged and didn't bother to finish his sentence. "Well that's a relief…"

"Why?" I suddenly turned suspicious. "Does it matter to you if I'm seeing her or not?" I was amazed by the boldness in my voice. This is the first time that he expressed concern about me and I was quickly on guard on what he's planning. He seemed surprised by my question and looked equally confused for a while, probably not sure himself why he even cared if I have a relationship with Tomoe or not.

After a few seconds he finally replied, "It matters to me."

"Why?"

I held my breath as I waited for his answer.

After a while he finally voiced out his reason, "Because I want to ask her out."

My friendship with Tomoe had never been the same ever since then…

My mind didn't let me go deeper into history because Kenshin honked at Tomoe to return to the car. "Maybe you should come along with us since we're all headed to school," she offered.

"No way! She's dripping wet!" he quickly interjected. This only earned him a look of disgust from his girlfriend. "Please Kaoru?" she returned her imploring look on me.

But I have no plans of being the third wheel. Tomoe desperately tried to make us the three musketeers as soon as they started dating but Kenshin and I both told her that it would never happen and it would never work.

"Forget it," I told her with a little edge in my voice. "You two go ahead. I still have to change my clothes anyway."

"But-"

"You heard her? Let's go!" Kenshin blared the car horn to signal his impatience. Tomoe sighed wearily and gave me one, last, beseeching look, "You sure? But you'll be late. I could always just lend you the dress I have in my locker you know…"

"My mom can drive me."

She sensed the finality in my voice and sighed once more. She went back towards the car and eyed me with uncertainty. I nodded grimly and they finally left.

As I watched the car disappear in the distance, it was only then that I freed my tears of pain and anger. Kenshin took the most important person from me…and for that I knew that we would never resolve our differences. We will always be enemies…

Until the very end!
"What did my friend ever do to you to treat her this way!"

Kenshin exhaled heavily as he turned to the last corner before they arrive to Seirin High School. "Hon, let's not fight because of her…"

"We're fighting because of you!" the serenity was gone from Tomoe's usually placid voice. "I'm not as blind as Kaoru thinks I am! I know how much you torture her ever since we were kids!"

"And still you loved me," he tried to sweet-talk his way out of this one. Without averting his eyes from the road, his right hand reached for her soft palm and squeezed it lovingly.

"Don't change the subject," she jerked her hand back. Kenshin finally lost his own temper and muttered, "We fight over the same thing everyday!"

"Because you refuse to grow up!" she managed to keep her tone even. "I love you Kenshin, yes. But please stop making me choose between you and my bestfriend!"

"I'm not forcing you to choose," he corrected her in a low voice. "It's not my fault if we don't get along…"

"But why? I never stopped asking that question in the last fourteen years that the three of us knew each other. Why Kenshin? Why do you hate Kaoru?"

Strangely, he avoided her inquiry and pulled up to the last parking lot space. "When can I see you?" he cooed sweetly instead as he embraced her in the car.

Tomoe rolled her eyes and smiled up at him, momentarily forgetting her own anger, "Cheerleading practice won't be over until 9. The inter-school competitions is only three days from now, remember?"

He groaned and murmured in her ear, "We haven't been spending enough time together lately…"

"Then let's make up for the lost time," she giggled breathlessly to his hair. He caressed her cheeks and lowered his head to seal her lips.

It never fails. Tomoe always never notice that he didn't answer that longtime question of hers- again!


Everyone has the right to dream…

I wasn't completely truthful to Tomoe. I did return to my house but I knew my momprobably left already so I wasn't able to get a ride to school. That suits me just fine because I never really planned to take my mom up on that ride offer.

So I was late, plain and simple. And I didn't feel like facing Mr. Amakusa's lecture about the evils of tardiness so I decided to skip my first period altogether.

Aaahhh, the things Kenshin make me do… If Tomoe knew that I skipped class she would have a fit.

But Tomoe is not a part of my life anymore. Not since she chose her boyfriend over me. She chose love over a lifetime of friendship…

I really wish I wasn't squeamish with blood, and then I could finally end this needless suffering.

I rolled up the left sleeve of my sky-blue turtleneck sweater and looked at my pale wrists. I was so thin and pale that maybe if I decided to slash it right here, right now maybe there won't be too much blood? I could hope right?

I don't really hate my life- it's just too tiring sometimes. And when I'm tired I always resort to sleeping. The eternal sleep sounded really good right about now…

I passed by the bulletin board while in a thoughtful stroll and one notice was able to catch my attention. I retraced my steps and read the pink banner. Wait! Pink! (shudder). But let's not start about my hatred for pink. My eyes scanned the words with interest (amidst my repulsion over the pink paper) and at the end of the document I was breathless with anticipation.

The famous Japanese director Shishio Makoto from 'The Royal Shakespeare Company' (a prestigious theater-acting school) would be one of the special guests in this year's school play. Seirin High used to be his Alma Mater and he was going to pay a visit and see the upcoming talents in our own school!

Have I ever mentioned that I wanted to be a great stage actress ever since I was a kid? And no, not a Hollywood or showbiz actress or that kind of bull! I love acting as an art and not as a pedestal for the social ladder! I was always a member of the school drama club and upon reading the article I realized that this might be the big break I've always prayed for!

Everyone has the right to dream…

I grabbed the paper from the bulletin board and held it close to my face to read the words more carefully. After a while I hugged the paper to my chest and my eyes shone with hope. Auditions will start this afternoon after school hours. Plenty of time to psyche myself up!

I returned the notice back to bulletin board and pinned it there securely. After that, I bolted towards the nearest comfort room where I plan to spend the next forty minutes left from my first period to practice a bit. Around this time I know that the loo is probably empty so I'd have the whole place to myself before I go to my next period.

Oh this is going to be the start!


Class had always been boring to Kenshin. And unfortunately for him, first period seemed to drag on endlessly today because he can't divert his attention to something more entertaining.

For the umpteenth time in the last half-hour, he glanced angrily at Kaoru's empty seat that was just right in front of him. How dare she not show up today and provide him with some amusement when Mr. Amakusa is at his dullest today!

He's quite adept in annoying her in more ways than one. And he'd laugh openly at her face whenever she colored vividly out of embarrassment. He'd taunt her endlessly, just to see if she'd ever try to fight back- but without success.

He's not a cruel person really, many people even like his personality.

But he himself couldn't understand why everything about him changes the moment Kaoru enters the scene. He always acted without hesitation or remorse and he always managed to push his guilt at the back of his mind so as not to let it bother him with his merrymaking. Only when Kaoru is in tears or near tears would he stop.

The girl has no backbone whatsoever! It was so pathetic! Other people would have finally snapped after all the years of torture he instigated upon her but Kaoru never rose to the challenge. She would either respond by blushing furiously or with choked tears. But instead of feeling pity for her, he got even more disgusted thus he persecuted her even more.

He'd like to think he's toughening her up but…

Out of the blue, he remembered the times when he stared at Kaoru's back without actually thinking about how he's going to make her suffer. In fact, he recalled how he'd sometimes just sit there and stare at her nape in a daze. God, he was never interested with other people's napes! So why is he feeling this way whenever Kaoru parted her hair to the side, thus exposing a flash of her well-covered skin.

He shook his head, revolted. This is what boredom does to him! It makes him think and remember stupid things! Kenshin decided that a quick trip to the donnicker would do him some good.

It wasn't easy to escape Shogo Amakusa's class, especially when he's feeling extra chatty about world history. Finally, Kenshin was able to go out on the condition that when he comes back to the classroom he will give his own interpretation about the Warsaw pact that happened around the timeline of World War II.

Damn!

Kenshin was seething with anger so he almost missed the familiar spectacled face that was standing a few meters away from him. He stopped in his tracks when he saw Kaoru across the hallway, hugging a piece of pink paper to her chest. After that, she returned the paper to the bulletin board and made a mad dash towards the girl's powder room.

Thoroughly curious, he approached the bulletin board and ripped the notice from the thumbtacks and read the banner quickly.

"Audition for the main characters in this year's school play to be held this afternoon, 3:00 PM at the auditorium."


A/N: Hey guys so how's that for the first chapter? I know you people must be asking why I'm making a new fic when I haven't finished my first two other stories yet. But the idea for this fic kept nagging at me for quite some time now and I couldn't fight it anymore. I hope the people who are reading the stories "Love by Mistake" and "Love for Sale" would like this new story of mine as much as they loved my two othercreations.

Anyway, so what do you think? Quite a change I made to Kaoru's character don't you think? In my two other fics, I always depicted her as a headstrong, independent girl. But here she's the complete opposite. Kaoru's a bit suicidal and more than just a little neurotic, ne? Please give it time though, because I'm still experimenting with the characters here.

Kenshin's also not the usual naughty-but-really-nice-deep-down-inside kind of guy here unlike in my other stories. Here, he's a downright asshole. But then again, their traits are still under further testing so you'll never know. I hope that you people would still give this fic of mine a chance…

Notice that I used the name of the school in "Great Teacher Onizuka" as Kenshin and Kaoru's school? As for the "The Royal Shakespeare Company" it's just made up okay? I've heard it somewhere though... Well if anyone can educate me further about this "Company" then please feel free to do so. It will be very much esteemed!

Anyway, can't think of anything more to say aside from: Thanks to those who'll read this! Reactions would be greatly appreciated! Until then, ciao, ciao!