CHAPTER ONE kelly green

A figure lay still on his bed, his lower body wrapped in a dark blue sheet, his head lying face down in his pillow. Distant shouting, occasional music from passing cars, moonlight, and the noise of nighttime life filtered dully into his room through navy blue curtains and a half-closed window.

"Wake up, wake up, time to wake up!" the annoying chime of a plastic alarm clock made its presence known. It took the form of a black and white cat with enormous eyes that moved left to right. Its left ear was chipped, the side poorly taped in its place with scotch tape, and one of the eyes didn't move.

It was five minutes before he registered his surroundings, and a disgruntled groan and a lazy whack of his alarm clock and he thought of it no more. The plastic cat flew a few feet away and landed with a clunk as it hit the door and parts of its arm shattered into pieces.

He stirred, and he shifted his face, and the sight of his belongings strewn messily in his room came into view. Large chocolate brown eyes opened and closed, and disappeared once again against the worn fabric of his pillow.

There was silence, again.

xxx

"Where were you today?"

He was leaning against the stove, placing a spoon down on the countertop and wiping his hands on a frilly pink apron she had gotten for him last Christmas as a joke. She sat on top of the meal table; legs folded Indian-style on the wooden surface, her violet crimson eyes watching the otherwise broody blonde cook dinner. (She would've helped, but she was rather a disaster in the kitchen.)

"I went on a field trip with my History class. Maybe if you'd listen to me once in awhile you'd know that," she replied.

He rolled his eyes. "Yea, ok," he retorted. "I'm just happy I wasn't seen with you in that hat." He nodded at the white and lavender knitted beanie with the burgundy felt flower sitting lopsided on her head.

Her semi-amused expression turned to one of exaggerated curiosity, and she leaned in, cupping her hand around her ear. "I'm sorry; who's wearing the pink apron right now?" she asked.

He reached over and pushed the soft material down over her eyes.

"How was it?" he asked.

"Boring," she replied, readjusting her cap. "Embarrassing…I tripped over someone's foot halfway into the tour and almost knocked down one of the displays." She sighed and her shoulders dropped. "Luckily, I swerved away just in time to stumble over my own two feet and break my fall with my face. Possibly one of the most humiliating moments of my life," she said sadly.

He stared. "You know people associate me with you."

She glared at him, clearly annoyed.

He made a funny face and shot her a grin.

"Remind me why I'm friends with you again?"

"Because you're secretly and hopelessly in love with me?" he supplied.

She looked at him in half-disgust, half-disbelief. "You are so full of it!"

"It's part of my charm," he responded.

She faked a wretch.

"You, my friend, are utterly hopeless," she said with a fake sympathetic air. "How did you manage to cope without me today? I hope you didn't get too suicidal."

He shrugged. "Don't worry, I didn't."

She let out a quiet, skeptical "hmph!" and shook her head as if to herself but dramatic enough for him to notice. He playfully pushed her shoulder.

"And you say I'm full of it," he muttered. "Nothing, really. Ate lunch, hung out in the music room."

She raised an eyebrow. "By yourself?"

His expression deadened. "Yes, Sora, by myself." He rolled his eyes. "Na, I hung out with the band."

The sound of the door opening saved them from further conversation. A tall, middle-aged man entered the small apartment. His tie had been loosened, the silk material tugged down beneath an opened collar, and he held his brown jacket over his shoulder as he took his shoes off in the foyer.

"Hey, Mr. Ishida!" she greeted cheerfully.

He smiled at the sight of her. "Evening, Sora. How are you?"

She nodded. "I'm good. And you?"

"I've been better," he said, and he surveyed his surroundings. "But I'll live. Are you joining us for dinner tonight?"

Her demeanor changed quickly and she shook her head. "You know I would love to, Ishida-sama, but I can't. Can you imagine poor oka-san sitting at home eating dinner alone? Not while I'm still around." Her eyes wandered to the clock. "I should probably get going," she said, and she hopped off the dinner table.

"You want me to walk you home?" Yamato asked.

She pinched the fabric of his sleeve and gave it a small tug. "Hurry up, Blondie."

"Are you serious? Because you know I was just being polite."

He was instantly rewarded by a hard push as she shoved passed him into the foyer.

Yamato half-smiled at her and rubbed his arm. "Be back in ten minutes, Otou-san," he said to his dad, throwing his apron on the kitchen table. He seized his coat from the hanger while he put on his shoes.

"Could you be any slower?" she asked. She grabbed his hand and opened the door. "Goodbye Ishida-sama!" she yelled.

"Goodbye, Sora!" he replied from the kitchen.

She yanked her blonde companion out the exit, who hopped out on one foot, still tugging on the black tongue of his Chucks.

xxx

He sleepily searched around for his cellphone somewhere near his bed and upon finding it, flipped it open and squinted at the harsh blue light. 8:45pm. He stretched.

His chocolate brown eyes caught the site of something black and white, and they quickly wandered to the broken alarm clock next to his door. A sigh escaped his lips. He really had to stop doing that.

He walked up to pick up the broken pieces and tossed on the light switch as he did so. The lamp on his desk turned on, and a soft light filled the room.

The clock was unfixable. After months of accidentally being slammed into desks and doors and the hardwood floor every morning, it had finally been destroyed beyond repair. He threw it into his trashcan and began the search for his Algebra textbook. There was an upcoming test he had to study for.

He felt like a nerd. Since when was studying something he did? His eyes flickered over to the crumpled papers in the waste bin, one in particular with a large red "F" peaking out under the wrecked plastic of what used to be his alarm clock.

Oh yeah, since that.

He shoved it in deeper into the wastebasket with his foot. If he didn't get his priorities straight soon, he was going to get kicked off the soccer team, and as reminders go, that wasn't a very pleasant one.

The red textbook was found wedged beneath two binders and his History book, and he tugged it loose and set it on his desk. They lay messily in front of him.

Red. He liked Red. His shoes were red. Once, in preschool, he cheated on a test because he couldn't remember what the color red looked like. But then he remembered.

Algebra. Right. Study.

He opened the book and began to skim the contents. His chin dropped on the open book, and he read the text with minimum interest between half-closed eyelids.

He hated math; he hated school.

His attention had begun to wander again. There was a kelly green picture frame next to his computer hidden behind a stack of papers. Curiosity got the better of him, and he pushed it aside. His hand froze over the photo.

It was a collage of sorts. Cut out pictures pasted together on construction paper and slipped into a frame. Sora had made it for him when they were twelve. There were pictures of her making funny faces at the camera, him with his arm around her, and a couple with them and Yamato.

He pulled his hand away slowly and just stared. Stared at the photo, stared at the people, stared at his childhood, and suddenly he didn't know what he felt. Exhaustion, jadedness…nostalgia?

He hadn't talked to them in awhile. He hadn't talked to them in years. High school did that to you sometimes.

He put the frame face down.

A breeze carried in through his window, and his hands automatically rubbed his arms against the chill. He leaned over to the glass pane to shut it and was surprised to see his childhood friends walking below him, talking and laughing and playfully hitting each other at some lame joke one of them had said.

The irony of it all made his lips curved into a bitter smile in spite of himself, and suddenly he felt sick. He felt a small twinge of resentment and rage and something like hatred.

He turned away from his window.

His Algebra book stared back at him.

Algebra.

Right.

Study.

xxx

The sky was dark and glittering with tiny diamonds that faded above the city lights. Streetlamps flooded the sidewalks with an orange glow, all along the streets in a perfect line.

"I got something for you." She reached into her coat pocket and produced a handmade bracelet made with colorful tacky beads in different shades of blue.

"Souvenir?" he asked.

She shook her head. "Na. I was babysitting the other day and one of the girls had this bead kit." She held another one similar to the other. "See? I have one too."

"Sweet." He held it in his hand, intertwining it in his fingers. He liked that she remembered his favorite color was blue.

"We still on for that horribly dubbed American movie on Friday night?" she asked.

He looked up, mechanically slipping the cheap jewelry into his pocket. "I'm looking forward to it, actually."

"Awesome. You can pick me up at seven."

They reached an old gray apartment building, and their pace slowed at the entrance. Swiftly she spun on her heel, flicking her wrist at him. "I'm done with you. You can go now."

He pushed the hat down over her eyes again. "See you later, Sor."

His redheaded companion stood on her toes and blew him embellished kisses as he walked back in the direction they came from.

"Miss you already, Blondie!" she yelled.

He shook his head.

She was crazy.

He smiled.

He loved that she was crazy.

xxx

A/N: Loosely based around the plot/characters of the show One Tree Hill. The show sucks, but I'm somewhat basing my storyline off of it so I have to give them some credit. Reviews make the world go round. I don't own anything and my Japanese is rusty so forgive the bad grammar and such.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.