AN: So I decided to revise this fic AND repost it on the same day. Why? Because I missed Just Dance… T-T …Oh, and I had to take out all the lyrics, because that's the exact reason this fic was deleted in the first place. Even THOUGH I disclaimed ownership of all the lyrics in my fic. Eh. This means the plot has changed. Dramatically. But lucky for y'all, I didn't do anything that could worsen this lovable storyline.
The equation: Ballet + Wild Songs – Boring Romantic Scenes EQUALS One Broadway Love Story! What more do you need? Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over Inuyasha or any other characters throughout this story -yawn-. And note that I AM ONLY GOING TO SAY THE DISCLAIMER IN THIS (slightly longer than expected) CHAPTER!
Chapter One: One Step Ahead
A thunderous roar of cheers erupted even before the velvet curtain fell, just as the little red headed girl waved with a toothy smile; her dog barking right beside her.
The audience raved in elation, immediately getting up for a standing ovation. The curtain reopened for the curtain call. Annie was in the middle with Sandy, the loyal dog sitting beside her, jubilantly panting. The other actors and actresses bowed in unison, politely catching roses with a satisfied smile, slightly tired and less enthusiastic than the adolescent.
Yet in the crowd, there was one unmistakable little girl jumping up and down with joy and glee. For all she was worth, she looked happier than everyone else up on the stage.
The Asian child waved her hands as she jumped again, hoping the little red headed girl would at least notice her biggest fan. But alas, her hand barely reached the person's head in the row before hers. She didn't seem to care, though.
"Oh papa! I think she saw me!" She giggled as the curtains closed for the final time. She blinked when the chandeliers lit up, her pupils adjusting to the burst of light.
"Yes, dear, I think she saw you too."
The little girl giggled again, seeing everyone around her shuffling towards the exits. "Can I come here tomorrow? Can I papa? Please?"
The aging man watched her with sad eyes. His facial lines were made with years of strict expressions, but, at the moment, it showed complete and utter pity. "I'm sorry honey, but we came here because it was your birthday present. Your plane leaves tomorrow and I have an important… business meeting."
"Oh!" She moaned, not even noticing her papa's odd, and extremely nervous, twitch. "But – but I want to come here and watch Annie! Again and again!"
"Don't worry sweetie," he sat down next to the pouting child. "I promise you'll watch Annie again in this exact same row."
She looked up at him, excited. "You…you promise papa? We'll come here again?"
"Someday, you will," he hugged his little child as a somber look crossed his face, unbeknownst to his precious daughter. "It's a promise…Kagome."
-5 years later-
"Wake up! Wake up, wake up, wake – UP!"
Sudden lights flooded the corners of this gloomy room as groaning, sleepy forms started to rise out of la-la land.
Few girls threw their dusty rags, presumably their sheets, off the scratchy bed and onto the cold floor in annoyance; other girls immediately sat up with a start, looked out the window to find it still dark, and then promptly went back to sleep. Of course, most of the girls stayed flat on their bed like every other morning, uncomfortable or not, and ignored the oncoming screech of torment from the corridor outside the heavy oak door.
One girl, like always, sat up with such radiant smile it seemed as if she never heard of 'sleep-deprived teenagers'. "Morning Eri! Morning Yuka!" She said with her overused enthusiasm.
Both beds on either side muttered something incoherent and went rigid like nothing occurred.
"Oh c'mon! You know how Tsubaki-sama gets if you don't get up when she calls."
"You mean when she screeches like a car tire stopping on a slick, iced road," Yuka grumbled as she sat up, unable to take any more of Ayumi's scolding, and rubbed her temples, her hair a mess from the rude wakeup call. "Man, Ayumi. Just how do you get up so perky like that?"
"Every – single – bloody – morning," Eri finally joined in reality. "And you always get on the good side of Tsubaki…" she picked up her yellow headband from the nightstand.
"I just respect Tsubaki-sama, that's all," Ayumi smiled like the daisy she was. "Now, where's Kagome…?"
"Annie…Tomorrow…I love ya – All…Tomorrow…"
Eri cracked her smile of the morning. "Sleep talking has to be her undoing."
The girls stared at the teenager sleeping on the sparkling floor, her itchy blanket left on the bed. The girl was attired in her pink fluffy, cat nightgown.
Yuka, being the sneaky one, got out of bed, tiptoed her way towards the fast-asleep girl, and got on her knees beside her. She tickled the other girl's nose.
"Wake up sweetie…it's a beautiful morning honey…c'mon dearest, your cold porridge awaits you in the dinky kitchen!"
Kagome squirmed and halfheartedly opened her eyes. "Hmm…what…? Buyo…I'm not playing…Geoff…" She went back to the land of bliss.
"Oh, wake – up Kagome!"
Even a sleeping panda would've woken up if frigid, cold water was poured on their chest. "Kyaaa!"
Yuka snickered as she settled the flower vase back on the small nightstand. "That always works."
"Yukaaaaaaaaa!" Kagome groaned as she sat up, swiping at her raven bangs and glaring at the teen. "What was that for?"
"Just doing my job like every other morning…Hun."
Ayumi stretched as she made her bed, something everyone else was neglecting to do. "C'mon guys, I think Tsubaki-sama is already coming up to our room."
There were quite a number of moans before everyone else sat up, all of their hairs slightly (or more or less horribly) out of place.
Kagome yawned. "Bathroom's mine."
Then, before anyone could retort, she was gone in a flash and the bathroom door closed with a wham.
"Darn it, I hate it when she does that," one of the girls mumbled.
Kagome turned the cold water onto a full blast, watching the water soak her hands.
She sighed as she splashed the liquid on her face, wanting to forget the reoccurring, idiotic dreams. Of course, the splash was a bit colder than she had expected. The result was a raspy, but high-pitched, shriek from her dry vocal cord.
I just want to forget you…
"Kagome! You done yet?"
She gnawed her teeth. Didn't anyone get any privacy around here? …oh, wait; 'privacy' wasn't a word in this forsaken building…
Turning off the cold water, she picked a cheap plastic comb from the hundreds of disposable, color-assorted ones before opening the bathroom door. "I'm done, I'm done! Hold your horses Yuka."
"A girl needs to use the toilet!" The girl squeaked as she shut the door, hard, right before Kagome's face.
Kagome sweat dropped and shook her head as she started to comb her hair. She had to sidestep and do a couple of sidespins to allow a few girls rush past. But she avoided collision with relative ease.
Just as she got to her bed and started to smooth out all the wrinkles on the mattress, the oak door slammed open with such force it ricocheted off the wall.
An eerie silence followed soon after.
A young woman with a sharp white face stood in the doorway, glaring with unexplainable annoyance. Every single teen stopped what they were doing to stare at the headmistress with shell-shocked eyes. The woman's long gray hair, which confused many of the girls, swirled behind her as an ominous wind passed through their room.
She then promptly started her usual wakeup rattle…correction – wakeup call.
"Well? Why aren't you all scrubbing the corners? It's already 5 in the morning and I still don't see anyone with a mop and a bucket, polishing or wiping–" she paused through her hurried speech when she noticed Ayumi with a mop and a bucket, her hair perfectly combed and ready to shine whatever came her way. "…right: Just get going! It may be summer, but don't think I'm going to go easy on any of you. Got that?"
"Yes, Tsubaki-sama," they chorused, though some just groaned it out, still semiconscious.
The woman rushed out the room and left the door open, not bothering to look back in her haste. She received plenty of fingers and tongues.
Kagome sighed and continued making her bed, her comb now on the nightstand.
It had been nearly 5 years since she had forced herself to attend Shinboku, the Exclusively Prestigious Private Boarding Prep School for Girls (and when they meant prestigious, they meant prestigious). But to the girls, respectively, it was Jigoku, or 'The Underworld'.
Ever since her father had ran off (eloping with that mystery woman), her family went into debt; even after her remaining, faithful, family members moved to grandpa's shrine and tried earning money by selling their comfortable house, everything ended up in a failure. That was when she made up her mind and offered herself to Shinboku in Izu, three hours away from Tokyo; three hours from her shrine home firmly built in the middle of the bustling city.
So now here she was; scrubbing the dusty corners of the sleazy room on her knees with a wet rag, and her hair up at 5 in the morning.
"I don't get how Tsubaki manages to look so young when her hair managed to turn so…grey," Yuka muttered from the other side of the room, mopping the floor with a handful of her roommates.
"I know! How old do you think she is anyway?"
"It's not polite talking about Tsubaki-sama behind her back, and not to mention about her age."
"Oh get a grip Ayumi! You don't have to be polite all the time."
Kagome was too focused on memorizing her schedule status.
4 AM; Wake up (or you're suppose to)
5 AM; Clean the corridors and the sleeping quarters
6 AM; Breakfast – steaming tasteless Miso with equally burnt rice
7 AM; Morning exercise
8 AM; Listen to teachers until 12 PM
12 PM; Lunch – cold Miso with watery rice
1 PM; Listen to teachers yet again until 4 PM
4 PM; Chores – clean up after yourself in the kitchen and etc.
5 PM; Rest (meaning get to bed and sleep like a pig)
6 PM; Study or do something useful – computer room available
7 PM; Lights out
So, basically, it was no special than any other day of the week.
"Did you get a good practice on the rooftop last night?"
Kagome looked to her right and left, making sure no one was listening. "Not really. I still didn't master that double step routine you found on the website."
"You'll get it soon. I know you will," the girl then scrubbed away to the other side of the room, acting as if they didn't just have a private conversation (remember; no 'privacy' in this school).
Kagome sighed as she stood up, walking out of the room and into the corridor, dropping the rag beside a ledge and stretching her arms out to get some kinks out of her neck.
Ever since her 10th birthday at the Broadway Musical, she had been crazy about dancing and singing, and hadn't stopped dreaming about becoming just like Annie…even to this day.
Ah well…I guess it's practically impossible now.
Oh how wrong she was.
"Kagome! Are you going to help me with the floor or stay in the corner until Tsubaki-sama shows up again?"
Turning menacingly towards Ayumi, she cleared her throat and grabbed the mop from her outstretched hands. "Yes Ayumi-SAMA."
The responsible girl blinked and stayed rooted to the spot while Kagome walked away, mumbling some incoherent stuff. "…must be mood swing."
"I broke a nail!"
"Oh no! Was it your pinky nail?"
Kagome sighed like always as she walked past the two girls, and at the same time balancing the dozens of plates stacked up in her arms. Dodging a few girls scrubbing the kitchen floor on their knees, she hopped towards one of the humongous kitchen counters and carefully settled the load of plates.
She blew a low whistle. One broken plate and it was worth one more hour on cleaning duty…
"Hey – ouch!" Eri cried out from behind and slipped on the wet floor, stumbling towards the neighboring counter and then crashing her head into the kitchen pots and pans hanging from the ceiling.
"You all right?"
The teen grumbled while she rubbed her forehead. "This is why I hate kitchen cleaning the most…"
Kagome sighed. "Tell me about it. I'm getting chunks of food stuck under my nail."
"But we're cleaning. How can you get food stuck under your nail?"
"Let me correct myself – I'm getting chunks-of-lunch-leftovers-coming-from-the-dishes-I'm-cleaning stuck under my nail."
"Yuck…I mean… gross."
Scoffing, Kagome stuck her hands into the sink and under all the bubbly soap. No matter how you look at it, this was more like a Maid-Training school than a prep school. Except for the ridiculous entrance exams, added with the intensive teachings. And the grand foundation of the land…but that was it. Grand as it may be, it was so much like a forgotten orphanage…
Then a sudden idea struck her.
Eri, knowing what was going to happen, watched with horror-stricken face, resembling a person just informed that being nude in the sun was now legal, and everyone else was doing it. Kagome started to turn with a Cheshire smile.
"Kagome…no, no…don't you dare look at me like that."
Her grin widened.
Eri groaned. "Oh maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan…"
-A Few Confusing Minutes Later…-
"You all know what to do?" Kagome asked.
"Yes!" The girls sang on the kitchen floor.
With a grin, Kagome took a plate from a dirty stack and threw it at a random girl. Ayumi caught it with no problem.
If there was one thing Ayumi never minded; it was having fun while working.
Suddenly, all the girls in the front row hops and slides towards the stacks of dirty dishes, picking up one in each hand and throwing it to the girls behind them like plastic Frisbees.
Kagome catches one of the flying dishes with the rest of the girls and plops it into the overflowing sink, splashing the room with bubbles. The other girls brings out the mops and starts dragging it down the floor in perfect symmetrical lines, all nodding to the beat as they stomp down to their own rhythm.
"It's so unfair!"
Yuka jumps out the window, followed by numerous other girls with identical brown bags over their shoulders; but instead of falling to the ground and meeting their demise, they land on the rooftop of the sleeping quarter next to the kitchen windows, just a few feet below. They walk over to the side of the roof and get in a systematic row. They empty the contents of the bag one by one over the opposite side of the roof. Garbage after garbage fell from every single bag but no traces are left behind as the contents make it to the dumpster.
"It's the life we know!"
Eri gets soaked with soapy water by accident and screams in agony while rubbing her eyes in pain…but is somehow still able to follow the music.
"It's the status quo!"
Kagome slips on the now soapy floor and reaches for the nearest girl to brake her fall. The surprised girl then accidentally bumps into another girl and the domino effect continues, until one (smart) girl uses enough brain cells to stop the effect by jumping away from the line and onto a chair a few feet away.
"She does nothing but scold!"
Satsuki, the smallest girl in Shinboku, trips on a fallen broom and falls into the basket of laundries she was carrying. When she pops her head up from the smelly clothes, the kitchen windows above her head bursts open, and she screams due to the abrupt chilliness.
"It's always too cold!"
Yuka climbs back into the clean room through the window with the rest behind her, and, after the last girl enter, she shuts it in order to restore the warmth…and to stop Satsuki from her ongoing screams of protest.
"What happens to all the babies?"
Ayumi coos Satsuki and hands her a handkerchief while Yuka rolls her eyes, but then is tackled to the floor by Eri who's been screaming in agony and running around the kitchen this whole time.
"What happens if someone gets rabies?"
Satsuki sniffs and stands up, ready to show she's not a crybaby and lifts up the load of laundries that's triple her own weight. She promptly falls, and does a flip to avoid falling headfirst on the tiled floor.
"Presents, we never get."
Satsuki frowns as she sits up, scratching her head.
"Presents? It'll be bombs, I bet."
Kagome helps Yuka and Eri up from the floor and hands them each a glass of water. She then grabs a mop for herself, holding it over her shoulder like a shotgun and runs to follow the others now in a line, marching around the kitchen like soldiers with a mop over each of their shoulders in an identical fashion.
"No one cares for you a smidge!"
The rest of them follows suit and picks up the brooms, all dragging it on the floor and starting to swerve and twist in every which way.
"And we're not even in an orphanage!"
Half the girls hands the brooms to the other half, then dashes over towards the now shining plates and pushes the stacks into the open cabinets, while the other half dashes over towards the other side of the kitchen and shoves the brooms and mops into the storage room. They all go back to the center of the now cleaned kitchen and poses for a dramatic effect, with Kagome in the center doing a perfect, but tight, front split.
All heads turned to the heavy oak doors that had suddenly slammed open. And there stood their worst nightmare. Tsubaki…mad, angry, mad, sweaty, mad, heavily breathing, mad, her hair slightly out of place, mad, and her eyes wide open, with black flames of hell erupting behind her in pure fury…did we also neglect to mention that she was mad?
Kagome, too shocked to move from the floor, was immediately left behind on the shiny kitchen; the backdoors they had escaped through swinging madly after them.
She gulped. "…y-yes, T-Tsubaki-sama?" She was mentally grumbling 'Traitors' at the moment.
The grey-haired woman pointed her shaking index finger at her. "You…office…now." She was too mad and red to form an exact sentence. Not to mention the lack of proper grammar.
Kagome gulped yet again and nodded as Tsubaki watched her get up with her nose scrunched up, obviously miffed about something with Kagome's gift of flexibility.
Confused, she followed her headmistress out the door (which, by the way, Tsubaki didn't hold open for Kagome) and through the very grim looking corridors that had enough spirit to match her own.
Why was Tsubaki so mad? Kagome was just having some fun while working…the only thing you could do to really make a woman of her stature (and not to mention temper) mad was to teepee her school, or something vandalistic like that…
The halls seemed to grow cold all of a sudden.
Kagome silently walked into another set of heavy oak doors, and oddly enough, onto a carpeted floor of Tsubaki's office. Before she entered, she remembered how the girls had whispered that Tsubaki's office was the core of the school's evilness, and entitled it the Netherworld – meaning that entering through the doors of her office was a sure way to loose your head.
She could still remember the rumors that had flown around just last month. Something about a kid that 'disappeared' after they were called down from their cleaning duty.
Piss the headmistress off, and suffer a horrible banishment; or so she heard.
But, as she entered, her jaw dropped in shock and she couldn't help but look around in awe.
The headmistress's office was absolutely nothing like what the rest of the cold school was. For one thing, it had color which included red and gold, and secondly, the ancient artifacts; like a telescope that looked too old to be standing, but also looked as if it could fetch nearly a fortune in a bazaar or an auction.
Tsubaki walked past Kagome (who was still looking around with bulging eyes) and sat behind the mahogany table on her black, leather armchair. Running a school sure put her nicely in the high life…
"Umm…can I ask," Kagome started, looking at the narrowed eyes of her headmistress. "Why I was brought here…Tsubaki-sama?"
To her shock and utter horror, the woman smiled. A freezing smile with her eyes in slits, an evil tint clouding her ocean blue pupils. "You ask why I brought you here, Kagome-dear?"
'Kagome-dear' …that was going straight to her 'list of most hated quotes'…second only to 'Yes, Tsubaki-sama'.
"Yes, Tsubaki-sama," she kept her head bowed. The most essential rule if you wanted to stay alive in a situation like this. Act like a weakling and obey the master…or the headmistress in this case.
The woman's bright white teeth stayed visible. Cocking her head to the side, she picked up a thick envelope from her neat pile on the organized desk.
Kagome caught the package with a grunt. It was deceptively heavy…
"Dear. I know every single detail of all my students in this school," she started. "And I mean all."
The poor teen froze.
"And by the looks of your fellow students, I know for a fact that they have no idea that today is actually your birthday," she maliciously grinned at Kagome's pale and shaking form. "I've heard the girls speaking of your 'exact' date of birth during the fall semester…now, I don't know why you would lie about your birthday, but I have a suspicion of such misconception connecting with what you'll find inside the –"
"Tsubaki-sama, I didn't want to lie to anyone. Honestly! I just…I'm not fond of my birth–"
"Open it. Read it," Tsubaki sharply cut her off with a snarl. "And then tell me what you think."
The helpless teen nodded and obeyed her order.
This Enveloped Is Enclosed For Higurashi Kagome
These seven words immediately caught Kagome's undivided attention. Since when did anyone send her letters, other than her family? She knew her family wasn't formal, either…
"Keep reading," Tsubaki watched Kagome's confused expression. "You'll be quite surprised."
And so she read on…
We are proud to inform you that you have been accepted and, in turn, expected to attend the renowned teachings of America's Institute of Musical Arts (abbreviated AIMA) for your performance on the stated gift and talent. Please find an enclosed list of all your necessary equipments and sign below the signature of your chosen sponsor (laws and rights also given).
If you choose to attend AIMA, please arrive at Adirondack Regional Airport no later than the stated time and date, and then advance into the vehicle provided by the institute. (For more information on directions, please turn to the notes provided inside the envelope).
The term will begin on September 1st.
Head and, this year's, Manager of the Female Dance Group
Kagome's jaw dropped open. And this was just the first of the many sheets inside the heavy package. She was about to pull out the list of the 'needed equipments', but immediately stopped when the woman sitting behind the desk cleared her darn throat.
"Now…care to explain what this is all about?" She asked with the fake sweetened voice of hers.
Kagome's mouth opened on its own, but the only thing she could say was, "Err…"
"How you ever got a sponsorship from a professional dancer," Tsubaki's eyes widened terrifyingly. "How you ever managed to be accepted by such a qualified institute while even I didn't know you were interested in the musical arts…care to explain it all, Kagome-dear?"
Kagome whimpered as she watched the woman stand up and start approaching her, her voice rising by each syllable.
She was in deep trouble now…and the worst part was – she had no idea what the heck this letter meant… (And it wasn't because this was actually written in English, since Shinboku was, like all the schools nationwide, required to hold English classes.)
"Well? What do you have to say for yourself?" Tsubaki growled, now her sweet and innocent act flung out the window and dead on the pavement. "You of all people on this side of the planet should know that I, no; ANY principal in their right mind do not appreciate it when one of their own pupils plans on secretly switching to another educational center ahead of time…in this case, an institute!" Tsubaki's right eye was twitching uncontrollably, and she instinctively grabbed that particular side of her face when it looked like she was going to explode. "I want an explanation! And don't give me some rubbish about your birthday or anything as…anything as inconspicuous as that!"
Kagome's mouth was continuously opening and closing like a fish out of water, but she couldn't quite come up with anything useful. She breathed hard to calm herself and looked directly into the shark's eyes. "Tsubaki-sama…I really don't know how this happened…I mean; I never even heard of this place!" And this was all true, but would she really believe it?
"Is that so?" She asked with a furious gaze, still covering the right side of her face for some unknown reason. "Then may I ask how in the world you got this sponsorship of yours?"
"I…I don't know–"
But Kagome was relieved of telling more useless excuses, because, at that precise moment, the office door slammed open and revealed a panting and sweating Eri, gasping something for dear life.
The woman growled at the interrupter. "What is it Eri?"
"Garbage…garbage on fire…dumpster in flames… the humanity."
The woman's eyes widened. "What? Again?" And before anyone could repeat 'Again?' she was out the door in a flash. Eri followed after her, but not before she turned around and winked.
Obviously, Yuka's mischievous works would have to be appreciated.
Kagome sighed after she was left alone in the office, her shoulders slumping as she bowed her head. What was she going to do? If she left now, then Tsubaki would surely find her and punish her more severely than if she just stayed here…but she didn't even know why this letter was sent to her! Just what was AIMA anyway? Sponsorship…yeah right…maybe this was a joke from one of the girls…yeah, that's it.
…she had to admit that she wasn't exactly hated by any of the girls…and Yuka wouldn't do anything this troublesome, seeing even she knew the extent of humor and practicality of jokes when it came to Tsubaki.
With another sigh, she trudged nearer to the desk and dropped her head on the sleek surface. This was it. She was sure Tsubaki was going to expel her…
What was she going to do if she went back to Tokyo? What would her family do? It's not like they could support her when they were barely supporting themselves…darn it all – it was all her father's fault, but this was not a good time to think of revenge (being that she had no idea where her father currently resided).
They hadn't been ready for the sudden loss of money, and sure her family wouldn't leave her out on the streets, but their hospitality wasn't going to help…not this time anyway.
She looked at the envelope still in her hand, and shook it. It sure was heavy…
With a dull thud the contents of the heavy package gushed out like a waterfall, knocking and dragging down unrelated letters from the desk to the carpeted floor.
Quickly getting on her knees, she started collecting the papers from the floor, making sure not to accidentally mix random papers with the contents of the envelope by mistake.
She mentally patted herself when she was finished stacking the papers on the desk. Plus she hadn't collapsed from the horrible pressure on her already failing heart. There was just too much suspense in the air today.
And speaking of suspense…
She frowned when she noticed the letter sitting on top of the slightly disorganized stack. She picked it up. It didn't look to suspicious… aside from all those medical bills and…failure notices on the right side of…?
This letter hadn't been on top of the stack, she knew, and she was sure Tsubaki didn't want anyone seeing it…oh boy…that had to be so embarrassing…
Kagome nearly jumped five feet in the air when Tsubaki's distinctive footsteps echoed through the hallway, followed by some familiar grumbles. She quickly and hastily tossed the notice she was reading back onto the desk and held her heavy envelope to her chest.
The headmistress came in, still grumbling about something with fireman and their numbers she should have gotten. And it sounded more like their home numbers, since Kagome was pretty sure Tsubaki knew how to dial 911…
The woman cleared her throat as she settled back behind her comfortable desk and closed her eyes, resting her hands on the mahogany surface. That was when Kagome noticed, in horror and dismay, that she had thrown the notice a few feet away from the messy stack.
It was too late to do anything now.
"Anyway…as I was saying – I don't appreciate it when one of my 'personal' students doesn't inform me on the details of their educational decisions. This violates a very strict and well-preserved code in this building. So, I have made up my decision and am regretting to inform you that you, Higurashi Kagome, a student and resident of my building, will not be able to stay in Shinboku any longer. You are now officially exp…exp…exp…"
Kagome frowned. "Err…expelled?"
The woman didn't answer, so Kagome followed her gaze that was fixated on the notice, which was obviously not where it was supposed to be. Kagome winced…she was bound to have noticed this sooner or later.
"Where did…how did…" the woman's terror-stricken face whitened. She looked like her soul had been drained out.
Kagome shook her head. Plastic surgery…yup, that's gotta be one of those very 'private' matters one would desperately keep under their skin. No pun intended.
Tsubaki immediately noticed Kagome shake her head, and the woman's jaw dropped. "You…you read…it?"
"N-no! Of course I didn't! And even if I did, who would believe…I mean…oops," she mentally slapped her forehead.
"You…you did read…it…"
Kagome slapped her hands together and held it up in innocence. "I…I swear I haven't told anyone!" But she quickly found her headmistress in the exact same position as she was.
"I…no, this isn't mine…it's a friend's…yes, that's it…friend's…" Tsubaki was heavily panting. "I'm…it's not like I'd need plastic surgery…no, no I…I don't…"
The teen couldn't help but raise an eyebrow when she heard…whimpering? Was Tsubaki really whimpering? Oh boy…if only she had her camcorder…
"I…oh crud." Tsubaki winced. "I'm…I…Kagome." She held her forehead. "I…just…forget everything I said."
She was taken aback by the sudden command. "Excuse me?"
"It's…it's not a command!" The woman seemed to panic. "I want you to forget everything that happened…everything…yes…go, you can go."
Kagome blinked. And then blinked some more. "Wait…so I'm not getting expelled?"
"What? Of course not! Who would've said such a thing?" She laughed. It was obviously forced too, by the sound of it. "And why don't I let you just go to this 'institute' while I'm at it? Hmm? You probably need some money…yes, yes…"
"Err…I really don't –"
"You can go," she laughed…again. "Take the whole day to relax…have fun. I'll make all the arrangements for your trip to this…'institute'!"
"Relax!" She went around the desk and was suddenly pushing her towards the doors; stiffly, but surprisingly softly. "Go have fun…make yourself at home! I'll take care of everything, okay?"
And she pushed her out the door with a 'Bye dear!' and shut the door…just like that.
…And then blinked some more.
Ayumi gasped. "I…I can't believe it…plastic surgery…Tsubaki-sama?"
"Looks like your idol's gone out the window, eh, Ayumi?" Yuka snickered. "Oh, this is perfect…I can blackmail that old witch."
Ayumi was too traumatized to even scold Yuka. Which was a real shocker.
Eri shook her head. "Unbelievable."
"Yeah, this is major!" Another girl said in the hushed circle.
It was 6PM, so that meant everyone was supposed to be doing something useful. And that didn't mean gather around Kagome's bed with her in the center and surround her with questions.
Kagome sighed. "I'm serious…the notice really said she was overdue for payment on the 'failed' surgery she got a few years back."
"So does that mean she really is sixty years old?" Satsuki piped up.
"What's she doing here?"
"Oh leave her alone, she's cute," someone defended her from Yuka and fiddled with the girl's ponytail. The little girl tried to get away from the head ruffling, but blushed anyhow.
"So are you really going to this aima?"
"AIMA," Kagome corrected Eri. "And yeah…it seems like I am. Tsubaki said she's already planning everything…she's practically forcing me out…"
"Well obviously. Blackmail's the opportunity, baby; blackmail."
Kagome shrugged. "By the end of summer at the latest."
A few girls sighed in admiration. "You're so lucky."
"But we can still get Tsubaki now that we have the one over her," Yuka said, hopeful. "You know; get a better schedule without overworking it. Though we'll have to wait until Kagome leaves. Don't want her to get in trouble again."
"True," Kagome agreed. She did expect Tsubaki to be very flexible from here on out, though.
"So what did you do for the rest of the day? I mean, relax? What did she mean by that?"
"Oh please," a familiar girl, the one that broke her pinky nail, rolled her eyes. "You know Kagome; she's always dancing on the rooftop whenever she can."
A few girls swooned and chorused, "I wish I could dance…"
"One thing though," Ayumi asked quietly, still slightly traumatized by Tsubaki's facial scandal. "Who signed that sponsorship contract?"
Kagome sighed and took out the paper from the envelope, handing it to Ayumi. "That's the thing. I checked it out over and over again, and even used a magnifying glass…but I still don't recognize that signature."
"Well, it had to be someone you know, right?" Satsuki asked.
"But the signature has to be from someone well known in the musical arts. I read the note below it; and I'm sure I don't know anyone famous right about now."
"AIMA…" Yuka thought out loud. "You know, I heard about it from my older sister – that artistic sister of mine. She said she would rather go there than to Tokyo University."
"Wow…it must be good then," Eri said. "But now that you mention it…my mom said if I ever found myself interested in drama or whatever, she could pull a few 'strings' and get me into that school."
"Isn't your mom a famous violinist?"
She shrugged. "Guess AIMA is for actors, dancers and musicians."
"Wow…" Ayumi whispered.
"Yeah, I can't believe Kagome was accepted without even knowing it. It seems like a really rich place," Yuka sighed. "What a dream come true…"
"Yeah," everyone else dreamily sighed.
"No, I mean 'wow' because of the long distance flight," Ayumi waved the paper in the air.
"This 'institute' Kagome's being accepted into…" She pointed to the small writing at the bottom. "It's not in this country. It's all in English, for crying out loud. But don't you remember what the first A stood for in AIMA?"
"What do you mean it's not in this country?" Kagome hastily took the paper from her hands. "Of course I know what the A stands for, but where does it say it's not in this country?"
"At the bottom. It says America's Institute of Musical Arts in NYC."
Satsuki frowned. "Innu Waii Shii? Is that where this place is?"
"NYC…" Ayumi repeated with a wise look. "It's the second biggest city in America after Los Angeles and probably the most famous city in the world. The three letters are from the Gaijin alphabets. Really Satsuki, you have to brush up on your English…"
But no one else needed an explanation. They knew with wide eyes what NYC stood for.
Kagome's jaw dropped as she found the fine printing and read it out for everyone else in the room.
"America's Institute of Musical Arts is located near…oh god."
So Kagome repeated again, but this time loud enough for everyone to hear.
"America's Institute of Musical Arts is located near Saranac Lake on the Franklin County; ten minutes away from Adirondack Regional Airport of…New York City."
Everyone watched her response as she looked up from the paper with an unreadable expression. All the other faces in the room, quite opposite to Kagome's, broke out into a grin.
Kagome whispered something along the lines of, "I'm going to New York City?"
While everyone else in the room got up and started doing the Cha Cha, chanting something along the lines of, "Kagome's going to New York, Kagome's going to New York!"
Did you know…? Yura does NOT say "La-"
How would I know this? Because, after I watched Yura's episode, I realized someone had mistranslated Yura's overly dramatic "Ma-" into "La-" (or more properly, "Ra-"), and the mistranslation spread like wildfire.
When I say "Ma-", I don't mean someone calling their mother with an odd accent. It's a very common word used in Japan, as I would know since women there use it whenever they gossip; and they gossip a lot. I lived in Tokyo for seven years. My mother lived there for eleven years and well before I was born; she uses the word out of habit to this day (and you can say it's used commonly in Japan as much as Homer Simpson says 'Doh!' in Springfield).
The word "Ma-" can be heard used in many other Anime, and the expression's sole purpose is to be said when a person (respectively a Japanese female) sees or hears someone doing something 'rude', to flirt, or to tease someone.
(This is just a warning in the chapters ahead. If you see Yura using "Ma-" instead of "La-/Ra-" then refer back to this chapter to remember why I took the liberty of changing it.)
Now you know…
P.S. I would like to give credit to my dad for helping me out. Without his help, I wouldn't have understood a single thing about time differences between countries. It's going to come up in the next chapter.
Well, until next time.
Ciao and Adieu!