Dc-chan: Huzzah. I'm starting another fic while Define 'Normal' is on hold. I'm either insane right now or totally high off of life. I don't really care which one is right now, but I'm happy. Whoopdee-fricking-do. Enjoy! XD
NEW and IMPROVED and LONGER Summary: Everyone has their quirks, right? Some are weirder than others, which is just what 17 year-old Nodoka Sugiyama, a stubborn baker who constantly lives in the shadow of her perfect older sister, is about to find out. When she encounters the odd members of the Host Club through her mutual friend, Haruhi, will she come out unscathed or will they turn her world even more upside down than it already is?
BLANKET DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own Ouran High School Host Club. OHSHC and the characters associated with it (Tamaki, Haruhi, Kyoya, etc) are property of Bisco Hatori. All original characters belong to me. :P
Episode 1 of Luckiest Loser
Everyone Loves Fruitcakes
I sat there in the middle of the small, cramped apartment with a dumbfounded look on my face. My ankles and wrists were bound tightly with rope that was chaffing my skin. My legs were folded under me as I sat there wondering why the hell that this was happening to me again.
To escape or not to escape? That is the question.
Such a stupid question to ask oneself really. Why the hell was I being so dramatic anyway? Oh wait!-I was tied up and being held against my will. That always invokes panic, doesn't it?
Any sane person would try to escape and I was completely sane, the last time I checked, so in a matter of seconds I found myself desperately trying to free myself.
My sudden and fast movements caused me to fall over onto my side, my shoulder hitting the wooden floor painfully. I just knew that tomorrow I would see a huge purple and black bruise there. Not that I cared too much. A bruise would heal in a few days, but my wounded pride in being so easily captured, would take months to recover. Or maybe a couple of weeks in intensive therapy would help.
I squirmed and wriggled on the floor much like an unfortunate worm would if it had somehow found its way out of the moist earth and onto the sidewalk while the sun cooked it alive. Or maybe I was like a slug writhing in agony after some sadistic individual thought it would be funny to dump some salt on me. Anyway, I'm sure my escape attempt looked pathetic. I was rolling around the floor like a raving madman for crying out loud!
Surprisingly enough though, this was not unusual for me. This was almost a daily routine. Almost.
However, just because it was close to normalcy for me…didn't make it any less aggravating.
I glanced over my shoulder at my captor who was busy bustling around in his small kitchen while humming joyfully as he made some tea in a kettle over a small fire on the stove. Usually, it would be polite to stay when someone offered you tea, but politeness was the last thing on my mind.
"I'm so glad you could drop in Nodoka-chan!" He said in a singsong voice as he brought over the kettle and two teacups.
As I tried to roll away, he landed his foot on my back. "Nodoka, you are a guest! It's rude to runaway while your host is trying to serve you." He growled at me.
I gulped as a bead of sweat trickled down my temple. "Ahaha, sorry Ranka-san." I wormed my way to the middle of the room where the table was and struggled to sit up. Once I was vertical, as opposed to being horizontal, he set one teacup in front of me and I watched unblinkingly as he poured the hot tea into it. The grassy aroma from the green tea, Sencha, filled my nostrils as I looked down into the cup of cloudy green liquid.
He smiled earnestly as he sat across from me, happily sipping away at his own cup of Sencha. "So, what brings you here this afternoon?" He asked.
Bastard. He knows why I'm here.
I sighed heavily before staring at him blankly. Ranka-san was a character alright. He was a loud and doting father, but sometimes he got carried away. Like right now for instance…and all those other times he held me here against my will. I guess he thought just because I was somewhat friends with his daughter that this was fine, but to be honest…I hadn't spoken a word to Haruhi in at least three months.
"You know, I think holding people hostage is illegal." I muttered under my breath.
He put a hand over his mouth as he laughed noisily. "Nodoka-chan, what makes you think that I would ever do something so criminal." Ranka-san laughed again.
I had this crazy idea in my head that he was laughing at me and not with me. I could easily assume this because I was not acting like a maniac.
"Ranka-san," I said with pleading eyes, "I just came by here to drop off a strawberry fruitcake for Haruhi from my family's bakery like I usually do." Okay, so I was hyperbolizing a bit. I didn't just drop by Haruhi's place out of the sky, but I did make an effort to stop by at least biweekly just to see how she was doing. Unfortunately, more often than not, he happened to be here instead of her. What a pain in the ass.
He tilted his head to one side innocently. "Is that so?"
I nodded firmly as I tried to wriggle my wrists out of the rope that bound them together. The smell of Sencha was beginning to nauseate me. I wrinkled my nose.
"It feels like I haven't seen you in ages."
"Well, time passes by quickly when you're having fun."
"Oh! So you've been having fun?" He pestered me in a motherly voice while giving me a wicked smile.
"Urm…no…not really. I've been kind of busy."
"With what?" He seemed interested and was still ignoring the fact that he had all but gagged me in his apartment.
I turned my head to the side to look away from him. In all honesty, I didn't really want to talk about my life nor was I in the mood for Ranka-san's game of 20 Questions.
"You can tell me!" He said leaning over the table and sticking his face in front of mine much like an old woman eager to hear the latest gossip. I knew he wasn't going to leave me alone until I told him what was up.
How could I refuse him when he looked at me like that? I spilled the sordid details of my life out immediately.
"My sister's getting married, my parents are freaking out because my grades are terrible, my ex-boyfriend won't leave me alone, and to top it all off…I'm being held captive by a crazy person!"
He tapped his check with his index finger with concern. "My, my. That sounds like a lot on a plate for a seventeen-year-old."
"You're telling me."
ARGH! He's totally neglecting the fact that he's a cause for my problems too!
"Aren't you glad you have me to talk to? If you hadn't so willingly stayed for some delicious tea this would all still be bottled up inside you. Now, drink up. I'm sure you'll feel better after a few sips."
I blinked a few times at him. Was he being serious? Surely, he was messing around with me at this point. How could he be so distracted that he would forget that he had tie my hands and feet together. I wobbled where I sat, unsure of what to do.
"Oh dear, I see the ropes that I bound you with are stopping you from enjoying your tea. How forgetful of me."
"WHAT? You finally admit it! So you knew you were purposefully holding me captive!"
"How can you say such mean things?"
"It comes naturally I guess...from years of teenage cynicism."
"Such a pessimist too! You know, being a teenager was some of the best years of my life. Staying out late, sneaking out of my parent's house, and all the cute boys."
I arched an eyebrow. "If I ever sneaked out of the house you'd be attending my funeral the very next day."
"Your parents are still extremely strict, ne?"
I nodded slowly.
For a moment, I swear I saw concern flash in his playful eyes. Maybe it was a good thing he had forced me to stay here and make small talk with him. It was good to be around an adult who understood my situation and knew how stressful it was to be the younger sister of what my parents called 'their perfect and beautiful eldest daughter'. I could never match up to her; I didn't even come close in the category of looks or academics.
I wasn't even an average student at best, which caused my father and mother much grief. I suppose they were used to my sister getting the highest marks in her grade and expected the same from me. The only talent I had was in the culinary arts. However, I don't think Mori Ogai and Natsume Soseki had cooking recipes in mind when they wrote their poems in the Meiji Era, which was why my Japanese Literature grade was the worst out of all my classes.
As for how I looked, my hair was thin and black with bangs that were constantly in front of my gray eyes. I doubt anyone would ever call me 'pretty' or 'beautiful' like my sister. I was probably average in this area too, but as far as I was concerned that was the least of my tribulations. If you didn't have the brains to get into a decent college, who cared what the hell you looked like? The only thing remotely unique about me was my little piercing fetish. I had two black studs in each ear, a silver ring in my nose and a two-studded eyebrow piercing. I was lucky my parents didn't crucify me when the saw them for the first time. I'm such a lucky little prick to still be alive.
I didn't have a fashion sense like my sister did either. She would parade around in dresses and skirts with matching blouses. I stuck to the simple things like: jeans, shirts, and sweatshirts. Today I was wearing an oversized navy T-shirt with baggy denim shorts, which all looked really awkward on my short and skinny frame. At least a knack for fashion was something my parents didn't give a hoot about or else I'd be locked away in the attic with the rats and spiders.
The sound of Ranka-san's voice pulled my mind down to earth and away from analyzing myself.
"They don't seem like the type to lighten up either. With your sister, Osen, being the way that she is I suspect that they anticipated the same or maybe more from you." Ranka-san said in a drawl.
"Probably." I replied bitterly. Time to change the subject before this conversation goes into dangerous territory. "Can I be untied now? Or are you enjoying this too much?"
He leaned his elbow on the table after he put down his teacup and gave me a calculating stare. Suddenly, he smiled warmly at me. "Only if you plan to serve the wonderful fruitcake you brought!"
"Anything for you, Ranka-san." Just please untie me before my wrists fall off from lack of blood circulation!
He got up slowly, as if he wanted to take his leisurely time, and moved behind me. In a matter of seconds I felt blood rushing back into my wrists and ankles as he undid the rope. I held my hands in from of me and saw them gradually turn from white back to my normal skin tone. All was right in the world, for now anyway…I rubbed my ankles, hoping to get some feeling back in them before standing up. I stretched a bit before going over to the small kitchen counter where the fruitcake was in its pristine white box that on the side was embalmed with the name of my family's bakery in pink cursive: Sugiyama Bakery. Then below that was our family's name in black box letters.
I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Ranka-san had returned to his seat and was peacefully sipping tea once more, clearly waiting for me to serve him some cake. I looked hastily through the various kitchen cabinets for plates and utensils. I didn't know if we would be expecting Haruhi or not, but I took three small plates and three forks –not dessert forks, for they had none much to my dismay and my inner baker's disdain- and stacked them neatly on top of the box.
I could smell the sweet strawberries, but after years of working in a bakery I had learned to control my hunger urges to some degree. Working in a bakery might be a little kid's dream with all the pastries, doughnuts, cakes, muffins, and cookies laying around, but after over indulging in junk food in my childhood I cared little for sweets and candies anymore.
"How much longer? I'm dying from starvation!" Ranka-san exclaimed in an overly dramatized voice.
If you don't shut it I'll kill you. How does Haruhi put up with this overgrown child?
"Do you have any cutting knives?" I asked as I began looking through drawers underneath the counter. "Actually, never mind. The cake is soft and pretty thin so I think I can cut it with a fork." I felt almost stupid for voicing my thoughts aloud, but right now I just thinking about getting out of here as quickly as possible. I couldn't afford to miss more work or else my mom and dad would throw fits about how irresponsible I was.
"And remove your shoes!" I heard him banter at me.
"Sorry, but between you holding me hostage and ordering me around I didn't have the time." I picked up the white box and walked over to the entrance of the apartment. I hold the box in one hand as I leaned over to remove my slip on shoes and placed them neatly next to Ranka-san's vibrant red heels.
I took a step forward when suddenly the front door flung open and someone, who was obviously oblivious to their surroundings, bumped into me, knocking the box out of my hands and into the air. I heard the silverware clatter loudly and the plates break in half as they hit the floor. However, I was not amply prepared for what transpired next.
Before I could turn around and yell my head off at the person that had run into me I felt the strawberry fruitcake land on my head and the taste of sweet white icing, strawberries, and cake crumbs on my lips.
Who wants to guess who bumped into Nodoka? (Like it isn't obvious?)
Musical Inspiration: In The Sky- Grandia III (awesome song and game!)
Dc-chan: As you can tell, this is Nodoka's POV and will be that way throughout the entire story. This is my pathetic stab at a straightforward romance, usually I beat around the bush for 20 chapters or so, but this one will be extremely forthright.
Right now, I'm not going to state the pairing, but it will be obvious in chapters to come. So it's a secret for now. Hehe. P:
Thanks for reading!
NOW REVIEW! REVIEW! REVIEW! Every time you review, I give Hunny-senpai cake! Every time you don't review I send Kyoya's personal bodyguards after you, so you better have a passport to flee the country unless you plan on reviewing! You don't want that, now do you? –wink, wink, nudge, nudge-