Máscara Sonreindo(Smiling Masks)

Chapter One: Máscara de Ayano

Ryoo High School stood on the flat ground with a cool interior contrasting the warm courtyard heated by the sun. Despite the newly repaired air conditioner one student remained warm, Ayano Minegishi. Brushing aside the lightly orange hair from in front of her ear, the teacher's lecture remained as indecipherable blurs. Any urge to take notes left her weakening hands. The source of such peculiar behavior arose from the target of her shining blue eyes and the mother of her blush.

It was Misao Kusakabe, a brown-topped, tanned girl who yawned serenely at the end of Ayano's sight, the morning sun beams hitting her from the side of the windows. Her half-written notes symbolized her affection for the Edo Period the teacher upfront spoke of. As her mouth opened widely, letting a sigh pop out, her petite fang stuck out like a lightning bolt from a cloud. Ayano peacefully gazed at the form of her bored friend, the one adorable fang making her face redder.

"And the Edo Period ended when?" Nanako Kuroi asked, now leaning on Ayano's desk, smiling at the unwary student's frightened squeal. "I'm afraid eek! Isn't the answer," Kuroi-sensei remarked, walking victoriously back to the front of the class. "I'm sorry" Ayano apologized as she retrieved her fallen pencil. "Oh, that's okay! I just to need to scare you guys once in a while!" the teacher laughed, waving her hand to show forgiveness. Misao naturally looked at Ayano, her fang traditionally hanging out from her small mouth. Turning to look back at her friend, Ayano smiled and quickly turned back, leaving Misao in bafflement. Ayano had caught sight of the precious fanged tooth and felt as if a ghost had suddenly grabbed onto her heart simply in the presence of it.

"I have to focus," Ayano calmly instructed herself, taking a deep breath before returning to her empty notebook. Kuroi-sensei paced back and forth while she read from the book and nearly hit the front desk once. Ayano couldn't help but observed the small fang that poked out of her teacher's mouth either yet she found no attraction or admiration if it. The orange-head smiled and plopped back in her seat. "It's Misao."

A sharp ringing sounded through the school and the students rose from their seats. Ayano packed her books into the small orange backpack she carried before exiting the room. She looked around after standing up but Misao was nowhere to be seen. Any chance to hear her speak or hold a conversation had vanished. A sigh traveled through Ayano's body before she left the classroom, the cooking class was waiting for her.

She took her usual seat in the middle, making sure to place her notebook next to her so it wouldn't fall into the sink that each cooking desk came with. The stool's flat surface launched itself against Ayano, creating a disk of pain underneath her. This was not what truly bothered her about this class. Her teacher quickly walked into the room, her usual expression of joy apparent. "Good morning class!" she cheered. The class returned the favor with unexpectedly the same joy. "Today we will learn how to bake cakes but due to limited supplies we will have to work in pairs. Everyone find a partner!" The teacher clapped her hands together and the students rose from their stools in search of friends, inviting each other through waves and calling. Ayano however did not participate. She silently sat in her seat and allowed fate to deal her a partner. Unfortunately it was the same kind of partner she always received. "Hi, I'm Namamoto Aizkara," the brunette boy introduced. Ayano nodded as he made himself comfortable on the stool, his smile becoming a harbinger for his hidden plan.

"You're Ayano right?" he asked, attempting to break the ice. Everyone knew her name in the class. "Ok boys and girls. The first thing to do is check your ingredients. Make sure you have milk, eggs, sugar, extract, flour, the proper dishes, and some frosting," The teacher explained. Ayano double-checked but everything was set. Namamoto made sure to use this opportune moment to make eye contact with her, making himself blush and move back in the process. "You have…really pretty eyes," his cracking voice said.

"It's happening again…." Ayano thought to herself. "Another boy flirting with me. Why do I attract them so much?"

"Okay, now you can crack your eggs and let the insides fall into the bowl. Don't make a mess," the teacher said. Ayano reached for the eggs only to have her partner grab them first. "Don't worry, I cook all the time at home. Let me show you how I crack eggs," he bragged. He threw an egg into the air and caught it. A gooey, dripping sensation filled his hand, pouring from the cracks between his fingers.

"Well….I'm sure we can still use this…" he laughed. "He's trying to play it off…." Ayano moaned. He was about to pour the filthy core of the egg into the bowl. "Stop," Ayano calmly said as the yolk nearly dripped out. "Those eggs won't do. Let me crack some new ones. Go wash your hands." She made sure to keep her smile on. He nodded, happy to hear her talk. Ayano decided to use this chance to make most of the cake herself. "I'm not going to let him ruin Misao's cake."

She quickly cracked the eggs and stirred. Pouring in the milk happened almost instantly and further stirring was not far off. She whipped out the various extracts and additional ingredients to make the cake taste more refreshing and feel softer. By the time Namamoto returned from cleaning the egg goo off his hands it was too late. Ayano had already preheated the oven. She simply gave an innocent smile as he sat down in complete shock. "Sorry," she said. "I just love to make cakes."

"It's no problem. I understand how you feel." Irritation continued to grow within her. "Now he's trying to seem understanding and forgiving…." The young boy's behavior was predictable only because it was similar to the boys before him who no longer wished to be her partner. "So…do you like movies?" he asked, seemingly forgetting about the lesson. Ayano just grinned, closing her eyes so she wouldn't have to see the sudden change she would inflict upon him. "Sorry, I have a boyfriend already."

His usual smile drooped further and further until it warped into a frown. He was no longer the happy-go-lucky boy he was only seconds ago. "Oh….okay," he muttered, turning away from her in utter disappointment. "I hope you find a nice girl," Ayano attempted to cheer. She only had apathy. "Yeah…" Ayano looked up at the clock and felt a blow of relief and excitement. "At least I get to see Misao in Chemistry next." She grabbed the plastic knife off the table and cut a large slice of cake, wrapping it in plastic to keep the freshness. "Aren't you going to eat your cake Minegishi?" one of the girls asked, snacking on the black blob she called food. "Oh…no…I'm going to give it to my boyfriend. He loves my cooking," Ayano said. She claimed herself lucky the bell had rung seconds later so they wouldn't ask anymore questions. Their wide eyes showed curiosity and she didn't want to make a lie into a scandal.

Ayano quickly grabbed her book bag and the cake, leaving the cooking class in a rush. She traveled through the hallway, worried she wouldn't be able to talk to Misao during the short break due to the crowds. Slithering through them was impossible and now she worried she might not even make it to class on time. Suddenly an opening appeared and she dashed for it. Chemistry class was now only a few doors down.

"Hey Ayano," Misao cheerfully greeted, leaning back on her desk. "Ooh! That looks tasty!" Ayano was pleased that she liked it; it made her next action even sweeter. "It's for you," Ayano said, handing the cake to the brunette. "Really? This whole thing?" Misao asked in disbelief. "Why do you keep making me all these delicious foods?"

"I just like to cook," Ayano smiled. "Well thank you," Misao politely said, grabbing the plate Ayano handed to her. "I'll be sure to eat this during lunch. Oh! I almost forgot. You wanna go to the movies later?"

A large pulse echoed throughout the carrot top's heart. Ayano felt as if her soul tried to breeze itself out of her body, the feeling so overwhelming that she didn't feel the sweet warmth reach her soft cheeks. "The…movies?" Ayano asked. "Yeah but we'll have to go alone I guess. Everyone else is busy," Misao sighed.

"Busy? So you asked everyone else first?"

"Yeah…but it's alright if you don't go. I don't want to force you or anything," Misao said. "Oh….that's how it is," Ayano muttered.

"Yeah. What? Got something better to do?" Misao teased. Ayano's heart was stopped it's throbbing but she managed to give a fake laugh. "Oh no, of course not. I can come. What time is the movie?" Misao pulled out a slip of gray paper from her pocket. Her golden eyes skimmed across the black printing. "The newspaper says 5 at the GoldenCinema. Is that okay with you because I wanna go see that monster movie they just released."

Ayano nodded, any movie at any time was fine. "Great, oh, looks like class is about to start. I'll talk to you later. Thanks for the cake." Misao walked back to her seat, unaware of the now obvious smile on her friend's face. The red head walked to her desk and pulled out her notebook from her bag. She couldn't help but smile uncontrollably. A night alone with Misao was always the most pleasurable thing in the world for her. Misao kicked her legs to and fro in her chair as she usually does, ignorant of the joy a simple outing gave to Ayano. More specifically, what an outing with her gave to Ayano.

The evening sun arrived earlier than usual, painting streaks of orange and purple across the cloudy sky. Misao kept her hands warm in her pocket while she distracted her feet with a rock on the ground, rolling it around until it fell into the street. Misao sucked her teeth now that her toy had vanished. Ayano had yet to arrive and it was already four forty. Plopping back onto a pillar, she sighed and watched as the clouds seemingly drifted towards the horizon, entertaining her wonder.

Inconveniently Ayano speedily walked to the scene, happily greeting her friend with a wave of her hand and a twirling peach dress. "Wow, you're overdressed," Misao said, looking up and down Ayano's body. "I'm sorry…I couldn't decide what to wear," Ayano smiled, feeling embarrassed by the disapproval. "Well then, let's go in. I already bought the tickets," Misao said. "But what if I didn't come?" Ayano asked, following Misao as the two headed into the theater.

"What? You always come. You're never late." She opened the door, walking into the lobby, the cold air gusting into her jacket and touching her chest. "Wow, it's cold in here!" Misao shivered, wrapping her herself in her arms. "You can borrow my jacket," Ayano said as she already began placing it on Misao's shoulders. "I don't feel that cold at all."

"I don't know…" Misao squinted. "Getting a jacket from a girl. Seems a little odd." Ayano giggled, feigning obliviousness. "It doesn't matter does it? I don't have fleas."

"Well thank you," Misao said. The conversation didn't need to be pushed any further. Misao decided to appreciate the common kindness Ayano had offered her as she usually does. "She always takes care of me. I feel kind of bad since I don't do that much for her…" Embarrassment had struck Misao as she realized how nice she has been treated since childhood.

"Oh, how much do I owe you for the tickets?" Ayano asked with her hand in her purse. "Oh, never mind about that. You gave me that cake and this jacket anyway," Misao chuckled, knowing there really was nothing funny to laugh about.

The two walked up to Theater Eight and checked their tickets. "This is it," Misao said. Both stepped into the already darkened room and found seats in the middle row, Misao's favorite spot. Ayano preferred the high row but never really complained, instead she found joy in seeing Misao excitedly rush to the seats to watch an oceanic monster level an entire city. "Hurry up," Misao whispered. "You're going to miss the previews." Ayano traveled down the row, taking the seat to the right of her friend.

Apparently the two had made it just in time as the room became pitch black save for the lights above and around. A bright light emerged from the screen and Misao began enjoying herself already. "It must have been a long time since you've been to the movies," Ayano said. "Yeah, there hasn't really been any movies I liked this whole year," Misao explained.

"COMING THIS FALL!!" the narrator loudly said. "Ryou Makanaki is your average high school student…but what if his grandfather was the world's most perverted but powerful wizard and he had to inherit the role? Love Mage the epic! Coming this fall."

"Another pervert movie…I think I'll pass," Misao said. Ayano nodded in full agreement, their shared tastes at least had some basic foundation. As more previews came Ayano tried her best to peek at her friend without being caught. Her blue eyes admired the golden ones next to her, her light skin tried to touch the tanned that rested on the armrest. Whatever movie before her no longer held any importance. Misao innocently laughed and adored every preview without knowledge of the sneaking eyes of the girl next to her. "How doesn't she notice?" wondered Ayano. "Everything I do…right now."

The experience was composed of displeasure and pleasure. The girl she could see but never touch, the girl she could hear but never smell, the girl she made happy but could never hurt. Silence filled the room and Ayano swiftly turned her head back to the screen. She didn't want to get caught peeking at her friend, Misao was smarter than others believed. "I hope this is good, "Misao said, leaning back in her chair. Ayano smiled once more, faking normality. "Does she know? Does she just ignore it?"

"Do I have any effect on her?" Such thoughts began to flow through her head even as buildings collapsed and people screamed as a monster stepped over them. Ayano noticed Misao jumping a few times in her seat; the movie must have been scary. Isolation was seen in Ayano's eyes as they grew dim in thought. "She…can she have feelings for me? What if…I tell her? How would she react?" All possibilities scared her, even the most happiest. If Misao did indeed have a similar affinity to her why did she hide it? For the same reasons as Ayano

"Misao…" Ayano quietly said. "Hmm? What is it?" Misao asked, poking her head up but keeping her eyes on the screen. Ayano noted this behavior, believing even the movie held more focus than she could ever engender. "Never mind."

Screeches echoed from the actors but their cacophony produced no reaction in Ayano. Her mind was separated from this the theater. "Why can't I just enjoy the time I spend and the relationship I already have with her? She does." At a random glance Misao could be seen tapping her hands against the armrest and swinging her head left and right, the background music was sort of catchy. "She likes this kind of music?" Ayano wondered. Every thought trailed off into another, ideas became problems but problems became trivia. She felt as if nothing was organized, there were too many questions and only one thing could truly ever answer them all. Ayano nearly felt the burning temptation to do something ridiculous, something completely out of line. All to answer this one question.

Ayano shook the idea out of her head, it was pointless. "I can't do something like that to poor Misao. What if she doesn't like it and…she wants to end what we have? I can't risk our long term friendship because of something like that…"

Suddenly a warm object came under her hand. Ayano pulled back, learning that her hand was on top of Misao's. "Sorry…"

"It's okay," Misao said. "Here, we can share it." She scooted her hand so it only took half of the armrest, allowing Ayano to rest her hand on it. The orange haired girl did so in order to hide any problems that could be seen. "Thank you."

Ayano pulled out her cellphone minute later, shocked to see that only thirty minutes have passed. "I'm such a wreck like this." A mysterious noise than appeared. It sounded similar to a small snort. Ayano turned to Misao and saw her sleeping. "Misao? Are you up?"

No answer. "Why is she sleeping? She can't be bored with this movie. Misao must be tired…" Ayano leaned over the sleeping girl and pulled the jacket from behind her shoulders, warming Misao who seemed to curl up in the small blanket. Ayano kept a gaze on the pigmented beauty, cherishing the cute way she slept and the adorable face that made her both happy and worried. Misao gave out a small snort again but Ayano treasured it as well. "I must seem crazy to other people if they knew I enjoyed hearing her snore too."

"Oh!" Ayano noticed her hand was on Misao's again and retrieved it back to her lap. Then an idea came to her. She slowly pulled her arm out and hung it over Misao's hand. "Maybe…"

She lightly brought it down, holding her breath to stay calm. Concentrating fully on this task she felt a wave of joy as her hand now laid atop Misao's, the warmth alone from the union making her blush. "I did it." Ayano sat back in the seat, gleeful that Misao didn't wake up. It felt better than she thought just to stay attached to her. Now all she had to do was keep an eye on Misao to see if she would wake up, this wasn't a problem either. What threatened everything was Ayano herself….who contemplated doing more. To go as far as to touch her face with hers, to learn her scent or caress her cheeks would provide nearly endless bliss. Ayano wondered "Would she get caught?"


Author: Hello, I'm back into the Lucky Star fanfic business with my latest installment and new couple. I wanted to try something different and practice my novel writing so please give me any and all constructive criticisms. I mean it. I need it. And don't worry, I haven't forgotten about Lucky Future and the soon to be released Moé Café. I'll give you a hint, Valentine's Day. Pretty obvious huh?