A new Prince of Tennis story from me again. Hopefully this one will have a better future than Sonata's of the Heart. The concept I'm going to be using is not new. But hopefully the plot will be since I did a research before starting =] What this new idea is, you'll have to see in chapter 2.
Pulling on my sports shoes, I stood and walked out of the apartment, not before grabbing my keys and purse; stuffing them into the pockets of my shorts. Locking the door behind me, I ran through mentally the items I needed to buy.
"Hmm…I need more eggs and maybe 2 cartons of chocolate milk as well…" I murmured, recalling the last party I had with my girlfriends which resulted in me practically foodless.
Within the elevator, I rolled back and forth on my feet, smiling shyly at the lady who was inside it before me.
"That's a really lovely necklace." She commented kindly, taking note of the pendant I had around my neck.
Instinctively, I reached up for it. "Ah…thank you." I said softly, nervously pulling at the hem of my white jacket.
I did not do well with strangers or anything social for that matter. It made me uncomfortable to be doing anything open with someone I wasn't close with. Even sometimes when they were my friends, I cant be really open with them.
I remembered once that they told me I was slightly cold. The elevator dinged and I walked out with a sigh. I tried to open myself up more, it worked for awhile but soon I just couldn't keep up the charade. It was hard for me to just be so….open.
Cold, shy, quiet….these are terms which I am usually associated with.
I walked towards the department store a few blocks away from my apartment, heading bobbing lightly to the music blaring out of my earphones.
Upon reaching the glass doors of the store, I pushed it open, catching a glimpse of a mock of red hair which disappeared down the snacks aisle. I went onto my own shopping, not surprised at the fiery hair color which can be considered unusual, since it was the age of wild hairstyles.
Lots of people have their own, customized hairs nowadays with colors of varying degrees.
My phone rang suddenly, the song "Beautiful World" by Utada Hikaru flowing out. Quickly pulling out my earphones, I picked it up.
"Kumiko-chaan!" A high, cheery voice answered.
I smiled slightly. "Aya-chan. What is it?" I asked.
"Do you know what day it is the day after tomorrow~?" She asked, dragging out the last few words and singing them.
I sighed. "My birthday?" I answered, hoping slightly I was wrong. But what were the chances?
"Yes!! So anyways, me and the other girls got something planned for you, okay? So don't you go disappearing or planning something else on your own like last year!!" She hissed out.
I scratched my cheek cheekily, remembering last year's fiasco for my 17th birthday. I didn't know they had a party planned for me already…..so I made a trip to visit my cousins on the other side of Japan.
I remembered they were pretty much upset with me for not informing them, and letting their money go to waste. I made up for it by treating them all to a buffet dinner though…which tore a hole through my college funds.
"I wont…Please don't do anything too grand Aya-chan." I requested, voice pleading.
She hummed. "Don't worry. Its not exactly grand, yet its something you will never forget!"
I bit my lip in slight worry. Something I will never forget? I sure never forgot that blind date she set me on with the tennis club captain back in high school….It was the most embarrassing day in my life.
I spilled my grape juice on him when I walked into him from behind as he jabbered on about his tennis skills and wealthy parents. I never did like the boy but I still felt guilt for ruining his Armani clothes…
"I'll see you tomorrow, alright then? I have to go now. Eiji-kun is calling me."
I nodded but then realized she can't see. "Alright. See you. Say hi to Kikumaru-kun for me."
The line went dead as I heaved another sigh. I had been doing that a lot lately. Maybe I'm just stressed from college life. I'm relatively new to it, having just started about 5 months back. I still keep in contact with my close friends such as Aya from back in middle school and high school, though most of them have went to study abroad. I made a few new friends in college though Aya helped strengthen my bonds with them due to her outgoing and bright personality. She arranged various outings and invited them along despite not knowing them too well and after the first few, she just hit it off with them. I did too but maybe not as much as her though I can still count on them for help.
I checked the time and saw that it was near evening. I should probably head home and start dinner. Quickly grabbing the things I needed and shoving them into the basket, I made my way over to the counters. Seeing as one of them had the man with red-hair in line, I took the free one next to it.
As the lady checked off my items one by one, I can't help but overhear the conversation going on at the next counter over in this silent department. Its not that I liked gossip, but its because the man's voice was loud enough that it drifted over.
His voice was smooth and it sounded charismatic; the type of voices that belonged to those hunky yet arrogant characters in shows. "I'm sorry, but I really cant find my wallet!" He explained, exasperated.
I turned slightly to peek at what was going on. The counter lady was looking at the man disapprovingly as he tried to…soften her with his pleading look; eyes downcast and pouting slightly.
"I'm sorry sir. Then you can't have it." The lady replied, shaking her head.
"Can't you place it on my tab?" He tried again.
"I'm sorry but you're not exactly a regular customer here. And we don't do 'tabs." She responded almost angrily.
I watched as the man sighed, and stared forlornly at the item of his desire on the counter. I noted that he was wearing a red jacket, with a white V-necked shirt underneath and black pants. He didn't seem to be a street beggar pretending to be a customer just to get free food…
My eyes drifted down. And beggars won't get those type of food anyways.
It was just a stack of sweets. Marshmellows, chocolate covered caramels, several strawberry and tiramisu flavored pockies and a bag of sugar-coated fruit candies. On the side lay a few gum bars, mostly apple flavored.
The strawberry and tiramisu flavored pocky were some of my favorite flavors. And I liked that brand of gum he was buying…
The man's shoulders fell forward, his head following along, slumping in defeat. I smiled at his exaggerated sadness. It was just candy wasn't it?
And because it was just candy, I didn't see no harm in doing this. "Umm…excuse me…" I called softly, my shyness kicking back in. They both turned towards me. I didn't make eye contact with either of them, I kept it on the candy. "I can pay for you..if you like." I offered, looking up hesitantly to see their reaction.
It wasn't common for a random stranger to suddenly pay for your items after all. I could see that the man's face brightened instantly and the counter lady looking at me unsurely. "Are you sure, Miss?" She asked.
I smiled. "Yea…I don't mind."
After paying for my things at my counter, I walked over to the other and paid for this strange person's candies. Taking the bag, I offered it to him as I walked towards the glass doors.
He took it from me, a huge grin breaking across his face. "Sweet! Thanks a lot." He piped, is voice strangely sincere and genuine, relieved even, to be getting his sweets.
"No problem." I said. I took a good look at him this time since he was closer. He towered over me (curse my height), with me reaching up to his mid-neck. His hair isn't exactly a fiery red like I had thought. It was more of a deep pink color, or maybe a bright magenta. His skin was toned, smooth and flawless. I bet if I were to touch it, it would feel like silk. Light lavender orbs captured my gaze, my dark brown ones contrasting with his cheerful eyes. His hair framed his face, giving a boyish look.
In short: He was beautiful
Yet it wasn't that elegant beauty that is usually related to men- feminine men. This one didn't look feminine. He was beautiful in such a way that he didn't look feminine; he had more of a mischievous air to him. The way his mouth curled into that grin before transitioning into a smirk.
He raised one hand and waved it in front of me. "Are you alright?" He asked, curious eyes peering into mine.
I blushed when I realized how close he had leant into me, and I quickly took a step back. "Yea, I-I'm fine." I answered quickly, stuttering a little.
"Anyways, I hope you enjoy your….sweets." I turned to leave.
I stopped. "Yes?"
"I have to repay you somehow…" He said, eyes somewhat guilty.
"No. It's alright. You don't have to repay me…" I paused, thinking over my words before saying them. "Think of it as a gift from an angel." I said with a grin. Turning, I didn't see his wide eyes blink in surprise, before a smirk came onto his lips once again.
Walking away at a brisk pace, I mentally pummeled myself. "Gift from an angel….how lame can you get?!" I muttered under my breath. I just had a surge in that moment to try and be open….to a complete stranger.
The day of my birthday arrived, quite fast in my opinion. Grudgingly, I checked the clock from my position at the desk, seeing that its 5pm now. I have 2 hours before Aya-chan and the other girls arrived to bring me somewhere.
They didn't tell me where we were going. All they said was to dress casual yet formal. The hell was I supposed to do that?
Scratching my head, I decided to give up on my research paper and take a shower instead; deciding to prim myself at least, for my birthday party…thing.
Lavender flavored shampoo bubbles slid down my back as the warm water hit my skin. As I turned off the shower, I wrapped myself in a white towel, glancing at the clock again as I walked out into my room.
Man, I have too much time to kill. With this thought in my, I deliberately slowed down when I dressed and took extra time in doing my hair. I wasn't one for make-up hence I don't own any other than several sticks of gloss. I applied a light layer of the glittery fruit gloss on, picking up my comb right after.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that it was almost 7pm. I took a step back to preview myself in the mirror like always.
My hair was held up in two loose ponytails on either side of my head, with most of my hair let loose. A bit similar to the style little school girls usually use; but I liked this style and felt that it suited me rather than making me look foolish. Not a lot of adults use this hairstyle- an adult now since I'm 18 as of today.
My dress was a one-piece sleeveless outfit; a red band going across my waist and a V-neck line. It clung to me, showing whatever curves I have if any. Two thick bangles, red and white, dangled on my left wrist, and a sole silver earring from my left ear. I didn't wear any earrings on my right.
To finish it off, I adorned wooden platform shoes, with white straps and a red band on them as well. Not to be vain or anything, but I had to admit I looked decent.
I heard the doorbell ring then. Nearly falling over from surprise, I quickly walked out into the living room and answered it. Aya stood there in all her happy glory, a huge grin plastered on with some of the other girls. No boys were present.
My brows furrowed in worry. Aya has good intentions but sometimes, it just gets way too hardcore.
"There's the birthday girl!!" She yelled, throwing her arms around me and pulling me into a headlock. I grimaced under her grip. Despite being my birthday, I'm not really smiling a lot am I? Maybe I'm just a pessimist.
One of the girls there smiled, telling Aya to get off me. "Aya-chan, don't ruin Kumiko-chan's hair." She said in a jesting manner. Aya scoffed but released me anyway. I rubbed my neck as I smiled at her Yura in appreciation. "Thanks, Yura-chan."
I nodded to the other 2 girls behind Yura- Rinko and Asuka.
Before I could even greet them, Asuka blared out, " Alright! Let's go party girls! Our youngest member has finally come to the legal age of 18!! Let's celebrate with a bang!!" Asuka declared, pumping her fists in the air and even doing a small jump despite wearing high heels.
I paled slightly. "I really hope you guys didnt plan anything too…." I trailed off.
Rinko linked arms with me. "Don't worry Kumiko-chan. Yura-chan here will keep us all in check, ne?" She smiled although I do not feel comforted by it.
And hence they pulled me into Asuka's car, the eldest of us all in the group at age 20.
Yura came in next at 19. Then came Rinko, Aya and me but they turned 18, months before. Now it was my turn.
For their 18th birthday, lots of people got drunk and Rinko got hooked with some American transfer student at the college; Let's just say that the main bedroom of the house we had the party at was a mess. I'm glad it wasn't my house.
I was shoved into the black darkness of the car by Aya who slid in behind me; the car door shut.
The city lights suddenly ceased to reach my eyes as hands suddenly clamped over my eyes.
"It's a surpise Kumiko-chan!" Aya's voice chimed.
I gave in without protest. I already came this far with them. Might as well get on with it and see what they have planned.
I was lead out of the car and I heard Asuka talking to someone; a male voice.
I gulped. They told me it was a girl's night out. Wasn't that supposed to mean there were no guys? I didn't do well with guys I'm unfamiliar with….and I only ever have one or two male friends, one of them being Eiji, Aya's boyfriend.
I felt my nervous side kick in at the idea of guys being here tonight. I didn't want any guys here!
I was lead forward slowly by, I'm guessing Yura, as Aya's hand held fast over my eyes. Cold air suddenly whipped into my face, despite Aya's warm hands on my upper face. I heard an elevator ding and the sound of its doors sliding open.
Lead in, I can distinctly feel glass by the elevator wall I'm standing by. I heard Asuka and Rinko giggling at the other corner. As the doors opened again, I was then aware of a new presence with us.
A man's voice entered my ears. "This way ladies." I could tell he was in front as his voice came from that direction. This time I was really starting to question what my friends had planned.
"Um…guys, what did you plan exactly?" I asked hesistantly.
Aya cackled softly into my ears from behind. "Be patient Kumiko-chan~" She sang. "We're almost there."
So I elapsed into a uncomfortable silence.
I heard the footsteps in front stop soon and Aya stopped me as well.
"Here it is. I hope you will have a wonderful time tonight." The same man from before spoke.
I heard his footsteps leave.
Finally, I heard Asuka burst out into giddy laughter. "Haha! I just cant wait to see what you think Kumiko-chan!!"
I didn't get to speak. Aya broke in before I could.
"Let's just get on already!!" I could clearly hear the excitement in her voice. Just then, Rinko cleared her throat.
I couldn't see their expressions but I swear there's a smile on Rinko's face right now; good or bad I have no idea.
"Well Kumiko-chan, I hope you have a wonderful 18th birthday~"
I felt someone take my hand and place it on a doorknob.
Getting the message, I turned it and pushed the door open. When I did, Aya released her hands from my eyes.
My eyes blinked open, and I found myself staring at pairs of beautiful eyes.