I got the idea for this story yesterday, when I was thinking about my own neighbours (they're not very nice). I really shouldn't be starting a new story now, what with school and life in general – besides, I wanted to finish Wish In A Bottle first, and I've got another story I plan to write... but anyway, I couldn't resist! So here goes – hope you guys will like it!
By the way, in this story, Hikari and her friends are fifteen, while Taichi is eighteen.
The New Neighbours
The New Neighbours
Having an older brother is great, especially if you've got one like mine. Taichi doesn't find me a bother, is fiercely protective, and we're close enough to share secrets. Having a good older brother also means that he covers up for you often, so you hardly get into trouble because he's taking the blow for you.
However, one thing can be annoying. We share a room – a fact that my friends always like to comment about, seeing how I'm already fifteen and it's the norm for siblings of opposite genders to have their own room each. We've been sharing a room since we were in diapers and I guess the tradition just stuck. The only difference now is that I've got a curtain draped across my bunk, so that I've got privacy when I sleep.
Anyway, I'm digressing – how could sharing a room be annoying? Well – it's annoying when you've had a late night up, rushing a school project, and you want to sleep in the next day because it's a Saturday. But for some reason, your room-sharer just won't let you.
"Let me sleep, Taichi," I groaned, rolling over to avoid my brother's gigantic foot. Undaunted, he shook me harder. For the past ten minutes, he had been shaking me with his stinky feet, trying to wake me up.
"C'mon, Hika!" Taichi said impatiently. (By the way, my real name is Hikari. Hika is a nickname that all my friends call me by.) "There's something I've got to tell you! Wake up!"
I sighed and gave up. Taichi could be very stubborn, and I knew he wasn't going to let me off anytime soon. I sat up, pushing his foot away. I couldn't help smirking when he stumbled clumsily, banging his head (or rather, his big mop of hair) on the ladder of the bunk bed.
"It's only eight-thirty," I grumbled, looking at my alarm clock. "I stayed up till two rushing a project with Takeru! I need my sleep!"
Taichi shook his head. "You won't be sleepy for much longer once you hear the news! Go and wash up and I'll tell you. Anyway, I don't understand why you guys were rushing a project on a Friday when you've got the entire weekend for it."
I stared at him. "Firstly, as I've told you, Takeru's visiting his grandmother this weekend so he won't be free. Secondly, you're not going to tell me now?"
Taichi laughed. "You should be fully awake when you hear this."
I sighed in exasperation. I had wanted to go back to sleep after Taichi's supposedly "breaking news". Usually, the "important" things that he wanted to tell me turned out to be pretty trivial. I crawled out of bed and headed to our adjoining bathroom.
I washed up and brushed my teeth quickly, then examined myself in the mirror. Boy, I hated my hair. It was thin and straight and mouse-brown. I envied people like my senior, Mimi, who had thick, wavy hair that seemed to shine. The only good thing about my hair was that it was so thin, it rarely got tangled up and you hardly have to brush it. I ran my brush through my hair a few times, put on my starfish-shaped hairclip, and exited the bathroom.
"Finally!" Taichi exclaimed.
"Alright, Taichi," I said, sitting down on my bed. "Now you can tell me what your so-called important news is."
Taichi took a deep breath. I waited. He grinned.
"Our new neighbours are here!" He said.
"New neighbours? Oh..." Realization dawned on me as I remembered. A week ago, our neighbour, old Mr. and Mrs. Kouzuki, had moved out to live somewhere nearer to their children. They were such sweet people that we were all sad to see them go. As a kid, Mrs. Kouzuki sometimes helped to look after me when I fell sick, or babysit me and Taichi when our parents both had to go somewhere. She baked the most amazing chocolate chip cookies, and Mr. Kouzuki, who once worked as a carpenter, had helped to build this amazing shoe cabinet for us. So, yeah – we were all pretty upset to see them go, and had thrown them a huge farewell party.
We had no idea who our new neighbours would be – all the Kouzukis had said was that they were a family with one kid, but they couldn't remember their surname. They would be moving in a week after they left, and I guess today was the day – I must have forgotten.
It was interesting news, but not interesting enough to reason why I had to wake up so early for it. "You woke me up to tell me this?" I asked, pretending to look cross. "I guess it's pretty big news, but it wouldn't have mattered if you tell me this a few hours later."
"I haven't reached the important part yet," Taichi said quickly. He leaned closer to me, looking excited. "The new neighbours – their son – I know him. And I'm sure you do, too."
I blinked. "I do? Who is it?"
"He's only one of the best soccer player in the Under-Sixteen category in Japan!" Taichi exclaimed. "He used to be from Tamaichi Junior High, and he was the reason their school always won every inter-school match. He's this huge genius too – always top in school, always making the news for some record he broke. Oh, and recently he was in the news for beating a whole bunch of Chess Champions in one go."
I bit my lip, thinking. The last bit sounded familiar – I remembered talking about it with my friends. My best friend, Miyako, knew quite a bit about chess and had been marvelling about this kid's skills. "Wow, he's going to be our neighbour? I must've seen his name on the news, but I can't really remember."
"He's called Ichijouji Ken, and he's your age," Taichi told me, "And the best thing is, he's transferring to your school!"
I knew at once why Taichi was so excited. Taichi had graduated from Junior High and was now in his final year of High School. However, he regularly came back to my school to coach the Soccer Team. My other friend, Daisuke, was in the team too, and he was pretty good. However, we've been on a losing streak recently, and Taichi had been pretty frustrated by that. He must be hoping that Ichijouji Ken would join the soccer team – Odaiba Junior High's team would be sure to win every single match then!
"Don't get your hopes up," I told Taichi, "you don't know if he'll join the team here."
"Why wouldn't he?" Taichi asked. I left the room, wanting to get some breakfast, and Taichi followed. "He was in the soccer team all his life. Surely he'd stick to something he's good at."
"Maybe he wants a change." I said.
"Like Photography Club, huh?" Taichi asked, smiling slightly. I was in the school's Photography Club, and as Project Director I often organized field trips to places like Nature Reserves, where we could all have hours of joy snapping away. Taichi never understood how that could be fun.
I ignored him. "Morning Mum, Morning, Dad!" I said cheerily to my parents, who were both sitting by the dining table. I sat down, grabbed a piece of toast, and began buttering it.
"Morning, Hikari!" Mum smiled at me. "You're up early today. I thought you'd sleep in, after staying up so late for that project."
"Yeah, I wanted to," I shot Taichi a death glare. "But Taichi woke me up to tell me about the new neighbour."
"Oh, yes," Inexplicably, my mum's smile faded slightly. "The Ichijoujis just moved in about an hour ago. I saw them on my way back from the market."
"How were they like?" Taichi asked.
Mum looked hesitant. I knew something was up, but my mother never liked talking bad about other people. Dad jumped in instead.
"Let's just say they were – well, not very polite to your mother," he supplied. "She tried to talk to them, but they were really eager to end the conversation. And they practically slammed the door in her face."
I blinked, surprised. I remembered when Ichijouji Ken had been interviewed – his parents had been interviewed too, and they had looked pretty friendly. I guess you should never judge a book by its cover.
"Did you see their son, Mum?" Taichi asked, gulping down his orange juice.
"As a matter of fact, I did," Mum said, nodding. "He's a pretty good-looking young man, though his hair's a bit too long for my liking. It looks like yours, Hikari!" She nodded in my direction.
Taichi burst out laughing and I couldn't help turning red. "It looks good on you, dear," My mum continued, "But on a kid like him – if I were his mother, I would never approve."
"Well, seeing how he's top in sports, academics AND recreational activities, I don't think his parents would mind giving him a bit of freedom when it comes to growing out his hair," Taichi grinned.
"I suppose," Mum said, chuckling. "I wonder why they were so rude, though?" She looked thoughtful. "I don't think I said anything wrong, did I?"
"Of course you didn't," I told her reassuringly. "Maybe they didn't mean it – perhaps they were just in a rush to sort everything out? Anyway, we'll find out soon enough."
So – we actually had a family of near-famous people living next to us! From what Mum had described, they didn't sound all too pleasant... but I was intrigued, anyhow. I made up my mind to say hi to them soon, to welcome them to our neighbourhood. They might be impolite, but it was only the right thing to do. After all, Ichijouji Ken was going to be my fellow schoolmate – maybe even classmate! Who knew?
So! How do you guys find this introductory chapter? Please review and tell me what you think!