Well, this chapter took longer to write than I thought…and I wasn't even able to include everything I wanted to! But that's okay, I'm aiming to have as many, if not, more chapters than my other Shugo Chara fan fiction Ikuto's Visit.
If you haven't noticed, one of the girls in this chapter has a problem with saying the word "right?" it kind of made me laugh because I myself have a problem with saying "like" and "you know?" I bet everyone reading this has something they say a little too often. Go on, post it! :D I'm interested now!
I do not own Mark's and Spencer's Cloudy Lemon Soda or Coca Cola…but I do have a few cans in the fridge XD
I was able to stroll into school the next day, happy I didn't have to do training or any matches that day. Although I would be missing school tomorrow, and that meant missing a Guardian's meeting also. Behind me, my four Shugo Chara skipped in mid air, acting more like the good and evil angels that belong on my shoulders than guardian angels.
"You'll have to tell Tadase at break time that you can't attend tomorrow! Yay!" Ran cheered.
"I think you should go to the Guardian's meeting, Amu-chan," Dia disagreed, shaking her little head.
"No, no Amu! Football is your chance to get close to Kukai, Amu. You can never have too many male friends…" Miki began, but then stared into space, drooling.
Suu hadn't said anything, so I asked her what she thought I should do.
"Bake Kukai a Lemon Meringue Pie, Amu," she replied, smiling, "Nobody can resist the bitter-sweet taste of Lemon Pie."
We all laughed as Miki hit Suu on the head with a paintbrush. Once inside, I opened the door to find Tadase reading a book on English in the corner. I took a deep breath and prepared what I would say in my head…and hopefully what he'd reply with. I reluctantly walked over and tapped him on the shoulder.
"Amu-chan, good morning!" he said, placing his book on the table, "Everything alright."
"Good morning, Tadase. I wanted to ask you something."
"Go ahead." He rested his head on his hand.
"Is it okay if I miss the meeting tomorrow? I won't be able to make it."
He sighed. "We can't afford to miss meetings at this time, Amu. We still need to plan something nice for the end of the year, you know?"
I pouted and pleaded him.
"Okay, okay," he giggled, "Just call one of us tomorrow evening to see what you missed, won't you? What are you doing tomorrow anyway?"
"Playing a football match for Kukai's school." I beamed, I liked saying that.
"Oh." he looked away as the bell rang. The teacher wasn't long flying through the doorway.
"I'm collecting your homework!" he called as the ones at the back moaned, "Hinamori, yours isn't necessary, someone told me about your match, congratulations. Now sit down everyone and stop talking, class has begun."
School is always so uneventful; teachers going off-topic and small talk at lunch time. I much preferred being called out of class for Guardian's meetings, but of course, I wouldn't make tomorrows. We all sat at our table in The Royal Garden munching on biscuits and pretending to listen to Tadase. As soon as the bell rang for the end of school, I skipped out the gates with my bag in my hand.
At the dinner table my parents discussed me playing for the boy's team.
"Oh, Amu-chan! I'm so proud of you!" my mother squealed passing the bowl of rice around the table.
"I don't like it," my father said, crossing his arms, "I don't want Amu-chan to be around so many boys!"
"Oh, Papa," my mother sighed, laying a hand on his shoulder, "Don't you remember when we played tennis together?"
"Don't you remember how fun it was?"
"Amu-chan needs to experience the same fun we had with school sports! Be proud of her for making the team, okay?"
"I won't be going to school tomorrow," I said calmly, then taking a bite of a piece of chicken, "I have a football match." I then walked to the kitchen sink and dumped my empty plate in the soapy water and crossed my arms.
"Our Amu-chan is so cool!" my parents chanted as I left the room. I didn't tell them about my injury.
He nodded. I went to bed early, not being able to wait for the day ahead. I flipped through my text messages to find Kukai's text;
Match starts at 11. But don't bother going in
to class before then! :P - Kukai xxx
A whole day off school, can you imagine it? I've never had one to date, I just went to school each morning and had to bare it. But now I had an excuse to wake up late, roll out of bed and spend the day having fun. Which is exactly what I did the next morning. I called Kukai at nine to arrange for us to meet up beforehand.
"Sure, Hinamori. Meet you at the crossroads near the school? We have a bit of time before the match starts to go somewhere if you'd like," I heard his tired, muffled voice say on the phone. I could almost imagine I woke Kukai up by calling him and that he was standing in his room with messy hair and boxer shorts on yawning. I laughed at the thought.
"Got you. I'm racing you there, right?" I asked, knowing it would only encourage Kukai to get ready and make his way down faster.
I waited for ten minutes at the crossroads staring at my watch. When I turned to my right to see if he was coming, I saw a flash of his red hair and green football uniform running towards me. He waved and called my name, I smiled in response.
"I bet you were already dressed and ready when you called me!" he complained, leaning on his knees and taking a breath, but still managing to smile.
"You caught me, I was," I replied, afraid to hear his reply.
"You cheat!" he yelled, hitting my head and ruffling my hair.
"Ow!" I cried, scrunching up my face, but secretly enjoying the attention.
We walked down the road together- well, Kukai walked while I skipped- and Kukai eventually stopped at a café. The outside was painted beige (almost like milky coffee itself!) and it's name was on the top in a cocoa-coloured, curly font. Young people sat inside laughing and reading magazines.
"This place looks nice," Kukai said eventually, not taking his eyes off the menu, "Want to go here later?"
"Alright. Only if they sell hot chocolate," I said, pushing him gently out of the way to see the menu for myself.
We continued on until we reached the school. Kukai told me that we still had an hour left to kill and that he'd give me a proper tour of the school this time. He brought me from the gym to the library and the science rooms to the art rooms. People walking through the corridors gave Kukai high-fives and asked about me. His tour brought me through to each one of his classrooms, he finally stopped at the canteen where we each bought a drink from the shop and sat down at a table.
"So what do you think?" he asked, sipping a can of Cloudy Lemon.
"It's fantastic!" I exclaimed, setting down my Coke, "The art room is the best! Imagine how fun it would be to use those computers for graphic design! I can't wait until I start high school!"
"Neither can I." He smiled.
The bell rang for half ten and a group of girls clattered through the canteen door and some took a seat beside us to wait while the others lined up at the shop to buy food before they went to class again. The girls beside us spoke to each other before they noticed Kukai.
"Hi Souma-kun!" one called, standing up and waving. She winked.
"Hi," he replied, but continued to talk to me.
"We missed your match the other day," another with purple hair said, taking a seat beside him, "But that's okay, right? We'll make it to the finals this year and we'll see you there, right?" She flicked her hair.
"You bet," he said a little more enthusiastically, "If you're cheering for me…"
"Who else?" a blonde girl with sapphire eyes giggled.
"Who's the girl?" the first girl asked, nodding towards me.
"Hinamori Amu. She's joined the team," he said proudly.
"The Hinamori Amu?" "The one who dated a teacher?" "Really? I heard she goes drinking every night!" "Doubt it, right? But someone did say to me once that she-"
I stood up and kept my head down. The girls turned around and stared - they were all silent.
"If you want to believe those rumours, go ahead. But just remember, you're only as sad and the rumours themselves if you spread them," I said coldly, sitting back down and not even looking at their faces to see their response.
Oh God…why did I just do that? Now it will be worse! They'll make even worse rumours about me, they'll hate me! No, I did the right thing. Now they'll think twice before saying anything about me. So many things ran through my head.
The bell rang again. "You had better go back to class," Kukai explained and they packet their bags and left. I was sure they were still looking at me.
"Way to go, Hinamori!" Kukai cheered, patting me on the back.
"You told them off! That was so cool, pity I didn't get any of it on camera… You'll be the talk of the school!"
"It seemed like I was already the 'Talk of the School'."
"Well, yeah, but this time it will be for good reasons!" I was quiet for a minute before he said, "We better go too."
We stood up and our football boots smashed against the canteen tiles like girls' heels. Outside, most of the team had already gathered on the pitch and were huddled around the dug-out chatting and trying to stay warm. It wasn't a day for wearing shorts, that's for sure. I scooped my hair into my green hat and sat down beside them. They were making fun of the other team.
"That school have the worst defender ever, seriously, is that all they could get?" number five laughed, nodding towards a skinny, shaking defender with blond hair on the other side of the pitch sitting in the opposite dug-out.
"Never mind him," another boy said, "See their mid-field? I remember him from last year, he plays on the left. He's blind. He doesn't even wear contacts!"
"No, the best yet- see the one with the black hair?" Kukai began, I was surprised he would, "He doesn't even play soccer, he plays Australian football. He's been known to use his hands so much that they usually just put him as a sub." The rest of the team laughed.
"We can use all these to our advantage," I agreed, but the others just looked at me, "Concentrate on the stronger players, mark them. We can leave the weaker players."
"That's true, Hinamori, but it's up to the coach. Speak to him about it."
Just as one of the players said that, the coach came running towards us, excited.
"Okay team! Gather around!" he called, clapping his hands to get our attention. "This should be a walk through the park for you, a piece of cake! Beat this team and we're through to the quarter finals!" The team cheered and laughed. "Now, we're keeping our usual positions. But Yuki, I'd like you to keep an eye on your marker, always be ahead of him, got it? Good, now get out there and take position!"
The team rushed onto the pitch. It was only then I realised how excited I was. The other team came running onto the pitch also, the skinny defender was my marker - at least I didn't have a challenge this time around. He shook my hand and nervously stood beside me. Ran floated over to me from the dug-out, where she was playing with Daichi.
The ball was kicked off and went flying to the other side of the pitch. How boring. It bounced between player to player of each team. I felt a spark of excitement anytime someone from our team got the ball and kicked it further down the pitch, but it vanished when someone from the opposite team got the ball. Come on, I thought, I haven't even gotten a chance yet! The ball came rolling down the grass towards me slowly, the members from the other team screaming at my marker to run after the ball - not if I could help it. I tore down the grass after it, stopping it with my foot. I passed to another forward while running towards the goal. He passed back. I gave my best shot but their goalie caught the ball just over his head. Shoot.
He kicked it out from the goal and Kukai stopped it easily with his chest and kicked it towards me, as if to give me another chance. When he was closer to the goal, I passed back. He shot and scored. A few players gave him a high five and pat him on the back. He winked at me. I tried to hide my smile, I was supposed to be playing as a boy. The game felt so uneventful, the score remained 1 - 0 to us for such a long time, I was sure that was how it would end. When one of our mid-field players received the ball, I took the chance and yelled for it. The player was a little reluctant, but he took the chance and passed to me.
I was delighted. I quickly ran with the ball, my marker was close behind me and tried to tackle under the orders of his fat, bald little coach. I swiftly dodged him, getting closer to the goal. I stopped before another defender. Oh no, I thought, how am I going to get past him? I had to do whatever cam first to my head, which was to kick the ball between his legs. Having more balance than him, I was able to run around him with no trouble at all and collect the ball again. The goalie stood in the middle of the goal, slightly to the left. This was my chance. I kicked to the right. I crossed my fingers. The goalie missed - score! It felt great to get a hug from some of the players before the sound of referee's whistle.
"That was fantastic!" Kukai shouted, wiping his forehead as we walked down the road home.
"Wasn't it?" I was as happy as a little puppy. "I can't believe I managed to get that goal in before the match ended!"
"Plus we make a good team."
"Yes, we do!"
We stopped outside the same café we saw that morning and entered, there were less people now that most our age were already in school at this stage. We took a seat on a sofa beside each other and a perky waitress with a ponytail took our orders. Mine looked amazing, it was flooding with whipped cream and topped with mini marshmallows. We sat for such a long time in the corner of that café, talking and stirring our drinks in circles. It was warm and cosy, it smelt strongly of coffee, I was alone with Kukai - and we'd never run out of things to talk about.
"I'm getting a text," I said suddenly, taking my phone out of my pocket and interrupting a story he was telling me.
"Who's it from?" he asked, leaning over.
I covered the screen with my hand as if it were private. "Utau."
"Oh. She's pretty busy lately, huh?"
"When was the last time you saw her properly?" I shoved the phone back deep into my pocket.
"Not in a long time. We ate ramen together. I walked her home."
"Eh? What is she to you?"
He paused for a minute, then looked over to me. He had a look on his face that I could read like katakana, it said "Are you jealous? Or are you doubting me?" and I was surprisingly accurate, because what he did next proved it.
Kukai leaned towards me and kissed me. It wasn't like what the older girls told me, it was much more nice - much more delicate. The longer we stayed like that, the more I noticed; his lips were just as soft as they looked, he tasted like sweet coffee, his hand was on my waist. When he finally broke away, I felt the cold rush to my waist where his hand once was.
"You're the one I like, Amu."
Hi, this is your God, Kukai, speaking. I'm here to educate you in the world of sports. Here's my dictionary of today's sport related words, hope they help your reading and understanding of the story:
Football boots: Also known as studded boots, they're runners with metal or rubber 'studs' protruding from the bottom. In this case, Amu and I are wearing metal ones. Please don't be stupid like us and wear these inside - they ruin wooden and tiled flooring.
Dug-out: At each side of most good football, hockey and other pitches, there are two to four dug-outs. A dug-out is a small, sheltered seating area for subs and important people to sit at. Some can be literally 'dug-out', meaning it's in the ground, and sometimes not. They can vary a lot in size and shape but always have a curved top to shelter players from the rain when they're not playing. They can be warm when a lot of people sit under them.
Defender, Forward and mid-field: The three positions in a football match. Defenders help the Goalie protect their goal from Forwards. Forwards get the most action in the front, as they score most of the goals. And the mid-fields start the game and get the ball from one side of the pitch to the other.
Australian football: This sport is taken from Gaelic football (which Kitty was originally going to use, but she thought more people would know Australian football…). Both sports are similar to soccer but players use their hands and legs to dribble the ball. In Gaelic football, the ball must be bounced off the ground or off one's foot every two steps. The goals have two poles on either side and points can be scored by hitting the ball over the bar, through the poles or by scoring a goal (which is worth three points).
Subs: Shorts for 'substitutes'. Subs are extra players who sit on the sidelines. They can be swapped with players on the field at anytime and can replace players who have been injured or sent off. Remember, our team doesn't have any subs this year! We have to be very careful! In the case where all 21 players are not present, a sub must be used. Sometimes, depending on the team you're against and the seriousness of the game, you can play without all 21, which is what we did when Amu was injured.
Marking: Is the act of being assigned to one player on the opposite team. Eg. The left Forward marks the right Defender. Players can be asked to mark two players at a time or two players can be asked to mark the same player on the opposite team. We'll see more of this later on.
Quarter Finals: The winner of quarter finals move on to the semi finals.
The difference between shooting and scoring: Shooting is taking a shot at a goal. Scoring is actually succeeding.