Note: Standard disclaimer applies. I do not own the songs inputted in this story either as it belongs to its rightful owner.
It is a Monday morning once again, but I did not want to get up to start my day; yet I knew that I have to. That is, if I ever want to continue with this façade. Really, I wondered what I was thinking when I asked Kaji-nii that 'I wish for a normal life, so I don't need be home-tutored.'
I never felt so exhausted than I am feeling right now… especially with what happened last night. I'd have to say it was a successful night, since it was a full house, and I had five encores. People do love JIROU, that's a given… but me, on the other hand, is a different story.
"Oi! If you don't hurry up, you'll be late again!" Kaji shouted from outside my bedroom. With a sigh, I slowly got up from my bed, and glanced at my alarm clock. I let out a yawn before I grabbed a set of uniform, and then entered my adjacent bathroom for my morning routines.
I quickly ate my breakfast that Kaji-nii had made me, and before long, I was rushing to school. I could not help but let out a wistful smile when I remembered the opening song to yesterday's concert. The song began playing in my mind once again, even though I was mentally exhausted from singing all night yesterday.
'Can't you believe? Baby, why don't you believe yourself?' I hummed the melody as I rushed to school. To tell you the truth, I hate school now, especially since my former tennis teammates, and I have drifted apart, and somehow… everyone has turned against me. The only consolation I have is that I get to see him, even though he does not pay attention to me.
I wonder though… I wonder if he pays attention to the other me, instead of the current me. I guess I will have to ask Kaji-nii if he ever came to my concerts.
'Even if there are risks, I will walk the path I believe in with you.
Live in a place without regrets, because today will only come around once.' I continuously hummed with a small smile on my face. I quickly controlled my expression as I approached the gate. Today will be another long day, I can tell already…
"Hey, did you go to JIROU's concert?" an excited female student inquired to her friends with gleeful expression. "I wanted to go see the concert live, but the tickets were sold-out before it was even on sale!"
"I heard that the pre-sale tickets were sold-out too!" one of her friends commented with a sigh, and continued with a wistful look, "I so wanted to see him perform live, and perhaps get an autograph from him,"
"I heard from another friend of mine that JIROU doesn't give out autographs, or let his fans take a picture with him," a third female remarked with a small frown.
"Awwwh, that's too bad," the first female student whined in dismay, and let out a wistful sigh. "I really wanted an autograph or take a picture with him,"
I walked by the group with an unnoticeable smirk etching on the corner of my mouth, and walked to the main building where my first class is. I changed into indoor shoes and exchanged brief greetings with Ootori-kun.
The first class is English, which is the only class that I share with Atobe-kun, Oshitari-kun, and Shishido-kun. I walked into the classroom, ignoring the excited chatters from my female classmates about my concert that I held yesterday, and sat in my seat. I laid my head down on my desk, trying to get some minutes of sleep before the class begins. However, it was futile considering how half the class was squealing and gushing loudly about yesterday.
I looked over to across the room where Atobe-kun, Oshitari-kun, and Shishido-kun sat. The latter was scowling at the level of the noise the girls were producing, while Atobe-kun and Oshitari-kun just ignored the noise with some reading books. The bespectacled boy was reading a thick romance novel, judging from the covers.
"Alright, everyone, back to your assigned seats," the homeroom teacher announced as soon as he walked in with some papers, and continued, "I have some announcements,"
"First of all, we have a culture festival coming up," he stated whilst putting down the papers on the desk, and shot a death glare towards his students as soon as they interrupted, "I will assign two representatives to work on this project. I'm sure you are aware of the deadline, which is in two weeks. Okay, any nominees?"
"I vote for Akutagawa Jirou," one of the females stated without raising her hand, and added, "He doesn't do anything, and all he does is sleep in class. I'm sure he has a lot of time on his hands,"
"While she's at it, I vote that we put on some sort of performance," another female suggested with a sinister calculating smile, and added, "Akutagawa-kun can be the singer, singing the recent hit artist JIROU's songs. So you better not taint his name, Akutagawa,"
The last phrase was directed towards me with hints of malice in her tone, which just made me want to chuckle inwardly as loud as I can. After all, how can I taint my own image?
"This will be interesting," Oshitari-kun stated with a smirk. Without even looking at his direction, I could tell that he was looking at me in amusement.
"Any objections from Akutagawa-kun, and the rest of the class?" the teacher asked as he looked around the room. Whatever protests emitted from anyone was covered by a loud 'NO' from the females of the class, who seemed to be out to get me for unknown reasons.
"Then it's decided," the teacher nodded in agreement as he made a note of 'our' decision. In the end, I let out a reluctant sigh, wondering how I am going to pull this off.
Lunch time rolled around faster than I thought because next thing I realized, I was leaning against the railing on the school rooftop. Soft wind blew around me as I looked up at the clear sky, trying to work with the lyrics that filled in my head.
'Once again, today I stand still here to gaze up at the sky
Even when the cold wind breezes through my heart, I cannot move
That smile from the other day remains on my eyelids
And it blooms as a single flower in the corner
I moisten it with my tears so that it will not wither.
I cannot hear your voice, I can't hear it.
It's a thought that repeats over and over.
Please don't disappear, it's fine if it's just an illusion
Stay by my side and hold me, as it was on that day…'
I immediately took out my notepad and wrote down the lyrics that I just sung in my mind. Once I finished writing the words, I began to sing it as softly as I could so that I would not attract attention. I silently wondered if this would be another sad relationship song that I would be releasing. Either way, I had a feeling that it would be a hit song amongst my fans.
I glanced at the lyric that I had written down, and let out a soft smile when I realized how beautiful it is. I could not help but wonder how this song will sound in the studio, and when I sing it live. With these thoughts in mind, I continued to write the rest of the lyrics whilst crossing out some lines every now and then.
By the time lunch hour came to an end, I only managed to write two more verses to the song. Well, at least it was progress. I grabbed my belongings and slowly descend down the stairs as I continued to think how the rest of the song should go.
'I can't believe ballads are my forte,' I shook my head in disbelief, but nevertheless, I could not stop a smile from forming.
"Oi, gaki! We're going to be late for our appointment!" Kaji-nii shouted from across the campus with a mega horn. I tried really hard to resist the urge not to slap my face in embarrassment and hide under a rock. Everyone, and I mean, everyone was looking at me with some of puzzled expressions, and some with amused expressions.
Perhaps it was due to my leaving after lunch hour for the past two years. I mean, as much as I want to have a normal life, and attend school like a normal person, it was difficult with my celebrity alter ego. Which is why, Kaji-nii pulled some strings and called in a couple of favors from Hyoutei's administration personnel, and headmaster to let me leave school after lunch.
Today, however, I have a photo shoot with a magazine called Potato. The following day, I have another photo shoot with a different magazine company. I guess Kaji-nii is trying to promote the other me, so that I will be more famous. But I wonder how high I can go… I wonder if, in the near future, I will be more well-known than Atobe-kun.
As soon as I entered the car, I tossed my bag over to the backseat, and took off my glasses. From the corner of my eyes, I noticed Kaji-nii looking at me with a slight amused expression, and shook his head at my direction.
"What? You know I'm nearsighted," I muttered in response at the silent inquiry.
"Your power is not even 1.0, you're not blind," he retorted with a sigh, and left our discussion at that. Yes, even though I don't really need my glasses, I always wear them because it gave me a sense of disguise.
We did not talk for the rest of the trip, except for the radio playing some of my songs, and other artists. I barely paid attention to what was playing on the radio since my mind was focused on the upcoming culture festival. Before I can come up with a solution to my dilemma, we arrived to the location of the set.
I was dragged to the dressing room by my stylists for hair and make-up. As per usual, my slightly curly hair was straightened, and dyed to a chestnut brown shade. Once my hair is dried, and styled to look like a bishounen, as my sister would say, I grabbed my contact lens and other accessories. Out of all the colored contact lens that I was given, I chose my usual color of light blue; and for the accessories, an earring, some rings, and a necklace.
"Are you done yet?" Kaji-nii shouted from the other side of the dressing room door. I gave once over to my appearance, and with a smirk, I slipped into my other persona before I opened the door.
"I should be used to how you look, but somehow, my mind can't wrap around your new image," Kaji-nii mumbled as he gestured towards the camera crew standing across some colorful backdrops, and sofas. Waiting obediently on one of the sofas was a dog, a collie to be exact.
'A photo shoot with a dog?' I wondered with an eyebrow raised, and slowly approached towards the said animal. I was silently awed at how well trained it was, but then again, I know that this specie is highly intelligent.
The camera crew took various photos of me, and the dog, whose name turned out to be Dai. Some looked overly ridiculous, and some looked down right hilarious. In some pictures, I was playing with Dai, whether it was a simple game of fetch or asking him to do some tricks. In other pictures, we simply just sat down, doing some simple yet elegant poses. But overall, there were some pictures that looked great, and fit the standard to be in the magazine. Once we were done, I was covered in dog drools, furs, paw prints, and mud. I was greatly in need of a shower.
It was nearing seven o'clock when my individual pictures were finished. While I was in the dressing room, Kaji-nii had told me that he needed to return home to finish some of his university homework, and told me to go home by myself.
Thus, I took some time to wash the dye out of my hair, and grabbed a set of simple yet comfortable attire. That is, a pair of black jeans, patterned beige colored shirt that is unbuttoned half way, black leather jacket, a top hat, and black boots.
My hair remained to be straight due to the straightener that I used earlier. I did not feel like washing my hair a few times for it return to its slightly curled state. Besides, I doubt anyone would recognize me in this state at this late. I did not remove my accessories either, but I did remember to remove my contact lens. I stuffed my Hyoutei uniform into my backpack, and extended my greetings toward the staff members before leaving the studio.
The night's crisp air breezed by me, once again reminding me that autumn season is almost over. I rubbed my hands together before I put them in my pockets to keep warm. I quickly stifled a yawn and began trekking towards the station.
'Today was a long day,' I noted while I yawned for the second time in the same minute. 'I have to do my best tomorrow too,' I told myself with a small nod.
The train ride home was uneventful, to say the least. It was crowded with businessmen, businesswomen, and other workers, trying to get to his or her home in the quickest time possible. The usual, I would say.
I almost bolted out of the train when the train reached to Tokyo, and nearly flew down the stairs. I let out a relieved sigh, and began walking home, whilst trying to make sure that no one was following me. Fans stalking me are scary, but the worst kinds are perverts.
Usually, Kaji-nii and I return home together, but since he had some tests to study for his university classes, he left during my photo shoots. I stifled a yawn as I walked down the busy streets of Tokyo, and wondered where I should stop for my dinner, and if I should bring some to my older brother as well.
Normally, I did not mind cooking for myself since my parents moved to Kanagawa Prefecture with my younger sister. Mainly because my father's occupation transferred him there, and since my sister did not want to attend Hyoutei, she has transferred to Rikkai Dai. Kaji-nii, on the other hand, lives in a dorm of Todai, but occasionally comes to visit me in my apartment.
I originally thought that he would not have time to be my manager, which is true most of the time because he was rarely there. However, he does try to make time to come to my concerts, and interviews… half the time. Well, not that I blamed him, considering I am not making an effort to find a new manager. The last one I had was unreliable, to say the least.
Nevertheless, my feet stopped in front of a restaurant that was not crowded, and looked descent. I did not realize what kind of shop it was until a waitress gave me a menu. It turned out to one of the many fancy ramen places in Tokyo, but I could care less due to my hunger. Once I placed my order, a simple chicken curry rice, kimchi udon, and green tea ice cream, I looked outside the window while marveling at how busy Tokyo is at this hour.
Even though it was nearing eight o'clock, I still have two more places to hit after my meal. That is, a vocal lesson at nine o'clock, and a dance lesson at eleven o'clock. As usual, I would not be sleeping until around two in the morning. I wistfully sighed at the thought.
"Sir, your order," a waitress said as she placed a plateful of curry rice, and the udon.
I was halfway through my udon when some familiar faces entered the restaurant. I pretended that I did not see them and resumed with my meal. Of course, things did not go as I planned since some of them are walking towards me.
"Jirou-senpai?" I heard Ootori inquired questionably. He sounded like he was unsure if the person he was referring to was me or not. I inwardly chuckled at this scene; but nevertheless looked up to his gaze.
"I'd never thought I'd see Atobe-san in an establishment as this," I mused with a smirk, making a small gesture towards them to have a seat. Since there were only five of them, they somehow managed to fit into this small booth.
"Ore-sama was forced to come," the tennis captain responded with as much dignity as possible.
"More like blackmailed," Mukahi commented snidely, and completely ignored Atobe's heated glare because he was too busy looking at a certain someone.
"Wow, Jirou-senpai, you look different," Ootori commented as he eyed at my outfit and appearance. I merely shrugged in response and continued to finish my meal.
"I've been wondering," Oshitari started suavely as he plopped his elbows on the table, slightly leaning forward to gauge my expression, "Why have you been leaving school by lunch?"
"Why do you want to know?" I responded calmly with a small smirk, and glanced at a wall clock placed across the room. "You know what, let's talk about this some other time. I'm going to be late," that was all I said whilst standing up just as my cell phone rang.
"Nakamura-san, good evening," I greeted after glancing at my caller, and walked towards the cashier, "Can I get my ice cream to go instead? Also, do you deliver?"
"Of course, sir," a waiter responded with a small bow, and asked, "Where would you like it to be delivered?"
"Another set of my order to this address," I answered after scribbling Kaji-nii's dorm address, and then I took out some cash to pay for everything.
"Eh? Canceled? Both of them?" I inquired in surprised as I watched the waiter rang up my bill, "Ah, I see. Thank you for this opportunity then. Alright, good night, Nakamura-san,"
"Looks like whatever appointment you had was cancelled," Oshitari said from behind me, startling the heck out of my soul. I just pocketed my cell phone and told the waiter to keep my change whilst another waitress handed me my ice cream.
"You do realize that it's rude to listen in on another person's conversation," I pointed out as I walked out of the restaurant with Hyoutei tennis regulars tailing behind me.
"It's also rude to ignore a friend," the tensai responded smoothly with a knowing smirk. I merely took a bite out of my ice cream, and walked towards the direction of my apartment.
"Hmm, really?" I responded in disbelief tone as I glanced towards the group from the corner of my eyes, and added, "Something I'm sure you guys haven't done,"
"If it's about that, we can explain," Atobe finally said something towards me. I merely glanced towards him, waiting to see what he has to say with a deadly calm expression that I normally used in my photo shoots.