Jezha: Uhn, I edited this. Haha..
"Sticks and stones mayn't break my bones but words will always hurt me."
"You're such a burden! You have and will always be one!"
The room turned eerily silent after Tsukasa hollered these harsh words out, his anger blinding him and causing him to blurt out the thing that would hurt her the most. Tsukushi Makino's face paled, the life draining from her twinkling onyx eyes. The only thing making the slightest noise was their breathing. Those four words danced in her head, taunting her, as she slowly looked away from everyone.
She felt breathless, scared.
'Is that true? Is it all I've been from the beginning? A burden to all my friends?' Tsukushi wonders silently, bitterly, before Tsubaki delivered a punch to her brother's face. But the damage was done, the spiteful words thrown like a spear in the battle. And most inmportantly, the result had finally be set in stone for Tsukushi.
"Tsukushi, don't mind what he said. He didn't mean it." Shizuka says, sensing the chilling aura around the two hot-tempered teens in the group. Though Tsukushi respected and loved Shizuka as much as her own kin, she was distraught.
"Yeah, he's just fooling around." Soujiro quickly backs up, Akira staring at Tsukasa intently, willing him not to make things worse. Rui slips behind her, placing an arm on his shoulder in support- to which Tsukuasa's face heated up, jealous at Rui's close contact like he'd always been.
"I meant what I said, you stupid weed. You can't dress well, you have no class-"
The whole room fell silent again, shell shocked at what Tsukushi had just said. Usually, the energetic girl had always returned the spite with twice the insult. Now, she merely smiles blandly, not one person in the room noticing the letter in he balled fist. Rui's eyes flickers with concern, as Tsubaki moved towards her, and Shizuka on the border of tears.
"W-what." Tsukasa stammered, astonished at her sudden aloofness. Akira and Soujiro glanced at each other before trying to smooth things over, only to be cut off by a strangely distant Tsukushi.
"Domyouji-sama, is there a problem," Tsukushi started, refusing to meet anyones' eyes, before continuing "because I have other matters to attend." When there was no answer, except slight astonishment, Tsukushi smiles bitterly, before sweeping out of the room, refusing to answer anyone elses' calls for her, and their apologies in their friend's place.
Once out of that room, Tsukushi allowed a single tear to roll down her cheek, before putting her hand in her jacket pocket and crushed the letter in which contained a promising path for her future. That tear made it's way down her smooth cheek, her resolve to decline the scholarship and job offer already dissipating.
'I'm going to Australia to be a model. I'm going to a foreign country. I should be happy I received this. I need to be happy. This is what I need. To become stronger. Become somebody.
Become less of a burden.'
"Welcome home, Tsukushi, we've made you a special dinner to make up for your staying here."
"Hmm, what is it, dear...?"
"Hmm? What for?"
"Not... Staying here."
"I'm so sorry."
Makino Chieko put her oven mitts down, and looked at Tsukushi. Without saying a word, she drew her daughter into a hug, before saying "What are you apologizing for, my strong, beautiful weed?"
She breathes in the scent of her best, best friend for what could be the last time for years to come.
"It's fine- I'll write to you lots. Lots and lots, like we did back in primary school. I'll even come visit if I can- Ah, I'm sure I'll be able to if I can take the wages for your job as well, ahah..."
"Don't cry, Yuki..."
"What are you talking about? That's just the eyelashes irritating my eyes."
Yuki cheerfully allows Makino to borrow her shoulder.
"Ah- Tsukushi, where the hell are you? We were supposed to meet up with everyone-"
"Gomen, Tsubaki-san. I can't make it."
"Ara? Ah, fine, fine, then what's your next free day?"
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
The phone falls to the ground, the cells' familiar beeping tone after the ended call audible. Domyouji Tsubaki curses, and runs to inform the others.
Shizuka's eyes widened.
"Tsukushi. She's going to Australia to be a model." Tsubaki says furiously, tears stinging at the corner of her eyes as well. Clenching her fists, she shook slightly in anger as she sent a death glare at her brother, who looked like he was going to be sick, she continued "She just called me, and told me she was on the plane. She planned to tell us last week, but because of what my idiot brother said-"
Suddenly, Yuki burst in, her usually gentle aura replaced with a deadly chill as she stepped up to the group, still in her uniform. Her eyes were teary, but it was the fact she just caught wind of their conversation that really got to her.
"Yuki-chan, what are you doing her-" Soujiro started, but got cut off as Yuki asked them:
"What did you say to Tsukushi?"
Everyone gaped at her changed demeanor, Shizuka then stuttering out "Tsukasa, uh, well, accidentally called her a burden."
The whole cafeteria was staring at this tiny girl, who was now breathing a little heavily, the anger gone from her face. All that was left was a look of what used to be emotions, tears, and an anger so ferocious, it would make Lucifer shiver with it. Without knowing it, she had gone straight up to the boy responsible, and lifted her hand.
The slap resounded right across the room. There were a few moments of silence, when Rui said "Yuki, I understand, but I need to know if you knew she was leaving Japan." A moment of hesitation, before she replied coolly "Yes. I knew about the letter."
"Why didn't you tell us?" Akira asked, his mind still in numbed shock. The fact that he had just witness Yuki using violence- something she abhorred, was disturbing. Yuki's eyes flickered towards him, the anger and sheer sadness within the frail eyes betraying her emotionless face. Biting on her bottom lip, Yuki says nothing.
"She was going to reject it, you know." The soft voice finally gets their attention, the resignation and resentment obvious.
"She," she looks pointedly at them all, "had no intentions of going abroad. She valued your friendship more than anything. Though her family is in bad shape, she's never asked you for money.
I think she was happy, knowing you guys. Even I was."
The finality in those dreaded words was finally settling in.
"Yuki, it's not what you-"
"Don't call me that." She says softly again, backing away from the friends she thought she had. Ignoring the cries of Akira and Sojiro, she swallows audibly as she pauses before leaving.
"You don't deserve her."
Seven months later...
"There she is!"
"Hani-sama, over here!"
"No, please Hani-chan, here!"
"Makino Tsukushi, how do you feel about your current job, as a model, a dancer and an actor?"
"Darling, show us your innocent face here-!"
Raven black hair fell from her head to her shoulders in straight layers, as Makino Tsukushi smiled with a sense of freedom at the waiting cameras, her bodyguards pushing the hoards of reporters and fans out of her way, as she walked into the airport, feeling the fresh air of Japan. She donned a sleeveless yellow dress- goldish material trimming the edge, a black silk sash hanging off her neck, highlighting her barely-made up yet beautiful face, her black and white striped leggings leading the eyes down to her silver pumps, a beret-like hait sitting ajar on her silky strands, drawing the eye to her new silver streak, playfullness exuding from her every being.
The ever-growing crowed watched in awe as she waved happily to them, and sighed in envy when a thin black jacket was wrapped around her by another bodygaurd, contrasting with her smooth pale skin. Stopping suddenly, Tsukushi spotted a couple watching her, fascinated with their cute baby in her mother's arms. Walking towards them, she waved the girl carrying her bags over, and rummaged for a while before pulling out a sapphire neckalce, and to the couple's growing astonishment, attached it around the baby's neck.
'Awwing' at the scene whilst watching the baby lift an arm and lightly hit Tsukushi's cheek, the crowd cheered. Then Tsukushi smiled.
"Such a beautiful child. You are fortunate, and I send you my best wishes." and continues towards the exit, and entered a limousine taxi, as she greeted her chauffeur, Genesis.
"Eitoku Gakuen please, driver-san."
Tsukushi cranks. up her ipod, nodding her head to the beat of 'Lost November' by Diaura. It's been a while. To be precise, it's been a total of 20 months, three days, eleven hours. And she needed more caffeine. Sighing, she looked out of the window, the scenery of her hometown as familiar as ever- like she never left. As if that incident had never happened.
She did not keep in contact.
Despite how Tsubaki tried to keep up to date with her, even she was being overworked by her witchy mother.
She had built a wall between herself and the world, one where even Yuki was hard-pressed to find an opening for. Ever since that day, she had been striving hard, obsessed. Almost insanely. Within the first month, she has lost 7 kilos, her already pale and beautiful face becoming skinnier than she had ever been before. She became numb.
And her only thought was to prove something to them all- to herself.
Tsukushi grins at the thought of the F4's faces when she steps back into Eitoku Gakuen. But this time, she's a celebrity. And this time, she could no longer be a burden. Not to anyone. She would throw what Tsukasa had said to her all those months ago back in his face, show him she wasn't weak. Show Soujirou and Akira she was now a real woman, not some kid to be coddled. To show Tsubaki and Shizuka she was able to reach for higher things.
And... To show Rui she would not bring his family any shame.
Of course, old feelings were rekindling. Her feelings for Rui were still there, under the strong fortess around her heart, lying there, dormant. But she wasn't sure how he felt, so for now, she would just lie low. She could not have her heart shattered once again by any words he utters.
The first time was hell, and it had taken two weeks for her to start recovering, going for her training as a model. It had also taken may calls, visits, her bartender and driver to bring her back from the brink of breaking down.
The second time;
She didn't think she would be able to live.
And so, it is unexpected that she walks into the familiar grounds of Eitoku to find the once horrible posse of girls now clamoring for her attention. Ignoring them, she looks at the startled table on the second level- She saw Tsubaki, Shizuka, Akira, Soujiro and Tsukasa staring at her like she was some alien. She didn't expect to see Yuki there, and it was clear by her best friend's movement that she was about to leave.
But then, Yuki catches sight of Tsukushi.
As so did Rui.
Her eyes meeting with all of theirs, she whispers