Words of Love
Akita Neru had dreamed about this moment for a long time. All these years – ever since she was a tiny tot and had wished upon a star – she had been praying, hoping, waiting.
And it had finally paid off.
The blonde was resplendent, decked from head to toe in the latest fashion; no doubt, her shimmering silver shirt, skirt and knee-high boots cost more than most salary men earned in a year (such were the privileges of being famous).
Her blonde hair was tied back in the trademark side ponytail, and it shone under the heavy stage lights.
A bright smile spread across her lips.
She had never wanted anything as much as this in her entire life; and now, just like the story of Cinderella, her dreams were going to come true!
Only, Neru mused, my hair is much, much nicer than her's was in the Disney movie. And I'm not so stupid as to pin all my happiness on some unnamed prince who wasn't even that good-looking anyway.
Come to think of it, Cinderella wasn't a good comparison at all.
But she did not care.
The cheers of the crowd rang in her ears, the harsh lights played across her skin, and the sound of music began to drift through the stadium; a haunting presence, like a miasma.
The crowd settled.
The lights dimmed.
And Neru walked onto the stage; confidently, her head held high.
I'm finally going to become an idol!
With that thought held firmly in her mind (glittering like a precious jewel), Neru opened her mouth, and began to sing.
The crowd, which had fallen into a revered sort of hush upon her arrival, became more boisterous and energic yet; the atmosphere was electrifiying, and it only intensified threefold when Neru, microphone held firmly in her grasp, began to dance.
Her heart thumped widly in her chest, and the music was her guide; the notes ghosting over her like ethereal fingers, prodding her in the right direction. Her body was one with the music; the tune, the beat, the pulse and rythmn ingraining itself her mind – her very being.
This was what if felt like to live.
"Neru-chan! Go Neru-chan!"
Neru's eyes did snag, however, as she scanned the jam-packed stands with star-struck eyes, upon a certain, singular girl.
There was nothing about her that stood out; notwithstanding the long, green (or was it turquoise…? Dim lighting and star stuck eyes – hard to make out small details) hair that bounced about her lithe frame as she jumped up and down, shouting louder than everyone else.
Her voice called to Neru.
It called to her like no song ever had.
"Neru-chan. Do your best."
A loud slam made Neru jump violently. Her head snapped up in an almost comical fashion- there was almost enough force behind the action to give her whiplash.
"Some things never change, do they, Akita-san?" said Sakine-sensei. She sighed a little, and folded her arms. "You're just as bad as that clumsy, good-for-nothing Kaito…"
Neru's mouth hung open stupidly. She looked not entirely dissimilar to a dead fish.
It was not a very attractive look.
Hell, even Gumi-san (the most graceful, poised, delicate flower of a girl whom every single boy from Tokyo to Timbuktu blindly worshipped like some sort of deity) would find it hard to make the 'kipper-out-of-water' face look good.
Then again, Gumi-san was pretty incredible.
Who knew, maybe she could.
She even made biting her fingernails look sophisticated and attractive.
Neru lamented; it just wasn't fair.
Some people like Gumi obviously got lucky when it came to blindly drawing out genes from the family gene pool. Other people, like poor Neru, got lumbered with such gifts as: incredible shortness, no chest, a bad-temper, the ability to piss the people off she cared about most and a voice like a yowling cat.
Then again, Neru had never been lucky.
"Neru," said Meiko dangerously, waving a manicured finger in her pupil's face. "You're doing a very good impression of a moron right now. Close your mouth before you let the flies in."
Neru's face flushed an undignified scarlet.
Oh, how she longed to snap back some retort: but, unfortunately, to do such a thing to Meiko was tantamount to singing your own death warrant.
Like most theatrical types, Meiko was scary when she got angry.
And she got angry on a very frequent basis.
"Right," said Meiko, clapping her hands together. "Now Akita-san has decided to grace us with her full attention," she shot Neru a slit-eyed glare, "we can now return to our lesson."
Meiko was not what you would normally associate a 'teacher' with. She did not deal with textbooks or the like; mainly because she did not teach math or English or history.
She was a dance teacher.
Neru, like many other eager young girls with unrealistic dreams of superstardom, had attended the prestigious 'Sakine's School of Dance' from the early age of eight.
Most of her other classmates had improved since they first joined oh-so-many years ago.
Neru, unfortunately, had not.
She still had two left feet, and she still mixed up her moves, and she still knocked people over from time to time (usually accidentally; but when it came to that awful, pompous ojou, Rin, Neru's trips and stumbles in her general direction were usually quite on purpose).
Neru still grew frustrated with herself.
She still walked off midway through routines, flushed and angry and hating everything.
She still chewed gum in class, and she still texted people on her cell every five minutes, and she still fell asleep, from time to time, when Meiko was giving prep talks and the girls were sat on the floor.
It was a wonder Neru hadn't been kicked out yet.
Maybe it was because deep down, underneath her cold, heartless exterior, Meiko was more like a mom-figure than an evil ogre.
Meiko knew how much Neru wanted to succeed.
So she tried her best to teach her.
Meiko was, after all, 'the best'. Her academy was named as such, and for good reason.
Meiko (the very same Meiko who knocked back alcohol as though it were water and found nothing more fun than abusing her poor, spineless hubby, Kaito) used to be an idol herself, when she was in her teens.
Her name had been simply 'Sakine Meiko', and like a star, she had shone.
Her concerts were all sold out, and her fanbase immeasurable. She had appeared on every chat show and game show at least three times. She had released a whole bunch of best-selling CDs; her most famous song being entitled 'Honey'. Her poster had been on every teenage boys' bedroom wall, and her perfect figure had been secretly envied by every girl.
And then – as Meiko often said – she met stupid Kaito and stupidly fallen in love and decided, quite irrationally, insanely and completely unintelligently, to abandon her career and get married.
When Meiko was twenty-something, she decided to open Sakine's School of Dance. Another has-been superstar, Megurine Luka, helped coach the younger students (alongside the fabulously inept Kaito), whilst Meiko herself handled the older students.
Needless to say, the academy had simply thrived.
Meiko was thirty-three now; and still every bit as pretty, witty and good at dancing as she had been at sixteen.
People still loved Meiko, even though she was insane.
But nobody loved Neru.
Nobody even knew who she was.
The blonde sighed, and hugged her knees closer to her body.
She wanted to be back in the dream.
That wonderful dream, where she could sing and dance and do everything she wanted to do; be everything she wanted to be. Not some loser with an inferiority complex, a tendency to snap at the slightest thing and the grace of an elephant on roller skates.
Neru wanted her fantasy world.
In that world, she would dance and sing, while people cheered her on.
Like that strange girl with the turquoise (I'm sure it was turquoise) hair… The one with the most beautiful voice.
I want to be like her.
Neru scowled at her own stupidity; pining after a figment of her own imagination was stupid.
She simply needed to try a little harder at her dancing today, that was all.
Maybe today it would come together.
"Okay, girls, you did great," said Meiko, at the end of the two hour session. With a clap of her hands, the activity in the dance hall was brought to a swift termination. Gumi – always perfect – hastened to switch the CD off for Meiko.
The strains of 'Be Myself' died on the air.
"Just a few things," said Meiko, looking about the group of assembled students. "Miki, don't move so stiffly; it's distracting, and makes you look like you have joint pain."
Miki – a red-head with a bright smile – gave Meiko a polite bow.
Meiko began counting names off her on fingers; "Teto, don't slouch; Momo, remember to move your right leg; and Rin, don't look so freaking miserable all the time. It's like you're at a funeral! God, it's depressing, and it makes me think of the Exorcist."
Rin gave a short bow, too, but Neru could see the irritation playing about her face, and it cheered her.
Ha! She deserves it.
"Alright class, you can go," said Meiko, making fanciful ushering motions. And then, under her breath; "God, I really need a drink…"
Miki flashed Neru a small smile, sharing a private joke – 'she always says that'.
Neru allowed herself to return the smile. She turned, and began to hunt for her jacket (where had she left it again?) when-
"Wait, Neru- a word, please," Meiko called.
The other girls had all begun filing out; chatting, laughing, buttoning coats and tying scarves and slipping on gloves. Rin still looked angry.
Miki gave Neru a questioning look, but, with a shrug and wave, turned 180 degrees and made for the door. She began to talk with Gumi.
"Neru," said Meiko, once all the students had exited. The brunette folded her arms. She sounded very serious.
A faint feeling of dread washed over Neru.
"Look, I'm not going to be nice about it. Life isn't nice. Life is a total inconsiderate bitch at times, and it sure as hell won't think twice about being mean to you. So suck it up." Meiko spoke harshly, but she seemed – despite her words – to be genuinely worried for Neru.
Neru found she could not meet Meiko's gaze.
Instead, she looked at the floor and scuffed her shoes.
"Neru." A pause. A long, drawn out, g a p i n g chasm of nothing.
You could have heard a pin drop.
Neru knew what Meiko was going to say even before she said it.
"I don't think this 'idol' career is really for you."
And there it was.
Neru felt her lungs constrict, and her heart shudder to a momentary halt. Her fingers began to tremble. Only that morning she had been dreaming – dancing and singing and- and- and that strange girl with the hair and the voice – and now, some two hours later, all her hopes were to be taken away?
That was hardly fair!
"I mean, let's face facts, Neru." Meiko pursed her lips. "You can't sing. You can't dance. You don't even smile. If Rin looks depressed, you look… well… Dead. Like nothing. It's upsetting, uh huh, I know, but there must be other things you're good at. Why don't you do something else?"
Because I don't want to do anything else.
Neru balled her fingers into fists, she gritted her teeth.
She felt angry.
She had to feel angry, or else she would feel sad – and that would be much, much worse.
Neru didn't want to cry.
Not in front of Meiko; the woman who had been Neru's inspiration ever since she was young. Neru remembered; how enthralled she had been watching Meiko's music videos, and how she tried to copy her, from the bob-length cut of her hair to the clothes she wore.
Neru remembered singing in a hairbrush at her bedroom mirror, and thinking 'this is what I want to do when I'm older'. Not be a professional 'singing-at-a-hairbrush-in-my-bedroom-mirror'er, but a real, famous, loved and adored idol.
An idol like Meiko and Luka and the Macnes and – oh, like all of them.
Any of them.
That was all Neru wanted.
"Sakine-sensei." Neru's voice was cold and steely. It did not waver.
Slowly, Neru brought her gaze up to meet Meiko's. Her eyes were hardened and determined. Not a glisten of tell-tale tears could be seen.
Neru to make Meiko understand.
"I can be an idol. I know I can. I just need to work harder. I need to act maturely, and not grow annoyed when I can't do everything; I need to calm down, I need to change my attitude, but I know I can do it."
Meiko looked uncertain. "But for someone like you… Practise might not be enough. The 'star quality' I look for is something you're born with. It's hard to replicate."
"But not impossible."
"I'll try my hardest. I promise," said Neru defiantly. Her eyes blazed. "Give me another chance."
And Meiko, stunned almost to silence at such a fiery display of resolve, stood there. Eyes wide.
Perhaps I misjudged Neru…
Meiko cleared her throat.
She placed her hands on her hips, and tried to look in control. Not fazed at all. Confusion was a state of mind for lesser mortals, like Kaito. Certainly not Sakine Meiko.
"Alright then, Neru-san. You leave me with no choice." Meiko's voice was strong and calm. "I will give you one month to prove me wrong. If you cannot, I apologise, but I do not see any point in either of us wasting our time further."
A small, self-confident smile broke across Neru's face.
a/n: IIII~ wrote a new story XD
It's based on a certain PV, but I won't say which one cause it would ruin the plot XD
From the pairing you might already know, though –poutypout-
I hope the story isn't too long but, knowing me, it probably will be XD
I hope to keep this one very to-the-point and plot-driven, though.
Cake and cookies for all!
Please review –puppy dog eyes-
They are like nourishment for my heart and soul, om noms :3