6:00 am: Misaki awoke to her buzzing alarm clock. She was ready and set to go to Seika and help with the car wash. She was also actually looking forward to seeing how the students would deal with their decision. But for the meantime, she just lay there and stretched. She was still thinking about yesterday, and what had happened then. Exhaling a sigh, she covered her face with a pillow.
Have to hurry up- and stop thinking about that already! You need to get there a little bit earlier today. Don't want everyone lagging behind, waiting for supplies!
She headed towards her musty bathroom: old, decrepit, overused, and very blue. Sure, it was clean and all but from another person's viewpoint it would be almost frightening. Tiles were chipped off, the sink with its drain and handles had tiny patches of rust, and her inadequate bath was in severe need of touch ups. She sighed again deeply, frustrated with the debt their father had left. She turned up the heater to run, it would take a while to warm, and faced herself in the mirror.
If only I could work more... maybe find another job after graduating…maybe, just maybe…
"Ugh Misaki…you look so tired this morning…You look like a wreck." she said thinking aloud, tracing the purple patches under her exhausted eyes.
She turned on the sink and splashed ice-cold water on her face to keep herself from dozing off.
Fully awake, she slowly undressed out of her white camisole and gray sweats and set off into the shower. She didn't mind if the water wasn't ready; in fact, she didn't mind that it was bitterly cold. For a moment, she just stood there blankly, empty of all emotion. The shower made the tears she couldn't make; for she was too stubborn to act in such a manner. The sudden sting of hot water jerked her out of her stupor, and returned to reality. She actually enjoyed feeling the burn of the almost-scalding water; it soothed her muscles and de-stressed her somewhat. She lowered her eyes to stare at the tub, and continued with her morning shower with sodden thoughts scurrying in her mind.
"Good morning, Misaki." chanted her sister and mother. To her surprise, they'd heard her wake up early and had prepared her breakfast.
"You guys didn't have to- I was planning to eat something simple today." she waved her hands about, flustered. "I had to wake up early for the fundraiser…doesn't mean you did too."
"Which is precisely the reason you need all your strength in order to help today." said her mother, with a soft smile.
Mother knows best, right?
"Oh by the way, onee-chan, I saw some of your posters before you went to bed. And I told my friends to tell their parents to come by if they wanted a car wash today. " said Suzuna, then suddenly shoved a huge box in front of Misaki.
"One more thing. This right here. They're all yours. Won a full-year's worth of sponges in another contest. I can't fit this one in the house, so I took only what we needed."
Geez, just how many sponges does a person need? We could fit a dead body in here!
Misaki bent down and picked up the cardboard without difficulty. When she turned around to thank her sister, Suzuna had already vanished. Smiling again, her mother wished her a good day.
She made her way through the door and was headed for the gate when the main source of her daily ordeals arrived: Usui Takumi. Since she had a large box in her arms, she couldn't really tell what was right in front of her. To top it off, he had suddenly appeared behind her to begin disrupting her day, and promptly covered her eyes.
"Guess who…" he whispered, just inches behind her, his breath tickling her ear.
"Why it's you. My everyday pain in the ass. " she said acerbically, as she shook his hands off and looked upward to his wolf-like grin.
"Good morning to you too, Miss Grumpy."
Ignoring her comment, he drew closer easily. He was used to this: this was their usual morning routine. Just because Misaki was responsible in the morning doesn't mean she was, by any means, happy-go-lucky.
"What do you have there?"
"Just some supplies that Suzuna won. We have plenty to spare and we don't need another box at home. We don't even know where to fit it. So I'm bringing it to school for the event," she muttered, re-adjusting her grip and setting off at a brisk pace**
Walking up behind her again, he set his hands around her waist in an easy hug. She yelped and jumped about a foot in the air, nearly dropping the box, before whirling to him furiously.
"How am I suppose to believe you're not an outer space perverted alien when you clearly do things like this? You can't just decide to grab someone's waist and touch them!"
"It's called a hug."
"It's called sexual harassment."
He shrugged and teased her with a breath of cold air on her neck.
Her response this time was to shudder violently and drop the box altogether, which Usui quickly caught with a flourish.
"Mission complete." he smugly declared, and continued walking. She just stood there, outraged.
What do you mean "mission complete" !
She spluttered, then charged after him, still seething."What was that for? You just can't grab things from people either! Especially when they don't belong to you!" she exclaimed, bodily blocking his path .
"Well for one thing, Misaki isn't in the term 'people'. I know you, and you know me. That, and you're too short to see where you're going."
You could get hit by a truck or something idiot.
Well to me you aren't exactly a 'person' either. And one thing I know for a fact is that I'm not too short and you're outright stalking me! (It's the only reason I know you!)
"If you're that concerned, why don't you simply ask?" Like a normal person. "Like, 'Can I help you carry this?', that would work."
"Can I help Misa-chan carry this?"
"You see why I didn't bother asking in the first pl-"
She swiftly ducked under the box and came up with it on her head, holding both sides. As she did, she turned around to stick her tongue out at Usui, and kept walking as though nothing happened. But of course, they ended up fighting back and forth with the box, the entire walk to school.
(Usui won, due to his persistence and her lack of energy to hit him that early.)
In the announcement room:
"This is your vice president speaking, Yukimura Shouichirou As you already know, today is the car-wash. For those who weren't informed, there is no need to worry. All information will be given to you shortly after second period. We will call classes down to attend after setting up. Until the announcement is given, resume normal class."
"Thanks for giving the announcements Yukimura." Misaki patted his shoulder.
"Should I tell the student council to help set up?"
"That won't be necessary. I came in early to talk with the janitors to set out the tables and cleaning supplies outside. Usui helped out too this morning, but you can tell them to help me finish this up." She produced a roll of paper she'd been carrying under her arm and unraveled it to present her idea.
"I didn't have enough things to finish it up at home, but I thought everyone could add a little touch to it."
It was the banner that Misaki had laid out the preceding night before. It wasn't anything much, but it was designed to lure people to their high school. It said " CAR WASH - Only ¥1069 [10 dollars] With vacuum, wash, and dry! Additional [3 dollars] for waxing and buffering. Wash your car and your stress away with our relaxation at our outside lounge! At Seika! From 9:00 am - 15:00 pm! "
"That seems nice enough. I think the slogan is catchy too!"
"Eh…Thanks. I tried my best. Just add some life to it or something. Hang it up high after it's done, so everyone who passes by sees it."
"You got it Kaichou! Oh, Kaichou…one more question. Should we go change now? "
"For what exactly?" Misaki asked, baffled.
"You know. For the theme? Everyone else is just waiting to change into their bathing suits."
Oh…I knew I was forgetting something this morning!
"Um… Not yet. Not till we make the announcement."
"Alright. Hey you guys! Get over here! We have to work on this poster!"
Aww man, what am I supposed to do with my clothes? I suppose I can just change into my gym clothes. Never mind that, I'll check up the set up one more time before anything starts.
Walking over to the front of the school, she took in everything and made sure everything was precise and flawless. The big white tent had been set up with all the arrangements underneath. A table with refreshments, snacks, some home-made crafts from the arts club, and chairs set up by the guys with music. She was impressed. Everyone, with little or lots of support, had participated in bringing something or making some effort. The essence of teamwork, she thought with pride, filling her with energy and drive as she saw everything was going according to plan. Until the janitor that she had worked with this morning gave her something… unexpected.
" Miss, do you remember the box you gave me this morning? With the sponges?"
"Oh no. Don't tell me there weren't enough!"
"No, no. It has nothing to do with that. Thing is, while I was cutting the box open for you, there was a package inside, you see."
"I only came to give it to its rightful owner," he said modestly, handing her a purple box. "Otherwise it would have been thrown out or perhaps even stolen."
"Oh, thank you. I would never have known if someone hadn't told me. I appreciate it."
"I have to get back to my duties now, good luck with the fundraiser Miss. Good day."
Padding away to a nearby bench, she stroked the box outer covering while wrinkling her brows. It was made of fine purple, some kind of specialty wrapping, foiled with an jaunty, cheerful yellow on its bottom edges, with an accessory that lured the eye, a mismatched bow in the shape of flower; perhaps a dragon snapper.
Why would this be given to me? Maybe this wasn't mine at all. I thought it was weird to begin with.
Something fell out of the flower-bow."It has a note?" She wondered aloud.
She immediately fought to not look within the note. It was meant only for the eyes of the one who was to receive it. But, wouldn't it also hold the name of the person it would belong to? She unfolded the note and read it; and then turned pink in embarrassment.
To my dearest, little sprite
This is for you.
Please don this for my sight
Let your beauty be true.
Do not disappoint me please,
That's all I ask of you.
"Your" who? I can't read it…looks like the pen smudged.
Meet me near the girls' locker room outside the hall, when you get this. Till then.
This…This is definitely not for me. Why am I even pink? Who in the world would send this to me? If this is one of Igarashi's tricks again, I swear I'm going to make him wear it.
She had received a bathing suit of the color black along with a transparent sheer wrap along with a purple orchid hair pin. It was a rather cute halter, but she would never wear such a thing; not her at least. It was rather hard to see under her headstrong and positive image, but Misaki was really self-conscious. She was always afraid to embarrass herself and bring herself down with comments. Not that it ever stopped her from doing anything.
I have to give this back before this person gets angry…This isn't supposed to be for me.
It said to meet them there as soon as this was given, so that means I have no choice but to go now…
"Guess I'm going to have to go now," she said while scanning the vicinity.
I'm worrying about this too much! JUST GIVE IT BACK, it's that simple.
All of the sudden, out of no where, it seemed as though she had tripped into something; or rather something tripped her to fall into murky dirt. Not only that, she had fallen into recently rich and gathered soil that had been mixed with fertilizer: fetid, repugnant fertilizer that had been put in by the gardening club. When she got up, at first the stench seemed to be as putrid as ammonia, but it got worse as the air spread its scent. Her face, hands along with her knees, and for the most part, her full uniform.
Ugh! For crying out loud! What the hell did I trip on? Was it something or someone?
Man! These stains will never come out…and this smell…It makes me think I was born on a farm…
"I have to get out of sight before anyone sees-" me…
"Misaki-CHAN!" Sakura being spunky as ever, shrieked while waving to her out in the open.
"Are you ignoring me? DOES Misaki NOT CARE ABOUT ME ANYMORE?"
"Sakura, maybe that isn't Misaki. Then again…I have glasses. Maybe you should be the judge of that." commented Shizuko blandly.
"Hey! You over there? Can't you hear us?"
Muffling her voice, she spoke "U-hum, no. You're mistaken. I'm someone else."
"Someone else? Just who are you?"
Man, I must look so awful that they can't even recognize me! Just think! Think!
"Neh? You really sound like Misaki-chan though! Do you know her?"
"I have not a clue of who you're talking about!"
"Are you new here? Here, we'll show you a picture of her then! Maybe you can help us find out where she is! "
- Part One End -
A/N: Okay. SO I GOT A LOT OF EXPLAINING TO DO. I'm very sorry that this is REALLY LATE. But this time is wasn't from laziness. My editor and I were REALLY having TECHNICAL difficulties. No joke. Turns out that (apparently) that they couldn't receive any of my documents due to the fact of
A) The format on files B) OpenOffice and Microsoft products don't get along C) I'm not a computer nerd and had to RESEARCH on how to fix this issue.
So yeah. I did all of this at 5AM in the morning. Editor did this during their night time. A WHOLE NEW WORLD. Screw timezones.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter my fellow readers. Have a nice day (or night).