Amu's plan was to go through high school unnoticed so none of her secrets would be exposed. But that all changed the day she found Tsukiyomi Ikuto about to commit suicide.
Beauty and the Tragedy
Summer vacation was over. This was made especially clear to Amu when her alarm clock screeched out its awful pattern of ringing at 6:30 AM. With a loud groan that resembled that of an elephant, the pinkette rolled in her sheets; the soft cotton tangled around her legs and chained her to the mattress.
Buried under pillows and stuffed animals, Amu emerged slowly, like the dead, having to peel her eyes open and greet the sunlight whether she liked it or not. She sighed loudly and scowling, yanked the alarm clock plug from the electrical outlet while trying to untwist her legs. She could already hear her younger sister bouncing around downstairs, accompanied by the loud voice of her mom.
Stumbling into the washroom, the pinkette found herself pondering her chances of faking sick as she held her hand under the faucet, waiting patiently for the water to turn warm. Her honey-colored eyes darted over to her exposed wrist and she hastily pulled her sleeve down out of habit, even though there was no one around to see the scars carved into her skin.
A fresh school year was about to begin; another year of fake smiles and facades to hide behind. No one had to know of her secret. It was almost surprising how no one had noticed that she wore long-sleeved shirts all year round, except for in P.E. class, when she was forced to wear a t-shirt, but shielded her ever-growing amount of cuts with wrist bands.
Exhaling slowly, she silently thanked her school uniform for having long sleeves.
After washing her face and throwing on her uniform, Amu descended the stairs while attempting to yank on her socks. In a ritualistic greeting, Amu and her obnoxious thirteen year old sister, Ami, sneered at each other as Amu entered the kitchen. Ami was perched at the kitchen counter, chowing down a piece of toast.
The looks went by unnoticed by their mom, Midori, who was too busy scraping off the burnt pieces from the next batch of toast. Even if there was no burnt breakfast to deal with, she always seemed to be too caught up in her own business to notice the hateful relationship between the girls; either that or she purposely turned a blind eye, not knowing how to deal with it.
"Amu, could you pick up some milk and bread on the way home from school?" Midori asked, presenting Amu with a plate of semi-burnt toast with a gob of butter sitting on it.
Amu gazed down at her plate in distaste.
"I have to work at four, mom. I wouldn't have time." She replied tiredly, pouring herself a glass of water.
Midori's eyebrows slanted downwards as she frowned. She slowly lowered herself into the seat next to Amu. "Oh… I-I thought you said yesterday that you'd be able to help me with the errands today…? Please, please, please, Amu?"
The pinkette glanced to her side, trying hard not to glare at her mother. Midori knew just how hard Amu had to work ever since the accident, yet she insisted on getting help with everything; even what she was capable of doing on her own.
Amu released a long sigh and set her toast down. "I'll see what I can do."
Midori beamed at her daughter and pulled her into a tight hug. "Thank you, honey! You're a lifesaver."
Ami rolled her eyes that were layered in eyeliner and mascara. "I think I'm going to gag. Can we go now? I can't be late again every single day this year."
Amu threw her bag over her shoulder while sliding on her shoes. "You're the reason we were always late last year. I don't see how someone can spend more than an hour in the washroom every single day."
Ami twisted her auburn hair around a perfectly manicured finger as she shrugged. "I wouldn't expect you to understand what it's like to be popular. Now, hurry up! It's my first day of high school and I cannot be late!"
Amu slammed the front door behind her and glared at her younger sister. "I cannot be late." She mimicked quietly, her face scrunching up in disgust.
The two girls set out towards the school on foot – despite Ami's complaints. Amu was only sixteen, so she couldn't drive the both of them to school. She found she was being selfless by walking with her sister instead of driving and making Ami walk alone, but Ami had a different perspective on the matter, claiming Amu was being selfish by refusing to break the law.
"Why did I wear these heels? They're so painful." The auburn-haired girl whined, applying a fresh coat of gloss to her already shimmery lips.
Amu, who was walking slowly behind her sister, rolled her eyes. She stared at Ami's black heels, and then to the skirt that was pulled up so high it left nothing up to the imagination. How she managed to turn a conservative school uniform into a hooker's outfit was shocking, almost congratulatory. Amu doubted anyone would believe they were sisters. They were complete opposites in every single way.
Honey-colored eyes falling downwards, Amu's black converse shoes came into view and she couldn't help but smile. They had a couple of holes in them, but they had been with her through everything. It was almost worrisome how attached she was to those sneakers.
"…I mean I could help you with your fashion! All you have to do is ask nicely," Ami said sweetly, "and give me fifty bucks."
Amu took another scan of her sister's appearance then shuddered. She would rather stick with her current wardrobe full of jeans and sweatpants.
"Ami, you do know that those heels are no way acceptable in school, right?" Amu asked slowly as they crossed a deserted street.
The younger sister twirled around and flashed her pearly white teeth. "I'll make them acceptable. The uniform is black shoes, skirt, white shirt, and a blazer, right? I can work my magic on every one of those items of clothing." She then glared at the red tie dangling from her neck. "Everything except for this stupid tie. What do I do with that?"
Amu looked down at her own tie, where three safety pins were securely fastened. She was one of the few that actually liked her uniform. She adored the plaid-patterned red skirt – even though it could ride up a little high sometimes. The white shirt had long-sleeves, which was perfect; and the black blazer was the cherry on top.
"Whoa, wait." Ami suddenly stated, sounding serious for once. "Since you're going to the store after school and all that, does that mean I'm walking home alone? Do you know how dangerous that is? I could get raped!"
Amu flinched at that word, but quickly found her composure. "You're coming with me to the store and going home along with the groceries. Suck it up, princess; I'll buy you a thing of pepper spray."
The pinkette hurried ahead of Ami and rushed through the front doors of the school, eager to get out of the blistering heat.
The halls of Seiyo High School were already buzzing once again as hormone-driven teenagers swarmed through the building, instantly discussing either who got sexy over summer or who the new couples were.
Seniors bombarded their way through the crowds with their chins held high as if they owned the place, while the freshmen cowered away and stared down at the shiny, tiled floor beneath their new school shoes. Spotting who was in style and who wasn't was easier than most people would think, especially since everyone was forced to wear the same uniform.
For Amu, it was just another school year. Ten months packed with gossip, rumors, drama, heartbreak, and spazzed-out mood swings. Teen years were definitely capable of being implanted in your mind for all eternity. This year wouldn't be any different.
Before she could figure out how to react, Amu was tackled to the ground by the school's star soccer player, Souma Kukai. They had been friends since the first day of middle school.
Kukai climbed off of the pinkette and stood up straight, cracking his back and exhaling in satisfaction. Like usual, his brunette hair was tangled and fell in front of his emerald eyes. He chuckled while scratching the back of his head.
"Can you move?"
Amu held up a finger before moving her leg, then nodded. "Yup, but I can't get up."
He pulled her up then slung his arm around her shoulders as the two began their walk through the school hallways.
"How was your summer, babe?" Kukai asked while scanning the area for anyone he knew, getting distracted by the occasional hot new girl.
Amu sent him a look. "Don't call me 'babe', you flirt. It was fine; worked for both months. What about you?" She then poked his flat stomach, making him twitch. "Haven't been pigging out too much on cookies, right?"
Kukai had just recently gotten a job at the bakery nearby. Being a teenage boy with a sweet tooth, he had to be under constant supervision, especially while on his break.
He smiled mischievously. "I do 100 sit-ups for every sweet I devour, don't worry."
Amu's look of disbelief didn't go by unnoticed.
Kukai sighed in defeat. "Fine, I only do 50."
The pinkette smiled at the boy. "That's more like it. Doesn't it feel good to be honest?" She teased.
Before any more words could be exchanged, a short blond girl waltzed up to them, too busy texting to look up when she addressed them. "Have you two seen Ikuto anywhere? He's pulled a disappearing act on me."
Amu glanced around then shook her head with a shrug. "No. "
It wasn't all that surprising that Rima turned out to be the high-maintenance type of girlfriend. She and Tsukiyomi Ikuto had gotten together over the break. No one could have predicted it, to be honest. Ikuto was… well, no one really knew what group he was a part of. He was popular and good looking, but, unlike all the other popular teens, he wasn't full of himself and he slept a lot during class.
Rima, on the other hand, was rich and a little bossy at times, but she was a good person deep down.
The crowd to the side of the trio suddenly parted, revealing a tall, slender blond. She slowly removed her large sunglasses, her piercing violet eyes narrowing as she tried to find who it was she was looking for.
Rima and Amu instantly looked over at Kukai, who was already in a daze as he gazed at Utau with hearts in his eyes. Tsukiyomi Utau was the sister of Ikuto, and didn't get along with Rima, never had, never will.
Utau smirked and approached Rima slowly. "Aw, why so sad? Let me guess, Ikuto ran away from you again?" She then laughed; her pearly white teeth nearly blinded everyone in a three-mile radius.
Rima glared at the taller blond. "It appears that you're looking for him, too. If anything, it's you he ran away from, not me. You're clingier than I'll ever be."
"I'm not clingy, I'm protective." Utau corrected.
As the two continued to bicker about nothing, Amu sighed deeply and looked around, making eye-contact with Nikaidou-san, the air-headed English teacher. He grinned at the pinkette and waved her over as he tried to balance the stack of boxes in his hand.
"Good morning, Himamori-san! I know this isn't the most polite thing to do, but could you please take these boxes up to the roof for me? I have to go get some more and I'll meet you up there." He said, handing the boxes to Amu. She had to bite her tongue to refrain from correcting him when he said her last name wrong once again. It was a terrible start to the new school year.
Amu tried to peer over the mountain of boxes as she started on her trip. It was almost sad how she had nothing better to do with her spare time. She stumbled through the school slowly, trying her best not to fall. She had to give Nikaidou credit for making it look easier than it was. By the time she reached the roof, Amu felt as if her biceps doubled in size.
She kicked open the door and stepped into the sunlight, making her way across the flat rooftop, trudging through the layers of candy wrappers and newspaper articles that danced across her shoes. Before she set the boxes down, a figure to her side caught her attention.
A boy sat on the ledge of the roof with his feet dangling over the edge. A cool breeze had picked up, tousling strands of his blue hair. With his back to her, he slowly stood up, somehow managing to keep his balance. He stared up at the clouds with his hands calmly in the pockets of his black pants, mumbling something under his breath.
Seeing him lift a foot made Amu quickly speak up, scared she was about to see something that would haunt her forever.
"Wh-what are you doing?" She asked quietly, eyes wide.
The male quickly turned his head, his blue eyes meeting hers. His expression was unreadable – the perfect poker face. After a moment of silence, he turned fully around, stepped down from the ledge and brushed past Amu, disappearing through the door back into the school.
Once she was alone on the roof, Amu quickly breathed out, not realizing she had been holding her breath.
Dropping the boxes on the ground, she slowly turned to stare at the heavy door behind her. Heartbeat echoing in her ears, her breathing finally steadied as the reality of the situation sunk in.
Had she just witnessed the boy who had everything, Tsukiyomi Ikuto, about to commit suicide?