As I look through my notes for the next couple of entries, I can't believe I got this far. I mean, I always knew that even if took me years, I would get this done. I'm that kind of person: when I start something, I absolutely have to finish it or else it'll eat away at me until I do. Especially when it's as important as this, I can't be wasting any time.
We're heading towards the end of my crazy story. We're not there yet, but it is coming. Some of the most crucial details will be in the next entry, but first, the third and final interlude.
The days in between the dodge ball incident and what happened next were pretty uneventful, by which I mean I don't remember most of it. I've had a pretty easy time recalling all the important stuff so far because we're talking about some of the most unforgettable people in the known universe, and that doesn't factor in the robot part. The school days went by pretty slowly because we had to deal with just about every girl in the school confessing their feelings to one of them. If they weren't doing that, they were leaving candies and cards in their lockers or, in one case, just outright trying to steal a kiss (that was Mori, so you can imagine how well it turned out for her). It's not that I was concerned about any of the robots getting discovered or harmed. I was much more worried about how gently they would turn down the girls, particularly Hikaru and Kaoru. They'd had a pretty high distaste for all of them since I was made fun of that one time. The fact that it only happened once and I made it clear that I didn't care. They cared. They cared way too much.
In the end, my fears were unfounded. All six of them were adept at easy rejection and no one got their feelings hurt (not too bad). Tamaki was more of the talking kind, telling the girls how special and beautiful they were and how one day, they'd find someone who could truly love them the way he couldn't. Others had a more indirect approach. Kyoya's answer to his many gifts amounted to a thank you and a mention of how much he and his cousins would enjoy sharing the homemade chocolates and sugar treats. That usually got the message across.
At home, it was pretty much the same. We fought over the remote, I fielded calls from my dad and now my grandparents, Tamaki one day tried to win us all tickets to a fancy restaurant only to freak out when he discovered it was a dinner for two (not as interesting a story as it sounds). Everything went so smoothly, I had almost forgotten that my dad would be home in another couple of weeks and I still hadn't heard back from that Ouran Company. I hadn't even called them back in weeks to see if anyone would pick up this time. To put it in perspective, I used to do that every couple of days.
Yes, for the first time, my life was as calm and, for lack of a better term, mundane as it had always been before the robots came along.
The one interesting thing that happened came three Saturdays later. It was a slow day for the weekend. Rain had fallen the night before, and though it had since stopped, the skies were still gray and the air muggy. It was not really a day for going out and more for staying in and getting some extra cleaning done, which is exactly what I was doing.
It wasn't the first time I did a full overhaul of the apartment, so I just followed the usual path: the kitchen first, then the living room, then my room. Dad's room came last, because it was the easiest to clean. Tamaki and the twins were surprising neat whenever they slept in there, so all I had to do was remake the bed and vacuum.
What made today different was that as I was walking out with the bundle of dirty sheets for the laundry, I caught sight of the closet door, and it wasn't closed all the way. From the right angle, I could see the shape of my dad's possessions inside. I slowed almost to a stop so I could push the door closed. I felt the weight of the balled up sheets in my arms and figured I'd better go and put these in the wash before I tried it. With the washing machine going in the background and the guys all set up in their day to day activities, I returned to Dad's room. I figured I'd get the door closed, then go sit by Kyoya and try once again to figure out what he was doing on my laptop every day. I'd tried it before, but somehow every single time, he was on some site written entirely in binary. I knew he was doing it on purpose, which was why I'd been secretly going to the library every day during free period and studying the best binary textbook I could find. I can be sneaky too, you know.
I came to stand before the closet door. I took a second to note how the bamboo cloth bulged outward at an odd angle. At the time, I didn't think much of it, Dad was always something of a packrat. I really should've been more cautious and paid attention to it, so maybe when I touched the handle it wouldn't have triggered some kind of chain reaction that sent the door flying open and my dad's accumulated clothes, toys and knick knacks spilling out and piled up on top of me.
I think I may have blacked out for a second, even though none of the stuff was very heavy barring a couple of old jewelry boxes that had nothing in them. The next thing I knew, I was being pulled out of the mess by my shoulders and held aloft, and I could hear Hikaru and Kaoru talking.
"Do you think she's unconscious?"
"I don't know. Her eyes are closed."
"Maybe we should try CPR."
I opened my eyes immediately and wrested my way out of Mori's grip.
"I'm fine," I said firmly. Tamaki came up to me from behind, teary-eyed but not crying yet, which meant I still had a chance to salvage the situation. "Really, I'm fine. I just… need to clean up this mess."
I nudged an old pair of stockings off my shoe and more towards the massive pile of junk that now crowded the floor. I heard Kyoya hum in his throat as he examined both the mess and the now empty closet.
"Technically speaking, objects of this weight and volume should fit easily into a closet of this size without trouble."
I snorted. "Yeah, but you don't know my dad. He's not the most organized person in the world. He's one of those 'shove it in the closet and deal with it later' types."
"Except he never deals with it," Hikaru and Kaoru said.
Like clockwork, Tamaki dried his tears and switched to his 'forceful leader' persona, standing atop a full cardboard box that sagged under his weight.
"Well men, it's clear what we have to do now," he proclaimed. "Haruhi has a messy closet to clean and we're going to have it done in time for dinner."
He snapped his fingers, and instantly the other five were in a line, spines straight like military men.
"Yes sir!" Hikaru, Kaoru and Hunny chanted, saluting.
"Yeah," said Mori.
Kyoya hummed again. "I suppose if we all work together, this can get done in less than an hour. What do you think Haruhi?"
He looked expectantly at me, and I started to sweat. "Well, I think it would be best if I did this myself…"
I couldn't finish the sentence, which was basically over and done with anyway barring a few words of reassurance that it was nothing personal, I just prefer to clean up messes like this on my own.
But then I realized, who am I kidding? They are never going to take no for an answer, not for something like this. Plus, it was kind of a big mess for just one person, and I was getting tired.
I sighed. "Okay, let's get this mess cleaned up."
The twins cheered and Hunny dove right in (literally, like it was a pool). For the next half an hour, we sorted things out into three groups: clothes, garbage, and miscellaneous. Most of what we found fit in the second category. With Kyoya directing us, we filled three garbage bags within thirty minutes. It might've been faster, were it not for everyone's boundless curiosity about the most random things.
"Hey Haruhi, what's this?" Kaoru shouted at one point. Over his head, he held an unused purple wig Dad had been given as a joke on his thirtieth birthday. He always said purple wasn't his color and that's why he never wore it. I think he just didn't want to admit to his friend that he lost it.
"Just put it with the miscellaneous stuff," I told him.
"Hey, Haruhi!" Hunny shouted. I looked up to see him smiles cutely at me with a pair of white fleecy bunny ears on his head. "Look what I found! Can I keep it?"
"Uh…" I didn't really know what to say. Why did my Dad even have those?
"Okay, how about this?" Hikaru shouted, throwing a beat up old notebook into my lap.
I opened it to the first page, not sure at all what it was until I say a loopy set of handwriting that made my throat catch. I flipped to the next few pages. They were all covered in chaotic markings right up to the final page and going on to the back cover. The way it cut off indicated that there had been another page underneath that was written on, but of course I could never confirm that. I let it fall shut and stared at it, innocuous with its pastel red cover that had somehow remained unmarked in all the frenzy.
"This- this is," I start to say, but my throat is closing up. "This belonged to my-"
I nearly jumped out of my socks. Before me stood Hikaru, Karou and Hunny, all wearing the most ridiculous of my father's wigs (Hunny still had the bunny ears on) with clown like make-up smeared all over their faces. They had found poofy ballroom gowns somewhere in this mess and had them wrapped around their bodies with the skirts swishing.
"Look at how pretty we are!" Hunny cried. "We could be like your big sisters in these!"
Well, if there was ever a more perfect mood killer, I don't want to know it. I went from choked up to laughing hysterically. I didn't want to, but they kept coming in closer and blocking my exit when I tried to escape, and all the while they were shouting in unison.
"COME ON HARUHI, CALL ME BIG SISTER! COME ON! BIG SISTER!"
"HAHAHAHAHA- GUYS STOP! HAHAHAHA!"
I'm sorry, they were just so funny. You really had to be there.
Anyway, Tamaki didn't take as kindly to their games as I did.
"You fiends!" he shouted, snatching me up off the ground and holding me to him. "Stop before you give her a heart attack."
I struggled to compose myself, but it wasn't easy with them still in my line of sight and Tamaki throwing his perchance for dramatic reactions into the mix. At least I could try and calm him down a little.
"It's alright, Tamaki," I said. "They're just messing around."
"Hmph," Tamaki was clearly not going to be moved, but he let me go anyway once they got tired of the game and put the dresses away. I really don't think he's one to talk anyway, because as soon as they were in the bathroom washing the makeup off, he found a treasure of his own.
"Haruhi, where should I put this?" he asked.
I looked at the item in his hands. He didn't shove it in my face or throw it to me, which was good because a VHS tape was bound to be heavier than a spiral notebook. I took in the image on the cover and the title written in crisp English, and my heart started to soar.
"Oh my god," I grabbed it from him without thinking. Tamaki blinked in surprised, but didn't look hurt. "I thought we lost this forever."
"What is it?"
I reluctantly tore my eye away from the video and the memories it evoked. All late nights with my mom in the living room, finished with her work for the day and bursting with emotions, laughing at the funny parts, crying at the sad, until it was over and she'd come and tuck me in to bed and kiss me goodnight.
"It's a movie," I explained to Tamaki. "It's called 'Working Girl.' It was my mother's favorite."
Tamaki's mouth formed an 'O' and he nodded. He didn't ask any more questions, but he didn't need to. I was on a roll.
"She used to watch it every night. She saw it in the theaters when she was in law school and she studied abroad in New York City. I remember I always used to want to stay up late and watch it with her, but she'd never let me. I had an early bedtime and it was an R rated movie anyway. She would sing me to sleep every night with the movie's theme song, even though she wasn't very good."
In my reminiscing, I made the mistake of looking back at Tamaki. He really was crying this time, and Hikaru and Kaoru were back.
"That's the sweetest thing I've ever heard," Hunny said, eyes wobbling.
"It's good to have those memories," said Mori.
"It is admittedly a very moving story, Haruhi," said Kyoya.
"And now you have to sing it for us," said Hikaru.
I'd been nodding along with them all this time, but Hikaru's comment was like a brick wall materializing in the middle of a busy street.
"Oh come on, Haruhi," said Kaoru. "After a story like that, you can't expect us not to ask."
The others spoke aloud or nodded in agreement. Only Tamaki before me did neither, but what he did do was arguably worse. Taking my hands in his, he gave me this perfect puppy dog look that I swear could pierce through ice. His pleading eyes did all the talking for him, I swear it wasn't fair. I really wanted to keep objecting. I am not a good singer by any stretch and I never liked trying in the first place, but with the combination of Tamaki's silent urging and the other's very vocal urging, I didn't have much of a choice.
Sighing inwardly, I sucked in a breath and braced myself. Better get this over with quick.
"I'm only going to do this once."
I tried to visualize the music in my mind to get a feel for the lyrics. It had been so long, I could only remember half of them.
"Silver cities rise… da da da rise… the streets da da da da… da da da… it's asking for the taking… come run with me now the sky is the color of blue, you've never even seen in the eyes of your lov-"
I stopped. That was the one part of the song I remembered perfectly, but there was no way I was finishing a lyric about having a blue eyed lover while staring into Tamaki's blue eyes. That was not happening.
Luckily, I didn't need to explain myself. As soon as I stopped, the six of them burst into thunderous applause and cheered my name. I honestly can't say for sure if they were applauding my singing or the fact that I had stopped singing.
From there, we got the rest of the closet cleaned without incident. Now that I've gotten it all written down, it doesn't seem as interesting or amusing as I thought it was. Sorry if this is boring compared to previous entries. I think you'll find it easy to forgive me in another minute.
After we cleaned up and put Dad's closet in perfect order (I had to convince Hikaru and Kaoru not to keep the dresses), I went to turn on the ramen I'd left on the stove. I wanted a simple dinner tonight so I could eat fast and then catch the movie marathon Tamaki had been telling me about all week. I thought maybe we could dig out the old VCR afterwards and watch one more. Mori was helping me in the kitchen today. When I was unable to grab a ladle from the top cabinet, he took it down with zero effort, something I can't say I wasn't a little envious of.
"Thank you very much," I said as he handed it to me.
"You're welcome," Mori said. He had a very nice smile on his face that I wish he would have used more often. It had a warm, comforting quality to it.
We finished up fast and I was fed by the time the movie started, cozy on the couch with the six of them all around me. And isn't it always right when you're at your most relaxed that the doorbell should ring.
The title page flash across the screen, but that bell sliced through the atmosphere like scissors through tissue paper. Groaning, I pulled myself out from between Hikaru and Kaoru (not an easy feat; they were extra possessive during movie night). As I disentangled myself, the bell rang again, and more insistently.
"I got it, coming!"
I opened the door to two older gentlemen, both handsome despite showing their age. On the right was a tall man with light brown hair that hung in his face and kindly brown eyes that nonetheless showed boundless vigor. His partner was the more severe of the two, a dark haired man with glasses and facial hair that wouldn't look out of place on a cartoonish anime villain. Both of them wore smart business suits and the brown haired one carried a clipboard under his arm. He pulled it out when I appeared.
I didn't know why yet, but I was starting to get a bad feeling. A pair of strange men I'd never seen before showing up at my door and asking me to confirm my identity? Where have I heard that before?
"Fujioka-san, my name is Dr. Yuzuru Suoh," said the brown haired man. He bowed slightly- really it was more like an inclination of his head. "This is Dr. Yoshio Ootori. It's a pleasure to meet you."
Dr. Ootori nodded and held out his hand, but I didn't take it. I didn't really know what to do, but I didn't like where this was going at all.
"And what can I do for you, Doctors?"
"We are here representing the Ouran Company," said Dr. Ootori, his tongue as sharp as his appearance. "We have business to discuss with you regarding a lost order. May we come in?"
Before I could answer, I heard Tamaki's voice.
"Haruhi, who's at the door?"
He walked around me and stood at my side, gaping openly the doctors, but especially Dr. Suoh.
posted by Haruhi at 7:03 pm 0 comments