Prologue One; Kyouya
I hate Valentine's Day. Not only does it offend the spend thrift in me by being a holiday created by corporations. It is made for imbecile girls who have diluted themselves into thinking giving a guy a cheap box of chocolates is an interpretation of affection. –this is my personal opinion on the matter, my professional opinion, however, varies greatly—
Both idiotic and pointless, Valentine's Day is for people like Tamaki and those that swallow the flowery poetics that he regurgitates about destiny and love, as if it were a cure all tonic. Nothing will change my opinion on the matter regardless of the fact that a notable event happened to me on a Valentine's Day; that I purely hold as coincidence.
Awaking on this particular Valentine's Day, I was in an especially foul mood having stayed up until 4 am the previous evening. When my third alarm went off, it was 6:48 am. Rising from the bed, I scowled without seeing as I groped for my glasses. Finding them on the bedside table, I shoved them up the bridge of my nose. It was in these rare moments of solitude that I truly dropped my guard.
"Good morning, Master Ootori," Horita said as he entered the room. Preparing for a new day he left the morning paper turned to the stock pages on my dresser and turned the date on the calendar as he did every morning. He was one of the few people I could stand so early in the morning and on little sleep.
Assembling my face into indifference, I ignored his greeting by shuffling over to grab some clothes from my drawers. Reaching my dresser, my bad morning turned worse. It was the calendar Tamaki had given me almost a year ago -as if it wasn't offensive on its own- the day's date caused me to despise it further.
I resisted the temptation to throw the offensive item across the room and dressed hastily.
In the car on the way to school, I wasted no time giving explicit instructions to Horita and the others: confiscate and destroy all valentines addressed to me. I was in no mood to even pretend this year.
When I entered the classroom that morning, my desk was, as expected free of Valentines. The desk to my immediate left, however, was teetering with precariously place Valentines. Ignoring it, I sank into my chair, while giving superficial smiles to class mates as they greeted me. As I was logging onto my lap top to make some quick adjustments to the host club budget, I heard the world's most annoying voice and that of my best friend.
Tamaki bound into the room as if he were walking on air. His entry was impeded as girls from our class swarmed him, shoving valentines into his accepting grasp. Purposefully ignoring their twittering, I focused on the screen in front of me.
"Morning, Kyouya!" Tamaki said brightly as he reached me.
Before I was obligated to respond, a first year girl, blushing brilliantly, approached Tamaki and thrust a package into his hands. Tamaki of course then proceeded to thank her eloquently and girls all around the room sighed.
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.
After sending the girl on her way, Tamaki returned his attention to me. From the corner of my eye, I could see the puzzled expression as he peered at my empty desk.
"Kyouya," Tamaki stage whispered.
I hummed as a way of acknowledgment, not that he needed it. As much as I'd like to at times it was impossible to ignore Tamaki.
"Why haven't you gotten any valentines?" He was genuinely concerned -as the idiot was inclined to be.
I was saved from answering, however, when another girl, this one looked to be a third year, approached the pair of us. Tamaki looked up at her and held out his hand in invitation.
"Hello my little cupid, what have you got there?"
"A v-v-valentine," She stuttered.
"Don't be shy, I won't bite," Tamaki beaconed to take it from her but she shook her head furiously. Tamaki looked at her perplexed. Curious myself, I looked up from my computer screen.
"Are you Kyouya Ootori?" She asked me, practically trembling.
She thrust a violet envelope into my hands before backing away slowly and then running from the room. Without realizing it, I had been scowling.
I stared at the envelope as if it were personally offensive. Others around the room, who had stopped to stare, backed up and returned to their conversations when they saw murder in my eyes. Tamaki, blissfully unaware, was prattling on about how happy he was it was Valentine's Day. Pushing aside my agitation and tuning him out, I stowed the letter away to read letter when there weren't prying eyes about. Hatori and the others would need to be punished as well, I concluded, for letting this letter make its way to me.
As if a bad day couldn't get worse, the letter was a love confession. Normally, I would have destroyed it. But it was from the daughter of an affluent pharmaceutical company, one that my family had personal dealings with.
This I would have to field personally.
In the most clichéd way possible, I was asked to meet her in the south hall adjacent to the library after the last bell of the day.
I came early; I wanted to finish quickly and salvage the rest of my day.
I didn't have to wait long. When she showed up she had a look of hopeful expectation. My only hope was to leave this encounter with an incident between our families.
After the perfunctory greetings, she launched into it.
"Did you read my letter?"
She wouldn't meet my gaze, "Well… I've liked you from a far for a long time and I think it would be beneficial to both of us since our families are in business together..."
She had done her research; I had to give her that. Yet, I would never consider her proposition. Not because she wasn't well connected or because I thought I couldn't benefit from it. She had both those things in spades. I had decided a long time ago, after I had realized my… persuasion that I wouldn't lead some besotted girl along. Maybe someday my father would arrange a marriage for me, and that was fine. At least that woman wouldn't be under the assumption that I loved her or could care for her because I couldn't; I wasn't attracted to women.
I waited too long to respond and already I could see tears standing in her eyes.
"I can't," I said ineffectually. Having let my thoughts get the better of me, I was losing control of the situation. It wasn't like me and it only made me more withdrawn.
She let out a strangled sob that echoed down the hall. Pity I couldn't feel for her. In my defense, I have stifled my ability to emphasize. How could I when I did not let people get close enough to care for them? The truth was I couldn't let anyone get close to me, man or woman, for fear they'd find out my secret. Tamaki had gotten the closest but even him I kept at arm's length. It was for the best; if anyone knew about me, it would be my undoing.
Despite my personal feelings on the matter, I had to save face. She was a valuable family ally.
"I'm very sorry, Ms. Arakaki, its club policy: We don't date," I lied through my teeth. It was all I could think to do to diffuse the situation. Of course to rectify my lie I would make it a new rule, later.
"B-b-but, I wouldn't tell anyone about us… it could be a secret," she said hopefully through her tears.
Her assumption was irksome and not for the first time, I suppressed my latent rage. It was time to cut my losses and walk away.
"I'm afraid I don't break rules," I said crisply.
Her face crumbled completely then but I didn't have time to worry about her. By then my own frustration was hardly veiled and I was glad no one else was around to witness my lapse in my usually cool demeanor. As I turned and strode away, I swear I saw something from the corner of my eye, a flash of blue and orange… it was quickly dismissed as a trick of the light. Horita would have caught anyone ease dropping as I instructed him to.
Now despite my loathing of Valentine's Day, I did see the benefit it held for the Host Club. Having no patience for even my more mature guests, I chose to not see any customers that day but it merely added to my subtle mystic, as Renge would call it. I spent the time before club started crunching some numbers and other menial things that helped to clear my mind.
It was a normal day.
The twins were nearly late. I noted it in their files.
Tamaki was fussing over Haruhi's indifference towards Valentine's Day. Haruhi replied bluntly and Tamaki took offense and was pouting.
Honey ate five cakes before Mori arrived from Kendo. That would take a chunk out of our budget. I was put at ease with the knowledge that the increase in customers for Valentine's Day would offset this.
And yet, I couldn't focus. I kept thinking about that stupid girl and her ill gotten confession. It was times like this I wished I could be like the rest of them, to be more forthcoming with my thoughts…
When I realized I'd been staring uncomprehendingly at the budget document for the better part of five minutes, I decided to do a quick check on my stocks online. When I had finished with that I gravitated back to a search engine.
My hand hovered about the keys, on rare impulse, I typed in 'I'm Gay Help!' I shook my head at the absolute absurdity of it and prepared to delete it. Then Tamaki shouted having recovered from his daily trip of despair and uncharacteristically startled, my finger slipped on the key board. I hit enter and to my surprise an array of web sites popped up.
Glancing about the room, I noticed the others weren't paying attention to me. Not that I expected them to. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the first link.
It was called:
Online counselors available 24/7'
Despite my internal reluctance, my eyes absorbed the page greedily. I had no real idea websites like that even existed. Just as quickly as I read it, I became disgusted with myself. I exited the browser page just as Haruhi approached me with a question about her current debt. I closed the lid to my laptop assuming I had cleared my browser.
As expected for a Valentine's Day, business was booming. We variably had a line out the door. I was back at my laptop updating Haruhi's file with her most current debt balance -unfortunately after this afternoon her debt was considerably decreased- when I heard Hikaru and Kaoru carrying on even louder than usual.
I gave it little notice, at the time, and returned to Haruhi's file. Then the lights went out. People muttered wondering if it was some sort of rolling black out.
I knew better but thought to play along, I was in need of some corporal punishment it would ease my mood.
I wasn't expecting the sprinklers and fire alarm. That's when panic really set in. Tamaki jumped to action immediately, guiding the distressed girls out of the music room while Mori and I worked together to gather the stragglers.
In case it was a real fire, which I doubted, I left my laptop. It was insured anyway and the documents were regular backed up to my home computer.
Along with our guests, other students spilled out onto the lawns. Tamaki did his best to calm the frightened women while I did damage control.
When we were preparing a head count, I noted Kaoru lying panting on the grass besides Hikaru.-I'd been able to tell them apart for quite sometime- Apart from him panting, he was also soaked through while everyone around him was only slightly damp.
I filed this away for later.
When the alarms stopped, we were allowed inside to collect our personal effects. The room was sprinkled with moans of complaint from people collecting their wet things.
My laptop was wet but otherwise intact. I ran my finger along the mouse pad bringing the screen to life and preparing to pack it up for the day when my blood ran cold.
The website, the one I had thought I had clicked out of was open which meant someone had found out that I'm gay.
After a long hiatus *coughs a year coughs* I'm back. Well, sorta. I've had this story idea along with a couple others floating about in my head for quite sometime. While I'm supposed to be working on my novel, I've been craving some simple stories to write to ease the head bashing and keyboard mashing that, at times, I feel while writing a serious novel. I encourage you, lovely reader, to leave a review if you'd like to see this little tale continued. I have thus far three chapters pretty much ready to go and I can bang out more if the response is good. So drop me a line etc and I'll be more encouraged to ignore my serious writing for my fanction dabbling.