"Come on, Haruhi! You're so slow!" Came the voice of irritated Hikaru Hitachiin.
"We're going to be late!" Kaoru called.
"Sorry! I'm coming!" I yelled back, sliding my bag strap over my shoulder and bolting out the door of Classroom 1-A. The red-headed twins were waiting for me in the hallway, though they looked more than a little hyped up as Kaoru hooked his hand under my elbow and dragged me along with them.
"Come on, Haruhi!"
"Hey! Let me go! I can walk on my own, thank you very much!"
"That's just the problem—you're an expert at walking, but we need to run."
With an exasperated sigh, I gave up and sprinted through the corridors along with them. As we ran, Hikaru checked his watch.
"Ah, damn, they're starting now."
"We'll make it!" Kaoru said optimistically.
After what seemed like years of running, we reached the Ouran Academy auditorium entrance. Hurriedly opening the doors, we scurried in the back of the crowded room. It really was packed. Of course the three of us knew why. This was the graduation of the third-year students.
This was the graduation of Haninozuka Mitsukuni, and Morinozuka Takashi.
(A/N: In case you don't know, in Japan, Elementary school is first grade through sixth grade, Junior high is seventh grade through ninth grade, and Senior high is tenth through twelfth grade. So if you're in your third year of Senior high, you're actually a senior (: Also—again, in case you don't know—Classrooms in Ouran Academy are assigned by intelligence, family lineage, and/or family wealth. A is the superior class while D is the lowest class. The number that comes before the class letter symbolizes the year that that student is in. Therefore, if Haruhi is in class 1-A, that means that she is in her first year of senior high and she is in class A. Hope that helps you understand everything a bit better! Sorry this note was so long!)
All of their fans had shown up. Of course that meant that pretty much every girl that wasn't in third year was there, cheering one or both of the two on. That took up a lot of space. Then there were Mistkuni's fans from his dojo that had shown—that also took up a big portion of the guest seating. Takashi also had a few kendo admirers in the audience. Then on top of that there were all of the other students' guests. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles—all of it.
I tried to take my seat in the 1-A rows, but Hikaru and Kaoru steered me instead through the center isle to the 2-A row where Suoh Tamaki and Ootori Kyoya were seated. Kyoya ignored us as we sat down next to him, but Tamaki was immediately ready to rebuke us.
"Where have you three been?" He hissed over the dark haired boy's lap. "The ceremony has already started!"
"Sorry, Boss," Hikaru said.
"Haruhi was going really slow, so we waited for her! You wouldn't want us to leave her all alone, would you?" Kaoru added on with a sneaky grin.
"It was really all Haruhi's fault, Boss!" They said together, putting on distraught expressions.
"Thanks for selling me out." I muttered bitterly to myself as Tamaki started scolding me about manners and etiquette. "Sorry, Sempai, I really did try to hurry up." I was finally able to get in, my tone hopeless. He just stared at me for a moment, and then was making a dreamy expression.
"Oh Haruhi, you're so cute when you're feeling guilty!" He squealed, and I glared at him.
"Stop making that face! You promised you wouldn't make that face anymore! It's weird!" Not that he ever tried to refrain from it, even since he had promised that.
Kaoru suddenly clapped his hand over my mouth to silence me, even though I hadn't been trying to keep speaking. "The graduates are starting to come onstage!" He said, pointing. I looked up and watched as his statement was proved to be true. The classes of third year started to file onto the stage. You'd think that with four classes, you wouldn't be able to fit all of them on stage, but since this was the academy of rich bastards, they could afford the stages that had lengths which could not be equaled by two giraffes stacked on top of each other.
They lined up in order from least to greatest, Class 3-D in the front, then Class 3-C in the second row, 3-B, and finally in the back, 3-A. I immediately picked Mitsukuni out among the rest of the row, as he was so short that he had to stand on a cardboard box to be seen over the other heads. The boy looked overjoyed as he grinned from ear to ear at the crowd.
Of course, Takashi was standing right next to him, his face indifferent to the hundreds of people that were here watching him. The crowd burst into applause, and I laughed to myself. I didn't even know why.
Perhaps it was just the joy I felt seeing two of my fellow hosts standing in their graduation ceremony, so proud-looking, with my other—it occurred to me that I had right now to call these hosts my friends. I had known that, of course, but I had never really referred to any of the boys as my friends—sitting next to me with triumphant grins on their faces as they cheered for the boys' success. All in all, I just felt blissfully happy at that moment.
There were several minutes of continuous cheering before Tamaki's father, Suoh Yuzuru, had the first row line up to get their diplomas. With every student that gleefully accepted their proof of passage, there was somebody in the audience clapping loudly for them, all very politely celebrating their family members' feats. But apparently, not us.
As Mitsukuni jumped off his box and skipped over to Suoh-Sensei, the twins were actually standing up to cheer.
"YOU GO, HONEY-SEMPAI!"
I hadn't realized that Tamaki was on his feet as well until I heard him calling other appraisals at the small boy. I smiled to myself as I clapped from my seat and watched the daring boys. How impolite. How crude. How much they didn't care. At least the twins didn't seem to. I had a suspicion that Tamaki was simply oblivious to how obnoxious this was considered to be among the rich society. Sometimes, it seemed that even the beloved host king was unknowing of standard manners.
Kyoya crossed his legs and clapped in resignation, only allowing himself a slight grin of amusement at the enthusiastic boys.
"Are you ready to graduate next year, Kyoya-Sempai?" I leaned towards him to ask so that I could be heard among all the cheering of the frivolous fan girls of Honey. He leaned to me as well, and looked somewhat surprised at me.
"Are you kidding me? I'll never graduate—I'll be in jail by then for the murder of Suoh, Tamaki." He adjusted his glasses, and I giggled.
"Yes, he'll have driven you to insanity by then."
I chuckled a little bit more, and then looked back to the stage. Honey bowed first to Suoh-Sensei, then to his fellow graduates, and then to the audience. He took his diploma, and then started to dance to the side of the stage. Hearing the twins' excessively loud shouts of approval, his bright, wide eyes scanned the audience until he found the five of us. He grinned widely and waved to us. I smiled back at him.
When Takashi received his diploma, Hikaru and Kaoru's cheering was just as loud, just as enthusiastic, along with the fan girls. I felt happy for my two Sempais. I felt happy that they could finally move on from Ouran Academy, Senior High, and could pursue their lives as adults. I wasn't worried about Honey getting along in some fancy college. Because I knew that whatever fancy college he did go to, Mori would be there alongside him, making sure he didn't get into trouble.
My eyes shifted to Tamaki, whose bright blue eyes were still focused on the stage in anticipation. I studied him for a moment, and then I looked to Kyoya. He didn't notice my gaze either. I looked between them for a few moments, and then smiled to myself. It was the same situation with these two. Kyoya was indeed the Devil Shadow King, but he wouldn't let Tamaki make too much of an ass out of himself when they were in college.
Of course Hikaru and Kaoru had each other, so they would be fine. I felt that all of the hosts would be very well taken care of when they left Senior High.
That only left me.
However, I had never needed anyone before now, and I assumed that I wouldn't need anyone in college. Either way, I still had two years to go before I had to think about it. And, as I realized this, I looked sideways at the twins cheering next to me. I was glad that no matter what, I would at least have Hikaru and Kaoru with me until I had to leave to college on my own. No host club. No friends. Not even the blushing customers (which may have been a comfort.). Just me and all the other thousands of students in my college.
But that had been the situation when I came to Ouran Academy at the beginning of this year as well.
And I had found the host club.
Perhaps I would get lucky and find somebody to fit in with in my college.
But I didn't want to think about that at this time, because this was the time for Honey and Mori's celebration—not my skulking.
. . . .
"Oh, Honey-Sempai! You look absolutely adorable in your Formal Seifuku! (1)" The customers gushed as they sat around Mori and Honey with admiration. Their last afternoon in the host club. Even customers that didn't particularly favor the two boys were gathered with them as a farewell gesture. Of course, all of the hosts had their hands full.
The customers that were graduating of course started to get very emotional—I was the first to have this horrid experience of the seven of us. I had sat down to have a pleasant conversation with a regular of mine, Megumi (who had been a third-year student this year), when she'd taken one look at me and then burst out crying. I didn't know what to do. I fussed around her worriedly.
"M-Megumi-chan? What's wrong?" She shook her head and blew her nose into her handkerchief.
"I'm sorry, Fujioka-kun. You're just such a sweet boy—I'm just going to miss you when I leave is all!" I had to think of how to respond for a moment. I knew what Tamaki would do in this situation. He would probably pull her into his arms and speak about how their undying love could never be broken by distance, or something similarly poetic. However, I had, of course, never been one for physical contact with the customers, and I wasn't a very poetic person. That wasn't an option.
Still, it made me sad to see Megumi so torn up about the separation. It made me think that this whole host-club thing may be a little cruel—obviously the customers got very attached to the hosts, while the hosts sometimes had trouble remembering names. At least I did, I was ashamed to admit. I hurriedly thought of something—anything—to boost her spirits.
When she had to put her completely soiled handkerchief away in her pocket, she instead cried into her hands. It sparked an idea. I hurriedly pulled my own handkerchief out of my sleeve and put my left hand on her shoulder. She stopped crying to look up at me, and I ducked my head (using the "lower-angle" technique), pretending to get better access to her face as I started to wipe her tears from her eyes. I smiled kindly at her as she stared in shock.
"I've told you before that you don't have to call me Fujioka-kun. My name is Haruhi, Megumi-chan."
Slowly, a blush spread over her cheeks and I knew I had succeeded. "Oh, Fujioka-kun…" She murmured in admiration, swooning over me. Thankfully she was so busy swooning that she didn't hear my next unintentionally tactless comment. In fact, it was meant to be comforting at the time.
"And if you keep crying, you're eyes'll get all red and puffy and that's not very attractive for a young lady." I said matter-of-factly.
Her tears started triggering some other customers' emotional sides. Tamaki was better at handling them then I was. But I knew that the host king also didn't expect me to hold the customer in my arms and whisper flattering comforts in her ear. In fact, I thought he might explode with anxiety and resentment if I were to do that. However, I knew that my gender didn't really matter to the Shadow King, his eyeglass lenses glinting off the light creepily. His opinion was that a customer was a customer, and it was my job to do whatever I needed to do to keep the customer happy. He wouldn't take any excuses.
Even Kyoya had one or two customers that started to sob. However, though Kyoya had the fewest favoring customers (as he usually just did the club publicizing work), they seemed to be the most depressed. These were sobs so heavy that I actually wondered about the girls' health as they sat across from the Shadow King.
I didn't know much about Kyoya's style of charming, since it was a rare display, but it seemed to be very successful. I had watched in between customers as a small girl with long bright red hair and purple eyes had started crying. She muffled her cries with one of her hands over her mouth, and her shoulders shook with each sob. I was almost ready to ask her if she was okay when Kyoya went into action.
He adjusted his glasses and leaned towards her, his face soon only a few inches from hers, his long, slender fingers sliding back and forth underneath her chin.
"It is such a waste that you must leave us. And without even being rewarded your proper thanks. I would substitute the promised payment with my body if I had such a privilege, but I don't think that I'm up to your standards—they must be very high for such a stunning young lady." It seemed that it was all about debts with this guy, even when he was charming girls. She was immediately won over, blushing like mad as she fluttered her long eyelashes.
"Oh, they're very high indeed, but you meet all of them, Kyoya-kun."
"Hm." I murmured confusedly, turning away from the scene. Obviously Kyoya had more of a sensual, seductive charm about him rather than flattering. Somewhat like the twins, except more pointed.
At the end of the day, I wasn't able to completely escape physical contact with a few—or rather, most—of my customers. As the girls were subtly, yet politely, shifted towards the exit, several snapped. It started with a regular diving into Tamaki's arms with a sob, and then it was all absolute chaos. The music room was filled with teary goodbyes and promising embraces.
I was crowded around by several girls, most of which were not regulars. They were all blushing and were all uncertain as they circled around me. I waited, and they all looked at each other before speaking at the same time.
"We all just wanted to say that you're wonderful, Haruhi-kun, and we wish you the best of luck in the rest of your years at Ouran Academy!" And then I had been completely buried under the group of girls, all sobbing, all wishing for a last hug before they left the music room and the host club for the last time. None of them were actually full hugs. With so many girls trying to hug the same person, it ended up with one clinging to my arm, another hugging me around the stomach from behind, and some even hanging against my shoulders.
When at last they all departed, I was gasping for breath and unsuccessfully trying to re-tidy my appearance. Straightening my tie, patting my hair back down, and pushing my bangs from my eyes.
"Um, Haruhi-kun?" I was almost afraid to turn to the sound of my name by now, but turn I did, and I came to look at Ojohime, Hana (2). I smiled instantly. Hana was my favorite regular. So sweet and shy and kind. Yet it wasn't those things that I liked about her. What I actually loved about this particular girl was that she was extremely sensitive when the topic came around, peculiarly, to Japanese Tradition. More specifically, when it came around to the stories and legends of Geisha (3, NOTE: You should probably read my explanation at the bottom of the page if you don't know what this is).
I came to the realization the first time I had a conversation with her. She was very hesitant and quiet so that I had to drag a conversation out of her at first. We were talking about the generally blissful atmosphere that music room number three seemed to hold. She was polite in everything she said of course, while I occasionally muttered things about how the idiotic hosts that occupied it seemed to degrade that splendor.
"Oh, I must disagree with that, Fujioka-kun." She said with a soft smile. "I mean, I think it's the wonderful things that go on in this room that make it so homey-feeling! Like—like—"
"Drinking tea…?" I suggested uncertainly.
"Yes! Exactly like that!" She responded with a wide smile. "It makes me feel like we're in an ochaya (4)!"
"…An 'ochaya'? What's that?" I asked curiously. It felt like I had heard it before, but I couldn't remember. She grinned at me doubtfully.
"Oh you know, like one of those teahouses!" It just so happened that this visit was on the day that Tamaki had the stupid impulse to set up kotatsu around the club room in place of regular tables. It did strangely give off a sort of teahouse vibe. From her tone, it sounded like this ochaya idea was a point of interest to her. I seized it, wanting to get her talking more before she closed back into her shell.
"I guess you're right." I said with a smile. "It does sort of feel like a teahouse. All we need now is a lovely Geisha to entertain us with her splendorous dancing." I was surprised at how much of an effect this one sentence had on her. She leaned forward across the table to speak to me then, her face colored with excitement on this new subject. For at least half an hour, I listened as she discussed how fascinating they were to her, and how endearing.
It was peculiarly satisfying to see my customer suddenly so hyped up and chatty. Yet, as much as she herself liked to explain the traditions and duties of a Geisha, she became a little particular when someone else made a comment. For example, at one point I said to her,
"They are very interesting, I see. Still, it's a shame that they're so often mistaken for courtesans (5)." That set her off. She wasn't angry at me at all, but it set her off as she responded,
"Absolutely! It's terrible and wrong for people to compare them to courtesans when Geisha tried so hard to make it clear that they were respectable women of the arts. There is a quote I know among Geisha that was repeated to any men who asked for the services a courtesan might offer and that is, 'We sell art, not bodies. (6)' To be honest I think that the Geisha are all around more respectable than courtesans. Geisha are much more…" On and on she went, for perhaps fifteen minutes.
I didn't get to speak much in the conversation, but it made me happy just listening. It made me happy to learn this new thing about Hana. It was a fact that I never forgot about her.
Now as I looked at her, I actually did feel several waves of sadness. "Yes, Hana-chan?" She blushed for some odd reason, and avoided my eyes.
"I—I—I just wanted t—t—to thank you for…" She giggled a little bit. "For putting up with my rants of Tradition." I laughed as well, and felt like I wasn't faking it for her satisfaction.
"It's no trouble at all, Hana-chan. I really enjoy talking to you. I wish you luck when you go to college—that's an exciting step." She nodded, but still avoided my eyes.
"I—I—I—I…If you don't mind, Haruhi-kun," She said instead, swallowing. "I…I got you…I got you a present…" She revealed a purple, large square box from behind her back. I smiled, genuinely surprised.
"Oh, that's so sweet, Hana-chan!"
"You…You can open it now…if you want."
"Oh, okay." I gave another grateful smile before pulling the lid off of the box. I was faintly aware of the twins and Tamaki floating towards me to see what I had been given, but I could only gawk at what was in the box. She held her breath as she waited for my reaction.
I didn't react.
Finally, she burst out, "I know it's kind of silly, but I was just thinking that you're so cute, Haruhi-kun, so you could pass yourself off as a girl so easily, and I know that the tea pot thing is like a joke of ours, so…"
I couldn't believe my eyes. Resting in the box, folded up so neatly, was a beautiful silk kimono. The most beautiful kimono I had ever seen. The color was a dark, lustrous red. Mixed into the red, there were very subtle swirls of gray or white, like the steam rising from a hot cup of tea. The hems of the sleeves and the bottom were embroidered with small little clay-looking teacups. The kind of simple teacups that might be used in an ochaya.
Also, lying beside the kimono, was a light grey obi (7), and embroidered on that were Teapots. It was simply picture after picture of the same teapot, all the way around the obi, these ones significantly bigger than the teacups on my hems, though they matched perfectly in color.
I set the box down on the table beside me and gawked at Hana. "Thank you so much!" I said, bowing deeply to her. She chuckled at my reaction.
"It was no big deal. Besides, it isn't like I'm letting you get away without giving me something in return." I looked up at her curiously.
She smiled cutely before tugging on my tie and pulling my lips to hers. I was stunned so that I couldn't move as she kissed me. The other hosts looked like they might feign.
"What does she think she's doing!" Tamaki was hissing as he tried to scramble towards us out of Hikaru and Kaoru's grip.
"Calm down, Boss! Or you'll only regret it!" They told him sternly.
After a few moments, she let go of my tie and gently pushed on my chest until I was standing straight again. She giggled and gave me another kiss on my cheek before grabbing her bag and loping towards the door. Just before sliding through, she turned back to me with a grin.
"And by the way, I'll be expecting you to send me some photos of you in that kimono while I'm at college. I'm going to the University of Kyoto, so just mail them there." She waved and then closed the door behind herself.
There was silence.
I felt absolutely flustered, my face red, and my lips parted in a stupid gawk.
"Congratulations, Haruhi!" I heard the twins say, coming up behind me and putting a hand on either one of my shoulders. "You got your first Koibito no Kisu (8)!" Rather than question what they were talking about, I smiled to myself and turned back to the kimono on the table.
"Hana-chan really is a sweet girl."
"Ow! Tamaki-sempai, what are you doing?" I snapped as he twisted me around and shook me by the shoulders.
"Haruhi!" He whispered in alarm. "You're not into that kind of thing are you? You're straight, aren't you?"
I could only stare at him for a moment, stunned by his question. The amazement was quickly channeled into fury and I glared at him dangerously. "Sempai, I'm going to give you five seconds to let go of me."
"You have to answer me, Haruhi!" He sobbed.
"Why should I? It's not like it's any of your business anyways!" I yelled back as he sagged against my shoulder.
"Please answer me, Haruhi," His tone was so watery and pitiful that it was almost annoying.
"Yes, Sempai, I'm straight. Now shut up!" I shoved him away from me and straightened my tie.
"Well, this has indeed been a successful year for the host club." Kyoya commented from his desk, adjusting his glasses. "Haruhi is starting to become competition, Tamaki—you'd better be careful, don't you think?" He turned to the blonde and smiled pleasantly. Tamaki glared back.
I was almost knocked off my feet as Honey leapt at me, encircling his arms around my stomach like a vise. "I'M GONNA MISS YOU SO MUCH, HARU-CHAAAAN!" I was gasping for breath as his arms tightened around me.
"H-Honey-sempai! I can't breathe!" He finally let go and stood before me, sniffling and trying to wipe away his tears. Sighing, I put my hands on my knees and leaned down so that our faces were level. I smiled.
"I'm going to miss you too, Honey-sempai."
His eyes sparkled with tears as he looked at me. "Really?"
"Absolutely—I'm very happy that you were my Sempai."
He sniffled a few more times, and then with a loud wail, he fell into my arms. I just stroked his hair, somewhat touched by his distress over his departure, patient and maternal, as he sobbed into my blue blazer. I knew it was an insensitive thought, but it hit me that I would have to wash the tear stains out of my uniform—that would be somewhat annoying. Yes, majorly insensitive.
Remembering, I hastily checked my watch. "Oh guys, I'm sorry, I have to go." That made Honey cry even harder.
"WHYYYY, HARU-CHAN! WHYYYY?"
I hesitantly patted him on the back. "I'm sorry, Honey-Sempai. But my dad really wants me home tonight to celebrate the last day of school since he's not going to be home on my birthday, so…"
"Oh, that's right." Hikaru said, unthinkingly putting his arm over his twin's shoulder. "When is your birthday, Haruhi?"
"It's in September, right?" Kaoru then asked, sounding rather confident. I sighed. Obviously they had spent so much time memorizing things about me.
"No, my birthday is tomorrow." Their jaws dropped.
"Tomorrow!" The red-heads said together. I nodded and reached for my bag. Tamaki gasped and came to stand in front of me, his face stunned.
"Haruhi, you didn't tell us that your birthday was coming up so soon!"
Already, the twins were chanting in the background, "Let's-throw a par-ty! Let's-throw a par-ty!"
"Absolutely not!" I snapped, but they weren't listening. The twins were standing next to Kyoya's desk, their faces thoughtful.
"You know," Hikaru said. "we're probably gonna have to figure out something really special."
"Yeah," Kaoru responded with a nod. "Sixteen (9) is a really important age for females, isn't it? I mean, with all that stuff about 'sweet sixteens' and everything."
"Yes, indeed," Kyoya said, crossing his legs and adjusting his glasses. "Many young ladies enjoy themselves on their sixteenth birthdays by having parties or going to expensive restaurants."—I briefly wondered what Ootori Kyoya counted as an "expensive restaurant" and almost fainted.
"I wonder why?" Hikaru responded, sounding intrigued. It was Kaoru who answered.
"It probably makes them feel grown-up to go out somewhere on their own."
"Actually," I hadn't even noticed that Tamaki had left my side until he was joining in the conversation with interest. "I heard that it's mostly practiced among commoner girls. And they go out without any maids or butlers! They don't even have one!"
I sighed and rubbed my temples. These guys really were rich bastards.
"That sounds like fun!" Honey exclaimed, jumping up and down in excitement as he and Mori joined the conversation.
"It would indeed be interesting," Kyoya nodded.
"Yeah." Mori said.
"Hey Haruhi!" I just stared in exasperation as the twins turned to grin at me. "We're gonna throw you a sweet sixteen! Pretty great, right?"
"You're gonna have so much fun, Haru-chan!" Honey smiled at me sweetly.
"No, it is not great!" I yelled angrily.
"What's wrong, Haruhi?" Tamaki asked. "We can all go out together and you can eat some fancy tuna!" I glared. That wouldn't work on me this time.
"There seems to be a concept that's flown straight over your big fat heads! Usually there are no males at a girl's sweet sixteen!"
"Oh, I beg to differ, Haruhi." Kyoya said with a pleasant smile. "Boys can meet many young ladies' needs while at such a party."
My mouth opened and closed several times, but no sentences came out. I blushed furiously at the many meanings his words could have. "Well I can assure you that whatever needs you're thinking of don't occupy my mind and never will, so you can all forget about it right now!"
"Oh, but Haru-chan," Honey whimpered. Somehow he was already tearing up again. "I don't want this to be the last time I see you! I want to celebrate your birthday with you, Haru-chaaan!" I sighed.
"What would we do, anyway? I can't pay for the foods at the restaurants you guys go to, and I'm not letting you throw a party for me—besides, there's nobody we could invite who doesn't think I'm a guy. So there's nothing we could do that would interest you guys anyway." Both the twins and Tamaki looked somewhat offended by this statement.
"She's right." Kyoya said finally, adjusting his glasses.
"No, she is not right!" Tamaki yelled back, his face going red. He turned to me and pointed to himself. "We'll pay for your food at a restaurant, Haruhi."
"Absolutely not!" I said again, crossing my arms with a stern expression. "If I let you guys pay for me, all I'll get is another eight million yen debt!"
"But Kyoya won't put this on your record!" Tamaki said, sounding offended that I had even questioned such a thing.
"Says who?" Kyoya murmured, his fingers flowing over his laptop keyboard as he was indifferent to the conversation. Tamaki turned to glare a hole in the back of the Demon Lord's head. With a sigh, Kyoya swiveled himself around to look at me, and he adjusted his glasses. "As it's your birthday tomorrow, I will not add any numbers to your debt."
"What debt is there to add anything onto! I thought I'd paid you back for that vase!"
He laughed pleasantly. "Oh Haruhi, don't be so naïve. Remember that priceless tea set that you broke when you first became a host?" All color drained from my face.
"But—but—but—but you said that—that…At the Ouran Fair you…"
"Well, Haruhi, those were under different circumstances." He adjusted his glasses. "The host club was going to be disbanded at the time, anyway." His smile grew. "But now that we've ensured the club's future, I can add on all of the things that you've destroyed." I gawked at him. That was the Shadow King for you.
I floated over to the closest couch, feeling a little light-headed.
"So Haru-chan, can we take you to dinner tomorrow? Huh? Huh? Huh?" Honey asked excitedly, jumping around me. I remembered then that I had to leave soon. My dad was expecting me, so I had to figure this out quickly.
"Well…" If they were paying, that meant that I wouldn't have to give up any of the money I'd been saving to buy that thing… "I don't know guys," I said, running my fingers through my hair tiredly. "It makes me uncomfortable to have you paying for my food."
"Well if that's what you're worried about, Haruhi…" Kyoya said, once more adjusting the glasses perched on his nose. "I'll just add the money to your debt." I was about to argue when I realized that this was meant to make me feel better. Meant to keep me from thinking that I wasn't giving anything back. It seemed a little unequal. One dinner for—most likely—years of host work. But I smiled to myself anyway. I planned to be a host until graduation either way. At least I hoped I would.
"Fine, we can go out tomorrow."
1."Seifuku" is the Japanese word for "uniform." In Japan, some schools have Traditional seifuku, and also have formal seifuku worn on special occasions at school.
2."Ojohime" I do not think is an actual surname in Japan. I made this name up myself. You see, "Ojo" and "Hime" are both different Japanese translations of "Princess." The two words, unfortunately, don't make any amazing combination when put together—I just thought the name sounded interesting.
3."Geisha" is a Japanese word that literally means, "Artist." Geisha in ancient Japan, were women who entertained "clients" usually by dancing, singing, or just chatting—with politeness and charm, of course. These women may sound more familiar associated with white face paint, red lips, and long, elegant kimono.
"ochaya" is a teahouse, as mentioned in the next paragraph of this story. These were usually the places in which Geisha would meet and entertain their clients: at banquets hosted by the customer for his or her friends/family/etc.
Japan, a "courtesan" was seemingly similar to a Geisha. They wore pretty kimono, white face paint, beautiful makeup, etc. However, the two women are actually completely different. While Geisha were women of entertainment and art, Courtesans were basically, for lack of a better word, prostitutes. Their basic forms of entertainment were conversation and sexual activity.
phrase, "We sell art, not bodies." I actually read from a biography. It was a biography of a woman who was a Geisha, Mineko Iwasaki, who even wrote the book herself. This is a book that most of my preferences to Geisha are based on—so if it turns out that some traditions I mention are not used with all Geisha, please inform me. It may be that some things I mention are only put to practice in this woman's karyukai.
case you don't know, an obi is not usually worn with casual kimono. An obi is like a belt worn around a kimono, except most are very wide. For example, some obi's are even wide enough that they cover from just under the breasts to the lower stomach. Obi's are worn constantly with Geisha kimono.
, "Koibito no Kisu" is not a real phrase or reference in Japan—as far as I know. I also made this phrase up, and it translates to, "lover's kiss" in English. Also, the twins' usage of it is not meant to show that in "my own version of Japan", they do use this phrase. That's why I figured I would just pretend that it's a phrase the host club made up for when a customer acted on their own whim to kiss you. Oddly enough, for Haruhi, it's also just her first kiss with a customer at all, no matter who acted first. (And no, I don't count the accident with Kanako in the anime/manga as her first kiss with a customer.)
9.I've heard that, in the manga, Haruhi turns sixteen in chapter seventy something, but I've only watched the anime, so that fact kind of means nothing to me. And yes, I know that the day after last day of school is not Haruhi's real birthday, but it was an idea that I had that I really liked, and I think it will be interesting. I've started the manga though, so don't give me flames for that! I beg of you! I hate flames! I'm only on Chapter eight I think, so I've got a ways to go before I've gotten to Haruhi's birthday.
Please please please review and tell me what you think! I hope I'll be able to continue this, but then again, I've never really been good at motivating myself—btw, reviews motivate me a lot. ;D Thanks for reading my first chapter and I hope you review and read more!