I looked up at the enormous, yellow, building standing before me. My friends and I were strolling towards it with our duffel bags slinged over our shoulders. It had cement steps leading to a pair of doors that were bash. On either side of the doors were seven windows, each on the lower level having a flower box containing lovely flowers that swayed with the wind. Above the double doors was a sign saying DANCE ACADEMY FOR ELITES (DAFE for short) in bold, black font.
I smiled at my school and tuned into the conversation that the other four girls were having.
"He's amazing! Even though I'd never say that to his face," Misaki said, speaking of her 'dreamy' boyfriend. "I mean, I would but all he'd do is give me one of his smirks and say 'falling for me already?' In his deep, sexy, smooth voice." She sighed dreamily, then snapped out of her stupor and shook her head a little. "He can be so insensitive at times too; which I hate."
I rolled my eyes. Whoever this guy was had the usually cool Misaki cracked considering her milky brown eyes no longer danced with mischievous, but were practically oozing with love.
"Playing hard to get?" I asked, raising one of my eyebrows.
She swatted the back of my head.
"Ow!" I whined.
"No! I want him to get me! Stupid Mikan! Why would I play hard to get when I want him…and his delicious lips…and his beautiful azure eyes always trained on me…."
Today, her carmen pink, shoulder length hair was pulled into a messy bun sitting atop her head. Her bangs were split in the middle giving me a clear view of her features softening and her lips turning into a dreamy smile.
I couldn't help it, I bursted out into a fit of laughter. My other friends followed suit.
"Seriously Misaki?" Nonoko said between gasps. She clapped her hands together before her chest and looked up to the sky, as if praying. She even managed to make her navy orbs twinkle for affect. "Oh those lips, how they drive me so insane! And his eyes! They make me feel so...so...special!"
We all laughed hysterically at her very accurate imitation of Misaki.
As she dodged a punch sent from Misaki, Nonoko's straight navy hair - which was pulled into a pony - swished behind her. She was momentarily blinded by her bangs which reached just above her pools.
"Misaki's in love! L-O-V-E!" Anna sing-songed. Her bright ultramarine eyes sparkled in amusement. Misaki didn't even bother swatting at Anna because with her bubblegum-like hair and innocent wells, she was too cute to hit. Although with her current hairstyle - a side pony with curled bangs reaching her eyebrows - she appeared less naïve.
"I think it's sweet that you can't stop talking about him, Misaki," Nobara tried to comfort Misaki.
Misaki turned to the girl on her left. "Thanks Nobara, but I only talk about him sometimes."
For a moment, our junior's turquoise orbs sparkled in joy. She loved to gain our approval even though she was only a year younger than us.
Nobara tentatively pushed back one of her dark aqua curls framing her face as she noticed Anna, Nonoko and I staring at her and Misaki like they had grown another head.
She sighed. "Okay! Sorry I won't blab about my super hot and hilarious boyfriend!"
We all sweat-dropped but didn't announce that her statement was a flat out lie.
Our conversation ended just as we stepped through the threshold of our school. The halls went silent and all eyes turned to us - or more specifically, me. Recently the students here have been obsessing over me more than usual. I knew why but I still felt a twist in my gut when I saw people whispering while casting sidelong glances my way.
I ducked my head and continued walking down the hall towards the stairs. My friends hushed and attempted to block out our colleagues.
"Hey," I heard a cool voice from ahead of me.
Before I could think, I looked up and my hazel orbs met with those lilac eyes.
Memories flashed lucidly through my mind:
"Trust me. I will never hurt you."
Blood splattered across the carpet. It was mine. I looked up at him with bewildered eyes.
"I'm sick of your pathetic face!"
I averted my eyes and tried to stride around him but he blocked my path. All eyes were analyzing the scene that was unrolling before them. They were probably eager to see what would happen.
These students found me amazing since I was a prodigy in dancing and singing. They said that when they met me, they were shocked that I wasn't stuck up and snotty. I knew that they didn't want the new scoop on him and I. All they wanted was to piece the puzzle together to help me.
Nonoko and Misaki stepped in front of me while Anna and Nobara stayed planted by my side. This was what happened when we met.
"What do you want Reo?" Misaki growled, practically spitting out his name.
Reo threw her one of his alluring smiles but it just rolled off of her like the wind.
"I'm here to say hi to Mikan."
His voice was nothing but innocent and it made me sick. Reo turned to gaze upon me yet again. I witnessed his lips curl into a small grin as he flipped his ginger mane before Nonoko blocked his view.
"Don't even look at her, Bitch."
Her protective side had been unleashed and her tone sent chills down my spine.
But somehow Reo seemed unaffected. "I'll see you later, Mikan."
As he turned, I caught his scent and more horrid memories plagued my thoughts.
So much pain. So much misery. Why wouldn't he just kill me? Why? This form of living, it wasn't worth it. Id rather die than go on like this.
Instinctively, my fists clenched as my anger boiled over. Unfortunately, Nobara saw my subtle sign of irate and her other came out to play.
"YOU BITCH!" She screeched.
Reo turned and scanned over her body. Her once serene eyes were ablaze with hatred and her face had morphed into a disgusted mask. Nobara's petite frame had turned rigid with furiosity and her fists were now clenched and shaking with rage.
"Have you no mercy? Are you even human to do something like that to someone like Mikan!"
As she spoke, she plowed through Nonoko and Misaki who were trying to hold her back.
She was now standing in Reo's face, which held hints of trepidation. With the sudden change of appearance added with her murderous aura, who wouldn't be scared?
"If you ever so much as look at Mikan Yukihara Sakura again, I will personally hang you upside down from a tree and beat you until you're crying for the Demon to take your life. Is that clear?" Nobara's voice was menacing and murderous; I was astonished that Reo hadn't burst into tears yet.
I stepped out of my friend-made shelter and lightly placed my hand on Nobara's arm. "He's not worth it," I whispered.
She snapped her head my way when my hand gently touched her forearm. When she realized that it was just me, her calming routine took place: deep breaths, closing of the eyes, and unclenching of the fists. When her aqua eyes revealed themselves again, they had returned to their usual serene state and she nodded to signal that her other was back in storage.
"Come on girls," I said, throwing them a reassuring smile over my shoulder.
As I passed Reo, he whispered, "This isn't over," In his usual seductive tone.
"Oh?" I asked, turning sharply to glare at him. "'Cause from what I've gathered from this little meeting, it is."
Then, I sashayed away from the man who scarred me for all of my life. Never again would I be the same bubbly, care-free, loving, generous Mikan that I used to be. Sure I pretended that I was still the same because I didn't want anyone to worry over spilt milk. But still - deep inside - I wanted someone to notice. Someone to hold me and coo me comforting words. But unfortunately, I'm such a good actress that even my friends couldn't see through my façade.
So my tortured tear went unnoticed.
"Are you okay?" Anna inquired softly.
I quickly swiped the tear off of my cheek and gave her a small smile. "I'm fine."
I began my march up of the steps while avoiding their probing gazes although she looked reassured along with the other three.
"Thanks guys, for sticking up for me," I added.
They all nodded.
"We've gotcha back girl," Misaki chimed with a wink.
A laugh bubbled up inside of me and I gladly let it out.
Even though they couldn't do or see all the things I needed, these girls always made my Hell a little brighter.
"We're gonna be late if we don't hurry up!" Nonoko cried.
Hurriedly, we rushed down the halls of our college.
"You're late Miss Harada and Miss Sakura." Our Sensei's taut voice echoed through the silent room. "Care to explain?" She interrogated us while smacking her ruler against her palm. "If I find the reason implausible, you will be severely punished."
Coincidentally, Misaki was a master at creating lies on the spot.
"You see Sensei, there was this old woman that needed assistance with crossing the road. So - like the caring people we are - we figured 'the hell let's help her!'"
"No swearing!" Sensei growled.
Misaki ignored her warning and continued to spit out a spurious tale. "But, when we got to the middle of the road, a car swerved and almost hit us!"
Gasps echoed throughout the classroom. I would never comprehend how Misaki wrapped people around her pinkie like this.
"Mikan and I grabbed the elder and dived to the sidewalk. We saved her from getting run over. Sadly, she got knocked out since she hit her head. We couldn't just leave an old lady laying unconscious on the sidewalk. So, we called 911 and waited with her. Sorry for not leaving an unconscious elder all alone and saving her from dying Sensei," She finished with a sincere apology.
Not having proof to deny our story, Sensei grudgingly let us pass to our seats. Once seated, I let the giggles stored in my stomach slip. Just thinking of everyone's face when she had said we -
"Something funny Miss Sakura?" Sensei asked.
"Crap," I whispered. As a last resort, I tried my hand at Misaki's specialty. "There's…..a…...um…...dancing ant?" I answered.
My classmates erupted into laughter at my lame attempt to get out of my predicament.
"I see it too!" Said the girl sitting to my right.
I gave her a thankful smile and prayed that Sensei wouldn't fry us.
"Oh yeah!" Another girl chirped from behind me. "It looks like," She leaned closer to a crumb on the ground and narrowed her eyes, as if clearing her vision. "It's doing the Bernie…?"
Some students fell from their seats and collapsed on the ground from laughing too hard. Even I couldn't help but giggle a little.
Sensei sighed and slammed her ruler on her desk, demanding order in the class. All the students straightened up and returned to their seats.
I silently thanked God for making me a rather personable person. If he had not been so generous, I would've been on my own.
"Hey," I whispered once Sensei's back was turned.
The two girls were already giving me expectant gazes.
"Thanks for saving me there." I tossed them one of my smiles which was returned by the two.
"No problem!" The one behind me said.
"Yeah," added the other. "I'll talk to you in dance?"
I nodded and smiled again.
At DAFE we have regular classes and dance/singing classes. Everyday, we had our academic sessions and then - after lunch - we'd go to our dance/singing classes. Since Misaki, Nonoko, Anna, and I are seniors in this college, we had our academic classes on the fourth floor while Nobara - being a junior - was on the third floor.
But for our dancing/singing classes, we had our classes on whichever floor represents our talent. Since all five of us were dancing/singing prodigies, we had those classes on the fourth floor.
I've attended the advance dancing/singing classes since I started here, same goes for Anna and Nobara. But Misaki and Nonoko had to tweak their singing and didn't attend the fourth floor classes until their sophomore year. Still, that's astounding; for Anna, Nobara and I to make it to the fourth floor in our freshmen year is unheard of. Until we came here at least.
"Class dismissed." Sensei's stern voice rang throughout the classroom.
All students jumped out of their seats and rushed out of the door.
"You can copy my notes later," Misaki said in a hurried manner. "Now come on! It's lunch and after that it's dance!"
I chuckled lightly and gathered my belongings. We skipped out of the room and wandered towards the lunchroom.
We ate outside in a courtyard most of the time. The view was always beautiful since Sakura trees lined the cobblestone area with picnic benches spotting it. I often times lost myself while admiring the way that the tree's petals fell and danced gracefully in the wind.
But when winter came or if it is raining, we'd surrender and trudge gloomily into the packed lunchroom.
Luckily, today was all sunshine. Not a single cloud in sight.
We saw Anna and Nonoko waving their petite, manicured hands like maniacs to earn our attention while Nobara tried to hide her face behind her bangs.
"Don't get your panties in a twist," Misaki grumbled.
We started towards the three beauties with our lunches packed into a brown paper bag. We sat on the bench across from Nonoko and Anna while Nobara sat on my right and Misaki on my left.
Nonoko was eyeing me as I pulled my food out of the bag. Her eyes practically popped out of their sockets when she saw my chocolate cake with chocolate icing and a strawberry on top.
Immediately, her hand was outstretched in my direction.
"Gimme," She stated.
I gaped at her rude behavior. "No! You know how much I love sweets!" I snatched my cake off of the bench and clutched it dearly to my chest.
Nonoko's eyes narrowed. "I said, GIMME!"
She leapt across the table and attacked me. I held my cake to my chest tighter and prepared for the impact.
"NONOKO!" I screeched, trepidation coursing through my veins. There was concrete under me, and my head was falling towards it at a dangerous speed.
I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed that I wouldn't die. Okay dramatic but I am a drama queen. Before my head hit the ground, strong arms encircled my waist and kept me from falling; instead, I was now leaning down towards the pavement. I peeked through my lids and froze.
"R...Reo...?" I whispered.
His face was mere inches from mine and he was hugging me upside down.
"Mikan." He smiled softly as his lilac eyes flickered to my mouth.
"Reo don't." My voice was low and laced with fear. But it was too late, he was already nearing my lips. I couldn't move a muscle. It's funny how the body works. I could've broken his neck or done something a little less drastic within moments if I was myself. But I seemed to be frozen. The question was: Was I frozen with fear or anticipation?
"Please," I whimpered unconsciously.
Suddenly, he was torn away from me. I released a sigh and was glad that Reo was no longer popping my bubble.
"OW!" I cried as I hit the cement. I sat up Indian style and rubbed the back of my head where I landed.
"WHAT THE HEll..." My voice trailed off as I saw Misaki and Nobara trying to get Nonoko and Anna to let them go. Reo was sprawled on the ground and they were like vicious dogs trying to eat their prey, but they couldn't since they were chained to their master.
"Let me at him! Son of a bitch I warned you!" Nobara screeched. It was as though she was screaming bloody murder.
"Nonoko release me! No one can do something like that to Mikan and expect her to give them a second chance! What he did was unforgivable! He deserves to die! No, rot in Hell with the demon laughing his ass off about how he screams like a little girl!" Misaki went on and on.
I stood and calmly re-packed my lunch as my 'guard dogs' barked at the intruder. Once everything was packed, I turned and walked towards the doors of the Academy. Everyone was watching me with a wary expression. I even saw some guys give me apologetic looks and then glare daggers at Reo.
He was actually a very famous singer who was here to improve his singing and dancing. He was supposed to only be here for a year but for some odd reason, he returned after the semester.
None of the students knew about what he had done to me. All that these kind beings knew was that Reo and I were dating, I went missing for a week, and when I returned, we had broken up and I avoided him like the bubonic plague. Meanwhile, he tried - fruitlessly - to win me over again. They've witnessed his repeated apologies and his gifts signaling his love as well.
Even though everyone at this school was my 'friend', they actually knew me; and they knew that I didn't hate someone for no reason. My friends - meaning the whole school - knew that Reo did something unforgivable. Therefore, they treated him like a murderer: with caution, enmity, and abhorrence.
"Mikan wait!" Reo called.
I stopped, but didn't dare turn to face my demon; I'm just not ready yet. I felt his hand gently clasp my shoulder. His touch was gentle, just like before. But before I could lose myself, I reminisced the times he had hurt me so that I felt numb to my bones. His touch no longer caused me to want more, but led to me shivering and feeling my past pain again.
Everyday, I went through Hell as if it were a game. The amounts of torment and pain increased as the days went by. Reo never went as far as touching me again. I knew that this was the boss level. Only 3% made it out of this level, would I?
"Please. I am so sorry for what I did to you. Now I know how wrong it was and I regret every second of it." His voice was so fragile and vulnerable...
"Please, I've changed."
This brought me out of my stupor. Quickly, I turned on my heels and looked Reo in the eye. I could already feel my hazel orbs tearing up.
"You've changed? YOU'VE CHANGED!" I shrieked. "Obviously you haven't." My voice was low and shaky again. "I am scarred for life because of your cruel and brutal games. You still try to woo me when you can. Just the other day, I saw you stumbling down an alley - drunk. You claim that you've changed, but if you had, then that would never be a scene that I had to witness again."
He opened his mouth to try to explain, but I trudged on. "Haven't you put me through enough pain? You're torture was probably worse than burning in the pits of Hell!" Even I could hear how my voice was full of sorrow and anger. "You've had your fun, Reo. You've left me mentally and physically wounded. What else could you possibly want from me?"
"I want your love."
I scoffed and created a greater distance between us. I saw my best friends standing behind him, watching me intently.
"Please Mikan, I love you," He whispered while taking hold of my jaw.
From an on-lookers point of view it was a gentle, pleading touch - a form of begging. But I wasn't an on-looker, I could feel how he started to squeeze as if warning me to not say no. I could feel his finger nails slightly delve into my jaw probably leaving small, crescent-like marks.
I ripped his hand from my face and met his pleading gaze. "If you loved me," I began stepping away from him, nearing my escape. "Then you'd let me go."
In Reo's eyes, I could practically see his heart break. "You'll end my suffering because it'll make me happy, even though you'll be pained to do so."
My hand took captive of the handle for the door.
"That's what love is. You put yourself through Hell in order to make the one you love happy."
I knew this all too well. After all, I experienced it first hand. The door creaked open as I pushed.
"So clearly," I turned my back to him and started down the hallway. "You don't love me." I heard him collapse to the ground, signaling that he heard my last words.
I hurriedly rushed to my locker, looking to escape from the inevitable.
"Mikan-?" Misaki started.
I turned to the four alluring young women who had tailed me to my locker. "I just want to be alone if that's okay?" I asked.
Without waiting for an answer, I threw my books into my locker and strutted down the hall towards the girls locker room. Once the door clicked shut behind me, I fell to the ground and tried to breathe. My sobs resounded throughout the empty room, the broken sound making me realize just how mangled I was.
On the outside, it looked as though I had passed the level. But in reality, the game had a glitch and had sent me ahead, only with half a heart left. No one could survive with half a heart. Hell,, most couldn't survive with one. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find the other half of my heart. Everyday, I searched and scowered all over to find it, but to no avail. As each day passed, my heart loses more health and energy, withering away like a flower. If I didn't find help, my time would come soon.
After all, no one can live with half a heart. Especially when your other half was brutally ripped from your chest.
Shhh, it's okay. Don't cry.
Father's voice echoed in my mind. My sobbing abruptly stopped and I sniffled a little.
Put that Mikan smile of yours on your face now child.
I tried out a forced smile, hoping it would turn real.
Your tears make me feel so excited. It's as though they leak from your eyes and quench my thirst.
I punched the wall to my left and screamed into my arm at Reo's seductive tone. He always said he loved to see me in pain. If he could only see me now, maybe he'd die of happiness.
After recollecting my thoughts and bearings, I stood and collected my clothes for dance, all the while humming my tune.
"I remember tears streaming down your face when I said I'd never let you go. When all those shadows almost killed your light."
I am strong. I will not cry in front of others. Never show your weakness.
That's what I repeated to myself as I changed. When I gazed upon my reflection in the mirror, I smiled.
"I remember you said 'don't leave me here alone'. But all that's dead and gone and past tonight."
My tawny colored hair was cascading in loose curls to my mid-back. Most liked their hair up when they danced, but I preferred mine down and free. I had big, hazel eyes that sparkled when I laughed - or so I was told. Over the years, I also acquired a bust and curves although they didn't mean much to me.
"Don't you dare look out your window darling everything's on fire. The war outside our door keeps raging on."
After taking a deep breath to prepare myself, I marched from the locker room to the dance room. Today was hip-hop, my favorite. The floor was oak wood and the wall on my right was covered by a mirror. To the left was a sort of lounge with four couches surrounding a coffee table in the center.
No one was there yet so I practiced my dance moves. Soon, others filed into the class. Unfortunately, one of them was Reo. But Nobara, Nonoko, Anna, and Misaki had my back. He didn't near me - surprisingly - and he averted his eyes from mine at all costs. I must have finally gotten to him.
"Okay, let's line up in formation." Rina clapped her hands as she entered the classroom.
We all did as told: Me in the front, the four girls behind me, and five guys behind them. This was all of the students of the advanced class.
Rina had jet black hair that was usually in a messy bun atop her head. She had gray irises that seemed to always be smiling. The guys always drooled over her since she was indeed stunning.
We jumped into the routine and I went into my dance world, following the dance moves we were taught with ease.
Whenever I danced, I didn't think, I just did. My vision usually blurred and I stepped into a trance of me dancing through a story.
For instance, in this dance I was a teen going down an alley. At the very end was a cardboard box spread out flat. There was a crowd cheering the person dancing in the middle as he danced to the fast beat. Once he was done, he asked for a challenger. I - being the teen - offered. And just like that, we had a dance off.
The music ending brought me out of my world. I was standing before Reo as his hands crawled up my sides. For the dance we had to have a partner and sadly, Reo was mine. He was only doing the dance, but it brought forth painful memories. I pushed him away and walked to the lounge for some water.
After class, everyone filed out.
"Have fun Mikan." Rina winked at me as she tossed me the keys to lock up the room.
I always had a free period after my dance class which I used to dance more. Rina was always kind enough to let me use her room, as long as I locked up after.
I flashed her a grateful smile and waited for her to leave. Once she had gathered her belongings and shut the door behind her, I made a bee-line for the stereo. I took a random CD and popped it into the system.
The music's beat met my ears and I stared ahead as my vision blurred.
Now, I was a girl trapped within a cell. She kept crawling around, looking for scraps to devour. A man came into the cell and tried to capture her. But the girl - being rather intelligent - dodged his fists and ran for the door. She was so close, so close to escaping, when arms wrapped around my waist and pulled me back.
My stupor was over and I knew that someone had a hold of me. I freaked out and tried to get out of his grasp. To my surprise, the strong arms released me without hesitation.
I turned and was met with a pair of azure eyes. The young man had a star tattooed under his right eye and had shaggy, navy hair. Piercings lined his ears and he wore a gray T-shirt with a band logo sprawled across the chest. He was wearing black, baggy pants with a silver chain looping from one loop to another. He finished his look off with a pair of brown combat boots.
He put his hands up in surrender. "Wow, sorry."
The man was quiet handsome and he had a charming demeanor that lured you to him.
I gave him a wary smile. "It's okay. You just scared the crap out of me."
He chuckled. "I was walking by when I saw you dancing." His eyes clouded over and he seemed lost in thought. "You're dance was practically speaking to me. Your moves showed me torture and depression..."
I stared at him, awaiting his response. He blinked his eyes and they had the mischievous and silly glint back.
"Want to dance in a music video?" He asked suddenly.
I stared at him, my mouth more than slightly ajar. "Seriously?"
He laughed and nodded. "Yep. My band's making a music video and our lead dancer walked out on us. So, you wanna replace her?"
"Is this a dream?" I asked.
He laughed again - he had one of those laughs that was contagious and made you feel special that he was laughing because of you - and shook his head no.
"Pinch me 'cause I don't believe you."
I offered my arm as he practically died of laughter. He pinched my arm and I felt the jolt.
"Nope, not a dream."
It took me a while to realize what this meant.
When it registered, I jumped into his arms and squealed, "YES, YES, YES, YES! A thousand times yes!"
He chuckled and returned the embrace without apprehension. Immediately, I felt the effects of Reo burst through my stupor. His arms suddenly seemed suffocating. I squeezed my eyes shut and pinched my arm hoping that the pain would allow me to get a grip of myself. It did, and I was able to break the hug without seeming like a freak.
"My name's Tsubasa by the way. Tsubasa Andou."
I plastered my goofy grin back on and pretended to still have the same stamina that I had moments before.
"I'm Mikan Sakura. When will I be informed of the dates and stuff?"
"Let's walk. I need to meet my girlfriend," He said.
Instantly my ears perked. "Is your girlfriend attending here?"
He nods and grins wolfishly. "Her names Misaki Harada."
My eyes widened for a fraction of a second before I regained my composure and listened to what he had to say about her.
"Do you know her?" He continued, "She has silky hair that is pink and reaches her shoulders and has chocolate brown eyes. They remind me of milk chocolate when she's happy and wood when she's angry. She's loud and somewhat obnoxious but very loving and protective. Do you know her?"
A small smile graced my lips as I replied, "Yes. She's my best friend."
He gasped and looked down at me.
Before he could comment I continued, "And I think you two are perfect for one another. But do me a favor," I said lightly.
He nodded eagerly while having a blinding grin slapped across his face.
"Do not hurt her. I don't want her to have to go through heart break, not again. And especially since she loves you so much."
I clapped my hand over my mouth in realization and slowly turned to see a dazed Tsubasa.
"She...loves...me?" He looked so hopeful and happy.
I smiled and gave him a look. "Yeah, so you better not go breaking her heart. Or else this relationship will take a devastating turn for the worst."
Tsubasa dismissed my warning with a wave of his hand. "I gotta go see her," He muttered.
As he dashed away, I yelled, "What about the information?"
He called over his shoulder, "I'll meet you after school tomorrow!"
Sighing, I walked into my class to find everyone seated and looking at me with confused looks.
"Good afternoon!" I chirped.
As I went to take my seat, the bell rang and my classmates got up and left.
"Mikan you're late. School just ended," Nobara, Anna, and Nonoko told me from my side.
"Oh..." I huffed grabbing my stuff.
"Well you shouldn't have taken so long," Nonoko scolded me, seeing my evident disappointment.
I sighed and realized something was missing. "Hey, where's Misaki?"
Anna's eyes practically turned in to hearts as she gossiped over Misaki. "She's meeting her boyfriend," she cooed.
I smiled in a knowing way. Now I knew something the others didn't: Misaki's boyfriend.
"What?" Nobara asked. Should've known she'd notice my smirk.
"I," I started, leaning in closer to my friends as if to share top secret information.
"Met," They all leaned towards me, eyes alight with curiosity.
I waited for another minute.
"MISAKI'S BOYFRIEND!" I finished my sentence in a high-pitched squeal and started to jump up and down while clapping. I then proceeded to calmly walk into the cluttered hallway.
Nobara instantly began shooting questions on what he was like with Nonoko cheering her on. Meanwhile, Anna stood there, stunned with the new information.
"B-b-b-b-boyfriend?" She whispered. "Of M-M-M-M-MISAKI?!" Her screech attracted stares from the other students.
"What's he like? Is he hot? Did you warn him? Is he worthy of Misaki? Does he really have azure eyes? Is he amazing? Did you talk to him? About what? What are his interests? Hobbies? Likes? Dislikes? Did you tell him about Misaki's love? Does he love her too? Did you ask him that? Or could you see it in his eyes? Is he-?"
I interrupted Anna's raid, "Calm down!"
Again, all eyes turned to us as we made our way towards the exit of DAFE.
"I'm only gonna say this once so listen up."
All three girls fell silent and stared intently at me. We stopped outside by the steps and I smirked.
"He's totally hot, really goofy but caring, he's in a band, and is totally worthy of Misaki."
With that, I bolted towards the violet convertible that was parked at the curb, waiting for me.
"COME BACK HERE!" Nonoko hollered after me.
I ran even faster as I heard their rapid foot steps.
"THAT'S NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION MIKAN! NO FAIR!" Anna chimed. Anna had a fire in her eyes and somehow, her teeth had become...pointy.
The convertible door flung open and I collapsed inside while shutting my door.
"Go!" I ordered my best of all best friends.
Her amethyst eyes glared at me for a moment, until she saw the three maniacs running towards her 'sweet baby'. Then, she booked it out of my campus.
Once we were clear, I let out a breath of relief.
It was all okay.
I spoke too soon.
Hotaru's hard glower was practically burning holes into my face. "Don't. Ever. Order. Me," She seethed. "Ever. Again."
I gulped and nodded my head.
"Good," She stated, returning her gaze to the road.
"Guess what Hotaru!" I asked, back to my cheery self - this happened a lot so I was used to it.
She peeked at my through her lavender locks which were cut in a pixy-style.
"I'm gonna be a lead dancer in a music video!" I squealed.
She stayed silent for a while, pondering on my statement. I peered over to look into her eyes to find her true emotions. There was a mixture of contentment and pride for me. Even though my best friend acted cold and distant, I knew that she cared. I could always tell by the look in her captivating eyes.
"I'm surprised," Her mono-tone voice brought me back to life. "That someone like you could make it as a lead dancer in a music video. I've seen you dance and you suck."
My once beaming smile dropped into a deep, depressed frown. Instead of feeling as though my eyes were twinkling with excitement and anticipation, I could feel tears start to well up beneath my lids.
"But this should be a good start," She muttered, mostly to herself. "At least then you won't be thinking about-"
I cut her off by saying, "Hotaru."
My voice was low and held a warning sound that rang from the depths of my lungs. I knew she was referring to Reo, but I didn't want to deal with that asshole; not now at least.
She seemed to notice my mood and quickly changed the topic. "They're lucky." Her voice was as lifeless as ever.
We had just pulled into our apartments parking lot, and Hotaru cut the engine.
"Who?" I questioned, a little lost from the sudden transition.
Her face was turned away from me, but I could see the right side of her mouth lift up a little. I must be dreaming.
"The band that has you for their lead dancer, they're lucky."
I pulled back, flabbergasted and confused.
For one, Hotaru just complimented me...I think. If you receive a compliment from the Hotaru Imai, you know that you are worthy and amazing at what she complimented you on. This is actually only the third time Hotaru has complimented me. That's right, in all of the nineteen years that we've known each other, Hotaru has only given me three compliments.
"But you just said that-"
She got out of the car and briefly glanced at me.
"I did," She replied.
Just like that, she walked towards our apartment doors like everything she just said made sense.
Once she sensed my absence, she turned to me and cocked her head a little. "Coming, Baka?"
Her voice was the same - stoic and seemingly careless - but I could see the emotion that she was feeling. It left behind my friend's cold façade and brought forth her heart. Hotaru's amethyst eyes were no longer dull akin to steel; they appeared as if they had turned into liquid. The way her gaze met mine brought joy and happiness to the depths of my doubts. Only Hotaru could make me feel this way with just a glance my way. I even saw a small smile grace her lips.
The feeling in Hotaru's eyes, was love.
I may never get her, and she may act cruel to me, but I knew that Hotaru cared and loved me. And that's all that really mattered.
Thanks for reading!