author's note: this story is supposed to be a long shot (i spent my entire weekend writing this and it's complete already ) (6 chapters)! yey! but since it's so long i decided to divide it and update every chapter one at a time. i hope you give it a try! i must say, this is kind of the lightest one i wrote, less drama, more fluff^^ENJOY AND PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS!
To Dance with Him
I am heading out for Tokyo right now. Actually as I look out the train, I could only see plain rice fields miles and miles across. It's like looking into a golden sea with its grains swaying with the air. I feel a little poetic right now because I am venturing to something ridiculously impossible.
No matter how lonely I feel about doing this, I've set myself that I'd do this even if it's the last thing I'd do. I already have accepted my mother's death. I've already spent two years of being depressed and I have to move on. I at least wanted to fulfil mom's dream though.
That's to dance. To dance in the glittery world of Dancesport. You know, my mom was once called the "Queen of Budoukan"? I don't know how awesome that is but apparently she's great in dancing.
I say ridiculous because I don't even know how to dance. I can only jump up and down during Natsumatsuri and stomp my feet not even in beat. I don't have any strings of DNA about dancing from my mom.
So a friendly neighbor, a grandpa, said that he could recommend me to a dance school in Tokyo, provided I work as a cleaner of the dance studios. So here I am, on my way to the capital.
I wonder how I'd do? The people in town said Tokyo people are harsh and blunt and straight forward...I am scared. But more than that I am extremely excited. My mom told me I had a brother. But I have never seen him even once. You see my parents divorced when mom didn't even know yet that I am already being formed inside her. And since she wasn't really capable that time, the custody for my so-called brother went to my father.
I'd look for them too. So that's like hitting two birds with one stone, right?
I don't know how to dance, but if that will make my mom in heaven proud, then I'd do it. After all, my mom used to say that my father fell in love with her because she was a great dancer. Now why didn't I get any ounce of that talent at all?
There's one problem though. The grandpa who recommended me told them I was a girl. Because they were looking for someone to be trained as a 'follow' and not a 'lead'.
That is another concern of mine. Granpa next door said, "Ah, Misaki-kun...I mean...Misaki-chan...you look like a boyish girl the way you look right now. So it's okay!"
He said that while laughing. I wonder if he's bullying me or what? Anyway I don't have a problem with that because in the local all-boy's high school I attended, I am always forced to play Snow white, Cinderella and all those princesses during school festivals. I even played Sadako in a horror house. It's not a big deal, but it gets on my nerves sometimes. I wanted to be manly but each year I don't see any growth spurt! Have I stopped growing? Will I stay like this forever?
But then this opportunity came like I said. So I guess the way I look right now had become a blessing.
Oh! It's lunch time now so I'd go eat my packed onigiris. About three more hours and I'm already in Tokyo. My first time.
I wish...I get a girlfriend. (that's my secret agenda for going to Tokyo LoL). They said that dancing is one of the most erotic art of human form that can draw strong emotions.
_wait! I am going to be a 'follow'...so how in the world will I get to fall in love openly when I am in that school?! Pretending to be a girl is a pain in the ass...but it's a one in a lifetime opportunity to be taught with free lodging! (though it's just a store room of the building)
Argh...I am getting a head ache now. Probably because I am hungry. So till then...
Blog entry - Journey to the City.
The teen re-read his entry into his phone and grinned before pressing "post" into the blog site called ameblo. Though he just saved it as 'private'. He had this hopeful smile on his lips as he inserted his phone back into his huge, brown leather duffel bag. The sky was clear and he could imagine the soothing breeze playing along the ricefields. Nothing could go wrong. He believed. He had his bag, his food, his phone and some cash and his burning fire in him into diving into the bright life of the city.
But as the townspeople had said, people in Tokyo might not be that scary, but they were complicated to deal with. It was like they're speaking a different language for a young man coming from the farthest parts of Nagoya.
Where Misaki came from, it couldn't be called as a secluded place. It just so happened that Misaki's mom seemed to have tried to keep her precious son away from the harsh city life and thus lived a simple yet fulfilling living in the farthest town.
Time wise, Misaki could have used the Shinkansen Bullet train and within almost two hours, he'd be in Tokyo right away. But the teen chose to use the local trains which take 6 hours from Nagoya to Tokyo accompanied by changing trains a couple of times. For Misaki, he needed that ample time to feel that he was really leaving his home town and venturing to something bigger.
"Approaching, Shinjuku. The doors to the right side will open...Approaching, Shinjuku..."
Sleeping like a log, the brunette curled in a fetal position on his seat and just grunted. He turned to the side facing the windows. Meanwhile, all the passengers had been walking in the aisle a little loudly. A tall man had noticed the teen almost drooling on his seat, on top of his bag was a ticket that said end destination "Tokyo-Shinjuku".
"Eh...is this his first time here?" the man mumbled. He had a fine built, hair reaching almost his shoulder blades and his glasses gave him the 'mature look'.
He didn't want to be nosy and he wasn't even the type to put his worry about others and after a long look at the brunette, he decided to walk away.
"But it would be too bad for him to get lost in a maze of train stations...right?" he asked scratching his head. Sighing defeatedly, the man walked over to Misaki's seat and tapped the boy on the shoulder.
"Hey...hey...wake up. It's Shinjuku already," he called, shaking the boy a little harder. "God he's sleeping like there's no tomorrow...HEY!"
Misaki peeked with his one eye, the other still closed. It seemed like he wasn't still in his senses. Lazily he looked to his left and right, then his green eyes darted on the unfamiliar face looming over him.
"Oi, if you don't hurry, the doors will be closing."
"Huh?" he blinked a couple of times and turned his head towards the window.
The man could see the utter shock on the boy's face as if he just couldn't believe himself.
"YABAI! I'm in Tokyo already?" he asked nervously, not knowing what to do first; stand up from his seat or stare at the window or ran towards the exit.
"The doors will be closing..."
"Tsk...I think you're still asleep. Come!" the good samaritan grabbed Misaki's duffel bag in one hand while securing his own baggage with the other. Still the half-asleep dumb that Misaki was, he thought the guy was stealing his belongings and off he ran after the guy. Barely making it in time before the train's sliding doors close and trap them inside to the next station.
"Oi! Gi-give it back!" Misaki shouted, finally 100% awake.
Turning on his heels, the tall, good samaritan threw the bag to Misaki, serious all of a sudden.
"Na, lost boy, if you keep dazing in the wilderness, you'll be finished soon. So keep your eyes open," he turned and started walking away. "Tokyo isn't very gentle to newbies like you, you know. Ja na..."
Misaki's face grew red from shock. "Lo-lost boy?! I am not a kid!"
But before Misaki could follow the tall guy, a wave of passengers blocked his way like how a herd of buffalos in the middle of a desert would, blocking a car's tracks.
"What is up with him?! Calling me like that at this age!" With a frown, the teen adjusted his bag on his shoulders and started looking around him. It was full of people passing in all directions. It seemed like a walking maze.
"Where's the exit?" he mumbled as his eyes studied the not-so-helpful map over his head. Colorful lines didn't help. For a lazy reader, it was like figuring an encrypted message in that representation. "I just arrived...but I already feel tired..."
After looking out into the endless see of people in that underground train station, the teen deciced that sitting there in a corner wouldn't bring him to anywhere. Besides, he was already hungry. And so, gathering his wits, he just went into the first exit sign he saw, hoping that his instincs was right.
Black. Hot. And noisy. Misaki's mouth was gaping at the night sky above his head and the sweltering heat of the summer night.
"I...I didn't think it's already evening! I lost track of time...did I really space out in that corner for two hours?!" he questioned himself. It was so like him. He would seat in one corner and drift off to some place as if sleeping while his eyes were wide open. Before he knew it, time had slipped off. That was how he got off from boring classes before and it turned out to be a really destructive habit.
He had calculated he'd arrive in Tokyo about four in the afternoon so that would leave him enough time to look for the dance school and introduce himself and settle in. But the glaring electronic clocks he could see from almost everywhere was saying six fifteen.
Way to go digging my own grave, me!
Face crumpled in an unpleasant frown, the teen started searching for a place to eat. There were a lot so he just had to choose. He kept on walking deeper into the streets to look for a place where there wasn't much people. He had to change. At least change into a little more girlish shirt under his thin jacket.
He saw a fastfood chain and hurriedly went into the men's room while ducking his head. And as he sniffed the scent of bathroom refreshener, he frowned at the pink shirt he had taken out from his duffel bag.
"That grandpa is really something," Misaki mumbled looking at the print of the shirt that said 'Girl Power!'. "This feels like sailor moon transforming into something before battle mode. I can't believe I am doing this!"
He gripped his own red shirt and pulled it off over his head and changed into the pink shirt. Having his jacket would hide the absence of breasts.
The teen kicked open the cubicle door and almost cringed at the sight of himself in the mirror. He walked towards the sink and sighed. "Hahaha...would people really believe I am a girl like this? Aren't Tokyo people sharp?"
"Listen Misaki-chan, the trend in Tokyo nowadays are these boys called 'bishounen' or 'ikemen'. Sometimes boys look prettier than even a girl would! The line between girls and boys are so thin and by the looks of it, you can either be a very cute girl or a very cute guy. It depends on how you dress yourself! So no one would notice! Just say you have a surfboard chest when someone asks you!"
Misaki smiled ruefully as he remembered the energetic explanation of the grandpa next door where he used to live. "That old man, how come he even knows about these trends? He's so well informed it's creepy!"
Misaki's smile turned even more mournful. "Ah, to finish the wardrobe, don't forget to put on this fourleaf clover hair clip!" Misaki remembered how excitedly the old man waived the hairclip that belonged to his granddaughter. "That's a goodluck charm!"
The teen exhaled and clipped the small accessory on the side of his head. That clip made all the difference surprisingly. Misaki blinked at the mirror. He might have a straighter figure compared to most teenage girls but one could just pass it as being a late bloomer. Looking back at the wide green eyed being in front of the mirror, Misaki had to question if the gods had a second thought of whether making him a girl or a boy at the last minute. That was why he was so under developed.
"Oi, Hora, this is the men's room you know?" a middle aged man exclaimed before turning into one of the cubicles.
"Hai?" Misaki asked dumbfounded.
"Nee-chan, this is the men's rest room. The women's is on the other side. Mou kids these days..."
Suddenly bells ringing all around him, Misaki grabbed his bag and ran out of the men's room. People passing by looking at him and whispering. His heart was beating loudly. His mouth was really parched but his lips was slowly curling into a smile.
"That was a success right?" he whispered excitedly. "I was just standing there but that Ojii-san thought I was a girl," Misaki clenched his fists in victory while looking for a seat so he can order. "This will work. This will really work!"
"This will not work!"
Misaki was drenched in sweat, walking endlessly into the maze of high rise buildings. He had been looking for "STU Dance School". His lead? Only a picture. The school apparently didn't have a sign outside or something. And to Misaki's eyes, everything just looked damned the same.
And the address? Being so excited earlier, he had taken out the piece of paper with the address while eating, only to have it thrown together with the tissues he had used, cursing himself as an eternal idiot.
"I can't go on...it's nine already...my toes are killing me..." he muttered wiping the sweat on his forehead with the back of his hand. "More so...is my bag really this heavy?! It feels like it gained 20 pounds..."
As he continued walking, he saw a man near an light post smoking. His back was facing him and as Misaki started inching forward, the insects dancing around the lamp post became more visible. But the man seemed to not care. He was even tapping his foot while smoking as if he was dancing with them.
"Uhm...excuse me Sir..." Misaki started. He really didn't want to ask someone for directions because when his mom was still alive, she would always say don't rely to others specially those he didn't know. But at that rate, if Misaki continued being stubborn, he was so sure his feet would start running off away from him. He knew if his toes could just talk, they would have been screaming at him for him to go and die. "Ah...I think I am lost..."
The man turned his head. But he saw no one.
'Oi don't ignore me!' Misaki frowned. "Sir?"
"Eh?" the man then lowered his gaze and that was when he realized that there was indeed someone calling out to him. Because he was tall, his field of vision was a little higher compared to others. He narrowed his eyes behind his glasses and a look of surprise slowly took place on his face.
"Lo-lost boy?...EHHHHHH?" Misaki backed away a little. "You're the guy earlier!"
The good samaritan smiled at Misaki after a couple of surprised glaring. "But uhm, can I ask you a question?"
Misaki just stared.
"Why are you dressed like that?" his cigarette in between his fingers, he eyed Misaki curiously. "You're...a male aren't you?"
The teen gulped and looked uncomfortable for a little while before opening his mouth. "It's for work," he answered softly.
"Oh...work...I see...then...why are you here?" the man asked pushing his glasses on the bridge of his nose.
"Like I said...I...I am lost..."
"Aww, you poor thing. Alright, this Onii-san here will help you out. So where are you headed?"
Misaki lowered his head and shyly mouthed "STU Dance School".
And the good samaritan's cigarette fell on the ground. "Oi...what's your name?!"
Misaki found himself sitting, finally on a decent white sofa. The room looked empty but the cool breeze the airconditioners offered was more than he could as for. There was a small bed, a small cabinet and a lot of worn out shoes sticking under the bed. In between his hands was a can of soda care of the good samaritan.
"I'm sorry...I just dragged you here in my place without introducing myself," the tall man muttered, sitting on his neat bed.
"I'm Sumi. Sumi Keiichi. I just snapped when you mentioned your name..." he continued running his hand over his face in exasperation. "I just couldn't believe my grandfather got me! I was the one who passed admission papers for a certain someone named 'Takahashi Misaki' at STU Dance school. I clearly told him we are looking for a 'follow'! That idiot grandfather..."
The teen slowly took the fourleaf clover clip off his head and gripped it tightly in his fists. The show even hasn't began and it already ended for him. What kind of luck was he having to have one of the instructors at STU Dance school be the one he would run off to?
Sumi sighed. "Don't tell me, the reason you changed into that, is because..."
"I'm sorry..." Misaki mumbled wanting to die of embarrassment. "I knew all along that the school is looking for a 'follow'...a female...but I figured I could just pretend."
Sumi took his glasses off and started cleaning it with his handkerchief. "Don't look like its the end of the world, Takahashi-kun. I bet it's my weird grandfather who fed you with the idea," he consoled. He stole a glance at Misaki before looking back at his glasses. "Even I couldn't almost make the difference..." he added.
"Nothing...I was just talking to myself," Sumi assured the teen and then placed his glasses back on. "So then Takahashi-kun, I already mentioned to you I am a dance instructor at that school and that the Dancesport department is looking for a female to be trained as a follow. That's where you come in...I even already had your papers signed by the admissions people...but you are a male..."
"I know...sorry for the trouble."
"Tsk..." Sumi frowned as if thinking deeply. "Just continue like this."
Misaki almost dropped the can off his hands in surprise. "Huh? Continue...me being as a 'follow'?"
"Yup," the older man replied. "The reason we are looking for a 'follow' in training is because the regular dancer fell on her bike and had to cement her left leg. To be blunt, we're looking for a replacement or a stand in. The doctors said she'd be fine long before the competition season started. But her partner didn't want to take chances. And suggested that we train another 'follow' just in case."
At what he heard, Misaki felt a little hope. If he would be able to pull this, he could have free lodging, allowance and could start looking for his brother, but he was still bothered.
"Are you okay with that...if I get found out...you'll be in trouble, Sumi-san..."
"I prefer the younger kids call me 'Sumi-senpai'...'Sumi-san' makes me feel so old!" he joked. But after seeing Misaki's worry on his face, he decided to be serious like he should.
"To tell you, that girl's partner, the 'lead' is really picky. He didn't even give the other 'follows' at the school a chance. He rejected them all and said he didn't like superficial people. So when my grandfather called in that he has someone to recommend and I told him, he said 'well yeah let's see'. Originally you'd be trained under him but if he rejects you, I could just absorb you in the Traditional Dancing Department, that's where I teach...I don't think you'll be found out...if you are careful though."
There was a long silence. The airconditioners filling the tense air.
"So...I know you have your own reasons biting into my freak of a grandfather's suggestion...and I won't pry into it. But will you still continue? You could just go into my department and you don't have to pretend to be anyone. But then I'll have to explain to the Dancesport department that you had backed out at the last minute..."
"Sumi-sa...Sumi-senpai...it's okay," Misaki cut in. "Thank you for your consideration, but you see...I am really aiming for the Dancesport...so even if I am just a stand in...I still wanted to get a go of it."
The man smiled with a little disappointment in his eyes that the teen didn't notice. "I get it. My lips are sealed," he stood from his bed and went to his cabinet to get an extra futon. "We can just both go ahead and beat my grandfather into a pulp for plotting this," he muttered, grinning at Misaki who had instantly felt comfortable towards the man.
After all, Misaki was feeling really grateful that he bumped into the grandchild of the helpful and freaky grandfather living next to them in Nagoya. Truthfully he thought it'd be the worst, but seeing the man as kind like the grandfather back in his home town, he felt at ease. He could even see some resemblance between the grandfather and this "Sumi-senpai".
"So you can take the bed and I'd sleep on the sofa and tomorrow I'd introduce you as 'Misaki-chan'...okay? Go take a shower and sleep. It's going to be hellish tomorrow..."
Misaki insisted on taking the sofa though and when both of them were tucked in their respective places, Misaki found himself starting to really get nervous. It was as if he was some kind of a character in a comedic film or something with ridiculous circumstances. After all, these pretending pretending stuff, he only saw it on TV. There was even this show he followed called Hanazakari no Kimitachi e, where the girl pretended to be a guy so she could meet her love in an all-boy's school.
"Argh..." he smiled stupidly under the dim lighting of the small room. "I am the opposite though...a guy pretending to be a girl. I think a girl pretending to be a guy is a lot easier..." he thought then he turned to look at the sleeping form on the bed across his sofa where he was.
"Sumi-senpai?" he called softly, testing if the guy was still awake or already asleep.
"Hmmm?" a low reply from the man.
"What kind of person is the one who'll train me...my so-called temporary partner?"
The teen heard the bed creak as the one on top of it turned to his side. Sumi looked at Misaki, his eyes reflecting the yellowish glint of the lampshade.
"I am going to be honest with you...I am not fond of him," he answered like his response was already recorded and programmed to be that way. "He's a perfectionist, well I couldn't blame him. He's really a great performer and he'd been performing with Aida-san for the last three years. Oh, Aida-san is the one who have to have her left foot cemented..." Sumi explained in a hushed voice. "Ma, I have to say though that I like that he doesn't believe that only professionals should replace pros. He's willing to train newbies that's why you're accepted."
"I am going to give you a heads up...he's a strict man who doesn't allow mistakes. He's sharp tongued and well...always expecting for the best results...so there. Just be as charming as you are and I don't see any problem with the other people in the Dancesport Department."
"Char...ming?" Misaki repeated but didn't thought much of it as he drifted to a dreamless sleep.
"Usami Akihiko...that's his name...you better remember th-Takahashi-kun?" he propped his head on one of his hands and stared at Misaki across him. "Ah well...you must be really tired. Sleep well...Misaki."
chapter end notes:
dance sport olympics of ball room dancing
follow the female role
lead the male lead
THANKS FOR THE TIME^^