Disclaimer: The author respects the rights of Tachibana Higuchi, creator of Gakuen Alice.
Prompt 1: Afternoon Tea – Kitsuneme
Genre: Hurt / Comfort
There was a girl.
'Son, there's always a girl.'
In my head, that's how this story began and ended. The day I met her, all I wanted was sweet potato cheesecake and there was only one place in Central Town where I could find it. That's where I went and that's where The Encounter happened.
'Son, encounters could change your life.'
This one did, even if the change only lasted two weeks. I walked into the maid café as a hungry customer. I came out a different person. Looking back I should have just gone to my seat, focused on the potato cheesecake and stayed oblivious to everything else. Unfortunately, I looked up. The girl with long blond curls and startling blue eyes was right in front of me.
'You were a goner.'
I was a goner. I didn't think it was possible to fall that fast. Maybe it was my Alice that did me in. I've always floated in the air so when I fell, I simply crashed. I could've survived it too. If I had stayed in my seat far away from her coy smile and dainty gloves, I'd have walked out of there unharmed. She sat alone in white frills and lace. Who wears things like that in the Academy? I didn't stand a chance. I approached her with confidence I never possessed before. We got acquainted.
'The Encounter was complete.'
For two weeks after that, I returned to the café, seeking her company. She was lovely and I've never used that to describe a girl before. She would look at me with a sparkling gaze and I felt like I could do anything. She seemed so small and delicate. She brought out a protective streak in me and I didn't even know I had one. For the first time in my life, I was grounded— and not in the way parents punish their children. I felt like my feet were solidly attached to the earth because I had somewhere I needed to be and I wasn't in any hurry to take off again.
'She turned you into a Romantic.'
She. Turned. Me. Into. A Romantic.
She ruined me. I let her ruin me and for a fortnight I didn't know any better. I should have gotten an idea though because there was something very strange about her. She was just so clean all the time. I found it fascinating at first but when I remember it now, she shouldn't have been that polished. How could her clothes stay immaculately smooth after taking the Central Town bus? How could she eat scones and other pastries without ever getting confectionary sugar on her clothes?
'It's a mystery.'
And it stayed a mystery until we went our separate ways. I should probably backtrack a bit and be more accurate. We didn't go our separate ways so much as she shoved me out of her life when she found that it suited her. I could still remember the way she looked at me that day. It was cold. It was a cold, heartless move delivered in white, frilly lace.
"You don't want to have tea with me anymore?" I had asked in a half-bewildered, half-manic state. I felt my ass leave the seat as my Alice inadvertently kicked into gear. She saw it too.
"Don't make a scene," she spoke calmly over her tea cup, one pinky up. There had been nothing delicate about her at that moment. Nothing at all. She wasn't lovely. She didn't sparkle. She was a well-bred pitiless debutante with fangs. "Suffice to say, we're not compatible."
'You shouldn't have asked.'
It was a hard lesson earned.
"You're much too rough around the edges, Kitsu," she had said in a carefully condescending tone. "Why, you've been coming here for two weeks now and you still use your butter knife to finish your salad. You just don't make an effort."
Eating a salad was the effort. At her words, at the utter emptiness and shallowness of her answer, I felt myself crash for the second time that month. This time though, my vision was clear when it happened. I tossed my napkin onto the table and stood. I walked out of there with as much dignity as I could muster and in no time I was telling my best friends all about the ordeal.
'Payback is sweet, potato cheesecake sweet.'
I returned to the café two days later. As I expected, she was sitting at our table and without hesitation, I planted myself across her.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm going to order steak at three o'clock in the afternoon and I'm going to enjoy it. I'm going to follow it up with a kiwi parfait and a chocolate milkshake. I'm going to binge."
"Why are you-?"
"Hey buddy," Koko suddenly greeted then to my surprise my friend grabbed a chair and joined the table. Before either of us could react, Mochu, Ruka, Natsume and Yuu were there to join the party. We were a group of seven occupying a table for four.
She was aghast. "This is most irregular!"
"No, this is rude," Yuu corrected her. "But you already know all about rudeness, right?"
"Of course you are," Mochu snickered. Then he grabbed the menu and they started ordering ice cream and crepes. She sat there for about ten minutes then when we seemed to have embarrassed her enough with our noise and our laughter and our being ourselves, she stood up and swung out of the room in a lacey blur. The table grew quiet.
"You didn't have to come," I said softly.
In answer, Natsume raised a scone, which he had been eating with his bare hands, his knife and fork completely forgotten. Ruka grinned. "We've got your back."
I never saw her again after that day. She might have found another café or maybe she stopped wearing so many frills so I didn't recognize her. We never encountered each other in school so it wasn't really a surprise that we didn't run into each other after.
So in my head, that's how this story began and ended. There was a girl.
'Son, there's always a girl.'
Yes, until there wasn't any more.