Sunday night 10:00 p.m., Fujimoto Residence
"Please Yuki, please, please, pleeeease . . ." Even at the age of eighteen, my twin brother's voice still retained that same annoying tone that he had when we were three years old. I ignored him and continued to stare at the computer screen, typing away lines of code.
Even though we were paternal twins, we looked identical, despite our different genders. We were both six feet tall, with crystal blue eyes and short midnight blue hair. My brother, Kai, was always described as the fun, loud, and outgoing party guy and I was considered the complete opposite. But I liked to think of myself as the silent and studious lone wolf.
Our family consisted of our father, Mori Fujimoto; my twin brother Kai; and myself, Miyuki. Our mother, Fuyumi, died not too long after giving birth to us so we have no recollection of her. But our father loved our mother deeply and never married again, just raising us up with the help of our home staff in Kyoto, Japan. He said that he would never forget her last wishes: to always love their children no matter what they did and raise them up with love. Since then my father has always been supportive and loving to us, making time in his busy schedule to attend our sport tournaments, drama plays, and recitals. Who would ever have thought that the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation, Fujimoto Tech, would be the loudest person to cheer on the sidelines or the most enthusiastic clapper in the audience?
He was also the reason I was trying fend off my wild brother, who had been invited to another frat party this Friday night. Normally it would be okay to let him go, but it just so happened there was an important company function on Saturday afternoon that we all needed to be present for. So my brother tried subtly, but failed miserably, get on Father's good side at the dinner table.
He started by buttering him up with compliments. Saying things like: "Your clothes looked good on you," and "Your hair style looks nice, did you get a hair cut?" Things got even weirder when the food came out on the table.
"Otousan . . . oh, have some roasted pork . . . oh, try some of this, its very good . . . oh, your favorite, you must have some more." My father and I exchanged glances. We both looked skeptically at Kai's sudden kindness. It was obvious that he was up to something.
"What do you want Kai?" Father asked bluntly.
"What would make you think I want something?"
Pointing at his bowl literally overflowing with so much food that you couldn't even see the rice, "This . . . is not you. You're the one who tries to eat everything first and worry about others later. So, what do you want, or do I need to go on?"
"Fine, fine, I'll tell you. But you didn't have to say that stuff about me out loud." With that Kai gave a little pout. I don't think I managed to hide my smirk too well.
"My friends are holding a party on Friday night and I was wondering if I could go."
Ever since entering university we've had an agreement with our father. In exchange for living in the luxury and comfort of our home (including benefits such as an allowance), we had to always inform him of our whereabouts if we were not home by midnight or were away on school related trips especially if it affected any of our family events. Our father was very worrisome. After losing the love of his life, he liked to keep us close to him in hopes that he wouldn't lose us also. We understood this, so we had no complaints. The perks were just an added bonus.
"Kai, you do know that we have to attend a company function on Saturday? Every time you go to one of those parties, you don't come home until seven in the morning . . . and usually you aren't functional until late in the evening. I need you to socialize at the event on Saturday."
"Well, if I promise to come home by one in the morning, would I be able to go?"
Silence . . .
I looked up from my bowl of rice. My father was silently thinking and planning something. A moment later, he grinned mischievously, and finally asked, "What do you do at these parties? Who's going to be there?"
"Well drinking, games, socializing . . . you know, the usual. As to who, my frat buddies and whoever they invite. I'm thinking about 30 people, or so."
"Is it restricted to males only?"
Once my father asked this question, I became wary of where this was going and started to finish eating by bowl of rice fairly quickly. I had a feeling that I didn't want to hear the rest of the conversation. My brother on the other hand was starting to get the hint of what my father was getting at and developed that same gleam in his eyes as my father, only confirming to me that this idea was really not one that I wanted to participate in. Kai shook his head giving a silent no in answer to his father's question.
Putting down my chopsticks and empty bowl, I announced that I was done and got up to quickly exit the dinning room. But just as I reached to open the door, my father said something that made me walk into it instead of opening it.
"You can go, but only if you take Miyuki with you."
+ + + + +
Ever since I was a child, I was not good at socializing. The only people I ever got along with were my father and brother . . . and our dog Hik-chan. So, ever since I was in elementary school, both my father and brother would push me to make friends. Then, in secondary school, my brother became the popular kid and had hoards of girlfriends (he was quite handsome and charming). I, on the other hand, could be found sitting alone in the library studying. My father was worried about me though, and came up with a plan with my brother to push me towards getting boyfriends. Once I knew of the plan though, I came out to them and told them that I wasn't attracted to guys. It took a while for Kai to get it, but my father looked like he was relieved for some reason. I remember asking him about it, and he replied that he wouldn't know how to deal with any guy troubles that I might have . . . and would've needed to ask our housekeeper/chef Mai. But since I liked girls, then things would be much easier, since he had dealt with girl problems before.
+ + + + +
"Come on Yuki, please? Are you even listening to me?" then Kai started to poke me.
"Oh, you're still here? Go to bed." I commanded, breaking out of concentration after finally finishing a project for my part-time job. I took off my reading glasses, glanced at my clock, and realized that it was one in the morning . . . I would have only five hours of sleep before getting up for school. I stood up, stretched my sore shoulders, and went to my private bathroom to wash up and change for bed.
When I came out of the bathroom, I not only found Kai still in my room, but Hik-chan as well, playing with my brother.
"No! No! No!" I stuttered, but it was no use. My brother had brought in the ultimate weapon: the double Fujimoto pout. He knew I couldn't say no. I closed my eyes but I still heard both him and Hik-chan whimper. When I looked up, I saw the sad puppy dog eyes on both of them. Since I have never done the pout myself, I found it quite disturbing seeing my twin do it and knowing that my face was capable of looking like that.
I finally gave in. "Fine, I'll go! Now stop doing that and get out of my room so I can go to sleep!"
The sad frown on Kai's face did a complete 180 and turned into a full-blown smile within the span of a second. I guess that's why he joined the drama club.
"Thank you Yuki, I owe you one. Good night now." Kai then happily waltzed out of my room.
I started towards my bed and noticed Hik-chan, who was sometimes my bed warmer, ready to sleep with me. I whispered, "Traitor. Who's the one that lets you sleep in her bed at night? You're supposed to help me." Hik-chan only tilted her head to the side. I just smiled and got on the bed to scratch behind her ears. Hik-chan then used her nose and paws to nuzzle me and push me down to sleep.
+ + + + +
"It's beautiful love."
I was leaning on my motorcycle near the edge of the curb of an empty mountain highway watching the sunrise. The voice belonged to a girl who was standing with her back facing me. My only reply to that statement was to simply slide my arms beneath hers, wrap them around her waist, and hug her from behind. The girl was soft and warm, and as I lowered my chin to the crook her neck, I smelled the sweet scent of strawberries and peaches. A sense of completeness and peace overcame me whenever I held her close. Her reaction was to lean in closer to me and place her arms on top of mine while entwining our fingers.
"I love . . . "
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
I snapped awake and reached above my head to turn off my alarm clock. I lay there reminiscing about my dream. I always wake up feeling a void of loneliness that I knew only the person in my dream could fill. Ever since I was young, I've had dreams of this same person but I could never remember what she looked like. Knowing that I would never get over my shyness and be that bold to express my feelings like I had in my dreams or even to approach a girl purposefully to ask her out, I learned to just settle with what I have.
As I got up, I glanced at my clock and saw that it was 6:00. I changed into my workout clothes (T-shirt and sweat pants) and headed out. As I got to the front door, I saw Hik-chan with her leash in her mouth eagerly waiting to run with me. As soon as she saw me her tail began wagging at a fast pace.
After running around the neighborhood for 45 minutes we returned home. After I untied her leash, Hik-chan went to the kitchen to find Mai for her breakfast. I headed up to my room to shower and wash up. After my shower I prepared myself for school, which meant binding my already underdeveloped breasts and dressing up like a guy. I started doing this after a very cruel prank during my last year in secondary school, which caused my father to realize that not everyone was accepting of my chosen lifestyle. So my father had to pull a lot of strings in the hope of making my life a bit easier. On all my official records he changed my gender from female to male. Then we all moved from our home in Kyoto to Tokyo. Thanks to my always keeping low-key and my natural tomboyish qualities, he was able to make the press believe that I was a guy instead of a girl. High school went by with no problems and my brother and I both got accepted into Tokyo University last year. Kai was a Business major whereas I was in Mechanical Engineering. I was still my loner self though, even worse than after that prank. I even stopped reaching out to others for fear of getting hurt and betrayed in the end.
I dressed in a plain black T-shirt, a grey hoodie with Tokyo University on the front, and blue jeans. I went downstairs to the dining room to eat breakfast with my father and Kai. I noticed that those two seemed to be conspiring against me because they stopped their conversation once I stepped into the room. I swear, trying to get me hooked up with someone is their only real entertainment. But I wasn't one to get tricked so easily.
"Otousan, I'll be getting home a bit later than usual because our sensei wants to put us through a last minute training session before Wednesday's tournament." I informed my father.
"Okay, should Mai fix you a late dinner?"
"I think the training should end at 8:30. I'll just eat dinner at the school café, but I'll tell Mai I won't be home for dinner."
"Okay, just be careful alright, walk in well lit areas."
"Don't worry Otousan, anyone who decides to attack this 6-foot tall tomboy carrying all his Kendo gear is just plain stupid. I think that our school champion here will just beat a little sense into them." Kai assured our father.
After telling Mai that I wouldn't be home for dinner, I went up to my room to grab my school books and put them in my kendo bag. Then I grabbed my helmet and jacket and went to the garage for my motorcycle. Riding my bike always gave me a thrill, especially at speeds that my bike was designed for. Since we lived on the outskirts of Tokyo, I was able to do this often without getting any traffic tickets.
+ + + + +
After our 18th birthday last year, our father gave us a choice of transportation vehicle as an encouragement and reward for getting our driving licenses. With no hesitation I opted for a motorcycle whereas my brother selected the typical sports car. My father was not surprised at what I picked, since I had a little obsession with speed and motorcycles. So one day after school, I went to my room and found a silver and black helmet, a set of keys, and a note telling me to go to the garage to find a surprise. As soon as I saw the helmet I knew what the surprise was, I just didn't know what the model was. So I picked up the keys and helmet and raced down to the garage. There I screamed like a girl (no pun intended) when I found my father beside my dream bike: an ebony Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. My father was happy to see my rare smile let alone a scream of joy. I was happy that I got THE bike.
+ + + + +
I parked my motorcycle in the parking lot by the athletic building knowing that it'd be a shorter walk for me in the evening. I then headed over to the engineering building to put my stuff away in my locker and only take the stuff that I needed for today. Since it was the summer semester and I had a part-time job working at the headquarters of Fujimoto Tech, I decided to take a light course load and take some of my electives. Anyway, most of my core courses were not offered during the summer semester. These included Programming, Music Composition, and Statistics. Today I had Programming and Statistics lectures in the morning and then a Programming Seminar in the afternoon. After putting my books in my knapsack, I headed out to the lecture hall where my first class of the day was held.
Since the summer semester had just started, the lectures were not as intense as they usually were, mostly just reviews and introductions. I was not in a hurry to get to class. I liked sitting in the back of the lecture halls, so I took the scenic route. Glancing around me, I saw a group of people walking in to class. These people all had smiles on their faces, and were laughing at each other's jokes. Some were in some serious conversations, while the others listened. Watching these people made me wonder if I'd ever have friends like that, people I could share jokes or problems with. But it reminded me that the last time I entrusted people with my feelings it led to that incident in secondary school. I shuddered a little at this reminder and moved a little faster toward the building.
Just as I was about to enter the lecture hall, I saw two people saying goodbye to each other. It was obvious that those two were lovers since they had their hands all over each other and were connected together at the lips. Seeing this made me blush and head in the room to find a seat. Luck was on my side since there was an empty seat at the far back corner. As I set my stuff out to prepare for note taking, I thought back to the girl in my dreams. I wondered if there really was a person to whom I could show affection like the couple at the door. I smirked . . . we would certainly chose a more private setting instead of tongue-dueling each other in public with everyone watching us. Ultimately, I knew that it wouldn't happen in a million years. In reality there's too much risk involved and besides, who would ever want to fall in love with a freak like me. So I just had to accept my fate . . . destined to be alone for the rest of my life. A familiar little pang of depression surged through me followed by small physical ache in my chest. But I had learned to endure this pain and ignore it. The only things that eased the pain were my dreams and focusing on the work at hand, like school or practices. At that point he professor started talking, so I picked up my pen and notebook and began writing.
+ + + + +
After my two lectures, I headed to the university center to grab a quick lunch and chocolate bar before attending my seminar. Chocolate to me was like coffee or energy drinks to most university students. But more, it was also my comfort food, and after the thoughts I had in my Statistics lecture this morning, I decided that I deserved a chocolate bar pick-me up. After eating a sandwich and a strawberry smoothie, I grabbed two more chocolate bars and headed out to the building where most of the seminars were held.
A crowd was gathered in the university courtyard. Thanks to my height, I was able to see above almost everyone's head and read the advertising poster. Apparently there was going to be a fundraising concert held on campus two weeks from Saturday and the guest performer was a rising Japanese idol from Tokyo. Continuing to read the advertisement, I also saw that there was a drawing to win a date with the captain of the boys' basketball team, which was the group planning the event. I then saw my brother, who just so happened to be the team captain, standing beside the box to enter the draw and waving at me like an idiot. But before anyone could see me, I pulled up my hood to conceal my face and then scrammed to the seminar building like there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately, there was someone behind me when I turned around and we collided. Luckily for my good reflexes, I regained my balance and steadied the other person before they could fall. I mumbled a quick apology without even glancing at the person and left before I drew anymore attention to myself.