Story: Coincidence or Fate? (all chapters)

Authors: knightofangst

Back to chapter list

Chapter 1

Title: Chapter 1: Miyuki

[Author's notes:

First time submitting a story. Please review.

Note: All characters are my creations. Also thank you to Beat Unique for betaing.EDIT: Thank you Iddyl for 2nd beta.


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 . . . "


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."

"Hai, hai."

"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.

Chapter 2

Title: Chapter 2: Sakura

[Author's notes: Sorry for being away for so long. My muse had ran away but I tried to write. Here is chapter 2. Enjoy.]

Sunday 7:00 pm, Royal Park Hotel, Tokyo

"That will be all today.  Please look forward to the release of Eva-sama's new album coming out next month.  Have a good night", said the emcee for tonight's press conference.

As I got up to leave, I was surrounded by the guards to make sure that I made it to my private room without any of the reporters getting too close and personal.  I smiled and waved at the cameras as I left.

"Eva-san, look over here please!" CLICK - CLICK!

"Eva-sama, over here please!" FLASH - CLICK!

+ + + + +

Returning to my dressing room, my stylist / big sister / best friend, Setsuna Kochi, helped me take off my makeup and transform me back to my regular self.

My name is Sakura ‘Eva Takahashi' Kochi.  I'm 17 years old, first year university majoring in Visual Arts . . . and also a part-time model and singer.  I was born into a low-middle class family in Kyoto and lived there for 6 years before my parents died in a traffic accident.  Since I had no other relatives, a family friend, Kenji Kochi, offered to adopt and take care of me.  I then moved in with him, his wife Kumiko, and their 14-year old daughter, Setsuna, to Tosashimizu, a small town near Nagano. 

I'm happy to say that, although we are not related by blood, I feel connected to them like an actual family.  I remember when I was first adopted into the Kochi family, I would cry myself to sleep and have nightmares.  Setsuna happened to find me during one of those episodes.  Silently she picked me up and settled down on the bed while cradling me.  I knew I wasn't alone . . . she would always be there for me.  The last thing I remembered that night was her humming a little tune before I fell asleep.  Afterwards, I slowly came out of my shell and opened up to my new family.

+ + + + +


"Ooowww!" I protested as Setsuna gave a more than necessary tug on one of the pins holding the chestnut-brown wig covering up my strawberry-blonde hair (Yup, just like a real family). Setsuna smirked and continued to take out the pins.

"Why don't you take off your make-up instead of day dreaming and making me do all the work?"  I giggled, stuck out my tongue at Setsuna, and started taking off my make-up.

I have always thought of Setsuna as an older sister since she's eight years older and is currently working towards a master's degree in fashion design.  We can always play and tease each other, but at the same time we support and comfort each other if we have problems.  She is why I am Eva Takahashi, the rising idol in Tokyo, and on the other hand, Sakura Kochi, a normal first-year university student.  Setsuna is a makeup and styling genius and because of her I am able to study and attend university without anyone recognising me.


My manager / otousan walks in asking, "Aren't you girls ready yet?  Kumiko phoned and said that dinner's in 20 minutes and she made Hime-chan's favourite dessert."

"Almost ready, once Sakura changes her clothes we should be able to get going."

At the mention of my favourite dessert, I pick up the clothes and accessories that Setsuna laid out on the bed and dash into the bathroom to change quickly, leaving the other two chuckling at my antics. Kumiko Kochi is the top chef recently hired by the Royal Park Hotel and also the creator of my favourite dessert: the Chocolate-Strawberry Tiramisu.  My family knows that by using food, especially The Tiramisu, as an offer, will automatically get me to hurry up and agree to almost anything.

I looked at myself in the mirror after changing and note that my curvaceous figure is hidden under the loose brown cargo pants and black T-shirt that Setsuna had chosen.  On my feet are my favourite pair of blue running shoes instead of those 2-inch heels she made me wear during the press conference.  I tuck my hair under a stylish forest green newsboy cap and to top off everything, a pair of black thick plastic-frame glasses for my emerald green eyes to hide behind.  Then I quickly gathered everything and dumped it into a sports bag Setsuna had provided.

"Hey Sakura, did you lose some weight again?  I wasn't planning for those pants to be that loose on you.  You're supposed to look like my assistant who's in university, not a hobo." mutters Setsuna as she tightens up my pants with a safety pin.  "Sometimes I envy you.  You hardly exercise, eat like a pig, but you still lose weight."

"I can thank my fast metabolism and all the dance practices I go through to prepare for my performances.  If you want to, you can join me."

"Are you kidding?  From what I hear, those practices are even worse than boot camp."

"Okay girls, that's enough for now, you can exchange health tips later in the car.  Now, go, go, go!"

We finally make it to the car after dodging a couple of persistent paparazzi following Otousan to setup an interview with "Eva-san", while not noticing I was right there next to him.  We get into the car and Otousan starts to drive to the rural outskirts of Tokyo where our new home is located.  We moved about a month ago from Nagano to Tokyo.  This decision was based on Okaasan's new job at the hotel and also because of the development in my career and training.  As I stare out the window, I remember how I got into this business in the first place.

+ + + + +

It was during the end of exams for my second year of high school and Setsuna was in her last year.  I was at home supposedly studying for exams but was feeling a bit bored.  It seemed pointless since I already remembered all the material the first time I read it through.  I have a photographic memory and am able to grasp concepts easily.  Due to this ability, I have already skipped several grades.

Being the food addict that I am, I followed my nose to the kitchen and parked myself on a kitchen stool by the counter and watched my mother cook.

"Hmmm ... it smells great Okaasan.  Can I try some?"

"First your medicine and then I'll let you taste the éclairs that are cooling on the rack."

I sat down at the kitchen island as she handed me two tablets and a glass of water.  I have Hypoglycaemia also known as low blood sugar, so I have to take medication daily.  But being a food addict I didn't mind this because I had an excuse for eating more.  Also having a professional chef as a mother does have its perks too.

"Are those chocolate chip cookies I see on the cooling rack also?"

Okaasan shook her head and scooped up two éclairs and a chocolate chip cookie on a plate and placed it in front of me.

"What are you making for lunch?  Can I help?" I asked as I started munching.

"I'm thinking of dumplings and of course you can help."

She put the wrap and meat paste in the middle so that we could both reach.  We gossiped and talked about what was happening at school until we heard the front door open and close.  Setsuna walked in the kitchen looking frustrated.  She had yet to finish her portfolio to hand in as a final project for fashion design.  She what she wanted to major in University but she was lacking a model to show off all of her designs.  I had no clue what made her think of me modelling for her when I was in my mismatched lounging clothes, making dumplings with our mother, and munching on a chocolate chip cookie.

"Oh Hime-chan, what do you say we play dress up and I'll take a couple of pictures of you while we're at it?" Setsuna asked sweetly.

"Uh . . . Onee-chan, you do know that you are talking to a genius who's already an outcast at school because of her intellect.  Now you want to take pictures of me and show the entire school so that they'll tease me even more.  No thank you."

"I can make it so that you'll look completely different . . . no one will recognize you.  Come on, I'm getting desperate here.  My project is due tomorrow and my ability to get into a university depends on this.  You'll be my favourite sister if you do.  I'll even give you my dessert tonight.  Please?"

I blame my soft heart for giving in.  "FYI, I'm your ONLY sister and I'll do it on the condition that people won't recognise me."  I pause, then add, "AND I get your dessert for the next TWO days."

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

It was two hours later that Otousan phoned saying that he couldn't sneak home for lunch because of the auditions.  Otousan worked at a talent agency several blocks from our house and they were always planning ways on how to find new talent.  That day they were holding singing auditions.  I was a little disappointed that Otousan wasn't coming home to taste the dumplings that I helped make (A/N: Sakura was only 8 years old at that time).  Okaasan could see the disappointment on my face so she suggested that we all go to the agency and bring his lunch a surprise.  After hearing that, my frown did a 180 and turned into a full-blown smile.

We were waiting for the receptionist to find a room for us to eat in and contact Otousan.  Setsuna noticed the line of people auditioning wasn't that long with only about five people left.  Being the mischievous one in the family, she shared an idea with me which had popped into her head.  Since I was still in her clothes and make up, I should line up for the auditions and see if Otousan would recognise me, knowing that he was one of the judges.  I quickly agreed since it sounded like fun and it would also be a way to test Setsuna's skill and make sure no one at school would recognise me.  We told Okaasan that I had to go to the washroom and Setsuna should go with me so I wouldn't get lost (since it's known that I have a bad sense of direction).  Then Setsuna gave me her mp3 player and told me to memorize one song while she took care of the paperwork.  Since there wasn't much time, I chose the current song that Setsuna was listening to.  It just so happened to be the song that she used to sing to me to calm me down after the nightmares.  Ten minutes later, I had all the lyrics memorised, but was having a bit of trouble getting my voice to reach the high notes.  My only other challenge was a bit of the rhythm.  This amused me greatly since I usually got the hang of things pretty quickly.  But with an extra bit of concentration, I got it down.

Setsuna came back 10 minutes later.  "Sakura, I helped you register and you have to get in line now.  Are you ready?"  I nodded but kept silent.  Noticing a bit of fear in my eyes she said, "Don't be nervous, it's just a prank and not a real audition, so there's nothing to worry about."  She patted my head to calm me down.

"Ojousama, you may go in after 5 minutes." interrupted one of the workers at the agency.

We both nodded at the worker and then I took several breaths to calm down my racing heart before entering.  Even though I knew it was a prank, something in me felt like it was for real.  As it looked like I was daydreaming again, Setsuna opened the door and shoved me through.  I stumbled into the room and looked around.  There was a microphone that the worker had pre-adjusted to fit my height, but there was no one else in the room.  I was a bit hesitant as to what I needed to do, so I looked like a mannequin, not moving . . . but my heart was beating a mile a minute because I was in an unknown place all by myself.

"Please walk up to the mike and introduce the song you will be performing for us today." a tired voice instructed.  I recognised the voice as Otousan's.  I didn't feel alone or afraid anymore because I knew at least one person in this strange room.  I took a deep breath, introduced the song, and began to sing.

Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight
Someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight

I started a bit hesitantly, but then realised that if no one recognised me and I made a fool out of myself, it wouldn't matter.  I regained my confidence, closed my eyes, and let the music run free.

Somewhere out there someone's saying a prayer
That we'll find one another in that big somewhere out there

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star

And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky

Somewhere out there if love can see us through
Then we'll be together somewhere out there

Out where dreams come true

I didn't hear anything from the judges as I ended.  So I opened my eyes and bowed to clue them in that I was finished.  I then heard a cough and some clearing of throats.  Was that a chuckle that I heard?

"Ahem . . . T-thank you Miss Takahashi.  We will get in contact with you to let you know the results. You may go now," said one of the judges after clearing his voice.  I didn't think I had made it because I sounded bad and they were trying to hold back their laughter.  The lack of comments did not help as well, so I left hurriedly.  When Setsuna asked me how it went I told her what happened.

"Well it's their loss, but we did achieve our main goal.  I don't think Otousan recognised you."  I nodded and we walked together to join Okaasan after asking the receptionist which room she was in.  She asked us why it took us so long to find the washroom and if I was okay.  I replied that I was fine and not to worry.

We were setting up our lunch, but Setsuna had a mischievous smirk on her face.  Okaasan knew that she just pulled another prank and was about to grill her on what we had done, but Otousan came waltzing in, picked up Okaasan, and started to spin her around.  We started laughing at him and Okassan asked him what made him so happy while fixing her clothes and hair.  I hid behind Setsuna so he didn't notice me as he started talking excitedly.

"You know how tired I sounded when I called you?  Well we were having a terrible time at the auditions.  Who knew that there were so many people in Tosashimizu who can't sing a proper tune.  We were reaching the end of the people auditioning today and the rest of the judges and I were ready to pull our hair out when there was a last minute sign-up."

At this, Setsuna stood up straighter as I tugged onto the back of her shirt.  Otousan didn't notice and continued on.

"To say that she had a voice of an angel was an understatement.  She even stunned Mori to silence and you know how strict and picky Mori is.  Even though the delivery of the song was a bit rough around the edges we all agreed that there is a lot of potential since she's so young.  I believe that with enough training she could be the next big star.  Seriously Kumiko, our village is not that big but I haven't seen her before.  Trust me honey, she's a cutie now, but I think when she gets older she's going to be a heart-breaker.  I think her parents are going to have a headache fighting off her suitors when she gets older.

When Setsuna and I heard this we couldn't hold it in anymore and began laughing.  Otousan had a shocked / embarrassed face when he saw me there.  Okaasan was a smart cookie and she figured it out the prank right away.  Otousan was still a bit slow and came up and told me that he was surprised to see me here and asked if I was one of Setsuna's friends.  He needed to talk to my parents before I went into the entertainment industry.  We laughed even harder at that.  Seeing that we were a bit rude and had no reply but laughing, he turned and asked, "Kumiko, where's Hime-chan?  I hope you didn't leave her at home by herself.  She's not old enough to be by herself yet.  Plus you brought all the food here.  She'll be starving." he said worriedly.

I patted him on his arm, "I'm here Otousan so you don't need to worry but I do suggest that you start eating though.  You need to build up your strength to fight off all those suitors for me."  This brought out another round of laughter and when my Otousan put one and one together, he gasped, and chuckled with us.

While we were eating, we came up with reasons why I should or shouldn't enter the entertainment industry.  In the end, we came up with a compromise.  Since I'm almost done with high school, but still plan on going to university, my parents were worried that I'll be even more of an outcast because of my age.  Going through this training would help me understand the entertainment business and help decide what I wanted to choose as a career.  It would also let my age group catch up with me before entering university.

Okaasan was a bit worried, though.  If I did decide to enter into this business, she insisted that Otousan had to watch over me.  Setsuna was all for it.  She had proven her skills and ‘Eva Takahash' would be her showcase.

I quickly finished high school and started training.  The training consisted of singing, dancing, modelling, and acting lessons to cover the major areas and then each had sub lessons.  Overall, it was a big difference compared to high school.  Instead of memorising and grasping concepts, I actually had to work physically at something.  I think I enjoyed this part the most as it was the greatest challenge to me.  I may have been young when my parents died but I still remember one of the important teachings that they had taught me. ‘Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful'.  So based on this teaching and also knowing that they would have wanted me to live a meaningful life, I never gave up even though it was hard work.

+ + + + +

Sunday 9:00 pm, Kochi Residence

After dinner, I went up to my room to prepare for the next day's lectures.  Since it was the summer semester, a lot of my core courses were not offered, so I chose Statistics and three electives as well: Photography, Nutrition, and Marketing.  My record company had taken advantage of my situation and pushed up the release date of my debut album, so there was a caboodle of promotional events to do.  I took out my books from my bag and started reading the first couple of chapters for each course to prepare for the coming week.  Sometime later, I found myself a bit tired and looked up at my clock, then down at my books, and shook my head.  In three hours, I'd read 3 weeks worth of lecture material for each course.  Sometimes I get too focused and loose track of time until my body tells me to take a break.  There was a knock on my door just as I was getting ready for bed.  I looked up from my bed to see Setsuna carrying a duffle bag and a hanger with clothes.

"Hey Hime-chan, here's your clothes for tomorrow."

"Why did you bring my workout bag here as well?"  I dropped the bag in the corner and hung up my clothes in my practically bare closet.  Nearly all my clothes were in a closet in Setsuna's room and every night she picked out the clothes that I would need for the next day (including work and school) so that my double identity would not be exposed.  The only clothes that I had in the closet in my room were the ones that I lounged around at home and my pyjamas.  Setsuna frowned at my choice of clothing whenever she saw my closet because, according to her, my closet was a fashion disaster.

"Well, I just got off the phone with one of my group members and we need to stay a bit late on campus tomorrow to plan out next week's fashion show.  Then after I hung up, your dance teacher called and said that he has an emergency appointment and can't make it for Tuesday, so he booked one of the studio rooms in the university gymnasium for a make up practice.  He said that usually he'd let his students take a break in these instances but you need all the practice you can get." giggled Setsuna.

As I was not 18 yet (but I would be by the end of that year) I was not legally able to drive yet.  And since I lived at home, which is located on the outposts of Tokyo, Setsuna usually drove me to and from university.

"Hey, no fair, it's not my fault!  Have you ever thought that the choreography is just too hard or he can't teach that well." I replied with a pout.

"Sure, whatever you say Hime-chan.  Anyway, I told him of my little situation and the timing just fits his schedule as he is in Tokyo tomorrow night.  So tomorrow it'll be 7:00 to 10:00 in Studio B at the gymnasium.  I should be finished around that time, but wait for me at the coffee shop in the student center and then we can go home.  Okay?"

"I don't have a choice, do I?"

"Not really, but that's the price of stardom.  Goodnight Hime-chan."

After Setsuna closed the door, I turned off my lights and laid back down on the bed to sleep off the misery.

+ + + + +

It's beautiful . . .

I'm standing a couple of meters away from the mountain cliff and can see the sun starting to peek out from beyond the horizon.  The rays of light start to bring light and warmth to everything they touch.  I'm captivated, when suddenly a pair of arms come up from behind to wrap me in a gentle embrace.  Glancing at the hands around me I note that they do not belong to anyone in my family.  Too slender to be Otousan's and too big to be Okasan or Setsuna's.  I normally struggle with the stranger to free myself but the feeling of the embrace is too overwhelming.  It gives me a sense of security and comfort.  I forget about all the stress and weight put on me by my work and other miserable happenings.  I cuddle up closer to this stranger knowing somehow they'll keep me safe and do me no harm.  I place my arms on top of the stranger's and entwine our fingers.  I study the differences and search for clues to their identity.

"I love . . . "

+ + + + +

PAT, PAT, PAT . . .

Opening my eyes, I saw Okaasan patting me on the arm to wake me up.  I slowly woke up to a light breakfast in bed: French toast, water, and, of course, my meds.

"Wakey, wakey.  There's more food downstairs, so wash up before your Otousan eats it all."

"Thank you Okaasan." I replied.  After she left, I could smell a lingering scent of the food that she had cooked.  French toast and a baked goody of some kind with blueberries.  I looked at the clock and it said 6:00 am.  I had one hour before Setsuna and I would leave for school.  I gathered my stuff and headed to the bathroom to freshen up.  As I entered the bathroom, I heard Setsuna snoring.  Even though we had separate rooms, we shared a common bathroom.  I decided that a little payback is in order for last night.  After quickly washing up, I let myself into Setsuna's room.  I tried to make as little noise as possible even though Setsuna was a deep sleeper.  By analysing her position on the bed and figuring out the most effective points, I initiated my attack and tickled her awake.


"HA, HA, HAA - I'm a-wa-ke - HA, HA. S-stop, pul-lease stop!"

Sensing that my revenge was rightfully justified, I quickly retreated before Setsuna was fully awake and come back with a counter-attack.  Just before leaving, I said to her. "You better hurry up or I'll eat all your breakfast."  After changing and packing my stuff, I went downstairs to have breakfast and greet my parents.

+ + + + +

"Ohayo. Itatakimasu."

Once again, I'm thankful for a cook as great as Okaasan.  There were freshly baked blueberry-strawberry muffins, French toast, croissants, fruit, juice, and hot cocoa. 

Everyone in the family is a picky-eater with the exception of me.  Otousan prefers muffins with coffee in the morning.  Okasan likes croissants and juice.  Setsuna likes French toast and hot chocolate.  I, on the other hand, will eat just about anything given to me except for exotic foods.

"Hime-chan, I've packed lunch and dinner for you two as Setsuna has already told me that you're staying late.  Make sure you remember to eat.  Did you pack your meds with you?"

"Yes, Okaasan." I replied.

"If you're still hungry, use your meal-card to buy something.  I don't want to hear from Setsuna that you fainted again."

"But Okaasan, it's only happened twice."

"Three times if you count the first time when we didn't know about your condition," said Setsuna as she came down into the kitchen to eat.

"Three or two, it's still more than enough for me.  I like my girls to be safe and healthy, thank you very much.  Okasan is getting old and can't endure that much excitement anymore."

"Don't worry Okasan I'll remind her today.  As the most responsible one in the family, you have my word." Setsuna said.  At this we all giggled since we knew Setsuna was any thing but.  Otousan then interrupted this banter saying, "Girls you have one hour before class begins, so I suggest you hurry up."

+ + + + +

On the drive to school, I reflected upon my dream.  It was not the first time I had that type of dream.  They took place in different settings but always this same stranger would embrace me from behind and I would never see the their face.  But I knew it was the same person because I always feel safe, peaceful, relaxed, and comforted.  I questioned myself, "Will I ever get to meet this person in reality?  At least, when will I see this person's face in my dream?  Do I want to start searching for this person?"  As I sat in the car on my way to school, I came up with more questions but no answers, except for one: take it as it comes and don't get worked up over things that may not happen.  I had enough on my plate as it was with work and school.

After we parked at the university, we headed to one of our rented lockers to drop off some of our load.  Since my lunchtime did not fit with Setsuna's, I told her that I'd have it in the library and catch up on my language homework from work.  Today I had a statistics lecture in the morning, followed by a photography lecture.  Then finally, after lunch, I had a Nutrition lab.  By then, Setsuna and I would eat dinner and split up afterwards.

+ + + + +

As usual, I was one of the first people in the lecture hall.  I took my usual seat near the front and took out my things to prepare for the lecture and notes while the other students entered.  The lecture was uneventful except for the announcement of a final project worth 30% of our final mark.  The outline would be handed out in the following week's lecture.  I suspected that it was the professor's attempt at getting students to just attend the lecture.

Then during my photography lecture, the professor gave us an assignment that was due at the end of the month: an essay with pictures taken by ourselves as supporting evidence on nature's miracles vs. emotional interpretation.  In order to prove that we had taken the photographs, we were not allowed to use digital cameras and we had to provide the role of film.  I liked this as I thought that the professor was testing our skills.

While I was walking to my locker to get my lunch, I started to brainstorm the possible places where I could take pictures for the assignment and how to communicate my emotions effectively.  Having a perfect memory doesn't mean perfect marks.  I have problems expressing thoughts and emotions.  Thus I chose this field not only because of my interest in photography, but also to work on my weak points.  Hitting two birds with one stone as Otousan says.  Since my dance lesson was cancelled, I planed to use the next morning as a scouting trip to get some inspiration and pictures.

So as I was walking towards the crowded student center plaza, a man in front of me suddenly stopped, turned around, and collided with me, which in turn made me nearly fall.  Note the word "nearly" because he held onto me to steady the both of us.  For the briefest time that I was held, it was almost déjà vu as the feeling was as familiar as the stranger in my dreams.  I tried to look at the stranger's face, but he mumbled a soft apology and ran away.  It took me a second to recover from the shock and when I turned to get a glimpse of "my" stranger, he was already gone.  Since the duration of this encounter only lasted about a couple of seconds, I wrote it off as wishful thinking.  Maybe I had been rationalising about my dream too much this morning

I saw a large crowd and wandered ahead to see what the big fuss was about.

It appeared that there was a fund-raising concert scheduled with a guest performance by up and rising idol "Eva Takahashi" whom I had never heard of.  Since Otousan and Setsuna handled my schedule, I'd let them bring it up themselves.  But if they didn't mention anything by the next night, then there would be some serious grilling. 

My stomach was growling by the time I settled down in the library and started working on my Korean and English homework that I got from training at work.

+ + + + +

My Nutrition lab went overtime so I had a rushed dinner with Setsuna.  Then it was off to the change room at the gym.  I got to the studio room, but Sai-Sensei was not there yet, so I decided to warm up and start practising by myself.  So I put in my personal CD and started stretching to the first track.  Then at the second track I started the dance I was working on for my own development.  Since no one was there, I let the music lead me and I got lost in the music and the beat.  Gliding across the room looked effortless, but in reality I was sweating like a pig.  I continued on until the end of the song.


I suddenly froze and slowly turned around.  Once I saw who it was I relaxed and went to get a drink from my water bottle.

"You still need to work on the rhythm and add a bit more emotion.  But how many times have I said to keep your eyes open.  As a performer, you want to capture people's attention and nothing beats eye contact.  Now if you can only perform like that in front of an audience." commented Sai-Sensei.

"Sensei, I can't even do this in front of YOU, not to mention my family.  Now you expect me to dance in front of countless strangers?" I asked.

"I have plans for that.  Here, I checked with your schedule."  Sai gave me a white slip of paper with nothing but an address written in his scribbles.  "Come to this address on Friday.  Set-chan knows of this as well so she'll prepare and accompany you there."

"This isn't like last time when I had to dress up as a clown and prance around?" I asked apprehensively.

"This will be different.  That was a practice to build up your confidence when performing in front of an audience.  Besides the clown idea was Set-chan's but don't tell her I told you." he said with a wink.

"Sure, whatever you say.  I still have nightmares about it though.  So I blame the both of you."

"Anyway, it still got the job done.  Everyone enjoyed your show and now you feel less apprehensive in front of crowds, right?"

I sighed reluctantly and answered, "Well, I guess . . . "

"So case closed.  Quit stalling and let's get back to work.  What you did was passable but not yet up to my standards.  So there's still a lot of work to be done.  Today we're going to work on your popping and locking skills."  Sai ended the argument and started up the music.


Chapter 3

Title: Chapter 3: Stress and Frustration

[Author's notes:

 There is nothing that I can say that will explain the long long delay but I am working on this story and will be finishing at some point in the future.

 text = Thoughts

TEXT = Sounds


After my seminar, I got myself a light dinner at the student center before kendo practice. Then as usual I went to change in one of the shower stalls of the male change room. People just think that I'm just shy because of this. The guys on the kendo team are afraid to tease me about this since they are afraid that I'll beat them more during practices which happened the last time.

On my walk from the change room I passed a hallway of studios. Most were empty at the moment except for one and there was music coming from it.

Ooh . . . I'm not
You average type of girl
I'm gonna show the world the strength in me
That sometimes they can't see
I'm about to switch my style
And soon things may get wild
But I will prove I can conquer anything
So from my head to toe I'm taking full control
I'll make it on my own
This time
(Better watch me shine)

The door was slightly ajar so I decided to close the door so the music won't disturb others. When I peered in due to my curiosity, I was a bit mesmerized by what I saw.

Better watch out
Going for the knockout
And I won't stop
Till I'm on top now
Not gonna give up
Until I get what's mine
Better check that I'm about to upset
And I'm hot now
So you better step back
I'm taking over
So watch me shine

There was a girl who was practicing by herself but that was not the reason that drew me in. No, the thing that drew my attention was the grace and determination that she carried even though she was giving it her best effort. I could tell this by judging how her shirt was starting to cling to her body because of her sweat. Noticing that I was staring at her body, I began to warm up and blush. So I then glanced up to see how this . . . angel . . . looks like. My angel had her eyes closed so I couldn't see what colour they were but if I had to guess they would be as mesmerizing as the smile that was on her face: a care free smile that reveals that she is really enjoying what he is doing now. Her smile is so infectious that I started to smile a bit myself.

"AHEM. If you're done enjoying the show, can I get to my lesson?" a voice asked questioningly behind me.

I turned around and saw that a guy, a bit shorter than me, waiting for me to unblock the door. From how he dressed, I could also tell that this guy was a dancer as well. I quickly mumbled an apology, grabbed my gear to head to practice.

Due to my embarrassment that I got caught starring at someone I appeared a bit flustered when I arrived at the practice room.

"Ooohhh, I wonder what has our normally cool and collected Yuki-kun all ruffled up? Or should I ask who?" as one of my teammates named Ren Suzuki. At the sound of his annoying voice I focused on my thoughts and collected myself right away. Ren is considered my rival on the team. He is a business major and very savvy with his words and also considered a ladies' man. This is the complete opposite of me: the rebel with few words to say. But I still beat him at kendo so I think because of this reason he has always given me a hard time. If I had to compare him to someone though, he is almost like Kai but ten times worse in a mean way. But I have enough practice at home from my brother and father, so his teasing does not faze me and I can easily ignore him. One of the perks through is that I can hit Ren as hard and as much as I want in the kendo club without a scolding from my father.

"Sorry to disappoint you Suzuki-san but I'm just a bit restless. But thank you for volunteering to be my sparring buddy today." I calmly replied with a smirk of my own.

At this the others on the team started to laugh out loud and Ren started to get all huffy and puffy.

"Okay kiddies it's time to get serious. The preliminaries are on Wednesday. Sensei is stuck in a meeting today so I will lead this last practice" announced the team captain. "Let's begin with warm-ups and then actual sparring."

To save Suzuki-san some dignity, let's just say he practiced really "really" hard and I got to work out some of my frustration. Then when practice was officially done I stayed behind to work on my forward strokes and a bit of meditating so that most of the guys have cleared out of the change room. As I passed "the" studio my curiosity got the better of me and I peered in. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed that no one was there anymore.

Wait a minute. Why am I disappointed? Didn't I already write off the relationship thing this morning and it can only happen in dreamland?

But you can just admire right? Admiring from afar doesn't mean automatically qualify entering into a relationship immediately. Right? You can always begin as friends.

Who are you? Why are you inside my head?

The voice didn't answer. So I turned around to make sure if it was just my imagination. Seeing no one there I calmed down a bit. One thing I didn't like about leaving late was that the hallways get kind of eerie at night. Kind of like the ones in the horror movies. I might be a kendo champ and can go against someone who may look ten times stronger or tougher than me. But my family knows one thing that will turn me into a scaredy cat: horror movies. I tend to have a wild imagination so after or even when I'm watching horror movies I would tremble, tremble, feel jumpy, and or try to hide. So based on this fact, I quickly went to change.

+ + + + +

Since I was hungry, I decided to go to the student center café to get a light snack before heading home. Looking over the choices available for snacks in the café, I picked a small bowl of spaghetti. For dessert I noticed that there was only one chocolate flavoured tiramisu left. So as I reached for it, my hand bumped into someone else's.

"Sorry." we both apologized at the same time. I glanced to see whose hand I bumped into and I saw a strawberry blonde wearing glasses looking at me.

"You can have it." We both say again at the same time.

The girl starts to giggle and I get that familiar rush of nervousness whenever I'm around a female but also at the same time I get the feeling of déjà vu. Not liking this feeling I take the cup of tiramisu and put it on her tray and walk over to the frozen yogurt section to grab something else. Then I stoically went to pay and find a corner to settle down and eat in.

Well that went well. At least you survived.

Oh be quiet whoever you are.

. . .

As predicted the voice was silent again. As there are many people around me I am not afraid of the voice. I take a look around and no one seems to be talking to me so I know it is just in my head. Since it is my head I logically know that it is just my conscience and imagination. But whichever one it is I can sense that there is no ill intent but just reason so I continued to eat.

While eating my mind wandered back to my Angel. I wonder who she is? Will I see her again?

I started to finish my drink when I glanced at my watch and I nearly ruined my shirt. For some reason with all the conversations going in my head and reminiscing about my "angel" time had passed by quite quickly. I quickly cleaned up and walked out to the parking lot. After I had secured all my stuff I put on my helmet and sped away home. The only block was a little green "Bug" that was slowly chugging away on my freeway but that was only a second before I easily passed it and made it just before midnight so father was not too worried.

After a short chastise from Mai our cook about the requirements of a healthy dinner that she cooks compared to the university cafeteria, I prepared for bed and fell into dreamland.

This time in dreamland I find myself in a third person role as I see myself from behind and this time I'm holding someone again.

What is with me and cuddling? Softy much?

I walk towards myself and the stranger and I hear that I'm whispering words of comfort into the person's ear. I blush at this and look away as this is the first time to see myself that I can be this affectionate. Looking at my surroundings I see that I'm in a concert hall and based on the way that I'm dressed that this is another recital of sort.

I stay behind the curtain as dream-me and the stranger walk toward the stage. Dream-me goes sit at the piano while the other person walks up to the microphone. I'm still not able to see this person's face though as I can only see everyone's back. I can tell that she is female and has blonde hair. My observation was distracted as a melodic introduction was played on the piano.

I close my eyes to try and think if I have heard of this piece before. I deduced that it is one of my own compositions because I recognize my some of my signature motifs here and there throughout the entire performance. As the music ends and the audience applaud I notice that singer just about to collapse when taking a bow. I try to move forwards to catch her but I feel like I'm being pulled backwards and trip. Everything seems like going in slow motion as I brace myself preparing for the impact of the floor and close my eyes.


When I feel like I've hit the floor I open my eyes and slightly jump on my bed. There's a thunder storm outside and as I glance at my digital clock it reads 5:00 AM. I realized that I just had another one of those dreams again but the feeling of unable of to help a person in need brought back unwanted memories so going back to sleep was out of the question.

I decided to do some laps in the pool to clear my mind. I like to swim but I don't get to do it as often due to my schedule and I don't like "exposing" myself.

After doing some laps at the pool my time seemed to fly by quickly. I took a quick shower and seeing that the rain had stopped and the sun was out. I decided to take my motorcycle again today but had a little argument with my father that it was safe. The morning lecture went by quickly and I had free time until a late afternoon course. The lack of sleep and stress of this morning had caught up to me so I decided to just put away everything and take a stroll around campus with no destination in mind. I took an early lunch and somehow found myself in the botanical gardens. I chose to site under one of the sakura trees to shade me from the sun. There was no one around that I can see so it was very peaceful when the silence was combined with the surrounding nature. My lack of sleep caught up to me and I fell asleep.

[End notes: The song included in this chapter is Watch Me Shine by Joanna Pacitti and I'm just borrowing the lyrics.]

Chapter 4

Title: Chapter 4: Dreams

[Author's notes: Disclaimer: Lyrics translation by x3Yesung of Soompi. Song title is A Goose's Dream by Insooni. Enjoy!]

The guy put the cup of dessert on my tray. I couldn\'t help but giggle and stare as he walked away because of the cute blush he was adorning but also because of the gentlemanly act. I then also went to get some other snack as well as I had worked up an appetite during practice. After paying for my late night snack, I tried to find a seat. I glanced around first to see if Setsuna had arrived. There are not a lot of people with green hair so a quick glance was sufficient. I didn\'t see her so I picked an empty seat near the corner facing the door so that I can see Setsuna when she enters. My stomach started growling so I began to dig into my snacks. By the time that I was done Setsuna still had not arrived so I got a drink and brought out my books to get started with my homework and assignments.

I finally received a phone call from her at 11:00.

 "Setsuna where are you? Do you know what time it is?"

"Sorry Hime-chan, our meeting went overtime. Where are you?"

I scanned the entrance and I see Setsuna wandering about.

"Turn 90 degrees to your right. Do you see me now?" I asked hoping not to resort to waving her over so others don\'t get confused at thinking that I\'m waving at them and hence getting unwanted attention.

I see Setsuna nod and hang up. She walks up quickly saying, "Start packing we want to leave now or okaasan is going to send a search team."


"Speak of the devil ... Hello? ... Yes I know what time it is. My meeting went overtime. We\'re leaving now ... Sakura? Yeah, she\'s here ... hold on," Setsuna handed me her phone and helps me pack up.

"Hi Okaasan," I say as we walk out towards the car.

"How are you Hime-chan? Did you take your meds yet? Are you still hungry? I can get something whipped up and ready to eat by the time you get home."

"I\'m fine and yes I had some late night snacks while waiting for Setsuna. I think I\'m too tired to eat anymore. We\'re coming home now so don\'t worry."

"Well ok. Tell Setsuna to drive safely, its dark outside."

"Okay I will tell setsuna that. See you later" I reply with a giggle.

"What did Okaasan say?" Setsuna asked as we got in the car.

"She told me to tell you to drive safely, its dark outside."

+ + + + +

As Setsuna drove home I looked out the window and admired the scenery outside. I noted the difference between living in the city and the country side: the colourful lights vs. the open sky, noise vs. silence, and etc.


A motorcycle had just past us while we were going home.

"Woah, what\'s the rush?" commented Setsuna. "See that Hime-chan, that is bad when driving. You should follow me. Slow and easy alright?"

"Yeah so slow that you got a ticket for driving too slowly. Should I mention that it takes twice the time to get from school to home compared to otousan when he drives?"

"You keep that up and we\'ll see who will let you practice with their car."

"Now that you mention it, are you going with me to get my learner\'s permit?" I asked hoping to change the subject.

"That\'s in 2 weeks but I won\'t be able to go with you. Most likely Otousan will go with you." Inwardly I was anxious as I knew that I could convince Otousan to give me a mini lesion right after getting the learner\'s permit.

When we arrived home we followed the normal routine: report to Okaasan that we\'re home safely, little snack for me even though I said I wasn\'t hungry, shower, then bedtime.

+ + + + +

"Everyone give a hand to welcome the one and only Eva Takahashi!!!"


I look around and I\'m on the side stage and from what I can see around me I\'m at a formal event based on how everyone was dressed in the audience and what I\'m wearing. But looking at the siave of the audience I stop and am afraid to go out past the curtains. My fear of performing of others has made my fee freeze.

What in the world am I doing here? I can\'t go out there! What am I supposed to do? Am I singing? What are the lyrics?!

As I\'m standing there thinking this, a reassuring arm wraps around me. Then a gentle voice whispers in my ear, "I\'ll be right there with you. If you want you can come sit with me on the piano bench. I certainly don\'t mind. You\'ll do great cause I believe in you so ... relax." With this my stranger gives me an encouraging squeeze and a kiss at the top of my head.

Realizing that its my stranger that is holding me from behind, my nervous spell is broken as my curiosity gets the best of me. I don\'t get a chance to look behind me though because I\'m led out on the stage and my stranger walks over to the piano bench to sit down so I can only see the back of this person as they sit down on the piano bench. As I turn back to the audience a calm melodic introduction begins but for some reason I\'m not afraid. My stranger\'s last words repeating in my head that they believe in me.

So I follow that advice and take deep slow breathes. Somehow the lyrics and melody start coming out of my mouth.

I have a dream,
Even if I\'m thrown away or ripped to shreds
Deep in my heart
I have a dream as precious as gem

If by chance, without a reason,
Somebody ridicules me behind my back
I should be patient
I would wait just for that day.

As you always worry,
You say that foolish dreams are poisonous.
Just like a book that tells us about the end of the world
There\'s the reality that we can\'t turn back already

Yes I have a dream.
I believe in that dream
Please watch over me
Standing in front of that cold wall called fate
I can firmly face it

One day I will pass over that wall
And be able to fly
As high as the sky
This heavy thing called life can\'t tie me down
At the end of my life, on the other day that I can smile, let\'s be together

At the piano solo I take up on my stranger\'s offer and take a seat beside them on the piano bench. Gaining the courage to let my voice all out when I lean into my stranger.

Yes I have a dream.
I believe in that dream
Please watch over me
Standing in front of that cold wall called fate
I can firmly face it

One day I will pass over that wall
And be able to fly
As high as the sky
This heavy thing called life can\'t tie me down
At the end of my life, on the other day that I can smile, let\'s be together

As the music ends I take my bow but as I rise up I slightly falter as I start to have a dizzy spell. An arm immediately goes around me to hold me up.

"I\'ve got you. Follow my lead," is whispered into my ear by my stranger\'s husky voice. I try to get a glimpse of my stranger\'s face but the bright spotlight was in the way only casting my stranger\'s face in the shadows.

"I guess staying up late was not a good idea but I don\'t regret it." I slowly say as I pass out and the last thing I remember is falling into protective and gentle arms.

Once I heard that I tried to concentrate but I think I must have missed taking my pills again.

+ + + + +

I slowly wake up and notice its 10 minutes before I usually wake up. I take a look around me and feel so empty and lonely. I take hold of the picture frame by the table beside my bed. In the picture are my birth parents and I when I was still a baby and we were on a trip to visit my now adoptive family. This is my family and everyone is smiling.


I look up to see Okaasan opening the door and say, `time to get ready for school Hime-chan.``

After she said that, she notices that I`m holding the picture frame and a bit teary-eyed. Okaasan comes into my room and gives me a comforting motherly hug.

It became a habit of mine to hold onto this picture whenever I feel lonely and/or miss my parents so it is a known fact in the family that I need comfort at these times.

"Arigato Okaasan".

"I\'m always here for you Hime-chan. Now get up so Otousan does not need to eat breakfast by himself. I\'ll go wake-up Setsuna."

After breakfast I still have not heard anything about a concert performance at school so there will be questions during tonight\'s dinner time.

+ + + + +

When Setsuna and I arrived at school I decided to go to the journalism club to see if there is any work to be done since I am one of the photographers for the university paper.  When I arrived at the club room it was in chaos as it turned out a sempai had broken their arm so the editor-in-chief were looking for a replacement for photographing tomorrow\'s Kendo tournament.

This was my first really big opportunity so I of course said yes and he gave me the details.

After accepting this position I quickly informed Otousan of the good news and to clear my schedule for that day. After all that was settled i still had some time so I decided to take some pictures of the campus gardens to see if I can get started on my photo essay.

Entering the gardens I sense that I\'ve arrived to another location as I instantly notice the difference between the busy streets of Tokyo that I saw last night compared to the silence and peaceful greenery and flowers surrounding me. I took picture after picture as I walk deeper into the gardens. As I got to the far end, I noticed a figure under a Sakura tree and I decided to go closer to see if the person was alright. Once I got close enough I knew that the person was just sleeping. I decided to take some pictures as I thought that it would be a great example for my photo essay.


I was clicking away try to take them at different angles when all of a sudden a pair of clear blue eyes stare up into mine and the next thing I knew I was on my back and straddled by this stranger with my hands above my head.

[End notes: Sorry for the cliffy but stay tuned for Chapter 5.]

Back to chapter list