Story: Lotus and Cranes (chapter 2)

Authors: Jdwheels

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Chapter 2

Title: Chapter 2: Life Complications

[Author's notes: Akimi has barely been in Japan for a day... she meets two people that just may change her life.  at least they will make her new life interesting.]

Chapter Two - Life complications




I slept a lot that arrival day, and I even went to bed early as well after doing a little unpacking... mainly of my clothes. I was too tired to gather out what little else I had packed, but doing it tomorrow would not take very long... The travelling had wore me out to the point that I could barely function, and my body just made it clear that it needed sleep. When I climbed the stairs that night to my new room, it was labourious and I nearly just decided to sleep on the stairs.

I did not see either my Uncle or Cousin very much other than at supper that night... witch suited me just fine. Uncle Sadato went off to do some work in a back room and I had no idea where Teru had went off to. They were somewhat nicer to me through the entire meal, but that came with both of them speaking to me very sparingly. I was glad, as my exhaustion might have let my frustrations out onto them... doing that on my first day would not have been good.

The next day broke sunny and held the potential of being very hot. I awoke and I felt better. I rolled over in my new bed and just layed there. The silence of my Uncle’s house was very pleasing to be waking up in. I looked at the clock on the table next to me... and it was fifteen minutes to six in the morning.

" Oh no..." I grumbled.

It was probably that I had slept so long that I was up this early... but from the noises I was hearing, I was not alone. I could hear water starting to run in the bathroom next to my room, obviously Teru was awake and probably showering for school. Smells of food cooking told of a family that was up very early. This was usual, I thought... forgetting that school over here started earlier and went a later.

As I layed there, realizing that the culture shock was starting up already... my exhaustion had made forget about simple things like this. I was then thinking about getting up when a soft Knock came at the door.

" Are you awake, Akimi-San??" Asked the Maid through the closed door.

" I am..." I replied, settling that it was time for me to wake up.

The woman came in to my room and gave me a look of curiosity as she did.

" Your not out of bed yet, Akimi-san?" She said. " Everyone else is up as usual."

" Just waking up, Yui." I said, throwing the covers off of me.

Yui looked at my sleeping attire, and made a face of surprise with a hint of a wee little grimace. I was wearing a long black T-shirt that fell to my mid thigh and that was it, just like I have done for years. It was just straight, completely plain black and was sort of form fitting without revealing anything.

" Don’t you not have anything nice to sleep in other than that shirt, Akimi-chan?" She asked, almost hesitantly.

I was surprised with the woman’s question. I never had anyone ever comment on what I wore to bed before.

" This is just my sleepwear..." I replied, not really knowing what else to say to her. " I have slept in just a t-shirt for years."

" Just that? Not even any real pyjamas?" The woman asked, looking at what I was wearing.

" Yes... just this" I replied, not quite understanding the big thing about what I wore to bed.

Yui just nodded and started to leave the room, seemingly accepting my sleeping habit. I just grabbed a little clear zipper bag filled with my toothbrush and other things to wash up with, to start my morning ritual when the woman stopped just shy of exiting the room entirely

" I almost forgot, Akimi-san..." She said with a little gasping noise. " Breakfast is almost ready... you are to join the family." She said. " It is a tradition in this household to always gather for meals."

" Thank you... will be down." I said.

" I will tell them that, Akimi-san" She said bowing.

She bowed again and then headed out of my room to head down stairs. I took this time to continue gathering my toiletries so I could wake myself up on this early morning. I could hear that Teru hustling out of the bathroom and race down the stairs. By the sounds coming from outside of my bedroom door, Teru had nearly knocked the maid down the stairs in his hast... then heard the angry maid chastise him loudly for his antics. I giggled at the thought, almost being able to envision the woman scolding Teru.

This paved the way for me to go and wash up now without having to interact with the lad... after how he acted yesterday, I was not up for any of that crap in the first place. Clutching my little clear bag and a towel the maid had left with me, I hurried to clean up so I could dress and get down stairs.

I found my Aunt and Teru kneeling at the dinning table eating what looked to be a noodle type of dish. I could not help but see that Uncle Sadato was not anywhere in sight, and neither was his briefcase. I took my place as my aunt looked at me, already guessing where Uncle had gone to.

" Did you get enough sleep last night?" She asked.

" Yes, I did." I said. " The bed was very comfortable, and I slept very soundly, Auntie."

" I am glad that it was good." She said.

I nodded and took a sip of my coffee that the maid had brought me, somehow knowing that I was not a true tea lover despite being in the country of tea drinking. My Auntie just sat and kept talking to me.

" Your Uncle regrets that he had to go into work earlier than was the normal today..." She said with a smile. " He will be back sometime this evening... "

" That is alright.." I said, sort of glad that he had gone in early anyways.

I thought that little speech was meant to help me feel not as nervous with the man who is basically ignoring me right now. It did bother a small bit that my Uncle was acting like this, the fact was with all of this change and new everything was making this situation harder. I tried not to let it bother me... but admitting it helps.

Cousin Teru looked at me, and I thought he was going to make some rude or obnoxious sort of remark at me... but he surprised me by saying nothing and just kept on eating. I just did the same, listening in silence as Auntie and her son talked about his school day ahead. I was shocked at how much more polite than he was acting like yesterday, which actually made me nervous... but I never let myself show it.

Soon, Teru left to hurry for the train to get himself to school with, leaving my Aunt and the maid Yui with me. It now fell relatively quiet, as we all just sat and ate that way for quite a long time. You know... I found the quietness of the house to be very soothing.

After a little while of silence, my Aunt looked at me. Her face looked rather serious yet still held her usual kindness in the eyes. I was unsure of what that meant, but I was willing to listen because it probably was important.

" You know that you will be attending the school we had picked for you in a few days?" She asked, out of the blue.

" You mean Nagato Junior and Senior?" I asked, reminding myself of the name of the school.

" Yes... it is the same school as Teru goes to." She informed me. " He is in a higher level that you are..."

I nodded, knowing that this plan for my education had been made the day that my Aunt and Uncle had made the decision to let me come over and live here.

" I did the Transfer Entrance exam for the Nagato School a few days ago back in Vancouver." I said, the memory of doing that test still gave me a rush of anxiety that made me queasy... it had been a test from hell, and took me hours to complete. " It was a very hard test, Auntie.... I have never took a test like that ever."

" I know you took the test the other day... we were informed of that by the school faculty" My Aunt said nodding, then she paused before adding. " Do you think that you did rather well on the test?"

" I think that I did..." I replied with a slight pause, thinking back on the test that took me three hours to do... three very long hours.

By the smile that flowed over the woman’s face, my words of confidence seemed to make her very happy.

" That will help you in the long run if you have scored really well on that test.." She commented, pleased with my answers to her. " Do you know if they will they contact us with the score?"

" I think so, Auntie..." I said, remembering something about that being said when I showed up to do the test at the University of British Columbia which partners with the school... its been a long few days, and I was not fully sure my memory served me well. " They never really said."

" That is good then, Akimi..." She said, seemingly becoming more relaxed with that information. " We will go down later today to pick up the uniform you will be requiring to attend there, and then head over to where we need to pick up all of the text books as well"

" That is fine, Auntie... Thank you." I replied, remembering my Japanese manners lessons my mother had me do.

The topics soon turned from the school thing to just chatting about things back in Canada and my Mother as well and then slid into other more light topics as we ate our breakfast. I was glad that the topics had gotten lighter, it was a way of diverting myself from looming things like school. The fact of starting a new school in a new country was causing me great anxiety... but who would not feel like this? Here I was, barely over twenty four hours since arriving, and I was thinking about school. Saki anyone?

It was a little while later, I had gone out into the small courtyard for some air and to familiarize myself with my new home. My aunt was busy with something and Yui had go to the market for some groceries.. And I found myself feeling rather restless. I know that I had some major unpacking to do, but doing that did not appeal to me... so I thought I would just wander around for a little, then finish it all up and make my room as home like as possible.

I pulled open the front gates to the courtyard, and stepped out onto the sidewalk. I wanted to get to know a little of the area I now was living in even if it was just outside of the walls. I had seen the opulence of the houses on the street my Aunt and Uncle lived on, but in all of the rushing around and just arriving... I had not taken very much notice of anything about my new neighbourhood.

Out on the sidewalk, I looked far down either way. I could see many children of different ages coming out of homes up and down the street. By the uniforms and leather briefcases they all carried, it was obvious that they were all off to their respective schools. In groups, pairs and just on their own, schoolchildren were heading off under the brightness of an already hot sun. It was in some respects, just like school mornings back in Canada.

I smiled a little, as the scene was actually very inviting to me.... and that made the thought of me doing the same thing in a few short days. I have to admit that I am nervous as hell in just thinking of it. I just tried to calm that feeling, but it had a small foothold and wanted to torture me a little bit longer..

I stood there on the sidewalk and watched, noticing that a few of the children had taken a moment to look over to me and stared. Guess even here in one of the biggest cities in the entire world, the new kid is always quickly noticed right off the bat.

" Some things are the same, no matter where you are..." I commented to myself, giggling as I realized that.

Suddenly, I heard some frantic running footsteps for a fraction of a second from behind me as I looked up the street before something or someone bowled me over like a freight train. I let out a small grunt, as I was violently was knocked to the ground while being showered by many sheets of paper and a few books that were now flying everywhere. I hit hard and I found myself on the already hot pavement.

" What the.." Was all I could say.

I found on top of me a young girl in pigtails and dressed in a sailor suit looking uniform. She was sprawled on top of me, pinning me to the sidewalk, and seemed dazed for a second until she started to stammer loudly.

" Oh... Sorry... a thousand pardons... please forgive me..." was the only thing this younger girl could stammer out as she got herself off of me while trying to bow a million times in a row while still on her knees.

I got myself off the ground, and found that I was not hurt from this except for a little scrap on the side of my hand, all the while the girl that had knocked me down was babbling her apologies like a drunken man at an auction, all the while crying a little.

" It’s all right... I am not hurt..." I assured to the girl, trying to stop this younger lass from repeating herself over and over again.

" I should not have been running like that..." Was the phrase the younger girl was now repeating punctuated by tears. " I ask for your apologies in the humblest of ways... "

The girl continued to apologize over and over again, as she hurriedly tried to gather up what had flew our of her hands when she had slammed into me. I started to help while trying very hard to reassure the girl that this all was under control and I was not injured or mad with her... seeing this girl crying was hard. As I tried to calm the young woman, a voice behind me made me stop what I was doing and look up.

Dressed in a wonderful form fitting grey and white uniform with a little bowed ribbon for a tie, stood a girl that took my breath away. She had this long dark hair that cascaded around her perfect teardrop shaped face like a curtain, accented by these pair of soft brown eyes that seemed to dance and sparkle in the sun’s light. I felt my heart was now pounding away just seeing that smile which seemed to outshine the sun, Never have I ever seen such a beauty... beauty that seemed to radiate from within the girl, and project out for all to enjoy.

This pretty of a girl, who was near my age, looked down at me as I was helping the younger one gather up the scattered items. This girl smiled broadly and just kept looking at me, her eyes captivating me like no one else, it made my soul feel as if it could jump out and fly across the sky.

" I am sorry for my clumsy little sister Yumi here knocking you down like this..." She said, her voice sounding so magical that it was heaven. " She can be so clumsy at times. I had warned her to stop running down the street headlong without looking where she was going, but she has dirt in her ears I think.."

" Hey, I washed them yesterday ..." Pouted the pigtailed girl, stomping her foot to accent her words.

" If you washed them more often, Yumi, you would have heard me..." The older girl said, bowing so gracefully. " Just know we are so sorry."

For a moment, my mouth could not let a single word the older of the two was so pretty... like a model. I fought off the instant onset of my verbal paralysis, catching myself looking at the girl.

" It is ok..." I assured the girl, trying not to let her see that I was blushing..

" Are you hurt in any way?" She asked, obviously and thankfully she did not see my reddened complexion.

" I seem to be in once piece still..." I said, my heart pounding in my chest as I looked at this girl. " just a wee scrape on my hand, that is not even bleeding."

" That is good." She sighed, as I finished handing the younger one the last little bits she had dropped.

The girl with the amazing smile nodded and giggled, making my heart flutter wildly... her deep brown eyes making me shiver a little. I was going to say something when I saw the girl then let out a tiny gasp of air and looked at me closer. I was a little nervous as she looked at me so intensely, and I felt my heart speeding in my chest.

" Uhm what..." I stammered, a little confused with this.

The girl seemed to snap out of staring at me, and looked at me more normal. Even that look, struck me as odd.

" Oh, are you Saatchi Akimi? The girl that has transferred from overseas?" She asked without a single hesitation..

" Uh, I am..." I said, totally dumbfounded that this girl knew my name like this. " How did you know?"

She gave a bit of a giggle and nodded her head.

" Let me explain, so you don’t think I am strange..." She began. " I am Student leader of room A-3 Toshiki Isono, and I was informed yesterday of you would be coming to Nagato Junior and Senior in a few days..."

" You were told all of that?" I asked, surprised that the news had gotten to this girl like this.

She saw the extent of my surprise and smiled at me, causing me to relax... although not much. Those eyes of her still were making me feel all funny inside.

" We as Student leaders in Nagato Junior and Senior are always informed of things like this, Akimi-chan." She explained, taking a second to look over at my Uncle’s house next to us. " When I had heard of your arrival, I had no idea that you were living here, near my sister’s and I home."

" Nice to meet you..." I said, not getting much more out and feeling quite stupid that was the only thing I could come up with to say. " Um... I live here with my Aunt and Uncle now."

She giggled, obviously not letting my verbal awkwardness bother her. That only made me want to know her even more than what I have felt.

" Right here?" She asked, pointing at the house.

" Yes.." I said, my words failing me again.

" Then it seems that we will be taking the same train to school daily." She smiled, getting my heart to flutter again. " If you want, when you take that step to come to our humble school... I will help you get use to taking the mass transit train by showing you where and which line it was."

" You... would help me get use to the trains?" I stuttered, hating that I was talking very stupidly.

" It is what a Student Leader is all about." She said, with confidence. " Helping out every student, no matter what level they are in."

I was going to ask a few more questions that had popped out of my brain’s fog, but the younger sister had really started to pull hard on Isono’s arm.

" C’mon..." The wiry smaller girl wined loudly, her voice sounding irritatingly harsh. " If we miss the train to both of our schools, we are both in big trouble if we don’t get to school on time."

" We are not going to be late, Yumi..." Said Isono, looking at the younger one. " I was just talking..."

" Enough talking then... C’mon!!" Yumi said frantically while puling her older sister past me and down the street. " No matter what you are at school, you are not going to make me late."

" Very well, Yumi..." Conceded Isono, letting herself be dragged away. " We will talk later."

With that, the two went on their way to the train station which I assumed not very far from here. I stood and watched them, so many emotions flooded me all at once.... emotions that I did not even have a name for.

" What is wrong with me?" I asked myself, confused and a little overwhelmed with it all.

The girl and her sister were quickly out of sight, but something inside of me lingered... an emotion that was so strong. The girl was gone, yet I could still hear her musical lilting voice so clearly in my mind...and that made me shiver with delight. I tried to stop this feeling, and the feeling that it was somehow wrong... but nothing could stop it, I still could see the girl’s face in my mind

I took a deep breath, trying to gather myself and stop my mind from doing what it was... and failing as I now walked in to the courtyard of my new home. I closed the gate and stood there, and realized that I had no idea what I was doing now... my mind was busy with thinking about the girl named Isono, my body was just going through some sort of automatic mode. I stood and looked at the coy pond full of the varying sized fish swimming calmly in the clear water, trying to get my mind back into the present.

I just decided to head back in to the house... my unpacking from my move still awaited me upstairs and I was sure that it was not going to do it on its own. I was hoping that this task of mine would help whatever this was that had come over me to leave... or at least help it be not so vivid in my head.

There was no one in the main area of the house as I went through. I could hear my Aunt on the phone that hung on the wall in the kitchen, and she was obviously talking to Uncle Sadato while the maid was busy doing her chores. I just went by without a word and headed up to my room, wanting to just have the time alone to clear the mind out.

Once up in my room, I quickly got down to the task of getting my room to a state that I would like. I started opening suitcases and organizing things that go in either dressers and closets... the four large and rather heavily taped boxes of other stuff that I had carted all the way across the pacific will half to wait until I finished getting my clothes in some recognizable order. It seems almost daunting, but I just told myself that it was not going to be a big thing.

I set to work with the organization of my changed life, trying to meld my old life and new one into something that could be considered half-assed normal. It seemed that I could not get my mind to stop thinking about Isono... this was overtaking my feeling so nervous about starting that school.

My life was not really screwed... it just did not seem like it was mine any more. I wished that my Mom was here to help with all of it, especially with whatever it was with the girl and these feelings that had been stirred up... but then I would be back in Canada and with my Mom. I shook my head, and started to cry a little. I still missed my mother so much.

First full day with my new family and life... and I was already working on my nervous breakdown. Asking for a huge glass of Saki was sounding better and better. I sighed and collected myself, returning to getting my new room into shape. It would take all day long, and there was no one else that would do it... did not want anyone to anyways.

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