Chapter Three - Dazed
I stood looking at myself in the mirror that was on the back of my bedroom door, and was finding myself rather pleased. I was looking at how my newly purchased school uniform looked on me, eyeing myself carefully. I had to admit as I looked at myself in the mirror, it looks good on me. The Mary Jane styled shoes that were with the outfit were not my favourite footwear I have ever had... but they did look good with the uniform.
Here I was I had only been here for three full days, and here I stood in this uniform that had a grey skirt and a white shirt and realized that I was about to go off to my new school. I could feel the butterflies bouncing in my stomach looking good did little to stop me from being thoroughly nervous.
" Are you ready for this?" I asked my own reflection, as I picked up my school satchel that was loaded down with a ton of brand new shiny books. I looked myself over one more time, hoping that the ribbon tie I had was done right and that I had pressed my skirt correctly. Going by the handbook for proper deportment that my Auntie had given me, I looked every bit as perfect as the photograph in there did. " I am as ready as I can be.."
I opened the door and stepped into the hall, feeling a wave of being overwhelmed overtake me. I knew that things were going to change all over again, just like it did after my mother’s death... and the move over here did. I felt my stomach turn, as my stress level rose with each passing second.
To my luck... Teru was already in the hall, closing his room door. I swallowed hard when I saw him, and knew there was no where to hide now. I had avoided him for the most part, but being there with him was not what I needed this morning.
The lad stopped and looked over at me, almost as if he might end up saying something to me. Remembering what had already been said by the lad, I waited for some wicked comment to come out of his mouth.
" You look really good... The Nagato uniform suits you." He said, with a surprising smile on his face.
" Uh... Thank you..." I stammered, totally shocked that the lad had said something so nice to me.
He looked at me and kept smiling. He seemed nicer than what I have experienced in the first few days here. He actually was giving me a smile that was finally friendly as we hung in the hallway.
" I can’t imagine how nervous you are this morning..." He said, with a very sweet tone. " Going to a new school is bad enough... But going to a new school in a new country where the only people you know are relatives... would be hard."
" I am... nervous..." I said, nodding, still shocked at this turn-a-round by the boy. " It is very different..."
Teru paused, but it was not a awkward sort of thing. He looked at me with his eyes, there was this air of respect now coming from him.
" I think you’ll do fine at Nagato..." He said, smiling quite broadly. " If you need any help from now on... just ask."
" You would help me?" I asked, shocked with his offer.
" Of course I will..." Was his answer to me.
Teru nodded and then took a long breath as we both started to head down stairs together. He looked over and grinned, his eyes told of a emotion that he was not quite knowing what to do with it.
" Sorry about being so mean to you that day... " He said, his remorse was evident on his face. " I sort of was being like my father... and I must admit that was not good"
" That is ok.." I said, smiling... feeling that he was being honest.
" It’s not... I was mean... really mean.." He said, admitting this to me.
He nodded and smiled, and we both just headed down stairs for our morning meal. He looked over just before we reached the bottom, and gave me a very impish sort of smile
" I forgot to say one things..." He started, looking right into my face. " Welcome to the family..."
For the first time in three whole days, I felt comfortable here in Uncle’s house. That made the day ahead feel a little less frightening... unless I really started to think about it.
" Thank you." I said.
" Don’t get all sentimental on me and all of that...This just is between you and me.." He smirked, the a little bit of a chuckle as well. " Don’t want you to get a swelled head because of my niceness?"
" I don’t want to... I can see your head is already quite big enough..." I teased, feeling free enough to tease him a little bit.
" Funny!" He said, chuckling deeply in his chest, as we hit the main floor.
Auntie and Uncle were already at the table and having their breakfast when Teru and I joined them for breakfast. For some reason, neither one of us looked at one another as we took a seat at the table. It was a sort of unwritten agreement between us, and that seemed to me as so natural. For what ever reason this was happening... it seemed that it was the right thing for both of us.
As usual, My aunt was the one talking to the two of us while my Uncle seemed to only grunt once in a while though his newspaper before he ended up dashing off to his work the instant that the driver showed up. The interesting thing that ended up happening was Uncle Sadato was leaving with his driver when he stopped just inside of the door. Uncle gave a nod individually to each person who had been at breakfast, and he actually give one right to me as well. He then gave a smirk, then he followed the driver to the awaiting car for the ride downtown.
Once he was gone, I started to think things have started to change. Uncle Sadato at least was not making any of his hurtful comments anymore, like he initially had done on that first day... he might just have been in too much of a hurry, but I have a feeling that this was not the case. I guess that was sort of a step forward between him and I, even though there was just the awkwardness of silence between us. The strange thing was that there was that a feeling of change in the air in general.
I stepped out of the house, to follow Teru this morning. He had offered to show me the way to the nearby train station for the ride to my school. His mother had asked him to show me the way, and he had complained about it for a few minutes... but I noticed that he did not argue too hard against it anyway. That made me laugh on the inside. I knew that he had to ‘play’ the part still for his mother for the time being... but for the life of me, I was not sure of why. Boys are confusing for me, I guess.
It was ok with me that he would help... considering that I was not expecting the beautiful girl named Isono to remember what she had offered me the day her sister plowed me over. I was really hoping that she would...actually I was praying on it, but reality is stronger than my daydreaming fiction could ever be. I was not too hopeful though, that was why I agreed for Teru to help me.
I was going near the gate, when I saw a figure through the slats. I gasped, as I saw the pretty girl standing there... with Yumi in tow.
" You are early getting on your way..." She said, smirking. " I can get to appreciate that."
Those few simple words, made my heart sing. I could not help it. Her voice seemed to raise my soul higher.
" You remembered..." I said, still in ‘pleasant’ shock.
" I do not ever forget a promise.." She said. " I said I would help you get to our school."
" I believe that now..." I said, feeling oddly ecstatic
" She really wanted to come... dragged me all over the place like a stubborn dog" Grinned the mischievous Yumi, bouncing on the balls of her feet.
" Hush, Yumi.." Said Isono, seemingly a little flustered..
" You did that to me, sister..." Whined Yumi.
I was surprised... I saw Isono’s cheeks reddening deeply and she had a shy look in her eyes as she looked away from me for a moment. I felt my own face grow hot and I knew I was flushed as well.
Teru smirked and nodded to me, his eyes told me that he understood in some way what was going on... even though I could not.
" Guess your not needing me any more to show you to the station, cousin..." He said, acting all angry.
" You need to relax, Teru-kun..." Piped in Yumi to the teenager. " Your head might explode."
" You little twerp.." Shot back the young man, as the girl hid behind her big sister when he took a step to her.
" Neah, Neah!!" The girl said from behind her sister, tongue stuck out at him.
Teru snuffed loudly, looking at me with what I knew was a good acting job on his part... he did looked like someone that was very angry.
" You are on your own then, Akimi-san." He said, bowing up like a peacock, in a very imposing stance.
The boy turned and gave a wink to me in a way that no one else saw, showing that he was doing this for me. I tried to thank him with a small look, and hoped that he had saw it. He walked through the gate and hurried to catch up to a group of boys a quarter of a block up, acting all macho and stuff as he did. That left Isono, Yumi and I to walk to the station.
" Your cousin is a pain..." Yumi commented, making a face at the back of the departing Teru. " ...he has bullied me at times."
" Actually he is not that bad..." I said, causing the younger girl too look at me with great question.
" What?" Yumi said, obviously not believing that Teru was a good person, with good reason in her eyes. " He’s a pain, Akimi-san."
" Lets get going then..." Isono said, changing the subject as the little girl seemed like she was getting angry in a way. " If we miss the early train, we will have to use the later one... and that on is almost too crowded."
" Sure..." I nodded, feeling instantly giddy with just looking at her beauty. " You are my guide."
We all walked off, talking casually between all of us. I ended up fielding many questions from little Yumi about Canada and where it was that I had come from. I did not mind very much the questions... to a point, but I wanted to talk to Isono more instead of having to be bombarded with machine gun questions I had to address to a very hyper young girl. She was a very excitable little one..and I saw that it was her charm.
I was not even close to being ready for seeing what my new school would turn out to be. It was a very big shock from the second that I had layed my eyes on it as we walked toward it. What I found was amazing to the tenth power.... and that also went for the overwhelmed factor as well.
Nagato Junior and Senior was a massive complex and sprawling grounds set in the middle of Tokyo... and it was much larger than little Yumi’s school was which I had seen when we dropped her off. This school was much larger than anything Canada could have ever had. Nagato is, in a single word, colossal.
The campus spanned a total of four square blocks in the heart of the sprawling city. The school had ball diamonds, soccer pitches, track and field facilities, three gyms, theatre and a full Olympic sized pool and it’s own large Karate Dojo. There was even a fully operating television station for the Senior classes... it was amazing. It was a entire place made like it was a city that had been made for learning.
I was feeling way out of my element as I entered the huge place. This was going to be a experience just starting this. This did not help my nervous state... it made it grow by the many times.
After finishing the entire registering process, which my Aunt and Uncle had started as my guardians, I noticed something... everyone in the office when I was in the office seemed almost overjoyed to be meeting me for some reason. They even said that the Principal will be talking to me when he arrived from a meeting he had. That was even more odd, considering the school usually got foreign students, as far as I knew. I just passed it off and not being use to the way things were done here in Japan
I got my class schedules and was assigned a little locker that was located in one of the school’s entrance area. Reality was now settling in on me as Isono led me to get up to my first class. I was here in Japan, living in Japan and now... going to school here. I was overwhelmed and completely frightened at the same time. I don’t know if the wonderful girl knew my feelings of all this, but I fought to calm myself.
I was led through the crowded and very expansive maze of halls, to class A-3, by the lovely Isono. This class was tucked away in a small side hallway on the third floor, in the ‘A’ wing which was next to the science area. Despite being a little off of the main hall on this floor, the small hallway was crowded with people... people that were staring at me. My stomach felt like it was in knots at this point.
I followed Isono in to my classroom, my nervousness was now at a all time high judging by how much my stomach was now gurgling. There were about thirty to forty boys and girls there all in the uniform of this school, all mulling around talking. Just watching the interactions going on between schoolmates was that instant reminder me that I was going to be the outsider here... and perhaps for a very long time.
Then something weird happened. As if on some unspoken cue, the entire class suddenly all stopped and was looking right at me. I let out a gasp and felt myself stiffen, as all eyes were now fixed onto me. I fidgeted nervously as I stood there beside Isono, not knowing why everyone was staring at me..
" Uh, What is happening?" I stammered, feeling uneasy.
I was expecting to be stared at some, but this was more than at any time that I had ever been the ‘new kid’. I waited for an answer from my escort, but instead all I was hearing was different voices from all sides of the room, things that I did not know what they were meaning.
" That’s the girl standing there with Onee-sama... She’s the one they were talking about..." Asked one female voice, almost excitedly.
" She doesn’t look like much to me.." Said another in reply.
" They say that nobody from overseas have done that ever in the history of the school..." Said a male voice.
" Wow... impressive, I got to say" Sad another boy. "
I was puzzled at what they were referencing pertaining to me. I looked at Isono, hoping she might know what everyone was talking about.
" Don’t you do not know that you are the talk of the entire school for your amazing achievement." The pretty girl commented, almost teasingly.
" I don’t understand... what are you talking about?." I said, feeling uneasy as hell, not understanding why she was taking this all so lightly.
Isono gasped, her joking manner faded quickly. She looked at my face, probably because my confusion was written all over it.
" Akimi-san.. You did not know what your achievement is..." She asked, her face showed a sense of reality starting to hit.
" No...I don’t have any clue." I shook my head... I did not know in the least what they were all talking about.
She turned to me straight on, and give me a peaceful sort of look as I waited to have someone explain things to me..
" When you took the entrance test for Nagato, you did something that no one transferring from a foreign country has done, and that only a few have done that ever had been from here in Japan as well..." She started, looking me directly in the face.
" I... did?" I said, feeling somewhat nauseous " What did I do that has everyone all buzzing?"
" Out of a possible 800 total points score that people can get on the entrance test... You got a perfect 800 out of 800" She said with a little smile. " I also know that it was the more academically in-depth version of the two exams, sent to Canada because the fact that you were transferring from another country."
I felt my knees get instantly weak, and my heart nearly stopped right there... I could not believe what I just heard. I had to put my hand out and on a nearby desktop to steady myself before I had gotten up close and personal with the linoleum under my feet.
" I have gotten a perfect score on the entrance exam?" I stuttered so noticeably, almost disbelieving what I had just heard.
" You have gotten a perfect score..." She said with great excitement. " I was told of your marks at the same time as the told me of you coming to our school... I thought you knew your results."
I sucked in a deep breath and felt ever limb I had was shaking, the news was hitting me like an avalanche.
" Nobody told me about it..." I said, feeling my knees were still a little rubbery. " I thought once I was here, they would just have the information on where to put me from the test results."
" It is that... and much more as well..." Isono explained, then asked. " They did not even tell your Aunt and Uncle either?"
" I don’t think so..." I replied, as this was sinking in. " I am sure that they would have said something to me, or at least I think so, if the school had told the of this."
" That is strange..." The girl said.
The teacher, Miss Tawazaka, came in at that moment so we all took our seats hurriedly after greeting her as one. Even when I stood up and was introduced to the class by the teacher... I was not quite all there, still being affected by the complete shock of what was seen as something big. Not only was the spotlight squarely on me for being the new student, but for being the foreigner and now it was there because I was seen as a brain as well. Even as we got down to the lessons of the day, these thought came through every little thing that I was suppose to be learning,
Lunch time came around, and I was glad as the lessons were exceptionally gruelling... Canadian schools were never this intense, but I found myself liking the style that the teaching was done in. It was so intense, that helped me focus on something other than the exam results and the amazing girl that seemed to make me swoon.
With the lunch that had been packed for my by Yui, I was led outside to eat by Isono so I could be introduced to all of her friends. I was nervous to meet with anyone, after the whole marks thing, but I was happy to be with Isono.
We took a seat on a huge patch of grass that was only about eighty yards away from the ball diamonds, under two large trees that seem to come together with their branches to make a roof all on their own. That is where I met four of the most interesting, yet completely ‘diversely’ strange people I had ever met. I say diverse... which is better than weird.
The oldest girl was a third year student by the name of Iuto Maki. Maki was quite tall, very long and lean had a boyish sort of look to her... except for a very well endowed chest that was right there for all to see. She had a nicely cut short brown hair that did not even touch her uniform’s collar and had these intense piercing dark eyes that made me feel more that just a bit nervous. It was because I could not help but notice that she had started to stare at me from the moment we met, almost as if she was trying to look right though me.
The second was an girl of average height with long braded pigtails and these two expressive looking eyes. She came across as a real sports type of girl with a overly bubbly personality that just might get irritating really fast if you did not watch yourself. This ball of energy was named Saitou Wami, and I was told was the oldest niece of the vice principal of this school.
Wami was nice and very personably right of the bat, but she talked a hell of a lot more that Isono’s sister did on the walk to school...which after enduring that, I thought that it would have been a hard thing to beat. She was one of those who never seem to pause even for air... or her mouth stop moving.
The last of Isono’s friends was a girl called Watanabe Saya. She was so much different than the other girls. This one was a very quiet girl with very long hair that when she stood came to the back of her knees and always seemed to have a sullen look on her face. The girl seemed to be so incredible shy... so shy that it came across that she was awkward to a extreme. Just to watch this girl try to be amongst us while struggling with even the simplest of conversation... to the point of crying softly. She was in no way like Isono or any of the others.
It was interesting to meet all of these people... and ended up making my day a little bit brighter than it had been. I guess now that I knew a few people made a bit of a difference. It made thing seem as if things were going to work out. I was not sure of how it would all work out, but at least there was a small sense of things could get normal...whatever that might be.
After school, I was ready to get home, but things did not turn out to be smooth. Isono had to stay back for something to do with her duties as a Student Leader, and her sister wanted to wait for her. I wanted to wait for the pretty girl, but my body that was almost to the point of pure exhaustion was wanting nothing more that to go back to Auntie’s home and rest.
I had a problem with doing that though... I was not sure of the right train and stops to take to do that. I know I could do was wait and go with them... but I did not want to.
" Great..." I moaned to myself, not knowing what to do about this.
Luck must have been with me, as I spotted Teru walking past in the hall alone. I flagged him down and explained what was going on as quick as I could. He understood my problem, and agreed to help me get home safely. I just was very glad to have seen Teru there and in the massive crush of all of these people who attended Nagato.... I felt lucky.
The train ride was long and crowded as all hell, crammed ever worse than what it had been this morning. I was so amazed at such a massive group of people could be packed in a small space as this tin can of a train car, but my cousin reminded me that this was Tokyo all of the time. I had been expecting culture shock, even as I readied to fly over here... but I had forgotten about the population shock that would be right here, even though Vancouver was a large and crowded place too. Tokyo eclipses Vancouver in every department.
Teru and I barely spoke, even though we sat side by side on the far side of the train. I was not up to talking after such a long day, finding it actually hard to keep myself awake as the transit care bucked and swayed with almost a hypnotic rhythm. I was glad that my cousin seemed to know that I was that tired, and still kept close. It made me realize, that his actions towards me were always an act... this was the true Teru.
One hour and twenty minutes later, my cousin and I were very near the front gates... so glad to see the place. I was feeling dead tired and just wanted to eat something, have a nice and hot bath then go to bed after getting my homework done. That sounded like heaven to me, it really did. I could not wait for any of that plan to come.
" Good to be home..."Muttered the lad, as he walked beside me.
" It feels good..." I agreed, then my mouth let out a ..." but..."
" Not like home though?" He asked, hearing my words.
" No...not quite yet..." I said, then added. " But it still feels good to be where you can relax."
He laughed and made a grin to me as a sign of friendship.
" It will become to feel more like your home, Akimi... but it will take a little time." Teru assured me.
" It will.. I know..." I said tiredly.
" I hope it is very soon for you..." The lad said, letting his sweetness shine right through to me.
" Yeah..." I said, agreeing.
We both had just entered the courtyard and were headed to the front door when we heard the maid calling out loudly. She was not yelling at us or anything like that, it was as if she was calling out to the entire house. Teru and I looked at one another, puzzled at the normally quiet Yui yelling like a madwoman.
" She is back...Akimi is back..." She yelled.
" What is she yelling about me like that?" I asked my cousin.
" I was going to ask you that same thing..." He said.
Just as we were ten feet from the steps to inside, My Uncle Sadato lumbered out to the step with Auntie Kiko closely following.
" You are home, and I am glad..." He said right to me.
I was stunned at the greeting, so... friendly. He had never said anything even close to this to me before and nothing this nice either in three days. I just stood there so bewildered, not quite knowing what to do with this turn of events.
" Uncle Sadato..." I said, bowing to him.
He came down the steps and stoped in front of me, then put one hand on either of my shoulders. He looked right at me, actually having a large smile beaming at me.
" We are so proud of you right now.. Our family cannot be happier with you." He said.
" What for?" I said meekly, still in shock.
" I got a call on my cell at work... it was your school telling me of your amazing accomplishment." he said.
I gasped, forgetting the fact that the school would have notified my guardians about things like this. I swallowed hard and looked up at my Uncle.
" The entrance exam..." I got out, feeling absolutely flustered but realizing what the man was saying.
" Yes, that exam is exactly what I am talking to you about..." He beamed with this pride that was warm. " You have gotten a perfect score, and in their advanced testing as well... the school is very impressive indeed." He smiled even larger. " Your Aunt and I feel pride with your accomplishment."
He bowed to me and smiled, handing me a small box wrapped in sparkling silver paper that had a flowing pink bow tied around it. I held that box in my hand and looked at it, shocked so much and yet not quite knowing what the significance of this present was.
" This is a small token that shows our pride of you, and to acknowledge your boundless proficiency..." He said, then adding. " And this is also a small apology from me for my headstrong actions towards you.."
" You are apologizing to me?" I gulped, my ears not believing what had been said.
" It is..." He said, making it clear.
I looked at the box, then over at my Aunt who stood just behind Uncle Sadato. She nodded and smiled warmly, quietly telling me that everything was alright. Teru nodded his head at me too, and smiled. With my hands trembling a little as I unwrapped the little package, I wanted to know what my present could be.
Inside of the box underneath the paper, was a purple cellphone. It was a glorious rich purple colour with a beaded handstrap on the side, that had a small ‘Hello Kitty’ character bob on it, along with some small light pink star beads that accented it . I was shocked, as my mom was never rich enough for one for me... and I never really had asked for one.
" Is this mine?" I asked.
" You need that for when you end up going out on your own..." Started Uncle, smiling, and handing me the little slip of paper that had the phone’s number on it. "And we got you that to show our pride with you... pre-loaded with the numbers to your home, to my cell and Teru’s as well along with text messaging... safety first."
I bowed and thanked him very excitedly, feeling this sense of having a family starting to build in me... slowly. I smiled and looked at my phone as the others went back in to the house. Teru nodded at me as he went by.
" Don’t text me too much on that phone.." He warned in a whispered tone, playfully punching me in the arm.
" Only at night... when your sleeping..." I smirked playfully.
" Ohh..." He said, laughing a little bit as he entered the house. " I will text you then when your in the bathroom then."
" You’ll hear me pee then..."
" Gross..." He said, making a playful face as he walked off and up into the house for supper.
I stood for a moment then headed in myself, as laughing for a little. I was amazed at what had came about today, which had been the third day in Japan. Nothing at all could have made me ready for any of this. It was becoming almost like a surreal thing, but it was honestly very real.
I wondered what could be coming next for me... because this was so surreal, anything could happen. It already had.. And this was just my beginning.