“That was incredible! Bravo bravo!” A thundering clap and an unfamiliar voice echoed from the far-end of the stage. It was the director himself, Daniel Collins; a third year who’s been directing plays ever since he came to the school two years ago. “That was utterly brilliant! That song and your voices; how did you two manage to come up with that?”
He walked up towards us, looking very pleased with what we did a few moments ago. Yes, it was Daniel Collins in flesh and blood. I was always a fan of his directed-plays (He used to date Viv), but at that very moment, I was really second-guessing my decision. He was now standing before me and H; his eyes wide and his face happy. “You are right, Vera. We all have underestimated your abilities as well as Haru’s choice. I truly apologise on behalf of my production crew members if they were being harsh on you, but they were right for pushing you. You did well.”
“Really Daniel, your words are very kind but I do not intend to continue on assuming such a role. I was merely stating my point and just proving to everyone that I am really not another goth-chick who knows nothing. For starters, I’m not even label-able.” I snapped rather quickly at him before making a mental map of the complex; trying to figure out potential escape routes. This was my chance of running away for good! “Why, aren’t you Kuhn-Kaioh’s all the same? Rebels with beautiful faces; awkward with popularity?” Daniel held my wrist rather swiftly before I could make any further moves; forcing me to confront him myself. It didn’t help the fact that I was already blushing from that idiot H’s doing; now to face a person I’d admired?
Geez, what did I ever do you wrong, God?
Geez, what did I ever do you wrong, God?
So I got my gameface on as soon as possible and turned towards him. “And what are you trying to do, Mr Collins?” “Trying to stop you from making your exit. I can’t let the star of the show walk-off just like that, yes?” “Well, I’m still quitting. Good singing won’t help a poorly written script. You, of all people, should know that better; Danny C.” Upon listening to this, he let my hand go.
At that point in time, I thought I’d won. Like, come on, the director let go of me after he heard my perfectly reasonable reason for quitting such a wretched play! Oh boy, I was never more WRONG!
The next few weeks went by rather swiftly, with classes in the morning and practice in the late noon. It was practically tiring and of course, soul-sucking. Me and my big mouth! If only I hadn’t said anything about the play; I wouldn’t have been in this position of having to juggle between studying, doing my own thing, acting. (The director changed everything and decided my opinion was right) And then, of course, there was that other issue: Spending late evenings/nights over at H’s place to rehearse.
Look, I am not complaining now the fact that at least people see me as an individual that’s not label-able, but honestly I am just uncomfortable about having to spend more time with another person than myself, especially not with the guy who became the sole reason why you were in this mess in the first place.
Yes, I admit it; I have to spend at least 2 hours practicing privately; just me, him and our singing. I needed extra practice-sessions with him as our voices didn’t really have the sort of beautiful-we-finish-each-others-sentences kinda chemistry; it was only present during our first spontaneous practice performance.
And it really didn’t help that we’d started on the wrong foot when tackling our problems; especially with his over-powering voice and my rather shaky lower-chest voice during the singing parts of the play. There was this one time we’d basically lashed out for outdoing the other and taking too much of the spotlight instead of sharing the stage; we both had wanted to own it. Funny, I thought I’d met a guy like him once back in The US. Perhaps I’d gone totally bonkers as a result of too much interaction with other people or it might just be that my own body was undergoing withdrawal symptoms as a result from not getting enough time for myself. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
So it was Daniel who suggested that me and him get together to spend more time rehearsing. It was only natural to decline and oppose of such a terrible idea, but when we tried singing over and over again, the cracks became bigger and we were running out of time. So, there. That’s the story.
Okay so no, of course the story doesn’t stop there. Okay, okay. I’ll be real now; and so this was what happened when I decided to run off to ask for a favour from H about the practicing.
It was during recess that I decided to go look for him at the usual table number 6; the cool kids’ table in the cafeteria. Yeah, whatever that means. As I came closer to the table, the whole bunch suddenly went all quiet and everyone turned to look at this alien who’d never spoken to any of them nicely, walk up to them to ask for a favour. I must be really desperate then, for me to actually walk up to this disgusting lot! But I was already here, so might as well just get to the point, right?
“Where’s...H?” I asked in the ugliest voice ever; sounding almost like a plea.
“You mean Hatsuharu?” A ginger-haired guy answered me casually as he continued to sip the Vanilla Coke.
I nodded, not wanting to make any further comments. I didn’t know any of these people, but I definitely recognise this guy; he was always hanging around H in school. He had a particular aura surrounding his being. I can’t seem to predict what he’s about to do; just like that idiot H!
Everyone else kept a close eye on me, as if I am some kinda weirdo who’ve just came up to their table to ask for an application form to hang around with them. Really, do I look THAT weird? It's not that I don't have eyes or a mouth on my face!
Argh, contented brats!
The boy stood up; almost towering me in the process (he was slightly shorter than H but of course looking almost like a skyscraper to me), and before I knew it, he’d pulled me into a light embrace. My body, automatically, froze and tensed under this total stranger’s control. (Yes, I wonder up till today why I still get surprised when these crazy idiots do unpredictable things to me and still remain quiet-something TOTALLY out of character for me) But yes, he hugged me in the cafeteria and I did hear many, many gasps from the pretty girls table on my left and loads of whistling on my right. Social outcast, here I come! Not that I really care anyways.
We separated quickly as he pulled on my wrists; leading me out of the cafeteria asap. I was now even more puzzled; almost throwing a fit but then I’d remembered that tantrums won’t really help me with boys like this hugger and that Haru idiot.
The next thing I know; we were on level 2 in the gym; facing the indoor basketball courts where I saw H shooting hoops in his school uniform from above; or what is left of it for that matter. I was pretty much dazed at what I was witnessing. Somehow, H seemed...agitated and worried about something. He had a frown decorating his soft features underneath all of the controlled dribbling and constant perfect-shots. I wonder what it is.
“You’re very warm and your heartbeat’s really fast; just like he said.” This hugger was now whispering into my ear; he was standing behind me, his body weight supported by his hands on the balcony railings. I started to feel breathless and stuffy; I just didn’t like being treated like I’m a toy and I disliked people penetrating my personal space. It’s just...too much. I could feel anger overwhelming in my veins and I could feel my face redden with both angst and embarrassment.
“What is the meaning of this?” I braved myself to utter such words although fear resonated very clearly as I ended the sentence.
“You smell of fresh sakura blooms and lilies, Vera. H was right after all.” His right hand pulling a strand of curls and tucking it behind my ear, his left pulling on my waist and I could feel the warmth from his skin growing closer to my neck. I couldn’t move now; I didn’t know what to do! SHIT! NO! This wasn’t happening again!! NO! And...automatically, I screamed loudly, “H!H!H! Make him STOP, H!” Clear droplets were now streaming slowly down my cheeks as I fell onto the floor, knees weak and wobbly; the world was spinning rather fast and before I knew it... I felt the touch of those familiar long fingers before my world turned pitch black.