With her lunchbox gripped tightly in hand, and her book bag slung over her shoulder, Yukiko raced down the trail that led out of the woods which surrounded her house.
Her bag was heavy with books and school supplies, but it didn't slow her down a bit. Her feet pounded on the plant infested ground as she made her way down the trail.
Her house was once an abandoned mansion in rough shape, but Mana had managed to fix it up, and it looked just as it had probably 200 years ago.
She finally reached the end of the trail and continued to run out toward her bus stop on the other side of the street.
It was the first time she had ever ridden a bus before, and she was determined not to miss it --mostly because she didn't want to be late on her first day, and because of the long walk home. Yukiko slowed to a walk when she was at least twenty feet from the bus stop. There were a few other people who were already there, waiting for the bus as well.
She reached the bus stop and sat down on the bench on the farthest end, keeping her distance from the other students. She breathed heavily, trying to catch her breath, heart pounding in her chest.
She heard a few conversations going on around her, and she couldn't help but overhear one in particular beside her.
She glanced to her right and saw a girl who had long, curly, blonde hair who was talking to a boy who had a buzz-cut and a lot of facial piercings.
"...Yeah, and like.. apparently he doesn't take the bus anymore just because of that, it's totally stupid." She flicked her bangs to the side.
The boy with the piercings snickered, " Ha, what - you want him to take the bus with us? The guys' a total ass."
"Ugh.. You know I didn't mean it like that." She rolled her eyes." Anyway, he's a total loser; I'm glad he's gone."
"How does he even get to school now anyway?"
She shook her head. "I don't know - he probably gets a ride or something.."
"Heh.. Well, whatever. The bastard shows his face here again and he's dead meat." He smiled meanly.
Yukiko looked away and frowned to herself; what could that other person have done to make them say such mean things...?
She quickly looked up when her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the school bus screeching to a halt in front of her. Her eyes lit up and she rose quickly, gathering her things. She walked cautiously toward the bus, then looked around her and blushed a little when saw the other people staring at her as they went inside the bus.
Yukiko made her way inside the bus and sat down in an empty seat near the front, averting her eyes from anyone who might have been staring at her.
She sat quietly in her seat throughout the entire bus ride, holding her pink, tin lunchbox on her lap while avoiding looking at any eyes that may be gazing at her. Anyone who was staring at her might have been looking because they just didn't recognize her - or simply because of her hair, which was as white as snow and ran down to the middle of her back; she didn't mind all that much though, even if she was almost painfully aware of their eyes on the back of her head. Still, she enjoyed the ride nonetheless, and when they turned in the school's bus area, she recognized the school's name right away and she felt excitement and anxiety surge through her veins like an electrical charge. She gripped her lunchbox tightly and noticed that people were starting to stand up to get off the bus, so she stood too.
When Yukiko stepped off the bus, she stopped short of the school and looked up at it in amazement, almost as if she were a little girl staring up at large candy store and wondering if she had enough money to buy what she might want inside.
As she entered the school, she walked towards the closest wall and dropped her book bag on the ground and reached her hands into it. She pulled out a folded piece of paper and zipped her bag up again.
Yukiko unfolded the paper and looked at it; it was her school schedule. She looked closely to find where her first class would be. It read,"HOMEROOM - 201 - Tanji, R."
Yukiko gripped the piece of paper in her hand and continued her way, occasionally bumping into someone and apologizing right away.
She inspected every door she walked by - 220... 219...218..
Just then, she spotted a man coming out of a doorway; marked above it read "Cafeteria". She hurried her step a little bit, hoping to catch him; he looked like he might be a teacher of the school, and she hoped that maybe he could help her find the room she was looking for.
Yukiko caught up to him, just as he was turning to leave the cafeteria.
"Ex- excuse me..!"
He had a few things in his hands, as well as a cookie sticking out of his mouth; his expression almost looked like a child's when they were caught doing something they shouldn't be doing. "Oh.. um, yes?"
Yukiko smiled, slightly amused by him. " Um.. Hello.. My name is Yukiko. I just transferred into this school, and I was wondering... Could you please help me find this classroom?" She held up her schedule and pointed to the first class on her list.
"Oh," He took the cookie out from his mouth and smiled, "Actually, that's my homeroom you're looking for."
He was a tall, Asian man and had black hair and dark brown eyes, almost black. "I'm going there right now - we can walk together if you like."
"Oh - that would be great, thank you!" She smiled up at him; he seemed friendly enough.
"- I'm Mr. Tanji by the way, it's nice to meet you, Yukiko." He bowed his head a little at her and smiled.
The classroom was all the way at the end of the hall, turning left if you were leaving the cafeteria. Mr. Tanji and Yukiko entered the room at the same time and walked towards the front of the class to a large desk.
Mr. Tanji set his things down on his desk and stood up straight again to look at Yukiko. "Alright then, here we are. You can take the empty seat right.." He scanned the classroom for a moment, then pointed to a an empty desk, which was four desks from the back and two rows, left from the windows. "Right there."
Yukiko nodded, "Okay."
Then he added, " Oh and, um.." He rubbed the stubble on his chin with his hand, "-you can do pretty well anything you'd like... You can doodle, read a book, text, or even make a paper maché unicorn for all I care - just so long as you aren't too loud and don't disturb any of the other students, you should be alright." He chuckled.
Yukiko thanked him and set herself up at her desk, but then she felt a strange sensation.. like she was being watched, until...
Yukiko looked to her right.
"Psst.. Hey!" It was a girl with brown, pin-straight hair and pretty blue eyes. "You're new here, right..?" She whispered.
Yukiko blinked and then whispered back. "Yeah.. I just transferred here."
"Oh, I thought so... I'm Kaitlyn, I can help you find your way around if you want." Kaitlyn smiled at her; she seemed friendly.
" I'm Yukiko, it's nice to meet you, Kaitlyn.. And thanks, that would be great!" Yukiko smiled back at her.
"Yukiko, huh..? That's a pretty name..!"
Yukiko blushed a little bit, ".. I was, um.. I was adopted.. and my adoptive mother was from Japan, so.. she gave me a Japanese name."
Kaitlyn's eyes lit up, "Ooohh, cool! I've always wanted to go to Japan! - Have you ever been there??"
Their hushed conversation seemed to have grown louder when Kaitlyn heard the word, "Japan" and before Yukiko could answer, Mr. Tanji looked up from the book he was reading and whispered loudly, "Pssst - Kaitlyn," He smirked, "Quit pestering the poor girl and work on something, would you?"
Kaitlyn smiled sheepishly and apologized, " Sorry, Mr. Tanji." She then turned around in her seat and faced forward, but leaned to the side a little to whisper something to Yukiko.
"We can talk after homeroom - and I can help you find your locker if you want."
Yukiko smiled at her. "Alright, and thanks again!"
"No problem." Kaitlyn picked up her book on her desk and continued reading.
Yukiko was glad that Kaitlyn had spoken to her and hoped that maybe they could become friends. She was excited at the thought of making a friend so quickly. She decided to wait out the remaining time of homeroom until the bell rang.
After about twenty minutes, Mr Tanji stood up in front of the class and announced loudly,"Alright guys, I think you've had enough of this, right? You can all have the last..." He looked down at his wristwatch. "--The last 7 minutes to yourselves. Go, be free my minions.. Be free to roam the classroom."
A few muffled laughs could be heard from the back of the class, as well as some sighs of relief and a few silent "Yes"'s.
Everyone got up, almost in unison and dispersed in all directions, trying to locate a friend to talk to.
Yukiko turned toward Kaitlyn's desk, but she wasn't there; she was a little disappointed, but then she heard a voice from behind her.
"Hey there, Yukiko!" She turned around to find Kaitlyn smiling at her, and she couldn't help but smile back. " Oh hi, Kaitlyn."
"Lucky we have such an awesome teacher, huh?"
"Yeah." Yukiko giggled and looked over at Mr. Tanji, who was talking to a tall Asian boy with long, spiky hair.
But then, Yukiko felt as though her heart had stopped and her stomach had dropped right there on the floor in front of her. Her smiled faded into a slightly confused expression.
Kaitlyn stopped and looked in the direction that Yukiko was looking, slightly confused herself.
"That boy talking to Mr. Tanji... Do you know him..?"
"Hm..? Oh, yeah.. That's Ryoto.." Kaitlyn wrinkled her nose.
Yukiko felt like she might faint; that boy looked exactly like the boy who was always in her nightmare... The same nightmare she's been having over and over, almost every night since she could remember.
He had long red hair, and despite the length, was somewhat spikey. He was tall, and his eyes.. Even his eyes were the same.
" - But," Kaitlyn interrupted her thoughts, "-he's not exactly someone you'd want to just.. Walk up and say "hi" to.." She grimaced a little and Yukiko looked at her curiously.
"Oh.. Why not..?"
"Oh, uh...It's just that.. He's kind of.." Kaitlyn hesitated, ".. He's kind of a huge jerk."
Yukiko looked over at Ryoto curiously, still thinking of the boy from her dream. He must have felt eyes on him, because he stopped talking suddenly and looked in Yukiko's direction until his eyes found her's. He looked her straight in the eye, expressionless.
Yukiko lost her nerve as soon as he looked at her and averted her eyes when their gaze met.
"Why? Do you recognize him or something?"
Yukiko glanced over at him every once in awhile, as did Kaitlyn. "Um.. I thought I might have seen him before, but... I don't know."
"Oh, um.. Okay.. Well, I suggest staying away from him..He's not very..err.. Friendly."
Yukiko looked over at him again. "Alright... Thanks for the heads up."
Just then, the bell rang, startling Yukiko.
"It's alright - it's only the bell." Kaitlyn teased.
Yukiko giggled, "I know.." Then, she suddenly realized, "Oh man.. I didn't get a locker yet!"
"Oh.. Well, you should go up and ask Mr. Tanji about that." Kaitlyn gestured toward his direction, "I'll come with you."
"Oh, okay.. Thanks." Yukiko felt nervous about going to his desk... The boy was still there.
They made their way to Mr. Tanji's desk, "Oh, and could you take the attendance sheet down to the office too, Ryoto?"
He looked away from the boy for a moment and smiled. "Oh, how can I help you ladies?"
Kaitlyn, sensing Yukiko's nervousness, answered for her, "Yukiko wasn't assigned a locker yet, do you think that maybe you could assign her one?" Kaitlyn and Mr. Tanji discussed it with each other for awhile.
Yukiko was standing about a foot away from the boy now - from Ryoto.
She looked up at him. He was really tall - at least 6"0, she guessed.
When he turned to pick up the attendance sheet, he looked down at Yukiko - looking her right in the eye.
Yukiko gave him a little smile as if to say "hi", but he frowned slightly, not at her but at himself, quietly cleared his throat, and stopped looking at her - almost as if he were trying to avoid eye contact, and began to slowly walk to his desk to gather his things and continued to walk out of the classroom with the attendance sheet in hand, and his book bag slung over his shoulder.
"Alright then, thanks Mr. Tanji!" Kaitlyn smiled politely at him and handed Yukiko a little slip of paper. "Here - this is your locker number and combination."
"Oh.. Thank you," Yukiko turned toward Mr. Tanji, "And thank you, too."
"No problem!" He nodded his head at them, "See you girls later!"
Yukiko and Kaitlyn then said in unison, "See you later, Mr. Tanji!"
After Kaitlyn helped Yukiko find her locker, she pointed her in the direction of her next few classes and went off to her next class.
Yukiko made her way to her next class, Math - and then the next one, History. By this point, she had to ask her history teacher where to find her next class, which was English.
Her classes seemed to fly right by; Yukiko copied some notes, sat quietly, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't stop thinking about that boy... What was his name? .. Ryoto..?
She thought that maybe he just had an uncanny resemblance to the boy in her dream, but he couldn't convince herself - he looked too much like him. The hair..The height..The face - the eyes.. such strong eyes..
He fit the description perfectly.
Class seemed to have passed by quickly and before he knew it, it was lunchtime - and by then, she hadn't realized it before, but she was absolutely starving!