"Get out of my sight!"
I rubbed my eyes and sat up in my bed. I walked outside of my room and stopped at the top of the stairs. Something told me I shouldn't be seen so I watched the scene below through the railings. From my spot, I could just see our large front door.
I barely recognised the girl standing there. I had never seen my sister that angry. Her face was distorted into a scary scowl. My brother-in-law stood beside her, but was just observing the scene in front of him intently. A middle-aged couple stood just outside the door, looking a bit nervous.
"What are you still doing here?" I was shocked to hear my sister's enraged yell. Was that really my sister? "I thought I told you to leave."
"Please, Nana-chan," the woman pleaded. She was slightly plump, had light-brown, curly hair and her hazel-coloured eyes glistened with tears. "Just five minutes. I only want to see Ruru-chan for five minutes. Please!"
"You have no right to see her," my sister's cold voice sent a chill down my spine. "Not after what you did to us."
"We're really sorry, Nana-chan," the male spoke up. "We weren't thinking straight. Please let us make it up to yo-"
"You," my sister interrupted, "physically abused Rukia and me. She was only an infant. She had done nothing wrong and yet you hit her. Did you know she was on the verge of dying when I finally took her and left? Living with you two alcoholics was more dangerous than living on the streets!"
"You must understand, Nana," the man replied softly. "We were going through hard times. But now it's over so please come back. We can be one happy family again."
"My family is right here," Hisana replied evenly.
"Nana-chan," he raised his voice. "Come home this instant. I will not allow an underage girl like you to stay here with this man. It's absolutely prepo-"
"I'm not underage anymore," she interrupted him in disgust. "I haven't been for the past three years!"
The man looked genuinely flustered, "I…"
"Get out of my sight," Hisana repeated her earlier words. "I'm surprised you even dared to show up here in the first place."
"You," the man suddenly pointed a finger at my brother. "What have you done to my daughter to make her treat us like this? It's your fault!"
"Keep him out of this, old man," Hisana said before my brother opened his mouth. "I made this decision on my own. Unlike you two, he isn't some manipulative, abusive freak."
"Nana-chan!" the woman cried.
"Don't call me that," my sister snapped. "You two don't fit to be our parents."
"Come home," the woman looked pleadingly at my sister who glared back in return.
"My home is here," my sister hissed. "Now get out of our lives."
"Let me see her, please! Just one quick glance is enough," The woman begged quietly.
"Over my dead body," Hisana responded icily and motioned with her hand.
Two men appeared at the door and lead the couple away. The woman screamed as she was dragged away. My sister looked away and closed the doors with a loud bang. I watched my sister slide to the floor and sit in a foetal position.
"You should've let me handle it," my brother sat down beside her and ran his hand through her hair.
My sister shook her head, "No, this is my problem. I should've fixed this a long time ago."
"Nee-sama," I called out while walking toward her warily.
She looked up in surprise and gave me a tired smile. She held out her arms. I studied her expression and found she had returned to normal. I ran up to her and she hugged me tightly. "Nee-sama, don't cry," I patted her head.
She hugged me tighter, "As long as I'm alive, I'll never let them come close to you, Rukia…"
I woke up with a jolt. I sat up and looked around before remembering where I was. Sighing heavily, I lay back down on my bed and rubbed my eyes tiredly. It was barely three in the morning.
I tried to get back to sleep but the dream kept haunting me. My sister's angry face kept popping up and that those two adults.
After tossing and turning for a whole thirty minutes I gave up. I walked to Ichigo's room and slipped inside.
"Rukia?" Ichigo called sleepily when I climbed into his bed. "What's wrong?"
I snuggled up close to him and his arm went around me, "I had a bad dream and now I can't sleep."
He ruffled my hair, "You sound like a little kid."
"Shut up," I scowled and lightly punched him.
"Want to talk about it?"
"It's ok. It was just a memory from a long time ago," I replied. When he didn't say anything, I looked up and realised he was already asleep. I closed my eyes and his slow breathing lulled me back to sleep.
"Rukia-san," Akane greeted. "I heard you went to the café with Yuki-sempai."
"Yeah," I replied her. "We bumped into each other and she made me go with her."
She pouted, "Not fair. You went without us."
"Yeah, you have to make it up to us," Nobara said. "Let's go shopping this afternoon!"
"Nope," Nobara shook her finger at me. "You said no last time so this time you must come with us!"
I looked at the two girls staring at me and sighed, "Fine."
"Yay!" Akane cheered. "I found this shop the other day and the style of the clothes just screamed your name. You're going to love that shop!"
I had no idea how clothes can 'scream my name' but I just nodded and smiled. It was less fuss that way. "I'll meet you two at the gates. I need to return some books to the library."
"Sure," Akane nodded and they left the classroom.
I packed up my belongings and pulled out my phone. "Ulquiorra, have the police made any progress?"
"No yet. We've got a few of our men out searching for clues as well."
"Ok, good. I'll call you back later."
After pocketing my phone, I left my classroom and headed for the exit of the building. As I passed one of the corridors, I felt a chill run down my back and I swivelled around in alarm.
Murderous intent…? I widened my eyes and approached the source carefully.
"Why did you stop me?" I heard one guy ask. "She was finally alone!"
"Don't do whatever you were planning to do," a voice replied. Ichigo's voice? I frowned and peeped into the corridor. Ichigo was facing two boys from my class with his hands crossed.
"You have no right to tell me what to do!"
"Even if you asked her out, you would get rejected right away," Ichigo said to him.
"What? You think I'm not good enough for her?" The guy grabbed Ichigo's collar angrily. "Just because most of the girls here have got their eyes on you doesn't mean Kuchiki-san does as well!"
Me…? I stepped back in alarm. Someone was going to confess to me?
"Stop being so selfish, man," the other guy spoke for the first time. "You can't just go and steal all the chicks. Leave some for us."
"I'm just trying to stop him before he gets depressed from being turned out. Someone like him isn't good enough for her."
"Oh, and you are?" He scoffed. "I've heard the rumours. You already have Matsumoto Rangiku, don't you? So YOU keep away from Kuchiki Rukia!"
"I am not going out with Matsumoto Rangiku," Ichigo told them angrily. "There is nothing going on between us!"
What? Who is this Matsumoto Rangiku? Is there something Ichigo isn't telling me?
"The next time you try to stop me from talking to Kuchiki-san, I will seriously punch you!"
I heard footsteps coming toward me so I quickly left the scene.
"What took you so long, Rukia-san!" Nobara frowned at me with her hands on her hips.
"I'm sorry, Nobara-san," I apologised. "I got distracted with something."
"Let's get going," Akane urged. "My part-time work starts at 6."
"Do you two happen to know a girl called Matsumoto?" I blurted out without thinking.
"Hmm… do you mean Matsumoto Rangiku-san?" I nodded slowly and Akane kept talking. "She's a med student who is graduating this year. I've talked to her a few times and she seems really nice. Why do you ask?"
"Nothing much, I just heard someone talk about her and got a little curious," I said and laughed.
"She's quite popular," Nobara added. "I'm surprised you don't know her. She's really friendly, kind and easy-going and guys can't stop thinking about her after they see her."
"Is she really that beautiful?"
"Let's say she has a good figure," she shrugged. "You know how guys are. Those pervs…"
"Enough about her," Akane clapped her hands to get our attention. "We've arrived, guys!"
I looked around and silently cursed. We were in another gang's territory. I scanned the are but didn't spot any suspicious looking people. The yakuza from this place probably won't even know who I am anyway, so there shouldn't be a problem, I persuaded myself. Even if they did figure out who I am, they won't cause a disturbance in broad daylight. I managed to calm down a little and entered the store.
The shop seemed normal enough. Despite what Akane said about the clothes 'screaming my name' I found nothing interesting. The clothes were stylish but I couldn't imagine myself wearing them. The two girls gushed over the cute clothes while I looked at the clothes on the stands indifferently whilst trying not to think about that Matsumoto girl or being in someone else's territory.
"Excuse me, how may I help you?" A shop assistant with long, wavy blond hair appeared beside me and asked cheerfully.
"No, it's fine. I'm just looking…" my voice trailed off when I saw her name tag.Matsumoto Rangiku...?