Yuki's Next Chapter- Chapter 1
Last time, I told you all about my mother. The man she loved, and how much she gave to raise Ame and I. Our ability to turn into wolves, and how we had to keep it hidden. The way we grew up, and chose our own paths; Ame leaving to live in the wild to take his Sensei's place, and me leaving for boarding school back in the city. I know I told you last time that every word of my story was true. Well, there is one thing I exaggerated a little. That night in the high school with the storm raging outside, I never worked up the courage to tell Souhei my secret. That was a fantasy of mine. I wish that was how it happened, instead of continuing to worry.
Now's not the time to look back on what could have been. There is much more of the story to tell. I'll start 6 years after Ame left for the wild, the start of my senior year of high school. Shino went on to the same school as I did, so it's nice to still have a good friend close by. The others went on to other schools, though, including Souhei.
Diary entry: August 29
I remember this day. It's the anniversary of the day my brother left. I can't help but wonder how my mother is doing. Shino and I went out for the volleyball team today. I'm sure she made the cut, but I'm not so sure about me. I dropped a few easy shots. Even if I don't make it, I can at least cheer on my friend. I've heard we're getting a new student tomorrow. It seems odd they're transferring in half way through the year, but I suppose we all have our stories. Oh well. I think I should call my mom and see how she's doing. I wonder if she still gets sad on this day. -End
a special day to my family, the world kept on turning. I awoke to the
sound of my alarm at 6:00 A.M. and prepared a small meal for myself.
I often thought about how much different my time in school would have
been had I not chosen a single room. I knew it was the safest path,
though. While I had gained a much greater control of my wolf side, I
sometimes still awoke either half way into my wolf form or completely
a wolf. Having a roommate see that was something I just couldn't
risk. At a glance, I looked no different from any other girl you
would see. The only thing in my human form that must have stuck out
was the length of my hair. It took quite a bit of time to brush it,
now that it was down to my waist, but it was my choice. As usual, I
donned by school uniform, with the navy blue blouse and long
pale-blue skirt. The bus ride to the school was always a time for
reflection, if I didn't have to rush to finish forgotten homework. I
looked down at my watch as the bus pulled up to the school. 7:45 as
usual. With my backpack slung over my shoulder, I headed inside. A
young lady came running over to me, her short brown hair bouncing
with each step. An excitable lady, sporting the same uniform as I
wore. This was my first friend outside my family, and my best friend
for a long time, Shino. “Hey there, Yuki!” she called eagerly as
she saw me coming. “The volleyball teams were posted today.”
hey Shino!” I exclaimed running over to her. “So, I'm sure you
made the team.”
“It wasn't just me,” she said, handing a copy of the team list to me. I took a moment to scan over the list, going wide-eyed “That's right. You're on the team, too, Yuki!” As she often did when she was happy, she pulled me into a hug. I always enjoyed being hugged by a good friend.
“All right! I needed some good news.” I gave Shino a hug in return, and a smile to go with. She'd grown quite tall since our time in grade school, standing at a full 6 foot tall now. I was still only 5 foot 4 inches, and it seemed I wasn't going to get any taller. I looked up as the bell went off. “Come on!” Quickly, Shino and I rushed inside to take our homeroom seats. Our teacher soon made his way in, writing his name up on the board. It was probably because of our new classmate who we had yet to meet.
“Class, as I'm sure many of you have heard, we're getting a new student today.” I couldn't hide my curiosity about the new student. “Right this way, son,” he said, opening the classroom door. I looked up, a soft gasp escaping my lips as I saw our new student. I felt my heart skip a beat. I wasn't sure if it was excitement or fear.
Shino gave my shoulder a push. “Hey, Yuki. Isn't that-”
“S-Souhei.” my voice came out a whisper. There was no mistaking it. His spiky hair, his silly grin, and the telltale scar on his right ear. “It is Souhei.” I tried to keep calm, but that old underlying feeling came back up on me. I tried to hide behind my book, but it was to no avail. He came my way, sitting in the empty seat beside me.
“Hey there, Yuki. I had a feeling I'd see you here.” He gave me that usual smile of his, and I forced one in return. Until now, the only one who may have known about my secret was away, and I thought I was safe until then. “Don't worry. I'm not going to chase after you this time. As long as you promise to actually talk to me. We got a deal?”
I couldn't help but let out a small chuckle at that. With a nod, I extended my hand to shake. “It's a deal.” With that hand shake, I suddenly found myself at ease. It seemed so odd. Perhaps it was a sixth sense from my wolf side. Whatever the case, I didn't choose to question it.
Our first class was a bit
slower than usual, our teacher slowing down to review a bit for the
sake of our new classmate. Classes that followed moved along at
normal speed. It was surprising when I saw Souhei taking notes so
carefully. He never seemed the studious type back in grade school.
Time seemed to have changed him quite a bit, and I could tell he
wasn't quite the same boy I knew back then. One thing about him that
didn't change was his smile. Strange as it might sound, his smile
reminded me of my mother, and how she would always smile when things
were tough. When lunch time finally came around, Shino and I sat
together as usual, and she invited Souhei to sit with us. I gave him
my best smile as he sat down. “So, Yuki, Shino. It's been a while.
You guys been going to this school the whole time since you left
I gave him a nod, looking into his eyes. “Yeah. Classes haven't been easy all the time, and we've been putting quite a bit of time into sports, particularly volleyball. We both made the team today.”
“Hey, that's some good news,” he said with a small laugh. “We need to talk and catch up some time. You free after school today?”
I looked over to Shino, knowing we'd planned to get together for some study time. With a knowing look, she gave me a nod, telling me she'd be all right. I gave Souhei a nod of my own. “I can come and talk a while. You know that big clearing up on the hill just outside of town? Meet me there.”
“Should I bring something to eat, or a drink? Or just something to sit on? Maybe I'll just surprise you.” The two of us shared a laugh for the first time in years, and it felt good to have another old friend around.
The rest of the day's classes dragged on, but finally they let out at 4:00. I didn't stick around to talk, other than waving goodbye to Shino. The excitement of getting to catch up with Souhei had me eager to get home and change. I didn't know why. Thinking rationally, my emotions were still a mix of excitement, curiosity, and fear. When I agreed to meet with him, I hadn't even stopped to consider the possibility he might know what I really was and be waiting for the chance to call me out on it. Those thoughts completely eluded me that day as I changed from my school uniform into my casual clothes. I always felt most comfortable in the long sky blue dress that my mother had taught me how to sew. My apartment was near the edge of the city, so the clearing was within walking distance for me. When I arrived, Souhei hadn't made it there yet. He wasn't far behind, running up the hill a few minutes later with a picnic basket in hand. My face turned red as I came to the realization; Souhei hadn't asked me here just to talk about our time apart. He had asked me on a date.
faced away until he came up behind me and tapped my shoulder.
Ironically enough, my dress was the same kind my mother wore on her
first date with my father. “Hey, that's a nice dress,” Souhei
said as he laid out the picnic blanket. “Same kind you wore that
night at the school. Blue is a good color you.”
“Souhei, why didn't you tell me before that it was a date?” My voice easily gave away my embarrassment, but I couldn't say there wasn't a hint of excitement to it as well.
“Huh? I thought you knew,” he said with a laugh. “Well, if you didn't before, and you don't want it to be a date, I won't be mad if you walk away.” I turned toward him, looking into his eyes. He was always such a friendly person. A date with him didn't sound so bad, so I gave him a nod and sat down on the picnic blanket with him.
“I can't help but ask. Why would you ask so quickly? I mean, we just met again after not seeing each other for 6 years.” It was a question any girl would wonder.
“Well, if we're being honest, I wish I'd asked you out sooner. I've always thought you were pretty cool. I got worried after that wolf hurt me. The way you hid at home. I thought you were worried about what the kids at school were saying. I mean, it wasn't your fault, but they all acted like it with their stupid gossip. When you finally talked to me again, it made me smile. We were finally friends. At least, that's how I looked at it.” I looked away as he mentioned that day. Even though from his words he didn't know I was the one who hurt him, I couldn't help feeling shame over that day. To keep him from getting suspicious, I wore a smile and nodded. “We kept going to school together, and I wanted for a while to ask you out, but...I don't know. I guess I was chicken. Silly, isn't it?”
As we talked, I felt the warmth of his hand as he took mine. I started to pull my hand away, but hesitated. It felt nice, and he was very kind and a wonderful friend, so I relaxed and held his hand in return. “Well, Souhei, I have to admit I'm curious. What have you been up to these past six years?”
“It hasn't been easy,” he said, letting out a sigh. “My mom died in the hospital when the baby was born, and my stepdad focused completely on the new baby. He didn't have any time for me, so I ran away. I lied about my age and got a job delivering newspapers, just like I said I would in the 6th grade. Don't get me wrong, being a paper boy didn't pay much, but it got me enough to rent a cheap little apartment and paid for food so I could get by.” He looked over into my eyes for a moment before reaching into the picnic basket. “You want a sandwich?” as he pulled out the modest sandwich, I gave him a nod, accepting it. I was a bit too focused on his story to eat though. “Every paycheck, I always socked away 10% of it. Sure, that never amounted to much each time, but over the course of 6 years, it got to be pretty good. I had enough saved up to rent an apartment here in the city and start school. Trying to find a second job now. What about you?”
“Oh, my mom gave me some money to get me started. I've been working a job at the grocery store to keep up, though it's been a balancing act between work and school.”
Time went on as we talked, recounting our last 6 years. I could appreciate everything Souhei had been through. It reminded me a lot of my mom, and everything she gave to raise Ame and I. Before we knew it, the sun was starting to go down, and the rest of the day was gone. As luck would have it, it was a Friday, so we didn't have to rush to finish any homework. Like a cliched gentleman, Souhei walked me to my home at the end of our date. “I had a really great time with you, Yuki,” he said, opening his arms to give me a hug. I wasted no time returning his intentions in a gentle, friendly hug.
“So, where's your apartment?” I asked him. “If we're going to be dating, I should know where to come pick you up if we're going somewhere you've never been.”
At this, he seemed to become a little apprehensive. “Oh, it's all the way across town. Practically outside the city. It takes about an hour and a half to bus there. It's probably easier to just meet up here.”
“If you have to go that far, then at least stay here tonight. The couch pulls out.” I hoped to at least offer him some convenience and save him a ride that far on a Friday night. It was already 10p.m. He shook his head, though, and gave me a smile before he left.