Chapter 1: Miyuki
Sunday night 10:00 pm, Fujimoto Residence
“Please, Yuki? Please, please, please ….” said the annoying voice of my twin brother.
I ignored him and continued to stare at the computer screen typing away lines of code. I couldn’t believe that at the age of eighteen his voice still retained that same annoying tone that he had when we were three years old. Even though we were twins, the only thing that we had in common was our appearances despite our different genders. We were both six feet tall, with crystal blue eyes and short midnight blue hair. My brother, Kai Fujimoto, was always described as the fun, loud, and outgoing party guy; where I was considered the complete opposite, but I liked to think of myself as the silent and studious lone wolf.
Our family consisted of Kai; Mori Fujimoto, our father; and myself, Miyuki. Our mother, Fuyumi, died not too long after giving birth to us so we have no recollection of her, but our father loved our mother deeply and never married again, just raising us up with the help of our home staff in Kyoto Japan. He said that he would never forget her last wishes and that is to always love their children no matter what they do and raise them up with love. Since then my father has always been supportive and loving to us, making time in his busy schedule to attend our sport tournaments and drama plays and recitals. Who would ever have thought that the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation, Fujimoto Tech, would be the loudest person to cheer on the sidelines or the most enthusiastic clapper in the audience?
He's also the reason why I'm trying fend him off. My wild brother has been invited to another frat party this Friday night. Normally it would be okay to let him go but it just so happens that there’s an important company function on Saturday afternoon that we all need to be present for. So my brother tried, but failed miserably, to subtly get on Father's good side at the dinner table.
He started by buttering him up with compliments. Saying things like his clothes looked good on him. He even asked whether or not our father had gotten a hair cut, and saying something about the style of his hair. Things got even weirder when the food came out on the table.
“Otousan … here have some roasted pork … oh try some of this, its very good … oh your favorite, you must have some more.” My father and I exchanged glances. We both looked skeptically at Kai's sudden kindness, it was obvious that he was up to something.
“What do you want Kai?” Father asked bluntly.
“What would make you think I want something?”
“'Cause this,” pointing at his bowl literally overflowing with so much food that you couldn’t even see the rice, “is not you. You’re the one who tries to eat everything first and worry about others later. So, what do you want, or do I need to go on?”
“Fine, fine, I’ll tell you. You didn't have to say that stuff about me out loud.” With that Kai gave a little pout. I don't think I managed to hide my smirk too well.
“My friends are holding a party on Friday night and I was wondering if I could go?”
Ever since entering university we had this agreement, that in exchange for living in the comfort of our home including the luxury and benefits (i.e. get spending money), we had to always inform our father of our whereabouts if we were not home by midnight, were away on school related trips, and also, most importantly, if it affected any of our family events. Our father was very worrisome, and after losing the love of his life he liked to keep us close to him in hopes that he wouldn’t lose us also. We understood this so we had no complaints; the perks were just an added bonus.
“Kai, you do know that we have that company function to go to on Saturday? Every time you go to one of those parties you don’t come home until seven in the morning, and you usually arn't functional after that until night time comes around. I need you to socialize at the event on Saturday.”
“Well if I promise to come home by one would I be able to go?”
Silence. I looked up from my bowl of rice when I heard the silent gap. My father was silent, which meant that he was thinking and planning something. A moment later, he grinned mischieviously, and finally asked, “What do you do at those parties? Who’s going to be there?”
“Well drinking, games, socializing … you know, the usual. As to who, my frat buddies and whoever they invite, I’m thinking about 30 people or so.”
“Is it restricted to males only?”
Once my father asked this question, I became wary of where this was going and started to finish eating by bowl of rice fairly quickly. I had a feeling that I didn’t want to hear the rest of the conversation. My brother on the other hand was starting to get the hint of what my father was getting at and developed that same gleam in his eyes as my father, only confirming to me that this idea was really not one that I wanted to participate in. Kai shook his head giving a silent no in answer to my father's question.
Putting down my chopsticks and empty bowl quickly, I announced that I was done and got up to go to my room quickly. But just as I reach to open the door to exit the dining room my father said something that made me walk into it instead of opening it.
“You can go, but only if you take Miyuki with you.”
Ever since I was a child, I was not good at socializing. The only people who I would ever get along with would be my father, brother, and our dog Hik-chan. So since I was in elementary school both my father and brother would push me to make friends. Then in secondary school, my brother became the popular kid and had hoards of girlfriends, since he was quite handsome and charming. I, on the other hand, would be found sitting in the library by myself studying. My father was worried about me though, and came up with a plan with my brother to push me towards getting boyfriends. Once I knew of the plan though, I came out to them and told them that I wasn’t attracted to guys. It took a while for Kai to get it, but my father looked like he was relieved for some reason. I remember asking him about it, and he replied that he wouldn't know how to deal with any guy troubles that I might have had and would've needed to ask our housekeeper/chef Mai. But since I liked girls then things would be much easier, since he had dealt with girl problems before.
“Come on Yuki, please? Are you even listening to me?” then Kai started to poke me.
“Oh, you’re still here? Go to bed.” I commanded breaking out of concentration after finally finishing a program for a project I'm working for my part-time job. I took off my reading glasses, glanced at my clock, and notice that its one in the morning now, meaning that I had five hours of sleep before getting up for school. I got up and stretched my sore shoulders, then went to my private bathroom to wash up and change to go to bed.
When I came out of the bathroom, I not only found Kai still in my room, but Hik-chan was also there as well, playing with my brother.
“No. No. No. No. No.” I started to stutter but it was no use, my brother had brought in the ultimate weapon: the double Fujimoto pout; he knew I couldn't say no then. I closed my eyes but I still heard both him and Hik-chan whimper and when I looked up I saw the sad puppy dog eyes on both of them. Since I have never done the pout myself, I found it quite disturbing seeing my twin do it and knowing that my face was capable of looking like that.
“Fine, I’ll go, now stop doing that and get out of my room so I can go to sleep.” I finally gave in.
Kai’s sad frown on his face did a complete 180 and turned into a full-blown smile within the span of a second. I guess that’s why he joined the drama club.
“Thank you Yuki, I owe you one. Good night now.” Kai then waltzed out of my room happily.
I started towards my bed and noticed that Hik-chan, who was sometimes my bed warmer, getting ready to sleep on the bed with me. I whispered, “Traitor. Who’s the one that lets you sleep in her bed at night? You’re supposed to help me.” Hik-chan only tilted her head to the side not fully understanding what was said. I just smiled and got on the bed to scratch her behind the ears. Hik-chan then used her nose and paws to nuzzle me and push me down to sleep.
“It’s beautiful love.”
I was leaning on my motorcycle near the edge of the curb, by the empty highway on a mountain and watching the sunrise. The person who said this was a girl who was standing with her back facing me. My only reply to that statement was to simply slide my arms beneath hers and wraping them around her waist, in order to hug her from behind. The person was soft and warm, and as I lowered my chin to the crook her neck to enjoy the view also, I smelled the sweet scent of strawberries and peaches. A sense of completeness and peace overcame me whenever I was holding her that close. Her reaction was to lean in closer to me within my embrace and placing her arms on top of mine while entwining our fingers.
“I love …”
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP
I snapped awake and reached above my head to turn off my alarm clock without getting up. I lay there reminiscing about my dream. I always wake up feeling a void of loneliness that I knew only the person in my dream could fill. Ever since I was young I’ve had dreams of this same person but I could never remember what that person looked like. Knowing that I would never get over my shyness and be that bold to express my feelings like I had in my dreams or even to approach a girl purposefully to ask her out, I learned to just settle with what I have.
As I got up, I glanced at my clock and saw that it read 6:00. I changed into my workout clothes, T-shirt and sweat pants, and headed out. As I got to the front door, I saw Hik-chan eagerly waiting to run with me with her leash in her mouth. As soon as she saw me her tail began wagging at a fast pace.
After running around the neighborhood for 45 minutes we are back home, and after I untied her leash, Hik-chan went to the kitchen to find Mai for her breakfast. I headed up to my room to shower and wash up. After my shower I prepared myself for school, which meant binding my already underdeveloped breasts and dressing up like a guy. I started doing this after a very cruel prank during my last year in secondary school, which caused my father to realize that not everyone was accepting of me and my chosen lifestyle. So my father had to pull a lot of strings in the hope of making my life a bit better. On all my official records he changed my gender, from female to male, then we all moved from our home in Kyoto to Tokyo, and thanks to my always keeping low-key and my natural tomboyish qualities, he was able to make the press believe that I was a guy instead of a girl. High school went by with no problems and my brother and I both got accepted into Tokyo U last year. Kai was a Business major whereas mine was Mechanical Engineering. I was still my loner self though, even worse so after that prank. I even began to fear reaching out to others and getting hurt and betrayed in the end.
After getting dressed in a plain black T-shirt, a grey hoodie with University of Tokyo on the front, and blue jeans, I went downstairs to the dining room to eat breakfast with my father and Kai. I noticed that those two seemed to be conspiring against me because they stopped their conversation once I stepped into the room. I swear that their only real entertainment is trying to get me hooked up with someone, but I wasn't one to get tricked so easily.
“Otousan, I’ll be getting home a bit later than usual because our sensei wants to put us through a last minute training session before Wednesday’s tournament.” I informed my father.
“Okay, would it be later than dinner time? If so, tell Mai so she can fix you a late dinner.”
“I think the training should end at 8:30 and I’ll just eat dinner at the school café but I’ll tell Mai I won’t be home for dinner when I head out to school.”
“Okay, just be careful alright, walk in well lit areas.”
“Don’t worry Otousan, anyone who decides to attack this 6-feet tall tomboy carrying all his Kendo gear is just plain stupid, because I think that our school champion here will just beat a little sense into them.” Kai assured our father.
After telling Mai that I would’t be home for dinner, I went up to my room to grab my school books and put it in my kendo bag. Then I grabbed my helmet and jacket and went to the garage to ride my bike to school. Riding on my bike always gave me a thrill especially if I went at speeds that my bike was made to go at. Since we lived on the outskirts of Tokyo, I was able to do this often without getting any traffic tickets.
After our 18th birthday last year, our father gave us a choice of transportation vehicle as an encouragement and reward for getting our driving licenses. With no hesitation I opted for a motorcycle where my brother selected the typical sports car. My father was not surprised at what I picked, since I had a little obsession with speed and motorcycles. So one day after school, I found a note, a silver and black helmet, and a set of keys in my room to go to the garage to find a surprise. As soon as I saw the helmet I knew what the surprise was, I just didn’t know what the model was. So I picked up the keys and helmet and raced down to the garage. There I screamed like a girl, no pun intended, when I found my father beside my dream bike: an ebony Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. My father was happy that he got to see my rare smile let alone scream of joy and I was happy that I got THE bike.
I parked my motorcycle in the parking lot by the athletic building knowing that it'd be a closer walk for me tonight. I then headed over to the engineering building to put my stuff away in my locker and only take the stuff that I needed for today. Since this is the summer semester and I had a part-time job working at the headquarters of Fujimoto Tech, I decided to take a light course load and take some of my electives since most of my core courses were not offered during the summer semester. These included Programming, Music Composition, and Statistics. Today I had Programming and Stats lectures in the morning and then a Programming Seminar in the afternoon. After putting my books in my knapsack, I headed out to the lecture hall where my first class of the day was held.
Since the summer semester just started last week, the lectures were not as intense, as they usually were just mostly reviews and introductions. I was not in a hurry to get to class, since I liked sitting in the back of the lecture halls, so I took the scenic route. Glancing around me, I saw a group of people walking in to class. These people all had smiles on their faces, and were laughing at each others’ jokes. Some were in some serious conversations, while the others listened. Watching these people made me wonder if I’d ever have people like that, who I can share jokes or problems with, but it reminded me of the last time that entrusted people with my feelings which then led to that incident in secondary school. I shuddered a little at this reminder and move a little faster to head into the building.
Just as I was about to enter the lecture hall I saw two people saying goodbye to each other. It was obvious that those two were lovers since they had their hands all over each other and were connected together at the lips. Seeing this made me blush and head in the room to find a seat and luck was on my side since there was an empty seat at the far back corner. As I set my stuff out to prepare for note taking I thought back to the girl in my dreams. I wondered if there really was a person out there for me who I can show affection to like the couple at the door. I gave that a little thought and then smirked, thinking maybe in a more private setting instead of tongue-dueling each other in public with everyone around watching us. Ultimately, I knew that it wouldn’t happen in a million years in reality since there’s too much risk involved and besides, who would ever want to fall in love with a freak like me. So I just had to accept my fate; destined to be alone for the rest of my life. A little pang of depression surged through me which then caused the small physical ache in my chest whenever I thought of that, but I had learned to endure through this pain and ignore it. The only things that sometimes eased a bit of the pain were whenever I dream and when I put my focus on the work at hand like school or practices. At that point he professor started talking so I picked up my pen and notebook and began writing.
After my two lectures I headed to the university center to grab a quick lunch and chocolate bar before attending my seminar. Chocolate to me was like coffee or energy drinks to most university students but more; it was also my comfort food, and after the thoughts I had in my Stats lecture this morning I decided that I deserved a chocolate bar pick-me up. After eating a sandwich and strawberry smoothie, I grab two chocolate bars and headed out to the building where most of the seminars on campus were held.
In the university courtyard there was a fundraising event which was gaining a crowd. Thanks to my height, I was able to see above almost everyone’s head and read the advertising poster. Apparently there was going to be a fundraising concert held on campus in two weeks from that Saturday and the guest performer was a rising Japanese idol from Tokyo. Continuing to read the advertisement, I also saw that there was also a draw to win a date with the captain of the boys basketball team, which was the group in charge of planning the event. I then saw my brother, who just so happened to be the team captain, waving at me like an idiot standing beside the box to enter the draw. But before anyone could see who Kai was waving at, I pull up my hood to conceal my face, and then scram like there was no tomorrow to the seminar building. Unfortunately, there was someone behind me when I turned around and I ended up bumping into the person. Luckily for my good reflexes, I regained my balance and steadied the other person before they could fall. I mumbled a quick apology without even glancing at the person and left before I drew anymore attention to myself.