Chapter 1: Role Model
AN: So this will be a very random short book which I will upload very slowly bc I’m more immersed in my Tendou book. It was a sudden thought I had during an angsty mood but don’t worry, all my stories have happy endings :) But there will be heavy points during this story but I will add further tags and warnings as I continue posting. (No there won’t be any rape elements or non-con...)
Lemme know your thoughts :3
“Okay... okay...” Ari panted to herself, as she double checked her purse for her keys, wallet and cell phone. She then turned to the 6-year-old boy who stood quietly by the front door, clutching his school bag as he bit his lip. She bent down to straighten his jacket and tuck in his t-shirt
“You’re getting good at picking out your own clothes! I’m so proud of you Toyo!” She ruffled his hair, but he flinched, raising his shoulders to show his discomfort, making her stop and retract her hand. Ari bit her lip, feeling her heart sink. He still wasn’t talking to her, no matter how hard she tried.
She stood up and quickly patted her cheeks, stopping the tears threatening to form as she laughed,
“Come on Toyo, let’s get you to school! I promise I’ll be on time to pick you up, today...” She said, as they rushed outside towards the elementary school. Ari marched down the halls of the school, entering his classroom. She bowed in front of Toyo’s teacher
“Have a wonderful day Toyo” She said to him, but he ignored her, walking to an empty desk away from the other kids, looking at his hands. She bit her lip, she wanted to cry again from feeling so dejected. Toyo’s teacher put a hand on her shoulder, giving a sympathetic smile
“It’ll take time... I’m sure he will make friends soon...” She said and Y/n just nodded, before the teacher cleared her throat
“Miss Shiyo, please try being on time to pick Toyo-kun up... I’m afraid it’s becoming a habit and that’s not healthy for him” She said, and Y/n just nodded, apologising as she left the classroom. After that point, everything was a blur for her, she didn’t even realise when or how she got to her office, until she stared at herself in the washroom mirror...
Ari sighed, looking at her face
“I look horrible...”
She froze, when the stall opened, and two other female employees walked in
“He asked you out!? I’m so excited for you!!!” One squealed as the other laughed, applying her lipstick. Ari quietly pretended to wash her hands, taking her time
“I know! I really hope he’s as good in bed as they say” She giggled, before they turned to walk out. Ari sighed, closing the tap as she stared at her dark circles and unkempt hair. When was the last time she had a decent sleep... a date... sex?
Ari touched her face, gazing hard at her reflection. Her heart was pounding, and she felt nauseous... She turned away from the mirror and left the bathroom quietly going to her desk to begin working, blurring everything around her. At the office, she was a nobody...
In life, she was a nobody....
Sugawara sighed as he watched the children play during recess. His colleague sat by him, the older woman was bored as she observed the kids too. Sugawara and her idly chatted,
“So that blind date didn’t work out then?” Mine asked and Sugawara laughed sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck
“Um... we weren’t really compatible... She was looking for a guy with a.... higher salary I guess....” He said and Mine sighed
“How tacky of her... you really nice to find a nice woman Sugawara-san... You’re such a sweet man! If only I was younger” Mine sighed, making Sugawara blush and he laughed. He stopped laughing when he eyed one child isolating himself from the others, back against the wall as he quietly stared at his shoes...
“Mine-san, who’s that?” He asked, pointing to the kid. Mine spotted Toyo and she sighed,
“That’s Toyo... he’s in my class” She said, and Sugawara frowned, watching the child fiddle with his fingers
“Is he shy?” He asked and Mine shook her head
“Yeah... Unfortunately, he doesn’t speak to anyone. Not me, the other teachers or the kids... Even his guardian... She tries but he ignores her...”
Sugawara looked at the older woman, a little surprised
“Guardian? What about his parents?” He asked and Mine’s gaze dropped to her coffee cup, he sensed her sorrow radiate from her, like the steam from her cup.
“Doesn’t have any... He lost his mother around two years ago... His only living relative is his aunt, Miss Shiyo, who has been taking care of him since. Poor thing, she’s quite young... I really hope she picks him up on time today. She’s always late and I feel bad every time I reprimand her for it, but I have a family to take care of after school too...” Mine sighed and Sugawara stared at Toyo, for a child to lose a parent that young... It must have really affected him...
“Mine-san, I’ll stay with Toyo after school today... I don’t mind Miss Shiyo being late, it’ll give me some time to talk to the kid” He said softly and Mine looked at his cherubic face.
“You really are a lovely man Sugawara-san. My husband was getting sad because I’ve been coming home late. It’ll be nice to spend some time with him and the kids for a change...” She beamed, and he laughed before his attention went back to Toyo, making him settle down.
‘Now... how shall I approach this?’ Sugawara thought to himself...
Ari sighed, looking at the clock. Toyo would be done with elementary school in an hour, she was almost done with her paperwork. Feeling satisfied that she could finally pick him up on time. However, a sudden fat stack of papers was dropped on her desk as her boss looked at her
“Oye Shiyo, you’ve gotta finish this paperwork today. I have a meeting tomorrow, and this is a very important client” He said sternly, and she felt like crap, looking at him
“I’m sorry sir but I can’t do it... My nephew... he-” She said, and her boss glared at her
“Excuse me Shiyo, but you’re getting paid to do this work. No excuses. If it’s your nephew again, hire a sitter or a nanny to pick him up from school. If you talk less, then you can finish this work faster to pick him up. So, I suggest you get to it, chop chop!” He said, walking away making her bite her lip... He was really nasty to her, but she couldn’t complain because this job was paying her well enough to cover the bills and Toyo’s school fees. However, money was tight for her to use on leisure. Her clothes were old, she barely wore make up and she couldn’t remember the last time, she had pampered herself. She kept saving all additional expenses for emergencies only. She had a younger child to take care of, no one else was there for him in this world...
She was all he had... and he hated her.
Ari bit her lip, she quickly grabbed her cell phone to call the school to inform them that she would be late, however she groaned when her battery died
“Fuck! I forgot my charger! Toyo is gonna hate me even more....” She muttered, about to slump her head on the desk but she decided to speed through the paperwork.
“The faster I get through this, the quicker I’ll get to Toyo!” She said, as she shuffled through the paperwork
Determined not to be late this time.
3 Hours Later
‘Fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!’ She screamed in her head; she was two hours late in picking Toyo up... She couldn’t even call the school to warn them beforehand because her cell phone had died.
“Mine sensei is going to kill me...” She groaned as she made a bee line towards the school. Her heels tapped against the tiled floors; the empty school seemed daunting now that there weren’t any children or teachers scuttling around. She quickly opened Toyo’s classroom door
“Toyo, I’m so sorry!” She squeaked but she stood still in the empty classroom. Her heart was beating fast. Where was he? Did someone take him? Where was Mine sensei? Panicking, she searched around the classroom, her eyes landing on his table.
‘Okay, his bag is still here...’
She rushed to pick it up, eyes glancing outside the classroom window and she froze... Toyo was standing there with... a teacher? His back was facing her, but she could see the uniform apron still tied on his form. Her eyes darted to Toyo, who was smiling as he talked to the man. She could feel her legs shaking and her mouth quivered, trying to hold back her tears.
He looked so happy, it overwhelmed her.
She turned around, quickly making her way to the playground.
“Toyo!” She yelled, making both Sugawara and Toyo glance at her. Toyo’s smile dropped as he huddled near Sugawara. Y/n quickly hugged the little boy
“I’m so so so sorry for being late again, please forgive me?” She said, but Toyo stayed quiet, breaking from her hold, hiding behind Sugawara. He gave a small smile at the boy, before he gently said
“Toyo-kun, why don’t you go get your schoolbag, while I talk to Miss Shiyo?”
Y/n was shocked at how obedient Toyo was, he didn’t hesitate at this man’s words as he calmly walked to his classroom. Y/n was too ashamed to look at Sugawara...
“...I know... It’s inexcusable that I’m late again... I’m sorry for making you wait with Toyo for so long...” She said and Sugawara rubbed the back of his head, smiling
“Hey now, it’s not a problem for me. He’s a pretty nice kid! Well behaved!” Sugawara laughed and Y/n looked at him finally, her eyes wide.
“So, he really... talked... to you?” She asked in disbelief and Sugawara looked at her, smiling softly
Sugawara took note of her features, her hair was dishevelled and the way she was still trying to catch her breath, made him realise that she must’ve run here. Her brown eyes were circled with darkening rims. He felt sympathy from Mine sensei’s early revelations. This girl looked exhausted, beyond imagination. He stilled when her eyes brimmed with tears, but she quickly wiped them, sniffling
“S-sorry... it’s just... he hasn’t spoken to anyone in a long time... not even m-me...” her voice cracked. Sugawara felt his own heart ache, he felt his stomach fill with pity. Not even thinking twice before he hugged her, rubbing her back
“It’s okay Miss Shiyo, he will open up to you in due time. I promise... you’re doing a fantastic job raising Toyo. He’s a good boy... You’re just overwhelmed with work and raising a child by yourself, but it doesn’t have to be so hard...”
She took in the calm scent wafting of him, it made her feel calm as she tried relaxing from her outburst... He released her, and she sniffled, quietly thanking him when he offered her his handkerchief, the cute little baby crow patterns catching her eye. She dabbed her eyes, looking up at him
“But how...? My boss hates me and doesn’t care about my personal life, so I’m stuck doing overtime... and then at home, my nephew practically hides from me... I don’t remember what it’s like to even breathe...”
She sat on the bench, looking at her lap in dismay and embarrassment. She just broke down in front of a complete stranger... a handsome one, to boot... Sugawara smiled and sat down next to her, thinking for a few moments before he cleared his throat, catching her attention
“What if I take him after school? I mean, I’ll of course, print out an official letter for you to sign with your permission and the principal’s, so you’ll be more at ease...” he began, and she got confused, looking at him
“What do you mean?”
Sugawara just smiled
“Seeing as Toyo is comfortable around me, I wouldn’t mind bringing him home, doing his homework with him and giving him company till you can pick him up from work? It’s really no issue, I’ll give you my number as well so you can call me anytime”
Ari was baffled, just looking at this kind man... but why would he do this for her?
“But what about your family...?” She asked and he rubbed the back of his neck, a tiny smile on his face
“I live with my friend, he’s in the police force... I’m quite close to the school as well, if you’d like to see my house on the way out?”
Ari was reluctant...
Sugawara noticed her expression and he just hummed,
“The offer’s always on the table so... you don’t really have to agree to it immediately... Just think about it? Let’s get Toyo-kun from his classroom, it’s quite late now...”
She nodded and they quietly walked to the classroom...
Walking into the classroom, Ari was stunned when he heard Toyo yell,
“Sensei!!! I did my homework already, see!” He beamed, looking triumphant holding up a sheet. Sugawara grinned, patting the smiling boy’s head,
“Eh? That’s pretty awesome Toyo-kun! What a go-getter! Right Miss Shiyo!?” He turned to Ari, who was speechless, urging her to respond. Toyo looked at her, his smile turning into a frown. She swallowed, trying not get hurt from his sudden change in expression, forcing a smile on her face, she crouched down
“Well done Toyo! You get extra tv time tonight!” She laughed lightly, trying to pat his head like Sugawara, but the boy recoiled and hid behind the taller man’s leg. She retracted her hand and Sugawara saw her heart drop...
He looked down at the boy, feeling sympathetic
“Toyo-kun, it’s not nice to ignore your aunty... You’re a polite young man, aren’t you? What do you say?”
Toyo shuffled on his feet, avoiding eye contact with her
“Thank you...” he mumbled, and she stilled... For the last two years, he had barely said a word to her, and this man got him to interact with her in less than a day... She began thinking about his offer, looking at Toyo... Clearing her throat, she stood up,
“Toyo, because I’m always late... Sensei has offered to spend time with you after school, until I can pick you up... I wanted to ask you, if that’s alright with you?”
Toyo looked at Sugawara, who smiled down at him, his eyes shining, and he nodded n excitement
“Yeah!” He cheered and Sugawara laughed. She just smiled softly, ignoring the pain she felt on the inside. She looked at the positive aspect, at least Toyo had someone to talk to. She couldn’t take advantage of Sugawara sensei too much; he probably had a personal life as well.
Sugawara and she exchanged their personal contact information before they went their separate ways. She knew she had overtime tomorrow again, so maybe this was a blessing in disguise.... She looked at Toyo who trotted behind her.
She sighed, turning to him
“Toyo... can you please hold my hand? It’s dangerous at this time of night. I’d like you to be closer to me...”
He stopped, looking at her outstretched hand, he bit his lip, shoving his hands in his pocket, walking ahead of her. Ari frowned, just letting her shoulders drop before she walked behind him...
Sugawara sighed, propping himself on the couch, sipping his cup of tea. He kept thinking about Miss Shiyo... She didn’t seem to be in great health... Was she not eating? Toyo was a skinny child, but he noticed how packed his bento box was during lunchtime, so it’s not like she was purposely being negligent, and he ate it too. Today from her mannerisms, he could tell how hesitant she was to touch the boy, he would immediately recoil.
“Suga... what’s up? You’re distracted, man...” Daichi hummed, sitting on the sofa with his coffee mug in hand. Sugawara just sighed again, turning to Daichi
“So, I’ll be taking care of a student here after school from tomorrow... He’s only got one guardian and he doesn’t like her at all... Today, he hid behind my legs, trying his best to stay away from her...”
Daichi raised a brow,
“Did this woman seem violent or aggressive with him? Could be a case of child abuse or trauma?” He said and Sugawara shook his head
“I suspected it too, but his teacher claimed that during their recent health check-ups, Toyo had no signs of injuries, his health was in top shape too... In total honestly, his aunt looked worse for wear... She genuinely was upset earlier about not having a relationship with the kid... I wonder why Toyo is like this... When I stayed with him after school, he was just like any other normal kid, Daichi! We spoke a lot and he’s quite creative!” Sugawara stated, waving his hands in the air. Daichi just hummed, thinking it over
“I guess, the more you spend time with this kid, maybe he will open up and tell you what he really is going through? If he doesn’t have a male figure in his life, maybe he’ll start viewing you as a role model?”
Sugawara raised a brow, nodding
“That’s not a bad idea Daichi... I’ll try talking to him tomorrow and getting to the bottom of this...”