Hi, I'll introduce me as just Aoi, but my name is Aoi Yamata. I was born 1999 in Japan's most polluted city, Tokyo. My father raised me and my impulsive big brother all by himself and I honestly don't understand how he endured it all. My big brother, who was born only 1 year before me, was the most reckless one. He would always get in trouble at school for being too loud and not focused in classes. He would often pull pranks on the substitutes and teachers, pull the emergency alarms at school, skip classes whenever he felt like it and much more. I, on the other hand, was the shy one. Instead of pulling pranks and skip classes, I attended summer school and kept to myself most of the time being. Because of my shyness and social anxiety I got teased a lot. I would find myself eating lunch on the stairs that lead to the rooftop so I didn't have to socialize in my homeroom. I was that kid.
My brother was a pain in the throughout most of the elementary school, but he was always sticking up for me whenever I got picked on.
When I got to the first year of high school, the teasing went worse and I could, unfortunately, define the teasing as bullying. The boys in my class called me 'busu'(ugly) and 'debu'(fatty), they would also throw my bag out the window and pour water or milk on me whenever they wanted to.I felt extremely unwelcome. When the year ended, I ended up transferring to another school for a fresh start, hoping I would experience school in more of a positive way.
And here I was, standing in front of my new high school as a 17 years old. I pulled a tight grip on my bag, took a deep breath and went towards the entrance.
Let's do this! You can do it, Aoi. New and a fresh start. I thought. There were students pacing fast past me, probably getting late for their lessons.
The school was much bigger than the one I went at last year and I guess it was for the better. It wouldn't be as a close environment. The hallways on the first floor were full of students walking back and forth with their textbooks and bags in their arms. Some girls were holding hand in hand as they giggling and laughing about something that I guess happened over the summer break. I felt this positive vibe at this school right away.
I had to talk to the principal about my schedule and such things, but since I was used to a lot smaller school, I already was lost.
I looked around to try to find where I came from, but since I've unknowingly got lost I just stopped on the spot. I pulled out my phone to find the text that I got from the school.
"It doesn't stand anything of where his office is.." I mumbled to myself.
"You need help?" I heard a voice behind me ask. I jumped in surprise and look behind me to find a short girl with shoulder short brown hair looking at me as she gave me a kind and welcoming smile.
I opened my mouth, but I couldn't find any words. She looked at me and raised her eyebrows, not losing the smile.
"Where are you going?" she went up to me and looked at my phone to read the text.
Her smile got bigger as she looked back at me with her big and sparkly eyes as she replied her own question.
"The principal office, I see. Follow me if you will." She her heels and started walking the opposite direction of what I was planning to go. I followed closely behind, quietly. She walked up the stairs where she kept greeting other students that were passing by with a cheerful voice.
"Here it is." she pointed at the door.
I bowed politely and forced out a thank you.
She waved her hand as she laughed softly,
"No worries. I'm Riko, by the way." She bowed politely back to me.
"I am Aoi." I introduced and she nodded.
"Nice to meet you, Aoi." she looked down at her watch and her eyes widened.
"Oh no I'm late, see you around, Aoi!" she said and then took off.
I watched her running down the stairs, smiling to myself before taking another deep breath and turned to the door again.
I knocked on the door softly and a manly voice told me to step inside.
I slid the door open and the principal stood up and gave me a friendly smile.
"You must be Aoi Yamata." he reached out his hand for me to shake and so I did and did a respectable bow to him too.
"Your father told me about your situation back at your old school, and I'll assure you, you will thrive better here. However, if there is any problem, please feel free to contact one of the teachers or me and we will take actions."
I nodded and told him I understood what he was telling. He began informing me about the schedule and free time activities and such. I listened well and note down my schedule on my calendar and soon enough I was ready to attend my first lesson.
Which was..English. Great.
As I was organizing the calendar on my phone, I had turned blind of what and where I was going. The consequences hit me right after and I happened to walk into someone. My head hit it's chest and made me jump back in surprise and I looked up to see this tall guy with a blank expression on his face. His blank and emotionless face reminded me right away of Gachapin (popular character from the TV)
He looked down at me.
"I'm sorry." I apologized as I felt deeply judged and a bit threatened by this guy.
"Whatever." He said coldly and put his hands in his pockets and continued walking.
I looked behind me and frowned at him.
"Rude," I said to myself before organizing my calendar again.
The lesson ended 10 minutes after I arrived. I had missed out most of the class during my conversation with the principal.
I looked down at my calendar again and I figured out there was a 10 minute break between each lesson, so I got some time to go to the bathroom and maybe look around and get to know the school more.
I was placed in the back in the middle and I was truly okay with that. Better than sitting in the front, if you ask me.
The other students in my class didn't bother approaching me and it was probably for the best. I can't say I was the most open and approachable one you can find. I had put my earphones in and put on some music to tone the noise down and got up from my seat and headed to the bathroom.
As I walked down the hallway, I realize I had no idea where the bathrooms were.
"This will be a difficult first week.." I thought to myself.
The principal had given me a map, but I left it in my bag so I had to walk back to the classroom and get it.
While I was heading back I could hear faded giggling and squealing at the end of the corridor behind me.
I raised my eyebrow and turned around to see girl students peeking out from their classrooms as they were uncontrollably excited about something. I squinted my eyes as if that could help me focus on what happened.
"So cool~," a familiar girl voice said as she stopped beside me with her hands on her cheeks, hiding her blush.
"Who?" I asked and she looked at me before laughing.
"I got a lot to teach you, don't I?" she started, before looking at the crowded hallway and cleared .
I followed her gaze and that's when I saw four guys walking through the crowd. Why were they so popular? Who were they?
I looked closer and that's when I could recognize one of them.
"Ah," I blurted out as I remembered the familiar face from before.
Riko looked at me with raised eyebrows and was about to ask but I interrupted by pointing out quietly,
Riko looked at me as she was questioning who I was talking about.
"The tall guy on the right who looks like gachapin.," I said.
Riko chuckled as she folded her arms.
I tasted on the name, Toru-kun. It suited him too. The name Toru got this blank paper-ish meaning. But in a good way.
Riko looked at me and asked,
"Do you perhaps know him?"
"No." I shook my head and looked at Riko as I laughed awkwardly,
"I kind of walked in him earlier when I was focusing on my schedule."
Riko widened her eyes as she slowly nodded.
"I see. well, he's kind when you get to know him. That is for all four of them. I personally think Tomoya is the kindest. He's the one in the back."
The guys had stopped to talk to a teacher and they all seemed to be bothered by something the teacher had told them.
Riko turned to me and looked deeply into my eyes as she said,
"But, Taka.. the one who is in the front. He might seem to be moody and rude, but actually a nice guy if you get to know him. I guess."
I raised my eyebrows and politely asked,
"How do you know so much?"
She smiled and posed with a peace sign as she proudly answered,
"I'm Ryota's little sister." she then winked afterward, which made me laugh at her cute pose.
Riko liked my reaction and started to laugh with me.
She looked at me with a big grin on her small face as she said determined,
"Let's be friends?"
I could feel my face lit up as I could feel butterflies in my stomach and I felt truly relieved.
I nodded quickly and cheerfully said,